Chapter 1: Spider Squish
Sometimes, after a particularly bad nightmare, Peter just needs someone to lay on him with their entire body weight and hold him tight in order to make him feel safe again.
Luckily for Peter, his dad has strong arms.
Peter was falling through cold air, twisting this way and that way as he tried to find something to fire a web at, something to catch himself on. He knew he wasn’t wearing the suit, could feel the icy wind ripping through his thin sweatpants and t-shirt. But it didn’t much matter anyway, because all he could see was darkness and the black expanse of the ocean, rushing towards him. Hitting it at this speed, it would be like hitting concrete. Peter would splatter like a bug on a windshield and, even if he didn’t, he’d drown or freeze to death in the icy water long before anyone could rescue him. Peter couldn’t help his sob at the thought. His body would never be found. No one would know what had happened to him. They might not even know he was dead. Peter closed his eyes at the thought, tears welling up and freezing on his lashes, and Peter sent out a silent prayer that someone would catch him.
Peter hit the floor with a loud thump and jerked awake, a scream tearing itself out of his throat as he tried to get his bearings. He was in his bedroom at Stark Tower. He was staying in the Tower while Aunt May went on a vacation with her boyfriend. He wasn’t falling through the air over the ocean. He wasn’t dying.
He wasn’t dying. He was safe in his bedroom and he wasn’t dying.
And yet, every time he blinked, Peter could see the water coming towards him for a split second.
Peter was on his feet in a second, swaying from standing too fast, and he took several deep breaths, trying to slow his racing pulse. It didn’t work in the slightest, but Peter was suddenly reminded of when he was little again, waking up after a nightmare about his parents dying. Of how May or Ben would hold him close, practically laying on top of him, and how safe it made him feel.
Peter sank down on the edge of his bed and pressed his hands over his eyes, trying to chase away the feeling of falling, then sighed and stood up. Knowing he wouldn’t get any sleep after that nightmare, Peter headed out to the living room and flopped onto the couch, reaching out for the remote. He clicked on the TV and flipped through the channels until he found a rerun of Star Wars, then dragged the blanket from the back of the couch down to curl up under and tried to not think about falling or water or dying.
Peter was so caught up in his own thoughts that he completely missed Tony entering the room, as well as Tony threatening, “Budge up, kid, or I’ll just lay on you.”
Peter didn’t move and Tony, being a man of his word, plopped himself down on the spaced-out spider and stretched out comfortably, squishing Peter against the cushions. Tony expected Peter to yelp in surprise or to laugh or to squirm or push Tony off of him.
Tony did not expect Peter to go completely boneless and let out a relieved sigh. Tony rolled over and pushed himself up on his elbows to look at the kid and Peter gave a soft whine, then flushed and covered his mouth as his eyes focused on Tony’s face. Tony smirked slightly, then frowned as he noticed the tear tracks on Peter’s cheeks. Bringing one hand up to poke the kid’s cheek, he asked, “What’re these about, kid?”
Peter looked away and mumbled, “Nightmare.”
“How can I help?’
Peter looked at Tony in surprise at the words, then whispered, “Well, um, May used to lay on me when I had a nightmare, to help me feel grounded and less like I’m spiraling out of control. So, uh, you kind of already are?”
Tony hummed thoughtfully and lowered his upper body back onto Peter, tucking Peter’s head under his chin and asking, “This better?”
Tony didn’t even need to hear Peter’s mumble of “Yeah” to know that it was, considering the fact that Peter had somehow managed to go even more limp and relaxed the second Tony’s entire body weight was on him. Tony snaked his arms around
his the spider-child and squeezed him tight, stating softly, “If this happens again, you’re welcome to come to me.”
Peter curled closer and buried his face in the crook of Tony’s neck, blinking back tears as he whispered, “Okay.”
Then a thought occurred to Peter and he lifted his head, eyes wide with concern.
“Wait a second, why are you out here? Did you have a nightmare too?”
Tony rolled his eyes and gently pushed Peter’s head back into the crook of his neck, answering, “I woke up to use the bathroom and FRIDAY told me that you were violating the Bed Time Protocol. I came to figure out why.”
Peter made a noise that Tony recognized as his ‘I’m-about-to-protest-Tony-doing-anything-even-remotely-out-of-his-way-in-order-to-help-me’ noise and headed it off by ordering, “Don’t even think about protesting or apologizing, Spider-Squirt.”
Peter huffed into Tony’s neck and, despite Tony’s direct orders not to, protested, “But you didn’t have to do that, Mr. Stark!”
Tony groaned, then noticed the edge of a binder strap under Peter’s t-shirt and immediately stiffened.
“Pete. Please tell me you didn’t go to bed wearing your binder.”
Peter made a guilty noise and Tony immediately pushed himself off of Peter, ordering, “Go take it off. Jesus, kid, you’re gonna break your fucking ribs. Once it’s off, we can cuddle again.”
Peter whined slightly, but got up and slunk off to his bedroom. He returned a minute later without his binder on and Tony directed him back onto the couch. Peter made himself comfortable and Tony laid back down on top of him, draping the blanket back over them and getting comfortable. Peter made a noise of contentment and Tony held him tight. Peter’s eyes fluttered slightly, drifting closed as he got closer and closer to sleep.
“So, Peter, can you tell me something that you’re NOT going to do in the future?”
Peter whined at Tony’s voice jerking him out of sleep and pressed his face into
his dad’s Tony’s neck, grumbling, “It’s not like I meant to. I just forgot.”
That didn’t help his case, as Tony simply stated, “I’ll set up FRIDAY to remind you every time she senses you falling asleep. Can’t have my kid breaking his own ribs.”
Peter grumbled again, but was too sleepy to really protest. Tony clearly counted that as acceptance and called, “FRIDAY, set a reminder to create a protocol for that.”
FRIDAY probably said something, but Peter was already so close to sleep that everything just sounded like white noise. He was awake just long enough to mumble, “Night, Dad.”
Then Peter was out cold and Tony felt like his heart was about to explode in the best possible way.
(The next night, Peter was just about to fall asleep when FRIDAY suddenly asked if he’d removed his binder. Tony could hear Peter’s angry yells from three doors down and laughed so hard he fell out of his chair.)
Chapter 2: Spider Sniffles
Peter likes to think that he can't get sick after the spider bite.
Peter is wrong.
Another tribute to the writing goblin.
Also, I'm a slut for comments, so feel free to leave them.
EDIT: I fixed a continuity error. Thank you to lin for pointing it out to me.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Tony and Peter were working peacefully in the lab, humming along with the music playing, when Tony heard it.
Tony turned to look at Peter suspiciously, noting the spider-teen’s pink cheeks, and faux-casually asked, “Feeling alright, kid?”
A second sniffle, then Peter laughed awkwardly and, sounding congested, answered, “Course I am, Mr. Stark. Spider bite made sure that I can’t get sick.”
A third sniffle and Peter wiped his nose on his sleeve. Tony hummed disbelievingly and called, “FRIDAY, run a scan on our favorite Spider-Shorty.”
Peter sent Tony a startled look and started to protest, but was cut off by FRIDAY.
“Peter appears to be suffering from mild dehydration and a fever of 101.3 degrees, as well as a build-up of mucus in his lungs.”
At FRIDAY’s words, Tony quirked an eyebrow in Peter’s direction and stated, “And that, Underoos, is why you don’t lie to a super-genius with an all-seeing AI.”
Peter glowered at Tony, the effect ruined by his flushed face and the fact that he just kinda looked like a puppy. The glower was further ruined by Peter’s face suddenly screwing up, making concern shoot through Tony’s chest for a split second before Peter let out a sneeze so adorable that it made kitten sneezes look bad. Tony couldn’t help but laugh at Peter’s offended look and Peter huffed, grumbling, “Fine, I’m a little bit sick, alright? It’s fine. I can keep working.”
Tony stood and stretched, answering, “Nope. Go change into your pajamas and find us a movie to watch. I’ll order us pizza.”
Peter huffed, but obediently traipsed out of the lab. Tony let him get just outside the door before calling, “And don’t forget to take off your binder!”
Peter shot Tony a Look, then marched off to his room as Tony washed his hands and placed an order for 3 pizzas (one with sausage for Tony, two Hawaiian for Peter, the heathen).
Five minutes later, Tony was joining Peter on the couch with three water bottles and placing his hand on Peter’s forehead to check Peter’s temperature. Peter batted at his hand and huffed, then stated, “We’re watching Episode II: Attack of the Clones and there is nothing you can say or do to make me change it.”
Tony groaned and flopped down on the couch, grumbling, “Seriously, kid? Attack of the Clones is the worst Star Wars movie. Watching Anakin try to seduce Padme is like pulling teeth, except at least I’m unconscious when they pull teeth.”
Peter laughed and Tony rolled his eyes, grabbing the blanket from the armchair and throwing it on top of Peter. Peter immediately unfolded the blanket and draped it over himself, snuggling into it and sticking his tongue out at Tony. In response, Tony reached out and pretended to pinch Peter’s tongue, making Peter squeak and pull the blanket up to protect his face. Sighing heavily, Tony flopped back against the couch and acquiesced, “Fine, kid. Since you’re sick, I suppose I can put up with Anakin’s shitty flirting skills for one night.”
Peter smiled at Tony like Tony had just given him a puppy and Tony couldn’t help but smile back at the goofy spider-child. FRIDAY alerted Tony about the pizza guy and Tony sighed, but got up and went down to the lobby to get the pizzas.
Fifteen minutes later, Tony was back on the couch with a slice of pizza in his hand and a snuggly spider child curled against his side. Peter had wolfed down about half of his first pizza in five minutes, then cuddled up against Tony’s side and gotten comfy. Tony rolled his eyes, then set his pizza down and reached out to grab one of Peter’s water bottles from the table, careful not to jostle Peter too much. He opened it and held it up to Peter’s face, ordering, “Drink up, Sneezy the Spider. Don’t want you getting dehydrated on me.”
Peter took the water bottle with a low grumble and gulped about half of it down, then flopped over on his side across Tony’s lap, making himself comfortable and nestling in close. Tony set his hand on Peter’s hair and began gently playing with the spider-baby’s soft curls, teasing lightly, “Getting sleepy, kid?”
Peter huffed, but leaned into Tony’s touch with no other complaint. Tony couldn’t help his soft coo and tucked the blankets a little tighter around Peter’s shoulders, then called, “FRI, lights to 30%. And turn the TV down.”
Peter snuggled closer to Tony and Tony smiled, his fingers returning to Peter’s curls. As they cuddled in silence, Peter’s breaths got slower and slower, until the sick spider was asleep in Tony’s lap. Tony himself was starting to drift off to the sound of Anakin saying “I don’t like sand”, but he was awake enough to mumble, “Night, kiddo.”
Peter hummed softly and murmured, “Night, Dad.”
Then Tony was asleep.
It is my personal headcanon that Peter is like, a 1/4-inch shorter than Tony and Tony takes literally every possible opportunity to call Peter short because he knows that Peter will be taller than him soon.
Also, I have never seen Star Wars. The comments about Attack of the Clones were from my datemate.
Chapter 3: Peter Parker Protocol
Tony is stubborn and sleep-deprived, so Pepper brings out the big guns.
I wrote this instead of studying for my history test tomorrow. I hope you're happy, writing goblin.
“Tony. Go to bed.”
“In a minute, Pep.”
“Go to bed, Tones.”
“I’ll go when I’m done here, Rhodey.”
“Shut up, Dum-E. I’ll get there in a minute.”
“Anthony Edward Stark, you are going to go to bed this instant or so help me God.”
Tony glared at Pepper from where he had been hunched over for nearly 48 hours and huffed, “I’m fine, Pep. I just need to get this done.”
Pepper gave Tony her patented ‘You Have 3 Seconds to Do as You’re Told’ look, which Tony promptly ignored.
“FRIDAY, activate the Peter Parker Protocol.”
That got Tony to his feet as he yelped, “No, wait, Pep, don’t!”
Pepper glared at Tony and stated, “Too late, Tony. You had your chance to avoid this. Now either go to bed or face the consequences.”
Tony glowered, but made no move to leave his lab table. Instead, he plopped back down in his seat and huffed, “Well, seeing as it’s too late to stop him anyway, I may as well keep working.”
Pepper rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in the air, then stormed out of the lab, leaving Tony to work.
Ten minutes later, Pepper returned to the lab, spider-child in tow, and pointed at Tony, jokingly stating, “Fetch, Peter.”
Peter rolled his eyes, but obediently trotted over to Tony. Tony glared at Peter, but couldn’t help but soften at the big brown puppy eyes directed at him. Peter blinked at Tony, eyes welling up with tears that Tony knew were fake, but that still pulled at Tony’s heartstrings as Peter begged, “Mr. Stark, will you watch a movie with me? I had a nightmare and I don’t wanna go back to bed.”
Despite knowing logically that Peter was 150% full of shit, Tony couldn’t stop himself from sighing, “Yeah, alright kid. Whatcha wanna watch?”
Peter tugged Tony to his feet and dragged the older man up to the living room, where Pepper had set up a pile of blankets and pillows on the couch. Tony huffed and headed for the armchair, dead-set on staying awake and going back to the lab after Peter fell asleep, but Peter’s grip on his arm prevented him from escaping. Instead, Peter pushed Tony onto the couch and flopped down next to him, curling into Tony’s side. Once the pair was settled, Peter flicked on the TV to a random Disney movie and flopped across Tony’s lap, curling up like a puppy. Tony groaned, but accepted that he wasn’t going anywhere as Peter got comfortable and covered both himself and Tony with a soft blanket. Tony sunk his hand into Peter’s hair and gently stroked through the soft curls even as he groused, “You’re an absolute menace to productivity, kid, you know that?”
Peter snuggled closer and hummed sleepily, answering, “No one’s productive after 48 hours of working, Mr. Stark, not even you. Now shhhhh. I’m watching the movie.”
Tony looked at Peter incredulously and Peter turned a pair of big brown puppy-dog eyes up at him, blinking innocently. Fully accepting his fate, Tony gently shoved Peter and sighed, “Scoot, kid. I wanna lay down.”
In an instant, Peter was out of Tony’s lap and standing beside the couch, waiting for Tony to move. Tony, being the stubborn bastard that he specializes in being, immediately sprang to his feet and made a run for the lab.
He made it fifteen feet before Peter was bundling him in a blanket and literally carrying him back to the couch. Once he had sufficiently restrained Tony with three blankets, Peter gently tucked a pillow under Tony’s head and then retook his place curled on top of Tony. He gently tucked his head under Tony’s chin, then cuddled close and mumbled, “Time to sleep, Mr. Stark.”
Tony grumbled at his cozy restraints and huffed, “Can I at least get an arm free to make sure you don’t go rolling off the couch in the middle of the night?”
Peter hummed and mumbled, “How can I trust that you won’t go running off again?”
In response, Tony whined, “FRIDAY, tell Rhodey I’m being held hostage.”
Peter laughed at that and lightly bumped his head into Tony’s chin.
“This is for your own good, Mr. Stark.”
Moments later, the elevator doors opened to reveal Rhodey in his pajamas, looking distinctly amused. He walked over to the couch and grinned down at the pouting Tony, teasing, “See, Tones, this is why you go to bed when I tell you to.”
Tony huffed and finally managed to wiggle an arm free, which he draped over his eyes like a southern lass with the vapors and cried, “I’m surrounded by traitors! Traitors, I tell you!”
He heard Rhodey snort, then footsteps as Rhodey walked away and abandoned Tony to the spider-demon who seemed hell-bent on cuddling Tony into submission.
(Okay, so Tony would admit that he was a bit dramatic. Sue him.)
Peter laughed softly from his place on top of Tony and poked Tony’s arm, mumbling, “You’ve-“
Peter’s statement was interrupted by a wide yawn and Tony sighed, dropping his hand into Peter’s hair and sighing, “Get some sleep, kid.”
In response, Peter pushed his head into Tony’s hand and answered, “Only if you do.”
Tony could see Peter’s eyelids starting to flutter even as the spider-child struggled to keep them open. It was a losing battle, however, and Peter soon drifted off to sleep, his soft breaths tickling Tony’s neck. And Tony, despite how much he wanted to get up and go work in the lab some more, was trapped by the sacred covenant:
If something small and cute falls asleep on you, you are trapped until the small and cute thing wakes up and leaves.
And Tony, finally accepting his fate, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
(He woke up the next morning to a printed photo on the coffee table of him and Peter asleep. He hung it up in the penthouse.)
Chapter 4: Peter Purr-ker
My take on the 'Turned into a cat' trope, because honestly, why not.
Fair warning: This is kinda awful, but the writing goblin insisted, so here we are. I apologize in advance.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
May Parker would like to say that very little could surprise her anymore. Living in New York, with a nephew who could climb walls and who was more or less the adopted son of Tony Stark, had kind of erased her abilities to be surprised.
That being said, May was definitely surprised to open her apartment door and find Tony Stark holding a very, very small brown kitten with a black, spider-shaped patch of fur on his chest. Big brown eyes peered at May from the cradle of Tony’s arm and the kitten gave a quiet, sad-sounding meow, blinking innocently.
May had an awful feeling that her day was about to get a whole lot weirder.
Tony gave May a nervous smile and faux-casually greeted, “Hey, May. How are you today?”
May leveled Tony with a tired look.
“Tony. I can’t believe I have to ask this, but here we are. Is that kitten Peter?”
Tony gave a weak smile and joked uncomfortably, “Well, at least he’s still the same size?”
The kitten- Peter, dear god, what even is May’s life- meowed in protest and May took a deep, calming breath, then asked, “How long is he going to remain a kitten, Tony?”
Tony sighed, then answered, “A day? Maybe two days?”
May rubbed her temples, then stated flatly, “Tony, I have to leave for a flight to Wisconsin in less than two hours. I cannot take care of Peter. As such, I am officially placing you in charge of taking care of him while he is smaller and fuzzier than usual.”
Tony nodded and answered, “Of course, May. I just wanted to make sure you knew so you didn’t worry about him.”
Peter made a little kitten-huff and started squirming in Tony’s arm, meowing. Tony cuddled the squirming spider-cat closer and stroked one finger down his fluffy back, earning a soft purr and a tiny pink tongue licking his fingers. May immediately held up her phone with a devilish grin and started taking photos, announcing, “This is going in the photo album for sure.”
Peter gave a meow that sound distinctly protesting and May held out her hands for Peter. Tony immediately passed the wriggling ball of fluff to May and May kissed Peter’s tiny, fluffy head, scolding. “You brought this on yourself, Petey-Pie. This is what you get for making me worry about you. This is the universe’s way of making it up to me by giving me adorable photos of you.”
Peter huffed and snuggled into May’s chest, licking her chin. In response, May booped Peter’s tiny pink nose and sighed, “Okay, kiddo, time for you to get passed back to Tony. Tony, I expect to receive at least ten adorable photos of Peter every day that he remains a kitten, am I clear? Any less than that, I’m going to assume that both of you are dead and respond accordingly.”
Peter was carefully transferred back into Tony’s arms and Tony retreated from the apartment after promising May photos and videos of kitty-Peter.
Thirty minutes later, Peter was comfortably settled on Tony’s shoulder, snoring softly in Tony’s ear as he tried his hardest to focus on his work. Finally, after several long minutes of trying and failing to ignore the soft snores in his ears, Tony sighed and stood up, startling Peter awake. Tony gently scooped Peter up and held him up to his face, sighing, “Alright, fur-ball. You’ve successfully distracted me from my work, so you and I are going upstairs to watch a movie and sleep.”
Peter meowed again and Tony carried him upstairs, then stretched out on the couch and settled Peter’s fuzzy little body on his belly, petting his back. Peter began purring and settled in for a nap, with Tony passing out five or six minutes later.
Tony woke up with a ball of fluff asleep on his face, snoring as he apparently attempted to suffocate Tony in his sleep. Tony sighed and Peter woke up, then started purring happily. In response, Tony lifted Peter off of his face and held him straight up, stating, “You, Peter Benjamin Parker, are a tiny fucking menace and I love you.”
Peter licked Tony’s thumb, then mewed and blinked down at Tony innocently. Tony sighed again and sat up, then gently kissed Peter’s tiny head and announced, “You and I are going for a walk in the park.”
Peter squirmed, letting out pathetic little whines and looking so, so, so sad. Tony laughed at Peter, then stood up and carried Peter into his room, grabbing some clothes. He set Peter on the bed, then, as Peter head towards the edge of the bed, grabbed a laundry basket and set it upside down over Peter. Peter hissed at Tony and stuck one tiny leg through a hole in the basket, trying to swipe at Tony as Tony laughed hysterically. Once he had managed to calm down, Tony sent a photo to May and headed into the bathroom to get dressed.
Once he was dressed in sweats and hoodie, Tony emerged from the bathroom and rescued Peter from beneath the laundry basket, then gently coaxed Peter into his hoodie pocket. Peter settled into the pocket, leaving just his head sticking out one side of the pocket, then meowed. Tony nodded and headed down into the Tower lobby.
Tony reached the park quickly and a little girl rushed up, gasping excitedly, “Is that a kitten?”
A woman, presumably the girl’s mom, hurried up and blanched at Tony, her face flushing as she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, Mr. Stark, I’m so sorry! Sammy, sweetheart, you can't just run off like that!”
Tony smiled slightly and carefully extracted Peter from his pocket, stating, “You can pet him if you’d like. He loves people. Just make sure you’re careful.”
Sammy looked ecstatic at the offer and looked up at her mom, asking, “Mommy, mommy, can I?”
Her mom looked stunned and answered, “Uh, um, I- I- Um, if Mr. Stark is okay with it, then yes.”
Sammy beamed and gently stroked Peter’s head, practically glowing as Peter started purring. Finally, her mom told her it was time to go and led her off. Tony headed back to the Tower, where he found Rhodey waiting with a small, shallow, cardboard box in his hands and a smirk on his face. Tony raised an eyebrow and Rhodey set the box down on the floor, then gestured for Tony to set Peter next to it. Tony complied and Peter sniffed the box for a moment, then clambered into it and curled up with a pleased purr. Tony doubled over laughing and after he managed to breathe again, took a picture and stated, “That’s amazing. I love you. You are a blessing to all of us, Platypus.”
Rhodey grinned and answered, “I know.”
Tony sent the photo to May and left Peter to his box nap as he settled on the couch to work on some emails.
It took five minutes for Peter to realize that Tony had a tablet out. The moment he did, Peter was clambering out of the box and padding over to Tony, pawing at Tony’s leg to be picked up. Tony complied and settled Peter next to him on the couch. Peter immediately clambered into Tony’s lap, sniffed the tablet that was lying flat, then trotted onto it and flopped down with a yawn, curling up on the warm screen. Tony rolled his eyes and took a photo with his phone, then announced, “You are a menace, Peter.”
Peter lifted his tiny, fuzzy head and blinked at Tony innocently, then set his head back down and closed his eyes.
The cat curse on Peter wore off after 36 hours, but those 36 hours were more than enough for Tony to get a frankly ridiculous number of photos and videos of Peter as a kitten, which he made into a video collage of sorts for May. May responded with a collection of Peter’s baby photos and some home videos, which Tony saved to a file entitled ‘Spider-Baby’.
(Peter was just glad to have opposable thumbs back.)
Also, holy shit, you guys are all so sweet?!?! Like, I was NOT expecting all the nice comments you guys are leaving and it makes me so happy that you're all enjoying the fluffy little drabbles that my writing goblin bangs out! Thank you all so much and I hope I don't disappoint you!
Chapter 5: Peter Barker
Tony just really, really wants to know how in the actual Hell Peter does this to himself.
Semi-sequel to Peter Purr-ker, but you don't need to read that one to understand this one.
Shout-out to AuthorTrash for suggesting this in the comments! I hope it's good!
Sorry for how short it is, finals week has begun and my brain is currently trying to stage a coup.
EDIT: I changed the title so that the pun is better.
When FRIDAY informed Tony that Peter had been involved in an accident in the lab, Tony thought he was about to have an actual, literal heart attack as his brain screeched all of the ways that Peter could be injured or, god forbid, dead. He sprinted down to the lab and slammed the door open, then froze at the sight of a small chocolate Labradoodle sitting on the floor with a distinctly guilty look on its face. A spider-shaped patch of black fur was just barely visible on the puppy’s forehead and Tony noticed the device that had turned Peter into a kitten literally four days prior sitting on the floor next to the very, very, very guilty-looking pup. With a noise that could barely be described as human, Tony buried his face in his hands and sank down to sit on the floor, moaning, “Peter, kid, I love you, but how the fuck do you do these things to yourself?”
There was the sound of tiny paws clicking on tile, then Peter was clambering into Tony’s lap and looking up at him with big, sad eyes. Tony glowered at the tiny fuzz-ball, then sighed and gently scratched Peter’s fuzzy ear. Peter leaned into the touch with a delighted huff, nuzzling Tony’s palm, and Tony groaned, “FRIDAY, video-call May Parker, please.”
A holo-screen appeared and, after two rings, an exhausted- and extremely stressed- looking May Parker answered, with an expression that said she was about to eviscerate Tony with her bare hands. Tony, being rather fond of his organs and hoping to keep them inside of his abdomen where they belong, held up Peter and stated, “May, I love your nephew like a son, but this kid is an idiot.”
May made a noise halfway between a laugh, a sob, and a scream, then, with a slightly hysterical laugh, announced, “No! Nope! Not doing this tonight! I just worked three shifts in a row because we’re understaffed! I’m not dealing with whatever nonsense you two dumbasses got yourself into tonight! Tony, congrats, you can keep the puppy until he’s bipedal again! I’m going back to bed.”
Tony blinked as the call cut out, then looked down at Peter and sighed, “Well, I guess it could’ve gone worse. You’ll have to help me pick out a fruit basket or something to send her.”
Peter gave Tony a look that very clearly said that a fruit basket wouldn’t be sufficient, then licked Tony’s hand. Tony gently cradled Peter in his hands and carried Peter upstairs, grumbling under his breath about “ridiculous spider-children” who like to go around “touching things that they shouldn’t be touching” and “giving their poor mentor a heart attack and some new gray hairs”.
Peter thought it was hilarious.
Once they reached the living room, Tony flopped down on the couch and set Peter on his belly, ordering, “FRIDAY, turn the lights off please.”
FRIDAY complied and Peter walked in three circles on top of Tony before laying down and curling himself into a small, fuzzy ball. Tony dragged the blanket off the back of the couch and draped it over himself and Peter, then rested his hand on Peter’s back and let himself drift off to his sleep.
Tony woke up with a tiny nose sniffing his face. Grumbling sleepily, Tony scooped up the perpetrator of the sniffing and rolled onto his side, snuggling Peter to his chest and kissing his tiny, furry head. Peter squirmed against his chest for a minute, then settled in and licked Tony’s chin once while Tony himself dozed back off.
Or, rather, tried to doze back off.
Instead of actually dozing back off, Tony ended up plotting about fifteen different ways to keep the animal transformation tech away from Peter, as the spider-idiot clearly couldn’t be trusted to remain human around it.
Finally, Tony gave up any attempt to fall back asleep and sat up still holding Peter to his chest like a stuffed toy. Peter wiggled and Tony adjusted his hold, cradling Peter more securely. Peter huffed in contentment and licked Tony’s arm as Tony carried him. They headed into the kitchen and Tony set Peter on one of the chairs, ordering, “Sit, boy. Stay.”
Peter rolled his eyes at Tony, but sat down, exaggerating the action. Tony turned to dig around in the fridge and was about to grab the egg carton when he heard a yelp and a crash from behind him. Heart nearly stopping for the second time in as many days, Tony spun around to find Peter, in his human form, laying on the floor. Tony stared at the sprawled spider-squirt, then, calmly, stated, “Peter. Kid. Underoos. If you ever even think about touching that animal tech again, I’m going to ground you until the day the sun explodes.”
Peter smiled sheepishly and answered, “Got it, Mr. Stark. Sorry.”
(Tony and Peter ended up sending May a fruit basket, a ‘spa box’ of calming lotions and the like, and several minutes of security footage of puppy-Peter chasing his tail in the middle of the night.)
Chapter 6: Stark Sneezes
Tony Stark does NOT get sick.
Peter Parker would like to disagree.
(Semi-sequel to Spider Sniffles.)
Tony was not sick.
Definitely, 150%, absolutely not sick.
Iron Man did not get sick.
“Ah- Ah- Achoo!”
The sneeze echoed in the otherwise relatively quiet lab, drowning out the music playing for a moment as Tony wiped his steadily leaking nose on the paper napkin Dum-E offered him. There was a beat of silence, just long enough for Tony to think he hadn’t noticed.
“Are you feeling okay, Mr. Stark? Ms. Potts told me that the flu went through the office a few days ago. Are you getting sick?”
Tony mumbled a few choice words under his breath, then turned to look at the upside-down, deceivingly innocent face of Peter Parker. Peter was sitting on the ceiling, tinkering with one of his web shooters, and Tony sniffled again, answering, “I don’t get sick, Underoos.”
Peter hummed thoughtfully and stated lightly, “You know, Mr. Stark, last time I said that, you got FRI to tattle on me and then dragged me upstairs to sleep.”
Tony narrowed his eyes at the spider on the ceiling and started, “Kid, don’t you even-“
“FRIDAY, what’s Tony’s temperature?”
FRIDAY, that treacherous, traitorous AI, calmly stated, “Boss’s temperature is 103.2 degrees, Peter.”
Peter raised an eyebrow at Tony and, voice calm, he lightly repeated Tony’s own words from just two weeks prior when Peter had been sick.
“And that, Mr. Stark, is why you don’t lie to a super-genius with an all-seeing AI.”
Tony scowled and turned back to his project, perfectly content to ignore the fact that his fever was getting worryingly high. Instead, he was met with the sudden feeling of Peter’s webs wrapping around him, trapping him snugly in a web cocoon as he yelped in surprise. Tony started to pitch to one side, but was stopped by Peter’s hands as Peter exclaimed with over-exaggerated innocence, “Oh gosh, Mr. Stark, I’m so sorry! I must have accidentally pulled the trigger on my web shooters just as I aimed them at you and set them to web cocoon! Well, I guess we’ll have to just go upstairs and watch a movie on the couch until they dissolve.”
Tony scoffed at the look of wide-eyed innocence on Peter’s face and answered drily, “Wow, what a coincidence that you web me up right after finding out I have a fever.”
Peter carefully scooped Tony up and carried him up to the living room couch, answering, “Oh yeah, definitely, Mr. Stark. Total coincidence. Hey, I’m in the mood for chicken noodle soup. I’ll make some!”
Tony rolled his eyes and Peter vanished into the kitchen, returning moments later with a bottle of fever reducers and a glass of water with a straw. Smiling brightly, Peter held out two of the pills and chirped, “Ms. Potts left these on the counter with a note for you to take them. Open up, Mr. Stark!”
Tony rolled his eyes, but obeyed, allowing Peter to drop the pills into his mouth and give him a sip of water. Once the pills were down, Peter disappeared back into the kitchen, returning a few minutes later with 2 bowls of soup. Tony glowered at Peter and stated, “I swear to god, Peter, I will program FRIDAY to play that godawful theme song every time you enter a room if you even think about feeding me.”
Peter smiled serenely and held a spoonful to Tony’s lips, chirping, “Totally worth it, Mr. Stark.”
Tony opened his mouth to protest, but the spoon cut him off. The mouthful of warm soup only served to remind Tony of how hungry he was and he reluctantly found himself allowing Peter to feed him the whole bowl. Once the soup was gone, Peter adjusted his position so he was stretched out next to Tony, halfway on top of his dad mentor. A pillow got tucked under Tony’s head as Peter flipped through the TV channels until he found a rerun of Star Wars, which he set to a low volume as he snuggled close to Tony. Tony sighed and resigned himself, closing his eyes as Peter called, “FRIDAY, can you please turn the lights off?”
The lights flicked off and Peter thanked FRIDAY as he nestled more comfortably into Tony’s side. Sleepy from the soup and the fever, Tony squirmed until he was comfortable, then cracked one eye open to peer at Peter and asked, “Did you take your binder off?”
Peter huffed and grumbled, but rolled off of Tony and trotted off to his room. Tony couldn’t help but miss the spider-squirt’s warm weight on top of him and shifted within his web cocoon, trying to get comfortable. Moments later, Peter returned and settled back on top of Tony, tucking his face into Tony’s neck and mumbling, “Binder is off, now it’s time for sleep. Shhhhhhhh.”
Tony laughed, but closed his eyes nonetheless even as he asked, “Pepper set you up to this, didn’t she?”
Peter hummed sleepily, answering, “All she said was that you were sick. The rest is all on me. Now shhhhhh. Sleepy time.”
Tony couldn’t help his snort of laughter even as he started drifting off, the feeling of warmth and safety pulling him towards unconsciousness at a surprisingly rapid pace. Sleep came quickly.
(The next morning, Tony instated the Spider Song Protocol. He found it immensely funny to hear the stupid little “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can~” jingle every time Peter entered a room. Peter found it… less entertaining and responded by programming FRIDAY to announce Tony as “Iron Ham” every time he entered a room.)
Chapter 7: Sleepless Spider
The trouble with enhanced hearing is that Peter can hear EVERYTHING, even the things he never wanted to hear. Especially the things he never wanted to hear.
This is pure, unadulterated crack and I am sorry. The writing goblin has apparently been deep fried by the stress of school ending. Hopefully now that summer break has started, it will be more willing to write higher quality fluff.
It was 3 AM on a Saturday when Tony awoke to an alert from FRIDAY that Peter was at the Tower. Concerned, Tony rolled out of bed and hurried down to the Tower lobby, where FRIDAY had told Tony Peter was. Tony expected to find Spider-Man bleeding out from a patrol gone horribly wrong, or perhaps unconscious from some kind of poison. He did not expect to find Peter, in pajama pants and an oversized hoodie, curled up on the lobby couch with a towel draped over him like a blanket. Still paranoid about Peter being hurt, Tony rushed over to where Peter was laying and gently cupped Peter’s face in his hands, searching the boy for any sign of injuries. Peter gave a surprised squeak and batted at Tony’s hands, yelping through squished cheeks, “Mr. Stark! Wha’re you doin’ down here?”
Tony gave Peter’s cheeks a gentle squeeze and asked, “Are you okay? What happened? Why are you here? Are you hurt? Come on, lets get you to the med-bay.”
Peter batted at Tony’s hands again, huffing, “Mr. Stark, I’m fine! I just… Couldn’t sleep at home tonight. May’s got her boyfriend over and… well… you know.”
Tony felt rage shoot through his chest as he growled, “I really don’t. Is the guy bad to you?”
That earned another panicked yelp and Peter flapped his hands like he was auditioning for the role of a panicked seagull, exclaiming, “What? No, no, no, Matt’s awesome. It’s just, well, he and May, they’re, uh, not exactly quiet, if you know what I mean. Ugh, I feel gross just saying it.”
As Tony’s heart started to return to a less heart-attack inducing speed, he couldn’t help but laugh a little hysterically, asking, “Kid, were you seriously about to sleep in my lobby because your aunt and her boyfriend are having loud sex?”
Peter’s face flushed and he covered his face with his hands, whining, “I know, it’s stupid, but you don’t understand. I have enhanced hearing. I could hear all of it, Mr. Stark. All. Of. It.”
Tony couldn’t help but throw his head back and laugh like a maniac, cackling until his stomach hurt and his cheeks were wet with tears. Peter was cherry red, looking like he wanted death to take him right then and there, and Tony finally managed to stop laughing. He gently pulled Peter to his feet and patted the kid’s head, announcing, “Well, you’re not sleeping here, that’s for damn sure.”
Peter looked down dejectedly, answering, “Okay, Mr. Stark. I’m sorry for waking you up.”
He started towards the doors, but Tony grabbed him by the hood and asked, “Where exactly do you think you’re going, Spider-Squirt? Elevator is this way. Your bedroom awaits.”
Tony guided Peter towards the elevators as Peter spluttered in surprise. Wrapping an arm around Peter as they entered the elevator, Tony asked, “So, why didn’t you just come up?”
Peter looked ashamed of himself and muttered, “I forgot my badge at home and I really didn’t want to go back. And I didn’t want to disturb you by calling.”
Tony couldn’t help but pull the small spider into a tight hug, stating, “Alright, first of all, I want you to call if something like this happens. Second of all, I hope to god you left a note for May, because I don’t want her peeling my skin off and feeding it to me for abducting you or whatever. And third of all, you don’t need a badge. I thought I had told you. FRIDAY is keyed to recognize your biometrics. The badge is mostly for show, so you don’t get into trouble with security.”
Peter blushed and curled into the hug, mumbling, “Oh. Okay. And yes, I left her a note telling her that I’m here.”
The elevator dinged and Tony led Peter out to the hallway, then pointed at a door with a plaque bearing Peter’s name and stated, “Bedtime, Spider-Shorty. Make sure to take off your binder if you’re wearing it. I’ll take you home whenever we wake up.”
Peter nodded and Tony pulled him into another hug, then, after a split second of hesitation, pressed a kiss to Peter’s head and murmured, “Good night, Peter.”
Then he headed back to his own room and climbed into bed, drifting off to sleep content in the knowledge that his kid was safe.
(Needless to say, May was absolutely mortified to find Peter’s note saying that he was going to the Tower because he could hear everything. She promptly called Tony and arranged to have Peter stay at the Tower every Friday night to avoid a repeat of it.)
Chapter 8: Spa Spider
May and Pepper take a vacation.
Yeah, this one? Not really good. Sorry about that.
May Parker was not an idiot. Sure, she had her moments, but, as a whole, she had better judgement than most people. As such, when she went to the Tower for lunch and Tony suggested sending her and Pepper on a five-day, all-expenses-paid vacation to some relaxation island spa while he and Peter stayed at the Tower, May felt entirely justified in announcing, “Absolutely not, Tony. I know you two idiots and I don’t trust you to still be in one piece when we come back if you are left unsupervised.”
Then came the puppy-dog eyes.
First, they came just from Tony, which earned him May laughing in his face and informing him that he was wasting his time. Pepper laughed as well, then kissed Tony and stated, “Tony, honey, leave the puppy-dog eyes to Peter.”
Unfortunately for May’s resolve, Tony did just that. Upon arriving home from the Tower, May found Peter waiting with a brochure for the spa and his big brown eyes all puppyish and wide as he stated earnestly, “You should go on the trip, Aunt May! You’ve been working so hard and you haven’t taken a vacation in years and you deserve one! Mr. Stark and I will be fine, promise!”
Peter’s big, honest eyes and sincere tone quickly softened May’s resolve into putty and she sighed, flopping onto the couch beside Peter and tucking him into her side as she huffed, “Alright, alright, I give. I’ll go on the trip. Now stop it with the puppy eyes, would you?”
Peter beamed at May and she rolled her eyes, grumbling slightly under her breath as she pulled out her phone and texted two words to Tony.
Within seconds, Tony responded with flight plans and a hotel reservation. May rolled her eyes and made a mental note to get her vacation days.
Three days later, Pepper and May were on an airplane to the resort, leaving Peter and Tony at the Tower and relatively unsupervised, though May had ‘convinced’ (read: blackmailed) Peter to video chat with her every night.
The first day that Pepper and May were on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Peter and Tony got down to ‘business’. First order of business was some planned upgrades on the Iron Man and Spider-Man suits, which were completed within the first ten hours and followed by Tony and Peter watching Lord of the Rings. Peter made sure to video chat with May and reassure her that both he and Tony were doing fine.
The second day found Tony and Peter making some unplanned upgrades to their suits, as well as trying their hand at cooking dinner. The suit upgrades went great.
The cooking did not.
Which is why, when Peter video chatted May that evening, he had smudges of soot and flour on his face, which really caused the massage she had had that morning to be slightly wasted as she tensed right back up. She relaxed slightly as Peter regaled her and Pepper with the story of their spectacular failure at making baked chicken, but she couldn’t help but be nervous.
On the third day, May’s massage therapist still commented on how tense she was even after the massage the day before. May just sighed and explained that her nephew was a reckless fool and that she had left him with the king- no, the emperor of reckless fools.
Meanwhile, Tony and Peter had decided to clean the Tower’s vents. Which was why, at exactly 12:03 PM, a group of R&D interns suddenly found themselves face to face with Peter, who had apparently put just a little too much of his weight on the overhead vent grate and come tumbling out in front of them. The interns were understandably confused as to why there was a
twelve sixteen-year old crawling around in the vents and one of them called security, who locked the building down until Happy stepped in and sent the almost-painfully embarrassed Peter back up to Tony. Tony, who had spent the entire time watching the feed from the FRIDAY’s in-vent security cameras and wheezing with laughter until he was in tears.
The video chat with May went relatively well that night. Peter was laying on top of Tony like some sort of spider-slug, asleep as Star Wars played quietly in the background. Tony told the story of Peter wandering the vents, which had Pepper resting her head in her hands and mumbling a few choice words when Tony got to the part about the Tower going on lockdown. May couldn’t help but laugh at the misfortune of her nephew.
The fourth day found May and Pepper getting facials and mani-pedis.
It also found Tony and Peter rearranging the penthouse’s furniture. Between the Iron Man suit and Peter’s strength, the couches were soon arranged into a nest of sorts, with their open sides pressed together. Tony and Peter made quick work of retrieving every comfortable pillow and blanket in the penthouse and piling them into the couch-nest, then climbed into it themselves and spent the day watching Netflix on Tony’s laptop, only taking a break to video call May, who laughed at how ridiculously cozy they looked.
On the fifth and final day, May and Pepper got their hair done, then got on the plane back to New York, both feeling more relaxed than they had in a while.
Peter and Tony spent the fifth day in the lab, building a robotic window cleaner that they named Wind-E. Then they built a second Wind-E, so that Wind-e Senior wouldn’t get lonely. Then they headed up to the living room to wait for May and Pepper to return.
When May and Pepper arrived back at the Tower, they expected to find the penthouse a mess. Instead, the pair found Peter and Tony asleep on the couch, surrounded by a spotless apartment. May smiled at Peter, who was slumped against Tony’s side, then stated softly, “I’m surprised. I expected chaos.”
(She couldn’t help but snap a picture of the two and eventually added it to a scrapbook that she then gave to Tony.)
Chapter 9: Wounded Webslinger
Peter gets beat up and his dad comes to the rescue
TW: Mentions of blood, injuries, mentioned transphobia
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“M-Mr. Stark, can you come get me?”
Tony heartrate doubled at the weak, shaky sound of Peter’s voice and immediately answered, “Where are you? Are you safe? Do I need my suit?”
Peter let out a tiny whimper and answered, “I- I’m at the school. I’m outside. Please don’t bring your suit.”
Tony was already sprinting to the elevator, ordering, “Keep talking to me, Pete. Can you tell me the first fifteen elements of the periodic table?”
Peter let out a shaky breath, then started listing off the elements as Tony jittered impatiently, wishing the elevators would go faster. As Peter reached phosphorus, Tony stated, “I’ll be there in just a few minutes, Underoos, I promise. Keep going. Let’s see if you can get all 118 elements. I bet you can.”
Peter let out a weak laugh, then a hiss of pain. Tony practically launched himself out of the elevator and into the nearest car, tossing his phone on the dashboard as the Bluetooth transferred. Then he was peeling out of the garage, speeding towards Midtown Academy with Peter’s listing of the elements serving to keep Tony from completely freaking the fuck out.
When he hit silver, Peter’s voice suddenly went quiet and there was a soft thud.
Midtown was a 20-minute drive on a light traffic day.
Tony made it in 5.
Even as he screeched to a halt outside Midtown, Tony could see Peter in a gray t-shirt, slumped sideways on the stairs. His face and hoodie were covered in blood and, as Tony sprinted towards him, he caught sight of the bruises all over Peter’s face. He wasn’t moving.
HE WASN’T MOVING.
Immediately, Tony was checking Peter’s neck for a pulse, letting out a relieved breath as he felt it, slow but not concerningly so. Peter stirred slightly, batting at Tony’s hand and mumbling, “M’s’r S’r’k ‘s on ‘is way. ‘M ‘kay.”
Feeling some of his fear bleed away, Tony softly answered, “No, Pete, you really aren’t. Can you walk?”
Peter slowly opened one swollen brown eye, making Tony’s heart ache at the sight, then closed it again and swallowed thickly, whispering, “N’t really. Hurts.”
Tony took a deep breath, then stated, “I’ll carry you. But it’ll probably hurt and I’m a little hesitant in case something is broken.”
Peter reached out his arms to Tony and mumbled, “Nothin’s broken.”
After another moment of hesitation, Tony carefully scooped Peter up bridal style, thanking the universe that Peter was so ridiculously light. Peter let out a cry of pain at the movement and Tony murmured soothingly, hating himself for hurting Peter but knowing it was necessary to help him. He quickly settled Peter in the passenger seat and raced to the driver’s side, ignoring the paparazzi who had caught sight of him and were busily taking photos.
When they reached the Tower, Tony gently lifted Peter out of the car and carried him into the elevator, ordering, “FRI, tell Bruce to get the med-bay ready for an injured spider and take us up there.”
The elevator began moving and Tony murmured, “It’s alright, Pete, you’ll be okay. Bruce and I’ll get you fixed right up, promise.”
The elevator doors slid open and Bruce met Tony at the doors with a rolling medical bed, stating, “FRIDAY said I might need this.”
Tony gently settled Peter on the bed, taking Peter’s hand when Peter gave a scared whine. Bruce began pushing the bed towards the med-bay, then asked, “What the Hell happened to him?”
Tony swallowed back his fear and answered, “I don’t know. He called me and asked me to come get him from school. When I got there, he was unconscious.”
Bruce immediately grabbed a pair of medical scissors and cut away Peter’s t-shirt to reveal that his stomach and the little bit of his ribs visible under his binder were bruised to a horrifying extent. Tony gently cradled Peter’s head in one hand and quietly asked, “Pete, buddy, we’re gonna have to cut you out of your binder. Is that okay? I’ll get you a new one, I promise.”
Peter leaned his head into Tony’s touch and mumbled, “Kay. Trust you.”
At Peter’s consent, Bruce began gently cutting the bloodied binder fabric apart, revealing that Peter was bruised across most of his torso and shoulders. Tony felt sick to his stomach as he called, “FRI, scan Peter for broken bones and internal bleeding.”
There was silence for an unbearable few seconds, then FRIDAY announced, “Peter does not appear to have any internal bleeding. However, his nose is broken and the fifth rib on his left-hand side is cracked.”
Bruce hooked up an IV and inserted the needle in Peter’s arm, starting him on a pain drip as he stated, “We’re gonna have to set his nose. Hold his hand and keep him calm, okay. Make sure he keeps breathing and doesn’t try to sit up or move around.”
Tony immediately moved to hold Peter’s hand, stroking his free hand through Peter’s hair and murmuring soothingly as Bruce set Peter’s nose. Peter let out a cry of pain at the action, tears streaming down his bruised cheeks as he squeezed Tony’s hand until the bones creaked. Tony kept petting Peter’s hair soothingly as Peter slowly loosened his grip and leaned his head into Tony’s hand. Bruce grabbed a jar of ointment for Peter’s bruising, then ordered gently, “Tony, go grab Peter a change of clothes while I get him cleaned up. Make sure the shirt is loose enough to go over his nose without hitting it.”
Tony started to protest, but Bruce gave him a look and Tony retreated, stopping at the sink to wash the blood, Peter’s blood, off of his hands. Then he headed up to his own room, knowing that none of Peter’s shirts would be loose enough. He dug through his closet quickly, finally extracting the oversized MIT hoodie buried in the back. He stopped by Peter’s room to grab a pair of sweatpants and fluffy socks, then headed back to the med-bay at a speed just slightly slower than a sprint.
Peter was sitting up when Tony reached the med-bay, having stripped his bloodied jeans off to reveal a patchwork of bruises on his legs. His lips twitched the tiniest bit at the sight of Tony, the closest he could get to a smile with his face as swollen as it was, and Tony hurried forward with the clothes. Peter pulled the sweatpants on, then allowed Tony to help him into the hoodie and socks. Once Peter was fully dressed, Bruce ordered, “You’ll need at least two days of bedrest before you go back to school and an extra two before patrol, Peter. You should heal fine, but take it easy for a few days, alright?”
Peter nodded, snuggling into the hoodie, and Tony stated, “I’ll carry you upstairs to your room, kiddo. You and I have some things to talk about.”
Peter grumbled, but allowed Tony to pick him up in a piggyback carry.
By the time Tony had Peter settled in his bed and tucked in, Peter was on the verge of falling asleep. He latched onto Tony’s wrist, tugging gently, and mumbled, “Stay.”
Tony immediately melted and climbed into the bed beside Peter, allowing Peter to curl up against his side. They laid in silence for a long few minutes before Peter whispered, “Thank you, Mr. Stark. ‘M sorry I scared you.”
Tony raked his fingers through Peter’s hair and stated firmly, “You and I are going to have a serious discussion about what the Hell happened to you when you wake up, Peter. And I’ll always come when you call.”
There was another few minutes of silence, long enough for Tony to assume that Peter had fallen asleep, before Peter mumbled, “It was a group of guys from my gym class. They dragged me into an empty room on my way to lunch and started beating me up ‘cause I’m trans.”
Tony’s vision went red and he growled, “Names?”
Peter nestled closer to Tony, pulling the hood of the hoodie up and, almost inaudibly, mumbling, “Matt Powell, Thomas Jackson, and Jesse Andrews.”
Tony took several deep breaths, then stated, “Once you’re healed, you and I are going to the principal and dealing with this.”
Peter nodded and snuggled closer to Tony, drifting off to sleep content in the knowledge that his dad had his back.
Surprise! I'm not dead! My writing goblin, on the other hand, got a bit deep fried and has only just recovered enough to screech this at me. Sorry. I'll try to post something else soon, but we'll see what the goblin decides. Hopefully the length sorta made up for disappearing for so long.
Chapter 10: Stark Smackdown
Peter got picked on. Time for IronDad to get involved.
Direct sequel to Wounded Webslinger and you need to read that for this to make sense.
Shout-out to acme146 for requesting this in the comments! Hope you enjoy it.
Feel free to suggest other tropes/ideas you folks want me to write in the comments. The writing goblin loves audience participation and I am a slut of the highest degree for comments.
Three days after getting his ass kicked, Peter had healed enough to return to school, though he was still bruised and sore and, unfortunately, unable to wear his binder for another two days. Which is why, at 6:26 AM on a cold September Thursday, Peter Parker, nerd extraordinaire, school punching bag, thought-to-be-full-of-shit-and-lying-about-his-internship Peter Parker, was standing outside his school in Tony Stark’s oversized MIT hoodie as Tony Stark himself tapped his foot impatiently, waiting for the school doors to open.
“Hey, Underoos, what time does your school open again?”
Peter sighed and shrunk deeper into his stolen hoodie, feeling the stares of the few other students waiting and wishing he could just magically transform into a turtle as he mumbled, “6:30. Really, Mr. Stark, you don’t have to-”.
Tony set one hand on Peter’s head, interrupting, “Well, seeing as your school isn’t doing anything about it, I really do, Pete.”
Peter sighed and leaned his head into Tony’s hand, knowing that it was useless to try to argue. In response, Tony gently pulled Peter in for a hug, whispering, “I can’t stand seeing you hurt, Peter. So if I can do even a little bit to make sure that you’re safe, I’m going to do it, okay? I can’t stop people from being shitty, but I can make sure that they face consequences when they are shitty.”
Peter buried his face in Tony’s shoulder, feeling tears prickling at his eyes, and nodded. After several long seconds, Tony released Peter and straightened his suit coat, then cleared his throat and put on his usual apathetic front. Peter couldn’t help but smile, then shivered and pulled his hood up over his head as a particularly cold wind hit him. Tony rolled his eyes under his trademark sunglasses and wrapped one arm around Peter’s shoulders, tugging the shivering spider-teen against his side. They stood in silence for another few seconds before Ms. Lawson, the school secretary, unlocked the front doors.
“Is the principal in?”
Peter couldn’t help but feel a little bad for Ms. Lawson as she gaped at Tony. She was a nice enough woman. She always gave Peter caramels when he found himself in the office. And really, Tony wasn’t that scary, but she clearly found him very intimidating as she squeaked, “Uh, n-no, Mr. Stark. M-Mr. Morita won’t be in until 7:30.”
Tony frowned, but turned to Peter and suggested, “Well, how about you take me to meet your teachers while we wait? It’s better than sitting here twiddling our thumbs.”
Peter groaned, not even trying to hide it, but grudgingly led Tony out of the office and towards his first class, chemistry with Mr. Cooper. Mr. Cooper was a transphobic dick, honestly, and Peter kinda hated him, which sucked because he loved chemistry.
The second Peter set foot in Mr. Cooper’s classroom, Mr. Cooper snapped without even glancing up at Peter, “If you wanted to see me before class, Ms. Parker, you should have made an appointment.”
Peter couldn’t help his flinch as he stammered, “Uh, M-Mr. Stark wanted to meet you, Mr. Cooper.”
Mr. Cooper scoffed, “Again with this nonsense about knowing Tony Stark, Ms. Parker?”
Peter shrunk down, then jumped slightly as Tony touched his shoulder. He glanced up to see Tony scowling like a thundercloud as he stated, “I believe it’s Mr. Parker, actually.”
Mr. Cooper’s head snapped up so quickly that Peter could hear it crack and stared at Tony with wide eyes, looking like he’d just gotten slapped across the face. Tony leveled him with a cold glare, then glanced over at Peter, who was determinedly at the floor. Voice softer than he’d normally allow in public, Tony asked, “You okay, Pete?”
Peter looked up at Tony, then looked away, fiddling with the cuff of his hoodie sleeve and nodding. Tony narrowed his eyes at the side of Peter’s head, knowing Peter would sense it, then turned his attention back to Mr. Cooper and casually asked, “So, are you this much of a dick to all of your students or is it just Peter in particular?”
Tony couldn’t help but smirk a little bit at the squeaking noise Peter made, not entirely unlike his meows when he got turned into a kitten, then a bit more at the way Mr. Cooper turned red. Rising to his feet, Mr. Cooper pulled himself together and snapped, “I don’t particularly appreciate students telling lies in my class, Mr. Stark.”
Tony raised his eyebrow, lowering his shades to stare judgmentally at Mr. Cooper as he asked, “Are you honestly trying to tell me that Peter Parker, a boy who cannot lie to save his life, has been telling lies in your class?”
Mr. Cooper’s face darkened by a few shades and he growled, “For one, Ms. Parker has been telling faculty and other students that she is a boy. She has also made claims about having an internship with your company, despite having no paperwork to back that claim up and the fact that Stark Industries does not offer internships to anyone under the age of 21.”
Peter winced, then looked up at Tony as Tony quietly requested, “Peter, do you mind stepping out into the hallway for a moment? I’d like to have a word with your teacher in private.”
Peter immediately took the out and hurried into the hallway. Then, as he heard Tony start yelling, decided that he definitely needed to go to his locker and rustle things around as loudly as he could until Tony was finished.
Twenty minutes. That’s how long it took before Tony arrived at Peter’s locker, chest heaving slightly from yelling. He gave Peter a small smile and Peter closed his locker, then hugged Tony, feeling tears prickling at his eyes again as Tony stated, “I’ll ask if you can be switched to another teacher. And I’ll look into getting him fired.”
Peter pulled back after a moment and wiped his eyes, whispering, “Thanks, Mr. Stark.”
Tony smiled and Peter couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy inside as he led Tony to Ms. Warren’s class. The warm fuzzy feeling, in fact, lasted until he was sitting down in one of the uncomfortable chairs in front of Mr. Morita’s desk and Tony was stating, “I’d like to discuss some issues with safety.”
Mr. Morita looked simultaneously surprised and worried, then replied, “I- Um, of course, Mr. Stark. What kind of issues?”
Tony took his sunglasses off and answered, “The safety of some of your students. Specifically, Peter. See, on Monday, about noon, I got a call from Peter, asking me to come get him. I arrived here and, to my horror, I found him unconscious on the front steps of the school, with his nose and one of his ribs broken and most of his body bruised. When I asked him what happened, I learned that three other students had grabbed him and beaten him due to him being trans.”
Mr. Morita had grown steadily paler with every word out of Tony’s mouth and, as soon as it was clear that Tony was done speaking, he stammered, “If you can give me the names of the students responsible, I’ll open an investigation immediately.”
Peter fiddled with the cuff of his sleeve, then stated, “Matt Powell, Thomas Jackson, and Jesse Andrews. It was at about 11:30 on Monday. They dragged me into the chemistry lab that caught fire in August.”
Immediately, Mr. Morita went about pulling up the hallway security footage from 11:30 on Monday. Sure enough, at 11:32, Matt Powell, Thomas Jackson, and Jesse Andrews appeared and went into the burned out chemistry lab. Moments later, Peter appeared in the footage, bag over his shoulder. Just as he passed the lab door, Matt emerged and dragged Peter into the lab. Several minutes of empty security footage passed, then the lab door opened and Matt, Thomas, and Jesse exited, laughing. Another few minutes passed, then Peter limped out, holding his shirt to his bleeding nose.
Silence filled the office for several long moments before Mr. Morita cleared his throat, announcing, “Well, this may be grounds for expulsion. Mr. Parker, is this the first time this has happened?”
Peter looked down, feeling Tony staring at him, then whispered, “No. They’ve done it two other times this year and a few times last year. This was the worst one, though. They said they’d kill me if I told anyone.”
There was silence as Peter’s words sunk in, then Tony growled, “They’ve done this before?”
Peter nodded, shrinking down further in his hoodie and wishing desperately that he could just melt away to dust. Mr. Morita swallowed audibly, then asked, “Can you give me dates, times, and locations for the incidents this year?”
Peter nodded, then answered, “In the boys room next to the library on the second day, at about noon, and then again in the percussion room at about 4:30 on September 2nd.”
Mr. Morita looked like he was about to be ill as he jotted that down, then queried, “Is there anything else that needs to be addressed?”
Tony nodded approvingly and requested, “I’d like for Peter to be switched into a different chemistry class with a different teacher, as his current teacher is quite aggressively transphobic and went so far as to accuse Peter of lying because he’s trans.”
Mr. Morita nodded and answered, “Of course, I’ll have Ms. Lawson switch your classes and print you a new schedule.”
Tony nodded approvingly again and stated, “Excellent.”
He stood and Peter stood as well, thanking Mr. Morita quietly before following Tony out of the office. Ms. Lawson made quick work of the class change and printed Peter’s new schedule, giving him a warm smile and offering him a caramel as she handed it to him. Peter kinda felt like he was floating as he walked with Tony out to the car, then hugged his dad tight and whispered, “Thank you, Dad.”
Tony gave Peter a gentle squeeze, careful not to hurt his still-bruised ribs, then replied, “No problem, Underoos. Promise you’ll tell me if something like this happens again?”
Peter nodded, then headed in as the bell rang. He quickly found his way to Mr. Cobbwell’s classroom and walked in, showing his schedule to Mr. Cobbwell. Mr. Cobbwell pointed him to the table in the back of the room, where Ned was sitting and typing on his phone. And, as Peter greeted his best friend and explained the situation, he couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
(The next Friday, Matt Powell, Thomas Jackson, and Jesse Andrews were conspicuously missing from the roster and the students in Mr. Cooper's class found themselves with a retired chemistry teacher as a long term sub. Peter couldn't stop grinning all weekend.)
Chapter 11: Spider Secret
Peter tries to come out. Multiple times.
Shout-out to safe_haven for requesting this in the comments!
This started as a 5+1, but became a 3+1 because I honestly couldn’t come up with more.
Feel free to suggest other tropes/ideas you folks want me to write in the comments. The writing goblin loves audience participation and I am a slut of the highest degree for comments.
Peter Parker, for a boy who could not lie for shit, had a lot of secrets. Some were little secrets, like the stash of snacks hidden in his sock drawer. Some were big secrets, like Spider-Man. But all his secrets had one thing in common: Mr. Stark knew them.
Every secret, from Spider-Man to the sock drawer snacks, Peter had told Tony, because Peter Parker could not keep a secret to save his goddamn life.
Every single secret but one, that is.
See, Peter Parker, Spider-Man,
son mentee to Tony Stark himself, was trans. He had come out to May and Ben when he was about seven and was lucky enough that they immediately accepted him for, well, him. They took him to get a haircut, got him new clothes, and, when he was twelve, they helped him change his legal name to Peter Benjamin Parker.
All of that, as amazing as it was and as thankful as Peter was for it, was entirely at blame for Peter’s current conundrum.
Because now Peter Parker had to try to come out to Tony Stark, his
dad mentor and personal hero.
Peter blamed Ned entirely. Yeah, he had agreed to it and gone through with it, but Ned had suggested it and it was therefore entirely Ned’s fault.
“Uhhhh… Whatcha got there, kid?”
Peter could hear the gears in Tony’s head turning as Tony stared at the bright blue balloons Peter was holding, all of which declared “It’s A Boy!” in bright white letters. Tony opened his mouth and Peter braced himself for what was coming. Then Tony said the one thing Peter was not expecting.
“Please tell me you didn’t get some girl pregnant. Actually, please tell me that you didn’t somehow get pregnant.”
Peter sputtered in surprise, his entire face flushing red, and cried, “No! No, no, no, I’m not pregnant and I definitely didn’t get someone else pregnant!”
Tony let out a relieved sigh and Peter shifted from foot to foot, blurting, “It’s me. I’m the boy. A boy. I’m a boy.”
Tony quirked an eyebrow, then stated, “Yeah, kid, I kinda noticed.”
Peter groaned and took a deep breath, preparing himself to explain properly. Before he could, though, FRIDAY announced a fire at a nearby apartment building and Tony was ordering him to suit up. And, by the time the fire had been dealt with, Peter was too exhausted to deal with coming out.
After the train-wreck that was Ned’s plan, Peter went to MJ for advice, since MJ’s plans had a 99% chance of success (until you factored in Parker Luck, which dropped that number to 67%). MJ was more than happy to offer Peter a plan in return for his apple.
Which is why, at exactly 7:43 AM on a Saturday morning in December, Peter was standing in the snow outside his apartment, waiting for Tony and wearing nothing but jeans and a t-shirt with the trans pride flag on it. And, as the snow just kept coming down, Peter couldn’t help but regret not grabbing a jacket before leaving. He also regretted leaving his keys at school the day before, which meant that he couldn’t go inside in to get a jacket. Peter groaned, rubbing his hands over his arms to try to warm them up, then checked the time on his phone and flopped down on the snow-covered bench a few feet away. The cold was making him start to feel tired and he leaned his head against the bench, closing his eyes and promising himself that it would just be for a minute.
Peter woke up on a couch, with three sweaters and about a hundred blankets on him and Tony’s worried face hovering over him. He sat up slowly, wondering what had happened, and Tony immediately began scolding him for being in the cold without a jacket. And, by the time Tony was finished with his rant, Peter was more focused on comforting his
dad mentor than coming out.
The third time Peter tried to come out, it was on May’s advice, which was basically “Just blurt it out.”
And so, as Peter and Tony walked back to the Tower from dinner at some fancy Thai place Tony’s wanted to try, Peter steeled his nerves and blurted, “Mr. Stark, there’s something I need to tell you.”
Tony looked over at Peter, gesturing for him to spit it out, and Peter took a deep breath, starting, “I’m-”
He was cut off by his spidey-senses screeching at him. Then he felt the muzzle of a gun pressed to his back and froze as a rough voice growled, “Keep walking, runt.”
The gun prodded him in the back, prompting him to walk, and he glanced at Tony, who nodded for him to obey. A second gunman was at Tony’s back and Peter obeyed the one at his back, who led him to a plain white van and shoved him in the back. Peter turned to fight, but was instead met with the butt of a rifle slamming into his face and sending everything into blackness.
Peter woke up tied to a chair, a blindfold over his eyes and a rag shoved in his mouth. He could hear people talking, but was honestly way too dizzy to bother puzzling out what was being said. Then Tony’s voice called, “Peter!”
Peter turned his head blindly towards the direction that Tony’s voice came from, hearing scuffling, then flinched at the bang of a gunshot. His heart skipped a beat and tears pooled in his eyes as images of Ben laying dead on the ground flashed through his mind. There was the sickeningly familiar sound of a body hitting the floor, then footsteps coming towards him. Ripping through his bindings, Peter tore his blindfold off, prepared to fight. Instead of finding the kidnapper, however, Peter was met with Tony cradling his face in his hands, checking Peter for injuries and running his thumb over the bruise on Peter’s temple with a handful of murmured curses. Peter didn’t even try to hide his relieved tears as he wrapped his arms around Tony, too thankful to have his dad safe in his arms.
Peter slumped into Tony’s lab, wishing he could just curl up on the couch and take a nap. His stomach was cramping up and, if not for it being too early in the month, he would think he was on his period. But that would mean that his period was nearly two weeks early and even Peter couldn’t have that shitty of luck, right?
Unfortunately for Peter, wrong. A fact that he discovered when he went to sit down and felt something wet between his thighs. Peter froze, swallowing back the wave of nausea that hit him and squeaking, “I’ll be right back.”
Then he scuttled off to the bathroom, where he found a bloodstain on the inside of his underwear. Burying his face in his hands, Peter couldn’t help but let out a choked sob, because of course his period just had to start on the one day that he didn’t have any pads with him. And that one sob turned into two, into four, until Peter was just straight up bawling his eyes out in the bathroom.
Ten minutes after Peter had scampered off to the bathroom, Tony got concerned and went to investigate. And, as he reached the bathroom, Tony caught the sound of his
son mentee sobbing.
Peter jumped at the knock on the bathroom door, letting out an embarrassing squeak before calling, “O-Occupied!”
In response, Tony answered, “You okay in there, Pete?”
Peter froze, then, to himself mumbled, “No time like the present.”
He took a deep breath, then asked, “Do you have any pads?”
There was a beat of silence and Peter felt like he was going to be sick. Then Tony answered, “Uh, I think there might be some in my bathroom. I’ll go grab you one.”
Then his footsteps were leaving and Peter was left wondering if Tony hated him.
Peter was left alone with his thoughts for five minutes before Tony returned and a pad was slid under the crack in the door. Peter took it gratefully and used it, then pulled his jeans up and washed his hands. He took a moment to wash his face before steeling his nerves and opening the door to face Tony. Before Tony could get a word out, Peter announced, “I’m trans.”
Tony laughed and, with a distinctively shit-eating grin, answered, “Hi trans, I’m Dad.”
Then he processed the words that had just come out of his mouth and stated, “Wait, no, I meant Tony. Hi trans, I’m Tony.”
Peter grinned and Tony sighed, then wrapped Peter in a hug and stated, “I’m glad you told me, Pete.”
Chapter 12: Spider Sleepover
Date night with Ned!
Shout-out to Maanling for requesting this in the comments! Hope I fulfilled your request!
Peter Parker loved Ned Leeds and was not in any way, shape, or form ashamed to say it. In fact, he said it a LOT, because Peter loved the way that Ned got all blushy and melty and soft every time he rested his head on his shoulder and whispered, “I love you”.
Also, watching MJ roll her eyes at how sappy they were was amusing.
Point is, Peter loved Ned and so, on the first Friday of every month, Ned and Peter would meet up at one of their apartments with junk food, pillows, and blankets, then watch movies or shows and cuddle on the couch until they both fell asleep in each other’s arms and it was one of Peter’s absolute favorite activities in the world.
Then, the Monday before their annual Movie Night, the construction outside Peter’s apartment building started and May convinced Tony to let herself and Peter stay at the Tower until it was over. And yeah, that messed up the Movie Night plans a little bit, since they were planning to do it at Peter’s, but it wasn’t a big deal and Ned was more than willing to do it at his apartment.
Everything seemed fine, until Ned’s grandmother came to town on Wednesday morning, meaning that they couldn’t do it at Ned’s because his grandmother wasn’t too supportive.
So, Peter had two options:
Option #1: Cancel and reschedule Movie Night, which was a no, because Peter had been looking forward to Movie Night all week and had no idea when they’d be able to reschedule it.
Option #2: Ask Tony if they could have Movie Night at the Tower.
After a large amount of deliberation (also known as Peter talking to his reflection for forty-five minutes until he steeled his nerves), Peter marched into Tony’s lab on Thursday morning and asked, “Mr. Stark, can I have my boyfriend over for a movie night?”
Peter braced himself for the vitriol that he knew logically wouldn’t come, but that experience had taught him to expect. Unsurprisingly, though, Tony hardly glanced up before answered, “Sure, kid. What’s his name? I’ll have Happy print him a badge.”
Peter felt the tension is his muscles melt away and stated, “Ned. Ned Leeds. Thanks, Mr. Stark.”
Tony shot Peter a smile, then called, “FRI, darling, have Happy print out a badge for Ned Leeds, please. Red level access.”
The grin that Peter gave Tony in response was bright enough to blind someone and Tony chuckled, then pushed away from his desk and spread his arms for Peter, who immediately launched himself at Tony and wrapped his
dad mentor up in a tight hug before running off to text Ned.
Friday morning, Peter presented Ned with his new badge, which made Ned squeal in a very cute way and hug Peter tightly. Classes seemed to drag by, but soon enough, Peter and Ned were sliding into the back of Happy’s car and chattering excitedly about what movies they wanted to watch. Happy rolled his eyes, but couldn’t help his fond smile as he pulled away from the school.
By the time they reached the Tower, Peter and Ned had decided on Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and, assuming they were still awake after that, Finding Nemo. Ned was practically vibrating as they entered the elevator and Peter chirped, “Hi, FRIDAY! Meet Ned, my boyfriend! Ned, meet FRIDAY, the Tower’s AI!”
Ned managed to squeak out a greeting, eyes the size of golf balls, and FRIDAY warmly greeted, “Hello, Ned. It is a pleasure to meet you. Peter, Boss has requested that I take you and Ned to his lab as soon as you arrive here.”
The elevator began moving and Ned let out a squeak, opening and closing his mouth a few times before looking at Peter and announcing, “This is so cool.”
Peter grinned and laced his fingers with Ned’s, bringing Ned’s hand up to kiss his knuckles. Ned immediately blushed and smiled at Peter, then turned as the elevator stopped and the doors opened. Peter laughed softly at Ned’s jaw hanging open and gently tugged his boyfriend out of the elevator and over to where Tony was sitting, typing away on a holo-keyboard. Tony glanced up and pushed the keyboard away, greeting, “Peter! And you must be Ned. Excellent. I set up the screening room and kitchen on the 85th floor for you two. May told me that you guys always get a bunch of pillows and blankets and snacks. I hope I put enough, let me know if there’s not. Anyway, that’s really all.”
Ned was too busy gaping around the lab to respond, eyes bugging out of his head as he took in all of the cool tech, but Peter grinned and answered, “Thanks, Mr. Stark!”
Then he gently tugged Ned back to the elevator. Just as the doors opened and they stepped in, Tony called, “Oh, and Peter? Bring Ned over sometime so we can test out his coding skills. One of our interns in the software development division just moved to our Hong Kong branch and we’re looking for someone to fill their position.”
The elevator doors closed before Peter could answer, but Ned made a sound halfway between a wheeze and a squeal, then asked, “Was he serious? Like, seriously serious?”
Peter laughed as the elevator took them to the 85th floor, then answered, “Well, Frankie did just move to Hong Kong, so yeah, pretty sure.”
The elevator doors slid open and Peter led Ned to the screening room, pointing out the bathroom and the snack-filled kitchen on the way. Then he opened the screening room door and they were met with several mountains of pillows and blankets. They were piled higher than Peter and Ned combined, completely burying the couch and practically touching the ceiling, and Peter took a moment to wonder where they had all come from before looking at the ceiling and asking, “FRIDAY, can you put me through to Mr. Stark, please?”
Moments later, Tony greeted, “What’s up, Underoos? Not enough pillows and such?”
Peter laughed a little hysterically, then answered, “Mr. Stark, we can’t even see the couch. I think you went a little overboard. Thank you, though.”
Peter could hear the smug smirk on Tony’s face as he stated, “Go big or go home, I suppose. Have fun.”
Then the call cut out and Peter looked over at Ned, suggesting, “Shall we get started? I’ll start moving blankets and stuff while you go get changed into your pajamas.”
Thirty minutes later, Ned and Peter were both in their pajamas. They had excavated the couch and settled in with their respective snacks, cuddling against each other as the first Lord of the Rings movies started.
By the second Lord of the Rings movie, Peter and Ned had moved on to full-blown snuggling, with Peter curled against Ned’s chest, his head tucked under Ned’s chin and Ned’s arms wrapped around his waist as Peter cuddled a pillow to his chest. They were buried in blankets, warm and cozy as they watched the movie. Well, Ned was watching the movie. Peter, who had stayed up late on patrol the night before, was more focused on just staying awake, his eyelids closing against his will.
As the credits rolled on the second movie, Ned noticed Peter’s struggles to stay awake and grinned. FRIDAY put on the third movie and Ned kissed the crown of Peter’s head, stating, “You can go to sleep if you want, darling. I saw on the Spider-Watch Twitter page that you were up pretty late being a hero.”
Peter yawned and snuggled closer to Ned, then released the pillow he was hugging and rolled over to wrap his arms around Ned, burying his face in the other boy’s shoulder and mumbling, “G’night.”
Ned kissed Peter’s head and couldn’t help his smile as Peter snuggled closer, squishing himself against Ned and drifting off to sleep.
(Ned made it through the third Lord of the Rings movie and half of the first Star Wars movie before he too fell asleep.)
Chapter 13: Hello Harley
A wild Harley Keener appears!
Let me know how my characterization of Harley was. I hope I did him justice, because I absolutely adore him.
Feel free to suggest other tropes/ideas you folks want me to write in the comments. The writing goblin loves audience participation and I am a slut of the highest degree for comments.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Harley Keener prided himself on the fact that very little could truly throw him for a loop. Iron Man showing up in garage? Okay. Fighting some guy who glows and shoots fire out of his hands. Whatever. His mother moving him to New York to live with his Uncle Matt so that he could attend some fancy magnet school? No big deal.
Then Harley actually got to New York and moved in with Matt. Matt was cool. He let Harley take apart the old toaster he had and Harley improved it so it would shoot toast 30 feet across the apartment. He didn’t mind Harley asking him waaaaaaayyyy too many questions about his job as a nurse. He even introduced Harley to his neighbor Thomas, who had an antique Mustang that he let Harley tinker with on the weekends.
Then, one Friday evening, Matt stated, “Hey, Harls, my girlfriend May is coming over for dinner tonight. She’s got a nephew about your age; I can have her bring him along if you want.”
Harley looked up from his chemistry homework for Midtown, then shrugged and answered, “Yeah, sure. What’s his name?”
Matt typed on his phone, then answered, “Peter. I think he might actually go to the same school as you.”
Harley gave a thumbs up, then slumped forward over the coffee table, whining, “Why does chemistry have to be so haaaarrrrrrdddddd? I’m never gonna need to know how to convert moles in the future! I’m gonna be a mechanic!”
Matt just laughed at Harley, the jerk, then suggested, “Maybe you should ask Peter for help. May tells me that he’s great at chemistry. Now come help me with dinner.”
Harley stood, grumbling under his breath, and slouched into the kitchen to help with the baked chicken.
The knock on the door startled Harley as he peered through the oven door, waiting for the chicken to turn a ‘crispy golden brown’. He heard Matt moving around, then Matt called, “Harley, come here real quick. The chicken still has ten minutes left on it, it won’t turn to a briquette if you stop watching it for three seconds.”
Harley huffed and stood up, then walked into the entrance, where a brown-haired woman and a brown-haired boy were standing. The woman smiled warmly at Harley, reminding him strongly of his mom, and greeted, “You must be Harley. I’m May Parker.”
Harley gave her a polite smile and answered, “Nice to meet you, Ms. Parker.”
May laughed at that, stating, “Please, call me May.”
Then she lightly elbowed the boy with her, jerking him out of his thoughts. He blushed and stammered, “Oh, uh, I’m Parker. Wait, no, Peter, I’m Peter. Peter Parker. Yeah, I’ll shut up now.”
His face was red and May sighed fondly, teasing, “How are you simultaneously so smart and so dumb, Pete?”
Peter shrugged, smiling at May, and joked, “I only have ten brain cells and nine of them were put towards math and science.”
May snorted and shoved Peter’s shoulder lightly, then turned her attention back to Matt and started talking. Harley narrowed his eyes at Peter, studying the other boy, then stated, “I’ve seen you at school. You have Cobbwell in first block.”
Peter blinked owlishly, then answered, “Oh, uh, y-yeah. You go to Midtown?”
Harley nodded, then asked, “Did you do the homework yet?”
Peter smiled a little and answered, “Yeah, I did it in class.”
Harley snorted at that, joking, “Ah, so you’re that kind of nerd.”
Peter flushed, then laughed and stated, “MJ and Mr. Stark both say the same thing all the time.”
Harley sighed, hating having to admit weakness, but forced himself to ask, “Did you understand the lesson at all? Cause I’ll be honest, I’m really struggling.”
“I’m not really surprised. Mr. Cobbwell’s lesson wasn’t great. I can help you with it, if you want. It’s not nearly as complicated as he made it seem.”
Ten minutes later, Peter was talking Harley through Avogadro’s number conversion and actually making sense, which Harley frankly considered a miracle. Peter’s explanation, however, was interrupted by his phone buzzing and a robotic woman’s voice suddenly stating, “Peter, Tony is calling.”
Peter blushed and scrambled for his phone, ordering, “Karen, tell him I’m busy.”
There was silence for a few seconds, then his phone began buzzing again and the voice announced, “Tony has enacted the Answer Me, Dammit Protocol. You may not ignore this call.”
Peter’s face was completely red as he stated, “Can you tell him I’m at Mr. Lindsey’s with May?”
There was a beat of silence, then the voice answered, “He said several words that the Potty Mouth Protocol has censored and told me to put him through anyway.”
Peter gave Harley an apologetic look, then grabbed his phone and retreated to a corner, answering the call. He listened for several moments, then answered, “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. Give me a minute to tell May.”
Then he slipped his phone into his pocket and stuck his head into the kitchen, stating, “I gotta go, Aunt May. Some stuff came up with the, uh, project I’m working on.”
May said something that Harley couldn’t hear, then Peter was heading to the door and grabbing his shoes, saying, “It was really nice to meet you, Harley. Sorry I have to go so soon.”
Then he was gone.
The next morning, Harley woke up to his cellphone ringing and, not even looking at the caller ID, he answered it, grumbling, “What?”
To Harley’s immense surprise, the voice he was greeted with wasn’t that of his mother or sister, but that of Tony Stark, who answered, “Well, your manners clearly haven’t improved, Keener. I thought you’d be happy to hear from me.”
Despite how thrilled he actually was to hear Tony’s voice, Harley groaned and complained, “You woke me up.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Get dressed. I’m sending a guy to pick you up and he’ll be there in fifteen minutes. Now that you’re in New York, I’m dragging you to the Tower. It’ll be fun. Lots of stuff to tinker with, plus my other intern. I already called your uncle.”
Harley let out an exaggerated groan even as he scrambled to get dressed, grousing, “What makes you think I even want to come?”
In response, Tony said one word.
That made Harley laugh as he wriggled into a t-shirt and stated, “I’m hanging up now so I can eat.”
Then he did just that.
Fourteen minutes later, Harley was sliding into the backseat of a fancy black car, backpack over his shoulder and half a muffin still in hand. The car pulled away from the curb and Harley spent the drive daydreaming about the different cars Tony might let him play with.
Then they were pulling into the parking garage and the guy driving the car ordered, “Go to the elevator and go straight up. 84th floor.”
Harley shrugged and grabbed his bag, hopping out of the car and going to the elevator. The moment he stepped in, a woman’s voice queried, “What floor?”
A little bit startled, Harley answered, “Uh, 84?”
The elevator doors closed and the elevator began rising as Harley asked, “So, uh, are you one of Tony’s AIs?”
The woman’s voice introduced, “Yes. I am FRIDAY, Boss’s personal AI as well as the AI of this building. I was created after JARVIS was uploaded to Vision.”
Harley nodded and stated, “Cool. I’m Harley Keener.”
Then the elevator doors opened and Harley stepped out into a massive kitchen, where Tony and a brown-haired boy were standing. The boy had his back to Harley, leaning against the counter, and Harley couldn’t help but feel like he had seen the boy before. Then Tony noticed Harley and called, “Harley, back me up here! French fries are an objectively better potato product than tater-tots!”
Harley laughed and answered, “That’s where you’re wrong, Tony.”
Then the boy turned around and Harley’s eyes went wide as he realized the other boy in the kitchen was none other than Peter Parker. At the exact same time, he and Peter pointed at each other, shouting, “YOU!”
Then Peter was laughing, leaning on the counter to support himself as Tony asked, “Wait, you two know each other?”
Harley smirked and answered, “His aunt is dating my uncle. And we go to school together.”
Tony narrowed his eyes, then looked at Peter and asked, “Wait, was his uncle the one that your aunt was with when you wound up trying to sleep in the lobby because they were fuc-”.
Peter suddenly bolted straight up and let out a yelp, cutting Tony off with a shout of, “If you finish that sentence, I’m yeeting myself straight out the window.”
Tony laughed and Peter buried his head in his hands, whining, “I thought you had forgotten about that.”
Tony reached out to mess up Peter’s already messy curls and stated, “Underoos, I am never forgetting that, because that was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I have the security footage from that night saved in a file, along with a bunch of baby photos from May AND all the photos and videos of you as a kitten and a puppy.”
Peter gave a pathetic whine and flopped down on the floor in a boneless heap, wailing, “Miiiiisssssttttteeeeerrrrrr Ssssssstttttttaaaaaarrrrrrkkkkkk, no!”
Tony just laughed and stepped over Peter, walking over to give Harley a tight hug. Then he stated, “Hey, Underoos, I have a couple adjustments I wanna make to the Spider-Man suit. And you, Harley, I wanna show you the newest mark of the Iron Man suit.”
That got Peter up and on his feet, bouncing eagerly and firing questions at Tony. Tony just smirked and waved for Peter and Harley to follow him.
Forty-five minutes later, Harley was up to his elbows in one of the old Iron Man suits and Peter was fiddling with a chemistry set as Tony bounced back and forth between the two. Harley, starting to get a little fed up with Tony’s hovering, finally looked up from the suit and asking, “Is there any particular reason you feel the need to turn into a helicopter parent after years of radio silence?”
Before Tony could say a word, Peter let out a high-pitched yelp and something hit Harley’s back, splattering him with a sticky, stringy, fluorescent green liquid. Tony (who had apparently also been in the splash-zone, as he was covered practically head to toe in the gunk) sighed and tried (unsuccessfully) to wipe the goo off his face before answering, “That’s why. After working with Peter, I’ve gotten used to the need for, ah, heavy supervision of experiments.”
Harley turned to look at Peter, who was roughly the color of a tomato underneath all of the green goo covering him, then questioned, “Does this happen a lot?”
In response, Peter sighed and stated, “FRIDAY has a tally of lab days since my last lab accident. It has never reached double digits. Ever. I don’t think it’s ever even gotten past seven.”
Harley raised an eyebrow, then looked at the green strings covering the lab space and asked, “So, uh, how are we supposed to clean this stuff up?”
Peter sighed again and opened a cabinet over his lab station, pulling out three industrial-sized bottles of a clear fluid labeled “Web Dissolver” and a couple washcloths. Then he poured some of the ‘web dissolver’ onto a cloth and started wiping his lab station down with the same grudging resignation of a man who had done it a thousand times before and knew he would have to do it a thousand more times. Harley looked at Tony, then grabbed a washcloth to help Peter.
It took a little over thirty minutes to clean up all of the web goo, followed by thirty minutes to clean themselves up. At the end of it, Tony hauled Peter and Harley to the couch and ordered pizza, then left the teens to choose a movie while he went down to the lobby to get it. Once he returned, pizzas in hand, he settled between the two to watch Sharknado. And, that night, Harley was surprised to learn that Tony had a room for him that he could decorate however he wanted.
I envision the scene of Harley and Peter meeting in the kitchen like that one Spider-Man meme.
Chapter 14: Peter Planter
Spiders like plants, right?
At least, one certainly does.
A short little fluff piece that the writing goblin insisted on and refused to let go of until it was done. Hope you enjoy it as much as the goblin did.
It started with the little potted succulent that May brought home from work. She told Peter that she had won it in a raffle, then plopped it down on the entryway table and promptly forgot about it. And Peter, well, he couldn’t just let it die. So he moved it into his desk, gave it some water, and nursed it back to health. He thought that was the end of it, just one little succulent chilling on his desk.
Then he went to Ned’s and spotted the tiny, dying fern on his boyfriend’s windowsill. Ned, upon spotting the sad look on Peter’s face at the sight of the fern, held it out to Peter and stated, “You’re welcome to it, man. I’m not too good with plants.”
So Peter took the little fern home and it was soon thriving under his tender care. He assumed that it would stop there, just one succulent and one fern. And yeah, that made him a little sad, since he really liked plants, but he was okay with it.
It didn’t stop there. One little girl stopped him on patrol to give him a little baby spider-plant in a hand-painted pot (Peter definitely didn’t cry about how sweet it was while telling May. Nope. Definitely not). Ned tattled to MJ about Peter’s love of plants and she brought him a philodendron that her mom didn’t want. May got a potted sunflower from Matt and passed it along to Peter. Ms. Warren gave him the little cactus that was dying in her window. A florist he stopped from being robbed gave him a snake plant. At their weekly lunch meetup, May told Pepper about Peter’s plant hobby and Pepper had May pass along the aloe vera plant that her old PA had left at his desk when he moved. And somehow, over the span of a few months, Peter managed to amass so many houseplants that his room started to look a bit like a jungle. He had even gotten a couple of hanging baskets from a local flower store in return for helping the owner haul mulch one Saturday, which he hung from loops of webbing stuck to the ceiling.
May found it hilarious and made certain to send Tony pictures of it, including one of Peter sitting on his bed, looking quite self-satisfied with the strawberry plant he had grown from seed sitting in its pot in his lap.
Which is exactly how Peter found himself in this situation.
“Uhhhh, Mr. Stark, where are we going?”
Tony glanced over at the spider-child he was leading through the top floor of the Tower, then answered, “You’ll see.”
Peter looked a little bit worried at that statement, but kept following Tony nonetheless, too curious to feel overly concerned. Tony led him to a plain white door, then turned to Peter and grinned, stating, “May told me something interesting the other day.”
Then he opened the door, revealing a room filled with spider-friendly plants. The wall-to-wall windows provided ample sunlight and Peter noticed the climate controls on the wall. Gaping, Peter stepped into the room and looked around, feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Noticing a pair of hooks set into the opposite walls, Peter pointed to them and asked, “What are those for?”
In response, Tony laughed and stated, “Those are to hang a web hammock from, if you so desire. There’s also a couple of open flower beds, in case you wanna- oof!”
Peter tackled Tony in a tight hug, knocking the air out of the billionaire’s lungs, and whispered, “Thank you. I love it, Mr. Stark.”
Tony patted Peter’s head, then teased, “Well, I read that having hiding places with vegetation is important to the health and happiness of spiders, so I figured this would be good.”
Peter laughed, then released Tony and busied himself exploring his plant room, talking to the plants quietly.
The plant room became something of a safe space for Peter. Stressed? Plant room. Anxious? Plant room? Sensory overload? Plant room. Can’t sleep? Plant room. Peter lost count of the number of times he fell asleep in the plant room. Sometimes it would be in his web hammock, which was outfitted with several fluffy blankets and a pillow, but just as often, Peter would curl up under some of the bigger bushes and fall asleep in the dirt, emerging hours later with dirt on his skin and leaves in his hair. Tony found it immensely entertaining, but also incredibly heartwarming.
About six months after Tony had shown Peter the plant room, Tony woke up to FRIDAY saying that Peter had had a nightmare and was in the plant room. Tony immediately rushed up to the plant room, where he found Peter curled in his hammock, bundled in blankets and shaking like a leaf. Peter peeked over the edge of his hammock, then let out a relieved sigh. Tony turned to close the door, but froze as he felt something hit his back. Then he was being hauled back and up into the air by the thing on his shirt. He quickly found himself in Peter’s hammock, cocooned in blankets with the shivering spider squished against his chest. Tony didn’t hesitate to cuddle his kid close, running his fingers through his spider-baby’s soft curls until Peter stopped shivering and drifted off to sleep. Then Tony settled in, letting the slight swinging of the hammock and Peter’s steady breaths lull him off to sleep.
Chapter 15: Party Problems
Tony takes Peter to a gala. Chaos ensues.
This is a mess and I'm so sorry.
Also, my Tumblr is the-devil-in-the-details-666, if you want to send me requests over there.
Peter Parker was in a predicament. Painfully aware of the clock that was ticking closer and closer to his doom, Peter stood in his bathroom at the Tower, red tie in hand. He had been in that position for nearly half an hour, knowing that he was running out of time before death took him into its skeletal embrace, and he wasn’t even properly dressed for his own damn funeral. His reflection was pale and sickly, trembling like a dying leaf in the cold autumn wind, and Peter looked down at the tie in his shaking hand before reluctantly bringing it up and looping it around his neck. The red looked like the blood from a slashed throat, dripping down onto his crisp white shirt, and Peter closed his eyes, fingers trembling as he tried to tie the Knot of Doom, as he had taken to calling it. He could hear the hands of time ticking further and further towards the end, like a gavel hitting wood as he was sentenced to death.
That’s someone knocking at the door.
“Underoos, you good in there, kid? We leave for the gala in ten.”
Peter swallowed down the bile in his throat, then forced himself to open the door. Tony quirked an eyebrow at Peter and Peter weakly held up the tie, squeaking, “I don’t- I don’t know how to tie a tie.”
(Never let it be said that Peter Benjamin Parker doesn’t have a dramatic streak.)
Tony couldn’t help his smirk and shooed Peter into the bathroom, untying his own golden tie and nudging Peter to stand beside him in front of the mirror. Then he started, “Alright, Underoos, you start with the wide end of the tie on your right side, like so.”
Peter obediently draped the tie around his neck and Tony walked him through tying a simple Windsor knot. Finally, Peter had a properly tied necktie around his neck and Tony felt like his heart was about to explode out of his chest because he had just taught his son to tie a tie like the most classic suburban dad in the world and that is something he never thought that he would get to do. Eyes watering slightly, not that he would ever admit it, Tony gently adjusted Peter’s tie so it hung straight and, around the lump in his throat, stated, “Lookin’ good, Spider-Squirt.”
Peter beamed, then seemed to notice Tony’s teary eyes and asked, “Are you okay, Mr. Stark? Why are you crying?”
Tony blinked back his tears, answering, “I’m not crying. I’m just tearing up from how much hairspray you used to tame those curls of yours.”
Peter looked distinctly unbelieving, then stated, “Mr. Stark, I didn’t use hairspray. I used hair gel. It took me an hour.”
Desperate to distract from his emotions, Tony teased, “Well, it’s a shame you wasted an hour. Turns out hair gel doesn’t hold that well.”
Peter turned to look at the mirror, then whipped back around with a shriek like a dying cat as Tony’s hand descended on his head and mussed his gel-flattened hair. His curls, freed of their product prison, immediately went wild, bouncing out and wrapping around Tony’s fingers as Peter squealed and tried to escape. Then Pepper was in the doorway, scolding, “Anthony Edward Stark! You stop harassing that poor boy right now or so help me, I will make you go to the board meeting tomorrow.”
Tony immediately pulled his hand back from Peter’s head like he had been burned, then challenged, “You wouldn’t. You don’t want to risk me doing something stupid in front of the board.”
Pepper raised one perfectly manicured brow, clearly communicating ‘Try me’ without saying a word, and Tony deflated, knowing when he was beat. Peter turned to the mirror, trying desperately to fix his hair, and Pepper stepped into the bathroom, setting her clutch down and asking, “Would you like some help, Peter?”
Peter looked at her with big brown puppy eyes and answered, “Yes, please, Ms. Potts, ma’am.”
Pepper slipped her rings off, then picked up the jar of hair gel and began arranging Peter’s hair, accentuating the curls instead of flattening them. Peter gave Tony a smug look in the mirror and Tony stuck his tongue out childishly, then pouted as Pepper warned, “Tony, if you mess his hair up again tonight, I will drag you to every meeting and interview I go to for the next two weeks, got it?”
As soon as she finished taming Peter’s hair, Pepper washed her hands and glanced at her watch, stating, “We have two minutes to get downstairs and into the car. Tony, if we’re late, I’ll make you regret it.”
The trio hustled downstairs and into the car, making it just in time to leave on schedule (which Pepper was frankly considering a minor miracle, given who she was with). Tony and Peter were in the back, with Pepper in the passenger’s seat, and Pepper glanced in the rearview mirror just in time to see Tony’s hand creeping towards an unsuspecting Peter’s head as Peter stared out the window. Turning in her seat to glare at her fiancé, Pepper barked, “Anthony Edward Stark! Don’t you dare mess his hair up after I already fixed it once!”
Tony dropped his hand onto the seat and slouched down, complaining, “Awww, c’mon, Pep! It’s so tempting! Look at him! He’s like a puppy and I just wanna pet his head!”
Pepper narrowed her eyes at Tony and he huffed, then grumbled, “Fiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee. I promise I won’t touch his hair until we leave the gala.”
Pepper nodded approvingly and the rest of the drive to Senator Walcross’s mansion for his re-election benefit passed in relative peace. Tony sorted through emails on his phone, Peter texted his friends, and Pepper talked quietly with Happy as he drove.
The peaceful atmosphere was broken about ten minutes from their destination, when Tony suddenly said, “Hey, Pete, there’s an email here from your school. They wanna take their top twenty students on a field trip to Stark Tower. Should I approve it?”
Peter looked at Tony with wide eyes and begged, “Please, please, please don’t.”
“What was that, Underoos? Confirm the trip? Well, if you say so!”
Peter leaned into Tony’s space, eyes big and sad and puppyish, and pleaded, “Mr. Stark, no! Please don’t!”
Tony smirked and answered, “Call me Tony and I’ll consider it.”
Peter opened and closed his mouth like a fish a few times, then squeaked, “Mr. Stark, I can’t! It’s rude!”
“Wow, Pete, confirm the trip and give them an exclusive tour of our personal labs? You must really want your friends to have a good time!”
Peter gave a pathetic whine, knowing it was too late to stop his
dad mentor from destroying his life, and Tony typed out the email, casually asking, “Hey, kid, you’re in the top 20, right?”
Peter glared at Tony and grumbled, “You know full well that I am, you monster.”
Tony gave his
kid mentee a smug smirk and Pepper sighed from the front of the car, smiling even as she shook her head. Happy pulled the car up in front of the mansion and Tony saw the way Peter stiffened, fear flickering across his features as he stared up at the giant house. Without even thinking, Tony reached out and wrapped his arm around Peter’s shoulders, stating, “Don’t worry about it, Pete. Just stick with me and you’ll be okay.”
Peter nodded like a bobblehead and the trio got out of the car. Without even thinking about it, Tony wrapped one arm around Pepper’s waist and the other around Peter’s shoulders, joking, “And hey, Pete, no matter how badly you might mess up, I don’t think anything will ever top Anne-Marie Corsanta’s engagement party ten years ago. Remind me to tell you that story. I think she still holds a grudge over it.”
Pepper snorted from his other side and chimed in, “Just remember, Peter, you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be better than Tony. And, considering that you’re a good kid and not a little hellion for the most part, you shouldn’t have any problems with that.”
Tony gave an affronted gasp as they reached the stairs to the front door and exclaimed, “Excuse you! I will have you know that I am not a little hellion! I am a hellion of perfectly average size, thank you VERY much.”
Pepper and Peter shared a Look, then Pepper answered, “Uh-huh. Whatever you say, sweetheart.”
Tony griped and complained all the way up the stupidly large staircase to the front door, but stopped as they reached the door, where a guard checked them off on the guest list and let them in.
“Tony Stark! And you must be Pepper Potts!”
Tony tightened his grip on Pepper’s waist marginally at Senator Andrew Walcross’s lecherous look, answering, “Senator Walcross. Yes, this is Pepper, and this is the heir to Stark Industries, Peter.”
Peter gave an uncomfortable smile and lied through his teeth, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir.”
Senator Walcross looked surprised, but answered, “You as well, Peter.”
Peter fidgeted with his spider-shaped cufflinks, feeling supremely awkward as Tony and Senator Walcross talked, then jumped as Pepper wrapped her arm around his shoulders and suggested, “Let’s go get some drinks, Pete.”
She steered Peter towards the open bar and, under her breath, stated, “Ugh, I can’t stand that man. And I know Tony hates him almost as much. Pretty sure we’re only here because Tony wants to see the look on that prick’s face when Tony tells him that I’m staying the CEO of Stark Industries for the foreseeable future.”
Peter looked at Pepper, then asked, “Wait, why would that surprise him? Who does he think is gonna take over?”
Pepper rolled her eyes and answered, “He probably thinks Tony is gonna take over once we get married. He’s one of those guys who thinks that a married woman shouldn’t have a career. He also tried to push a bill banning married women from working last year. It failed, unsurprisingly, but it pretty much sums up his views.”
Peter wrinkled his nose and answered, “Oh yeah, I remember that. MJ wrote this one essay detailing all of the reasons that bill was bullshit and nearly got suspended because one of our teachers said he supported the bill and MJ printed off about a thousand copies of her essay and left them in his school mailbox and turned them in stapled to her homework every day. I think she mailed a few copies to Senator Walcross, too.”
Pepper smiled like a shark and stated, “I like her already.”
Peter nodded, then paused and asked, “Wait, is Mr. Stark supposed to give a speech tonight?”
Pepper ordered three waters from the bartender, then answered, “Actually, yes. Why?”
“Well, you see, I may have mentioned MJ’s essay to him when he told me about this gala and he asked for her contact info a few days ago and MJ gave me permission to give it to him and I think that maybe, possibly, he might be planning to, uh, may read parts of the essay? Perhaps?”
Pepper looked at Peter, who was fiddling with his cufflinks and avoiding her gaze, then turned to accept the waters the bartender brought, passing one to Peter. As she and Peter walked back towards where Tony was, she stated, “I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really hope he does.”
They reached Tony, who was still talking with Senator Walcross and looked quite like he’d rather be dead, and Tony accepted the water Pepper offered him as Walcross asked, “So, when are you planning on taking over your family company, Tony?”
Tony laughed, making Peter’s hairs stand up at the obvious fakeness of it, then answered, “Never. Pepper runs it better than I ever could.”
Peter barely managed to not laugh at the look on Walcross’s face and Tony made excuses to escape, leading Pepper and Peter away and grumbling a few choice words under his breath about the location of Walcross’s head in relation to his ass.
The rest of the night went better as Tony waxed poetic about Pepper and Peter to pretty much anyone who would listen. Then came the speeches. Walcross gave his speech first, followed by a handful of other people, before, finally, Tony took the stage with a cold smile on his face. Pepper held up her phone discreetly, obviously filming, and Peter made a mental note to get the video from her afterwards. Tony pulled a set of notecards from his jacket, then cleared his throat and looked out over the crowd, stating, “I have no doubt that many of you expect me to talk about how much I want Senator Walcross to get re-elected. However, I don’t particularly feel like lying, so I took the liberty of reaching out to some of the people who are or will be his constituents, to get quotes from them.”
Peter bit his lip to prevent himself from laughing as Tony read, “‘Senator Walcross is an idiot and a prick who pushed a bill that would have taken a good chunk of America’s workforce out of work. Someone needs to tell him that it’s 2018, not 1918. Fuck him.’ That one is from MJ, age 17. ‘Senator Walcross supported the bill that would have caused my son to be forced to use the women’s bathroom.’ That’s from Matthew, age 45. ‘I’d sooner eat hot dog shit than vote for him,’ from Alex, age 22. Ooh, here’s an interesting one, from a lovely young lady going by the name of Candy: ‘That creep comes into our club every Saturday and tries to put his filthy mitts all over me and the other girls, even with the rules clearly stating not to fucking touch the dancers. Pretty sure the only reason he hasn’t gotten his ass banned or arrested for harassment is because he’s blackmailing the owner.’ Fascinating. Shall I continue?”
The room was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Then the silence was broken by Mrs. Walcross shrieking, “I knew it, you cheating bastard!”
The room erupted into chaos and Tony sauntered off the stage, a smug smirk on his face. He strutted over to Peter and Pepper, wrapping his arms around them, then led them out the front door to where Happy was waiting with the car. The trio climbed into the car and Happy began driving. Silence reigned for several long seconds, then Pepper started, “Tony, PR is going to have your head.”
Tony began to protest, but Pepper held up a hand and finished, “However, I can’t find it within myself to be mad at you, because that was one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in a long time.”
She couldn’t quite hold back the laughter in her voice and Tony gave her a grin, stating innocently, “I just thought that he might want to hear what his constituents have to say.”
The resulting laughter had the whole trio in tears and Peter leaned into Tony’s side, asking, “Ms. Potts, did you film it?”
Pepper grinned and answered, “I already sent both of you the video.”
Peter beamed and Tony announced, “You are a blessing, Pepper Potts.”
(The video mysteriously ended up on YouTube, where it quickly went viral. Unsurprisingly, Walcross lost the election.)
Chapter 16: Career Day Crasher
Career Day at Midtown!
Also, my Tumblr is the-devil-in-the-details-666, if you want to send me requests over there.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Peter wasn’t going to lie: He hated Career Day at school with a flaming passion. There were several reasons for that hatred, reasons that Peter felt were quite justified.
Reason #1: Career Day was for parents. Guess what Peter didn’t have!
Reason #2: Career Day was always on April 2nd, also known as the ONLY day of the entire year that Aunt May couldn’t feasibly get off of work, because there was a training she was required to attend every year.
Reason #3: Everyone gave him pitying looks when he showed up without a parent or guardian. There were very few things Peter hated more than pitying looks.
Reason #4: Career Day meant a big pep rally in the auditorium. Peter’s enhanced hearing and vision + Big pep rally with lots of noise and strobe light = Sensory overload about three minutes in.
And reason #5: Eugene ‘Flash’ Thompson was an enormous sack of dicks.
So, needless to say, Peter skipped school on Career Day most years. However, as Career Day of his junior year rolled up, Peter realized something that sorta made him want to test Shuri’s theory about him being able to heal the damage drinking bleach would do before it killed him.
He didn’t have enough unexcused absences left to skip without failing because of attendance.
On Friday, April 2nd, Peter woke up, looked at the date on his phone and the text from Ned about being sick, and briefly considered saying “Fuck it” and just retaking all of his classes next year. Then his mind wandered to the disappointed looks May and Tony would give him and he groaned, forcing himself to get up and pull on a pair of clean(ish) jeans and his binder, with a science pun shirt and Tony’s stolen MIT hoodie on top. He stumbled out to the kitchen, grabbing a bagel and his backpack, then pulled his shoes on and headed out, munching on his bagel as he walked.
Despite the snail’s pace at which he was walking, Peter still made it to Midtown with ten minutes to spare, during which time he climbed the big oak tree on campus and daydreamed about just hiding in the tree all day. Before he knew it, though, the bell was ringing and he was descending from the tree, trudging to Mr. Cobbwell’s class with all the enthusiasm of a damned man walking to the gallows. He slumped down at his usual table, noticing with some mild hope that Flash wasn’t there yet. Then his hopes were crushed when Flash strutted through the door like a peacock with a god complex, both of his parents close behind him. Peter slumped further onto the table, pulling his hood up to hide his face, but still caught sight of the smug smirk Flash sent him. The second bell rang and Mr. Cobbwell called roll, then directed everyone to gather their things and head for the auditorium. Before anyone could move, however, there was a knock on the classroom door. Mr. Cobbwell opened it, a confused look on his face, and in stepped none other than Tony Stark. Peter closed his eyes, wondering if he was hallucinating, but opened them again as Tony stated, “Sorry I’m late.”
Then he beelined for a wildly blushing Peter as everyone stared at him shock. Mr. Cobbwell recovered first, clapping his hands and weakly calling, “Well, uh, the, er, pep rally starts in a few minutes. Let’s go, folks.”
Tony leaned on Peter’s desk, smirking at the slumped-over spider-child, then poked Peter’s bright red cheek and teased, “You heard the man, kid. Let’s go.”
Peter responded by pulling his hood further over his hot face and groaning loudly. There was a beat of silence, then Tony lifted the edge of the hood to peer at Peter’s face, looking concerned as he softly asked, “What’s wrong, Underoos?”
Peter sighed and lifted his head, mumbling, “Pep rallies are hell on my senses. Too much noise, too many strobes, too many people.”
Tony made an offended noise, then dug around in his suit jacket pocket, pulling out what looked like a pair of wireless earbuds and a pair of Peter’s old glasses, both of which he pushed towards Peter as he teased, “What, you thought I’d just let my favorite spider-squirt suffer at a pep rally? I’m hurt.”
Peter narrowed his eyes and picked up the earbuds, then shrugged and slipped them in, shifting them until they were comfortable. Tony stepped forwards to fidget with them slightly, then asked, “They feel okay?”
Peter nodded and picked up the glasses, slipping them on. Tony smirked and stated, “Those’ll filter out the strobe lights and the earbuds will quiet everything to a manageable level and filter out background noise.”
Before Tony could even finish his sentence, he had an armful of spider-child as Peter wrapped him up in a tight hug, whispering, “Thank you, Mr. Stark.”
Tony ruffled Peter’s hair, careful not to hit the earbuds, and answered, “No problem, Underoos. Shall we?”
Peter picked up his bag, already feeling more excited for a Career Day than he had in years, then grabbed Tony’s arm and led him to the auditorium. They managed to get a seat a few rows back just as the rally started and Peter marveled at the sound, or, rather, the lack thereof. The glasses filtered out the strobes beautifully and, for the first time since the spider bite, Peter walked out of the pep rally without a migraine. He led Tony back to his classroom, feeling exponentially more excited for Career Day than he had ever felt, and plopped down in his seat as Tony took the empty seat beside him. Peter carefully removed the glasses and earbuds, no longer needing them since the rally was over, and placed them in the case Tony passed to him, then set the case in his bag and asked, “So, uh, Mr. Stark? Not to be rude or anything, but, um, what are you doing here?”
Tony gave a faux-offended scoff and answered, “What, I can’t come to my kid’s Career Day? Come on, Underoos, I’m trying my best here. The book I read about raising babies said that you have to give them lots of love and attention in order for them to develop properly.”
Peter narrowed his eyes at Tony and Tony tried to hide his laugh, but failed miserably because Peter looked about as threatening as a kitten. Then, taking pity on the spider-squirt, Tony stated, “May called me and said that you had to suffer through Career Day. I figured this was a good way to kill two birds with one stone. I can make Career Day suck less and also make sure everything is going well at school for you.”
Peter narrowed his eyes at Tony, then asked, “What are you not telling me? I can tell you’re hiding something.”
Tony just smirked and answered, “You’ll find out, Spiderling.”
Peter flopped across the table dramatically, whining, “Miiiisssstttteeeerrrrr Sttttaaaarrrrkkkkk! Don’t be mean!”
Tony patted Peter’s head condescendingly, then asked, “When did you get so dramatic, kid? I don’t remember you being like this when we first met.”
Peter started to answer, but was cut off by Flash’s voice shouting, “How pathetic are you gonna get, Penis? Hiring a Tony Stark lookalike to come to Career Day?”
Peter could hear Tony’s molars grinding against each other as his
dad mentor gritted his teeth and reached out to grab Tony’s arm before Tony could respond, murmuring, “Please don’t do anything drastic. He’s just an idiot.”
Tony growled, but, glancing at Peter’s big, begging eyes, he sighed and allowed Peter to ‘distract’ him with chatter of grades and how much he hated P.E. and how Mr. Cobbwell was so much better than Mr. Cooper. However, as Tony half-listened, he kept one eye on Flash, running through plans on how to prove the kid wrong for a moment before realizing that his plan for Career Day would do that anyway. Then he grinned at Peter and Peter froze like a deer in headlights and asked, “Mr. Stark, what are you planning? Please don’t do anything that’ll make Ms. Potts get mad at us.”
Tony reached out to ruffle Peter’s hair and answered, “Well, I’m assuming that at some point I’ll be asked to talk about my career. I thought I might show your classmates a little bit of my nanotech, that’s all. This is a geek school. It’ll be chicken soup for all your nerdy little souls.”
Peter leaned forward, narrowing his eyes at Tony, and interrogated, “How are you planning to show it?”
That made Tony poke Peter’s nose and answered, “You’ll just have to wait and see, Underoos.”
Peter looked like he’d rather drink bleach, but let it go as Mr. Cobbwell called, “Alright, parents and guardians. We’re going to have a socialization period and parent-teacher conferences for the first two hours before lunch, followed by your presentations about your careers. As such, Abigail, would you and your parents please come join me at my desk?”
As soon as they were released to socialize, Tony was flooded with parents and students wanting to talk to him. They were practically crawling over the table and Peter attempted to slip away from the crowd and find a quiet corner to sit in and text Ned.
Key word here: Attempted
Instead, Peter took three steps out of the fray and was immediately dragged back in by means of Tony grabbing his hood. Tony wrapped an arm around his squirming
son mentee and put on his press smile, calling, “Now, now, people, we’re all civilized. Take turns, why don’t you?”
Peter pulled his hood up over his head and shrank down in his hoodie like a turtle, hissing, “Uncle Rhodey is my new favorite Avenger.”
Tony just laughed and answered, “I think we all know that’s not true, squirt.”
Peter grumbled as people literally shouted questions at Tony, as if he wasn’t standing about two feet away, and Tony just squeezed the spider-turtle as he answered questions about Stark Industries (as if Tony had any fucking clue what was going on there. That was Pepper’s domain and Tony was not dumb enough to get involved. He liked having his head attached to his neck, thanks, and wasn’t too keen on having it removed if he fucked something up), the Avengers, Iron Man, and anything else that people wanted to know. Then one parent asked the fateful question:
“Is he your son?”
Peter braced himself for the ‘No’ that he didn’t want to hear and was instead quite shocked to hear Tony state, “He is. Everyone, this is my son Peter, though he seems to have been replaced by some variety of hoodie-turtle.”
Peter swallowed back his shock and told himself internally that it was all for show even as he played along, whining, “M- Daaaad! Stop being mean to me!”
He caught sight of Flash at the back of the group, looking like he had just taken a bite of a lemon, and shrank against Tony’s side, trying to will himself out of existence or at least into another dimension.
Peter’s escape finally came as Mr. Cobbwell called, “Peter? Could you and your, uh, guardian please come up?”
Without hesitating for a second, Peter grabbed Tony’s wrist and dragged him up to Mr. Cobbwell’s desk, where Mr. Cobbwell had two chair waiting. Peter immediately sank into one and Tony into the other and Mr. Cobbwell cleared his throat awkwardly, asking, “Shall we discuss your… Peter’s grades, Mr. Stark?”
Tony nodded and Peter bounced his leg nervously as Mr. Cobbwell pulled up the grades. Then Mr. Cobbwell stated, “Peter is a brilliant young man, Mr. Stark. Straight A’s and top of his class. There were some attendance issues at the beginning of this year, but those seem to have been straightened out.”
Tony cut in suddenly, answering, “Of course he’s brilliant. He’s my kid, how could he not be?”
Mr. Cobbwell’s eyes widened and he glanced between Tony and Peter rapidly, then continued, “O-Oh. I see. Um, well, he’s been a wonderful student in my class and a number of his other teachers have said the same, but I’m a touch concerned that he may be getting rather bored with the material, given that he already understands most, if not all, of it.”
Peter slunk down further in his chair and blushed as Tony sent him a proud smile, then flushed even darker as Tony replied, “Given that Peter works with both me and Dr. Banner in our labs, as well as working on technology for the Avengers and Stark Industries, I think it’s safe to say that he understands most of the material, yes.”
The rest of the short conference went much the same before Peter and Tony were finally released. Peter immediately scuttled over to the corner before Tony could grab him again and sat down on the floor, sending a quick text to Ned. Before Ned responded, however, Tony settled on the floor beside Peter and wrapped one arm around him, stating softly, “Sorry about the whole interrogation thing, kid.”
Peter leaned into his hold and quietly asked, “Why did you tell them I’m your son?”
Tony was quiet for several long moments before he admitted, “Because I think of you as my kid. I get if you’re not comfortable with that and I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, but-”
Peter cut him off without hesitation, answering, “It’s fine, Dad.”
Tony fell silent and Peter chanced a glance at his
mentor’s dad’s face, surprised to see Tony staring at him with the soft, adoring look that he gave Dum-E and U when they did something cute.
Peter wasn’t going to lie: He had thought that Tony had forgotten about Flash. That misconception, however, was rectified at lunch, when Tony suddenly leaned towards Peter as Peter finished eating and asked, “So, Pete, when were you planning to tell me that you were still being harassed?”
Peter froze, a French fry halfway to his mouth, then laughed awkwardly and half-joked, “Bold of you to assume I was planning on telling you.”
The look he received told Peter that the attempt at humor was less than appreciated and he sunk down in his seat, sighing, “It’s fine, M- Dad. It’s not like he gets super physical very often.”
Tony clenched his fists in his lap and growled, “But he gets physical sometimes?”
“He- It’s not a big deal. He pushes me into lockers sometimes and throws stuff at me in class. Little stuff like that.”
Tony took a deep breath through his nose, then stated, “Peter, I’m getting the details of what goes on one way or another. Now, either you can tell me and save your dignity or I can get Karen to tell me what happens.”
Peter froze, then sighed and laid his head on the table, whispering, “He mostly just says shit. About my parents, about Ben, about May. Makes a lot of transphobic comments. Spreads a lot of shit about my internship being fake. Steals my stuff sometimes. Knocks stuff off my desk and out of my hands and stuff. We were never able to prove it, but he graffitied my locker and Ned’s locker last year. Spray painted slurs on them. That was really the biggest thing he did.”
Tony saw red, the blood roaring in his ears and drowning out everything else. He started to stand, but Peter’s hand on his arm stopped him and he looked down to see Peter staring up at him. His hearing returned and he heard Peter begging, “Please, Dad, just sit down. It’s fine.”
Tony dropped back into his seat and answered, “No, Peter, it’s not okay. You don’t deserve to be bullied, kid.”
Peter looked down at the table and tugged at his hoodie strings and Tony felt the blood drain from his face as he softly, incredulously, stated, “You think you deserve it.”
Peter cringed away and whispered, “I- I’d rather him harass me than someone else. I’m a hero, I’m supposed to protect people. And it’s not like it’s anything really bad, nothing compared to what Jesse and those guys used to do.”
Tony gaped at Peter, stunned, then took a deep breath and asked, “Peter, if you’re fighting Doc Ock, what do you do once you restrain him?”
“Call the cops? How is this-”
“I’m getting there. What about if you’re fighting a mugger? What do you do when you restrain him?”
“Again, call the cops. Seriously, what does-”
“Shh. So you call the cops regardless of if the crime they’re committing is robbing a bank or robbing Joe Nobody off the street? Even though one crime is more severe, both should face consequences for their actions?”
“Yes? Are you feeling-”
“So how is this any different? Yeah, Flash isn’t kicking the shit out of you, but he’s still bullying you and he should still face the consequences of his actions.”
Peter stared at Tony, then jumped as the bell rang. Tony narrowed his eyes at Peter and Peter sighed, stating, “Fine. I’ll report him on Monday.”
When they reached Mr. Cobbwell’s classroom, they found that the chairs and stools had been rearranged into a semi-circle to create a pseudo-stage area. Peter immediately beelined to the second row of stools, dragging Tony with him, and they settled into their seats.
It took ten minutes for everyone to trickle back in and get seated. Then Mr. Cobbwell called Abigail’s mother to the front and Peter settled in for another year of boring Career Day presentations.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Cobbwell asked Tony to come up last. Tony walked to the center of the pseudo-stage, then tapped the arc reactor on his chest, sending nanobots spreading across his chest. They spread out, linking together until they formed the Iron Man suit around him. With a smug look in Peter’s direction, Tony started, “Most of you probably think that being a superhero is all flashy costumes and rescuing kittens. And while yes, both of those are staple parts of being a hero, there’s a lot more to it.”
Tony went on to detail the general ins and outs of being Iron Man or being a superhero in general, including the traumas and injuries that were a part of it. He talked until the bell rang, at which point he retracted the armor and dusted his suit off, walking over to Peter as Peter grabbed his stuff. There was a flurry of motion as students and parents helped put the class back in order, then Tony tossed his arm around Peter’s shoulders and led his kid out of the building to the sleek black Audi in the parking lot. As the drove away, Tony smirked at Peter and asked, “So, Career Day as bad as you thought it would be?”
Peter gave Tony a Look, then answered, “Not quite.”
Well, this ended up... longer than anticipated. Honestly, I don't know what happened.
Chapter 17: Injured Iron
Tony isn't as invincible as he pretends to be.
Shout-out to SMenace25 for requesting this in the comments! Hope it's to your liking!
Also, my Tumblr is the-devil-in-the-details-666, if you want to send me requests over there.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It all started with an octopus, like a concerning number of things in Tony Stark’s life did. Specifically, it all started with a mutated, thirty-six-foot-tall octopus with rage issues. Which is not something Tony ever really thought he’d have to announce over comms, but, at the end of the day, not the weirdest thing he’s ever announced.
The battle against Tentacle-Hentai-Gone-Wrong, as Tony dubbed it, was going pretty well, all things considered. It seemed to be losing steam as they herded it towards the harbor and away from people. And that made Tony start getting a little cocky towards the end of the battle.
“Hey, Calamari, over here! Take your best sho- Shit!”
The tentacle caught Tony off-guard, grabbing him and slamming him into a building, the ground, another building, a statue, until Tony lost consciousness.
Tony woke up to beeping. Really annoying beeping, if he was being honest, loud and high-pitched and right next to where he was laying.
He was on something soft.
His whole body hurt.
His head was throbbing.
His hands were weirdly warm.
For the love of God, someone turn that fucking beep off already.
Tony pried his eyes open, catching sight of a hazy head of brown curls on the bed beside him before he was closing them against the bright light. After a moment, Tony cracked open his left eye, peering at the head until it became recognizable as Peter’s, resting on his left hand and fast asleep. Turning his head hurt a lot more than he had expected, but Tony turned to look at his right hand, where an IV was inserted and Pepper’s fingers were curled around Tony’s, her soft skin a sharp contrast to the bruised and calloused skin of Tony’s hand. Pepper’s head was leaned against her chair, eyes closed, but they flew open when Tony gave her fingers a soft squeeze. She sat up, looking at Tony for a split second before her eyes were tearing up and she was releasing his hand, leaning forward to wrap her arms around Tony as she whispered, “If you EVER do something like that again, I’ll kill you myself, you hear me?”
Her sudden movement apparently woke Peter, who was suddenly getting in on the hug action, not even trying to conceal the fact that he was sobbing into Tony’s shoulder. Slowly, painfully, Tony brought his arms up to wrap around his fiancée and son, trying to soothe their tears. Finally, they both managed to stop crying and leaned back. Peter wiped his face with his hoodie sleeve and Pepper grabbed a few tissues from a box out of Tony’s line of sight, dabbing her tears away before squeezing Tony’s hand lightly and stating, “I- I’ll go get Helen.”
She stood and hurried out of the room, leaving Tony and Peter. Peter looked at Tony with wide brown eyes and leaned forward, a sad, serious look on his face as he softly stated, “I’m glad you’re awake, Dad.”
Tony reached out to gently wipe one of the tears off of Peter’s cheek, rasping, “Me too, kiddo.”
His hand dropped back to the mattress as Pepper returned with Helen in tow and Tony tried to give Helen a smile, but stopped as he realized that his face was too bruised and swollen. Helen frowned at Tony, then began checking what he assumed was his IV bags, stating, “Tony, you got incredibly lucky to have gotten away with nothing more severe than a concussion, two cracked ribs on your left side, and a broken leg, seeing as we had to have Peter literally pull your suit apart to get you out of it.”
Peter flinched and Tony grabbed his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze as Helen continued, “You’re on concussion protocols for tonight and tomorrow, no tech or anything requiring concentration, and we’ll have you sleep sitting up. You’ll also need to set an alarm for every two hours for tonight. Bedrest for at least four days and a wheelchair after that. You can go up to your own bedroom, but come see me next week.”
Tony started to nod, but stopped as that made his head spin and instead rasped, “Got it, Doc.”
Half an hour later, Peter and Pepper were getting Tony settled into his bed, leaned against a bunch of pillows. Pepper disappeared into the bathroom to put on her pajamas and Peter hovered awkwardly in the doorway, looking conflicted. After several long seconds, Peter stated, “I should- I should go to bed.”
He turned like he was going to leave, then turned back to look at Tony, remaining in the doorway. He fiddled with his hoodie strings and Tony gave him a tiny smile, stating, “You can stay in here for tonight.”
Peter let out a relieved breath that he probably hadn’t realized he was holding and hurried over to the bed, clambering into it and curling up beside Tony right by the edge. Moments later, Pepper was on Tony’s other side, requesting, “FRI, can you turn off the lights, please?”
The lights turned off and Tony closed his eyes, Peter and Pepper warm against his sides.
Two hours later, Tony awoke to Pepper jostling him lightly, calling, “Tony!”
He groaned and opened his eyes, asking sleepily, “Wha?”
Pepper gave him a small smile and ordered, “Tell me the first six digits of pi.”
Tony yawned, the movement making pain radiate through the swelling and bruising of his face, then answered, “3.14159.”
Pepper nodded and settled back down. Tony tangled his fingers in her soft hair and drifted back to sleep.
The rest of the night was much the same, waking up every two hours and having to answer some sort of random math or science question. In the morning though, came the real trial.
“Tony. No. Helen said nothing that requires concentration and no tech, both of which are part of reading on a tablet.”
“But Pepper, I’m borrrrreeeeeddddd!!!!”
The look Pepper gave him made Tony groan and pout, asking, “So what am I supposed to do? Just sit here and look at the wall?”
Pepper rolled her eyes and suggested, “Maybe, if you ask nicely, Peter will read to you.”
Tony immediately turned his attention to Peter, who rolled his eyes and held out his hands for tablet. Pepper handed it over and Peter curled into Tony’s side, angling the screen so Tony couldn’t see it as he cleared his throat and started, “Random Matrices and Chaos in Nuclear Physics: Nuclear Reactions, by GE Mitchell.”
Then he paused and looked up at Tony, chirping, “Oh, I’ve read this one before. It’s pretty good.”
Tony snorted and ruffled Peter’s head, teasing, “Of course you have, nerd.”
Peter rolled his eyes and continued reading, adding his own commentary to certain spots.
(It took six long, long weeks for Tony to fully heal, much to the billionaire’s chagrin. But, his healing was made tolerable by the presence of his fiancée and kid. So that was nice. And then he had to completely rebuild his suit.)
Please excuse any medical inaccuracies, as I am not in any way, shape, or form a doctor and everything in here is based on personal experience and Google. Also, the physics paper Peter reads to Tony is an actual physics paper. I haven't read it, but it exists if any of you want to.
Chapter 18: Professional Pillow
5 times Peter used Tony as a pillow and 1 time that Tony returned the favor.
Also, my Tumblr is the-devil-in-the-details-666, if you want to send me requests over there.
Anyone who was close with Peter Parker could tell you that he was a junkie for cuddles of all kinds. The second he was comfortable with you, he would be flopping across your lap when you sit on the couch and staring up at you with big brown eyes.
No one bothered to warn Tony of that. And so, the first time Peter plopped down beside him on the couch and proceeded to rest his head in Tony’s lap, Tony was understandably confused. Peter blinked up at him, then yawned, reminding Tony of a puppy. Before Tony could even think about it, he set his hand on Peter’s head and gently combed through the soft curls, smirking as Peter gave a pleased noise and closed his eyes. Peter rolled onto his side, curling up against Tony with his head in Tony’s lap, and Tony grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch, draping it over Peter, who gave a delighted hum and nestled closer to Tony. Tony began playing with his hair again, smiling to himself as Peter’s breathing got slower and deeper as he drifted off to sleep.
Saturday nights were Movie Nights at the Tower. It was an unspoken rule of sorts, that every Saturday night, while Matt and May had a date night, Harley and Peter would go to the Tower and watch movies with Tony until they decided to go to bed.
Peter slouched into the Tower living room, trying and failing to hold back a yawn, and shuffled to his room to put on sweatpants and a hoodie. His eyelids felt heavy and he looked longingly at his bed, wondering briefly if Tony and Harley would be upset if he just went to bed. Then he sighed and walked back to the living room, where Tony and Harley were waiting on the couch. Peter flopped into his customary spot on Tony’s left, then grabbed a blanket and slumped over into his dad’s lap, snuggling into the warm blanket. Tony absentmindedly began petting Peter’s head, the action familiar enough to practically be muscle memory. Peter hummed sleepily as he felt Harley’s head settle beside his, then tried to focus on the movie. It was one Tony had chosen, some high school romance garbage that Pepper had told him was god-awful and not worth the time it took to watch, and Peter was finding it harder and harder to stay focused on the generic characters and cliché dialogue as Tony’s hand smoothed through his hair. His already-heavy eyelids felt weighted with lead and he found himself closing them, telling himself it was to block out the uncomfortable kissing scene. Harley snorted at something, but Peter couldn’t find it within himself to look, just giving in and letting sleep carry him away.
Long car rides never failed to make Peter fall asleep. For as long as Peter had been alive, it had been a well-known fact in the Parker household that any car ride lasting more than an hour without stops would put Peter to sleep like a heavy dose of sedatives. But, of course, no one bothered to inform Tony of that particular Peter Quirk.
They were on an impromptu road trip of sorts (which basically meant that Pepper had kicked Tony out of the Tower for a week to avoid him interacting with a possible business partner and where Tony went, his sons followed), with Happy driving. Tony had decided it would be fun to go to DC for the week, maybe introduce the boys to the President, and, since he had lost the Rock, Paper, Scissors match with Harley over who got shotgun, Tony was in the backseat with Peter. Peter had suddenly slumped against Tony forty-five minutes into the car ride, eyelids fluttering, and Tony felt a jolt of alarm until Peter yawned widely and snuggled as close as the seatbelt would let him, closing his eyes. Tony buried one hand in Peter’s hair, the other coming around to rub the sleepy spider’s back, and Peter nuzzled Tony’s shoulder contentedly, mumbling something that Tony couldn’t quite hear. Tony smiled and teased, “Why am I not surprised that car rides put you to sleep, Spider-Baby?”
Peter started to lift his head, grumbling, “‘M not a baby.”
Tony gently pushed his head back down, answering, “Of course you aren’t. Just go to sleep, Spider-Squirt.”
Peter gave another incoherent grumble, then settled in and drifted off to sleep against his dad.
Peter Parker hated planes. It felt justified, given that he had lost his parents in a plane crash and then been in one himself thanks to the Vulture. And so, when Tony offered to bring Peter and Harley to a science conference in London with him, Peter was understandably hesitant. In the end, though, his excitement overruled his fear and he agreed.
“It’s alright, kid. I promise. Nothing will happen.”
Peter paced the private airport gate nervously, toying with his hoodie strings as he asked, “But what if something does?”
Tony sighed and reached out to pull Peter in for a hug, stating, “Nothing will, but, if something does, you’ve got Iron Man on your side. I’ll protect you, Peter, I swear.”
There was a shuffling sound from behind Peter, then Harley interjected, “Hate to be that guy, but the plane is here.”
Peter took a deep, shaky breath as Tony released him and Tony suggested, “Why don’t you go ahead and take some of your medicine, Pete? That way it’ll start to kick in before takeoff.”
Peter nodded shakily and dig through his bag, pulling out his bottle of extra-super-strength anxiety pills, which were basically horse tranquilizers on steroids. He took one and washed it down with water, then wiped his sweaty palms on his sweatpants and followed Tony and Harley out to the plane.
Once on the plane, Peter curled up in the seat beside Tony, took a second pill, and promptly flopped over into Tony’s lap with head pillowed on Tony’s thigh, his dad’s familiar presence helping keep him from freaking out. Harley grinned, then settled into the seat on Peter’s other side and shifted Peter’s feet into his lap, draping a blanket over himself and his pseudo-brother. Peter let out a noise of contentment and snuggled in close as his medicine started to kick in. Tony set a hand on Peter’s head and Peter leaned into it, eyelids starting to flutter as the jet taxied down the runway. As they lifted into the air, Tony could see Peter starting to freak out, but, before Peter could reach critical panic, Tony began combing his fingers through Peter’s curl, humming a half-remembered lullaby his mom used to sing for him. Peter let out a soft sigh and relaxed, eyelids drooping again. After another few minutes, Peter was out cold, sprawled across his brother and dad.
There were many things about Tony Stark that drove Pepper Potts nuts. His ego. His disregard for his own health. The way he consistently burned his toast because it was ‘better that way’.
But nothing, not one single thing, drove Pepper more insane than Tony’s failure to do paperwork without a considerable amount of
blackmail incentivizing. Even though she was CEO, Tony, as the owner and main engineer/inventor, still had to sign papers. She would have to practically drag him kicking and screaming to get him to look at the paperwork and frankly, she was sick of it. So, she gathered up all of the paperwork she needed him to sign, sorted it by urgency, and called Peter.
Tony was on the couch in the living room, watching tv, when Peter arrived with several pens and all of the paperwork Tony had been putting off. He plopped the pens and paper on the end table next to Tony’s hand, then curled up next to Tony and set his head in Tony’s lap, announcing, “Neither of us are moving until you do that paperwork for Ms. Potts.”
Tony raised an eyebrow, answering, “You say that like you think I want either of us to move.”
Peter looked up at Tony with big, innocent eyes, then called, “FRIDAY?”
In a heartbeat, the tv went dark. Tony checked his phone, but it, too, was unresponsive. Sighing heavily, Tony looked down at the somehow simultaneously innocent and smug looking Peter, then sighed, “You’re a menace, Underoos.”
Peter gave a thumbs up and Tony picked up the first contract and a pen.
Half an hour later, Tony glanced down at Peter, since the kid was being abnormally quiet, then snorted. Peter was curled against Tony’s side, eyes closed and mouth hanging slightly open as he slept. Tony ran his fingers through Peter’s hair, then turned his attention back to the paperwork.
Tony flung himself to his knees beside Peter, trembling fingers scrabbling across Peter’s too-pale neck as he searched desperately for a pulse. Peter’s body was cold and lifeless under Tony’s hands and Tony couldn’t help the sobs that escaped him as he clutched Peter’s corpse to his chest.
Tony woke up crying, his whole body trembling as he stared at his dark bedroom ceiling and tried to mentally remind himself that Peter was safely asleep in his own bedroom (or maybe Harley’s, if they had stayed up too late playing video games). After several minutes of seeing Peter’s body every time he closed his eyes, Tony rolled out of bed, staggering out to the hallway. He made his way to Harley’s room, peeking in to make sure that Harley was safe, then to Peter’s room. He opened the door and was greeted with the sight of Peter laying on the floor, flashlight clutched between his teeth as he tinkered on a small robot. Tony raised an eyebrow, then cleared his throat, smirking as Peter yelped and fumbled the flashlight, whipping around to look at Tony with wide eyes. Tony rolled his eyes and asked, “What are you still doing up, kiddo?”
Peter looked down guiltily and answered, “Working on a robot.”
Tony sighed and Peter scrambled up, asking, “What are you doing up, Dad?”
Tony reached out to muss Peter’s hair, lying, “FRIDAY tattled.”
Peter wrinkled his nose, then stated, “No, she didn’t. FRIDAY is running her monthly maintenance check. You told me that earlier.”
Tony took a moment to silently curse Peter’s memory, then his perceptiveness as Peter worriedly asked, “Did you have a nightmare?”
Shoulders slumping, Tony admitted, “Yeah, kid, I did. I just… I needed to make sure you were okay.”
Despite how little he wanted to leave, he picked up the flashlight from where it had fallen in Peter’s haste to get up, then forced a smile, chirping, “And you are! But you won’t be if May finds out about this, so maybe go to bed. I’ll be taking this, though.”
Peter frowned, then pulled the flashlight from Tony’s fingers and answered, “You’re shaking, Dad.”
Tony reached out to take the light back, absently noting that Peter was right, and Peter side-stepped him, spinning so that he was facing Tony’s back. Tony turned to face him and, before the billionaire had even processed it, Peter pushed him down onto the bed, clicking off the flashlight and dropping it on the nightstand. Tony started to protest, but Peter flopped down on the bed beside him and stated, “If you protest, I might decide to web your mouth shut.”
Tony huffed and closed his mouth. Peter got comfortable on the mattress, then dragged Tony closer to him, guiding Tony’s head to rest on his shoulder. He startled slightly when Peter stroked fingers through his hair, then relaxed as Peter joked, “I think I’m starting to understand why you like to play with my hair.”
Tony rolled his eyes, letting the sound of his son’s steady heartbeat chase away the images of a cold, lifeless body, then settled in and let himself drift asleep.
Chapter 19: Spitting Spider
Peter gets some new... developments.
Sorry this took so long to post, school has started again and my writing goblin is staging a strike to protest the existence of essays.
Shout-out to Varjoratsu for requesting this! Hopefully it fulfilled your request!
Also, my Tumblr is the-devil-in-the-details-666, if you want to send me requests over there.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Peter slouched into Tony’s lab on Sunday morning like a kicked puppy, an ice pack and a bag of frozen peas in hand, and dropped onto the couch with a groan as Harley entered. Tony looked over in concern as Peter brought the peas and the ice pack up to his face, resting them against his jaw, and Harley explained, “Apparently his jaw has been hurting since he woke up.”
Tony nodded, then called, “Feeling alright, Underoos?”
Peter groaned, but answered, “My face hurts.”
Tony stood and walked over, crouching down in front of his kid and gently pulling Peter’s hands away from his face. He ran his fingers over Peter’s face, asking, “Where does it hurt the worst?”
Peter hissed in pain as Tony touched the hinge of his jaw and Tony sighed, stating, “I think we’ll need to take a dental x-ray. I could be wrong, but I think that it may be your wisdom teeth.”
Peter pouted, but obediently followed Tony down to the med-bay, Harley trailing close behind.
Fifteen minutes later, Bruce looked at Peter’s dental x-rays, blinked rapidly, then squinted at them again and mumbled, “What the fuck?”
Tony felt his heart skip a beat, then Bruce announced, “Alright, well, good news: It’s not your wisdom teeth. Bad news is that I have no explanation as to why your jawbone is spontaneously creating pockets within the bone.”
Peter opened his mouth, closed it, then asked, “Huh?”
Bruce brought the x-rays over and showed them to Peter, Harley, and Tony, pointing to a pair of small dark spots on either side of Peter’s jawbone that were too even and identical to be random. Peter gaped openly and Tony queried, “Why would it do that?”
Bruce shrugged and answered, “Not a clue. Although, I would like to do an MRI, in case there’s any soft tissue in the pockets that didn’t show up on the x-ray.”
Peter nodded, then elbowed Harley in the ribs as Harley joked, “Maybe you’re developing venom glands or something.”
“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.”
Harley’s outburst went ignored as Tony exclaimed, “The Hell do you mean, ‘He appears to be developing venom glands’? How is that even possible?”
Bruce shrugged helplessly and cried, “I don’t know! But, judging by the size of the glands and how rapidly they’ve developed, I’d be willing to guess that they’ll be fully formed and useable within a few hours.”
Harley stared at Peter, who looked like he had just been slapped directly across the face, then asked, “What the fuck, Parker?”
Peter sneezed, then made a strange squeaking noise and, in a strangled voice, announced, “Uh, guys, you may want to see this.”
The three rushed over and Peter held up a long, thin strand of spiderweb, squeaking, “It came out of my mouth when I sneezed.”
Bruce grabbed a pair of latex gloves and took the web from Peter’s fingers, carrying it over to his lab station. Peter rubbed his jaw and Harley hissed, “Seriously, dude, what the fuck? I was joking when I said that you were growing venom glands and here you are, with fucking venom glands!”
Harley gaped at his brother, then put his hands on Peter’s shoulders, looked him dead in the eyes, and answered, “Don’t you dare apologize. Do you have any idea how fucking cool that is? You’re venomous, man!”
Peter blushed and mumbled, “Yeah, okay, it’s pretty cool.”
Bruce cleared his throat and everyone turned to look at him as he announced, “Scytodes thoracica, also known as the spitting spider. Your venom is very similar to its and it is known for spitting strings of web coated in the venom, which is what this webbing is. The venom is a paralytic and, if I had to guess, I’d say that yours is strong enough to paralyze a person.”
Peter sat down hard in the computer chair, looking stunned, and Harley nudged him, whispering, “That’s so fucking cool.”
Peter nodded weakly and Tony reached out to run his fingers through Peter’s hair, then stated, “It’ll be okay, Underoos.”
Peter leaned into Tony’s hand and closed his eyes, then took a deep breath and opened them, answering with steely confidence, “Of course it will. This isn’t any more nuts than my original mutation.”
He stood and put his hands on his hips, then stated, “If you’ll excuse me, I have some research into spitting spiders to do. I need to learn how to use my new venom glands.”
He marched out of the room, then paused and turned, adding, “Oh, but I’m drawing the line at extra limbs. If I start growing any, I’m out.”
Harley laughed and Tony couldn’t help his smile at Peter’s theatrics.
The next morning, Peter arrived in the Tower’s communal kitchen, where Tony was working his way through his third cup of coffee and Harley was falling asleep into his bowl of cereal. Looking exhausted but exhilarated, Peter slammed his hands on the table, startling Harley awake, and announced, “I figured out how to get my venom glands to spray strands of webbing!”
Harley blinked sleepily and Peter opened his mouth, pressing his tongue to the roof of his mouth. He moved his tongue side to side and two long strands of clear, glistening web shot out. Tony gaped, then set his mug on the table and stood, giving Peter a tight hug. Peter made a pleased noise and Harley laughed, stating, “I hope you know that you’re nuts, Parker. Only you could find out that you developed fucking venom glands and not have a total meltdown.”
Peter gave Harley finger-guns and shot back, “This isn’t my first mutation rodeo, Keener.”
Harley snorted, then stood and threw an energy bar at Peter’s head, replying, “Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, Spidey. Unfortunately, since you didn’t actually turn into a spider, you still have to go to school and we’re gonna be late if you don’t hurry it up.”
Peter darted out to go get ready and Harley rolled his eyes, joking, “Wouldn’t that be wild? If Peter could turn into a spider?”
Tony gave Harley a pleading look and begged, “Please, don’t even joke about it. My poor heart can’t take it.”
Harley rolled his eyes, then grabbed his shoes as Peter burst back into the room. The duo took the elevator down to the garage, where Happy was waiting in his usual spot, and climbed into the car. The ride to school was spent in sleepy silence as Peter’s all-nighter caught up with him and Harley started falling back asleep against the window.
As soon as they arrived at Midtown, Peter jolted out of his doze and scrambled out of the car, darting over to where Ned and MJ were waiting. Harley followed in a half-asleep daze and reached the trio just as Ned hissed, “Dude, you can spit venomous webs? What even is your life, man? That’s so fucking cool!”
Peter preened at his boyfriend’s mini freak-out and Harley rolled his eyes, giving Peter a good-natured shoulder bump as he chimed in, “That’s what I said!”
Peter grinned and the foursome headed into the school as the bell rang.
I did so much research into spitting spiders for this fic that Google has started giving me ads for terrariums and places selling spiders. Thanks, Google.
Chapter 20: Hug Heap
Tony would never admit to being touch-starved. Luckily for him, his family doesn't need him to.
Sorry I haven't updated in a while, things have been crazy between school, Hurricane Dorian, and getting talked into DMing a D&D campaign for my friends (despite having only played D&D twice).
Shout-out to EthenConnor for requesting this! Hopefully it's what you wanted!
Also, my Tumblr is the-devil-in-the-details-666, if you want to send me requests over there.
If there was any form of Tony that Rhodey hated the most, it was mopey-Tony, because mopey-Tony was a fucking idiot.
Case in point:
“I don’t have a family, Rhodey.”
Rhodey sneezed, then sniffled and stated, “Man, these allergies are killing me.”
Tony quirked an eyebrow, replying, “I thought you didn’t have allergies, Platypus.”
Rhodey sniffled again before he answered, “I never told you? I’m allergic to bullshit.”
Tony gave Rhodey a Look and Rhodey raised an eyebrow in challenge, then stated, “Pretty sure that’s the look Pepper would give you if she heard what you just said. And god help you if Peter and Harley heard it.”
Tony scowled at Rhodey from his pile of blankets on the couch and Rhodey plopped down on the couch beside him, wrapping an arm around Tony. Tony leaned into him after a moment and Rhodey rested his chin on Tony’s head, asking, “Alright, man, spill. What’s got you all upset?”
Tony huffed at the accusation that something was wrong, but, after several minutes of sullen silence, he confessed, “I’m not good enough to be a dad to Peter and Harley.”
Rhodey ran his fingers through his best friend’s hair, then answered, “Bullshit. I know that Howard was a crap dad, so take it from someone who did have a good relationship with his dad: You are an excellent father to those boys. It’s obvious that you love them and want the best for them, even if you don’t like it. They look up to you and anyone with eyes can see that they love you just as much as you love them. And I get that it’s scary, but you know what’s an even scarier prospect? Losing them.”
Tony flinched and Rhodey squeezed him gently, adding, “So, as your best friend and the smart one here, I’m calling bullshit on your self-deprecation and hereby banning it.”
Tony laughed and relaxed against Rhodey, soaking in the comforting presence of his best friend.
It took Rhodey awhile to notice the pattern. The less physical affection Tony received, the mopeyer and sadder he was. Conversely, the more physical affection he received, the happier and less mopey he was. And, upon realizing that pattern, Rhodey immediately began plotting.
The plan took three days to arrange, but it was soon ready for implementation. It was a Friday night and Rhodey, Harley, and Peter were staying the night at the Tower to surprise Tony. FRIDAY had reported that Tony had been mopey all week, since he was alone at the Tower while Pepper and Rhodey were gone and Harley and Peter were busy with the start of school. And so, at 7:30 PM on the dot, Harley, Peter, and Rhodey showed up with blankets and pillows and began rearranging the living room while Tony was in his lab. To start off, Peter made quick work of hauling the couches against the walls so they were out of the way. Then the trio began retrieving mattresses from bedrooms. The mattress from Harley’s room, from Peter’s, Rhodey’s, and even from a guest room. Peter used a dissolving web to stick the sides of the mattresses together to form one giant mattress, then piled blankets and pillows on the monstrous mattress. As they did, Peter asked, “Are we supposed to wait for Ms. Potts to get here before we call Dad up?”
Rhodey smirked and answered, “She said to get him up here as soon as we’re ready. FRIDAY, please let Tony know that there’s something in the living room that he needs to see.”
The trio quickly hid in the blankets and, only moments later, Tony burst into the living room and stopped dead, looking gobsmacked. He slowly crept towards the mattress and nudged it, then let out a high-pitched yelp as Peter erupted from the blankets, grabbing Tony and pulling him into the pile. In a heartbeat, Tony was thoroughly buried in his best friend and sons, pinned on the mattress. Peter was curled on his left, with Harley mirroring on his right, and Rhodey was in the center, laying on top of Tony. Tony couldn’t help but laugh as he wigged his arms out from under himself, wrapping them around Peter and Harley as he asked, “What’s this about?”
Peter curled into the hold and rested his head against Tony’s shoulder, answering, “Rhodey said you were being all sad and mopey because you thought you weren’t a good dad.”
Harley suddenly cut in with an exclamation of, “Which is total bullshit, by the way! You’re a great dad!”
Peter nodded emphatically, snuggling closer to Tony, and continued, “Anyway, Rhodey suggested we surprise you with a movie night. Ms. Potts will be here soon and we’ll start the movie.”
Tony felt tears well up in his eyes and he tried to fight them back, mouth opening and closing as he tried to find his words. Finally, he just gave up and pressed a kiss to Peter’s head, then one to Harley’s, whispering, “Thank you.”
The elevator doors opened and Pepper emerged in her usual business clothes, a soft smile on her face as she looked over the pile. Rhodey grinned at her and waved for her to join them, prompting a laugh as she stated, “Go ahead and start the movie. I’ll be back in a minute. I want to put on comfortable clothes.”
Rhodey scooted to lay on top of Tony’s left side and, at Tony’s questioning, answered, “I’m making room for Pepper, man.”
FRIDAY put on the first Star Wars movie and, as the opening scenes started playing, Pepper returned in a pair of pajama pants and one of Tony’s shirts. She grinned as she noticed the open spot on top of Tony and settled into it, pressing a kiss to Tony’s head as she sighed, “It’s good to be home.”
Tony smiled and replied, “I missed you, Pep.”
He laughed as Peter and Harley shushed him, then relaxed further as Pepper began playing with his hair, running her fingers through it and gently working knots out of it. Tony felt his eyelids getting heavy and he couldn’t help but close them, nestling down into the warmth and affection that he was buried in. He could feel Peter’s and Harley’s breaths getting slower and deeper on either side of him as his sons drifted asleep and he gave a sleepy smile, tugging them closer as he drifted off himself, surrounded by four of the people he loved most in the world.