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Phoning It In

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 James Rhodes stared at his best friend, wondering when he’d changed from a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist into a new mom.

“Tony,” Rhodey sighed “You can’t force them to be friends.”

“I’m not; it’s going to occur naturally,” Tony said casually; the superhero making himself a cup of coffee despite it being two o’clock in the afternoon “They just have to see each other a few more times.”

“That’s, like, the textbook definition of forcing,” Rhodey replied, getting annoyed “The next step is you locking them in a closet together.”

Tony’s eyes glinted at those words, Rhodey quickly responding with a chastising point.

“No.”

Tony sighed and gave his friend a suffering look that had Rhodey giving him a deadpanned one in return.

“They have to be friends, Rhodey-Rhodes; they’re us.”

“Tony, go and look at them,” Rhodey commanded, the dark haired man giving him a rebellious look as he exited the kitchen to peek at the teenagers in the living room.

“They were talking about something,” Tony said when he returned to the kitchen where Rhodey was trying to enjoy a beer.

“They were sitting on opposite sides of the room on their phones, weren’t they?”

“Freaking millennials don’t know how to make friends.”

.

Tony had never been that great with kids; he had little to no filter and a mind that ranged from dirty to maniac depending on his mood.

But, he’d always had a soft spot for his best friend’s daughter; Renee.

“Really? Renee? You couldn’t find something more boring?”

But, even after that first impression of Rhodey’s choice in name, he couldn’t help but become “Uncle Tony.”

And, sure, he’d take her out to lunch at expensive restaurants and to meet her favorite celebrities, but the moments Rhodey cherished were the times he’d walk in on Tony patiently helping her with her homework or the pair muddling their way through a cake recipe for Pepper’s birthday.

But, despite the parental figure Tony played for Renee, the man never seemed interested in a kid of his own.

And then one day, he just had one.

Not that Tony had, like, given birth; Tony had just shown up in Germany with some fifteen year old with a penchant for swinging around on webs and occasionally catching cars hurtling through the air.

Yep, it seems the Spider-Man was actually a high schooler; cracking voice and all.

Rhodey hadn’t given him much after that, what with getting paralyzed from the waist down and whatnot. So, he hadn’t even considered how Peter Parker was the same age as his daughter.

But, Tony had realized that.

And the billionaire had gotten it into his head that since Renee was Rhodey’s daughter and Peter was his surrogate son (something he would never admit) they would have to be best friends.

Rhodey could spend all day listing why that was bullshit, but then he’d never have any time to tell Tony off for other things. But since Rhodey enjoyed pointing out the ridiculousness in Tony’s plans, it was worth it to mention that the pair seemed to have no intersecting interests or hobbies.

But, the biggest reason that this was all bullshit was that Renee and Peter showed no interest in one another.

Well, Renee showed no interest, which had cooled off the interest Peter had shown in the beginning; Rhodey always thought that seeing a boy obviously attracted to his daughter would piss him off, but watching Peter trip over his own feet and stumble over his words had just made him feel a little bad. Especially when Renee’s response was one perfectly arched eyebrow; Rhodey seeing her unimpressed expression and knowing in his heart that he’d raised her right.

After the initial, obvious interest, though, nothing else had happened; Tony would throw them together in a room and all they would do was exchange a few pleasantries before both retreating to their phones.

And, honestly, Rhodey would like it if Peter and Renee became friends; he’d like Renee to have a friend that understood both sides of her life and would understand her problems that intersected high school and superhero world.

Was he going to force them to be friends, though? No!

If they didn’t get along past acquaintances, then that was fine.

But, Tony would not stop pushing.

“Hey, you two should go out like normal teenagers; here’s five hundred, Happy’ll drive you, knock yourselves out.”

“In what universe is it normal for two teenagers to have five hundred dollars and a chauffeur?”

“This one.”

.

“Didn’t Tony give you both five hundred dollars?” Rhodey asked from his spot on the couch; he’d just finished his physical therapy for the day and was lounging when the two teenagers entered the room.

“Yeah; we went out for McDonald’s and then we decided Peter should just take the rest and buy himself a laptop,” Renee said, lying down on the couch across from Rhodey; Peter dropping down onto the armchair.

Rhodey watched as both teenagers simultaneously took out their phones and started tapping away at whatever was so important to them. Rhodey’s eyebrows began to raise as he watched a small smile begin to work its way onto Peter’s face; the young teenager obviously texting someone important going off of his dopey expression.

Rhodey elected to keep his mouth shut about the look Peter was giving his phone, but soon someone with far less tact joined them.

“Who’s got you looking like a lovesick idiot?” Tony asked, sipping his green smoothie and leaning to look at Peter’s phone; the teenager holding it close to his chest so Tony couldn’t see the screen “Ooh, your bae sending you nudes?”

“You’re over forty, Tony,” Renee said with disgust; saving Peter from having to answer that question.

“C’mon; who’re you texting?” Tony asked, disregarding Renee.

Peter turned red to his ears; looking between the three other people room, two of which were interested while the last one was engrossed in her own phone.

“M-My g-girlfriend.”

“Ooooh, she a hottie?”

“Tony, leave the poor kid alone,” Rhodey said, Peter giving him a thankful look.

“Alright, fine,” Tony said, finding a new target “You texting your boyfriend?”

“No,” Renee said casually, not looking away from the screen “Just some thirsty loser.”

.

It was quiet.

Too quiet.

Rhodey leaned back in his seat at the kitchen table; it wasn’t surprising that Renee wasn’t up yet, it was Saturday and she was a teenager, but Tony was usually up by now. Or he hadn’t gone to sleep at all, which was far more likely.

So, where was the Iron Asshat?

Rhodey took a sip of his coffee and tried to readjust into a more comfortable position on his wheelchair; seriously, where the hell was Tony?

Usually, Tony missing meant it was time to check the news; he’d undoubtedly done something.

Rhodey looked down at his phone he’d had on silent and audibly groaned; Tony Stark was trending and he had two missed calls and three texts from Pepper.

What’d he done now?

Pepper: Don’t go on social media.

Oh god.

Pepper: In fact, don’t look at the news.

This involved him somehow, didn’t it?

Pepper: Just put your phone in a drawer and don’t turn on the TV.

Did he imply they were lovers again?

Tony: hey buddy go look at my instagram

Rhodey stared at the text from his best friend for a long moment; debating if he should listen to the level-headed Pepper Potts or go and see what the fuss was about.

Damn it, he was Tony’s best friend for a reason.

The most recent post on Tony’s account was a video simply title I was not expecting this; the superhero taking a deep breath before he started it.

It was shot from, presumably, Tony’s point of view; the Avenger quietly entering Renee’s room with an air horn within the sight of the camera. Rhodey sighed as he watched Tony near the side of Renee’s bed; the young woman looking peacefully asleep.

And then he hit the air horn.

Renee jumped and looked up at Tony with blearily eyes.

“Tony, what-?”

“Dude, what the hell?”

Rhodey froze as the recording showed Tony laughing in surprise while backing away.

Because that was Peter Parker in Renee’s bed.

For one long moment, all Rhodey could do was stare as it played on repeat; showing him over and over that his baby daughter had a shirtless, possibly naked, boy in her bed.

Finally, after the forth helping of Peter/Renee bed sharing, it clicked in his brain. Not only was his daughter in bed with a boy, everyone knew; the whole world was seeing the same video he was.

He was going to murder the guy that’d stolen his baby’s innocence.

Before he could screech out the name of the culprit, Vision poked his head into the kitchen; taking one look at Rhodey’s state and immediately knowing what was going on.

“Miss Rhodes and Mr. Parker left as soon as they became aware of the recording Tony had posted.”

It was deathly silent for a moment before Rhodey yelled out the name of perpetrator despite Vision’s counsel.

“TONY!”