Little Orphan Spider 6
By the time it hit six-thirty, everyone was tired. Peter especially from worrying. He'd finished his assignments early, needing something to take his mind off everything,and had found an glove from a prototype bot and had been programming it to wave and do all types of signals every time someone spoke to it, when a buzzer went off, scaring the teen.
"It's time to give up for the day," Gwen called to the room. "Have a good day and we'll see everyone on tomorrow, okay?" She looked towards Peter and winked. "I'll be speaking to Mr. Stark after you leave, since he gave us the problem to solve. I'm sure he thought it was a challenge."
The teen stiffened. Tonight? She was going to tell Mr. Stark tonight? He thought she already had. So he'd have another day to wait and worry until he was kicked off the team.
"See you tomorrow." Gwen waved to the boy as he hurried out of the room. "He is so adorable."
Peter was running out of the building by then, getting a 'have a good night, Peter' from Friday, which made him feel so horrible for tricking the AI like that. He ran to the front door and rushed out, desperate to get out and fly about the city on webs to clear his mind. Running to the subway, he caught the train that had just pulled into the station. He rode the seven train home where he sneaked in and ran up to his room to suit up. It was now almost seven-thirty, and crime usually got busy this time of night. Pulling on his mask, he programmed his phone the Ned had shown him how in school and opened his window. It was a warm night, so he took his time crawling up the still hot bricks up to the roof, where he shot a web to a tree and ricocheted off the branches in order to shoot a web at another apartment building and he was in the air.
Above the city, past all the smog, the world was clean. Flying through the air, he couldn't hear any of the sirens above the wind, he could only see skies and the reflection of the clouds off building windows painted in pink and orange in the setting sun. This was his world.
During his Peter stopped a bank robbery and helped save a cat in a tree. He had been out for about three hours when he decided it was time to get home. So he quickly made his way towards the group home and made his way up to his room, where he got changed quickly before leaving his room. He stopped when he heard footsteps come running towards him.
"Peter!"Mr. Martin cried, sliding to a stop in front of the teen, who stared at him with a shocked expression. "When did you get in? Better yet, what did you do today?!" The man's voice was shocked and his gaze looked angry.
The brunette felt his face go white and he swallowed. "I-I don't think I did anything, Mr. Martin..." Oh no, did Mr. Stark finally find out about Peter hacking his program?
"Apparently you did something....because I got a call from Ms. Potts.....The Mr. Stark wants you to come stay with him for two months."
Peter stood there for a minute, shocked, before his eyes widened. "WHAT!?"
Tony stood before a room of reporters with his 'interview smile', as he called it, on. He held up a hand to quiet everyone down, and the room slowly stopped talking.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming on such short notice. I've called this meeting in regards to the Jordan incident. After the temple fiasco during a battle, a lot of people are calling me 'uncaring' and 'a child hater'. Which is not true." For the most part. "I have sent help to clean up the mess created, plus I have donated a hefty financial sum to the rebuilding of that area for the orphaned children to have a better life. But, I've seen the error in my ways and will be also helping the children here in the U.S.A. who have no home. Also, I've decided to open my home to one of those children. I, Tony Stark, will be taking in a foster child."
Instantly the room erupted with people yelling, camera's going off, you name it, until Tony held up his hand again. "Please, please, I'll answer any questions you may have....yes, sizzling hot blonde, your question?"
The woman blushed slightly. "Yes, Mr. Stark, how do you plan on taking care of said child, when you yourself, act like a child?"
"Hmm, that's a good point, but I believe I will have the assistance of a Mrs. Stark-Potts-name in question- for the task of looking after the poor, unfortunate child. Next. Mr. Bulbous Nose."
The man Tony pointed to gave him a stern look before standing. "Mr. Stark, why are you choosing to do this now, so soon after the tragedy in Jordan?"
"Oh, well, I felt so bad about what happened. Lemme tell you, I sent them a few suits to start building, and again, I am fully funding the project myself. And, I just feel like if I can make the world a better place for one child, then that child, in turn, can help another, and so on and so on." Ugh, he hated this mushy crap. "Okay, Mr. Giraffe-neck?"
"Very funny, Mr. Stark. Have you already chosen a child, or will your CEO be choosing one?"
"Ah, a good question. Yes, I have already chosen a child, who I will not be naming until he gets here,for personal reasons. I will then hold another press conference and introduce him to the world. I believe that is all the time I have for now, so until the next meeting, have a good day!"
He smiled and waved as he stepped away from the podium, his face falling as he stepped behind a curtain. "This 'bleeding heart' persona is going to kill me," he whined to his fiancee, who smiled and kissed him.
"It won't hurt you to open your doors to one child in your life. Who knows, it may leave you wanting another one."
"Now that, I like the sound of, because if we want one, we'll have to practice. Like, a lot. Let's get to that now, okay?"
Pepper laughed and pushed the billionaire away. "Later. For now, I have to make sure Peter's things are delivered here and everything we ordered for him arrives on time. You know, Tony, you didn't have to go to these extremes for him. I mean, his own hot tub in his bathroom? Really?"
Stark shrugged and hooked his arm around the woman's waist as they walked. "I just feel bad for the kid, you know? I don't know what kind of a life he's had, so I want to give him everything."
"And have him loose it after two months," Pepper argued.
"Well, it's not like he can't come and visit. Plus, he'll always have a room when he has to stay over for the internship, right?"
The woman sighed and shook her head. "Okay, okay. You win. Just, don't blow the kid up, okay?"
"Who me? Nah, I'll just take an arm, maybe a hand." The woman laughed softly as they strolled down the hall to the elevator. "But, I knew this was the kid after what Gwen and Friday told me last night. She came running into my office and told me the kid had solved the equation that both Bruce and I have been having problems with, you know the one that will turn chemical matter into a solid mass? It was the best news I've ever heard. I see great things for this kid. Great things. But, I think he's gonna have to be...what's the word? Grounded? That's it, grounded for hacking my files"
The next morning day, Peter had never been so nervous to go to school. He and Mr. Martin had stayed up to watch the press meeting, and Peter was glad Mr. Stark didn't say his name.
But he knew everyone would find out about the guardianship by Tony Stark when he introduced the boy to the world. Peter was a little annoyed by how Mr. Stark made it sound like he was a starving child on the streets, helpless and alone. He was far from helpless.
When Peter walked into school, suddenly, everyone was talking about it. They had to wonder, who was the lucky kid that had won the lottery for the next two months? It was starting to get to Peter, so when Ned waved at him, he couldn't help but look pleadingly at him.
"Hey, did you hear about....you already did. What's the matter?"
"Ned....it's me," Peter whispered. "I'm the one that Tony Stark wants to take in!"
Ned's face dropped, but then he smiled. "Dude! That is so awesome! You get to meet Tony Stark, and live with him!" The boy gasped. "Do you think you'll be living with the Avengers? Like, do you think they live where you'll be? How cool would that be?"
"Ned, stop! No, that would not be cool! That would be the opposite of great! If I'm there, in a high security tower, then how is the other guy," he pointed to his backpack, "going to get out and go to Queens?"
The other boy's face fell again. "Oh yeah....I forgot about," he made a motion to the bag, "him. Oh man...that's gonna suck. Or, maybe I could like, you know, be the guy in the chair and try to hack into the tower, or at least your room, and shut off any safety wires or things like that?"
Peter's hopes began to rise. "Do you think you can do that? Because, I don't have a choice in the matter. Mr. Martin made the decision for me last night, telling me it will be a great experience, you'll learn so much from Mr. Stark, blah blah...."
He took a deep breath and closed his locker. "But, I'm also scared, man....what if Mr. Stark finds out about me being, you know, and his kicks me out? Or worse, he gives me to Dr. Banner to experiment on?"
Ned's eyes widened. "Oh, dude that would be so cool! You would get to meet Bruce Banner! Oh wait, the experimenting thing isn't so cool..."
"I know! I don't know what to do! Spider-Man can't not patrol the city....So, when I go, try and break into the system, okay? If you can't, maybe I can figure a way to sneak out..." His friend nodded.
"Of course man, yeah. But...I bet you Tony Stark already has a room all set up for you. Do you think you'll be able to have friends over? Because, I've always wanted to see what it's like to be in Stark Tower..."
Peter smiled, so happy for his friend calming his nerves. "I'll ask, but I'm sure Mr. Stark will have no problem with it." And they walked down the hall towards their first class.
When the day was over, Peter made his way to his internship, leaving his bag with security and stepped into the scanner.
"Hello, Peter," Friday greeted him. "I heard the good news, and I'm happy for you."
"Thanks, Ms. Friday. But, how did...oh wait, stupid question." The boy held his hands out and was scanned.
"Clear. I look forward to hearing you more often, Peter." Her voice was following him into the elevator where again, he was surrounded by people in suits.
The teen hurried off the elevator, already feeling like this was going to be the worst two months of his life where he had to sneak around twice as much in order to be Spider-Man.
With the scanners, he wouldn't even be able to bring his suit into the building! He would have to leave it in an alleyway and sneak out at night and climb up a ninety story building with laser beams in order to get it to his room. Why him?
The labs came into view and Peter let out a sigh as he walked in, smelling chemicals and other compounds around him, instantly feeling at ease.
"Peter!" Gwen came running up to him to ruffle his hair. "I talked to the boss last night, and he said that was the greatest thing he'd ever heard in his life and he can't wait to meet you! But, he said he won't be available until this weekend, for some reason, I don't know why. Are you okay with that?"
Peter just nodded, shifting his eyes to his station. "Y-yeah, I'm fine with that. Um....I'm just gonna get to work..I'm sure there are more problems for me to solve and stuff."
The blonde nodded and ruffled the boy's curls again. "And, if we have trouble, we'll call you!"
Peter nodded with a fake laugh, collapsing in his chair and turning his monitor on. Suddenly, the peal of a bike bell rang out and a tricycle stood on the screen, making the boy roll his eyes. But, as soon as he clicked to log in, the face of the Tony Stark appeared on his screen, eyes boring into Peter's from another room.
"Not bad, kid, heard about what you did, very impressed. I am not, impressed, however, that you thought you could hack into my system in order to change something that I set for you." The live feed was loud, so everyone could hear, making Peter feel even worse. "That's very bad, Peter, very bad. I am disappointed in you, but, I am willing to give you another chance, since you're so young. I'm going to leave the security where it is. I mean, if you're going to change it, at least put it to higher than a two. But now you can, what was it Friday said, oh yeah, 'get some work done'."
The man used air quotes and eye rolls. "Easy on the hacking, there kiddo, but I will say I'm impressed that my firewall didn't catch you. Good job. Stark, out."
And just like that, the screen went blank, and all of Peter's files came up, but something was missing. He went into the start up menu, but he didn't see any of the computer data files.
So that meant, Mr. Stark had them taken off his personal computer so Peter couldn't hack it again. Which was fine, because now that his security was higher, he could use the means to get things done. It was a point for him, in Peter's book.
And that was how the week progressed. Peter would go to school, then go to SI, and home only to sneak out for an hour or so, and would patrol the streets of Queens. That was it, until one night, it became more.
It was while Peter was swinging from a tree that he sensed something coming and he quickly dodged the drone that flew at him, shooting webs at it, taking it down. "Nice evening, huh Stark?" The boy called, deepening his voice, head on a swivel, looking for the man.
"Yeah, great." Mr. Stark finally showed himself, hovering above where Peter sat in the tree.
"Listen, I'm going to ask you again to tell me who you are, and how you do the things you do. See, there's this guy, real hard ass, that doesn't like secrets being kept from him even more than I do, and you're starting to get on his bad side. Which, I will say is a little safer than getting on mine, but still bad. So, save yourself some pain, come with me and we'll take off your little sock mask and I'll help give you a real suit."
That caught Peter's attention, but, he knew he couldn't do it because of his age again, and the alien weapons the boy had already seen. Weapons that could make someone disappear into ash. "Ya see, Stark, if your boss had come to me, I wouldn't be so stubborn. But, since he sent you like his little errand boy, I'm gonna have to say no, again. Take your little toys and go play in your room."
Peter knew the man was mad due to the silence, but he'd just about had enough of Mr. Stark on his tail that week. And now, he told him someone else wanted to meet unmask him? That was pushing it. "Have a good night, there, Stark. See you around. Or not."
The boy shot a web to the nearest building and casually flung himself off the tree he was perched in. The nerve of that guy!
Suddenly, his senses went haywire and Peter looked back to see an army of drones, each one of them trained on him. "Oh shit!"
He dodged like his life depended on it. Every time one of the drones came too close, he would hit it with a web, making it unable to track his movements in its camera. He was halfway through when suddenly gold and red flashed out of the corner of his eye. This was bad.
"Stark, I haven't made any threat to you or your boss!" His voice sounded scared now, cracking a bit in his nervousness. "Stop this attack!"
"Oh? But you have, Spider-Man. You've resisted me, and when the other guy got involved, that made you a threat to the Avengers, and to the world. Who knows if you'll ever end up on the wrong side one day? You may not mean to, but without us, you most certainly will."
Peter's eyes widened and he shook his head, shooting down another drone. "No! I'll never side with someone who wants to hurt people! And I will never fight against the Avengers!"
"Not good enough." Tony lifted a hand and the drones began shooting tasers.
Peter screamed as one clipping his leg, but he dodged almost all of them, crying out when one happened to hit him. Why didn't Mr. Stark believe him? He was one of the good guys!
Finally, Peter spotted a park filled with trees and had an idea. He dodged several tasers and a few blasts from Mr. Stark himself, and headed for the trees. The drones followed him, until Peter shot a few webs, forming a giant net that the drones all fell into, sticking to the chemically made webs.
"Take that!" the teen shouted, but was too early in his victory, because no sooner did he finish, did Tony Stark shoot a blast behind him. It was too quick for Peter to dodge completely, and he cried out when his side suddenly was on fire. He checked to see if it was burning, but there were no flames, only blood and a singe mark on his suit.
The teen looked back at Mr. Stark with fear and hurried to get out of the situation, tears almost falling from his eyes in fear. "Please stop, please stop!" he screamed, using every trick that he could to get away from Mr. Stark. He tried webbing the man's face, but he dodged it.
"Need to try something new, Spidey!" the man called out.
Peter, in a sudden move that would have normally gotten him killed, shot a web behind him and used it to get behind Iron-Man, and around a building too fast for the man to comprehend.
Using the shadows to his advantage, Peter put as much distance between him and Mr. Stark as possible before diving into a small nook at the top of a building, folding himself in a way that he fit, nestled in the shadows.
The boy stayed like that until he was sure Mr. Stark had stopped following him, but he checked the area just to be sure, before hurrying home.
What a week.
It was Friday, the day before he was supposed to go be a publicity stunt for Tony Stark. He was terrified of the man, the way he'd acted last night..
But, his mind wouldn't stop thinking of how he would get to maybe see inside the man's personal labs. Plus, he would get to see what the man had in store for him when they next met outside. It would be a major help...if he could even get to be Spider-Man, that is. Peter was worried about that part. But, he was sure that if Ned could hack in, he could get out of his room easy.
A pain in his healing side made the boy wince and he lifted his shirt, checking on the shiny, burnt flesh. He had advanced healing, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt. He prodded it, wincing when it hurt more. "This sucks," he sighed. He couldn't believe Mr. Stark had attacked him! He had already 'fixed' the hole in his suit with blue fabric he'd found in a dumpster in the back of a fabric store, but that didn't do anything for his side.
A knock on his door made the teen pause in his examination and grabbed his backpack, picking up a shirt to make it look as if he were packing. "Come in!" he called, folding a tattered old shirt, which had happened to be his Uncle Ben's. It still smelled of him and his Aunt May.
"Hey kid, wanted to see if you're okay." Mr. Martin came in, the Asian man looking around the room. "I'll make sure you still have your own room, you know, if you come back."
Peter smiled. "Mr. Martin, this is just a temporary publicity stunt. I'll be back before you know it and everything will go back to the way it was." It hurt Peter to say that, but it was the truth. Even though he was afraid of the man, he was still hoping, somewhere deep inside, Mr. Stark would adopt him. But, Peter was nothing more than a stupid stunt Tony Stark was using to make the public believe he 'loved the children' or something like that.
He didn't want to be in the public's eye, being stared at with pity. That was the look that he hated, like whenever an adult found out he was fifteen and still in the system. They felt so bad for him, but they knew they wouldn't do anything for him. He would stay in the system until he turned eighteen, and then he could be Spider-Man full time.
"Yeah, but you never know, Peter. You're a great kid, and if anyone could make Tony Stark fall in love with them, it's you." The man slung an arm over his shoulder in a one armed hug and Peter winced when something felt like it touched his wound.
"Just remember, be yourself, okay? This could very well be your last night here." He tightened the hug. "Love you, Pete," the man whispered and left the room, leaving Peter to finish packing his few things.
Pepper was standing in the living room early Saturday morning. Today was the day that Peter would come live with them, and she was excited. For the longest time she'd been hinting at Tony that she wanted a child, but the clueless dummy hadn't even gotten the hint, not even at the press meeting when she practically spelled it out for him.
He just fell into his jokes, as usual. And even though Pepper wasn't experienced as a mother, she still wanted the chance to see what it was like.
Last night she had checked Peter's room to make sure everything was set up right. In her annoyance, Tony had ordered a bunch of stuffed animals, claiming the kid was like twelve, which Pepper knew he had just turned fifteen.
The woman, of course, got rid of most of them, leaving only the cute Avengers ones, which she thought would be funny. There were game systems with every game she could think of that a boy would like....She just hoped Peter liked them.
"Hey, hot stuff. Whatcha doin'?" Tony walked behind her, sliding an arm around her waist.
"Just thinking...what if you were right, Tony? What if we're not ready for this? Or, what if we're more than ready, and in the end we can't give Peter up? That's what I'm most afraid of..." She looked at her fiancee with tears in her eyes. "I don't want to go through that pain, Tony..."
The billionaire sighed. "I know what you mean, but, if you want the kid after the whole two months, I'll pull some strings. Make him my legal ward or something. How does that sound?"
Pepper gave him a watery smile. "It sounds good, but I was hoping for something a little more."
"I know," Tony sighed. "But, I'll do what I can to keep the kid if you want to, even bribe him to call you mom."
This made Pepper laugh and she slapped his arm. "I won't let you spoil him, you know."
Tony pouted. "But I thought that was the job of a...father.....oh I think I'm gonna be sick." He bulged out his cheeks and held a hand to his mouth.
"Stop, Tony. I know you're nervous. But, I think you'll be a wonderful role model." They kissed, only breaking apart when Tony's phone rang. He answered it and Happy's voice rang through the speaker.
"Boss, Peter Parker is on his way."
"Okay." The man took a deep breath and held his hand out to Pepper. "Ready to meet Peter?"
"Definitely." the woman said, taking the hand and walked to the elevator to go down to the press conference.