"Get that box by the door on your way out."
Keeping his physics textbook back into his bag, Peter glanced behind him to where Mr. Stark was pointing his screwdriver at. The man in question was busy inspecting his blaster, the safety goggles firmly fixed to protect his eyes.
It was a small unassuming orange box, enough to fit on the palm of Peter's hand. He had seen it when he was coming into the workshop hours earlier but had paid no mind to it.
"What is it?" he questioned, adjusting the strap of his backpack on his shoulder.
Without even looking up, Mr. Stark said, "Find out. See you on Sunday, kiddo."
He knew a dismissal so without asking another question for fear of annoying his mentor, he grabbed the box. With a 'see you, Mr. Stark,' he left the workshop and made his way to the elevator that would bring him down to the lobby.
The familiar black car was waiting for him out front. Happy was leaning against the car, scrolling through something on his phone with a frown on his face. When Peter greeted him, he looked up briefly and grunted something in reply as he moved towards the driver's side of the car.
"Mr. Stark finally allowed me to lay the wires for his blaster," Peter said excitedly even though Happy had not asked. "He says I can work on his old Iron Man suits. For practice. How cool is that?"
Peter leaned back against the black leather seat, not even taking offence at Happy's lack of interest. He knew Happy actually did listen to whatever he had to say, he just liked to pretend otherwise. It was only a few minutes later, as they were driving down Queen's Boulevard that Peter remembered.
Leaning forward to reach the backpack between his legs on the floorboard, Peter unzipped it and rummaged around until he found the box. He took off the lid without really paying attention to the logo of the brand printed at the top and gasped.
Sitting snugly in the box with the brown leather strap wrapped around a cushion was a chronograph Fossil watch. The crown and bezel was matte black with a dark brown crystal. The hands and dials were tinted with rose gold.
"No way," Peter breathed.
It matched, he recalled with a start. He had seen Mr. Stark's Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece with its rose gold hands. While he wasn't sure if Mr. Stark had done it consciously or he was just partial to the colour but something swell in Peter's chest.
"Like it?" Happy asked, jolting Peter back to his senses.
"I – I can't have this," he shook his head, his gaze still fixed on the watch. He didn't dare take it out from the box, afraid that the car might suddenly brake thanks to New York's traffic and the watch would slip from his fingers. "It's p-probably expensive. It is, right?"
"Don't worry about it. Boss got it for you. He said something about it being his fault that your watch was broken."
"It was an accident. Nobody was at fault. Okay, maybe partly my fault. I just put my watch on the counter while working. I didn't think that part of his suit might drop on it. It's no big deal – it was a cheap watch. May got it for steal at Salvation Army."
Happy watched him from the rear view mirror.
"Doesn't matter," the man shrugged. "That watch was destroyed and now he's got it replaced. It's what he does."
Still, Peter couldn't wrap his head around it. The most expensive thing Peter owned was his Spider-Man suit. Before that, it was probably his laptop. He had saved pocket money that May and Ben gave for school and at the same time had worked for some cash by repairing some of his neighbour's old electronic gadgets.
All his life, if he wanted something, he worked hard to get it. He never asked May or Ben for anything unless it was needed for school, like his backpack. They had taken him in and raised him up and he didn't want to be a burden more than he needed to be so to be given a watch he didn't even ask for was a bit of a shock.
"I can't have this, Happy. It – It doesn't feel right," Peter shook his head, carefully replacing the lid back on the box. It was a very handsome watch and Peter wished his conscience would be quiet for once but that wasn't who he is. "Mr. Stark's already given me the suit and he's – he's helping me so much already. I don't… I don't want to profit from him. This isn't what it's about."
He meant it. If he hadn't met Mr. Stark, May and him would have just replaced the shattered watch with some knockoff from Chinatown. He could survive on that. He didn't need a fancy watch, just something that could tell him the time and date. Hell, even his phone could do that.
As if sensing his thoughts, Happy grumbled, "Look, kid, now there's no reason for you to be late to practice 'cause your phone which is constantly on low battery is in your bag. You think I've forgotten that you made me wait for forty minutes 'cause you didn't have a watch on you and your phone died?"
"I'm sorry about that, Happy," Peter apologised for the umpteenth time.
"Wear it for dinner this Sunday. He'll like it."
With that tone in Happy's voice, Peter didn't pursue the topic any further. He kept his silence, focusing instead on the traffic outside until they pulled up at the quiet alley behind his apartment building.
When Sunday came and Peter sat down for dinner across Mr. Stark and Ms. Potts at their apartment, Peter nervously took out the box from his bag. Knowing that Mr. Stark didn't like to be handed things, Peter placed it on the table before he slowly slid it across towards his mentor.
The man's eyes tracked his every move.
Tony's gaze snapped up to him and Peter squirmed.
"You don't like it."
It wasn't a question. It was a statement, one which Peter was quick to refute.
"No, no, it's not like that, Mr. Stark. I like it. It's an awesome watch. It's very nice and all but I – I can't accept it. I know you kinda dropped a part of your suit on my watch but I don't blame you. I shouldn't have put my watch there. I should have taken better care. So – So really, Mr. Stark, you don't have to get me a watch to replace that one and like, knowing you, it's probably expensive 'cause you've got this exquisite taste."
Mr. Stark raised an eyebrow and Peter felt as if it had put a foot in his mouth.
He tried to back track, stumbling over his words.
"Not like that's a – a bad thing," he finished lamely.
"It's a Fossil watch that I got you, not Patek Philippe," Mr. Stark rolled his eyes. "Will you just relax?"
Peter blinked, clueless. He didn't think now was the time to find out who or what a Patek Philippe is.
He cast his eyes down to his plate, poking on his chicken. He wasn't sure how to make Mr. Stark understand.
Ms. Potts, who like May, was always somewhat attuned to his feelings, placed a comforting hand on his back.
"What's wrong, Peter?"
"There's nothing wrong," Mr. Stark chimed in. "It's a watch. He'll take it."
"Shush, Tony. You can't just shove things into people's face. You need to listen."
Peter blanched, appalled that he was the reason Ms. Potts and Mr. Stark was currently bickering over dinner. Granted, there was always something they didn't agree on at some point but that something had never been him.
"Please don't argue. I'm sorry," Peter interjected before it could escalate. "I – I just mean… I mean, I don't want Mr. Stark to think that I – I'm taking advantage cause he's a billionaire. My watch was cheap. I think it was just like $10. Y - you don't have to replace it with this. And I really, really like just hanging out with you, Mr. Stark. I like working with you at the workshop so you don't have to get me anything. You've already given me the suit and that's – that's the best thing."
"And now I'm giving you this watch," Mr. Stark slid the box back to him. "I won't take no for an answer. It's durable, it's good. You can wear it every day to school and it'll last."
"Really, Mr. Stark, thank you but I – I don't think May would let me accept it either. What will people at school think? I've never… I can't – "
"It's a gift, kid. Besides, when you spoil something that belongs to someone, you should compensate them."
"But – "
"Don't hurt my feelings, Pete."
Peter shot him a dirty look at that statement.
"That's not fair," Peter huffed but he reached out to take the box. "You know I'd never do that."
Mr. Stark smirked. Still, Peter was aware of his eyes on him and with clumsy fingers he took the watch out of the box and fastened it on his wrist. He turned his wrist this way and that, admiring the way the watch glinted under the lights.
"Looks good on you," his mentor remarked.
"Yeah," Peter nodded. "T-Thanks, Mr. Stark."
"Word of advice, don't bother about what people think," Mr. Stark said, "just do whatever the hell you want."
"I would listen to the first part of that advice," Ms. Potts added, "but will strongly encourage you to completely disregard the second. It will land you in hot water eventually."
Here's another 3 + 1 from me. One day i'll graduate to a 5 +1 but for now, I'll just stick with something small and manageable with the time I have! :) I hope you've enjoyed the first part and for those who is interested, here's a link to the watch : . (if the link doesn't work, you can head to my tumblr - same username)