A Beautiful Lie


Full Summary:

Head Down. Mouth shut. Quiet. Survive.

Peter knows the drill. Richard Parker has been carving it into him for years now.

Follow. Repeat. Do as you're told.

But things get complicated after Germany, after Tony Stark. And suddenly the line starts getting blurry.

Meanwhile, with the Avengers scattered and the Accords in pieces, Tony's a mess who's ready to crash and burn. Enter Spider-Kid, complete with bruises, excuses, and a deep, dark secret that stretches far further than Tony first thought.

Disjointed, dysfunctional, disastrous.

Nothing can seem to describe the sheer catastrophe in waiting that lurks closer every second they spend together. Tony's depressed. Peter's afraid. They're both wrecks apart. Imagine the chaos that would come by putting them together.

Still, who better to help a hero than another hero?


Part I

The Spider on Springshore Drive


Chapter 1: Rule 1


1) I Will Never Trust Anyone


Friday - March 4, 2016

Queens, NY - 2764 Springshore Dr. - Parker Residence

03:14 p.m.

The soft jolt tensing through his stomach signaled the elevator's ascent. He nervously patted the side of his leg, the thick black wire of the cable cord thumping up against his thigh as he firmly held onto the abandoned DVD player. Why someone had thrown it out was still a notable question to him. If external condition and wiring were any indicators, the machine worked just fine.

Apart from the whirling of the elevator motors, the only other sound in the cramped compartment was the quick, sharp thumps of his foot tapping against the floor. As usual, the ride up to his and his father's floor was calm and uneventful and much too short.

Peter's tongue felt dry and puffy as beads of sweat rolled down his temple, seeming to ignore the sharp cold blasts of AC that swirled through their building. His fingers frantically tapped up and down against the side of his pants as his eyes shifted from one place to another, never resting on a single detail for too long before leaping to the next. With his eyes closed, Peter could name you every single dent, scratch, and imperfection in the elevator's surroundings. Not that there were many.

If one were to come across the young boy, they'd simply note it as Peter being Peter, for the fourteen-year-old had never been one for exuding confidence. However, if you were to ask the boy himself for his nervous shuffling, he'd sum it up to one main thing.

It was Friday.

His father came home early from work on Fridays.

Just the sight of the man's expensive car parked outside their building was enough to have Peter twitching nervously, so much so that he'd barely even paid any attention to the other expensive-looking car outside.

Considering his and his father's rooms were on the third story of their large, expensive townhouse, Peter often had a few moments of peace in the elevator, and even more often a few moments where he hoped and prayed for the elevator to break down and trap him inside.

But he was never that lucky.

Speaking of no luck, the elevator had stopped.

Great.

Taking a shaky breath to calm his nerves, Peter stepped out of the elevator and into the main room of their living quarters.

Long, expensive couches stretched out into the huge penthouse sweet on the left, a fully stocked bar to the right. The walls were round-about windows that stretched from floor to ceiling, letting in the light of the midday sun.

Peter, always one for silver linings, had to admit having an entire building to yourself was pretty cool. And the view wasn't too bad either. Peter couldn't help the small smile that formed on his face as he took in the sight of New York City.

Their building resided on the upper west side of Queens, allowing a stellar view of the East River and the bright lights of Manhattan just beyond it. Even from a considerable distance, the life of the central borough could be felt from here.

Quickly blinking back to reality, Peter reflexively lowered his gaze and began to make his way over to the bar. Judging from the silence in the large suite, Peter could only pray that his father was down in the basement working in the lab. If that was the case, then he probably wouldn't see him or the others until dinner.

That, in itself, was a small blessing. And he'd take all the ones he could get.

Setting his backpack and DVD player down on the polished surface of the bar, Peter pulled his phone out of his back pocket and quickly opened it up, noting that Ned had sent him five new messages. If the emojis were any indicators, Peter could only guess that his friend had just bought a new Lego set and was raving to him about it.

Feeling a small smirk settle onto his face, Peter leaned back against the bar and folded his arms, quickly typing a message back to the boy when the sound of someone clearing their throat caught his attention. Snapping his head up, he nearly dropped his phone in shock as he caught sight of his father sitting on the couch in the center of the room, staring straight at him.

The man was tall, well over six feet, with broad shoulders highlighted by the suit he was currently wearing. He must have just gotten home. His dark brown hair was slicked back, framing his squared jaw and the discoloration on his cheeks. A chemical accident (or at least that's what he told people it came from) had left the man with a set of pale white spots that splashed over his cheeks in an almost unnoticeable look and set a faint, off-color film over one eye.

A set frown was drawn onto his face, the usual stoic emotion he exhibited, if one could even call it that.

"D-dad!" Peter stuttered out instinctively.

An uncomfortable prickling sensation washed over his body as an ache settled into his muscles, a familiar feeling when he was in the presence of his father. Speaking of, Peter quickly swallowed the lump in his throat like a daily pill to swallow and choke down. "I...I didn't know you were...uhh..." he said quietly, the words trailing off as he caught sight of something strange.

Peter's father, Richard Parker, was the owner of Parkstem Labs, one of the most successful enterprises in the city - despite its small size - specializing in engineering high-tech machinery to be sold to other multi-billion dollar corporations. His work often involved consultation and evaluation, so Peter was quite used to seeing strangers in their building. Heck, the first two floors of their townhouse were used to house some of his father's associates. But never in his life had Peter expected to see in his house the man he was currently staring at.

There, with one arm resting on the lip of the couch and another brandishing a glass of scotch, with two feet propped up on the coffee table, was none other than Tony Stark: famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, sitting on his couch.

Talking to his father.

Shit.

Peter's quickly felt the air leave his lungs, like he's just been punched in the stomach. Despite the jarring chill that ran up his spine at making eye contact with the billionaire, Peter found he couldn't look away.

A moment or two of awkward silence passed between the three of them, but Mr. Stark seemed to just brush it off with a flick of his hand as he cleared his throat. "Well, look who finally decided to show up." He rose up from the seat, straightening out the buttoning on his suit. "Mr. Parker," he greeted with a cool smile and a slight nod of his head.

Peter watched as his father rose up to his feet as well, the movement making his eyes quickly snap over to him to survey his body language. Hands folded behind his back, shoulders relaxed, feet still. So nothing too obvious, though nothing ever was with Richard. Still, Peter knew better than to let his guard down.

"Umm...h-hey," Peter murmured lamely, unsure if he should be speaking or not. Probably not.

"W-what...what are you, uh...doing here?" he asked, voice quiet and unsure. He folded his arms over his chest, trying to resist the urge to rub his thumb against the back of his hand, a nervous tic he'd been doing for years now.

"Well, I believed it was about time we met." The man said casually, swirling the golden-colored liquid around his glass. "You've been getting my emails haven't you?"

Emails? Peter wondered, face preparing to scrunch in confusion. But he quickly caught sight of the numerous winks Mr. Stark sent his way.

Peter knew a signal when he saw one.

It didn't do much for the confusion, though. Why would Tony Stark be sending him signals? What was happening here? Did his father know? Probably not, considering he's winking behind Richard's back. What didn't he want his father to know?

Speaking of, Peter quickly stole a glance over to his father again. Now that he wasn't facing Mr. Stark, his posture had changed somewhat. His shoulders were tighter, back straight. Richard's face was pulled back into a cool smile, but Peter knew his father well enough to see when he was hiding his annoyance, if the man's twitching fingers told him anything.

Whatever Stark was playing at, he obviously didn't approve.

Peter knew he should ignore Mr. Stark's hints, refute whatever it was he was saying, if only to appease his father's wishes. But he felt his head moving in a nod before he could think twice. "Y-yeah, yeah...the...the emails r-regarding the, uh..."

"The September Foundation."

"The September Foundation. R-right, right..." At least, he hoped he was doing this right.

Tony took a small sip from his glass before setting it back down on the coffee table. "Yeah, remember when you applied?" He asked, not bothering to wait for a reply. "Well, I approved. You're in, kid." He smirked, sending another wink the kid's way, though he was sure by now the boy was already in the know. "So...now we're in business."

Peter opened his mouth to reply, only to jump at his father's sudden movements, the man having stooped down to grab both his and Tony's glasses. "So, Peter..." He said evenly, voice calm and collected (at least enough to fool Tony), "Any particular reason for why you decided to hide this from me?" He asked, walking over to the bar and depositing the glasses in the small sink. "I mean, this is pretty big and instead of hearing it from my own son, I have to hear it from our city's resident billionaire."

Instantly feeling the familiar cold claw of dread squeezing around his lungs, Peter quickly tried to squash it down as he fought to come up with a suitable lie that would fool the man. Luckily, Tony seemed to notice the boy's nervousness as he walked over. "Ah, don't pluck the kid too harshly. This particular grant is a lot more private than our other ones considering it's so hands-on and personal, so when kids apply, they usually keep it on the down low, at least until something's guaranteed."

Peter quickly shut his mouth and nodded his head vigorously.

Richard glanced between the two of them for a moment before nodding his head as well. "I see." He stated simply, lowering his head as he turned on the faucet, a steady stream of water falling into the glasses in his hands. A smile broke into his face as he turned back to them. "Well Peter, I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. Though, I suppose I shouldn't be. After all, I know you're always working hard."

"Yes, well I'm sure that's to be expected from the son of one of the most prominent scientists in the manufacturing field. I must say, your work was pretty impressive, and it takes a lot to impress me." Tony quipped.

Richard lips pulled into a tight smile. "Yes, I'm sure it does."

A thick tension hung heavy in the air, so much so that Peter was finding it difficult to breathe as he stared back and forth between the two men. Mr. Stark didn't seem fazed by it, however as he placed his hands into his pockets as he turned to glance at Peter. "I guess that's a lot to live up to, huh kid." He asked, Peter's shoulders tensing as he gave a stiff nod.

Richard gave a small chuckle. "Yes well, while I'll admit my work does take up a considerable amount of my time, I'm still very proud of you, Peter. I'm sure you've earned this." He turned to continue cleaning the glasses. Peter didn't get to see his face as he said the words. He was almost positive the man wasn't smiling.

"Speaking of which," Tony continued, raising up his hands as he gestured to the boy next to him. "You think I can speak to Peter alone for a second?"

Richard nodded his head. "Of course. Peter, show Mr. Stark to your room. You can talk about whatever you need in there."

Peter mutely nodded his head as he hesitantly grabbed his backpack and hastily slung it over his shoulder before picking up the DVD player and shuffling down the hall, Mr. Stark following close behind.

As the footfall of their steps slowly tricked down into silence, Richard turned away from the hall and back down to the glasses, the rushing of the water now the only sound in the room.

His fingers curled around the last remaining cup tightly until the glass suddenly gave way, shattering into dozens of pieces. Richard didn't even flinch as the glass sliced his finger open. He merely watched as the water ran across the wound, washing the blood off of the skin and down into the drain below.

. . . . .

Peter felt his fingers twitching at his sides as he watched Tony Stark enter his room. Considering the man had asked to speak to the boy in private led Peter to assume that what they were about to discuss had not been brought to the attention of his father, so there was at least some good news.

"Well..." Mr. Stark huffed, a smirk playing on his lips. "Your father seems like quite an...interesting man."

Peter folded his arms across his chest. "Yeah, he's interesting all right." He mumbled under his breath, missing the way Mr. Stark's smirk grew, if only slightly.

Any sense of exasperation quickly phased out of his body as he watched Mr. Stark mill about his room, nervousness quickly taking its place. After all, there were plenty of secrets stashed in the room, many of which were threatened just by the man's mere presence.

Tony, however, was in a much different mental state. After all, he already knew every secret the boy had...almost.

The billionaire stared down at the boy's desk, taking note of the various VCRs, DVD players and other old, probably abandoned sets of machinery. Each and every one had been cracked open, various chips and wires strewn about the desk. "So...you've been busy." He commented, plucking a small wired chip up off from the messy table, Peter tensing slightly at the action. "Where'd you get this crap anyway?" Tony asked, glancing back at the kid. "Something tells me most kids aren't lining up at the nearest game station to buy this junk."

Peter merely shrugged his shoulders. "You'd be surprised by the kind of stuff you find in the trash."

"You're a dumpster diver?"

"Well, I-I don't...I mean I-" Quickly feeling his face flush from what he could assume to be either nervousness or just plain embarrassment, Peter quickly folded his arms across his chest defensively and shook his head. "Okay, umm...L-listen, I know I didn't sign up for...for a-any grant or-"

"Ah, ah, ah!" Tony snapped sharply, waving his hand for added effect. "Me first."

"O-okay..."

Peter watched with batted breath as Tony reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone that could make his look like a bar of soap that'd been colored in with a sharpie. "Quick question of the rhetorical variety..." Tapping his fingers across the device, a small holographic screen materialized above the surface, facing out towards Peter. The video displayed on the projection was enough to make Peter's heart stop altogether, the words Tony uttered next completely obliterating it.

"That's you, isn't it?"

The video showed a suspicious man walking up to the side windows of a car, only for a masked man dressed in red and blue to swing out from the corner of the screen. A strange line shot out towards the man, wrapping around his ankles and dragging him to the ground as the masked figure swung back out of frame. But not before the video paused right as his face flashed next to the camera, revealing a red hoodie with large black goggles.

Peter's eyes trailed from the hologram up to meet Tony's, if only for a second before he corrected his mistake and averted his gaze back to his much more interesting bed. Despite the way his throat felt like it was being squeezed shut, he was pleasantly surprised to find that his voice could still work. "Uhh, no. No, what do you...what do you mean?"

"Yeah..." Tony corrected before switching to another video, this one showing the same masked figure zooming in front of a speeding car. "...yeah, look at you go." Quickly landing on the ground, the figure caught the vehicle before it could slam into the side of a fully-loaded bus.

"Whoa, nice catch." The man mused. "Three thousand pounds, forty miles an hour?" He flipped the phone and quickly retracted the hologram, pointing the end of the device at Peter. "That's not easy. Guess you have a bit of skill, huh kid?" He asked.

Peter quickly took a step forward as he stared at the phone currently resting on his desk. He could feel the blood pumping in his ears and the quick erratic beats of his heart, which were so loud he felt his teeth would soon begin to chatter. Nevertheless, he strained to maintain a cool, calm composure

"Well I mean, y-you found that all on YouTube though, r-right?" He asked, glancing over at the man before staring back down at the phone. "I mean, that's where you found it? Cause you know that's all fake." He rambled, never noticing the way Tony rolled his eyes and began to mill around his room.

As he scanned the bedroom, his eyes fell upon the thin, barely noticeable lines etched into the side of the bed headboard, creating a long vertical rectangle.

"Like, that's all done on the computer. It's like that video-"

"Uh-huh, you mean like those UFOs over Phoenix?" Tony called out as the kid continued to mumble, tracing his fingers over the lines before he pressed his thumb into the center of the rectangle.

The entire piece pushed in slightly before extending outwards from the headboard, revealing a secret compartment containing what the billionaire could honestly say to be the most ghastly costume he'd ever seen.

"Well, what do we have here?" He asked as Peter rushed forward, thrusting his arm into the compartment before ripping the pile of clothes out, tossing them into the open closet in the span of a few seconds.

"It's uh...umm..." Peter fumbled for something, anything to say that might save his ass, but realizing any words would probably just go against him, the boy decided to simply shut his mouth and stare down at the ground. He couldn't even hear his heart anymore it was beating so fast, not to mention he'd completely lost all feeling in his legs.

"So..." Tony sighed, turning to face the boy. "You're the Spider. . . . ling. Crime-fighting Spider. Spider-Boy?" He milled through a quick list of possibilities, waiting for the teen to correct him.

Peter's fingers twitched against his arm as he debated whether or not to confirm Mr. Stark's thoughts or continue to deny them. He briefly considered staying silent altogether, but realized that would probably just make the man mad. He couldn't have that.

"S-Spider-Man..."

Tony merely rolled his eyes. "Not in that onesie, you're not."

For some reason, the comment made Peter twitch in annoyance as he stole a glance. "It's not a onesie." He muttered as he walked past the man and back over to the desk. Noticing how some of the circuit chips were out of line, he reached down and quietly adjusted them, straightening them out once more.

"Can't believe this." He muttered softly. "You know...I was having a...a really good day today, Mr. Stark. Didn't miss my train. This...perfectly good DVD player was just sitting there, and algebra test..." He tapped the end of a screwdriver down onto the desk. "...nailed it." He sighed before falling quiet once more, not wishing to offend the man with his comments. Silence was better.

Tony regarded the boy in front of him for a moment before opening his mouth once more. "Who else knows? Anybody?" He asked, watching as Peter glanced over at him before lowering his head once more, giving a small, barely noticeable shake of his head. "Nobody important." He whispered.

"Not even your...exceptionally wonderful father?" Tony scoffed, only to blink in shock as Peter rounded on him, eyes blazing. "No! He can't know about this! He can never know about this!" he practically screamed, eyes glazing over in a wash of panic. "About the crime-fighting, about my powers. He can't know any of it! They can't know any of it!"

Tony stared at him, trying to process the words that had been spat at him. He narrowed his eyes slightly in thought. "'They?'" He parroted.

Peter's head snapped up to him as they made hard eye contact for a brief moment. Whatever fire had entered the kid's system quickly died down as he lowered his head pressed his palms into the surface of his desk, hair falling down to cover his face as he let out a tired sigh.

Tony knew that sigh. Tony owned that sigh.

The billionaire couldn't help the bubble of confusion that had formed the second he'd stepped into the Parker residence. He knew Richard Parker, not personally, but he knew of him. The city practically drooled at his feet, what with his constant donations and repeat appearances at this or that charity ball.

Everyone else seemed to lap up the "White Knight" appeal, but Tony could see right through it, could see the tricks of a con man that only another liar could find. He knew Richard Parker was a douchebag in disguise, and he'd fully expected his son, superpowered or otherwise, to be exactly the same.

Which was why he was so confused right now.

Peter Parker, from what the man had seen so far, was nothing like his father. Richard was cool and calm, a master of wordplay and conversation, exuding confidence and style and money. But his son? His son was obviously shy and soft-spoken. Just his body language, the way he constantly fidgeted with his fingers or averted his gaze or wrapped his arms around himself in a blatantly defensive manner, told Tony the kid was nervous...a lot. in fact, they hadn't managed to maintain steady eye contact the entire conversation. The kid always looked away in...in...fear?

What was this kid so afraid of that it had completely warped his entire personality?

The whole thing left a bad taste in Tony's mouth. However, knowing he'd come here with a single goal, he quickly tried to refocus back on the mission. He cleared his throat and glanced back over at the boy, who was staring down at the ground looking as if he'd much rather be anywhere else.

"You know what I think it really cool?" He called, Peter not even bothering to look at him. "This webbing." He lifted his arm and flicked the small metallic casing over to the boy, who caught it without even lifting his eyes. "Tensile strength is off the charts. Who manufactured that?" He asked.

Peter let out a small sigh and reluctantly lifted up his head, fingering the cold casing in his palm. "I did." He mumbled before tossing the case into his closet, where it effortlessly flopped into his hamper. "What do you think all this stuff's for?" He pointed down to the scrapped parts and loose wires of the machines strewn about his desk.

Mr. Stark sat down on the computer chair resting next to the boy's dresser, reaching back into the closet to pull out the kid's suit. "Climbing the walls?" He called. "How are you doing that? Adhesive gloves?" He asked as he ran his fingers over the sewn material of the boy's costume, searching for any clues as to how the boy was doing what he was doing.

Peter bit the bottom of his lip and turned away. "It's...uh..i-it's a long...long story." He mumbled.

"Lordy!" Peter jumped at Tony's cry. The man was currently holding the two bulky goggles attached to the face of his costume. "Can you even see in these things?!" He asked, Peter quickly yanking the costume out of his hands as the man mocked him, cheeks burning red as he opened up the compartment in his headboard, thrusting the suit back inside.

"Yes! Yes, I can see, thank you very much!" He growled, glaring over at the man before quickly realizing he'd overstepped his bounds. "S-sorry! I'm...I-I'm...sorry." He whispered before rubbing the back of his neck. "It's just that...when whatever happened happened..." He tried to find a way to explain what he could barely even understand himself.

"It's like my senses have been dialed up to eleven, you know? There's just...there's way too much input for me. So, these...they just help...help me focus, is...is all." He finished quietly as he sat down on his bed, hoping the man wouldn't get angry at his outburst from before.

Tony stared at the kid currently fiddling with his fingers, small curls falling into his eyes. The man let out a sigh as he shook his head. "You're in dire need of an upgrade, kid." He muttered. "Systemic, top to bottom. 100-point restoration. That's why I'm here."

Peter felt his eyebrows furrow at that. Tony Stark was one of the most famously-known people out there. His company was one of the biggest in the world, he was a part of the most well-known superhero team ever. All in all, he was a pretty busy guy, Peter would guess. So why the hell did he care about some no-named, stupid kid running around playing vigilante? Why the hell did he care about him?

"Why are you doing this?"

The man's next words jostled him from his thoughts, his head rising to look at the man for a brief moment.

"I got to know." Tony elaborated. "What gets you out of this room in the morning. No, actually...better question. Why the hell is your room so clean? You're what...fourteen?! Shouldn't you have...I don't know...piles of clothes mixed with half-eaten apples and finger painting sets strewn about all over?" He asked. After all, the only "mess" he could detect in the room was the pile of tech on the boy's desk.

"Finger pain...? What kind of kids have you been hanging around?"

"I don't know. It's not like I have much practice with this kind of stuff. You really think I look like the kind of guy that lurks around daycare centers all day long?" Tony muttered before his eyes widened slightly. "...that came out wrong."

Peter couldn't help the small chuckle that spilled from his lips at that, Tony quickly taking notice. "Oh, so you do smile. And here I thought your face muscles couldn't do such a thing. What are they, out of practice or something?" He joked.

The kid smiled softly before glancing back up at the man, noticing the way he was staring at him. Quickly realizing he was still expecting an answer, Peter let out a small sigh and stared back down at his fingers. For a moment, Tony wondered whether the boy would simply refuse to answer, but after a moment, Peter let out a small chuckle.

"You know, everyone around here has heard of the Avengers. I mean, after the aliens, you'd have to try really, really hard to stay oblivious you know?" He asked, not bothering to wait for a response. "People nowadays know about superheroes, about those amazing people with amazing powers and amazing lives. And...and you'd think that having people like that out there...people to protect you out there...you'd feel safe. You think...'nothing bad is going to happen. We have people watching out for us. Strong people. Good people."

He paused, the smile quickly slipping off of his face. "But...every day, there's a bank being robbed, there's a guy being mugged, there's a girl getting raped. There's...someone who needs help, who's praying for help, for...for someone to just...scoop them up and...and take them away from it all..." He paused, his face taking on an almost bitter look. "...but it never comes."

Tony watched him silently, leaning forward slightly in the chair as he listened.

"You start to wonder...how...how people with such powers and such amazing skills...could just...sit by and do...nothing while you're suffering right under their noses. If...if they can do such great things...if they can save the world over and over and over again...then why couldn't they save you?" He paused, Tony making out the way Peter's chest seemed to heave slightly before his breathing evened out.

"The people around here have realized something. In the grand scheme of things, when it comes to people who have made it their job to save the world from harm...you don't matter. You're not...important enough to be saved."

Peter stared down at his hands, the fact that they were shaking never dawning on him, neither was the fact that he was basically insulting the Avengers in front of one of its most prominent members.

"That's why I do this." Peter finally said. "So those people who think they're alone know there's someone out there who's with them. So those people who...who are scared know there's someone there to protect them. So those people who think..." He swallowed thickly before continuing. "...who think they'll never be saved know there's someone there to look out for them...there's someone that cares about them."

Tony narrowed his eyes as he took in the boy before him, letting his words sink in as Peter glanced up at him.

"Cause...cause those people down there..." He gestured over to the window. "Those people who work from sunrise to sunset...those people who wake up every morning, have breakfast with there family and kiss their loved ones goodbye as they go to work or...or to school...those people like me...they don't need someone to save the entire world...they just need someone to save theirs."

Peter let out a shaky breath as he finished, lowering his gaze as he waited for the man to start yelling at him for insulting his line of work, for insulting his very heroicness.

Mr. Stark, however, didn't exude any of the fury Peter imagined. Instead, the man stared at him for another second before leaning back in his chair, clicking his tongue softly. "So...you wanna look out for the little guy, you wanna...do your part...make the world a better place, all that right?"

Peter glanced up at the man in surprise, relieved he wasn't mad, but still...surprised. Nevertheless, he gave a small nod and turned his attention back to his twiddling fingers.

Tony let out a sigh as he slowly lifted himself up out of the chair and made his way over to Peter. Walking across the large room, he stopped beside the kid's bed before slowly lowering himself down on it, noticing the way Peter's muscles instantly tensed, though his eyes stayed glued to his fingers.

Tony lifted his arm hesitantly, thinking of patting the kid on the shoulder before deciding against it. The kid was already shifting from his seat on the bed as if he were trying to get as far away from the man as possible. Tony filed it away as odd, just another strange thing about Peter Parker.

Oh, well. He could use a little strange right about now.

"Got a passport?"

"Uhh...umm, no. N-no...I don't...I don't even have a driver's license"

"You ever been to Germany?"

Where the heck was he going with this?

"Uhh...no?"

"Oh you'll love it!"

Whaa-! Peter reared back,

"I can't go to Germany!" He exclaimed loudly.

"Why not?

"I...I-I..." Peter stuttered out, now much more unsure of himself. "I got...homework."

Tony paused for a minute before shaking his head. "Alright, I'm gonna pretend you didn't say that." He muttered as he rose up from the bed, ignoring Peter's sputtering protests, knowing full well the kid actually wanted to go. He was merely trying to keep up with the fa├žade. Still, Tony just needed one more thing to confirm that Peter was really who they needed...

"It'll probably be a little dangerous. Better tell World's Greatest Dad that-"

The words were cut from his throat as he watched Peter spring up to his feet faster than humanly possible, thrusting his arm forward as a line of webbing flew outward, wrapping around Tony's hand and effectively trapping him to the door handle.

The billionaire stared down at the sight before lifting his gaze back over to Peter, who for the first time since he'd met him was now staring Tony straight in the eyes, a determined look adorning his face. He slowly lifted up his finger, pointing it threateningly at the man before him. "Don't tell my father." He growled out.

Tony leveled a stare at the kid, his confirmation now staring him dead in the eyes. This was the kid he was looking for. "Alright, Spider-Man." He said calmly. In the back of his mind, he knew bringing a fourteen-year-old kid along on what could only be assumed to be an incredibly dangerous mission probably wasn't the best of plans, but he'd run out of options. Besides, the kid needed something to help him out in his endeavors, who was to say Tony couldn't be that something, if only for a little while.

"Get me out of this."

"So-sorry...sorry!"

In the end, he knew he probably wouldn't worry about it too much. The kid would get a new suit and he'd get a new recruit. Win-win. Perfect. After this was all over, he'd drop the kid back home, give him the suit permanently and be on his merry way, undoubtedly forgetting the kid after a few weeks. After all, this would simply be a one-time thing. Get in. Get out.

Meet the kid. Help the kid. Forget the kid.

It'd be simple...

. . .

. . .

...right?