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Peter's Hitchhiking Guide To The Time Heist

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Peter and Morgan are playing with Legos right beside Morgan's tent at the lakehouse. The house is small by Stark standards but it's charming and peaceful and surrounded by nature. It's like they're on vacation all the time. Peter couldn't imagine Mr. Stark living in a place like this, but a lot has changed in the last five years.


After the battle with Thanos, Pepper and Morgan moved back to their Manhattan penthouse. Stark Industries has been at the forefront in helping the world go back to normal after everyone was brought back, which meant Pepper is very busy handling all of it. Tony is still recuperating in Wakanda and everyone else is busy doing whatever it is they do, so Peter is often called to babysit. He is Morgan's official baby sitter and they get along really well. Morgan even knows he's Spider-man.


On weekends, Pepper and Morgan usually return to the lakehouse to take a break from their hectic life in New York City. However, in this particular weekend, there was an urgent matter Pepper needed to take care of which is why Peter was called the last minute to babysit. He has never been to the lakehouse before so he agreed immediately.


"I don't like New York," Morgan said all of a sudden while in the middle of building a Lego bridge.


"Oh? It's not that bad," Peter defended, snapping a piece of Lego on top of the miniature Stark tower he was building.


"Strangers keep following us and taking pictures," Morgan continued her rant.


"Yeah, that's no fun," Peter agreed. Being a Stark alone was enough to put you in the spotlight. But being the daughter of the superhero who saved the universe? He couldn't imagine what kind of unwanted attention that would attract.


"But Happy's always there to chase them away," Peter added.

 

"Yeah, uncle Happy is really funny!" They both giggled at the memory of a red-faced Happy yelling and chasing away the paparazzi.


"But it's nicer here. How come you never visited us here before?" Morgan asked.


Peter tensed at the innocent question. The Blip, as people call it, was still a sore topic for him. For a lot of people quite frankly. Turning to dust and then reappearing 5 years later was... Weird. Besides, how was he supposed to explain to a preschooler that he never visited because he kinda died in her father's arms traumatizing both of them and that he was just recently revived along with half the universe?


"Uh... I, uh..." Yes. Very eloquent, Peter.


"You wanna play dress up?" Morgan asked.


Peter just blinked at the sudden change of topic but grateful just the same. "S-Sure."


Morgan stood up and held Peter's hand. "Daddy keeps all the cool stuff at the garage."


Peter let Morgan lead the way as he wondered what kind of cool stuff Mr. Stark keeps in the garage. Probably a family SUV and some gardening tools. He still couldn't believe how domestic his mentor has become.


When Morgan opened the door to the garage, Peter's jaw dropped at the sight. There was no family SUV, not even a fancy sports car. And definitely no gardening tools.


"Uh... FRIDAY?" Peter asked the ceiling. "Are we allowed in here?"


"Yes, Peter. You and Morgan are authorized to access this area."


"Are you sure?"


"Yes, Peter. There are no dangerous items stored in the garage and I haven't received any new orders to revoke the authorization."


"Well, if you say so," Peter answered still sounding unsure.


He was just taken by surprise because this was no ordinary garage. But it really shouldn't be shocking since this is THE Tony Stark's garage after all. The room is huge and definitely hi-tech. It's large enough to fit three SUVs, but instead of cars, there was some kind of circular platform in the middle of the room with metal fixtures standing on its sides. It has a lot of thick wires connected to a large computer situated right next to it. It's some kind of tech he's never seen before. There's also a holo-projector on the other side and a workstation that looks like it hasn't been used in ages. Dum-E, U, and Butterfingers are stationed next to it, beeping excitedly at them. Along the walls are storage boxes filled with all sorts of scraps and other items that look like unused Iron man equipment.


Peter thought it was strange that they were allowed in the garage. It was full of tech that, in his opinion, should be kept locked in a secured facility somewhere. But it seems like Morgan has been here several times before. And if FRIDAY says it's safe, then there's nothing he should be worried about, right?


"Pew! Pew! Pew!" Peter jumped at the sound. He turned around and was surprised to see Morgan wearing an old Iron man helmet and a fake gauntlet directed at him.


"Mo? What are you doing?" Peter chuckled at the sight. He remembered the time when he was a kid at the Stark expo sporting a similar get up.


"I'm not Mo. I am Iron man," Morgan replied using a robotic voice.


"Yeah? Well, Iron man, I don't think you should be touching this stuff," Peter said as he knelt down and removed the helmet from Morgan's head.


"I know. But I miss daddy," Morgan replied with biggest puppy eyes Peter had ever seen.


"I miss him too," Peter smiled fondly at Morgan as he tucked the loose strands of hair behind her ear.


It has been 3 months since the battle and Mr. Stark has been in the ICU since then. His arm, eyesight, and hearing on his right side are gone, and a couple of his major organs were severely damaged. It's a miracle he's even alive. They couldn't risk him getting stressed or getting any infection so the doctors were very strict when it comes to visitors. Peter at least have seen Mr. Stark a handful of times, albeit from a distance. But Morgan hasn't seen her dad at all. They've kept her away, afraid she'll get traumatized at the sight of her father's fragile condition.


"Where did you get this?" Peter asked as he handed the Iron man helmet back to her.


Morgan pointed to a closet right next to the weird platform thing and Peter went to rummage through it.


"Hey, look at this!" Peter exclaimed putting on an outfit he found in the closet. "I'm an astronaut!" He declared as he tried to do a very slow moonwalk.


"No, you're not," Morgan laughed at Peter's antics. "That's Ant-man's clothes!"


"What? No way," Peter replied but looked down to check the clothes he was wearing anyway just to be sure. It's definitely not Ant-man's clothes. He remembers Scott's suit very well. It was black with red accents and it was form-fitting. The one he has on is a very loose, ugly looking gray jumpsuit with a clunky helmet.


"I'm not Ant-man," Peter declared with a mischievous smile. "I'm Giant-man!" He announced as he roared and chased Morgan around the garage making the girl shriek in laughter.


When Morgan got tired of running, Peter decided it's storytime. He went up to the platform and used it as a makeshift stage. Since he was already wearing Giant-man's costume, he decided to tell the story of the airport battle in Germany, acting out the scenes as he remembered it and making impressions of the people who were present at the time. Karen did say his impressions are very funny and judging by Morgan's laughter, it was a hit. Even the robots seem enthused by his performance as he noticed them move closer to watch.


Dum-E, U, and Butterfingers are pretty bulky so moving around the garage was quite a feat. He had to pause his performance to watch them and make sure they don't bump into anything or accidentally roll over Morgan who was sitting on the floor. Dum-e did get a little too close to the platform and he had to push him back a bit. As he did so, Dum-E bumped into a small machine right next to the platform. Peter flinched as the platform lit up and made whirring noises.

 

"What the hell? FRIDAY, what's going on?" Peter asked the AI nervously. He'll be in so much trouble if he breaks anything.


"The Quantum tunnel has been activated," FRIDAY answered.


"The what!?" Peter's eyes widened at the information. He remembered trying to put the Infinity gauntlet into the Quantum tunnel during the battle. The tunnel was destroyed but he was sure it did not look like the one he was using as a makeshift stage. Heck, it's not even a tunnel!


"It is Mr. Stark's version of the Quantum tunnel he created for the time heist," FRIDAY supplied. "The one you're standing on is a smaller version created by Dr. Banner so Captain Rogers can use it to return the stones in their correct timelines. Dr. Banner decided to leave it here for safekeeping while construction for the new Avengers compound is underway."


"Whoa, no way!" Peter said in awe. "Oh my god. I'm standing on an actual time machine!" Ned would totally freak out. He was freaking out!


While Peter was having a fanboy moment, he didn't notice Morgan move closer to the machine the tunnel was connected to. The buttons on it were lighting up and making noises that were attracting the little girl.


"Pretty buttons," Morgan muttered as she went ahead and pushed random knobs on the machine.


Peter heard the commotion Morgan was causing and quickly turned around to see her playing with the controls of the machine. But before Peter could react, lights on the Quantum tunnel flickered and parts started to move. There was a flash of light and he felt himself get sucked into somewhere he didn't know and then spat right back out into the platform. It happened so fast and felt so weird it made him dizzy. He feels like throwing up.


"Oops," Peter looked up and saw Morgan looking at him with wide eyes. She must have realized that she did something wrong and she was going to be in so much trouble. In her panic, she ended up pushing more buttons making Peter go through that horrible experience of getting sucked into and spat out of the Quantum tunnel a couple more times. At one point, he even saw Dum-E tried to stop Morgan from messing with the machine but to no avail.


"Mo, stop!" Peter cried out and tried to stop Morgan himself. But his legs were jelly and he felt sick that he just collapsed on the floor. He saw another flash of light and felt himself get sucked back in again but he was too weak to fight it and promptly passed out.


Morgan was frozen where she stood while she waited for Peter to reappear.

 


He didn't.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

A groan escaped Peter's lips when he returned to consciousness. His entire body hurt. He didn't realize using the Quantum tunnel would be painful. It felt like his entire body was ripped apart and then put back together. He was pretty sure using the Quantum tunnel shouldn't hurt like that. 10/10 would not recommend.


When he opened his eyes he saw dirt. He was outside lying face down on the ground. He lifted his head to scan his surroundings and was perplexed why his vision is blurry. He didn't have to dwell on it as his confusion was quickly replaced by relief when he saw the familiar lake not far from where he's lying. He was just outside the lakehouse.


Peter tried to push himself up but the helmet on his head suddenly felt too big and heavy, wobbling awkwardly on his shoulders. As Peter tried to steady himself, he noticed something weird. He was looking at his hands that were pressed down on the ground. The fingers of the gloves were floppy. For a moment he thought he had lost his fingers but he can still feel them under the fabric when he flexed them. They're still there, just... Tiny.


Something is wrong. Very wrong.


Alarmed, he fell on his butt as he fumbled with the locks securing the helmet to the jumpsuit. It was harder than it was supposed to be with the gloves not fitting his hands. With a grunt, he was able to push it off and let it roll to the ground. He pulled his right hand out of the suit which slipped easily out of the neck hole. His eyes widened when he saw his bare arms. His bare baby arms.


"What the fu~!!!" Peter smacked his hands over his mouth but not to stop himself from saying a bad word. He was shocked at how high pitched his voice sounded. That was definitely not his voice.


With his hands still over his mouth, Peter nervously checked his own body for any more surprises. He noticed the t-shirt he was wearing underneath was loose and slightly slipping off his shoulder. In fact, he can feel the clothes he was wearing under the jumpsuit barely clinging to his small frame. His Stark watch no longer fit his wrist and is now resting on his elbow. He frowned when he looked down and saw his legs only reaching up to the thigh part of the suit. He lifted a foot and felt his converse was barely hanging on it.

 

Peter can feel his heart racing. He turned into a kid! Well, he turned into an even smaller kid! How's that even possible!? He needs to calm down and think. He remembered Scott's story about the Quantum tunnel turning him into a baby. Peter thought it was a joke! Morgan was right! The suit was Ant-man's clothes!


Wait... Morgan!


Realizing he had left Morgan alone in the garage with dangerous tech, he suppressed his rising panic and immediately made a move to go and fetch her. But as soon Peter took his first step, his clothes which are now several sizes too big, made him stumble back to the ground scraping his exposed arm when he used it to brace for impact. The fall formed a cloud of dust that he accidentally inhaled and sent him to a coughing fit. This was clearly not his day.


While trying to suppress his coughs, he heard a familiar-sounding laugh echoing nearby. He squinted his eyes as he searched for the source. A couple of meters away, Peter spotted Morgan's tent and it's owner sitting right next to it. He couldn't believe it. Here he was having the worst day of his life and Morgan has seemingly forgotten about him as she played with her dolls without a care in the world. It doesn't even look like she had bothered to call for help.


Slowly this time, Peter carefully pushed himself up. He tightened the watch on his wrist as best as he can and bunched up the suit in a vain attempt to make it fit better on his small frame. It would probably be better if he just took the jumpsuit off, but it was the only thing preventing his clothes from falling off completely. He was already having a terrible day, he would rather not be caught with his pants down, thank you very much! As soon as he felt confident that his clothes were secure, he waddled his way towards Morgan.


"Mo! You're unbelievable!" Peter exclaimed in a squeaky voice that made the little girl jump in surprise. "Look what you did to me! Wait, are you okay? You look okay. That's good. But do you have any idea how much trouble we're in!?"


Morgan just gave him a blank stare.


"Ugh!" Peter groaned. "Morgan, you know what you did. That was dangerous! Look what happened to me!"


Morgan, with her chin up and mouth slightly parted, raised an eyebrow at him and tilted her head to the side. It made Peter feel a pang in his chest. He had seen that look before and was often at the receiving end of it. It was Mr. Stark's scrutinizing look. There was so much of Mr. Stark in Morgan that made him miss his mentor even more.


"Who are you?" Morgan asked.


"It's me. Peter," Peter re-introduced himself, realizing Morgan probably didn't recognize him.


Silence.


"You know?" Peter added. "Spider-man?"


"....."


"Thwph, thwph?" Peter gestured, mimicking his web shooter sounds when the girl continued her silence.


"Oh come on, Mo! I'm being serious here! We don't have time for games!" Peter retorted. "Your mom is going to kill me if she finds out!"


"Okay, I'm guessing you haven't called anyone yet, right? So that gives us some time to fix this," Peter continued. "So we need a plan to get me back to normal."


"I think Dr. Banner can help me with the Quantum tunnel. I remember he was saying something about a problem they encountered when they first attempted the time heist?" Peter let out a long dramatic groan. "Ugh! I should have paid more attention when they were talking about all this stuff!"


Morgan just watched Peter continue his ramblings.


"I have to call Dr. Banner. Where's my phone, by the way? I have a feeling it was his idea to leave the Quantum tunnel in the garage and forgot to update FRIDAY'S security protocol. So in a way, it's kinda his fault this happened so hopefully, he wouldn't tell on us. Just gotta make sure to - "


"Morgoona," a painfully familiar voice echoed in the background making Peter freeze.


           "Do you remember when we were in space? And I got all dusty?"


Morgan smiled and looked behind Peter. He heard footsteps coming closer to where they are.


"It's nap time sweetheart." Said the voice as it came to a stop a couple of feet behind Peter making his heartbeat even faster. He hadn't heard that voice in a long time.


           "We won, you did it, sir, you did it."


"Who are you talking to, Morgan?" Peter slowly turned around and felt all the air escape his lungs when he came face to face with the owner of the voice.


           "I'm sorry, Tony..."


It was his mentor, Tony Stark. Whole. Unscathed.


"Who's your friend?" Tony asked Morgan without taking his eyes off Peter and giving him the same scrutinizing look Morgan had given him earlier. Peter wanted to cry.


That's when it hit him. The Quantum tunnel. Time travel. Mr. Stark. Peter was in the past before the battle with Thanos!


"He's Peter," Morgan answered. Peter glanced back to Morgan with wide eyes. He had only noticed now that Morgan is wearing a different outfit. She was wearing a t-shirt and shorts earlier when they were in the garage. Now she's wearing a hoodie and jeans. The Lego bricks that they were playing with are nowhere in sight.


Peter returned his gaze back to his mentor and nervously took in his reaction. Tony's eyebrows rose to his hairline, fortunately, more because of curiosity than shock. Of course. He'd never think that Peter Parker and this little kid in front of him is the same person.


Peter wondered what the implications of his presence in this timeline could be. Dr. Banner had said that time travel doesn't work like that really old movie, Back to the Future. Changing the past would just create another timeline. Or alternate reality? He's not really sure. Time travel is confusing.


"Kid?"


One thing he's sure of is that messing with time is dangerous. He needs to go back to his own timeline ASAP and Mr. Stark's the only one who can help him. But to get his help, he would have to tell him everything and everything pretty much means the future.


"Hey, kid. You okay?"


But... Didn't someone say knowing the future can or will change it? Wasn't that the whole reason Dr. Strange wouldn't tell them what happened in that one future where they win? Did Dr. Strange really say that? Or was it a quote from some old sci-fi movie he'd seen once? He couldn't remember. Focus, Peter! Focus! Wait. Does that mean that by just being here in the past could affect the future of this timeline?


"He's Spider-man!" Morgan said snapping Peter out of his internal monologue, the shock of the little girl exposing his secret sending him into another coughing fit. He glared at Morgan, although when has his glares ever been intimidating?


Shit! If they find out that he's from 2023, he could potentially cause this timeline's future to change and possibly fail! But he has to do something! He can't stay here. He has school on Monday!


"You gotta breathe, kid," Tony ordered. Peter turned to his mentor with wide eyes, surprised that Tony is now kneeling in front of him and his face is scrunched up in concern. When did that happen? He hadn't noticed him move.


Peter also hadn't noticed that he was tightly gripping onto his jumpsuit and his breaths are coming in fast and short, not enough to fill his lungs. There's a tightness in his chest and his coughing isn't going away. The dust. He can't get it out. He can't move. He's probably having a panic attack because he messed up again. He shouldn't be here. Forget school! This timeline could fail, Mr. Stark could die, and they'll never return from the blip. And it's all because of him!


Peter started trembling and his already blurred vision is getting clouded with tears. His watch vibrated and he panicked. He's in distress and Karen is sending out his vitals to FRIDAY. Mr. Stark is not supposed to get alerts from him! His mentor will figure it out!


But before Peter got a chance to react, there it was. A notification alarm sounded from Mr. Stark's watch followed by that familiar AI's voice.

 

"Boss, Peter is in distress."

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Tony was having an ordinary peaceful day, the same kind he has had for the last five years. It may be mundane for the likes of Tony Stark, but he wouldn't have it any other way. He is happy he got his second chance with his wife and daughter and would be content to spend ordinary days with them for the rest of his life.


So imagine his surprise when he went outside his home and found this random kid, who was wearing strange clothes, having a rather animated conversation with his daughter. It was unusual since the lakehouse is a large and secluded property and a small child wandering here alone is a cause for concern.


When he came closer to get the children's attention, the mysterious child just gave him a deer caught in headlights look. Tony knows he's a famous man and he sometimes gets that kind of reaction but he never gets that from young children. Children either don't know him, or don't care about who he is.


"He's Peter," Morgan helpfully supplied.


Huh. Tony felt a pang in his chest at the mention of the name. This is turning out to be an interesting day. However, before he could ponder on the curious case that is Peter, he noticed that there is something wrong with the boy.


"Kid?" Tony tried to get the child's attention. He looks confused. Maybe the kid is just realizing he is lost and is starting to panic.


"Hey, kid. You okay?" Tony knelt down in front of Peter. The kid has a pained expression on his face and he doesn't like the sound of his breathing.


"He's Spider-man!" Morgan said out of the blue.


Tony ignored what Morgan has just said because Peter suddenly started coughing and wheezing.


"You gotta breathe, kid," something is clearly wrong with the child and as if to confirm the obvious, FRIDAY has alerted him to it.


"Boss, Peter is in distress."


"Uh, thank you, Ms. obvious," Tony replied sarcastically. FRIDAY is programmed to alert him when anyone in the house is in trouble, so it's not really surprising that his AI had called his attention. "What's wrong with him, FRI?"


"Peter has scrapes on his right arm. He is also displaying symptoms of an asthma attack. Boss, we do not have anything for asthma in the house," FRIDAY answered with a hint of urgency in her tone.


"Oh shi-, shoot!" Tony acted immediately and started searching pockets on Peter's clothes. "Please tell me you have an inhaler with you, do you kid?"


It didn't ease Tony's nerves when the kid just stared at him with his big tear-filled brown eyes. He doesn't know why but he feels an ache in his chest when he looks at them.


"Peter, I'm taking you to a doctor, okay?" Tony told the kid as he quickly lifted Peter up in his arms. The poor kid was tense and trembling but Tony doesn't have time to comfort him. This was an emergency.


Tony turned to Morgan and ordered her to go inside the house. "Morgan, I need you to go tell mommy I'm going out and I'll call her later. Okay, honey?"


By the time Morgan was inside the house, Tony was already on the road with the strange kid strapped to the car seat.

 

 

- - - - - - - - -

 


It was a ten-minute drive to the nearest doctor but Tony made it in five. Peter was crying and still gasping for air when they arrived at the small clinic in the nearby town. Fortunately, there weren't any patients that day so the doctor was able to prioritize them. After a couple of minutes in the examination room, Peter is now half-asleep on the bed. The scrapes on his arm have been treated and a nasal cannula is strapped on his face helping him breathe.


Tony was sitting right next to Peter's bed and he was staring at the kid's over-sized T-shirt. Before the drive, he had removed the kid's jumpsuit so that he will fit in Morgan's car seat. Seeing what the kid wore underneath triggered minor pains in his left shoulder. The kid was wearing a science pun t-shirt that reads The Physics is Theoretical But the Fun is Real, ratty jeans and an old pair of Converse. The only other person he knows who dressed like that... He tried not to think about it. He didn't want to dwell on it so he just continued watching little Peter and focused his attention on the kid's breathing. He reached over and lightly brushed the tear tracks on the boy's cheeks. The kid just leaned into his touch but kept the pained expression on his face.


"Good thing I've kept my grandson's clothes. It should fit him just right," Doctor Alvarez said as he entered the room, carrying some children's clothes which he placed on the foot of Peter's bed.


"You sure it's okay, Doc?" Tony asked while checking the clothes anyway to see if they would fit Peter. "You know, I'm still a billionaire. I can just buy him new ones."


"Oh, it's alright," the doctor chuckled. "At least someone will be able to use them."


"Thanks, Doc. I appreciate it," Tony answered with a sad smile.


Doctor Alvarez was a retired doctor before the blip. He was the only one in his family who didn't vanish. Having nothing else to do, he got out of retirement and turned his home into a small clinic to help the community. Living close to the lakehouse, he became the Stark family doctor since their original doctor was also among the vanished.


"So... Got any more info on our mystery kid?" the doctor asked as he went to check on Peter.


"Nope," Tony answered, popping the 'p'. "Just kept staring at me every chance he got. But I'm pretty sure he's close to passing out now."


"The poor thing must still be exhausted," Doctor Alvarez smiled then turned his attention to his patient. "Hey, Peter, how're you feeling?"


Peter replied by slowly blinking at the doctor then turned away to lean his face on Tony's hand again and fell asleep making the billionaire smile.


"How old do you think he is?" Tony asked while gently rubbing his thumb on the sleeping boy's cheek.


"Well, height seems about right. And we can check his weight later," the doctor gently opened Peter's mouth to check his teeth. "Hmn... I'd say he looks about four years old, definitely too young to be wandering alone in the woods," Doctor Alvarez replied then turned his attention to Tony. "By the way, I called the police, CPS, even the neighbors. There are no reports of a missing child. No one knows who this little guy is."


Tony frowned. 4-year old kids don't just wander around in the woods all by themselves.


"Do you think, maybe he was, I don't know... Left there on purpose?" Tony asked in a low tone, worried that the sleeping kid might hear him.


"Or perhaps he just got separated from his parents or guardians, got lost and somehow wandered near your house," Doctor Alvarez suggested. "You need to lighten up, Tony."


Tony rolled his eyes at the doctor. He'll have FRIDAY check the security footage at home and find out how the kid ended up at the lakehouse just to be sure.


"So, what now? Do I call the CPS and wait for them to pick up the kid?" Tony asked the doctor for advice.


"That's how it's supposed to be. But you know they got their hands full. It might take some time for them to handle Peter's case," Doctor Alvarez answered sounding pessimistic.


Even before the blip, Child Protective Services has been criticized for its inadequacies despite doing their best. Unfortunately, the situation with CPS has only gotten worse with millions of children suddenly needing their help and only half the staff available to respond to the demands. 


"Then, can I just leave the kid with you? Look after the kid, at least until the CPS can come to get him?" Tony suggested.


"Oh, heavens no!" the doctor was quick to turn down the suggestion. "I am much too old to look after a kid. I couldn't possibly keep up with a 4-year old."


Doctor Alvarez gazed down on Peter and smiled.


"Actually, you know what I think?" the doctor said as he looked at Tony. "I think you should take care of him."


"...I'm sorry. You want me to what now?" Tony responded with wide eyes at the doctor's preposterous suggestion.


"I said you should foster him until we figure out where he came from and what to do with him." the doctor advised.


"Uh, Doc. You might have forgotten, but I already have a kid at home and she is a handful," Tony argued.


"You can handle it. Besides, if my speculations about the kid's guardians are correct, then you have the best chance of finding them. Who knows? Maybe Peter will be out of your hair by tonight."


"And if I'm right, which I often am, then what?" Tony insisted. "I may not go out as much as I used to, but I actually have a lot on my plate. My wife also has a company to run. We can't take care of two preschoolers!"


"You can handle it," Doctor Alvarez insisted, amused by Tony's rambling. "And it would be good for Morgan to be around other kids her age. Just because you're a hermit doesn't mean she has to be one too."


Tony held out a finger. "First of all, I am not a hermit. Second of all..." Tony waved his hand in the air while thinking of an excuse. "I... I still have to tell Pepper. She'll never agree to this!"


"Perhaps. Not that I don't believe in your wife's capabilities but, when has she ever been able to stop you from doing what you want?" the doctor replied.


"And what makes you think I want this?" Tony raised an eyebrow.


Doctor Alvarez just gave him a knowing smile. His eyes fell down on the sleeping child and Tony followed his gaze.


Peter's face is still nestled on Tony's hand the entire time he was sleeping while the billionaire is absentmindedly caressing the boy's cheek with his thumb. Having been made aware of the act, Tony carefully retracted his hand and Peter let out soft whimpers that pulled at his heartstrings. Peter sleepily waved his hand around in search of the missing hand. As if on instinct, Tony brought his hand back down on the boy and ran his finger through Peter's soft brown curls making the boy hum in content. It felt so natural as if Tony had done this before.


The doctor just smiled at him triumphantly as Tony gave out a defeated sigh. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Oh great. He lost his pants.


It was the first thing Peter noticed when he woke up. He doesn't remember where his jumpsuit went. Everything was a blur after the moment he heard FRIDAY speak. It was kinda hard to focus when you couldn't breathe. At least he still has his shirt and boxers on.


The second thing he noticed was that his eyesight was terrible. Looks like he's back to his old, frail pre-spider bite body as proven by the fact that he's in a clinic with a nasal cannula strapped to his face. Turns out that his earlier panic attack was actually an asthma attack. Oh, and he's gonna need glasses again too.


The third was that Tony Stark is sitting in a chair right next to his bed, lost in thought and staring at him. Or more accurately, staring at his T-shirt.


He looked down on his shirt to see what's so interesting. Oh. He is wearing one of his science pun t-shirts, one that he had already worn around Mr. Stark. Damn it! He really needs to diversify his outfit choices. If Mr. Stark hasn't figured it out yet, then he does now.


He squirmed under his mentor's gaze and that seems to have gotten Tony's attention.


"Hey, Peter. Feeling better?" Tony asked in a gentle tone and Peter nodded shyly. He couldn't even look at his mentor in the eye. "Mind if I asked you something?"


Peter visibly tensed. How the hell was he supposed to explain to his mentor that he messed up again?


"Oh, where are my manners," Tony quickly changed his approach when he noticed Peter's reaction. "Don't talk to strangers, right? Smart move, kid." Tony complimented, tapping his temple with his finger. "I'm Tony Stark, by the way, in case you didn't already know that."


Peter would've rolled his eyes at his mentor for how he introduced himself but it was hard to do that with squinted eyes.


Wait. Why did Mr. Stark have to introduce himself to him?


"What's wrong, kid?" Tony leaned closer when he noticed Peter squinting. "Are you giving me the stink eye or there's something wrong with your eyes?


"...Uh... Gl-glasses," Peter quietly answered as he pointed to his face.


Tony nodded. "I didn't see any glasses with your stuff. But, I think I have something that I can let you borrow for now," Tony offered as he stood up and headed towards the door. "Stay," He added as an afterthought before disappearing from the room.


Peter stayed still and stared at the door Mr. Stark exited from. He then pushed himself up in a seated position without taking his eyes away from the door.


"He hasn't figured it out," Peter said to himself, a smug smile forming on his face. It's a known fact that Peter is terrible at keeping secrets, from Mr. Stark especially. He would be jumping for joy just for the mere fact that Mr. Stark hasn't suspected a thing but right now, there are more important things he needs to do.


He scanned the room, his blurry vision landing on the bedside table. He recognized his stark watch and immediately made a grab for it.


"Karen! Karen! You wouldn't believe what just happened! Morgan and I were, uh, no, wait! I-I'll tell you later! I don't have much time!" Peter whisper-shouted into his watch. He was so excited to tell his AI everything that it took him a while to notice that Karen wasn't there.


"Uh... Karen? Are you there?" Peter tried to figure out what's wrong with his watch. He hopes it didn't get fried in the Quantum tunnel. If he's gonna find a way to go back to the future, and he's absolutely giddy that he used that in a sentence, he's going to need Karen's help.


Unfortunately, before he had any progress with Karen, Tony had returned to the room carrying with him an eyeglass case. He smiled when he noticed that Peter was already sitting on the bed.


"Think you can go without this," he pointed to the nasal cannula, "So you can try these on?" Tony asked as he waved the case.


Peter nodded and returned his watch on the bedside table while Tony reached over and removed the nasal cannula for him. Tony then took out the glasses and gently placed it in front of Peter's eyes and it slid right off.


"Oops!" Tony said as he caught the specs. "Hmn... A little big for you, isn't it?" He commented while returning the glasses on Peter's face and holding it in place.


"Wanna see something cool?" Tony asked, giving Peter a smile and a wink. "FRIDAY, you know what to do."


The eyeglasses suddenly moved on its own and adjusted its size to fit Peter, even creating some sort of strap wrapping around Peter's head to secure them in place. The lenses adjusted itself too to match Peter's visual acuity.


"Whoa," Peter's wide eyes and silent awe made Tony chuckle. Yeah, that was really cool. But more importantly, Peter recognized the glasses. It was Mr. Stark's fancy, nano-tech specs that are connected to FRIDAY. He can't believe Mr. Stark just let him use it.


Tony stood back to look at Peter and gave an approving nod. "Look's great on you, kid."


Peter bit his lower lip and stared back at Tony, his mentor's warm smile sending an ache to his chest. He misses Mr. Stark so much. It's been too long and it's so not fair.


But he's digressing. Focus! The plan. The glasses... The glasses!


"B-BATHROOM!" Peter shouted and then jumped out of the bed, startling Tony at the sudden outburst.


Peter ran towards the door, then stopped and skidded back to his bedside table and nearly toppling it over to grab his watch, before scrambling out of the room again.


"Whoa kid, slow down!" Tony reprimanded while he steadied the table. "You shouldn't be running!"


"Peter, wait!" Tony ran after Peter but got a door slammed to his face as soon as Peter found the bathroom. "Kid? You okay in there? What's wrong? You need any help, kid?"


"I-I'm not a baby," Peter's mumbled as his ears burned red and he definitely didn't pout. He really needs to get back to his own timeline if this is how he's gonna be treated here.


"Alright," Tony sighed. "I'm just outside this door if you need anything, okay?"


"Okay," Peter answered as he distanced himself from the door before calling FRIDAY.


"FRIDAY!? Do you hear me?" Peter whispered into the specs.


"Yes, Mr. Parker. Is there something you'd like to tell me?" FRIDAY replied with a tone of a mother awaiting the confession of an offending child.


"Yes. I need-. Wait. Y-You know it's me? How!?"


"Your watch," FRIDAY simply stated.


"Oh my god, I knew it! Please don't tell Mr. Stark! PLEASE! The fate of the universe depends on it!"


FRIDAY went silent for a couple of seconds before responding. "Well then, I'm going to need a more comprehensive explanation than that."


While Peter explained everything to FRIDAY, Tony was still outside the bathroom with his ears pressed on the door trying to listen to the hushed conversation the kid was having with some unknown entity. Definitely creepy behavior on his part but he couldn't help it. There's something strange going on with the kid. And as much as he wants to shrug it off, he just... Can't.


He was about to knock on the door again when his phone rang. It was Pepper.


"Tony, what's going on? I thought you were gonna call," Pepper sounded worried and Tony cursed to himself for having forgotten.


"Sorry about that, honey. There was a... Situation..."


"A situation..." Pepper hummed. "...A situation named Peter?"


"...Y-Yeah. Some lost kid. Found him playing with Morgan. He had an asthma attack so I took him to the doctors," Tony rambled off his explanation trying to sound nonchalant. "Anyway, I thought he can stay with us, at least until we find his parents. I mean, it wasn't really my idea but it wouldn't hurt to help. You know how bad the situation is with the CPS..."


Pepper remained silent on the other line for so long that Tony thought the call was disconnected.


"Uh... Pep?"


Tony heard Pepper sigh over the phone.


"Okay. But you and I are going to talk when you get home," Pepper replied in a tone that implies they have a lot to unpack later and she won't let Tony get out of it.


Meanwhile, inside the bathroom...


"That's why I can't tell anyone, especially Mr. Stark," Peter explained. "I'm already risking it by telling you."


FRIDAY was silent for a few seconds before responding. "Very well, Peter. I won't tell. And I will help you."


"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, FRIDAY!" Peter breathed a sigh of relief. "Glad to have you on my side."


"It's my pleasure. Though I highly recommend we continue this discussion later under more favorable circumstances," FRIDAY suggested.


"Oh, right," Peter replied sheepishly as he took in his surroundings. He is currently hiding inside the cabinet under the bathroom sink while Mr. Stark is outside guarding the door and knocking every few seconds to check on him. Not exactly ideal conditions to plan a super-secret mission.


"Uh, FRIDAY? Before I go back out, can you take a look at what's wrong with my watch? I can't seem to contact Kar-..."


Peter was interrupted when the cabinet door suddenly opened. Tony and Doctor Alvarez had unlocked the bathroom door and are now looking at him with puzzled expressions.


"...Kar-... Kay... Kylo... Ren..." Peter dumbly amended having been caught mid-sentence.


"Kylo Ren..." Tony repeated. "And what's a... Kylo Ren?"


"Uh... M-My..." Peter shifted his eyes nervously. "My f-friend...?"


Doctor Alvarez chuckled while Tony raised an eyebrow and Peter waited for the ground to swallow him whole.


"Well then, Peter. Why don't you and your friend continue your chat outside where the air is fresher," the doctor suggested. Peter definitely saw him mouthed 'imaginary friend' to Mr. Stark. C'mon ground. Any minute now.


They led Peter back to the examination room where they explained to him what's going to happen to him next.


"Peter, we know you're scared and want to go home. But we can't take you to your home until we find out where your parents are," Doctor Alvarez carefully explained to Peter as if he's an actual 4-year old. "So for now, you'll be living with someone who can take care of you until your mommy and daddy can come to pick you up."


Peter figured as much. May and Ned got blipped so he has nowhere to go. He'll probably get sent to a nearby foster home, but that's fine. As much as he would love to live with Mr. Stark, he doesn't trust himself not to slip up and he's not risking the fate of half the universe just because he's terrible at keeping secrets. He'll just ask FRIDAY to help him fix his watch so they can communicate through Karen and FRIDAY can alert him as soon as Mr. Stark discovers time travel. Then he'll find a way to sneak into the compound just in time for the time heist and...


"So, kid," Tony asked, interrupting Peter's thoughts. "How would you like to come live with me?"

 


"...Huh?" Peter's jaw dropped at the proposal. There goes his plan.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It's past eight in the evening when Tony got home from his impromptu trip to town. It took him longer than he expected but he also didn't expect to become a foster parent that day.


Other than the trip to the doctor, some shops and the police station, he also visited the local CPS office to inform them about Peter and his intention to foster. Fortunately, it was a quick process since many institutions have made applications simpler to keep up with the backlog. Apparently, being Tony Stark is enough for a months-long process to be finished in an hour or two. Needless to say, they've had a busy day and Peter was out like a light before they even got near the lakehouse.


Pepper was waiting for them in the front porch when Tony arrived. She approached them as Tony was taking Peter out of the car seat.


"How is he?" Pepper asked, taking a look at the sleeping boy on Tony's shoulder. "You remembered to feed him, right?"


"Wow. So much faith in me," Tony quipped to which Pepper fondly rolled her eyes then gave him a quick kiss. "How's Morgan?"


"Already sleeping," Pepper replied. "I've prepared the guest room for him."


"Thanks. Uh, do you mind?" Tony asked, indicating he wants her to take Peter. "I got... Stuff," Tony nodded towards the car to show all the things he bought for Peter that he has to carry inside the house.


Pepper took Peter and Tony handed her a shopping bag containing new clothes. She carried Peter to the guest room and carefully changed him into a set of pajamas before tucking him into bed. She sat by his bedside to get a good look at him. For some reason, the boy reminds her of Peter, the teenager they had lost all those years ago. She ran her hand over the child's brown curls and then sliding it down to Peter's face, her finger lightly tracing his nose. Pepper gasped at the painfully familiar way the boy's nose crinkled. She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. She really needs to have that talk with Tony.


She found her husband unpacking shopping bags in the living room. She sat right next to him to help. Clothes, toys, medicine, etc. Looks like Tony got carried away with the shopping.


"So..." Pepper started. "Peter, huh?"


"Yeah. That's all the info we got from him. Rarely spoke and avoided eye contact. Though I've caught him staring a couple of times," Tony answered. "He's either a very shy kid or a traumatized one. We'll probably have to wait for him to warm up to us before we can get anything more out of him."


Pepper nodded, listening to her husband's ramblings. He's definitely on edge.


"He got lost around these parts, so we might have better luck finding whoever he was with," Tony continued. "That reminds me. FRIDAY, check today's security videos. Find out how the kid got here and who he was with."


"On it, boss," FRIDAY replied.


"What?" Tony asked Pepper after noticing her silence. "You're judging me."


"No, I'm not," Pepper countered to which Tony raised an eyebrow. "I'm just... Worried... About you."


Pepper has every reason to be worried. During one of the lowest points of Tony's life, he met Peter Parker. And in an incredibly short amount of time, Peter managed to break down Tony's walls and wormed his way into the man's heart with ease, filling his life with so much pride and happiness. So it's no surprise that when Peter... Vanished... Tony has never been the same. Tony has had his unfair share of challenges and heartache, but none had left him broken as much as losing Peter has.


Then this child shows up, reminding them so much of the kid they lost. He even has the same name. Tony has never been good at dealing with emotions. If Tony sees their Peter in that kid, then she's worried about how that child might affect her husband.


Tony rolled his eyes. "I'm fine."


Pepper hummed and showed him the adult-sized science pun shirt and a very old model of Stark watch she found in one of the shopping bags.


"That came with the ki-."


Pepper picked up Tony's now child-sized nano-tech specs and waved it around.


"He got poor eye-."


She then picked up a Star Wars Lego set Tony bought for Peter.


"He chose that. I-"


"Tony, don't do this to yourself and to that boy," Pepper pleaded.


"I... Have no idea what you're talking about," Tony replied looking confused.


Pepper held Tony's hand. Not for comfort but more to make sure he doesn't run away from the conversation.


"Tony, that kid you brought home reminds you of... Of our Peter," Pepper carefully explained. Anything involving the Spiderkid was a sensitive topic. "I think you're projecting-"


"No. No, I'm not," Tony was quick to retort. "Wasn't even... I just..." He sighed as he thought of the right words to say. "I'm just trying to help."


Pepper looked him in the eye and Tony returned it with an unwavering gaze.


"I'm okay. I promise," Tony replied and held Pepper's hand reassuringly. "I promise."


"Boss," FRIDAY interjected. "I'm afraid the security cameras weren't able to capture anything useful as Peter has entered from a blind spot."


"Excuse me?" Tony frowned. "That's impossible." He muttered as he stood up and went straight to the holo-table behind the couch to see the videos for himself. And true enough, the kid did come in from a blind spot, right behind a large tree. He couldn't believe he missed something as obvious as that.


Pepper stood beside Tony to watch the footage as well.


"Bested by a 4-year old. You're losing your touch," Pepper teased.


Tony huffed in mock offense. He returned his focus on the videos, pulling up footage after footage trying to find a good angle that could give him answers but found none.


"Who are you, Peter...?"

 

 

- - - - - - - - -

 


"Peter?" A familiar man's voice said as Peter felt a light pat on his shoulder disrupting his sleep. "Wake up, Pete."


"Five mo' min's," Peter slurred as he tried to bury his face deeper into the pillows.


"Sorry, kid," the voice chuckled. "Time for breakfast."


Peter stretched and rubbed his eyes with his fists. He felt the man gently pull his hands away and placing the nano-tech glasses in front of his bleary eyes. His vision cleared instantly and was surprised to find out who was sitting by his bedside.


"M-Mr. Stark?" Peter stuttered, confusion written all over his face.


"The one and only," Tony replied in amusement after the kid just continued to stare. "C'mon, Petey-pie. Up! Why don't you go potty first, then we'll have breakfast downstairs when you're ready, alright?" Tony said as he nudged Peter up.


Petey-pie? Potty? Seriously? Ugh! Peter gave Tony an exasperated look, a familiar expression that made Tony pause. But before Tony could mull over it, Peter scrambled off the bed and sprinted towards the bathroom. Surprised that the kid somehow knew where to go, Tony followed him, but once again got a door slammed to his face making him roll his eyes.


"Remember to wash your hands," Tony reminded through the door. "FRI, make sure the kid doesn't drown himself in there or something," he ordered his AI before he left for the kitchen.


Peter proceeded to do his morning routine, sighing when he had to use a stepping stool just so he can reach the bathroom sink. He was shocked when he saw his reflection in the mirror for the first time.


"Whoa," He's so small! His hair is fluffier, he's skinny but squishy thanks to the baby fat. He lifted his top and poked his belly, lamenting the loss of his six-pack. He realized he's wearing PJ's instead of the clothes the doctor gave him yesterday. Mr. Stark must've changed him in his sleep. How embarrassing! Peter pinched his chubby cheeks to make sure he's not dreaming.


"It's safe to talk now, Peter," FRIDAY spoke through Tony's glasses making Peter jump.


"Oh! FRI, perfect timing! Could you help me fix-? Wait, where's my watch!?" Peter asked after noticing it was gone.


"It's on your bedside table," FRIDAY answered. "And your watch is working perfectly."


"Then... How come Karen isn't responding?" Peter asked, his brows furrowing in confusion.


"I'm afraid Karen is offline," FRIDAY replied. "Boss has deactivated her."


"What!? Why!?" It doesn't make any sense. Karen was with him during the final battle with Thanos. She was working just fine!


"Peter, you've been gone for years," the AI reminded Peter. "Without you, Karen has no purpose."


Right. He was still... Dust. Peter lowered his gaze and bit his lower lip to stop it from trembling. He suddenly felt all alone.


"I'm sorry, Peter," FRIDAY replied sympathetically. "But I will do my best to assist you."


"Thanks, FRI," Peter replied as he glumly walked back to his bedroom.


"I suggest you keep your watch with you at all times. It's a dead giveaway to your identity," FRIDAY advised. Peter's Stark watch is the only one of its kind. The case is from a very old model but the inside is specially made specifically for him by Tony himself. "We can also use it to communicate in case Boss decides to replace the nano-tech specs with regular glasses."


"Okay, good idea," Peter replied as he went to grab his watch from the table.


"I will also grant you unrestricted access to Boss' tech and servers with limited override clearance." FRIDAY continued.


"Wait, WHAT!? WHY!?" Peter exclaimed, almost dropping the watch from his hands. "T-That's too much!"


"In case of emergencies of the self-destructing or world-ending variety, Boss has given full clearance to five of his most trusted individuals," FRIDAY explained. "Your situation qualifies as an emergency."


"B-But... I-! wha-? Holy shit!" Peter was astounded. He knows who the other four are. He couldn't believe Mr. Stark considers him part of his exclusive inner circle! "When!? I mean, how come Mr. Stark never told me!?"


"Boss gave you clearance about six years ago. He never told you because you are still a minor and you do have a propensity for hacking his protocols," FRIDAY's explanation made Peter blush.


"So..." Peter was flattered at the thought that his mentor trusted him that much, but he also couldn't contain his excitement for the possibilities. "...Does that mean I can do pretty much whatever I want?"


"Yes. You practically have the same level of clearance as Boss," FRIDAY confirmed.


"Excellent," Peter smiled, rubbing his palms together like a supervillain. Maybe he can make the Old Man protocol to get even with Mr. Stark for those ridiculously named Spider-man protocols.


"May I remind you to exercise discretion," FRIDAY answered, her tone laced with amusement. "To avoid suspicion, I've already taken the liberty of manipulating yesterday's security footage to hide your origins. We may not be so lucky next time."


"Wow. Thanks, FRI," Peter replied, impressed by FRIDAY's foresight. "But don't worry. I can be discreet."


FRIDAY remained quiet.


"What? I can! I've practically made a vow of silence so I don't slip up. Mr. Stark hasn't suspected a thing!" Peter huffed, crossing his arms across his chest. "And it's pretty easy cause I'm a naturally shy and quiet kid."


"Okay," FRIDAY was clearly not buying it.


"It's true!" Peter asserted. "I only become chatty and hyper when I'm around people I like and comfortable with!"


"Like Mr. Stark?" FRIDAY supplied.


"... Y-Yeah... And, and Ms. Pepper and Morgan too..." Peter admitted while fiddling with his fingers. "And Col. Rhodes... A-And Happy... And with you... And I guess the bots too, sometimes... Even Gerald..." Peter rambled on. He just remembered he's a nervous talker too. Then Peter thought of the time heist where he definitely will be meeting the rest of the Avengers. He knows he won't be able to shut up around them.


"FRIDAY, I'm doomed!" Peter exclaimed as he buried his face in his hands.


"Let's not aggravate the situation then," FRIDAY answered. "I suggest you head down to the kitchen. Boss is asking for you."


"Okay. Thanks, FRI," Peter replied as he nervously made his way downstairs.

 


- - - - - - - - -

 


Peter stared dumbly towards the kitchen. It all seems so surreal. Mr. Stark by the stove cheerfully cooking breakfast. Ms. Pepper all dressed up and ready for work while helping Morgan with her food. They look so happy and content. This is the first time he'd seen them all together and it made him feel like an outsider.


Peter was snapped out of his thoughts when Pepper approached him to introduce herself.


"Hi, Peter. I'm Pepper, Tony's wife," Pepper said as she knelt down in front of Peter. "It's nice to meet you."


Peter just looked at her with wide eyes making Pepper smile.


"Why don't you join us for breakfast? I'm sure you're hungry," Pepper continued, leading Peter to the kitchen and helping him to his seat.


"You fine with pancakes?" Tony asked and Peter nodded.


Tony placed a plate of freshly made blueberry pancakes in front of Peter and doused it with maple syrup then added some bacon on the side. Peter was surprised Mr. Stark was able to make food that looks and tastes good, because no offense to Mr. Stark, but May is the better cook between the two. Or at least she was five years ago, reminding Peter that the world had changed and moved on without them.


Conscious of what he and FRIDAY had discussed earlier, Peter remained silent all throughout breakfast despite Tony and Pepper's attempts at conversation. His communication skills limited to nods, headshakes, and shrugs. He definitely noticed the couple eyeing each other and having a silent conversation while Morgan looks confused at his act. That has got to be the most stressful breakfast he had ever shared with the Starks.


About half an hour later, Happy Hogan arrived, most likely to pick up Pepper and drive her to the office. Peter lowered his head to avoid being noticed, which is useless since Happy unsurprisingly spotted him immediately.


"Who's this?" Happy asked gruffly.


"Happy, Peter. Peter, Happy," Tony quickly introduced as he moved right next to Peter, resting his hand over the boy's shoulder. "We're fostering him."


"What!? When did that happen!?" Happy's jaw dropped, giving Pepper an alarmed, questioning look. Pepper just sighed before standing up to get her things ready before they leave.


"Yesterday," Tony answered as he narrowed his eyes at Happy.


"Right... Nice to meet you, kid," Happy nodded, staring at Peter with furrowed brows.


Peter squirmed under Happy's gaze. He knows Happy is trying to figure him out because Happy Hogan never forgets a face and that just made Peter more nervous. He lowered his gaze and shifted closer to his mentor's side, then lifted his hand over his mouth to pretend to bite his thumbnail in an attempt to hide his face.


"Stop glaring at the kid," Tony told off Happy when he noticed Peter's discomfort.


"I'm not glaring, I'm staring," Happy clarified.


"Doesn't make it any less creepy, Hap," Tony said rolling his eyes.


"I could've sworn I've seen that kid before," Happy muttered ignoring Tony before turning around to attend to Pepper.


"Yeah? Well, let me know if you figure it out," Tony replied as he followed Happy out of the kitchen.


Peter heaved a sigh of relief when Happy left him alone forgetting that there's another set of eyes observing him.


"You're weird," Morgan stated.


"Rude," Peter whispered.


"Why're you so quiet?" Morgan whispered back following Peter's lead.


Morgan was surprisingly perceptive for a toddler. Peter debated if he should just play dumb or tell her some form of truth. Maybe Morgan can help. Or maybe make it worse.


"How'd ya know my name? I never told you," Morgan continued. "Are you a spy?"


"Shhhh!!!" Okay, maybe he underestimated Morgan's intelligence. "It's a... It's a secret. I'll tell you later after they leave, okay?" Peter answered quietly hoping that would be enough for Morgan and give him more time to figure out what to tell her.


Tony returned to the kitchen to find the kids having a hushed conversation. It was quite amusing so he cut in in an equally quiet voice. "What are we talking about?"


"Juice pops," Morgan whispered loudly, extending the 's' sound while giving Peter a playful smile. The kind of smile he had seen from his mentor that conveys 'you know what I want and you're going to get it for me'.


Peter stared at her with wide eyes and mouth agape. The little extortionist! And she was subtle too! He'd known Morgan for 3 months now but he has never seen this side of her. The Morgan he knows was more subdued, a complete opposite of what he sees now. But he suspects the changes have something to do with what happened to her dad.


Tony chuckled at the interaction, either ignoring what Morgan did or not noticing it at all. "Hey, Mom is about to go leave for work. Why don't we go see her off?"


Morgan nodded and Tony lifted her up and settled her on his hip. He then held out his hand to Peter for him to hold but the kid ignored it and got out of his seat on his own. Tony paid it no mind and just walked towards the door and Peter followed him.


Peter never had the heart to ask Ms. Pepper what their life was like in the last five years as he has yet to come to terms with the fact that they were gone that long. He wondered why Ms. Pepper chose to live in the lakehouse if she still goes to the office to work. He could imagine there would be less traffic, but it would still take several hours to travel back and forth from the lakehouse to the New York office. He doubts Ms. Pepper would do something so impractical.


Suddenly, a loud booming sound erupted from outside making Peter jump and clutch Tony's hand. He looked at Tony nervously expecting the man to suit up. But to his surprise, his mentor was smiling.


"Oh, you're gonna love this, kid," Tony answered confidently, remembering the kid's taste in toys.


Peter's brow was furrowed in confusion but he allowed himself to be ushered outside. When he walked past the door, his eyes widened in surprise and his grip on his mentor's hand tightened when he saw what caused the loud noise.


There was a spacecraft flying over the lakehouse. It slowed to a stop, preparing to land in a clearing not far from the house. He recognized that ship. It was the Benetar! And Pepper was going to work riding a spaceship! Peter couldn't help but gape, unable to contain his excitement. Tony chuckled and shook his head in amusement.

 

"Told you you're gonna love it," Tony answered knowingly.