Tony Stark is on the ball, and a genius, and doesn't take shit from anybody, least of all Harry Osborn. His father, perhaps, commanded some modicum of respect, but Harry's a spoilt child with too many mistakes under his belt. Tony doesn't strike deals out of pity. "It's good business, kid," he says, turning away from Harry's outstretched hand of friendship. "Go Wiki it."
Harry isn't worried yet. Stark Industries stock is on the rise again, but slowly, creeping back into competition with a still-damaged Oscorp. Now they've both sworn off weaponry, it's a snail's pace rivalry that's going to take patience to see who'll come out on top.
Harry wants Tony on his side, and he isn't going to give up after one dismissal. He sends in someone neutral. He asks Peter.
Always wary of Stark Industries' warmongering, Peter has nevertheless idolised Stark since childhood. A modest prodigy himself, Peter's lonelier moments in the empty corner of the school library were spent reading up on Einstein, Octavius, and Stark, those whose genius was accepted rather than ridiculed. Tony Stark, as a man, likes words and women and wine – three things Peter has never been familiar with – and he's hooked from the instant Stark sits down opposite him, smoothing down his suit.
"Tell Osborn I don't want his compassion, thanks all the same, and really, sending his friends in to do the dirty work? That's pretty harsh. I'm insulted." Tony takes a sip of his whiskey. He pours another glass for Peter.
"I don't drink," Peter replies, smiling shyly. Even being a hero himself hasn't made him immune to becoming star-struck.
"More's the pity. You're quite attractive. I imagine you'd be more attractive drunk. What's your name – Parker?" Peter nods. "You're a good kid. I can tell. Although, your hair's a mess, you should see someone about that. But you're good. Harry Osborn isn't."
"He's been my best friend since childhood," Peter says, slightly defensive.
"People change," Tony tells him, looking firmly over the top of his glass. He sounds like he's talking from experience. It doesn't sound like he enjoyed the realisation.
Harry poured them both drinks and tried to look Tony in the eye. "We're not so different, you and I," he said, levelling his voice. He'd invited Tony here out of goodwill, but now that it came down to it, he couldn't stand to be in the man's overwhelming presence.
Tony just laughed. "We're pretty goddamn different. You're not exactly clued in, are you?" He smiled at him, and Harry hated that smile. He hated how Tony's suits were always slightly crisper, slightly more in vogue than his own. He hated how Tony could drink, and hold it, and not end up slumped on a chaise-lange the next morning with an empty glass between his fingers and no recollection of what had been said. He hated how Tony had everything he could ever want or need. Harry just wanted his father back.
Like hell he was ever going to get that.
"You've had a tough time of it, kid." Tony leant forward, and Harry could see the life in his eyes, the lines on his face. He had experience, where Harry only had baby blues. "I'm working on something right now, just tinkering with an old friend, but he doesn't know where he wants to peddle his wares just yet. Might not be with me. I'll give you his number, give him a call – ask for Doctor Octavius. Here. Take it."
"I don't need your help," Harry muttered, but took the card anyway.
Tony was the kind of man who saw something he wanted, and then took it. He'd yet to lay hands on Oscorp itself, but his fingers were roaming pretty casually along Harry's skin. Ladies' man Tony Stark made Harry come with his tongue and his fingertips, through clenched teeth, and mixed him a cocktail while Harry was still buttoning up his trousers. He wished, so hard, that this was something he could blackmail Tony with: spill it to the press, ruin his image – a petty and personal vendetta.
But Tony wouldn't care. Harry knew this. He hated it. He hated Tony Stark.
"You really need a masseuse or something. You're tense as all hell. Don't you even relax after sex?" Tony asked him, still somehow smiling.
"Get out of my house," Harry replied.
"I like outstaying my welcome," Tony said, shrugging, and made himself comfortable on the sofa once more.