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i want to hold your hand

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“Wow, Aunt May we’re going into Stark Tower?” Peter Parker looks up at the tall building in amazement, starstruck by the architecture. 

 

May Parker smiles down at her ten-year-old nephew, “We sure are, honey. I have a meeting with a very important lady so we better hurry or we’re going to be late. I don’t want to waste her time,” May guides Peter alongside her to the receptionist’s desk and checks in. Peter looks around in awe as a security guard leads the pair to an elevator and once the doors have closed and they’re alone, May squats down so she’s eye level with Peter. “Peter, honey, I need you to be on your best behavior today. Can you do that for me?” 

 

Peter nods enthusiastically, “Of course, Aunt May!” Peter pulls his backpack around to the front, opening it and showing her the science magazine and a mishmash of building supplies, “I’ll work on my science!” 

 

“There’s my good boy,” May praises him, ruffling his hair. She stands and the elevator comes to a stop, the doors opening with a quiet dinging sound. “Hello,” May greets the secretary, “I’m here for my one pm appointment with Miss Potts.” 

 

The secretary looks up at May and raises one manicured eyebrow before looking down and demanding, “Name?” 

 

“May Parker,” May ignores the scrutinizing look she had been subjected to, despite knowing her shabby clothes set her apart from the usual people that met with the CEO of Stark Industries. Before the secretary could ask, May hands over her driver’s license.

 

The secretary taps at his keyboard for a few minutes before handing the identification back. “Miss Potts will be back shortly from her lunch break. Please take a seat over there,” He gestures towards a small seating area and goes back to his computer. 

 

“Thank you,” May mumbles as she guides Peter over to the chairs. Peter pulls out his battered magazine and starts to read one of his least favorite articles, wanting to get it out of the way so he could pursue the other more interesting ones later. 

 

May doesn’t have long to wait before Pepper Potts comes striding out of the elevator looking well put-together and strongly reminding May of a movie star. Pepper greets the secretary with a smile and a polite inquiry of her afternoon schedule. “Your one o’clock appointment is here,” the secretary informs Pepper with a gesture towards May. May determinedly keeps her gaze level and meets Pepper’s eyes and plasters a smile on her face. 

 

Pepper walks over to the pair, a polite smile on her face. May is surprised to find that Pepper’s smile looks much more genuine than one would expect of the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. May stands and holds out her hand, “My name is May Parker and it’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Potts.” 

 

“The pleasure is mine,” Pepper shakes her hand, “And who is this little guy?” 

 

“This is Peter. Peter, honey, could you please say hello?” When May doesn’t get an answer right away, she looks down and sighs in fond exasperation, “Honey, please take your nose out of that science journal and greet Miss Potts.” 

 

“Huh?” Peter looks up and notices both women staring at him. Peter jumps to his feet when he recognizes Pepper, “Oh wow! It’s super awesome to meet you Miss Potts! I wrote an assignment on you and you’re really great! My teacher says that you keep Iron Man in line when he wants to do something crazy and Iron Man is really cool but it’s even cooler if you can get him to do what you say!” 

 

Pepper’s smile grows into something even warmer and more genuine than it had been before. Mindful of her pencil skirt, Pepper brings herself down to Peter’s eye level, “It’s nice to meet such an enthusiastic fan. I’ll let you in on a secret, Iron Man only does what I say because we’re friends and he trusts me.” 

 

“Aunt May says trust is essential to any good relationship!” Peter grinned at her, showing off his missing tooth. Pepper is surprised to find herself charmed beyond belief by this energetic boy. 

 

Somewhat regretfully, Pepper tells Peter, “I need to talk with your aunt now, but it was nice to meet you, Peter.” 

 

“You too, Miss Potts!” Peter goes back to his science magazine, flourishing the publication and showing off the cover. Pepper notices that this was an old issue that did an extensive spread on Tony Stark’s scientific breakthroughs, including a section on Iron Man. Pepper idly notes that this is not a magazine a ten-year-old would typically be reading, giving her a nagging feeling what the following meeting would entail.  

 

“If you would come this way, Mrs. Parker, Peter is safe to stay out here while we talk,” Pepper leads May into her office, gently closing the door behind them. Pepper settles herself down behind her desk while May sits and fidgets with her sleeves, looking around the office nervously. “What can I do for you, Mrs. Parker?” 

 

“Please call me May.” 

 

Pepper nods, “Then please call me Pepper.” 

 

May smiles nervously at Pepper before looking back down to her lap, “I know this may sound outrageous but Peter...Let me start from the beginning. My sister-in-law was Mary Fitzgerald and I know she briefly dated Mr. Stark in 1995. Peter was born in August of 1996,” May doesn’t dare look up to see the expression on Pepper’s face. “I knew that Peter wasn’t Richard’s son, the timelines didn’t match up. My suspicions were proven right when I found a letter that Mary wrote.” 

 

May sighed before continuing, “Peter’s parents died in 2006 due to a plane crash. Peter has been living with us ever since, but times are hard and living expenses are getting harder to meet every day,” May runs a hand down her face, “I never wanted to come here but I’m doing it for Peter. He’s been reading the same science magazine for three months now because we can’t afford to get him anymore and the library doesn’t carry it. My husband and I try, but we were barely making ends meet before Peter came to live with us and a growing boy, even one who’s as understanding as Peter, is expensive to provide for.” 

 

A few tears start to slip down May’s cheeks and she angrily brushes them away, “Ben and I have talked about this for hours, but we want him to live somewhere where he can flourish. That isn’t with us, as much as it pains us to say.” May finally chances to look at Pepper. She can’t read the other woman’s facial expression. May hands over Mary’s letter and Pepper glances through it quickly before handing it back over. 

 

“You’re saying Peter is Tony’s son?” Pepper confirms and at May’s nod, she continues, “We’ll need a paternity test done.” 

 

“You believe me?” May asks in disbelief. 

 

Pepper sighs, “I’ve seen photos of Tony when he was Peter’s age and from the second I saw Peter, I had an inkling of what you came here to talk about. Peter looks so much like Tony when he was ten and the way he was absorbed in science was very familiar. But I’m not moving forward until we’ve had a test run.” 

 

“How long will that take?” May asks in concern. 

 

Pepper gives May a small smile, “I’ll call up a lab specialist and have them run it immediately. You’re not the only woman who has come in claiming to have Tony Stark’s child. You are, however, the first woman I’ve ever believed.” 

 

May wipes away the tears gathering at the edges of her eyes. A few minutes later a lab specialist is taking Peter’s blood inside of Pepper’s office. “Oh sweetie, you did so well!” The lab specialist tells Peter once she’s finished gathering what she needed. Turning to Pepper, she says “I’ll have this back within two hours, Miss Potts.” 

 

“Thank you,” Pepper nods at her as she walks out of the office. 

 

“Peter, would you please wait outside in the lobby again? Miss Potts and I have some more to discuss.” May asks her nephew. Peter nods and hops out of the chair, bouncing out of the office and claiming his previously vacated seat as his own once more. 

 

Pepper pops her head out of her office and tells her secretary to cancel the rest of her appointments for the day. Pepper turns towards May and requests, “Tell me about Peter?” 

 

May grins, “I’d love to brag.” The two women settle back down in their chairs and May starts in on her stories. 

 

A little over an hour passes and Peter is starting to go stir crazy. He’s boredly pursuing an article written by Bruce Banner that he’s practically memorized by heart and writing down questions he has about it on an Iron Man themed notepad. He bounces his pencil as he grows bored with that, earning him a glare from the secretary that Peter studiously ignores. Peter looks at the office door and considers sneaking in. Peter looks back the other way and his mouth drops when he notices Tony Stark. “Woah!” Peter exclaims in utter excitement, blushing when he draws the attention of both Tony and the judgemental secretary. 

 

“I’m afraid you can’t visit Miss Potts for at least another half hour,” The secretary informs Tony. 

 

Tony rolls his eyes and walks over to Peter, “Hey, kid, what’re you doing here?” 

 

“My aunt is talking to Miss Potts,” Peter gives Tony a shy smile as Tony makes himself comfortable in the chair next to Peter. 

 

Inside of Pepper’s office, Pepper sighs, “That sounds like Tony.” 

 

May looks in alarm at Pepper, “Mr. Stark is here!?” 

 

“I assure you, it wasn’t planned,” Pepper tells May in exasperation, “He comes and goes as he pleases and I can never predict what that man is going to do next. We better go out there and see what he wants before he creates a new mess I’ll have to clean up.” 

 

The two women step out of the office and Pepper raises her eyebrows when she notices that Tony is settled in a chair next to Peter. Peter fidgets before asking, “Do you really think your arc reactor can be used to make clean energy that can power buildings more efficiently than any other current technology?” Peter looks at Tony, his brown eyes blown wide with eagerness. 

 

“Where’d you hear that?” Tony raises a single eyebrow, intrigued by the kid in front of him. Peter brandishes the magazine and Tony smothers a smile when he notices how well-loved the magazine looks, “You read everything in this?” 

 

Peter nods eagerly, “Doctor Banner’s work was the most fascinating in this one. I mean, your work is always cool but Doctor Banner was talking about spiders and spiders are super awesome!” 

 

May smiles to herself at her nephew’s eagerness while Tony gently looks through the magazine, his eyes scrutinizing the contents and his eyebrows ever raising when he realizes that the magazine wasn’t some kiddie version of a science magazine but complicated stuff that non-science oriented adults had trouble understanding. “You understand all this kid?” 

 

Peter shrugs, “Quite a bit of it but sometimes the words are too big and I hafta ask Aunt May what they mean. And some of the science doesn’t always make sense, but I can usually understand the main meaning behind the article. Like Doctor Banner was talking about how spiders and other animals could potentially hold the key to better healing in humans. And your article talks about your arc reactor and how you made a new element to power it. That’s super cool Mr. Stark!” 

 

Peter pulls out a wrinkled sheet of paper, “Maybe you could help me understand some things that didn’t make sense from your article? And Doctor Banner’s?” The secretary snorts to himself as he watches Peter hold out the paper. Much to his shock and the surprise of Pepper, Tony takes the paper right out of Peter’s hands and looks over the questions. 

 

Pepper has to stop herself from dropping her jaw in surprise. “He doesn’t like to be handed things,” Pepper whispers to May, who looks over at Pepper in surprise. 

 

“You’ve got some very well thought out questions here,” Tony stares in awe at the kid. “How old are you?” 

 

“I’m going to be eleven in August!” Peter grins, “So can you answer some of my questions? I really wanna know about that one,” Peter points at a specific question. Tony opens his mouth to answer when the lab specialist returns. 

 

“Miss Potts, I have the paternity results right here,” She seems surprised to see Tony sitting in the lobby next to Peter. “Is this a bad time, Miss Potts?” 

 

“It’s not,” Pepper confirms, taking the results from her, “You’re free to go. Thank you for rushing this for us.” 

 

“Of course. Have a good day Miss Potts, Mr. Stark,” She quickly takes her leave and doesn’t look back until she’s in the elevator.

 

Tony looks at Pepper and narrows his eyes, “What paternity test? For who?” 

 

“Tony…” Pepper starts. 

 

“No, I’d like to know,” Tony firmly tells her. 

 

Pepper nods, “Let’s take this into my office. Peter, could you come with your aunt, Tony, and I into the office?” 

 

“Sure thing Miss Potts!” Peter grins up at her before quickly gathering up his mess and shoving it in his backpack. Peter thanks Tony as he takes his magazine and list of questions back from the older man. The trio follows Pepper into her office and Tony doesn’t lay into her until the door is firmly closed behind them. 

 

“So, who was the paternity test run on?” Tony gives Pepper an imploring look, standing firm when she tries to make him sit next to May. Peter crawls into May’s lap as there was only one other chair and he thought it was polite to leave it for Tony. Peter pulls out his science magazine once more and opens it up to the spider article. 

 

Pepper takes a deep breath to calm herself before taking a glance at the contents of the file, her eyes widening as she reads the results. Looking up, she gives May a nod, “It was a positive match. Tony, the test was run between yourself and Peter.” 

 

Tony looks down at Peter who appeared to be absolutely absorbed in the article and oblivious to the adults, “It was positive?” Tony collapses into the empty chair, staring at Pepper in shock, “I have a son?” He turns to stare at Peter, who feels that look and glances up. Peter gives Tony a toothy grin, his brown eyes sparkling as he lets himself get absorbed back into the article. 

 

“It was a positive,” Pepper confirms. 

 

“Who-” Tony’s voice breaks off. He clears his throat and continues, “Who’s the mother? I certainly don’t remember you. No offense.” 

 

May rolls her eyes, “None taken. Peter’s mother is Mary Parker, nee Fitzgerald. Peter was born in August of 1996.” 

 

“What happened to Mary?” 

 

“She passed away in 2006,” May replies in a clipped manner, “Plane crashed,” May runs her hand through Peter’s hair when he buries his face deeper into her neck, having figured out they were talking about him when his aunt started talking about his mother. 

 

“A paternity test means Mr. Stark is my biological father?” Peter’s small voice asks into the  quiet of the office, “Did he know before?” 

 

“The positive result does mean that,” Pepper confirms in a gentle tone, “As to the second question, Tony?”

 

Tony shakes his head before burying his face in his hands, “I never knew,” He lets himself wallow for only a few seconds before looking back up and meeting Peter’s single eye, which was peeking out from his hiding position, “Why did you come here, Mrs. Parker?” 

 

“Tony-” Pepper begins but May cuts her off. 

 

“No, it’s a valid question,” May continues to run a hand through Peter’s hand, just as much to soothe herself as it is to keep Peter calm. “My husband and I were struggling financially before Peter came to live with us and we can’t keep going on the way we are currently.” 

 

“So, you want money?” Tony asked, his voice hardening. 

 

May shakes her head, “We don’t want your money. Part of me came here because Peter deserves to know his biological father and the other part of me came here because Peter deserves to live with someone who can give him everything that Ben and I can’t.” 

 

“But Aunt May, it’s okay! I know why I can’t keep getting my science magazines or why I can’t get those new shoes. And I understand that that field trip last month costs money and we need food more than I need to go to the zoo,” Peter protests, looking up at his aunt with his Bambi eyes. 

 

“I know you understand, baby,” May reassures Peter, “and I love you so much for understanding. But, Peter honey, you deserve to go on that field trip and to get good shoes instead of having me continuously patch up your old sneakers and hope for the best. And you deserve to be able to cultivate your love for science,” May looks at Tony and speaks again in a teary voice, “He deserves to do more than survive. Peter, you deserve to flourish and have a parent that can be there instead of having to work all the time. I know it bothers you how little time you get to spend with me and your uncle because we’re always working double shifts.”    

 

“But Aunt May-“ Peter tries to say before she cuts him off with a gentle smile.

 

“Peter, just because you’d live somewhere else doesn’t mean that your uncle and I would never see you again.” 

 

“But everyone knows that Tony Stark lives primarily in Malibu!” Peter exclaims. 

 

Tony chuckles, “I have a house out in Montauk that I would gladly make my main residence. It’s only a three-hour drive to Manhattan.” 

 

Peter looks over at Tony in surprise, “You’d move for me?” 

 

Tony reaches out and gently ruffles Peter’s hair, “You’re my son, right? I want you to be happy.” Pepper watches in interest as Tony interacts with his newly discovered son, having never seen this side of him before. May glances over at Pepper and the women share a look. 

 

“So, you’ll let Peter live with you?” May begins her interrogation, “You’ll take care of him properly?” 

 

Without taking his eyes off of Peter, Tony replies with utmost seriousness, “I want to do right by my son and do better than my father. I know it’s out of character for me,” Tony scoffs, “but I’d love for Peter to come live with me no matter how much it scares me shitless.” 

 

“That’s a bad word,” Peter scolds with an eye roll. 

 

“Well, I guess we’ll both have some adjusting to do then,” Tony replies with an eye roll of his own. 

 

Pepper clears her throat, effectively cutting through the gathering tension and gaining everyone’s attention. Even Peter sits up properly in his aunt’s lap to look at Pepper. “Well, now that we’ve established Peter will go to live with Tony, we’ll have to get our lawyers here and work out all the legal details for the transfer of guardianship, amongst many other things.” 

 

Peter groans in frustration, “Today? I shoulda brought another book.” 

 

Pepper gives Peter a gentle smile, “Sorry sweetie, but we need to get the ball rolling today. Tony, why don’t you show Peter up to the penthouse and have Happy entertain him for a few hours while we work on the preliminary paperwork?” 

 

“Sure thing, dear.” Tony blithely replies, “C’mon, kid, let’s blow this popsicle stand.” 

 

Peter looks at his aunt for permission. May runs her hand through Peter’s curly hair once more before gently urging him on, “Go on, I know you and you’d be bored within minutes of the lawyers talking if you stayed here. I’m sure they have something you can read while you wait for me and then we can go back to the apartment.” 

 

Peter nods and slides off his aunt’s lap. He slings his backpack into place and then looks expectantly up at Tony. Tony gives Peter a reassuring look before leading him out of the office and into the elevator, ignoring the looks that the secretary sends them. “If I find any information on your social media accounts, I’ll make sure you can’t find gainful employment in Manhattan,” Tony calls out his threat, causing the secretary to pale and quickly stash his phone out of reach, despite having only been playing a game on it and sharing anything about the day’s going-on not having crossed his mind. 

 

Back in Pepper’s office, Pepper looks at May and tells her, “We’re not going to see him again unless I go up to the penthouse with the paperwork or I force him back down here.” Pepper sighs in exasperation and brushes some hair behind her ear. 

 

“I just thank you for all the time you’re taking to get everything settled for Peter. I know you’re a very busy woman,” May gives Pepper a warm smile that’s returned. May returns to fidgeting with her sleeves while Pepper summons a hoard of the most efficient, ruthless, and discreet lawyers that Stark Industries employs. 

 

Back with the duo, the elevator lets them off and Tony leads Peter into an elegantly decorated room after unlocking the door to the penthouse suite. “Are you hungry? I can’t make much, but I’m sure I can’t screw up a PB ‘n’ J.” 

 

“No crusts and the jelly is blueberry?” Peter asks hopefully. 

 

Tony grins and teasingly replies, “The only proper way to eat one.” Tony pulls out all the sandwich materials and whips up several. He’s careful to cut the crusts off and then cut them into triangles. Tony presents Peter’s sandwiches before the kid with a grand flourish, causing Peter to break out in giggles. 

 

“Thank you, Mr. Stark!” Peter smiles up at the man. 

 

“You’re welcome, kid,” Tony sits down and eats his own sandwiches. Tony rolls his eyes as he watches Peter get jelly all over his face, progressively becoming stickier in the process. “So, what do you like to do besides science?” 

 

“Legos and Star Wars!” Peter cheers, “I really like Star Wars and they’re my favorite movies besides Harry Potter.” 

 

“Well, I’m pretty sure that I have some movies here and I know that there’s a perfectly good living room for movie watching. Your aunt will be a while down there with Pepper so let’s pop something in. Gotta be better than rereading that magazine for the thousandth time.” 

 

“You’ll watch it with me?” Peter looks up at Tony, his eyes are wide and hopeful. 

 

Tony smiles, “Of course I will, kiddo. Watching a movie with you will be much more interesting than talking with a bunch of stuffy old lawyers.” Peter nods as if completely understanding how boring being a lawyer is. “But first, let’s get you cleaned up because it looks like you got your jelly places jelly should never be.” 

 

“No...why?” Peter whines. 

 

“Won’t it feel better not being sticky? Sticky boys don’t get to watch movies,” Tony reasons with Peter, “Besides, it’s not like I’m telling you it’s bath time. Just go over to the sink, wash your hands and your face.” Peter pouts but concedes the point and washes up. Tony then leads him into the living area and holds up his Star Wars collection for Peter to choose between. Decision made, Tony starts up the movie. Before even half the movie has passed, Peter is curled up under a blanket on one end of the couch, softly snoring while Tony is sprawled out on the other end with his head leaning back at an awkward angle. 

 

Pepper and May both smile in relief when the lawyers declare the only other thing they need is Tony’s signature and the papers returned to the legal department. Pepper takes the packet of papers, “I’ll hassle Tony into signing them and have them on your desk tomorrow morning. Thank you so much, Cynthia,” Pepper gives the stern-looking lady a kind smile. 

 

Cynthia returns her smile with a stern nod, “It’s always a pleasure Miss Potts.” She stands up, straightens her skirt and gathers her materials before primly walking out of Pepper’s office. 

 

May gave Pepper a nervous smile, “I’m doing the right thing, aren’t I?” 

 

Pepper moves around her desk and lays a comforting hand on the other woman’s shoulder, “I know Tony comes off as a flight risk and too irresponsible to care for a child, but he’s not half as bad the media makes him out to be. I saw the look on his face when he realized Peter was his son. It was…” Pepper trails off for a moment, “It was something else.” 

 

“Like a revelation?” May suggests, “That’s what it seemed like to me, as well,” May sighs and runs a hand through her hair, messing it up further. “Ben seems to think this will be good for Peter. I just worry. He’s lost so many people already. Too many.” 

 

“Tony’s tougher than he looks,” Pepper gives May a reassuring smile, “And I’ll be around to help keep him in line. Peter seems like a great kid, I’m sure he’ll have Tony wrapped around his finger quick enough. Now, let’s go up to the penthouse and see what the boys have been up to. I’m sure you’re needing to return home soon.” 

 

May nods, “Yes, it’ll be a long bus ride home and I’m sure Peter will be sleepy.” 

 

“We’ll have Happy drive you home.” 

 

“Oh, that won’t be necessary,” May protests, “We took the bus here and we can certainly take it back home.” 

 

Pepper smiles, “It’s really no trouble to have you driven home. I’m sure it’ll put Tony at ease to know that you both arrived home safely.” 

 

May nods, conceding to the point, “I suppose so.” 

 

“Excellent, now let’s go see how big of a mess Tony’s made,” Pepper leads May out of her office and dismisses her secretary for the evening. The elevator ride is short and soon enough Pepper is letting them into the penthouse suite. The two ladies stepped into the living room and smile upon finding the boys sprawled out across the couch with Star Wars playing in the background. “I think they’ll get along alright,” Pepper whispers to May, who returns the comment with a nod. 

 

Tony wakes up with a snort. He sits up properly and looks around at his surroundings in slight confusion, rubbing at his face and hair while doing so. Spotting Pepper and May, he gives them a short wave and stands up, moving over to the women's’ side. “How did the meeting with the lawyers go?” 

 

“You’d know if you came back down after dropping Peter off here and leaving Happy to watch him,” Pepper informs Tony in fond exasperation. 

 

Tony shrugs, “The kid was hungry.” 

 

“Thank you for looking after him,” May tells Tony, “And thank you for agreeing to take him in. Peter needs something stable, someone who can give him the world.” 

 

Tony shuffles in place, awkward and unsure of himself. “Yeah, I…” Tony trails off, at a loss at how to continue. 

 

May gives him a kind smile, “It’ll come. Peter has a way of giving you one good look with his Bambi eyes and then you’re done for. I know it certainly happened with Ben and I. But...this will be good for Peter.” May nods decisively, making up her mind, “And if you ever need us, we’re just up at Forest Hills. It’s not that long of a drive and we’ll gladly do it for Peter.”

 

Tony nods his understanding, “I assume you’ll be going home tonight?” 

 

“Yes, we’ll keep Peter with us until all the paperwork is final. It’ll make everything easier and Peter can finish up the school year where he’s at. Thank you again, Mr. Stark.” 

 

“Call me Tony,” He tells her, “We’re practically family at this point.” 

 

May smiles, “Indeed,” She walks over to the couch and gently shakes Peter awake. He comes to with a groan and sleepy grumblings, “C’mon honey, we need to go home.” A minute later, May finally has Peter roused enough to gather his backpack and follow May with their hands intertwined. 

 

“Happy will meet you down in the garage; I’ll take you down there,” Pepper tells May before rounding on Tony, “And don’t you dare sneak off, we have paperwork for you to look over and sign before tomorrow morning.” 

 

“Yes ma’am,” Tony snaps off a cheeky salute that sends Pepper’s eyes rolling heavenward. Tony squats down to Peter’s level and gives him a smile, “I’ll be seeing you soon, kiddo.” 

 

Peter gives Tony a sleepy smile in return, “Thanks for the food, Mr. Stark.” 

 

“You’re very welcome, Peter,” Tony stands back up and gives the Parkers a wave as they leave the suite and enter the elevator. Tony stares at the closed door and runs a hand down his face, exhausted from the day’s events. “What have I gotten myself into?” he asks the ceiling. The ceiling, of course, doesn’t reply.   

Chapter Text

A month later, after all the paperwork has been finalized and May has faded into June, the Parker family borrows their neighbor’s car and they make the drive out to Montauk with all of Peter’s belongings piled into the trunk. They make it to Tony’s home a little before noon. Peter stares up at the house in awe, amazed that this is where he was going to be living. “Wow,” Peter tells his aunt, “this is incredible.” 

 

May hums her agreement, “It sure is.” 

 

“You’re telling me!” Ben exclaims as he appears beside the pair, laden with Peter’s bags. Ben gives his wife a thankful smile when she takes a couple out of his hands and slings them over her own shoulders. Peter pulls his stuffed Iron Man bear closer to his chest and strokes its head to ease his discomfort. He then carefully opens his backpack and places his bear inside for safekeeping. When they approach the door, Tony throws it open and ushers them inside. He leads them through the house and they plop the bags inside of Peter’s new room. 

 

Tony looks around the blank room with its stark white walls and grimaces, “I wasn’t sure what you wanted to do with the room, so I left it a blank slate.” 

 

Peter looks around in curiosity, “You mean I can do whatever I want to it, Mr. Stark?” 

 

Tony holds back a wince at being called ‘Mr. Stark’ and instead snorts and says, “Within reason. Nothing too crazy that’ll get us in trouble with your aunt or Pepper.” 

 

Tony leads them back out into the main area and gives them a few minutes of privacy for them to say their goodbyes. “Oh, honey, we’ll miss you,” May gushes, “I know we’ll see you several times before you start school again but we’ve grown used to seeing you and having you get under our feet all the time.” 

 

“Aunt May…” Peter trails off, fidgeting in place. 

 

“You have IronBear?” May asks, causing Peter to blush. 

 

“Aunt May,” Peter whined. 

 

May rolls her eyes, “You’ll be sorry if you don’t have him because you didn’t speak up and you left him in the car.” 

 

“Fine, yes, he’s in my backpack. I triple checked,” Peter replies. Tony raises an eyebrow and looks over at Ben, who shakes his head with a grin. 

 

Ben pats Peter on the head, “You be good, okay sport?” 

 

Peter hugs his uncle, “Of course I’ll be good, Uncle Ben! And I’ll miss you both, too.” May joins the hug and they’re all reluctant to let go. 

 

Finally, they pull away and May sighs, “We have to be getting back home, Peter. We promised Mrs. Rodrigez that we’d have her car back before this evening and it’s a three-hour drive.” 

 

Peter swipes angrily at the gathering tears and lets his aunt and uncle leave with one last hug and several waves goodbye. While Peter’s distracted by staring at the door, Tony picks up Peter’s bag and looks for the bear. Finding it, Tony slowly approaches his son. Peter stares at the closed door for several minutes and doesn’t hear Tony walk over to him.. Tony kneels down next to Peter and offers his son the Iron Man bear. Peter takes it and cuddles it close to his chest. Tony places a hand on Peter’s shoulder, “I know it’s a lot to adjust to, but you can call them as often as you like. We’ll make the best of it, you and I.” 

 

Peter surprises Tony when he throws his arms around his neck. It takes him a few seconds, but Tony returns the hug and places his nose into his son’s hair. The pair remain like that for several minutes until Tony scoops Peter up in his arms and playfully swings them around. “Now, what are we going to do for lunch? I don’t know about you, squirt, but I’m starving!” 

 

Peter giggles as Tony swings him on the journey into the kitchen. Tony plops Peter onto the barstool and looks expectantly at the kid. “Um, can you make mac’n’cheese, Mr. Stark?” Peter carefully arranges IronBear on the barstool next to him. 

 

Tony gives Peter a pair of finger guns, “That, I can actually make.” 

 

“I’m going to starve, aren’t I?” Peter snarks, surprising Tony with his unexpected, but not unpleasant, bout of sassiness. Tony thought it was a rather adorable look on the kid because, so far, most of the time he was pretty quiet and shy around Tony unless they were talking about science. 

 

Tony rolls his eyes and jokingly replies, “Who thought it was a good idea to have a mini-me. You and me kid, we’re going to cause so much trouble.” 

 

“I’m sure Miss Potts will be absolutely delighted to hear that, sir,” A British voice cuts in. 

 

Peter jumps in fright, looking around the room for the disembodied voice. Tony smothers the laugh threatening to burst from his chest. After taking a second to compose himself, Tony tells Peter, “That was JARVIS. He’s an AI that runs the entire house.” 

 

“An AI? That’s super cool, Mr. Stark!” Peter exclaims, “Does he help you with the Iron Man suits too?” 

 

Tony nods as he rummages through the cabinets for a pot and fills his with water, “He does.” 

 

“So, is ‘Jarvis’ his name? Or does it stand for something?” Peter asks, setting his elbows on the island top and leaning forward, “And where are his speakers? Does he have cameras?” 

 

Tony grins at the boy as he leans across the island, “You’re awfully curious, aren’t you? JARVIS is an acronym for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. He has both speakers and cameras all over the property.” 

 

“Oh. Well, JARVIS is super cool.” 

 

“Thank you, young sir,” JARVIS cooly replies, sounding pleased with the praise. Tony ruffles Peter’s hair before turning back to the food. 

 

After they had demolished the food, Tony leads Peter back to his new room with a StarkTablet in hand. Tony sits down on the bed and pats the space next to him. Peter curls up next to Tony and looks at the tablet in curiosity, “What’s that for?” 

 

“Well, we’re going to get you some things for your room so it’s comfortable for you. We’ll have to go shopping later this week for some more clothes,” Tony pulls up a couple of websites tailored specifically for kids, “Now, go wild.” 

 

Peter grins as he takes the tablet out of Tony’s hand and starts browsing through the different categories, occasionally adding something to the shopping cart. Peter hands back the tablet after a few minutes and tells Tony, “Thank you so much, Mr. Stark.” 

 

“Of course, kiddo, I want you to be comfortable here. Do you like the wall color or do you want to change it?” 

 

Peter takes a moment to look around the room and wrinkled his nose, “Can we make it blue?” 

 

Tony grins, “Sure we can. Choose a shade and we’ll get some painters out here to change your room when we’re out clothes shopping later this week.” 

 

Peter throws his arms around Tony and hugs him, “Thank you, thank you!” 

 

“Anything,” Tony promises into Peter’s hair as he wraps his arms around his son. 

 

“Anything, anything?” Peter confirms. 

 

Tony raises an eyebrow, “Reasonably speaking.” 

 

“Can we paint my room?” Peter looks up at Tony hopefully, “Last month I helped our neighbor repaint his living room and it was super fun!” 

 

Tony looks doubtful but dutifully replies, “If you really want to kiddo, then I guess we can do it ourselves.” 

 

Peter grins and hugs Tony again, “This will be awesome! Can we start today?” 

 

Tony shakes his head, “It’s getting pretty late. I’ll have JARVIS order paint tonight and we can get it delivered tomorrow morning. If we start early enough tomorrow then everything should be dry for the day after that when your furniture arrives. That sound like a plan?” Tony looks at his kid expectantly. 

 

Peter sighs, but agrees to the plan, “So, what are we gonna do for the rest of the night?” 

 

“I thought we’d watch a movie. Get changed into your pj's and I’ll que something up for us on the tv,” Tony shooed Peter off towards his closet. A few minutes later Tony and Peter are snoring on the couch with “Back to the Future” playing in the background.