Who: Peter P, Tony What/When: brief convo, backdated to around grad party Rating/Warnings: none!
It was late, probably later than Peter should’ve been holed up in the lab, but he’d texted May not long ago and she had extended his curfew by a bit. She was getting more lenient with him, and more anxious, too. He’d legally be an adult soon, after all - he’d be able to stay out patrolling at all hours if he wanted. And part of Peter did want that. While he’d accepted his scholarship and admission to Empire State University, he still wondered if that was the best use of his time. He knew his aunt would flip if she even thought he was having doubts, but…crime in the city never stopped. Maybe if he got a job and dedicated his free time to sharpening his skills instead, he could protect more people. Save more lives.
Peter pulled himself out of these thoughts as he bent over the pieces of his web shooters scattered out on the work table, concentrating on carefully screwing in a bolt. He was just about to take a picture of his progress to send to Ned when the doors to the lab opened. Peter glanced up, relaxing a little when he saw Tony entering.
“Hey,” Peter greeted, glancing at the time. Just past eleven. “…Is it past your bedtime or mine?”
Tony and sleep were strangers to one another. Many nights were lost being so hyper focused on improvements and redesigns and trying to save people without doing any harm. And without Pepper around to remind him to do basic things like go to bed, he often didn't do it at all. It was the same as when he had the garage. Espresso and all nighters.
For a middle aged man with a heart attack under his belt, he didn't look tired. That was thanks in part to medical grade nanorobotics, that even reversed some of the damage over time he'd done from hard partying. He looked slightly younger, and breezed in as though having Peter there was as natural as regularly scheduled weekends spent with Morgan.
"Hey, it's just past...nevermind. We're both old enough for it to not matter," he replied, with a shrug. He sat down a food delivery bag on a table close by where Peter was working. "Which is weird, because I just got used to having a teenager around."
He walked over to get a cup of coffee from the javabot, and then sat down at the workbench, looking at what Peter was working on. Another upgrade. Peter was as tinker happy as he was. He smirked and patted a hand lightly on his shoulder, like he was proud of him.
"We haven't run into each other lately. Time for a catch up sesh. I got some stuff from a local bagel place. Let's carb out while you tell me about the last dash to finally get out of high school. Big moment. College years. Crazy times ahead."
Probably more so than the norm, since Peter was also Spider-man.
Peter grinned at Tony’s response, liking the implication that he was at last old enough to push at his curfew. He’d come a long way from the fourteen year old he’d been when Tony showed up for the first time in Queens - and a lot had happened since then. A lot had happened outside of this universe, too, and Peter knew he was comparably lucky so far. His identity was safe, and Tony was alive. Tony was alive and handing him bagels.
“No way,” Peter said excitedly, digging in as soon as the bag was in range. By the time he spoke again, he was already half a bagel down and had his eye on another. “Oh man. Thanks for this. I didn’t even know I was this hungry.”
Peter was always a little hungry, honestly, and these were hitting the spot. “Things have been…good?” He said that almost like he didn’t believe it, and considering his luck he was surprised things had remained somewhat even for so long. “I’ve been hanging out a lot with Ned and MJ. I should probably be working on studying for the chemistry final now, but-” He gestured to his work space. “I was up against this mob boss and his guys last week and ran out of web fluid. I want my backup to have backup, y’know?”
Scooting some of his equipment aside so he’d have more room for the bagels, Peter glanced over at Tony. “What about you?” Peter knew it couldn’t be easy without Pepper around. “Morgan doing okay?”
"My stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten." In a while. He felt so much better now that he loaded his body full of the suit and nanobots, that he could work for longer. At least until his stomach started grumbling.
He looked at the web shooter while he listened to what was going on with everyone's favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-man.
"You look like you're onto a good work-around already," he said, looking it over. He took a bite of bagel with cream cheese and chewed slowly, tilting his head as he eyed everything that was going on. Peter was getting really good at fabricating and upgrades himself, and if he wanted the kid to fly - or swing, rather - he would let him test out what was going to work on his own, and only give advice if it was asked for. It was how he came up with some really cool things on his own too. Experimentation meant breaking a few eggs before making an omelette, after all.
"I'm doing ok. I tweaked a few new suit configurations around, and Morgan's been good too. She's here every other weekend. And for holidays and parties. So far it's worked out ok."
He shrugged. It could have been worse. He couldn't even blame Pepper, although she didn't remember anything about it being a different universe anymore. He had the Tower and everyone in it to try to watch out for now. And a world to try to keep safe so people special to him like Morgan, Darcy, and Peter could grow up in it.
"I heard you got accepted to ESU," he said suddenly. "Close by. Probably don't want to be too far away from Aunt May, huh?"
“Hope so,” Peter said, glancing at his work critically as he spread some cream cheese over his second bagel. “I think it’s going better than my last project, anyway. Flame webs just aren’t meant to be a thing.” For now, at least. Peter wasn’t sure when or if he’d ever need flame webs - because he certainly wasn’t intending to throw them at anyone - but the run in they’d had with the kaiju type creatures some months back had given him the idea. A good distracting tool like that could go a long way.
But for now, Peter’s attention turned away from the workspace and on Tony. He couldn’t imagine it was easy to be away from Morgan at times, or for Pepper’s place in his life to be so different now. “Next time you’re working on the suit, maybe I could swing by. And learn more from the master and all.” No matter how different their tech aims were, he always picked up something watching Tony tinker. Spending more time together wouldn’t be a bad thing with school winding down and the summer ahead.
“Yeah, definitely not. I just…I don’t think I could ever leave the city,” Peter admitted with a shrug, probably not sounding as excited as he should about the college acceptance. The scholarship - as long as he could work to keep it up - had erased a good deal of his financial worries, but he still had doubts.
“I kinda-” Peter paused while he tried to find the right words. He hadn’t really expressed this to anyone yet, especially his aunt. “May would kill me if she heard me say this. But figuring out how to be Spider-man and do okay enough in high school? That was hard. I don’t know how I’m going to manage college. Cause…if I’m honest, what I can do out on the streets is going to take priority every time.”
Tony never figured out a good balance. He thought he had, and then it kind of crumpled and fell apart. He could understand that drive to protect what you could protect, and to try to make sure that you were covering all the bases.
They certainly had a lot in common. He hoped they weren't genetically related, sort of how he and Darcy had sarcasm in common and then BAM, he found out he was the baby daddy of a fully grown girl he didn't even know about.
"You can come by this week. I'm working on some new nano-configurations before the next test flight into space."
The next part he wasn't going to sugar coat, because there really was no way to sugar coat it.
"I won't tell May. What I can tell you, is that's going to be a huge balancing act. It's not going to be fun. Pep always reminded me that I could do both." He failed at it, and his tinkering and experimenting took their toll, but that didn't have to be the same for Peter. "If anyone can do it, it's you. I think you got this."
He pointed over at a blueberry bagel.
"You gonna chow on that one next? Because I think it's got my name all over it."
“Yeah,” Peter said, nodding slowly and feeling more assured. Hearing that it would be difficult and not easy from someone who had been there himself helped the most - because realizing the reality ahead would be anything but perfect was the first step to getting through it. “One day at a time, right?”
And right now, the future wasn’t in front of him just yet. There was the summer ahead, and plenty of time to enjoy that freedom with Ned and MJ and everyone he cared about.
“Thanks, Tony.” After losing his uncle, it meant so much to have a dependable figure he could go to without burdening May with more than she already handled. “Nah, the blueberry’s all yours. I’m gonna go for the everything.”
Peter reached for the bagel in question, glancing back over at his web-shooters. He was still stuck on a few things, and Tony was just the person to ask. “About these upgrades…”