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Tell The World (I’m Coming Home)

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MALIBU, 2004

PETER GRIPPED THE nice lady's hand tightly, sniffling. He'd been staying with his aunt and uncle while his parents went on a trip for something, when the nice lady came to the door and told them that Peter's parents were never coming home.

The three year old hadn't understood at first, until his uncle had crouched down and explained to him that his mommy and daddy went to heaven.

He knew what heaven was. His mommy had told him a few weeks ago when he accidentally stepped on a butterfly. Peter cried into his uncle's shirt, so sad and so scared. He'd lived with his parents.

Where would he go with them gone? But then his aunt and uncle has talked to the nice lady, using big words that his small mind couldn't yet comprehend.

After that, they apologized to him, crying, and said something along the lines of, "We just can't take care of a child."

And then they'd packed his stuff and the nice lady was taking him away. That had been a few days ago, and the nice lady had taken him all the way across the whole country to California.

Now, his hand was still gripping the lady's hand, really, really tight as she walked him up a long driveway. The boy sniffled, his eyes watering as he looked to the ground.

Suddenly, they were stopping and the nice lady was knocking on the door. It swung open to reveal a different lady, with light red hair and a smile. "Hello, may I help you?" The woman asked kindly.

"Miss Potts, I presume?" The nice lady asked.

"I am. And who are you?" The woman, Miss Potts replied, making a funny face. Peter's eyes were wide as he looked up at them.

"My name is Penelope Wright, I'm with Child Protective Services. Is Mr. Stark around?"

Peter sniffled again, pulling his hand away from the lady's so he could wipe his nose.

"U-uh, He is, but he won't want to be disturbed. Is there anything I could help sort out?" Miss Potts said, looking down at Peter.

The boy looked away, nervous, and grabbed Miss Penelope's hand again.

"His parents," Miss Penelope looked down to Peter, "were in a plane crash and I was assigned to place him in a home. Mr. Stark's name is on his birth certificate, and his DNA has already been run through the system countless times. Mr. Stark is this young boy's father." Miss Penelope explained.

Peter's head whipped up to Miss Penelope at that. That didn't make sense. Peter already had a daddy. Miss Penelope herself had told them his mommy and daddy went to heaven.

Miss Potts' eyes widened as she looked down at Peter. "I-Is there any paperwork that needs filled out?" She asked.

"There is, but I can bring that by tomorrow." Miss Penelope told Miss Potts.

"Thank you. I'll take him inside." Miss Potts said with a funny look on her face.

"Of course." Miss Penelope said, smiling.

"Now, Peter, I'm going to leave you with Miss Potts, okay?" She said softly to him.

"Okay, Miss Pe'lope." The three year old murmured, wiping his nose again. Miss Penelope let go of his hand.

"Bye, sweetie." She called as she began to walk off.

"Bye, bye." He waved sadly.

Then he turned back to Miss Potts, who smiled at him. "Hi, Peter, is it?"

He nodded shyly and she reached for him. Hesitantly, He grabbed her hand and let her lead him inside. "My name is Pepper, buddy. I work for your dad." She explained.

She closed the door, leading him inside, where Peter's life would forever be changed.

 

Chapter Text

MALIBU , 2010

PETER SHIFTED HIS bag on his shoulders as he waited by the door.

"Is your dad coming to get you, Peter?" A voice asked from beside him.

The young boy concealed an eye roll as he turned around and smiled politely.

"No, Miss George, it'll probably be my Uncle Happy."

"Oh." The teacher responded, sounding slightly disappointed.

It was always the same question, despite all of the staff knowing Tony could never actually come to the school.

It would be kind of obvious he had a secret kid if he suddenly started showing up at a school.

"It looks like that's him, now. See you tomorrow, Peter." Miss George said brightly.

Peter smiled and nodded, pushing his glasses up his nose and stepped outside. He couldn't wait to get home and show his dad the A+ he got on his science quiz.

Sure enough, his uncle's familiar black Audi was parked in front of the school.

The boy darted over and pulled the back door open, climbing in. "Hi, Uncle Happy!" He cried, dropping his bag on the floor and buckling his seatbelt.

"Hey, kid." The man greeted from the front seat.

Peter looked up, puzzled. His Uncle Happy always sounded a bit grumpy, but he seemed extra grumpy today.

"Hi, Peter." A soft voice spoke from beside him.

The young Stark yelped, looking over with wide eyes, only relaxing when he saw who it was.

"Auntie Pepper? Why are you here? N-not that I don't want you to! I just-!"

"It's alright, Peter, I understand." She interrupted with a weird smile.

He froze, glancing between the two adults.

"To the mansion, Happy." Pepper commanded. The man nodded once and began the drive.

Peter blinked. "What's wrong?" He asked slowly, frowning.

Pepper sighed, sharing a glance with Happy. "Maybe we should wait until we get to your house."

Peter shook his head stubbornly, crossing his arms. "No. Tell me what's wrong." He demanded.

The redhead pinched the bridge of her nose. "Alright. Peter, you know how your dad was on a business trip in Afghanistan?" She began.

He nodded, eyes widening as his stomach filled with dread. Whatever was wrong must have had something to do with his dad.

"Well, something happened while they were driving. He got separated from Uncle Rhodey, Honey, and some bad people took him." Pepper explained quietly.

Peter's face paled, and his eyes filled with tears. "W-what?" He squeaked in shock.

"You're going to stay with me at my apartment until he's found, okay? I'm sure it will only be a few days." She explained, putting her hand on his shoulder, a look of pity and sadness on her face.

Peter brought his hand up to wipe his tears away from underneath his glasses. "I-Is he hurt?" He whispered, his voice wobbling.

"We don't know, Honey. I hope not." Pepper responded, looking away and not-so discreetly wiping her eyes.

"We're going to stop at the mansion and pack some of your things, alright?" She murmured.

Peter didn't respond, instead choosing to lie his head against the window, brows furrowed as tears rolled down his cheeks.

His dad had been kidnapped. Peter wasn't dumb. In fact, he was smarter than more than 95% of kids his age, so he knew that his dad was most likely hurt or even. . .

He couldn't think the word without crying harder. His face crumpled and he began to sob softly.

"Oh, sweetheart." Pepper breathed, scooting closer to him and pulling him into her chest.

The nine year old wailed into her shirt, his eyes squeezed closed and his fists clenching he suit jacket tightly.

"I w-want my dad." Peter hiccuped.

Pepper blinked away her own tears, rocking him back and forth. "I know. I know. I'm so sorry." Her voice broke on the last word and Happy pretended not to be listening.

The rest of the drive was spent mostly in silence, save for the occasional hiccup or shuddering breath from the young Stark.

Once Happy finally parked in the driveway, Peter was fast asleep, his head in Pepper's lap.

"Peter, sweetie, you've got to get up." She whispered quietly, shaking his shoulder gently.

Peter blinked his eyes open groggily, frowning up at her. "Oh." He mumbled, sounding disappointed.

Sitting up, he unbuckled his seatbelt from it's uncomfortable position, tangled around his limbs.

Grabbing his backpack, he got out of the car and followed his aunt inside.

The boy kept his gaze on the ground as they walked inside, not wanting Pepper to see if he started crying again.

"Hello, Young Sir. Miss Potts." JARVIS greeted.

"Hi JARVIS." Peter mumbled quietly, trudging sadly to his room.

"Do you want me to help, or do you want me to wait out here?" She asked him.

"I can do it myself." He responded, veering toward the stairs.

Pepper nodded sadly and Peter hated the pity she was looking at him with. He wasn't some dumb, little, helpless kid. He didn't need pity.

Walking toward his room, he pushed his door open and stepped inside. He must have forgotten to close the door in his rush to get downstairs that morning.

He blinked, tears stinging his eyes again. Just that morning, his dad had been home. His Aunt Pepper had been telling his dad how late he was.

Peter's eyes suddenly widened as he stood, frozen in the doorway. It was Aunt Pepper's birthday. If anybody should be crying, it should have been Aunt Pepper!

His dad was her friend and he went missing on her birthday, and here he was crying like a baby.

"Are you alright, Young Sir?" JARVIS asked softly.

Peter took a shaky breath and wiped his eyes again. "I'm fine, JARVIS." He responded, then walked over to his desk to empty his bag.

Out fell a book and a few papers. The boy froze when he saw his science quiz with a perfect score.

He felt sick to his stomach at the thought that that was the most his worries less than an hour ago.

Opening the top drawer the desk, he slid the paper in and slammed closed. He didn't care too much about it anymore.

Turning around, Peter wandered over to his closet and grabbed as much clothes that would fit in his bag, then stuffed them in and zipped it up.

He left his room, about to go downstairs, when he spotted his dad's door, cracked open slightly.

Glancing down the stairs, he saw his Auntie Pepper waiting patiently in the dining room.

Quickly, he darted into his dad's room and toward the dresser, pulling open the middle drawer, where his dad kept all his T-shirts.

Peter opened his bag again and pulled out all his pajamas, then stuffed a few of his dad's shirts into it instead.

Zipping it back up, he made his way downstairs.

"Got everything, Peter?" Pepper asked.

He nodded, smiling weakly.

"We can go now."

Pepper wrapped her arm around her nephew's shoulders, glancing around the place one more time before they walked out.

"Bye, JARVIS." Peter called softly, though he hoped he wouldn't be away too long.

Little did he know, he'd spend three, long, nerve-wracking months away from home.

 

Chapter Text

MALIBU , 2010

PETER TURNED OVER in his bed, brows furrowed as he whimpered in fear. Sweat was gleaming on his face as he panted heavily.

The boy was dreaming, or rather; having a nightmare. He shot up with a gasp, eyes flying open as he clenched his fists around the blanket in his grip.

Peter sniffled quietly, frowning at the dream. It had been about his dad of course, about Uncle Rhodey coming home and telling him his dad was dead.

Peter didn't know what he would do if that ever came true. He threw the blanket off of himself, pulling his knees to his chest as he stared at his feet.

Glancing over at the alarm clock, he noticed that it was about to go off, and reached over tiredly to shut it off.

It was early on a Monday morning and Peter really didn't want to go to school.

Everybody in that dumb private school always said the same thing, every single day, "I'm so sorry."

They apologized like his dad was dead, which he wasn't. He was just missing.

For once in his life, the boy was glad for the multiple NDAs the people at his school had to sign, because just the thought of a bunch of people doing that every day for the rest of his life made him want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever and ever.

Suddenly, the door burst open, causing Peter to squeak in shock, scrambling to stand up.

"Peter!" Pepper gasped, eyes wide.

"What?" He asked, terrified.

"They found him! Uncle Rhodey found him! We're going to go get him now!" She cried.

Peter's mouth fell open, tears blurring his vision for what seemed to be the millionth time.

"What?" He cried again.

"They found Tony! Come on, grab your shoes, let's go!" She exclaimed.

Peter stumbled over to his closet and pulled out a pair of sneakers, pausing. "I'm wearing pajamas." He pointed out.

Pepper stilled, looking down at her pajama clad self. "Good point. Change and let's go." She said, darting out of the room.

Peter changed into a pair of jeans, but didn't take off his dad's shirt. It was like a piece of his dad, it even smelled like him.

He threw a jacket on over it, then shoved the sneakers on his feet without socks and ran from his room.

"Auntie Pepper?" Peter called, looking around, only to stop, eyes wide.

He'd forgotten his glasses. Quickly, he ran back into his room, grabbed them off his dresser, shoved them on his face, and sprinted back out into the hall, where Pepper was waiting, fully dressed.

She must have had super speed, because that was impossible. But, he didn't care much.

"Come on, Sweetheart." His aunt ushered him out the door, where Happy was waiting.

He immediately opened the door for them, and Peter climbed in as fast as he could, Pepper sliding in after him.

Then they were on the way to the airport, Peter bouncing his legs nervously.

"He's okay? He's not hurt? Uncle Rhodey really found him?" He asked, buckling his seatbelt as he looked between the adults anxiously.

"Yes, Peter. He really found him." Happy answered from the driver's seat.

"We're going to take him to the hospital, just for a check-up, okay? I doubt he's really hurt, but we're going to take him anyway, alright?" Pepper said softly.

Peter nodded in relief, sighing. He got a sudden though, eyes widening and filling with sadness. "What. . . What happened to him?"

His aunt shrugged silently. "We don't know, bud."

That didn't soothe his anxiety and he sat quietly, worrying, the entire ride to the airport.

When they finally got there, there were a bunch of people waiting, even an ambulance.

Peter stood beside Pepper, his hand clasped in hers as his eyes searched the sky for the plane that would bring his dad home.

When he finally spotted it, he began bouncing slightly on his heels, grinning so hard his face started to hurt.

Pepper smiled at him, biting her lip as they watched it land. Finally, finally, the back opened, and there was his dad, sitting in a wheelchair and struggling to stand with the help of his Uncle Rhodey.

One look at his dad was all it took for his smile to fall and tears to fill his eyes again. His chin trembled as he waited impatiently for his dad to come to them.

Finally, he couldn't take it anymore, slipping his hand from his aunt's and sprinting toward his dad.

"Dad!" He cried, barreling into the man's chest.

Immediately, his free arm came up around him. "Hey kid." Tony spoke, clearing his throat and as he dropped down to one knee, holding his son close.

A sob erupted from Peter's throat as he wrapped his arms around the man's neck and hugged him as tight as he could.

"Alright." Tony grunted, standing up, arm still firmly around his son.

Peter wrapped his legs around his dad's waist, refusing to let go.

"I missed you, Pete." He whispered.

Peter sniffled into his dad's shirt. "Never leave again." He whined.

"I won't leave you, buddy, promise." Tony murmured, just as they walked up to Pepper and Happy.

"Your eyes are red. A few tears for your long lost boss?" Tony teased.

"Tears of joy. I hate job hunting." Pepper argued.

Peter sniffled. He knew she was lying. She had cried a lot while his dad was gone.

"Vacation's over. Let's go." He said, walking toward the car.

Happy opened the door for them dutifully. "Do something to you hair, Hap?"

"Wouldn't dream of it, Sir." Happy responded.

Once they were in the car, Peter finally pulled his face back so he could buckle his seatbelt.

Bringing his hand up, he wiped his nose, then cuddled back into his dad's side. "You alright, Kiddo?" Tony questioned softly.

"Missed you a lot." Peter replied, staring at his feet.

"I know." Tony muttered, then looked to Happy.

"Where to, Boss?"

"Take us to the hospital, please, Happy." His aunt said softly.

"No." Tony stated.

"No?"

"No." He confirmed.

"Tony, you have to-"

"I have been in captivity for three months. I don't have to do anything. There are two things I want to do. One; get a cheeseburger, and two;" He looked over at Pepper, who rolled her eyes.

"That's enough of that."

"It's not what you think. I want to call a press conference." Tony finished.

Peter looked to him in confusion.

"A press conference? Why, dad?"

"Hogan, drive. Cheeseburger first." He commanded, resulting in the car starting down the road.

"Got something important to tell people, bud. Then I'm all yours for the day." The billionaire told his son softly.

Suddenly a thought struck Peter and his eyes widened. "I got an A+ on my science test." He explained.

Tony blinked in confusion while Pepper frowned.

"You didn't tell me, buddy." His aunt said in bemusement.

"It was, um, a while ago. I wanted to show you." Peter muttered quietly.

Tony grinned. "Show me when we get home, yeah?"

Peter nodded happily, smiling. He dropped his head back onto his dad's chest, then jolted in shock, pulling away with alarmed eyes.

Tony's eyes widened and he shook his head. Peter swallowed, nodding in confusion.

Why was there a weird, hard, circle thing under his dad's shirt? "What do you want, kid?" Happy asked as they pulled into the parking lot of Burger King.

"Chocolate shake." Peter answered confidently.

Happy nodded and got out of the car, striding inside.

"I love you, Dad." Peter said, sighing heavily.

"Love you too, Kiddo."

Peter smiled. His dad was home.

Chapter Text

MALIBU , 2010

PETER LOOKED TO his dad in confusion as the man slid into the car alone.

"Where's Auntie Pepper and Uncle Obie?" He asked quietly.

"They're busy. Just you and me for the day. To the mansion, Hap." The billionaire said.

Happy nodded in affirmative, driving off down the road. Peter shifted, pushing his glasses up his nose.

"What was your press conference about?" He asked cautiously. That seemed to be the reason he was unnaturally tense.

"I'm not making weapons anymore, kiddo." Tony answered truthfully.

Peter's mouth dropped open in shock as he looked to his dad. "Really?" He cried.

The man turned his gaze to his son, squinting. "Yeah, really."

Peter threw himself into his dad's arms, only pausing slightly as he grunted, but was reassured when the man's arms came up around him.

"You're really not gonna make them anymore?" He asked hopefully.

Tony looked to him in surprise as Peter sat back.

"This entire time, you didn't like what I was doing? Why didn't you say anything?" He questioned incredulously.

Peter gave his father a blank look. "I'm a nine year old, Dad. Would you have taken me seriously?" He said flatly.

"Yes!" Tony cried indignantly, crossing his arms over his chest in mock offense.

Peter giggled at his theatrics and his Dad grinned, dropping his arms. "For real, kiddo, your opinion is important to me."

Peter nodded. "I know." He paused, then added, "Except for when I want to choose the movie on movie night."

The man groaned. "Pete, I've got all the Star Wars movies engrained in my brain."

Peter snickered, "What brain?"

Tony gasped loudly and the boy continued to laugh. He felt content teasing his dad. Everything seemed to be going back to the way it was before he went missing.

Peter blinked in confusion. "But what will we do if we're not making weapons?"

Tony looked to Happy, who was not-so subtly glancing at them in interest through the mirror.

"Tell you at home." He said finally.

Peter would pout, but he supposed it was better than nothing.

When they finally got home, Peter's heart swelled in excitement. As soon as they were parked, Peter unbuckled his seatbelt and darted toward the door, bouncing on his heels as he waited for his dad to follow him.

Tony climbed out of the car a bit slower, and waved Happy off, the bodyguard nodding once, before he drove off.

"Why're you so excited, kid?" He mused, unlocking the door and walking inside.

Peter trailed after him, closing the door behind them. "Because you're gonna tell me the secret! Also, I haven't been back in three whole months." He answered dramatically.

"You- Where have you been staying?" Tony asked, concerned as they walked into the dark house.

"With Auntie Pepper." Peter informed him, looking around at the familiar surroundings.

Tony nodded, seeming content, and looked around. "You awake, JARVIS?" He called. 

"For you, Sir, always." JARVIS responded dutifully. 

Peter grinned. "Hi JARVIS! I missed you!"

"I missed you as well, Young Sir." The AI responded. 

After a beat, Tony sighed. "I need to build a better heart."

Peter looked to his dad in alarm. "What?"

"I'm not sure I follow, Sir." JARVIS said, sounding as confused as an AI could.

"Give me a scan and you'll see." Tony said. Then he looked to Peter, "Follow me to the lab, kiddo, I'll explain." 

Peter, still frowning in confusion, followed him downstairs to the lab. The lights flicked on, machines humming to life. A grin flickered on Peter's lips. He loved the lab. 

Besides his dad, obviously, the lab had been one of the things he missed most during the previous months. Immediately, Peter climbed up onto his favorite seat, right across from his dad. 

The man sat down and looked at Peter like he was contemplating something. Finally, he sighed, "Pete, when I was in Afghanistan, I got hurt. A bomb blew up in my face."

Peter paled rapidly. Tony rushed to continue, "I'm okay, I'm okay. A friend helped fix me up. But, there's still some shrapnel in there he couldn't remove and it was moving toward my heart."

"Yeah, I still don't. . ." Peter choked out, eyes wide. 

"You know the arc reactor powering the factory?" Tony prodded. 

Peter nodded. Of course he knew. It was his favorite project, he pored over every aspect of it for fun. "Well, I made a smaller one. My friend helped me. It powers a built-in electromagnet that keeps the shrapnel from going any further." 

The younger Stark's mouth dropped open. "You made a small one? How? Can I see? Who's your friend? Was he in Afghanistan with you? Where is he now? What's his name? Or is it a girl? I shouldn't have assum-"

"Holy hell, Peter, slow." Tony interrupted, eyes wide. 

Peter smiled sheepishly, looking down. 

"To answer your questions, yes, I made a small one. And before you ask, yes, I'll tell you all about it. I might even let you help with the next one." Peter's eyes lit up at that, "Yes, I'll let you see. My friend's name was Yinsen, he was in Afghanistan with me, but he's with his family now."

Peter narrowed his eyes at his dad. The man seemed sad. "Are you okay, Dad?"

Tony blinked in shock and confusion. "Yeah, I'm fine." He answered eventually.

Peter didn't quite believe him but he let it slide. "Can I meet him?"

"No!" 

The boy recoiled in shock at his dad's tone. "No," he said, calmer, "Yinsen. . . Yinsen's in Heaven, bud."

Tears stung Peter's eyes at that revelation, sad for a man he never knew. "Oh." He murmured softly. 

Then he looked back up, a million more questions on his mind. "Who had you? What did they want? How did you escape?" 

Tony huffed out a laugh. "Some terrorists, kid. They wanted weapons. And, well, how did I escape? Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll tell you everything. For now, do you want to see the arc reactor?" He responded. 

"Duh!" Peter cried excitedly. Tony smirked, then pulled his shirt over his head. 

Peter's mouth fell open again, eyes widening in wonder. "Woah." He breathed quietly, reaching forward. Then he yanked his hand back as if he was burned. "Can I?"

His dad nodded, rolling his eyes. "You can touch it, tesoro." 

Peter reached forward again, fingers brushing over the cool metal. "You made that while you were kidnapped?" He wondered aloud. 

"In a cave." He bragged. 

It was Peter's turn to roll his eyes. "Cool." He said flatly. 

Tony guffawed. "Do you want to help or not?"

"Yes!" The boy exclaimed. 

"We're going to make a better one, Pete. One that'll last longer." His father informed him. 

"Cool." He gasped. 

"Alright, scan me, J." Tony commanded. 

"Processing. Shall I begin machining the parts?"

Peter stayed up as long as he could, but he was just a young boy, one with very bad sleeping habits, at that. And soon, he was slumped against the table, snoring softly, his glasses mushed against his face. 

Tony paused in his work to smile at his sleeping son. He wandered over to him, brushing his curls from his closed eyes and pressing a kiss to his forehead. "You need a haircut, bambino." He murmured softly. 

The boy obviously didn't respond, and Tony took a minute to just watch him. He'd missed this. He'd missed his son falling asleep in the lab with him. He remembered countless mornings he'd wake up with his son in a similar position across the table. 

With a grunt, Tony lifted his kid into his arms and began carrying him upstairs. Once he successfully tucked Peter into his bed, he turned to leave, but stopped at the door. "Night, buddy." He whispered. 

He didn't sleep that night, working to create a better heart.

Chapter Text

MALIBU, 2010

PETER SCRUNCHED HIS nose in disgust at the though of helping to replace the arc reactor.

"I don't wanna." He announced, pursing his lips.

Tony laughed softly. "You don't have to, kiddo. I wouldn't trust you with your fingers in my chest anyway." He teased.

"Hey! Why not?" Peter cried indignantly.

"Well, do you want to?"

"No!"

Tony laughed. "JARVIS, call up to Pep." He commanded.

"Right away, Sir. You are connected."

"Pepper? How big are your hands?" He asked.

Peter frowned again. "That's a strange question to ask, don't you think?"

Tony shrugged. "It'll get her down here won't it?" He retorted softly.

After a pause, Pepper's voice came through, "What?"

"How big are your hands?" His dad repeated.

"I don't under-"

"Just get down here." Tony said impatiently.

"Don't be rude, Dad." He paused, a sudden question on his mind.

"What's asshole in Italian?"

Tony choked on a laugh just as Pepper came down.

"Stronzo. Don't tell anyone I taught you that." He said with a breathy laugh.

"Are you teaching Peter curse words agai- oh." Pepper stopped when she saw Tony lying in a chair, arc reactor in his hand.

"Show me your hands." His dad instructed.

"Don't be a stronzo, Dad." Peter scolded.

Tony huffed out a laugh. "What?" Pepper asked in disbelief.

"Just show me your hands." He said exasperatedly.

She did. "You got little hands like me, but I don't wanna do it." Peter said as of that explained anything.

"Perfect. Just like the monello over there said, your hands are small. I need you to help me." Tony declared.

"I remember that one!" Peter said excitedly. Then he frowned. "Wait, did you just call me a brat?"

"That's the thing keeping you alive?" His aunt asked breathlessly.

"Thats the thing that was keeping me alive. Now it's an antique." He held up the new one, "This what will be keeping me alive for the foreseeable future."

"Amazing." Pepper said softly.

"I'm going to swap them out and switch all functions to the new unit." He said distractedly.

"Is it safe?" She asked.

"Nope," Peter said at the same time his dad said,

"Completely. First I need you to reach in and-"

"Reach in to where?" She interrupted.

Peter frowned, not feeling the light hearted mood anymore. No, now he was terrified his aunt would mess up. What if they went through all of this just for his dad to. . .

He shook his head. Those thoughts were very not welcome and never would be.

"The socket."

"What socket?"

"The chest socket. Listen carefully, because we have to do this in a matter of minutes."

Pepper nodded slowly. "Listen. I'm going to lift off the old chest piece-"

"Won't that make you die?"

Peter's head was whipping back and forth as they talked, and he was starting to get impatient.

"Not immediately. When I lift it off I need you to reach in and pull out the copper wire, alright?"

"Okay?"

She began to reach in, but pulled ot out, covered in a slimy substance. "Ew, the discharge. Another reason I didn't want to." Peter commented.

"Pus!" Pepper cried.

"It's not pus. It's an inorganic plasma discharge. It's from the device, not my body."

She shuddered but reached back in. "Now just make sure you don't pull out the magnet! Oh, there's the magnet!" He cried, the EKG beside him beeping wildly.

Peter screamed as Pepper started to lower the magnet back in. "No, no, no, no!" He yelled in unison with his dad.

"Dont put it back in!" Tony exclaimed.

"Oh my gosh! What's happening?" Pepper cried.

"Oh, I'm just going into mild cardiac arrest." Tony grunted, quickly inserting the new reactor. He lied back with a sigh.

"I thought you said this was safe!" She snapped, shaking the discharge from her hands.

"Don't ever make me do something like that again, Tony." She growled.

He sat up, looking to her emotionally. "Besides this guy," he gestures to Peter, "you're all I got."

Peter's eyes widened, and it was precisely then that he realized they were meant for each other.

Pepper looked away, grabbing the old reactor, and Peter thought they were about to kiss.

Sadly, they didn't. "What do you want me to do with this thing?" She asked.

"That thing? Throw it out. Incinerate it." His dad waved off.

"You don't want to keep it?"

"I've been called many things, but sentimental is not one of them." Tony responded, raising his brow.

"Will that be all, Mr. Stark?"

"That will be all, Miss Potts." Tony confirmed.

Peter decided then and there that Pepper wasn't his aunt anymore. No, she was going to be with his dad eventually, so that'd be weird.

Peter wat he'd her go and turned to his dad. "I am not a brat." He said decisively.

Tony laughed, ruffling his curls. "Sure thing, brat."

Peter huffed. "I know you're not a brat, buddy. You're anything but. Now, you wanna help me out with a super secret project?"

Peter lit up, nodding excitedly. "No telling Aunt Pepper." Tony warned.

"Kay. Shes not my aunt no more, though." He said casually.

Tony jolted in shock. "What? Why?"

"Well, you're going to marry her some day, and it would be weird if I called my Dad's wife 'Aunt'." He explained.

Tony choked, coughing harshly. Peter patted his dad's back with a shit-eating grin.

"You little-" Tony cut himself off with a groan.

"Wanna know how I escaped?" He asked, changing the subject completely.

"Yeah!"

"J, pull up the blueprints. Let's get to work."