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Peter let himself into the kitchen as quietly as he was able. His movements were clumsy, and his thoughts a whirl, and there wasn't a hope that JARVIS had missed him coming home, but there was something about sneaking back into the mansion long after curfew that seemed to call for stealth. Here, at least, things were ordered and familiar – the counters free of dishes, the scent of burned toast in the air. Maybe here he could figure things out, get himself together, think a little less desperately about Gwen, about her dad, about everything.

"Welcome home," his Pop said, and Peter twitched and grimaced. Of course he'd wait up.

"Sorry," he mumbled. "I got – " He jerked a thumb over his shoulder as a catch-all suggestion for a hundred different things, including, he supposed, fighting a giant lizard. Better than a lie.

His Pop pushed back from the kitchen table, his chair scraping against the floor. "What happened to you?" he asked gently, crossing the room to tilt Peter's face up toward the light.

"Rough night," Peter managed, but he couldn't quite stop his voice from catching, because here was his Pop, and Gwen's was dead, and every last bit of adrenaline was leaving his system. "Pop – "

"Hey," his Pop said, and pulled him into a hug – solid and reassuring and steady after a night where everything had run mad.

"I don't know where to start."

"It's hard, huh?" his Pop asked. "Being a superhero, I mean."

It took several long seconds for the words to make sense, then Peter startled, pulled back just enough to look his Pop in the face. "Wh – I mean . . . what?"

"Being geniuses – or at least I am, there's that – we worked it out tonight," said his Dad from the doorway, and Peter blinked, looked back and forth between his parents. "Nice job making us look like decrepit dullards, by the way. Epic secret."

His Pop huffed. "Tony."

His Dad rolled his eyes. "Please. I am owed the everyday raving of a worried parent considering you prevented me from suiting up and –"

"He had things under control."

"And how were we supposed to be sure? It's not like Channel 9 had an Oscorp cam just sitting around, waiting to be activated when the enormous, mutant reptile –"

Peter cleared his throat. "You watched on TV?"

"Yes, yes we did, and – "

"You didn't hack the weather cams?" Peter asked, heart beating painfully in his chest. "There's like six in a two block radius and – "

"Shut up," his Dad said, pointing a finger. "Do you have any idea how we – what it was like to – " He crossed the room, dragged Peter into a bear hug. "I had four drones and half the Avengers on alert just in case."

Peter half laughed, half choked against his dad's t-shirt. "Only half?"

His Pop made a pained noise. "The other half were watching TV with us already. You're going to have to talk to Aunt Natasha before you turn in."

"Oh, god," Peter breathed.

"Look." His Pop squeezed his shoulder. "We don't know your powers, not like you do – "

"Another thing we'll be talking about, in detail, later," said his Dad, still holding onto him tightly.

" – and you're smart, and we trust you, but we know a little bit about how this works," said his Pop. "We can help you." He nudged them both. "Tony. Let the kid breathe."




"Dad, c'mon – "

"Fine." Tony squeezed him a little harder before he finally let go. " Just – I was in my forties when I woke up this morning and now I am at least ninety-six years old and that is everyone's fault but mine. Also? You look like shit, I bet you didn't eat, and I am so very sorry for whatever happened out there that has you crying, god, Peter – " And he hugged him again, and his Pop's arms came up around them both.

"It'll be okay," his Pop murmured. "You're home now, we've got him. It'll be okay."

"Superfamily," said Peter, muffled.

"Super pain in my ass," said his Dad. "Super secret-keeping ninja. Super – "

"Super kid," said his Pop.

And Peter held on tight.