A/N: Marvel owns all of the recognizable characters, but the rest are mine. Any similarities to real people is just a strange coincidence.
*2 WEEKS LATER*
Captain Jenkins never thought he would be getting a personal tour of Avenger's Tower from Iron Man himself. After returning a couple weeks ago to get Peter's statement, a grateful Tony Stark invited Jenkins back to the tower for a personal tour. Stark only had one condition: to bring his son and grandson along with him.
"And if you'll follow me to the private elevator," a proud Iron Man/Tony Stark/Tour Guide called to his guests, "We'll make our way to the training area."
Steve Jenkins glanced over at his son, David. The man looked like a little boy again, and his smile mirrored that of his 5-year old son, Anthony. Anthony was clutching his father's hand with a big smile and wide eyes. Neither of his boys could believe that they were actually in Avenger's Tower.
"Pappy!" little Anthony called quietly to his grandfather, "You hea-ya what I-yon Man said? Maybe Spid-ah Man will be twaining!"
Jenkins smiled at his grandson. The little boy's struggle with the letter "r" was too cute. It almost made him sad to think that he would be seeing a speech therapist to correct the issue. His own son grew up so quickly, and he wished his grandson could stay young and keep his adorable speech impediment.
"It's a possibility, mini Tony," Stark called to the boy as they piled into the elevator.
Jenkins shook his head a little at the nickname given to his grandson and looked at David. David didn't seem to mind. He was too excited to be in the presence of his own favorite hero.
Iron Man seemed to notice because he looked at David as the doors closed and said, "If he's still down there, I may just need to suit up and show him how it's done!"
David was speechless. The man had gone silent the moment they stepped into Stark's presence, so he just smiled and beamed as Tony suggested that he might suit up himself.
Jenkins couldn't help but to poke fun at his son a little, "Use your words, David. You're embarrassing me in front of the Avenger."
Anthony giggled at the sheepish look on his father's face. Finally David spoke up, "Ahem... Yes. This is... well, sir... This is a bit of a dream come true. You see... I was on the streets of New York during the attack of the Chitauri. I know the whole team worked together that day, but you personally took down some of the aliens that would have... well... most likely they would have killed me. Then, of course, what you did with that nuke! If not for you, I never would have had the chance to propose to my girl, get married, and bring this little man into the world!"
The elevator stopped and they all stepped out as the doors opened. Tony smiled back at David, "That day was full of surprises! I'm just happy to hear you have such good taste in heroes! Your son, too!" As Tony said this, he shot a look at Steve Jenkins.
The older man understood the jab, "Hey! Steve Rogers saved a lot of people and made smart decisions that day, too!" His tone was light, and the teasing was all in good fun.
Tony smirked, but Jenkins could see a sad look in his eyes. "That day... yes. During the Battle of New York, Cap did make some smart decisions. It's the decisions after that that are the problem."
There was a little tension, but it was quickly broken by young Anthony, "But Spidah-Man is always smawt, wight mistah Iyon Man?"
Tony smiled, "Spider-Man might just be one of the smartest heroes I know, kiddo! Other than myself, of course" Tony gestured the men forward. "Come on, let's go see what's happening in the training area. It's right this way."
Again, David looked just as young as his son as they followed Tony down the hallway. If Jenkins had to guess, he thought the training space seemed to be a sub-level that could only be accessed by the Avengers themselves. He couldn't help but to feel like a kid himself at the thought of standing where other Avengers once stood.
Finally, they entered through a large door that opened up into a massive space. Inside, War Machine and Spider-Man were practicing. Holograms were being used to simulate enemies and battle situations, and the two heroes worked together as they trained.
"Wow!" Anthony whispered quietly as he caught sight of his favorite hero. He was standing in between his father and grandfather now, but he reached up and tugged on his grandfather's sleeve. "Pappy! Pappy! Look... do you see him? Do you see what Spidah-Man is doing? He's climbing the wall! Isn't he amazing?"
"He sure is," Jenkins thought. He found his mouth hanging open as he watched the hero he knew to be a very young man by the name of Peter Parker. The thing that amazed the police captain the most was the ease with which Spider-Man used. He knew Peter had been in a great deal of pain 2 weeks ago. His aunt was taking him to physical therapy in a wheel chair, and he was confused to see the hero moving without any sluggish movements or signs of pain.
"Pappy?" Anthony questioned when his grandfather didn't answer.
Jenkins finally looked down at his grandson, "Yes, my boy! Spider-Man sure is something else."
Anthony smiled, pleased with his grandfather's observation of his hero.
"War Machine really knows how to use that suit," David commented, clearly baiting Tony and hoping to see the other man suit up.
Tony didn't really need the bait. He lived for these moments... the ones that gave him the opportunity to show off a little. "True... but watch this." With that Tony lowered the zipper on the jacket he was wearing and tapped the glowing unit on his chest.
The three others stepped back towards the wall and watched in fascination as the Iron Man suit quickly formed around Tony from tiny little pieces that came from the chest plate. "You like it?" Tony called from within the helmet. "It's my new nano-tech."
"This is the best day ever," David muttered out as they all watched the Iron Man go off to join his friends.
Steve Jenkins had no idea how much time passed as they watched the three heroes maneuver around the training area and interacting with the holograms. Occasionally, the heroes would take a few shots at one another, but it was all in good fun.
Little Anthony laughed and cheered when Spider-Man tangled up both War Machine and Iron Man in his webs at one point.
Captain Jenkins smiled, finding it hard to believe that a promise to help a young man keep his secret identity could bring his family so much joy.
Finally, the heroes ended their session and made their way towards the Jenkins men.
"I wish Mommy and Gwammy could be hee-yah to see this!" Anthony said quietly. The women had opted to go shopping, saying that they thought the day would be a good bonding experience for the men in the family. It was rare for them to get time like this, so they were willing to pass on today's experience.
Tony and Rhodes removed their helmets as the group stepped up to their admirers. "So..." Tony spoke, "What did you think?"
"That was epic!" David said excitedly, "What did you think, Anthony?"
Jenkins looked over at his grandson, waiting to hear him answer his father's question. However, no answer came. The little boy just stood there staring in the direction of Spider-Man with his mouth agape and eyes as big as saucers.
David and Steve Jenkins laughed a little at the excitement on Anthony's face.
It was Spider-Man who acted next. "Hey, little man!" Peter stepped forward with his mask still in place. He knelt down so that he was eye level with Anthony and held out his hand, "You must be the Anthony Jenkins I heard so much about. It's nice to meet you!"
Anthony blinked at Spider-Man's extended hand in fascination. He just continued to stare, seeming to be frozen in place.
David giggled at his son, "Go on... you can shake his hand, bud!"
When the little boy remained frozen, Pappy Jenkins gently snatched the little boy's hand and placed it into Spider-Man's waiting palm.
Gently, Peter grasped the hand and gave it a shake, "That's a strong grip you have there! Are you enjoying your visit today?"
Once his Pappy had connected his hand with Spider-Man's own, little Anthony held on tight. Now, he didn't want to let his hero go, so he continued to grasp the hand as he studied his hero's suit.
"Uh-huh" the little boy finally responded. "This is the best day evah!" He studied the hero some more. "Um... Spidah-Man... how come you don't take off you-wa mask like Iyon Man and Wah Machine? Do you look like a weal spidah?" Anthony's eyes were still wide with excitement and fascination.
All three heroes laughed a little at the innocent question. Peter responded, "No, little man. I actually look just like anyone else. I keep my mask on because... uh..."
"He's still in training," Iron Man jumped in.
"That's right," Rhodes confirmed. "When Spider-Man is inducted as a member of the team, then he can reveal his identity."
"Maybe..." Peter added. "You see, Anthony. Not all heroes go around announcing their hero-status like Iron Man over there! Heroes have enemies, and I'd rather that those enemies don't know who I am just yet."
The little boy nodded, still holding onto Peter's hand. "Yeah... that makes sense, mistah Spidah-Man! It's a weally cool mask, too. If I had it, I would wea-ya it all the time!"
Peter laughed a little, "Thanks. Say... uh... I'm going to need my hand back though, okay?"
The little boy quickly dropped Peter's hand, and his cheeks flushed red with embarrassment, "Sowwy, mistah Spidah-Man!" Anthony turned and hugged his father's leg, trying to hide his embarrassment.
"No harm done, little buddy!" Peter said. "It's just that I'm going to need it if you want to swing around with me a little." He quickly glanced up at the boy's father and grandfather. "That is... if it's okay with your family?"
David looked at his father. "It's up to you, son," Jenkins said, "I trust Spider-Man to be careful, but it's your call."
David smiled widely, "Of course! Just... not too high!"
"WEALLY?" Anthony squealed. "This is awesome!"
With that, Peter held out his hand to the boy. This time, he didn't even hesitate. He grabbed the hero's hand and followed him out into the training area.
The other men watched as Spider-Man carefully picked up the little boy with his left arm and extended his right arm to shoot a web.
As they lifted into the air, they could all hear an excited "Wee!" from little Anthony.
Jenkins leaned over towards Tony, "Can he manage the extra weight with that arm?" he asked quietly.
He hadn't meant for his son to hear, but he did, "He's Spider-Man, Dad! Why wouldn't he be able to carry a little boy like Anthony?"
Tony and Rhodes shot a look at the police captain.
"Well..." the man shrugged in response to his son, "I guess it's because I'm his grandpa. I'm allowed to worry about him a little, aren't I?"
David shrugged back, focusing more on the hero swinging his son around carefully while holding onto a web, "Sure, Dad. But it's like you said in the first place... Spider-Man will be careful."
"True." Jenkins confirmed, and the subject was dropped.
Peter swung the little boy back so that they landed right in front of the group.
"WOW! DID YOU SEE THAT, DADDY? DID YOU SEE ME?" Anthony called to his father.
"That looked like fun, bud!" his father confirmed.
"PAPPY! WHAT DID YOU THINK?" the boy asked his grandfather.
"It looked like you were in good hands," Jenkins smiled at him.
Anthony looked more excited than a kid at Disney Land. He looked back at Spider-Man, "Can we do it again? Please?"
Peter held up his hands, knowing that the little boy could probably swing around all day. "Sorry, pal. Spider-Man will have to get back to training soon. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though."
"I did! Thank you, Spidah-Man!" With that, the little boy jumped forward and wrapped his arms tightly around Peter's waist.
"Woah! You're very welcome!" Peter replied.
After a moment, the little boy let go of his hero and stepped back to join his father. David looked back up at Tony and Rhodes.
Tony couldn't help but respond by saying, "Don't look at us! We leave the kiddie rides to the trainees!"
David flushed a little at the suggestion, "Oh... no, sir! That's not what I was thinking!"
Jenkins laughed a little at the look on his son's face.
Rhodes jumped in, "Don't listen to Tony! He's just messing with you!"
David coughed a little and then smiled, seeming now to be amused that his own hero was playfully teasing him. "I was actually wondering where we go from here?" he asked.
"This actually concludes our tour for the day, but I'll walk you back to the exit. My head of security, Happy, actually has some parting gifts waiting for you upstairs," Tony said.
The Jenkins men smiled and nodded. Tony housed his suit back to the unit in his chest and gestured for the men to go ahead.
Anthony tugged on his father's sleeve, "Daddy... DADDY! Wait!"
"Come on, bud," David replied, assuming his son was about to beg him to stay. "It's time to head back up. We can see what Mr. Stark has for us upstairs.
"No... Daddy..." the boy said, whining a little.
"Anthony!" David began to scold, but stopped when he noticed his son gesturing for him to lower his head so that he could whisper in his ear. David knelt down and lowered his head to his son.
"Daddy..." Anthony whispered, carefully trying not to let the heroes hear him. "... I have to pee."
The others, however, did hear and smiled a little.
"Oh!" David said. "Mr. Stark, is there a restroom we can use before heading upstairs?"
Rhodes was the one to answer, "It's not too easy to get to from here. I'll show you where it is if you'd like to follow me."
"Thank you," David said, guiding his son along as they followed Rhodes out the door.
Tony, Peter, and Jenkins watched as they exited the room.
As the door closed behind them, Jenkins turned towards Spider-Man. "Alright... off with it! I need to see that it's really you under that mask, kid!"
Tony and Peter laughed a little, but Peter complied and carefully removed his mask. He smiled at the police captain, "There... happy with what you see?"
Jenkins studied the young man's face. His color was normal, and his eyes sparkled with life and youthful joy. Jenkins nodded, "Very happy, young man. You look well. I can hardly believe how easily you were moving out there! How is that even possible?"
Peter smiled and shrugged, "I'm a fast healer. I still use crutches to keep up appearances around my friends, though."
Jenkins shook his head in amazement, "Really? So you're completely healed?"
Before Peter could answer, Tony chimed in, "Well... almost. I'm cutting him off for today." As Peter looked about to protest, he continued, "You gonna tell me you aren't at least a little sore?"
This stopped Peter and made him think, "Well... maybe a little. But it's a lot better!"
"Uh huh... that's what I thought," Tony responded. "If you want Dr. Cho to clear you to be back out there next week, then you better take it easy."
"I know," Peter confirmed, looking a little sad. He looked up at the police captain, "Did you hear anything else about... you know who?"
Jenkins knew that Peter meant if he had heard an update from the FBI about the 3 men who held him hostage. "Not too much. I know Agent Samuels said they'd be transferred to a high security prison somewhere in Texas, where they'll be going on trial."
"I know that..." Peter said, "... I mean... did Samuels say anything about whether or not they revealed me to be Spider-Man?"
Jenkins looked at Tony. Both men had this conversation shortly after he took Peter's statement. Tony nodded at the man, giving him the sign to let Peter know. "Well... Agent Samuels did say something to me about how they wanted to make a deal. They wanted to escape a harsh sentence and tried to offer up the identity of Spider-Man."
"WHAT?!" Peter cried out. He looked at Tony, "You knew about this? Why didn't you tell me?!"
"Take it easy, kid!" Tony replied. "You were healing, and I didn't want to upset you. Plus... you don't have to worry. I took care of it."
"What? How?" Peter asked.
Jenkins answered, "Mr. Stark had some of his lawyers get involved with their lawyers. And there was something else happening with government people affiliated with the Avengers, but basically those guys don't stand a chance. No one is listening to their claims about having information about Spider-Man."
"And I may have had a psychologist enter some information into their files about being delusional... an unfortunate side effect of that sedative I used to knock them out on the chopper. Don't worry, kid. No one is going to believe those moronic criminals if they claim that the kid they held hostage was Spider-Man!" Tony assured him.
Peter looked uncertain, and he found himself covering his face once again in his mask. It was like some desperate attempt to once again shield his identity.
Jenkins stepped forward and placed a hand on Peter's shoulder, "You have good people looking out for you, son. You don't have to worry about those men anymore. You just focus on getting yourself back out there. The police need their Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!"
Peter nodded, and the eyes of his mask adjusted in such a way that Jenkins thought he might be smiling a little. "Yes, sir! I'm going to be back out there as soon as I can. No one will get the better of me ever again!"
Jenkins gave him a sad smile in return and looked at Tony. Both men held a silent conversation with their eyes. Both knew that there would be no guarantee that the enemy wouldn't strike him down again. Jenkins knew that the good guys often took hard hits, but he decided that wasn't what Peter needed to hear right now.
"I'm just very glad to see you doing so well, Peter," Jenkins said. "Just keep focusing on that."
The door to the room opened again, and Rhodes led David and Anthony back inside.
"Pappy! You should have seen it! That bathwoom had a stall big enough fowa the Hulk!" Anthony cried out in excitement.
Steve Jenkins lifted his eyes to Tony in surprise. Tony shrugged, "It seemed like a good idea to be prepared."
Jenkins turned to his son and the two men shook their head in amusement.
"Shall we head back upstairs?" Tony suggested. "Happy gets antsy, and I get annoyed with him when he's antsy."
As they prepared to head back towards the elevator, little Anthony turned and ran back to Peter. He once again secured his hero in a tight hug, "Thanks again, Spidah-Man. When I am biggah, I want to be bwave just like you!"
Peter squeezed the little boy back gently, "Thanks, pal. That means a lot. You be good for your grandpa and dad, okay? And take good care of them!"
The boy nodded, "Okay."
With that, the boy turned and walked over to stand in between the older Jenkins men. Each man snatched one of the boy's hands and they followed Iron Man back the way they came.
Rhodes and Peter watched them leave. After the door to the training room closed, Rhodes wrapped an arm around Peter, "Come on, Spidah-Man," he teased, repeating the way little Anthony referred to his hero. "Let's get changed and grab a bite to eat, huh?"
Peter laughed, "Yeah, Wah Machine," he teased back. "That sounds good."
As Peter followed Rhodes out of the training room, he couldn't help but wish that he had walked upstairs with Tony to say goodbye. Spider-Man rarely came to the tower since he wasn't officially an Avenger. So, Tony cautioned him about frequenting the upstairs where others could see him. Tony often worried that Ross might push for Spider-Man to sign the Accords, which would also likely lead to Peter's identity being known once and for all. So, Peter agreed to keep Spider-Man in the lower levels.
He considered changing quickly and heading upstairs with his crutches as Peter Parker the intern, but he decided it might not be the best idea. There would be too many questions.
Instead he just smiled as he imagined the Jenkins men receiving their gifts. Tony had organized 3 gift baskets. Anthony was getting a gift basket of Spider-Man toys and memorabilia signed by Spider-Man. There was even a replica of his mask, which he knew the little boy would enjoy. David was getting memorabilia signed by Iron Man/Tony Stark, and the captain was getting a gift basket of Captain America memorabilia. The last basket had surprised Peter, but apparently Tony was willing to put his feelings aside. Although, he was pretty sure Mr. Stark put a card in the basket apologizing for not offering him something more valuable. Leave it to Mr. Stark to find some way to be snarky.
Overall, this day had been exactly what Peter needed. He enjoyed his interaction with Anthony and his family. Captain Jenkins proved to be a trusted ally as well, and Peter felt confident that the man would continue to offer his support any time Peter needed him.
Perhaps that was why Tony nurtured the friendship with the police captain. He wanted to be sure that Peter was surrounded by good people, and he was grateful to his mentor for that.
Peter didn't know what the future held or if any of the criminals may come back to haunt him, but he sure felt better knowing that he had the best people looking out for that future.
Weak spots didn't matter anymore. His friends and family were ultimately the ones that gave him strength.
A/N: The End. Or is it? What do you think? Shall I do a follow-up story in the future? What about the rating? I am on the fence a little, and I am wondering if I should lower it to "T" despite the language and violence.
Remember to share your final thoughts in a review. :)
Thanks for your support!