To call Tony nervous when May dropped Peter off at the penthouse is an understatement. May is taking a well-deserved vacation and Peter is going to stay with Tony for an entire week – the billionaire only noticed several hours after agreeing to take him in that he has no clue how to care for a teenager, let alone for a teenager with superpowers. FRIDAY calmed him down, reassuring him that she will always (literally) have a watchful eye on Peter and search the entire internet and all the parenting forums there are if Tony has any question.
It’s surprisingly easy to spend so much time with Peter. Even if they aren’t in the lab – May insisted on reasonable lab hours – they find one thing or another to occupy them, either by watching a movie, cooking together, or playing something as old-fashioned as card games, which quickly turns into Tony trying to teach Peter poker and blackjack.
Instead of feeling cramped by the kid’s constant presence (which Tony often feels around people), Peter joins Rhodey, Pepper, and – occasionally – Happy in the small group of exceptions.
But then the weekend is over and while Peter doesn’t have to go to school because of spring break, Tony does have to go back to work. He half-jokingly suggests ordering Happy to babysit Peter, but the boy promises to behave and not secretively sneak into the lab to play with dangerous chemicals, so Tony fights the urge to be an overprotective
dad mentor and agrees to leave Peter by himself while he has to spend most of the day in his office at the SI headquarters.
By the time Tony wakes up the next morning and gets ready, Peter hasn’t left his room yet. It’s not that unusual, Tony tells himself as he steps the elevator, it’s barely half past seven in the morning (he stalled to leave as late as possible in the hopes of seeing Peter) and he’s a teenager. Clearly, he wants to sleep in on his day off, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Originally, he planned to shoot Peter a quick message some time before lunch to plan the rest of their evening, but it turns out literal hell broke loose over the weekend and Tony and Pepper have to put out fires all over the place, with him running from one lab to the next one to fix problems nobody else was able to figure out, arguing with other companies over contracts that haven’t been fulfilled, calming down a new staff member from accounting he met in the lobby who was about to have panic attack because they noticed they’ve made a mistake, and being called into a HR meeting because of a case of sexual assault which Tony ended only a couple of minutes after entering the room by firing the assaulter – which then meant they also needed to put out a notice that they’re looking for someone to fill the now vacant position.
So, sending the text completely slipped Tony’s mind. The only reason he actually drank and ate something throughout the entire day was because his assistant (bless their heart) kept pushing mugs with steaming coffee in his hand and got him a salad he ate in between phone calls – it took him almost two hours to finish that salad.
By the time Tony finally gets back into his car – it’s just past seven in the evening, and the only reason he’s leaving this early and doesn’t help cleaning up even more messes, is because Pepper knows Peter is probably waiting for him and just told him to go – he feels drained in a way that he hasn’t felt in a long while. It’s not exactly like feeling post-mission drained or spending-two-days-in-the-lab drained, but tiring nonetheless. And as happy as he is about getting home to spend some time with Peter, the fact that he leaves before everything is cleaned up makes him feel kinda unaccomplished, like he hasn’t done enough.
“The kid must be worried where I am,” Tony mumbles as he pulls out his phone. A part of him knows that Peter would be too polite to spam Tony with seemingly pointless messages (telling him what he did, sending him some funny pictures, sharing ideas that cross his mind, asking when he’s coming back) especially when he knows Tony has to work, but the billionaire still feels a slight bang of disappointment when he sees not a single message from his favorite young adult. “That’s weird.” Pocketing the phone back into his suit jacket, he starts his car and races out of the garage. “FRI, is Peter at the penthouse or out patrolling?”
“He is at the penthouse, boss.” A short pause. “Mr. Parker has been at the penthouse the entire day.”
“Huh,” Tony huffs out and changes the lane. “I thought he would feel too cooped up in there all by himself. Well, seems like he found something to do.” There’s a silence that’s oddly suspicious. Tony glances at the dashboard where he knows one of FRIDAY’s cameras is installed. “Why do I get the feeling you’re not telling me something, love?”
“I do not know what you mean. Mr. Parker has not been breaking any rules.”
“Well, now I’m definitely feeling like I’m not getting the entire picture. Spit it out, FRIDAY. What’s been happening?”
“Mr. Parker has been asleep.”
“Yeah, and what did he do after he got up?”
“Mr. Parker did not get up.”
Tony blinks, luckily stopping at a red light just in time. “Are you telling me he’s been spending the entire day in his bed?”
“I am telling you that Mr. Parker has not woken up yet.”
“What?” Almost out of a reflex, Tony’s eyes fly to the clock. “He’s still asleep?”
“That’s… not normal.” A lightbulb goes off in Tony’s head and he can’t stop the worry that is quickly overtaking him. “How are his vitals? Is he sick? I thought his healing factor might take care of stuff like this, but maybe-”
“His vital functions are all normal. He shows no signs of being sick.”
“So… he just… slept all day?”
“It seems like that.”
Tony blinks once more, but doesn’t ask anything else. He has a feeling he should ask Peter all of these questions, not FRIDAY. As soon as he arrives at the penthouse – only going slightly over the speed limit, calm down everyone, he knows how to drive – Tony wastes no time going to Peter’s room, knocking at the door once and then opening it. The noise obviously startles Peter awake. He jumps a bit and lifts his head from his pillow, red lines from the fabric painted across one side of his face, blinking his eyes open.
“M’ss’r S’rk,” he mumbles, rubbing the last bit of sleep out of his eyes, “morning.”
“Morning?” Tony asks with a raised eyebrow. “You’re about half a day off, bud.”
“It’s almost time to go back to sleep.”
Still not completely understanding what Tony is trying to say, Peter looks around for his phone and checks the time. He blinks once, twice. “Oh.”
“Oh?” he snorts. “That’s all you have to say?”
“I didn’t know I slept this long.”
“How could you even sleep this long?” Tony steps into the room that’s still dark and filled with stale air. “FRIDAY, open the blinds and a window.”
As soon as some light fills the room, Tony sees the true state of it – empty chips bags lying on the floor, two empty soda bottles and one that’s still half filled. Peter’s clothes from the day before lay crumbled on the floor, like they’ve been tossed away without a second thought. That’s definitely not the what the room looked like about twenty-four hours ago, and it’s quite unlike Peter to make such a mess (at least when he’s staying at Tony’s place, too afraid to take up too much space or to be an inconvenience).
“Okay, I need some answer,” Tony says, crossing his arms over his chest. “What’s happening right now? Why did you sleep all day? Why does your room look like this?”
“I was too tired to clean up,” Peter says, now more awake and looking at him sheepishly. “Ned and I have been playing this video game and I… kinda lost track of the time?”
Smelling the cause for all of this, Tony squints. “And that means what exactly?”
Peter isn’t meeting his eyes. “I, uh,… might have stayed up until eight in the morning playing that game?”
For the millionth time today, Tony blinks. “Are you telling me you only went to bed after I left?”
“Well, I can’t really answer that because I don’t know when you left and-”
“FRIDAY, why didn’t you tell me?” Tony says to the ceiling.
“You did not ask, boss,” the AI answers – and maybe it’s Tony’s imagination, but she sounds a bit guilty. “Mr. Parker reassured me that he was not breaking any rules. His aunt requested reasonable lab hours, not reasonable sleeping hours.” Peter points to the ceiling in a way that clearly says see? It’s completely fine.
Tony thinks differently and points a finger at him. “Stop finding loopholes and corrupting my AI. I feel like both of those things will get me in trouble.” Peter gives him a sheepish smile, and Tony sighs. “I’m too tired for this. And too hungry. We’ll talk about a healthy sleeping schedule when I can think again.”
(Yes, Tony is distantly aware of the irony of him talking about healthy sleeping patterns. Oh God, is this what Rhodey and Pepper went through with him for decades? He owes them an apology.)
“Busy day?” Peter asks.
“Hellish day.” Tony thinks about sitting down on the bed, but he’s 99% sure he won’t be getting up again once he sits.
“Then we should do something relaxing. I can make dinner and you can, like… take a shower or something?”
Tony squints. “Is this your way of telling me I stink?”
“I’m sorry! But I have a sensitive nose and you’ve been busy all day and humans just sweat, that’s completely natural, like, I would worry more if you don’t sweat and-”
“Rude,” Tony interrupts him, but he’s too tired to really fight the smile creeping up on his face. “Especially considering you slept all day in a room that smells like something died in here. I will take no criticism from you. And as punishment, you will make those delicious burgers you made last month while I take a shower. Which has nothing to do with your comment about me smelling bad and everything to do with me relaxing. Got it?”
Peter’s smile is blinding. “Got it!”