Stark Jr., Chapter 1:
Peter’s face pulled into a grimace as motor oil splashed on his tongue. The taste wasn’t really all that bad. It wasn’t bad until he realized exactly what had just entered his mouth. His lips went lopsided at the thought, eyes squinting in disgust.
Tony's laugh in the background made Peter’s head swivel, snapping to the corner of the room where Tony was now standing by the refrigerator. A blush crept onto Peter’s cheeks as Tony shook his head.
“You gotta learn to put your tongue back in your face kid,” Tony said, walking over to him with a water bottle. Peter, who was half under the hood of a car, pulled one hand up to grab the drink.
“It happens when I concentrate on something, I can’t exactly concentrate on it- that too, I mean…” Tony waved his hand at the kid,
“Hey, I’ve licked my fair share of fluids-,”
Peter jerked his hand away from the car, “Ewewewew-,”
Tony rolled his eyes, “Not like that kid,” Peter’s hands flailed to his ears, dropping the water bottle. A small smile perked at the corner of his lips as he ‘blocked out the sound’, his eyes closed tight.
He hunched down as Tony tried loosely whacking at the back of his head. Peter ducked, peeking through his shut eyes only to catch Tony sticking his tongue out at him before turning away to grab the files off his desk. Tony fell into one of the office chairs before he used his leg to push off the desk, rolling back over to Peter. The momentum caused him to gently bump into Peter’s side as he hunched over the papers.
“This what you got for me today?”
“Yup, I would have put it on the other side of your desk like normal but...” Peter glanced at the other side of the desk, where a small egg-shaped robot was nestled down. “He kept turning on and pushing everything off so…” Peter said pulling away from the car’s engine so he could peek over Tony’s shoulder to see which file he was looking at first.
“Good picks. Nice work kid,” Tony clapped his shoulder and a smile broke out across Peter’s face, barely contained by him biting his lip. “And you’ll get that robot to do what it’s supposed to eventually, besides it’s kind of fun having a robot with a bit of rebellion in its systems anyway.”
“Yeah, the adrenaline rush of wondering if the smoothie he handed me has lighter fluid in it or not should be good for me or something.” Peter laughed and Tony smiled, his eyes soft before he blinked. The moment was over and he was standing up with a sigh, “well, love to stick around but-,”
Peter frowned but waved him off all the same, “Go do whatever boring old grown up thing you have to do,” Tony snorted at Peter shaking his head.
“Watch it, I can and will drag you to the meetings like the last time-,”
“Promise?” Peter said, and Tony rolled his eyes before walking to the door with the files tucked under his arm.
“I’ll get back to you on these,” He gestured to the files with his free arm, “-tomorrow.”
Peter shrugged his hands up in a surrender motion. “Hey, it’s not me who has to deal with the head interns’ griping.”
“And it’s not me either,” Tony said, head tilted to look over the hood of the car in order to see Peter “And we both know they don’t gripe all that much,”
“Yeah but there's five of them so it’s like, low gripe level x 5” Peter gently pushed the office chair with his foot, rolling so that neither of them were obscured.
“I thought you just said you don’t have to listen to their griping” Tony’s eyebrow rose and Peter shrugged again.
“Hey how about I gripe to you, that way we all just have to suffer.” Peter smiled and Tony shook his head in a long-suffering way,
“Communism doesn’t work kid,” Peter snorted and Tony smiled before he nodded to the clock on his desk.
“Eye on the time kid, Happy's taking you home soon,”
“You know I'm fine with taking the subway-,”
“Yeah well, I’m not.”
Peter rolled his eyes as Tony turned to move out the door, waving over his shoulder to Peter who absently spun left and right on his office chair while watching Tony go.
Peter’s shoulders fell, the rooms silence echoing that he was alone. He absently glanced back to the car engine. His hand went to roll the screwdriver around the tool-table for a moment before he suddenly bent down, scooping the water bottle off the floor and standing up. He snagged his backpack off the desk, juggling the water bottle back and forth between his hands as he moved to the door.
He took three steps away from the room before he backpedalled, grabbing his badge out of his coat pocket and dangling it from its lanyard. He waved it loosely in front of the door pad and it beeped, the green light turning to red to signify it locking.
“You think Dr. Stark would get tired of you leaving his lab-office door open.” Peter turned around, feet stumbling almost tipping himself. He steadied his stance looking up to see a blonde woman in a lab coat.
“Maggie, what are you doing on this level?” Peter smiled as the other walked up to him and, with a flourish, handed him a manilla folder.
Peter sighed, “You know,” Peter started as he grabbed the file, “It would be a lot better for me if you got these to me in the morning like the others-,”
Maggie closed her eyes and straightened her spine, pointing one finger up as if she was about to give some long forgotten, sagely piece of advice, “I don’t start my work here until 12:00 due to my college schedule.” she cracked one eye open with a smirk, “Besides you should use your high school time to do, you know, actually important stuff like this.”
Peter blushed, holding the folder to his chest and frowning, “High-school stuff is important,” He said and she bobbed her head left to right as if weighting his point in her head,
“Yes, I supposed to random not genius kids. It is, however, not important for you Stark Jr.” She ruffled his hair a little before continuing down the hallway, pausing halfway she turned around again. “Oh! And if you can get that done by tomorrow?”
Peter groaned, “A rush job? And you got it to me late!?” She shrugged unapologetically before she turned the corner out of Peter’s view.
Peter shook his head before looking down at the thicker file in his hand. He cracked the file open with two fingers, peering in to see what ‘needed’ attention from the lower interns’ projects. Then the sound of someone clearing their throat pulled him away.
He whirled around, hands snapping the folder shut only to see a figure standing at the other end of the hallway.
Happy was tapping his foot, eyes unamused and glaring over his sunglasses.
Peter’s face heated up as Happy tapped his non-existent wrist-watch.
“R-right I’m coming.” He stuffed his lanyard into his backpack throwing the file and water bottle in with it.
They walked to the priority garage, Peter trailing behind Happy, his head lowered with a pink tinge to his cheeks.
Peter tried to be faster at getting in the car than usual but Happy still grumbled as he pulled away from the parking space.
As the car pulled out of the garage, the sound of rain hitting the glass made Peter’s eyes lock on the window. The sound made Peter smile, his hand finding a button on his door to crack the window open a little.
Happy sighed angrily and Peter turned back to him.
“Hey! How can you seriously not like the smell of rain?!” He exclaimed and Happy glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
“When it ruins expensive leather seats.”
Peter slumped in his seat.
That was fair.
Peter’s tongue peeked out of his lips as he switched between writing notes and looking through the file he was given.
He didn’t really need the notes but their notes were graded at the end of the chapter so he had to put something down since he didn’t know what the teacher did or didn’t know.
When the notes were done and they were given the homework, Peter breezed through it before turning back to his folder.
When the bell rang Ned attached himself to Peter’s side as soon as their paths crossed in the hallway. Their shoulders bumped as they walked to the decathlon room.
“So what's going on with the internship?” Ned asked immediately and Peter blushed as he pushed the file down into his backpack.
“Well the patent office is taking my web-bandage and running with it,” Peter said rubbing the back of his neck and Ned rolled his eyes knowing the tell-tale signs of Peters soul-crushing humidity.
“Yeah, and how awesome is it! Is everyone tripping over themselves to get one?”
Peter bit his lip shrugging and Ned punched him lightly on the arm,
“Well,” Peter sighed, “It just passed human trials, and got FDA approved so it’s going to be hitting the market soon. Hospitals and emergency responders are putting in pre-orders I guess it’s actually a good-,”
“Dude, of course, it’s good I-,”
Peter and Ned were both shoved into the lockers as the Flash shoved by them, a mocking “oops,” bled with sarcasm as he walked into the decathlon room before them.
Ned glared after Flash and Peter’s lips pinched together.
“You okay?” He asked Ned and Ned nodded giving him a tight smile as the both of them walked into the club room.
Teenagers were scattered around the room, talking with books and packets out. Peter walked with Ned to sit nearer to the outside of the group.
“So working on anything new?” Ned asked quieter than before, leaning in and Peter opened his mouth only for the teacher to stand up and begin speaking.
“Okay!” The teacher said, shouting over the discussion and laughter of the kids. “Let’s start with paired practice and then we’ll practice altogether, pair up and quiz one another. Remember to jump around subjects guys! Don’t quiz on just one thing,”
Ned and Peter turned to one another unzipping their backpacks.
“Well, Mr. Stark-,”
“You lying again Penis?” Flash said, kicking Peters bag while his hand was still in it making Peter flinch.
“Back off Flash!” Ned said and Peter grimaced as Flash’s eyes glared at the other,
“Oh? I’m sorry, did you say something Dead?” He asked, putting emphasis on the word dead as he glared at the other. Ned moved to stand up.
“Boys!” The teacher sighed out, “Sit down, separate!”
Ned sat and Flash stomped away to the other side of the room.
Peter shook his head as Ned gave him the ‘spider-man?’ look.
The rest of the meeting went without too many problems, Flash merely giving them aggressive looks from the other side of the room. Soon they were all packing up again, parents texting kids that they were here but before they could file out the teacher turned to all of them one last time.
“Alright everyone attention!” The teacher said over the ruckus of kids, “Now because of our win this year the school board is giving all of you a field trip to a location that will be revealed tomorrow-,” The excited gasps and whispers around the room picked up in waves as the teacher continued talking, “Now you have to, and I repeat: have to, get this permission slip signed and in by tomorrow If you want to go, as well as a few non-disclosure agreements! Now Remember these non-disclosure agreements are serious business and when you sign it means-,”
“Ah man!” Ned said, “I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, I guess I’m gonna have to stop by the school.” Peter laughed a little and Ned continued, “Eh, either way, this is still so cool! Where do you think we’re going if they’re making us sign NDA’s!” Ned asked excitedly and Peter smiled tilting his head.
“We’re probably going somewhere that does kind of normal tours but getting a cooler more in-depth tour,” Peter said, and Ned fist-pumped,
Peter nodded, “Yeah! like at Si, our normal tours don’t need NDA’s but every so often we give a tour to college groups and stuff that requires NDA’s and those tours are always the coolest ones we have.”
“Mr. Parker-,” Peter looked up at the teacher who was now looking at him, eyes peering over his glasses, lips pinched a little thin. “Do you have a moment after this?”
Peter’s eyes were wide and he glanced to Ned who shrugged before motioning that he’d be right outside.
Peter swallowed, “Uh, yeah.”
The other kids were already filing out, Flash throwing a smirk to Peter before Peter was alone with the teacher.
“Mr. Parker, I’m sorry to say that, you’re not going to be allowed to attend the club field trip.” Something sank in Peter’s gut and he frowned.
The teacher sighed, “Your attendance to the club is spotty and the board had made rules about which members were allowed to attend to keep kids from joining the club last second in order to go on the trip-,”
“But I was the one that won the winning point in the finals this year I-,”
“I know that Mr. Parker but it’s not up to me.”
“But all my attendance stuff was for my Internship-,”
“Mr. Parker!” The teacher said over top him, suddenly angry. “I can’t speak for what you say outside of my classroom but I’d appreciate it if you would refrain from lying to my face. Understood!” Peter swallowed again, before nodding, “You’re not allowed to go.” The teacher said finally, as he took off his glasses placing them on his desk.
“I’m sorry Mr. Parker.”
Peter’s legs walked him out of the room without him really noticing and Ned frowned at him.
“Hey? What's up?” Ned asked and Peter just shook his head.
“I- I can’t go on the trip.”
Ned’s eyes widened his mouth open for a second before any words came out, “What! Why!”
“Apparently my attendance is ‘spotty’,” Ned frowned,
“Well but that was because-,”
“They don’t believe me.” Ned was silent and Peter sighed.
“Well-,” Ned said tripping over himself, “We could, I mean May and my mom might let us stay home that day then and we can build that helicarrier model or something together-,”
“Ned-.” Peter began but Ned kept going, “We could put star wars on the tv and just go for it-,”
“Ned, don’t,” Peter said and Ned’s mouth closed.
“I saw how excited you were about the trip.” Peter said and Ned frowned, “I’m not going to make you miss it.” Ned opened his mouth again and Peter shook his head, “You deserve to have fun, look, I’ll just keep working on my robot or something.”
Ned slowly smiled again, before hugging Peter.
“You’re the BEST dude!” Peter smiled before Ned pulled back, “So did you just say the word ‘robot’?” Peter smiled as Ned leaned in an eyebrow quirked.
“In fact. I did.”
“But the fact he wants you working on it in *his* lab, dude that's so cool!” Ned was basically jumping up and down and Peter laughed as he pushed the front doors of the school open.
“It really is! But the past week he has been swamped with these meetings you know-,”
“Accords Stuff,” Peter and Ned said it in unison both of their voices dismayed in different measures.
“I know it sucks cause I wanna come over again dude!” Peter snorted and Ned smiled at him, “C’mon! I mean, it's in his lab so either way, you can say you’re working on a robot with Tony Stark.”
Peter nodded his head slightly, a shoulder raising to meet his cheek as he rolled his head to lean on it, “yeah but that’s not really *it* you know I guess I just-,”
Peter sighed before he slumped to sit on the driest area of the stair steps in front of the school, “I don't know. I guess.” His shoulders fell and he pulled at his backpack straps.
“Hey Peter,” Ned began gently, “you know its okay to be-,”
“I know,” Peter said before Ned could finish, “I mean I just- I've had so many tries at this whole father-figure thing and-,” he trailed off and Ned's face fell. He opened his mouth only for a horn to sound off.
“Agh- my mom’s here already, I gotta go dude, but we’ll talk later?” Peter smiled nodding to the other.
“Yeah see you. I’ll just work on the last of that problem that Maggie gave me till Happy gets here.” Ned nodded with a smile waving as he walked to his mom’s car.
Peter slung his backpack on his lap so he could pull out his stuff. A half-chewed pencil was dug out of the bottom of his bag and he cracked open his work. His tongue stuck out as he peered over the pages in the file. One hand holding it open, the other balancing the notebook he was scribbling in on his knee. He was sprawled out shaking one of his legs while hunching. He flicked a pencil back and forth in his hand as he worked over the problem in his head.
Peter’s stomach fell, his arms falling to rest in his lap as he straightened up, pulling his legs back from their sprawled out position.
He turned his head to see Flash, approaching him. With a sigh, Peter closed the file and his notebook as Flash marched up to him.
“You forging fake stuff now Penis?”
Peter’s eyes squinted in confusion. “Forging- what!”
Flash suddenly grabbed the file making Peter’s heart spike with fear.
“Flash put that down!” Peter yelled standing up and Flash pushed him back down with a hand. Peter’s muscles were taught, every flex had his super strength begging to be let out.
“What? You worried I'm gonna ruin your fake internship file.” Flash waved it around, a couple of papers threatening to fall out.
Peter’s face fell as he saw the stark industries standard stamp on the front of the file. Flash growled, Peter just staring at him for a couple of seconds. He tossed the file to the ground where it landed in a puddle.
“No!” Peter yelled and Flash snorted, “You know, maybe my dad can make an ‘attendance rule’ that gets you off the team-,” Peter’s head snapped up and Flash shoved him to the ground. “We do a lot better without you anyway,” The sound of wet footsteps echoed away from Peter.
Peter cracked an eye open, mud soaking into his clothes. He scooped the file up and it drooped down with water and dirt. Peter felt his heartbeat stall in his chest. His hands frozen, clutching the documents in his hands.
Maggie was typically really chill, he told himself, sucking in his breath in a painful sounding way that almost made him choke, maybe she wouldn’t care that the file was trashed. He tried to manage a steadier exhale. I mean it wasn’t like she had to give it to any higher-ups or anything Peter *was* the higher up she gave it too and the problem he was working on was basically solved in his notebook- but he always gives the file back with his assessment-,
Peter’s head whipped up to see Happy running towards him, his mind only then caught up to the fact that his body had started to almost violently shiver, his clothes soaked with mud.
“Kid are you-,”
“I’m fine,” Peter said abruptly, his legs forcing him to stand up. His hands quickly isolated the muddy file into an empty pocket in his backpack. “Just- I just tripped coming down the stairs.” His voice was higher than normal, one of his arms going to wrap around his chest trying to stop the shaking.
“Yeah well,” Happy began, his lips pinched together, “be careful kid. Tony will have my head if you get hurt during one of my watches.”
Peter gave a short, aborted chuckle before Happy was gripping his upper arm and helping him to the car, soaking mud into the leather of the seat.
Peter sat silently trying to keep a monitor on his breathing, body still slightly shaking.
He was trying so hard not to have a massive freak out but the closer they got to SI the more Peter’s anxiety tried to pull him down into panic mode. His spider-sense was going haywire in response to his panic.
His elbows and knees were burning, apparently scraped when he was pushed.
He kept staring at the file in the bag on his lap, his panic building and ebbing sporadically.
When he got out of the car Peter stumbled, shivering into an elevator. Happy didn’t have time to say or do anything before FRIDAY had whisked him away.
Peter felt the mud against his skin. His enhanced senses making the grainy, dirty feeling even worse.
Peter’s mind was reeling as he stepped out of the elevator on the master floor, his body automatically heading to the bathroom.
Maggie wouldn’t be mad at him for this right? Peter’s solved worse problems and besides, it needed to be retyped anyway.
Despite all of this though Peter’s heart kept spiking with sudden panic.
“That doesn’t matter,” Peter said to himself because he knew it wasn’t about Maggie's reaction.
‘I was irresponsible enough to let the file get trashed.’ Peter thought to himself hands still shaking as he pulled his hoodie off, ‘If it had been anything other than an unfinished report-,’
He threw his backpack on the sink counter.
If the file had been anything else, Peter didn’t know what he would do.
Mr. Stark was trusting him with a lot, everyone was trusting him with a lot. With the spider-man suit, with his position at the company, with their life's work and at the end of the day, on the streets of New York, with their lives.
“Great power, Peter, great power,” Peter mumbled to himself his brain still not shutting off as he stepped out of the shower.
He stared at the backpack in front of him as he pulled a change of clothes out from under the sink, “Friday?” Peter began, “Can I, like, get a new copy this or something?” Peter asked putting down the folded clothing and pulling the file up and out of his backpack. He held it up to show one of the cameras.
“Those are report files so, unfortunately, no Mr. Parker,” Peter felt his chest constrict again as FRIDAY continued, “the content is completely unique to whoever gave them to you, they won't be submitted into the system until they are finished. You could copy them but at this point the stains would also be copied with the pages-,”
“That’s okay Friday, thank you,”
“Of course Mr. Parker.”
Peter pulled the jeans and shirt on before tucking the file under his arm.
Here we go.
One elevator ride later Peter was looking at Maggie as she jotted things down, standing at a desk in the lab section.
“What’s up Stark Jr.” She said, eyes not leaving the page she was writing on.
“Uh.” Peter, didn’t know what to say.
Then suddenly he was saying everything all at once.
“Well-it’s finished- the file was kinda- well but I have the calculations and everything here- then again the file is still kind of important to-,”
“Woah there,” Maggie said, looking up to him and putting her pen down, “what’s wrong?”
Peter swallowed before wordlessly untucking the file from under his arm and holding it out to her.
She looked at it for a second, and then started laughing.
“W-What? Is this mud!” She said in between chuckles, Peter’s face heated up and he shrugged.
“I- uh, tripped.”
Maggie’s laughter slowly ebbed off and then she was looking at Peter with her eyebrows scrunched.
“You? Trip?” She asked huffing a little, “Jr. I watched you catch thirty falling test-tubes like you were in some cartoon just last week and you're telling me your reflexes actually allowed you to trip and, like fall?”
Peter opened and closed his mouth a couple of times before Maggie was speaking again.
“What happened to the folder Peter? You know I won't be mad at you, heaven knows I lose stuff all the time-,”
“I didn’t lose it!” Peter said over the top of her because, god, that would be so much worse. The idea that anyone would have been able to find it if Peter lost a folder-,”
“Then why did you lie about why it’s covered in mud?”
There was silence for a moment because all Peter could think of was the truth and-,
“I-,” Peter started and he needed to say something and, “I was pushed It wasn’t-,”
“What!” Maggie said throwing the folder on the table and grabbing Peter’s wrist. “Are you okay?!”
Peter nodded and Maggie glared, “Who pushed you what-,”
“It’s not a big deal- It’s high school.” Peter began and Maggie just looked even more murderous.
“Oh.” she said coldly, “I know all about high school.”
Peter swallowed and she grabbed his shoulders looking him in the eye.
“If anyone is bullying you Peter-,”
“I don’t think that-,”
“ Peter .” Maggie said his name with a dangerous edge, “If you don’t tell Dr. Stark yourself, I will find a way to contact him and tell him myself, I don’t do bullies okay?”
If only his school felt that way.