Tbh, I was a bit confused when I first read this prompt because I was like who’s nick??? I used to read the books and I completely forgot that the second movie existed, so this is more of a mash-up of what I remember from the books and the movies
“I can’t believe this! This is absolutely unheard of! I feel cheated!
“You feel cheated?” Peter asks, still sitting on the very old, very plushy, very expensive chair and watching his father pace up and down the hallway, only raising an eyebrow. “I’m the one who gets cheated.”
“Well.” Tony stops turning to his son and crossing his arms over his chest. “We both are. And it’s stupid! Of all the old laws they could’ve dug up, they chose this one?”
Peter grimaces, not really knowing what to answer that.
For most of his life, Peter lived with his aunt May in Queens after his mother Mary, her boyfriend Richard and his uncle Ben died, thinking he’s absolutely ordinary – and then his estranged father Tony Stark suddenly appeared on their doorstep. Peter heard stories about him, of course. They told him he’s an influential politician in some small, European country.
It wasn’t technically wrong.
After all, a king can be described as an influential politician.
And he stopped by to tell Peter that he definitely has to take over that position one day and lead because he’s the only child he has and can’t get any more children. Peter, who was suddenly told he had to move to that little country named Genovia and leave his entire life behind, hadn’t been happy about it. There was some drama, some very annoying etiquette lessons, some screaming and door slamming and over the lawn running (which wasn’t allowed), a bit of bonding over Tony helping Peter fix Ben’s old car, and an eventual agreement that Peter would actually considering becoming a king.
Which he did consider.
And he said yes.
To this day, Peter can’t explain exactly what was going on with him when he agreed. Maybe it was because he didn’t want to lose any more family. Maybe it was the absurdity of becoming a king. Or maybe it was the fact that he can actually help people with this. (It also helped that he absolutely fell in love with the country, even with the weird signature pear taste – and now, he absolutely loves pear-popcorn)
Since then, Peter’s days have been filled with classes about what it means to be a king, about Genovia’s history, about its people, about his family, about which fork to use when you eat your salad, he even learned how to ride a horse because tradition or whatever. In college, he studied economics and politics (he would’ve loved to study biochemistry, but seeing what his future profession will be, it wasn’t that smart – besides, Tony started teaching him everything about science. Turns out his father is not only a king, but a science genius), all to prepare himself for this job.
And then the parliament happened.
Or more specifically: one certain member of the parliament. Lord Jones is a very charismatic and cunning man, trying to make Tony’s life as difficult as possible. This time, it’s by bringing up a law that forbids Peter from becoming the next king because he’s part American.
Who would be the next in line to the throne?
Considering that the Stark blood line would end when Peter can’t take up that position, it would be Lord Jones’ family; his daughter Michelle, to be exact.
“He must’ve spent days looking through all those old laws,” Tony is mumbling, obviously still furious. It didn’t help that he couldn’t scream at Lord Jones in the parliament room, knowing that there are enough members who are just waiting for Tony to do one wrong step.
“Maybe we should feel honored,” Peter says, slumped over the back of the chair. Instead of being as furious as his father, Peter feels so discouraged. All the self-doubt he’s been fighting for years over this comes back. There’s a reason that old law exists – what if they’re right? What if someone who’s 100% Genovian is a better fit to rule the country? Sure, Peter tried his best to catch up on everything that has the slightest bit to do with Genovia, but is it enough?
Is he really the best for this job?
Tony snaps his fingers in front of Peter’s face, pulling him out of his thought. “Hey, I know that face. No self-doubts. I’m not gonna allow it.”
“My self-doubts or the Jones’ taking the throne.”
“Both, of course.” Peter can’t even find it in himself to chuckle. Tony sniffs once, pulling closer another chair and sits down next to him. “All we need is to show the parliament that Lady Jones isn’t a better fit than you. So, as soon as we meet her, we have to look for every little flaw there is. Just anything that would make her unfit. Okay?”
Turns out, finding a flaw is almost impossible. Because in Peter’s eyes, Lady Michelle is so much better fit than him.
She’s wicked smart, and when she’s stares at you, you feel like she’s staring into your soul. She’s not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions, calling people out when they’re talking bullshit, she speaks all the languages that are commonly spoken in Genovia, she can have the most perfect manners (if she wants to), and she has a kind of confidence that is not unlike Tony’s – and one Peter doesn’t have at all.
It’s also not helping that she’s absolutely gorgeous and Peter forgets every single word he’s ever learned when she speaks to him.
And she speaks to him quite often. Probably because she figured out that Peter’s brain stops to work whenever she’s around.
Tony decided to throw a little party (he likes throwing parties), taking advantage of the warm, early summer days and their stunning garden. Peter is supposed to show the parliament members that he’s the only real candidate to be the next king, but after he spoke to only three of them, Lady Michelle finds him.
“Prince Peter,” she greets him, “we meet again.”
“Y-Yeah,” he stutters. “It’s, uh, nice to see you. Thank you for coming.”
She smiles that smile that lifts up only one half of her mouth, like she’s actually trying to fight it but can’t win. That smile does weird things to Peter’s stomach. “I’m sure your father isn’t too happy about it.”
“I’m sure your father isn’t happy about it either.”
The words are out of his mouth before Peter can think about them, and to his relief Lady Michelle only chuckles. “How about you show me around the garden your ancestors build to show off?”
Like so often with Lady Michelle, Peter doesn’t get the chance to decide – she already turned around and started strolling down the path.
They’re past the first couple of rose bushes when she speaks up.
“So, how’s your plan going on digging up dirt on me?”
“What?!” Peter asks, his voice jumping an octave higher. “I’m not- We’re not-” Lady Michelle only looks at him, raising one eyebrow. Peter’s shoulders slump down. “Well… Dad is determined to find something.”
“And if King Stark sets his mind to something, he gets it done.”
“Well, according to everyone around him, that’s true. I mean, he did manage to convince me to be his heir. And he’s still trying to teach one of his robots that motor oil shouldn’t be put into smoothies.”
“I feel honored that he – and you – invest so much time in me.” Peter doesn’t know what to say (at least what to say that doesn’t make him look like an idiot), so he doesn’t say anything. They walk in silence for a couple of paces before she speaks up again. “My father is doing the same, by the way. Trying to find as much dirt on you as you can.”
“He already did,” Peter answers, not able to stop the sting in his chest that everything he’s been working for the last couple of years might have been for nothing. “He found that law.”
“The parliament members might be old, but they aren’t stupid. They know that there are a lot, a lot worse candidates to take over the throne than you. I mean, you basically breathe helping people, and you have a smart enough head on your shoulders that you wouldn’t ruin the country. They can’t really ask for someone better than you.”
Peter feels his cheeks heat up and if anyone asks, it’s because of the midday sun over them. It has absolutely nothing to do with the practically most amazing young woman in the world complimenting him. “Well, uh, thank you.”
For a second, he wonders if he should compliment her in return (but which compliment to pick? There are so many), but before his brain can catch up, Lady Michelle is already continuing. “So, both our fathers think there are only two options.”
Peter doesn’t miss the tone of her voice. “And you don’t agree, Lady Michelle?”
“Call me MJ.” She stops turning to him. “No, I don’t agree. There’s another one. A much, much simpler one.”
“Which would be?”
MJ’s cheeks are turning pink and in that moment, Peter just knows what she’s about to say and his heart skips a beat. “We could rule together.”
Peter’s cheeks are burning as his brain absolutely refuses to function.