Who: Peter Parker, Tony What:talking about low profiles and what Hammer Industries is doing. Where: Penthouse. When: after the storm.
Tony landed on the penthouse's observation desk. The suit looked as though it was evaporating like the dark clouds overhead, as the nanobots moved back into the housing case on his chest. He wasted no time going in through the big glass doors, which opened fast enough that he didn't bump into them as he rushed into the penthouse. He knew Pepper was safe,and Morgan was safe too. Happy was there, on babysitting duty. And he wasn't watching Morgan.
"Kid. Where he is?" he asked, as he pointed toward the corridor to the guest bedrooms. "Back here?"
"Yeah, back there," Happy replied, unwrapping a drumstick ice cream cone and holding it out for her. No one was getting any sleep after that storm anyway. "Take it easy? I think May's probably given him an earful before I picked him up."
"Not going to shit on your dating chances, Hap." Tony said, pointing down at Morgan just as she started to smile and say "Shhhiii---!"
"Nope! Your mom still owns that word and you don't get to say it again until you're thirty-two."
While Morgan pouted, Tony knocked on the bedroom door and waited about two seconds before adding, "I'm about to come in there mister, so scream if you're in your underoos."
May had given Peter an earful, but he understood why - he’d broken into a top-secret weapons facility with a war criminal, and as a result, that war criminal’s brother had unleashed a storm on New York City that was causing more damage than Peter could stomach. May was safe, at least, and their apartment on the second floor was undamaged, but many others weren’t as lucky. He did what he could to help around his street before Happy came to pick him up, clearing out flooded hallways of furniture and moving Mr. Delmar’s inventory to drier shelves. It wasn’t enough, though. He was pretty sure nothing would be enough after news of the destruction’s extent trickled in.
Peter wasn’t any stranger to making mistakes. The Staten Island Ferry, the memories of Beck - this had spiraled out of control like the rest, suddenly much bigger than just infiltrating Hammer Industries. And to Tony? He’d nodded, so there was that.
After promising Morgan they’d play legos tomorrow, Peter retreated to the bedroom to unpack. Clothes, his school books, a few nondescript ski masks that would give him anonymity just in case...and the reason for this mess in the first place. He set the piece of particle tech on the desk, next to a few pages of notes where he’d written down his recollections of everything he’d overheard that night. As soon as he heard the door knock, he fidgeted, clearing his throat.
“Fully clothed,” Peter replied, zipping up his backpack and glancing up as soon as Tony came in. It wasn’t hard to tell what Peter was feeling from a single look at him: guilt, guilt, and more guilt. “You okay?”
"Oh yeah, I'm great. I just got back from a few rooftops flooding out and caving in. Nod if you understand that," Tony said, unable to resist the jibe as he closed the door. He knew that he held Peter up to some high standards, but he worried about the kid getting hurt. He really wanted Peter to be better than he was, and not make mistakes that would get him in trouble. Sort of like what he did a lot of the time. More tech? More problems.
He looked around for a place to sit, turning around and around until a silver tube-shaped object caught his eye. He pointed at it and then over at the notes on the desk. "This from Hammer's place?"
Like it was a bright shiny Christmas ornament, Tony gravitated toward the component like he was caught in a tractor beam, picking it up and turning it, getting a better look.
"Ok, tell me what I'm looking at, and what you know. I need it while it's fresh in your brain. And don't leave out what happened either. I need deets. I need word vomit. Like, all over the place."
Peter nodded, and it stung. Of course it did, because this disaster wouldn’t have happened if he had gotten Loki out of there - and even with the odds against him in there, he still told himself he could have tried harder. He could have done something differently, and people wouldn’t have suffered. People wouldn’t have died.
It was the same kind of burden of responsibility he’d felt ever since watching his uncle sputter out his last breaths. Maybe it wasn’t the healthiest outlook, but he’d grown up believing that if he couldn’t save others, then he’d failed.
And this was a failure. But it was one he wanted to make better.
“I wrote down all of the conversations I overheard,” Peter gestured to the sheets of looseleaf near to the equipment part. He crossed his arms over his chest and sat down on the edge of the bed; at least rambling was something he was good at. “This whole thing - it started with museum thieves…”
Peter went onto tell Tony about details he probably should have mentioned a while back - like how he and Loki had started up their misfit alliance, and how their agreement to sneak into Hammer Industries came about. And then there was the infiltration itself.
“-They were checking off like…a list of what they had. Some particle generator assembly housings, conduit mechanisms, and a particle accelerator mechanism. The container said StatiCorp on it. They said it could take out blocks. What they’re doing in there - it’s nothing good. It wasn’t worth everything that happened, but…” Peter hesitated, looking up at Tony again. “Loki wanted to do good. And so did I.”
Tony looked all of it over as he listened, picking up the piece and looking it over. He'd have to take it in and have it thoroughly scanned, maybe have Hope and Bruce consult on it, since Jane was dealing with the fallout over in New Asgard.
All of those thoughts took a back seat when Peter said this thing could take out entire city blocks, which was a warning sign that the government was back into heavy weapons development. The attacks by aliens from outer space certainly didn't help matters.
That Loki was trying to do good was enough to bend his mind around, but maybe there was hope for that guy yet. He had a Darcy and a Valkyrie both tell him he wasn't himself during that whole glowstick era, so he was taking that on good authority. Both women were blunt, and he trusted them. Darcy now, for obvious reasons.
What also got him was that he knew what it was like, wanting to do something good and right. Maybe the kid instilled some of that into the God of Mischief. And maybe it reminded him that he wanted to do things right too, but they often blew up in his face. He understood what it meant to want to do things yourself or push the limits.
"Ok, right. I got no room to talk. I'm not your dad. I can't replace him. Or your uncle. So this, it's more of a mentorship," He walked over and sat down, putting a hand on Peter's shoulder and giving it a pat. "I'm not gonna sugar coat it. You screwed the pooch on this, but Thor had a chance to control himself and he lost his grip. I know it's probably because what happened over in that other universe, losing his family and stuff.
"That's not on you," he assured Peter. "I mean, you and Loki decided to do that, so that part's on you. But the Thor part? He's got to deal with that. And the lawyers will work on getting Loki some representation. Next time, tell someone. Me, Steve, Fury...anyone who's available. And we'll help. Or we can offer backup, if you really feel like you got this yourself. Ok? Don't nod. Let's do the verbal agreement thing from now on."
“Yeah, but-” Peter’s first thought was to protest, because he didn’t see how Thor’s reaction wasn’t his fault. All it took was one domino to make the rest fall, and he felt like he’d pushed the first one. But dwelling on that wasn’t going to get them anywhere. Maybe later, maybe when he was alone, but right now he needed to find a way forward.
I’m not your dad. I can’t replace him. “I know.” Peter looked down and fidgeted with his hands. It was hard not to think about where he was left in the other universe - with Tony gone and his identity blown to the world. Tony being alive here was more important to him than most people knew. “But you’re the closest thing I’ve got. And trust me, I don’t want to let you down again.”
It wasn’t like when he was younger, when part of him wanted to impress Tony so he’d earn his way into the superhero world in his eyes. Now it was trying to make life easier for someone he cared about. “Okay. I can do that. Promise.” And besides those listed, he had MJ, he had Wanda, he had Happy. There were more than enough people who were there for him - he only hoped that wherever Loki was, he’d soon have the same.
“If I can do anything for Loki’s case, you’ll let me know, right? Cause if the government’s in on those weapons, it’s not like they’re innocent either.” Peter frowned, looking back at Tony. “I’d say there would be trouble if that stuff got into the wrong hands, but it’s already in the wrong hands.”
Tony was kicking himself now that he thought about that. Peter had family, an aunt, and friends, and it was hard to process being responsible enough already with Morgan. He worried constantly about what might happen someday, and she was just a little kid. He worried about Darcy, and she was an adult who wanted to do her own thing and live her own life, which he respected.
With Peter though, there was a huge amount of responsibility that he felt, right at that moment. He should have known better than to say that, to someone who lost his parents young, when he had gone through the same situation himself. Then to go through living without his uncle, and then without him being around either....
He sighed and looked around the room, thinking of what to say and hoping he didn't word vomit like the Exorcist and mess up an already tense situation.
"Look, here's the thing," he opened with, thinking it was as good a starter as any, "we're in a gray area. Weapons development deals with some really scary stuff. It's meant to protect, but also to kill. Hammer Industries makes weapons. And everything I've looked into with this says this is a legit weapons development contract that you two snuck into.
"I think it's something to keep on our radar. Is it in the wrong hands? Probably, because Hammer and his cronies are idiots who could blow themselves up. But if this is government backed, flying in and blowing it up is going to have some major backlash. So you and the costume? Need you to lay low. And...just so you know....I'd be proud to have a son like you that, despite the trouble, wants to do the right thing. Sometimes, that makes a mess. Case in point?"
He held out both hands for a few seconds, as though it was a ta da moment and he was exhibit A.
"You're gonna be ok," he told Peter, trying to sound as reassuring as possible so he wouldn't worry. "I'll let you know about Loki, too. The lawyers are trying to track him down to get him some legal rep. And then we'll see where we go from there. Okay?"
“Got it,” Peter said after a moment of thought, though he was already wanting to twitch in place at the thought of the government sanctioning weapon’s development. But after the storm, after the consequences of it, he knew it was time to back down and lay low. For now, anyway. He had his ski mask in his backpack for emergencies, and maybe crafting something like the stealth suit in this universe would work out well here. He filed that idea away to mention later - there’d be time to think on it, after all, with being semi-mostly-grounded.
“Thanks - seriously.” The gratitude was there for more than just talking him down from a mistake he’d feel guilty over for a while. It was for the parental side of things, too; Peter was always a little too aware of where the other dimension had left him, unmasked to the world and probably entirely screwed. Things were better here, but he had to try harder to make sure they stayed that way. He hoped he could help do the same for Loki, too. “We’ll do what we can, right?” Peter paused before adding: “...Without breaking into super secret government facilities.” Well, not for a while anyway.
It was raining, still, in sheets that loosely blew against the window and reminded him that it had been a long, long day. “Do...you think I could raid your fridge?” Right on time, his stomach grumbled. “Happy and Morgan still sound like they’re up.”
"Yeah, we'll do what we can." That was the best that even Tony could offer, since they were in a sticky situation with Ross. Tony wouldn't mind the media circus if he ended up in jail again, but he didn't want to drag Pepper, Morgan, Darcy, or Peter through that. Not to mention, everyone else. "We'll get Gothy the Snowman outta there somehow."
He patted Peter on the shoulder and eyed the window, wondering when it would stop raining. He remembered what happened over there on the other side, losing Peter and how Thor was when he lost all of his family. The best he could hope for was that Jane was keeping their resident thunder god out of a funk. After all, Loki wasn't dead here. He was just in a government jail...somewhere...that he was really hoping his lawyers could figure out. In the meantime, he had some kids to protect. And even if Peter wasn't biologically his, he felt a paternal responsibility. Peter was as impulsively well-meaning as he was, and it was hard not to admire the teenager's idealism.
"Yeah, raid away," he said, standing up and opening the door up so they could leave the room. "I'm gonna go bug Pep. Oh. By the way, Happy's taking you to and from school. So no funny business."
That was a final statement. He needed to make sure that Peter wasn't going to mess around at Hammer's place again.