The Little Guy

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Happy was rather dismissive of Peter. He realises that was a mistake

Warning(s): Spanking; major spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming; minor spoilers for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; violence

Author's Note: I ended up with a lot of ideas for this movie, so I thought I'd gather all of the one-shots I'm going to write in one place


It hadn't taken long to arrange the arrest of Toomes and get everything from the plane collected. Fortunately, everything had been designed with the idea it would be facing immense stress in battle, so nothing actually needed to be replaced. Toomes was being close-mouthed about the whole fight, though Happy wasn't sure if that was because he was embarrassed at having been taken down by Spider-Man, or if he was trying to protect the kid.

Something Happy knew he'd done, but only up to a point. The scene wasn't pretty and he was fairly sure Peter had walked away with injuries. Injuries he'd heal from, sure, but the fact remained he was still a fifteen-year-old kid. He shouldn't have been the only one facing off against the bad guys. Tony had tried to step in, but in reality, Happy was acutely aware that, if maybe he'd been a bit more open to the kid, Peter wouldn't have been left in this battle alone, with no one to have his back.

Now that everything was taken care of at the crash site, Happy returned to Avengers Tower. In theory, it was meant to be to make sure nothing had been left behind that could come back to bite them. In reality, there was a big part of Happy that simply wanted to say goodbye.

He wasn't surprised when he reached the top level to find Stark on the landing pad, hands laced behind his back as he looked out at the night sky. As much as Tony tried to pretend he was aloof and unaffected by everything that had occurred, Happy knew better than that. Knew him better than that.

"Is the kid safe?" Tony spoke without turning.

"Tracker says he's home. Unless he figured out the new tracker you placed and removed that one." Happy paused. Now that he thought about it, he couldn't help worrying. "I can drive over there. Check on him."

"Not yet. He wasn't following any other criminals. I figure he's safe for now." Tony turned, walking towards Happy, and pressed a button on his watch.

The lights flickered and then came on. Walking past Happy, Tony motioned with his head for him to follow, but didn't speak until they were inside. "How'd he get involved again? I took away his suit."

"He's like you." When Tony glanced at him, Happy added, "You'd do the same thing if it was the other way round."

"I don't want him to be me. I want him to be better." Tony looked at Happy and there was the faintest hint of amusement on his face. "He's probably just as smart as I was at that age. Certainly as stubborn."

And just as much in need of a father, though Happy didn't voice that out loud. He respected Tony and was fairly sure the other man respected him. Once his boss realised how much he'd failed the kid, if he hadn't reached that conclusion already, he would lose that respect.

Tony seemed to read Happy's mind, because he said, "It's probably safe to say we were both failures."

Happy winced. Tony was speaking in such a matter-of-fact way, but it was easy to see how affected he was. "I'm the one who should have listened to the kid. At least you did that much." He shrugged. "I got too focused on what was happening here to pay attention to…."

"Anything to do with him," Tony finished. "You know I have access to your phone."

"And you know that's technically illegal."

"More like part of the job security."

Happy shrugged. "Still illegal."

"Planning to quit?"

Tony's question sounded innocent enough, but Happy knew his boss…and, dare he say it, his friend…well enough to read between the lines. The conflicts between the Avengers had shaken them all. "Of course not."

"Okay, good." Tony hesitated, running his hands through his hair. "You might not feel like that in a moment."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Happy asked suspiciously.

"We both messed up on this. Made wrong choices. Wrong calls. Except I…I don't have anyone to pull me back on that. Not anymore." Tony sighed and closed his eyes for a brief second. "I'm not even sure I'm the right person to take on this responsibility, but it's not like there's anyone else who's gonna step up," he muttered.

"Where are you going with this?"

Tony looked at Happy, but didn't seem to really be looking at him. His eyes had taken on a distant, unfocused quality. Finally, he nodded. "I messed up. I don't mean now. Before. Before me and Cap wound up on opposite sides. Stupid, reckless stunts."

"I know. I was there for most of them." Happy paused. "And then Cap came into the picture and you got better."

"Not immediately." Tony's smile was wry. "Cap was…well, he's kinda old-fashioned. I did something he disapproved of and he 'whupped my ass' I believe is the old way of putting it."

Happy raised his eyebrows. "He belted you?"

"Spanked me, actually. Bare ass, across his knee. You know how strong he is. It's not like he needed a belt or anything else to make his point."

If it wasn't for the matter-of-fact way Tony was saying it…Happy shook his head. "Why are you telling me this?"

"So that my suggestion doesn't come out of the blue. So you know here it comes from."

Happy shook his head, wondering if Tony was having a completely conversation to him. "What suggestion?"

"That I spank you." Tony grimaced. "That sounded much better in my head."

"Why?"

"Honestly?" Tony looked at him seriously. "It might be harder to kill him, but a fifteen-year-old kid still ended up in danger because you didn't listen to him and I assumed he'd listen to me when I told him to go and live a normal life. And, yeah, I should have known better, because when did I listen when someone told me something to keep me safe?"

"You listened to Cap." And it was true. For a long time, Happy had worried about Tony's self-destructive behaviour. And then Captain America had appeared on the scene. Happy took a deep breath and shook his head. "Okay. You're right. I messed up with the kid. I ignored him when I should have listened to him. But I don't see how spanking me is going to help."

"Are you feeling good about what happened?"

"Of course not."

Tony nodded. "It helps. With the guilt."

Who was going to help Tony, with Steve no longer in the picture? Somehow, Happy couldn't bring himself to argue with his boss. He didn't get the feeling Tony was trying to take control, but he was right. Happy was going to keep kicking himself for putting a teenager in that kind of position. Maybe Peter wasn't in life-threatening danger, but chances were good he'd got hurt. "You're right. I feel guilty. Can't say I believe this will truly help, but if this is why you've started taking your own safety seriously…."

Tony nodded and glanced around. There was little left in the way of furniture, but there were a couple of chairs and a couch that were going to be donated. He walked over and sat down in the middle of the couch. "Come here."

Happy stayed where he was. "I'm much bigger than you."

"I wouldn't say 'much'. Besides, I'm stronger than I look."

"Okay." Happy really didn't like the idea, though. He took a hesitant step towards the couch and then stopped. "This isn't going to work."

"Yeah. You're right," Tony agreed, standing up. "Might be better if you kneel on the couch. Bend over."

Happy nodded and moved closer to the couch. Figuring Tony would tell him if he was doing it wrong, he knelt on one of the cushions and leaned over, his arms dangling down the back and his bottom raised.

The first smack wasn't really that hard. Happy was certain his pain tolerance wasn't high enough for him to be unaffected, which had to mean Tony wasn't using much of his strength. Still, the smacks were repetitive and Happy had to hold back a gasp when his thighs and sit spots were targeted.

When Tony's hand began swatting again from the top, Happy figured he was gaining in confidence, as the smacks grew in strength. A hiss of pain escaped before he clamped his mouth tightly shut, determined not to let any sound escape.

After the third such circuit, Tony paused, his hand resting on Happy's back. "You know you made a mistake. You don't need me to tell you that. But if it wasn't for the kid…."

"Everything would have been lost. I know." Happy took a deep breath; let it out in what was nearly a whine as Tony's hand landed again. "I owe him."

Tony was quiet as he delivered another full round of smacks, this time harder. Happy had to work harder not to let any sound escape. "Whether you agree with what I did or not, I saw his messages. Heard what he left on your voicemail," he continued. "Yeah, I should have thought to make him feel useful, but I came through for him when he was in danger."

Happy closed his eyes, tears filling them. "I thought he was crying wolf."

"Why? He was right about everything else."

"Because…." Happy took a deep breath. The tears weren't because he was in pain, but because he was ashamed. "You put me on babysitting duty," he muttered. "I was pissed at you. Took it out on the kid." He shook his head. "You're gonna want to find someone else to keep an eye on him."

"Why would I make him prove himself to someone else?"

Happy curled his hands into fists as Tony's hand focused more on his thighs and the creases that were his sit spots. About a dozen smacks either side and a sound that was half-whine, half-sob was torn from his throat.

Abruptly, Tony's hand lifted and he was no longer restraining. Happy was quick to stand up, wiping at his eyes before he turned round to face his boss. "So now what?"

Tony grinned, dropping a hand to his shoulder and giving a friendly squeeze. "Soon as you're up to it, how do you feel about going and picking up the newest member of the Avengers?"

The End