Something strange was going on in New York City, beyond the normal oddness that permeated the milling masses, the concrete and steel. Peter knew this because his spider sense had been going crazy since breakfast. Plus people were running and screaming and there were cars exploding all around him, but that had just started.
Also, he noted as his next swing skimmed him close to the very shiny, very postmodern--or was it neomodern? Late modern? He should've been paying attention in class, crap, when was his test?-- facade of Stark Tower, someone was falling in a shower of glass shards from the gaping hole where the top floor used to be. About a thousand feet from the ground and dropping fast.
Peter hit the building and stuck and ohshit it was going to be tricky catching him without breaking things--ribs, spine, but Peter was a hero and a scientist, dammit (well, okay, science major and chemistry didn't really cover Free Falling Body problems but he knew the equations so just shut up, shoulder devil), so he manned up and did the math and started throwing webbing.
When Peter was done the falling guy hit a series of progressively firmer nets, each one catching him just long enough to slow him down and then breaking open to drop him on the next. He still hit the last one with enough force to bounce him out again, but Peter was there to catch him and ease him to his feet.
"Wow," the guy said, and Peter looked him over for injuries. The glass had sliced him in several places, but he otherwise seemed all right upon cursory inspection. "Yay for strange, athletic men with weird powers. And physics, of course."
"You like physics, too?" was the first thing that Peter said because life hated him. And then he got a good look at who he'd just rescued and realized just how much life hated him. "Tony Stark?!"
"Yeah, hi, just 'Tony', please. No dramatics."
"I just plucked you out of the air!" Peter said and he may have flailed a little, but he wasn't going to admit to that. "Things are exploding!"
Tony fucking Stark squinted at him a little. "You're new to this, aren't you? You shouldn't talk. It sort of destroys the heroic mystique you've got going. Not that your outfit doesn't do that already."
"Hey, I saved you," Peter said, and couldn't help but sound a little hurt.
Tony Stark quirked a crooked grin at him and despite the fact that the billionaire was being a total jerkface Peter still felt a little warm-fuzzy at the sight of it, goddamned man-crushes. "And I'm grateful, but I'd be more grateful if you got me back up there."
"More important than living?" Peter demanded, glancing upward where a spiral of darkness was slowly rotating out from a central point around the top of Stark Tower. That could not be healthy. Or good news.
Peter kind of stalled out at the seriousness of that tone and the deadly calm in Tony's dark eyes, but he was saved from having to answer when a delivery truck arced over the street and fell straight toward them. He grabbed Tony and leapt, clearing the crash and landing behind an overturned tank. When had the military gotten here? Also, was that roaring in the distance?
"Oh, they found The Hulk."
"The Hulk?" Peter squawked. "Isn't he a myth?"
"Like you are?" Tony quirked another of those smiles in his direction. "Spider-Man."
Peter was grateful that the mask covered any gawping on his part. Tony leaned around the tank to take a quick view of the street. When he made to step back into the open, Peter grabbed his shirt on pure instinct. The gunfire was getting louder and Peter's spider sense was screaming.
The look Tony gave him was full of hard edges, as was his tone of voice. "Be a dear and help me, or let me go."
"Possibly," Tony said like he utterly did not care. "Not an absolute. I never deal in absolutes."
A singing sound of metal, like a sword being endlessly drawn from a sheath--shut up, so Peter occasionally indulged in Ren Faires, what?--precluded a red-white-and-blue streak that spun past them and struck something solid beyond Peters scope of vision. There was a scream and a thud and suddenly Captain America was standing next to them, exuding I'm a baddass motherfucker and also I am incredibly pissed off at you, and Peter may have yelped but he was going to deny that to his dying day.
"Cap," said Tony.
"Tony," said Captain America.
"You two know each other?!" Peter said and then wanted to bang his head against something solid until he passed out, oh god, why couldn't he just keep his mouth shut?
"Something like that," Captain America said through gritted teeth, and Peter realized all his ire was actually for Tony which was a relief, but also a little awkward, like Peter was standing between an arguing couple and why was that where his brain went?
"Captain--" Tony said, like he was digging trenches, like he was setting landmines and intended to escape during ensuing chaos.
"Yell at him," Peter interrupted, looking at Captain America with imploring eyes, though no one could actually see that. "He needs to be yelled at. He's going to do something stupid."
"You really need to not talk," Tony said, a little hostile and a little pitying, which was an odd combination that he managed to pull off, nonetheless.
"He's already done something stupid," Captain America said, eyes locked on Tony like a challenge. Tony's chin came up. His shoulders straightened. Captain America shifted his eyes to Peter, and the switch from belligerent alpha dog to grateful citizen was a little dizzying. "Thank you for saving him."
"Yeah, I…" Peter swallowed. "Do you want me to help? With everything else? Anything?"
Captain America seemed to consider that. "Crowd control. Can you do that?"
"Sure, I..." Captain America probably didn't want an in depth explanation of the new formula Peter had just developed that made a non-sticky version of his webbing which hardened after--okay he was boring himself with the details of his internal monologue. "Sure, yeah."
Captain America offered a last piece of advice as he turned back to Tony and his stance changed again, this time into Disappointed Commander. "Stay clear of the Hulk."
Peter knew a dismissal when he heard one, and couldn't really be insulted, could really only be grateful to get out of what was probably going to be a worse battle than the one engulfing New York at the moment. In the distance, there were sirens, the wail of a city in distress and Peter climbed the side of a building before shooting a web and swinging free. With one last glance toward the two superheroes on the ground, now deep in a heated discussion, he headed toward the chaos. He'd only just met Captain America, but Peter had the feeling that if anyone could take care of Tony it would be Cap. He'd leave them to work it out. He had a disaster to manage and a home to protect.