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The Matchmaker

Chapter Text

"Yes?"

"I'm here about the tutoring job?"

"Oh. Right. Wait. What?"

Stephen Strange cleared his throat, then looked closer at the man in front of him. "Damn it. I must have the wrong address."

"Stop. Just come in and let's see if we can figure this out. Peter!"

"What, Dad?" Peter bellowed down from his room.

"Do you have kids?" Tony asked under his breath.

Stephen shook his head.

"Lucky you. He was a sweet kid until puberty and well - other things kicked in, and now - I don't know, maybe a tutor is just what he needs at the moment. I'm -"

"I know exactly who you are, Mr. Stark. Look, I don't mean to be rude, but is there a job? There seems to be some confusion -"

Peter stopped short as he walked into the room as both Tony and Stephen turned to look at him. "Perfect," he muttered to himself under his breath. "Sorry, Dad. I didn't think you'd mind, I need some help with my Chemistry class -"

"Chemistry? Peter -" Tony studied Peter's face for a moment, then shrugged and turned back to face Stephen. "When can you start?"

 

"Morning, Pete." Pepper looked up from her phone and shook her head. "A tutor? You do realize that after he spends five minutes alone with you, he will know he's wasting his time. You could teach the class. Listen, I know you're worried about him, with you starting college soon -"

"When was the last time he had a date, Pep?" Peter asked as he dropped a couple of pieces of bread into the toaster and pressed the lever down, then turned to look at her, arms crossed.

"Well, there was - uhm, it's difficult, you know, with -"

"And why is it difficult?" Peter asked patiently, then watched her face change.

"Because he's him, and he's -"

"Uh-huh. Look, I checked the guy out last night, he's perfect for Dad, no record - yes, he's having trouble finishing his PhD, but that's mostly because he can't get funding for his work, and his adviser's an -" Peter stopped as Tony walked into the kitchen. "Morning, Dad."

"Peter." Tony nodded at him then glanced over at Pepper. "You have anything to do with this tutor business, Ms. Potts?"

"Nope." She grinned as she handed him a mug of coffee, then quietly slipped from the kitchen.

"Listen -"

"Dad. Come on. You haven't been on a date for as long as I've known you."

"When exactly did it become your business -"

"I'm leaving for college in the fall. You spend most of your time in your workshop as it is - I just worry when I'm not here, that you will -"

"What, I'm going to forget to eat, sleep -" Tony sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, then chuckled. "Point taken. I appreciate the gesture - I do. I promise I will remember to eat, and sleep occasionally."

"It's not just -"

"I know, kiddo. I know - there are reasons, loads of reasons why I haven't, why I don't - and I think you know that -"

"I want you to stop." Peter covered his mouth with his hand, and whispered, "sorry," then swore as the toast popped up behind him. "You're right. It's not my business. It's just - I want you to have a reason to stop being Iron Man. You don't have to do it anymore. Every time you go on a mission, I worry you won't come back. I know you don't go on as many because you know how I feel, and once I'm not around as much to remind you of that - hell. Sorry. I'll call him and -"

"No. I'll do it. I have to be at the University anyway today, I'll stop by and talk to him, try to explain it to him." He put his mug down and mumbled, "come here, kiddo."

Peter took two steps closer to Tony, then leaned into his chest, wrapped his arms around him and sighed as Tony hugged him tightly. "I am sorry, Dad. I just want you to be here and happy."

"Well, I guess it's better than you telling me I'm too old -"

"Now that you mention it -"

"Shouldn't you be at school?" Tony growled at him, then ruffled his hair. "Love you, kiddo."

"Love you, too, Dad. You know - he isn't bad looking, and he's brilliant - and -"

"School!"

Peter grabbed the toast, and muttered with a grin, "I'm going, I'm going... I have a study session at MJ's tonight -"

"Be home by 10!"

"Awww, Dad...."

"10."

"Love you."

"Yeah, I know. No dawdling, got it?"

"Got it."

"Top in his class..."

"Peter Benjamin Parker..."

"Going, I'm going."

Chapter Text

"Mr. Strange?" Tony knocked on the door to the lab and heard a curse as something glass shattered against the floor. He walked in to find Stephen bent down picking up the larger pieces of glass, he moved without thinking when he noticed who had entered the room and cut himself on one of the shards.

"Mr. Stark. Damn. I didn't expect -"

"One of your students said I could find you here. I didn't mean to startle you." Tony helped him to his feet and turned on the cold water full blast and stuck Stephen's hand under the stream of water. "I hope it wasn't anything dangerous?"

"No. It wasn't." Stephen finally managed when he found his voice. "I'm fine. It's just a small cut." He pulled his hand away, then opened a drawer and dumped out a box of band-aids. Tony snorted when he saw that they were Iron Man band-aids. "Joke gift. I've been a student here so long, my nickname around here is Iron Man - mostly after the Triathlon, but also - damn, this is awkward." He wrapped the band-aid around his finger then tossed the wrappers away and closed the drawer. "I should have called about the job before I went over there, I had a text to confirm an interview, assumed it was from you. I was surprised your security isn't better - I mean, you are who are, and all - but."

"Jarvis would have stopped you had he felt you posed a threat."

"Jarvis?"

"My A.I, he runs the house - was basically Peter's back up nanny when I couldn't be at home when he was a kid who needed nannying."

"Right. I mean, I knew who your kid is - he's won every science award there is to win in his age group. I guess I was curious."

"He thinks I need to get out more."

"Huh?"

"He posted that job because he was trying to find me a date."

Stephen blinked at him for a few seconds before he realized he was blinking and his jaw had dropped. "Sorry. I guess -"

"You just thought -"

"The red carpet stuff."

"It's safer that way."

"Right."

"And when I was younger, when I was home I was raising Peter - or trying to raise Peter, he was enough."

Stephen cleared his throat and knew his face was flushed, and it wasn't from the temperature in the room. "And now?"

"Now? I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me, tonight?"

"Dinner. I mean. I don't normally - sorry. I usually don't have a problem with the English language, just ask my students. I'd enjoy that very much. Dinner."

"Eight o'clock then, at my place?"

"Eight is fine."

"Good. See you then." Tony turned to walk away and ran into the door. "Genius."

Stephen didn't bother trying to hide his laughter and Tony turned to catch him smiling.

"Damn."

"What?"

"Nothing, it's just, your eyes. I've never seen anyone's eyes do that when they smile. Eight, right?"

"Right. Eight."

Stephen watched the door close behind Tony and shook his head. "What the hell are you getting yourself into, Strange? Good. Talking to yourself - that's healthy. Right. Broom. Dust pan. Eight o'clock. Ridiculous. Yeah, my nickname - idiot. Yer an idiot."

Chapter Text

"So?" Peter asked casually as he leaned against the kitchen counter drinking his orange juice.

"So, what?" Tony replied, while he growled at his morning texts.

"Last night?"

"Last night. Hmm. Oh, right. It was good."

"Good?"

"Uhm-hmm. Want some pancakes?"

"No, I don't want pancakes. Yes, I mean, yes. I want pancakes. Of course I want pancakes. What happened last night?"

"Dinner." Tony got up from the table and began pulling out the ingredients for pancakes.

"Dinner... and?"

"Dessert. He brought dessert."

"Are you trying to kill me? And???"

"Careful there, kiddo, don't get your webbing all knotted up. We're going to a movie tomorrow night."

"A movie? Like a date movie, or a serious movie?"

Tony turned to look at him. "What do you know about 'date movies'? Have you been to a date movie?"

"No! No. Not yet. MJ likes going to serious movies and I have to pay attention to it so we can discuss it later."

"I think it will be a date movie, but he's picking it."

"Okay, I gotta ask, before this gets too serious. Important question -"

Tony rolled his eyes and smiled at Peter. "Of course he thinks Die Hard is a Christmas movie. You think I'd go out with someone who thought otherwise?"

The relief was clear on Peter's face as he sat down at the table and waited for his first tall stack of pancakes.