Chapter 6: Possibilities and Pains

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Before you left the Tower that day, you stopped by the lab to say goodbye to Tony.

"Hey, Tony, I'm gonna go home." You told him; slight regret heard in your voice.

"If it's too late, there's plenty of rooms here." He shrugged, not looking up.

"My parents would probably worry, but thanks." You smiled, knowing full well they'd either not notice you were gone or would be happy about it.

"You're gonna be coming by here a lot?" He raised his eyebrows, peering up.

"Uh, I don't have to. Am I around too much? Do you want the badge back?"

"No, no!" He put his hands up to show that's not what he meant, "I just thought maybe you'd like a room here for yourself, sometimes it's easier to crash than go all the way back home. It's not safe alone on the streets in the dark."

"You'd give me a r-room? Seriously?!" You couldn't believe it.

"Yeah, why not? You're sticking around, everybody likes having you here, and I'd feel better if you crashed here than walked home late at night."

"Oh my god, Tony, thank you! Yes! I'd love that!" You bounced up and down, going to him and then hesitating, "Would it be weird if I hugged you?"

"Yes." He nodded and you were about to apologize when he said, "Make it quick."

"Thank you!" You hugged him and after a moment let him go.

"One more thing, before you go." He turned around and then when he faced you again, he handed you your watch.

"You fixed it?" You gasped, taking it and putting it on.

"Can't have one of you kids going unprotected." He smirked, "Now get home and pack your stuff, you move in tomorrow. The staff will have your room ready by then."

"I thought it was just for a few nights a week? To crash?" You questioned, curiously.

"Yeah, but you've probably got stuff there you want to keep safe. Stuff like the watch that shouldn't be smashed? Or put into the wrong hands." He gave you a look that told you he was bullshitting, and you suddenly felt like charity.

"Uh, maybe this isn't a good idea. I don't wanna impose." You shook your head, backing up, hanging outside of the lab, swaying back and forth.

"How're your grades?" He asked, ignoring what you said.

"They're fine."

"Peter says you're the top of your class." He smirked.

"What does it matter?"

"You keep the grades up and start training. That's my offer. This isn't a free place to stay, I have conditions."

"I want to work for my keep." You started to give in, coming back into the lab slowly.

"You are good in the lab...I could use an assistant." He put his hands in his pockets and leaned forward.

"How many hours a week?" You looked down at the table in front of you, messing with some gadgets.

"Two hours after school, five days a week for three hundred bucks a week." He nodded.

"No pay, it's for the room and food. I eat a lot."

"A hundred dollars a week, free access to everything, and your grades don't suffer." He started to negotiate.

"You can't pay me."

"How about free access, keep your grades, and I give you a credit card for emergencies. I need to know you have some money on you in case." He crossed his arms and smirked.

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