Category: Post-End Game. Movieverse. Stark Family. Angst. Friendship. Humor.
Spoilers: End Game.
Summary: An unlikely trio. Stark tech. What’s the worst that could happen?
Word Count: 1053
Harley can’t believe he’s here.
Standing in Tony Stark’s workshop.
While the others share drinks and snacks and stories upstairs, he reaches for a half-finished gauntlet. As he picks it up, his brow wrinkles and he blinks back tears, thinking how unfair it was that he’d only just started to really know Tony when he was taken away. Suddenly, a voice cuts into his thoughts.
“What are you doing here?”
The voice is angry and accusing. It hardens Harley’s grief to anger. He drops the glove, spins around, and glares at an intruder in the doorway.
“What’s it to you?”
His glare is returned in full force by another young man, then the eyes facing him dart around the room, taking in the gadgets and tech everywhere.
“Just don’t want anyone breaking Mister Stark’s stuff.”
Harley’s glare intensifies. He nearly sneers.
“I’m not going to break anything.”
“Well, good,” stammers the unwelcome visitor. “But you still haven’t answered my question.”
“What?” asks Harley.
“What’re you doing here?”
Now it is Harley’s turn to stammer. “Well, I, uh... I dunno. I guess... Just... It felt right.”
The other kid sighs.
“I get that. Same. I guess.” He looks around the room again and blinks back his own tears.
Harley swallows and looks away for a moment, then looks back.
“Who are you, anyway?” he asks.
“Oh!” says the lurker, finally entering the room. He extends a hand and gets all jittery. “I’m sorry. I’m Peter. Peter Parker.”
Harley actually grins at the exuberance; at the apologetic nature of the actions. He shakes the offered hand.
“Harley,” he mumbles. “Harley Keener.”
“Hey,” says Peter.
The boys regard each other for a moment before Peter speaks again.
“So... you knew Mister Stark?”
Harley grins again. Obviously, he thinks, but out loud he’s nicer.
“Yeah. He, uh, popped by this one time and...”
Harley is interrupted by Peter’s sudden laugh.
“What?” asks Harley.
Peter chuckles. “Nothing. It’s just... He does... I mean, he did that a lot.”
“Yeah. I came home one day and I swear he was chatting up my aunt right in the living room!”
“I found him in our garage.”
Harley holds up a hand in a pledge gesture. “I swear.”
“Oh, man, that’s crazy!” says Peter, joining Harley at the bench.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was eleven years old, for crying out loud!”
“I was fourteen.”
“How old are you now?”
“Sixteen. I think.”
“You don’t know?”
“Well, I, um...”
Harley nods as Peter trails off.
“You were gone,” he says.
Peter nods back. “Yeah.”
“So, you’re sixteen but supposed to be twenty-one, like me.”
“Something like that.”
“That’s messed up, man.”
“I know. It’s super weird.”
Harley nods again. “It is. Know what else is weird?”
“This armor,” he says, changing the subject. “Look.”
Harley holds up the gauntlet he’d had earlier.
“What about it?” asks Peter.
“Well, it’s nanotech. That much is clear by the seams.”
“Yeah, sure...” agrees Peter, not really very sure at all.
Harley plows on. “But it’s dead. It shouldn’t be, though. Mister Stark’s stuff is self-sustaining. I don’t get it.”
“Maybe it needs charged somehow?” suggests Peter.
“Maybe,” muses Harley. “But I don’t see an input for that.”
“I bet we can hack it,” mutters Peter.
“Do what now?” asks Harley.
Peter grins. “Hack it.”
“You can do that? To Stark tech?”
Peter shrugs. “Sure. Can you handle the physical parts?”
“Then let’s see what this baby can do,” says Peter, grinning.
Half an hour later, both boys cackle as the glove starts to emit a soft glow. They look at each other, and slowly, they grin wickedly. Between them, they’d made a piece of Stark tech work. There was no stopping them now. Harley makes a grab for another project and then Peter does the same.
But they never get the chance to start something new. Because their first project starts to glow brighter. And the next thing they know, they’re both on the floor against the back wall of the workshop, covered in soot and coughing.
They look ridiculous and are lucky to be alive. They know it too. They also know that they have no idea what to do next.
It’s right then that a small voice sums things up, as only a four-year-old Stark could.
Both boys jump up like they’ve been shocked. But no sooner are they standing than they are surrounded by white, spraying foam.
The little girl who’d uttered the curse laughs and claps her hands.
“That’s my favorite part!” she squeals.
Peter and Harley cough a few more times as the air clears.
As they regain their vision, they both stare at Morgan Stark, dressed in pajamas and grinning maniacally. She is still clapping.
“Wha... what are you doing here?” asks Peter.
“Watching Dum-E spray the dummies!” yells Morgan.
Harley rolls his eyes. “You walked into that one, man.”
Peter sighs. “I did, didn’t I?”
Harley laughs. “Bested by a four-year-old.”
Peter gestures toward Morgan. “That... is no ordinary four-year-old.”
“True,” muses Harley. His eyes narrow. “Hey, kid,” he calls. “You probably watched your dad a lot, huh?”
Morgan rubs absently at one ear.
“I guess,” she drawls.
Peter’s eyes widen. “Oh, no. No, you don’t.”
But it’s too late. Harley sits down on the floor and Morgan crawls into his lap.
“So, you know what he was up to?”
Morgan nods and a glint comes into her eyes.
Peter tries again.
“This is a bad idea,” he warns.
Harley and Morgan silence him with bizarrely similar glares.
Peter backs off, holding his hands up in surrender.
“Okay, okay,” he mutters.
“So, what’d we mess up?” asks Harley.
“That thing,” says Morgan, pointing at something along the wall.
It takes some time, but together, Morgan and Harley (and Peter, who grumbles every step of the way but still helps) get the gauntlet working. It isn’t much. It’s just a piece of armor. But to them it’s more. It’s a piece of a mentor. Of a father. Of a dad. It’s also a distraction. And it’s fun.
Or at least it is until Pepper finds them, and they all learn that Tony Stark had nothing on Pepper Potts when it came to perfectly placed profanity.
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