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"For the love of New York!"

 

Peter climbed on top of the conference room table in Starks tower, demanding the six people's attention. It had been an hour (really only ten minutes) since he called them all for an 'important announcement' but they weren't listening!


Or... Maybe they were, but he kept talking about different things and losing track of what he was supposed to be saying.



"Attention! It is currently 5:03! MJ, Ned, Mister Stark, May, Ms. Potts, Happy; my announcement is-" He took a deep breath, and then jumped up and down for emphasis.


"Today during school, I told Flash Thompson he can royally go to fucking hell!" Peter proudly jumped down from the table then, wiping off his footprints and gingerly sitting back down, pleased with the action.

 


A short, heavy silence followed the short statement.

 



Happy raised his eyebrows in mild amusement, but said nothing.

 


Pepper almost dropped her tea from the outburst, and then cupped her hands over her mouth to disguise the tiny smile she cracked out, knowing the couldn't encourage that kind of behavior.

 


MJ tried desperately to hide the growing smirk on her face, settling for a shrug and a thumbs up towards his direction. (Took you long enough, loser)

 


May gasped, her jaw hanging open. "Parker, language!"
(That's code word for 'I'm proud of you.')



Ned? He leaned over and grinned, slapping Peter on the back.
"It sure took you long enough! Oh, guys, you should have seen him, Peter was absolutely LIVID. Flash was saying some nasty sh- stuff about... something and Peter LOST IT. Lemme tell you, he got up from the table, stood straight up in Flash's face and said:

 


" 'I don't think you'd appreciate me talking that way about the family cat that died last week, would you buddy? No, I don't think you would, so please, keep the rude comments to yourself, and if you can't, then you can royally go to hell, Flash.'

 

" And then he SMILED. A big lopsided grin- and then he just WALKED AWAY. Flash looked like he was about to piss himself I swear!" Ned, realizing he was standing up, quickly apologized and sat back down, nodding towards his friend sheepishly.


"I'm just- I'm so proud of me!" Peter whooped, first pumping the air and eyeing the small group of support he had rallying for him.



"Um, Mister Stark. Are you... Okay?"




Tony sat in his chair, rigid, jaw clenched, eyes dark and murky. His head was tilted slightly, concentrating on not saying anything overbearing.


"Hm? Oh. Yes, just-"

He leaned forward in his chair, his intent gaze directly on his s- intern, "what could he have said to make you react like that? It couldn't have been something small or you would have told him that a long, long time ago. What did he say, Pete?"


At that, he paled. He frantically glanced at Ned, seeking advice. The boy shrugged. 'Your story to tell, not mine' he seemed to say.



"Oh, uh. Nothing really, just a bad day, you know. Kinda snapped, no biggie. I kinda feel bad about it act-"


"Peter, you called us in here to celebrate your retort against your high school bully; which is already very much out of your character. That doesn't sound apologetic, does it, anyone?"

 


Nobody disagreed, and Peter burned pepper red, staring down his black converse under the table.


"Ben. He talked about Ben. Usually, I'm fine with his comments but that- that went too far, and I lost myself. But he deserved it and I'm proud, alright? I didn't gather you all here to talk about what he said or why he said it, we're here to talk about what I SAID, so forget the drama and just be happy that I did something for once, okay?"


The Billionaire shrugged. "Okay Pete, congratulations." But the look- the look he gave him said anything on the lines of 'this conversation isn't over.' And it wasn't.






The next day, a Wednesday, Peter returned home from a successful day at school (Flash wouldn't even look at him) to a roughly wrapped gift lying on his bed. Intrigued, he eased towards it, cautious, until finally the curiosity killed him and he neatly peeled it open (come on, he's no animal) and wallah!


A family sized pack of birthday cake Oreos (his favorite) and a note, layered in sloppy, slanted handwriting. It read:


"Keep it up and I might just buy you the entire company." And:
"You know you can tell me anything, right?"


Appeased, Peter shoved a cookie in his mouth and reached for his phone, hitting the pinned profile in his contacts.


Peter: I really appreciate that, thank you! I don't want to put my burdens on you though, you don't have to do that for me. Also, these Oreos are BOMB.

 

Mister Stark: Hello, I offered? I believe that means I don't mind? Except what you're given and move on.

 

Peter: Okay okay, I will. Thank you so much, Tony.

 


Wait... Tony. Oh no.

 



He frantically raced to delete the message, but it was too late, the man saw. The phone binged a moment later, indicating a response. Peter hid his head in his hands, dreading the response to him calling his mentor by his name for the first time.

 

 

Mister Stark: You're welcome, you're welcome, but wait-

You said what?