“Are you there?” Ned muttered through the comms. “Do you see it?”
“I’m here, but I don’t see it,” Peter responded, whispering as quietly as he could so he wouldn’t get caught. He tiptoed into the next room and looked around. “Do you remember what it looks like?”
“Big, red, has some sort of writing on the front. You can’t miss it.”
Peter sighed and walked into the middle of the room. He stood there for a moment, thinking. Suddenly, an idea popped into his head.
“Maybe I’m just not high enough,” he muttered. “Give me a second, I have an idea.”
He carefully positioned a chair only about a foot away from the structure so he could jump onto it. Once he was there he looked around, but couldn’t see what he was looking for. He was about to give up when he turned around and saw it.
“Ned,” Peter smiled. “I’ve got eyes on the target.”
“Awesome,” Ned squealed. “Now get it and hurry back before you get caught.”
Peter scoffed. “I won’t, don’t worry.”
He smirked and quickly made his way to the other side of the room. He could see it, only about two feet away. Peter reached, getting on his tippy toes, extending his arms as far as they would go. All of his efforts were about to pay off, his fingertips brushed the container over and over again until he finally got a hold of it when-
Peter froze in place, holding the jar closely to his chest. He turned slowly and saw Tony in his Iron Man suit, one hand aimed at Peter.
“Put the jar down,” Tony said, calmly but firmly.
Peter refused silently, tightening his hold on the container.
“Put it down,” Tony continued, “or the rubber ducky gets it.”
He pulled his left hand out from behind his back and revealed Peter’s little yellow rubber ducky. He moved his other arm as well so now the repulsor wasn’t aimed at Peter, it was on the ducky.
“NO!” Peter shouted, almost dropping the jar. “Ned! He’s got Quackers!”
“What?!” Ned shouted. “Abort mission! Abort mission!”
“I think it’s a little late for that,” Peter half rolled his eyes. He shifted his attention to Tony. “Alright, look, I think there’s a way we can all walk away from this.”
“Oh, trying to negotiate now, are we?” Tony said curiously. “Alright, what’s your offer?”
Before Peter could tell Tony his proposition, the light in the kitchen flipped on and in walked a very angry looking Pepper.
“Uh oh,” Peter muttered, quickly hiding the cookie jar behind his back.
“What on earth are you two doing?” she asked, pulling her robe tighter around herself.
“Nothing,” he and Tony both responded at the same time.
Pepper sighed. “Peter, what are you doing up there? Come on, get down before you hurt yourself.”
She walked over to him and was about to pick him up when she noticed the jar in his hands behind his back that read ‘COOKIES’. She gave him a disapproving look and crossed her arms over her chest.
“Peter Benjamin Parker-Stark. Were you trying to steal the cookies after we specifically told you you couldn’t have any?”
“No,” Peter lied. He carefully set the cookie jar down on the counter without breaking eye contact with Pepper, then flashed her a huge smile while she just shook her head.
“I am very disappointed in you, Peter,” Tony said as he walked closer, his suit making his steps sound like those of a giant robot. “This behavior is simply not acceptable-”
“Shut it,” Pepper said as she turned around and placed a finger right on his arc reactor. “What exactly were you thinking? Pointing that thing at him? And then threatening his favorite toy?”
“This was a serious offense!” Tony yelled in a futile attempt to defend himself. “I had to take drastic measures! And besides, Pep, obviously the repulsors weren’t loaded, do you really think I would put my own son in danger?”
Pepper took a deep breath and waved her hand at Tony. “I will deal with you later. Now go take that off and go to bed.” She turned her attention back to Peter. “You, mister, I will deal with now. Come on.”
She picked Peter up and helped him down to the floor, then led him up the stairs to his room. Ned was laying perfectly still in his sleeping bag on the floor pretending to be asleep when they walked in.
“You’re not getting off the hook that easily,” Pepper said to him, but Ned didn’t move.
She tucked Peter into bed, pulling the covers up to his chest. She sat down next to him and brushed a few stray hairs away from his face.
“You know you’re grounded, right?”
Peter looked down at his hands sadly. “I know.”
Pepper hated it when he made that face. His slightly jutted out bottom lip and sad puppy dog eyes just broke her heart, but she wasn’t going to ease up on her punishment just because of that, no matter how badly she wanted to.
“Peter, you could’ve gotten hurt,” she sighed. “You could’ve fallen off the counter, or dropped the cookie jar on your feet. You can’t pull stunts like that anymore, okay?”
“I just,” he murmured. “I just wanted to be like dad. I wanted to go on a mission like how he does.”
Pepper smiled and lightly brushed her thumb over his cheek.
“Baby, we talked about this, remember? When you’re older we can talk about missions and avenging and all of that, but for right now no more of that, okay?”
Peter looked up at her and nodded.
“Okay,” Pepper whispered. She moved his hair back and planted a small kiss onto his forehead, muttering a small, “goodnight,” before she got up and walked out of the room.
Once she was gone, Ned flipped over and looked up at his friend.
“I’m sorry you got in trouble,” he said softly. “It’s all my fault.”
Peter turned to lay on his side and shook his head. “It wasn’t all your fault. We both wanted to do it.”
“Still,” Ned countered.
Peter smiled. “Don’t worry, my punishments aren’t that bad. I give my dad one of these-” he made the same sad face he’d just given Pepper- “ and boom, I get to read comic books while he works on his Iron Man suit.”
Ned giggled. “So, still best friends?”
Peter nodded. “Always.”