Crime was part of living in a city, especially a big one, such as New York. Peter Parker had learned to more or less keep his head down and don’t look too long at suspicion activities. He had lost his parents to a home burglary and then later his uncle to a mugging gone wrong. He helped people when he could like trying to stop bullies at school and he had gotten into more than one fistfight in back allies but he had learned to never bring nothing to a knife fight. He had saved a woman from a wannabe rapist but had gotten stabbed for his rescue. That had been the night he promised May that he wouldn’t go looking for fights.
He had been on his way to campus, already running late for his lecture, when he saw a little girl who wasn’t paying attention. Time seemed to slow as he watched the girl walk into the street where a distracted driver was hurtling through the street. No one was with her, why wasn’t anyone paying attention? He yelled to get her attention and his body was moving on its own. He reached her with no time to spare. He jumped to tackle her and moved his body so that he took the majority of the fall.
The car flew past them before they had even hit the ground but was skidding to a stop soon after. Peter was checking on the girl, ignoring his own throbbing shoulder and bleeding hip, to make sure that he had actually angled them correctly so she wasn’t hurt. She seemed upset, which was understandable, but her worst injury seemed to be a slightly scratched palm. The driver, a man in his mid to late twenties, got out of his car and started yelling at Peter and the girl.
"What were you doing out in the road? If I had hit you it would have been your own damn fault," he yelled.
"What is wrong with you? You should be in jail," Peter said forcefully as he got himself and the girl off the ground, still ignoring his own injuries. The driver cursed under his breath and then got back in his car.
Peter discretely took a picture of the license plate while guiding the girl out of the street. No one had rushed to see if the girl was okay, hell, no one even seemed to care about her. He walked her to a small diner not far from where they were. He didn’t have much money on him, meaning he had enough to be able to ride the subway home after lectures and maybe get lunch, but instead he got the girl food.
"What’s your name," he asked lightly as they waited for her food to get there. She had wanted a burger and fries, Peter ordered extra fries so he would be able to have some. He noted that the girl had chocolate brown hair and eyes and that she was probably four or five.
"Morgan," she said simply.
"My name’s Peter. Were you with someone today, Morgan?"
"I was with someone who was supposed to watch me but he didn’t pay attention so I left him."
"Do you know your mom or dad's phone number," he lightly asked. She nodded and her food was delivered. "Can you put their number in before you eat? I’m sure they’re probably worried about you."
He handed his phone to the girl and she quickly typed in the number so she could start eating her cheeseburger. The phone rang twice before it was answered. "You have one minute. Who is this, how did you get this number, and what do you want?"
"Um, my name is Peter, Peter Parker. There was an accident a little while ago and your daughter was almost hurt. Whoever was meant to be watching her apparently wasn’t watching her. She’s safe now. We’re at a small diner and she’s eating. I just thought that her parents should know so someone can pick her up. I can stay with her until someone can meet us,” Peter explained quickly.
There was a sharp intake of air on the other end of the phone. “Can I talk to her,” Morgan’s father asked but it didn’t sound like a question.
Without saying anything Peter handed his phone to the girl. “I’m okay, Daddy. Peter saved me and he even bought me a cheeseburger,” Morgan said happily. She paused as her father asked her a question. “Jerry wasn’t paying attention. Last time I saw him was in the park; I don’t know where I am now.”
“We’re in Rip’s Malt Shop. It’s not far from the NYU campus, it’s on Greenwich Avenue,” Peter said and Morgan repeated the information.
Morgan handed the phone back to Peter before going back to her food. “I’ll be there half an hour,” Morgan’s dad said and then hung up.
“Guess I’m missing today’s lectures,” Peter sighed under his breath and stole a fry. He didn’t need to go to his lectures, he knew the material by heart and possibly could have already graduated but he had needed to talk to one of his professors. He started writing the email in his head while he carried on a conversation with Morgan.
Peter asked about her likes, dislikes, family, and other things. Morgan was a bright girl and she was happy to tell Peter anything. She told him that it was just her and her daddy, along with some uncles and aunts that she listed off. He listened as she told him a tale about a scary monster her daddy had killed and smiled.
Thirty minutes later a large, black car pulled up and a man got out of the back seat. He was very handsome, Peter thought. Morgan apparently got her looks from her father because he had the same eyes and hair, though his hair was a little darker. He was wearing a suit that probably cost more than Peter's rent did for the entire year. He slid into the booth with Morgan, who quickly climbed into his lap, and introduced himself as Tony Stark. Peter thought that he might have heard that name before but he couldn’t be sure.
“Mr. Parker,” Tony asked.
“Peter is good,” Peter said lightly.
“So what happened?"
Peter explained everything, even mentioned the picture of the license and how he planned on contacting the police, but he made sure to say that Morgan was okay and leave out the part about having dried blood on his hip.
"Are you okay? It sounds like you took a hard fall," Tony said as his dark brown eyes assessed Peter.
"Uh, I kind of barked up my hip and shoulder but I heal quickly so I'm okay," Peter assured him.
Tony nodded. Morgan had finished her food and was starting to doze off in her father's lap. "I’ll be blunt with you, Peter. You’re attractive, don’t act surprised, it’s true. As a thank you, let me take you out to dinner."
The blush that showed up on Peter's cheeks was very cute. Tony was looking forward to making the boy blush as he took him apart. “I, um, I would like that.”
Tony smirked at Peter’s shyness. “Well, we can make plans at a later time. I should get her home. She’s apparently had a long day.” Peter agreed and walked out of the dinner with them. Tony opened the car door, the car hadn’t moved even though it was in a no-parking zone, while he balanced Morgan on his hip. Almost as an afterthought, he said, “don’t forget to send the picture of the license plate so I can follow up on it. And here, for buying Morgan lunch.” Tony then proceeded to hand Peter a fifty dollar bill as he also got in the car.
Later that night, after Morgan was tucked into bed and with Barnes, Tony took care of business. He had been able to track down the foolish drive that had almost killed his daughter and his revenge would be painful and long. The driver was in his early thirties and came from a spoiled family. He would have never had to work a day in his life but he had made a mistake that could not be taken back. Natasha was with him, she would help him dispose of whatever body was left.
Tony finally put the man out of his misery and killed him in the early hours of the morning. Jerry, the one who should have been watching Morgan today, was in the wind; knowing that if Tony got his hands on him he would end up much like the man who had almost hit Morgan. When Tony got back to his penthouse he found Bucky in the kitchen. “Head home to your artist. I can take it for the rest of the night,” he told him.
Bucky was part of Tony’s inner circle. He trusted him with his life and, more importantly, his daughter’s life. Tony wasn’t big on trust, especially after Stane tried to betray him, so his inner circle was smaller than most. It consisted of Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers, Happy Hogan, Natasha Romanov, James Rhodes, Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange, Pepper Potts, and Clint Barton. Each one had proven their loyalty to him and had shown that they were willing to do what was necessary. They were the closest thing to family that he had other than Morgan. They were family and as so they took care of each other.
Not all in his inner circle was part of the mob. Steve, Bucky’s soon-to-be husband, wasn’t involved in the seaming criminal underbelly of New York at all; in fact, he was an artist and Tony had helped him and Bucky pay for art school. Stephen Strange was a well-respected doctor. Tony had done a favor for him and now he patched him or his crew up when things went south and they needed actual medical assistance (he also took care of Morgan when she was sick). Bucky and Happy were bodyguards, they made sure that Morgan and he were safe when in public and when tensions heated up between the Stark family and other families. Bruce was a scientist who happened to be married to Natasha.
Natasha, Clint, and Rhodey were his go-to specialists. If he had a hit that he didn’t want to personally handle or if he needed to send a message he sent one of them. Pepper made sure that none of them were slammed in jail. While it was Tony who provided the money it was Pepper who made sure that the necessary people were paid to turn a blind eye.
Tony currently had Rhodey out searching for Jerry and then Tony would take care of the spineless man himself. People knew that if anyone dared to attempt to hurt his daughter they would pay the ultimate price and would be dealt with by Tony himself.
After Tony had washed the blood off of himself and had gotten dressed for bed he slipped under his comforter. He checked his phone and saw that he had a text from one Peter Parker. They had made plans to go out to dinner on Saturday night and now it seemed that Peter just wanted to talk. Normally Tony would ignore the text and go to sleep but Peter wasn’t exactly normal. They talked until Peter said that he needed to sleep.