Seething, Tony held the shivering boy in his arms. While Peter held the Star Wars Porg stuffed animal to his chest. He buried his face in its warmth, while accepting the hold his mentor offered.
Tony had bought the doll on a whim when he saw the kids wish list on his desk. He'd planned to give it to Peter for his birthday, but with the child's mind. Having been so cruelly twisted by the witch when they decided to drop by and steal back some of their belongings. He had given it to him without a second thought.
They'd stumbled upon Peter first, and now every trauma, fear, and memory had been crudely pushed to the forefront of his mind.
He could hear the warbles of the toy, seemingly bringing the sobbing and shaking boy a small amount of comfort. Tony listened as the child battled his way through old memories.
"Skip...please....stop......Ben....wake up.....why? Mommy....daddy? Why.....where? Alone...Help....Mr. Stark....anyone...."
At the mention of his name, fear struck the already worry addled heart of the billionaire, when had Peter needed him? Why hadn't he been there?
"It's okay I'm here," he assured, his back aching as he sat on the floor, legs and arms enclosing Peter. The boys back pressed to his front, he was initially worried Peter would feel crowded. But he'd been shaking violently before, and had calmed significantly when Tony unconsciously pulled the boy close for protection.
He knew what happened, she'd gotten in his head before and he'd always hoped nothing of the sort would ever happen to the now petrified child in front of him.
"You're here, it's okay. We're in the Avenger's facility, you're here. With me, Mr. Stark," Tony hesitantly called himself, letting the boy tire himself out.
Peter continued to mumble, only now even more incoherent than before.
"I... want... mommy...why? Come home....Stop...hurts...Skip...stop.......No....Ben...wake up...please...I'm sorry...too much...blood....hurts...can't breathe...help...blood."
Tony momentarily loosened his hold, but Peter was quick to pull him back, hands holding to Tony's own. Encompassing the warbling toy and the inventor's hand to his chest.
"I'm sorry, it's okay. I'm not going anywhere kiddo," he promised, resting his head against the boy's shoulder.
Tony mulled over the pattern of the boy's sentences, Skip...someone named skip hurt him. Ben. His Uncle. Tony knew he'd been shot, but Tony was almost sure Peter had witnessed it. Why else would he beg for the man to wake up? The mom and dad thing was obviously the memory of May and Ben explaining to the little boy that his parents wouldn't be coming home. The last one bothered him, he didn't know when his protege couldn't breathe and had called for him to save him. Peter had never asked to be saved, even when he needed it.
Lightly shaking his head against the fabric hugging the boy's shoulder, he sighed and held tight.
"You're okay kiddo, it's over," He whispered again, his thumbs idly tracing the boy's arms. The ache in Tony's body seemingly lifted when he felt Peter fall limp against his own.
Rhodey, Happy and Pepper, who'd been watching from a distance since the intrusion watched the two carefully.
Rhodes tentatively stepped in, Tony wearily looked up at him. Rhodey didn't blame him, his child had been attacked. Anything and everything was a threat now.
"You need some help?" He asked carefully, Tony shook his head no, stopped then nodded yes.
A whine fell from the boy's lips when Tony's arms fell away. Instantly his hold returned, and Rhodey looked at the two sadly. A careful hand reached out to slowly to adjust the boy in his friend's arms.
Tony almost shot out to push his friend away, mind figuring he'd take Peter away.
Sensing the distress Rhodey spoke up, "It's okay Tones, I'm just going to shift him so you can pick him up."
Tony let him, realizing it was silly he thought his friend would harm his child. This was his brother, his honey-bear! He'd never hurt Peter.
Rhodey lightly shifted the child so Tony's arms could wrap around his back and under his legs. Happy and Pepper watching intently as the limp body was hoisted up by the strong arms of the inventor.
That damn ugly looking stuffed animal had become oddly adorable. Especially being held in the now seemingly small body's arms. Tony with wide eyes looked hauntedly at Rhodey, and Rhodey placed a warm hand on his shoulder.
"We'll fix this," he stated.
"I don't know if I even want to fix the accords after this," Tony admitted silently. There was no emotion in his voice, but the air grew tense at his next word's, "If Peter's mental sanity isn't what it was before, I won't be changing the accords for the better."
The boy had grown on all of them, and they couldn't say they wouldn't agree with Tony if Peter really didn't make it out of this less than alright.
Tony's lips rested on the light brown hair, whispering assurances.
"Skips not here, it's over now there's no more blood, if no one else comes home I'll be there. I'm here."
Simple assurances that hopefully covered all the bruises in the boy's past. As they arrived at Peter's door, Tony was almost afraid to open it. What if another Avenger was behind that door, just waiting to hurt the boy in his arms?
Already unconscious and frightened, a hit from a super soldier and he'd be defenseless to escape. An arrow through the head and he'd be more of Bambi's mother than Bambi himself. A bigger spider easily eating his smaller spider alive, a falcon dropping his spider from the highest of heights. That damn metal arm tearing the boy limb from limb.
"FRIDAY?" Tony asked gently, the noise causing the boy to shift. The toy in his arms warbling at the movement, it startled Tony momentarily.
"The compound is clear," FRIDAY assured, giving the inventor the courage to open the door. It looked the same as it did usually, overflowing with honest to god toys and gadgets. The four Porg pops stood out, the kid had really become obsessed with the little bird thing the second it'd been announced.
Soft steps brought him to the lavish king-sized bed, it was enforced since the kid had broken four beds. He had a problem with jumping on them. But the thought only made the inventor smile. It quickly dimming when he looked down at the pale boy, tear tracks on his face, slightly contorted in worry.
"I'm sorry," He whispered, setting the child in the center of the bed.
"I've already taken the liberty of pulling up several highly recommended clinical psychologists in case they're needed, I've also procured Charles Xavier's number in case you find he'll be more beneficial to Peter's mental health," FRIDAY spoke up.
"Thank you," The billionaire praised, normally he wouldn't consider asking a telepath for help, especially after this. But if he really does need the help, and nothing else works. He may just be the only one to help his son.
With a knee on the bed, the genius leaned over, placing a kiss on the boy's head.
A calloused hand swept through surprisingly thick strands. Tony's heart hammered at the thought of that precious intellect, that precious innocent mind scrambled. Harmed. That mind that could possibly never be fixed after today. He didn't think he could handle if that brilliant boy was reduced to nothing more than fear and suffering.
If it was true, and they wasted such pure potential he'd make them pay, god he'd make them pay.
The covers held the boy tightly, and Tony couldn't help but lay down and pull the bundle into his arms. Not even realizing he'd began to sob into the boy's hair.
The damn birds warble drawing his attention, it only made him cry harder.
Peter woke wearily, panic in his senses until he realized he was being held and soothed by the only father-figure in his life. Peter held to his toy, fingers also digging into Tony's back as they held one another.
Tony was holding him, Skip wasn't here....his parents weren't ever coming home, though he was long since over that. Ben was no longer bleeding out in his arms, warm blood no longer coating his hands as he screamed in despair. The building was no longer holding him captive, he could breathe and he'd been saved. No, he'd saved himself, but Tony was there and that's all that mattered.
"You okay kiddo?" Tony asked, and Peter's eyes grew watery.
"I don't know," he whispered, only managing to look down fondly at the warbly little bird before he broke down in tears. Those terrible thoughts rushing through his head all too suddenly, and Peter's unable to stop himself from trying to burrow into the inventor.
"I'm here," Tony whispered, hugging him closely.
Tony watched as Peter walked around the facility, the Porg plush hadn't left his arms since the night of the attack. The clinical psychologist hadn't been all that successful, they'd helped him with the individual traumas, but he couldn't quite get them out of his head.
The trauma still held tight to the forefront of his mind, haunting him. The only other thing they'd helped with was separating Tony from Peter. It wasn't healthy for him to cling in such a way, even though Tony didn't mind it at all. If Peter wanted, he'd hold the kid in his arms until he took his last breath.
Peter had been reluctant at first until they did get them apart. In turn, the child wouldn't let go of the Porg.
Tony watched sadly as Peter held tightly to the toy, Peter holding tighter when the moment's, the flashes of pain, bombarded his mind to the point he couldn't avoid it any longer.
What Tony wasn't expecting was Peter to approach him with the request, "Can we see Mr. Xavier?"
Tony had hated the tremor in his voice, though he was happy to hear it. The boy barely spoke, and this had only driven Tony to push the penalties further.
"Okay Bambi," He obliged, wrapping an arm around the boy. Peter nodded, instantly hugging his side.
"You sure?" Tony asked wearily, Peter nodding, whispering quietly, "I can't-do this anymore."
It made Tony's heartbreak in two, with a soft promise, "You won't." And Tony hoped Charles could keep that promise.
Floating in achieved bliss, Peter thanked Xavier immensely. Clutching the toy to his chest before opening the door and launching himself into Tony's waiting arms, the biggest smile on his face.
Tony returned it with a grin that hadn't passed his features in what seemed like forever. Peter Parker would be okay.
This part two was so graciously voted for by:
Buckets_of_Stars, LL_Wayne, Neth8271,cinnamontoastcronch, Blitz, Whoatemyenchilada(I'maslutforsomeshump) !!!!
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Dread encompassed him in a vast wave. They'd be coming back today. Just to talk, negotiate, and in his mind, taunt. Their very presence would be a thorn in his side and a needle in his heart.
Worst of all, Peter remained here in the compound. And unwilling to leave. Even if he knew who was coming. Luckily he'd consented to the idea of staying in the lab. Separated from the meeting, and away from the real villains.
In preparation, he'd picked out his finest suit and tie. A golden Rolex perched on his wrist, with golden cufflinks to match. Face set in stone. They all looked their best today, Peter too, even if he'd be locked in the lab the duration of their stay.
Closing his eyes and pulling in a breath, Tony closed his eyes and held it. Releasing with a sigh when FRIDAY's voice chimed from above.
"Sir, they are here,"
"Is Peter okay?" He asked, and she gave a hum in confirmation.
"Well then, send in the wolves," he announced, his steps echoing off the walls as he strode down the hall. When he met the living room, the band of rogues sat together on the couch, Steve the only one standing.
Sam and Nat rose from their seats, but his eyes were drawn to the brunette sitting in Peter's spot on the couch.
"The conference room is this way," He cut off, not sparing a glance at the super soldier. Walking off, a gaggle of footsteps quickly following in an attempt to keep up.
Natasha sped up, keeping her pace level with Tony's. Staring straight ahead as the group headed to the conference room in silence. Rhodey stationed outside of the door. His dark eyes a terrifying contrast to the pristine walls and LEDs lighting up the room.
It was enough for the team to tuck their tail between their legs in guilt. Natasha bypassing them all and stepping in first, taking her seat allowing the rest to settle in.
Copies of the accords sat on the table before them, and immediately the Ant-Man, Scott, was wriggling in his chair, "It's so comfy!"
It didn't help the tense air, and they then continued to skim their packets. Tony didn't bother to explain what was new. He figured they’d figured it out already if their furrowed brows were any indication.
"This is bullshit," Sam muttered under his breath; He rolled his eyes, angrily flipping through the packet.
Peter yawned, stretching his aching shoulders and stirring his web solution before filling his web cartridges until they were a little past full. Better safe than sorry.
His mind traveled, and the urge to ask the questions that’d been bouncing around his head for the past hour quickly became too much and the words were spilling out.
"Is Tony alright? Have they mentioned me? Have they tried to hurt Tony or Rhodes? Have they even apologized?"
"Mr. Stark has requested I not tell you,” The AI replied sympathetically.
The statement alone left his most important question to crawl up and down his body with an overwhelming fear. He wouldn't know if Tony was whole, alive, or unharmed unless Tony let him.
And Tony didn't tell him things, not the things he wanted to hear. A faulty attempt to keep from hurting his feelings, but it only hurt more.
"Just.... please. Is he okay?" Peter pleaded, getting up to brace his hands against the door. Silently debating whether or not to pull it apart.
They might have hurt him before, but what had been done to his pseudo-father figure in Siberia couldn't be forgiven.
"Sir, it appears we have a problem," FRIDAY hesitantly spoke up; cutting off the shouting match that'd erupted between Rhodey and Clint.
"You have kids and you're still running!" Rhodey had said before FRIDAY had spoken up. And the room fell silent at her voice, or it was more likely they fell silent at how fast the billionaire had jumped from his seat and ran out of the room, leaving them all in his wake.
Steve had stood then too, only stopping when Rhodey put his hand in the air as a silent plea to wait.
"FRIDAY is this a part of the red and blue protocol?" Head tilting until the AI gave the affirmative.
"The red and blue protocol?" Scott peeped, before proceeding to timidly raise his hand," What exactly is that?"
They all waited in anticipation, fearing a real threat.
"It's nothing," Rhodey sighed, taking his seat and cradling his head with his hand and using the other to flip back through his packet. Vision looked up at that, he knew what the alarm had meant but decided not to comment on it in favor of setting his eyes back on his dear Scarlett friend.
"Nothing? Tony just ran out of here as if his life depended on it," Natasha deadpanned, her brow raised.
"It doesn't concern any of us, just him. And the best we can do is respect that," the colonel stated, eyeing Steve's eyebrows of disappointment until the blond sat down once again. His shoulders set in a tense line, not fully appeased by the answer.
The moment Tony had made it to the door, they swung open and arms were wrapped around his waist in a tight hug. His arms unconsciously wound back, holding the young vigilante’s head protectively, eyes scanning the room before sweeping over the child and checking for injury.
Peter met him with worry and wide eyes that in turn checked him over.
"Figured you'd be too wound up to stay in here until they left," Tony sighed through a smile, pulling out a stool for him to sit on while Peter awkwardly leaned against the table.
"FRIDAY wouldn't tell me if you were okay," Peter admitted after a few minutes of silence. And the admission came as a pleasant surprise, in a constant state of stress hearing someone being capable of caring for him always left a pleasant taste on his tongue and a sad smile on his lips.
Peter shouldn’t have to worry about him for god sakes; he was the kid who he vowed to protect, even if he knew realistically Peter would have his back. He often feared what that would...no could mean in the future.
Eyes widening, he knew why Peter had suddenly refused to go home. Peter was here to protect him. Him of all people, since the kid knew he was afraid of his old friends.
And any basic psychology class could teach you that anger was a secondary emotion, and the fear was over now.
The memories of his child having been scared out of his mind fuelled his eternal flame. And the inventor’s eyes grew dark as he stood, before placing his hands on the teen's shoulders and looking him in the eye.
"I need you to stay in here just a little longer," he smiled reassuringly, cockily, "Why don't you take a look around, nothing is off limits. I'll be back soon."
Peter nodded, watching the adult prowl to the exit. Confused as he saw the suit fly and bind to his mentor’s skin.
Iron-Man would roar, and the rogues would listen.
The moment he opened the door they all stood, and Tony's faceplate slid away.
"Tony don't fight us," Steve warned his face a mix of sadness and confusion.
"No, I'm here to tell you to leave," Tony stated, his tone deadly still.
"We're not going anywhere," Clint growled, "You guys wanted us here."
"You haven't made any effort to even compromise, while I work day and night for this goddamn bullshit. And you know what you did, you guys broke in and no, I didn't forget about that. 'Cause little miss hocus-pocus here ran into my kid. Do you know what it's like to have to hold your kid while they scream about all the terrible things they're being forced to relive because someone decided to push every ounce of fear and self-deprecating trauma into their head, where they can't escape and think about anything else for weeks?"
The billionaire’s chest heaved, and the sea of faces morphed into a typhoon of guilt.
"And even then I couldn't help him, just tell him everything was okay but it wasn't. Not to him. You will never know what it's like to see the happiest and brightest person in your existence suddenly crash so hard they can't take a step without making sure you're right behind them. And have to send them to fucking telepath to fix the damage you,” He stopped, taking in a breath, trying not to tap into the fear he’d only just overcome, “could have prevented."
"I thought after the airport, after Siberia. Maybe just one day we could be friends again, that I could get over it. But you know what Rogers? You came back. All of you; not even to try to make things right, but to pick up a few shirts and traumatize a child with better morals than all of us! So don't try to treat me like a villain when I brought you all into my home, and offered you a way out of this. Get out of this compound."
The witch ran out of the room in tears, the archer instantly grew angry at the sight and flung his fist towards the suit of armor only for it to be caught by the red-headed spy. Vision phased through the wall as all eyes were glued to the pair of assassins
Clint's expression read surprise as evident as stars in the night sky, while she portrayed a clear statement. "Think what you're doing over."
Roughly yanking his arm away, the archer exited. Nat shared a look with the billionaire; if Tony knew any better he'd have realized it was of respect and an apology in itself.
Scott awkwardly trailed out, as did the rest until the last two standing were the men who started all of this.
Steve Rogers and Tony Stark hadn't been on the same page since the beginning, why would they be now?
"I'm sorry Tony,"
"It's too late for that,”
"How'd it go?" The younger hero questioned shyly as they ate dinner, Rhodey, Pepper, Tony, and the Porg all sitting in their respective places at the dinner table.
"Better than I could have hoped for under-roos,"
This time, the rogue Avengers didn't make it out of the prison. And neither Peter Parker nor Tony Stark had anything else to fear.