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Tony groaned as he felt himself drift back to consciousness. His head was heavy and lifting it up felt like he was weighed down by 5 tons.

 

“Er ist wach,” he heard someone mutter.

 

German. Whoever the hell knocked him out was German. He knew a little German. He could try and make sense of it if he weren’t still reeling after being knocked from the sky in his suit.

 

He was in the middle of a fight before everything went black. Cap was leading them as they attempted to take down the masked men set on destroying the city.

 

Then he was blindsided and was falling, trapped in a dead suit. Everything went black as he hit the concrete. Now he was waking up tied to a chair in a dark room.

 

“Aufwachen!” One man shouted, slapping him across the face.

 

Tony took his time to open his eyes, blinking slowly. “What do you assholes want?”

 

The man in front of him, dressed in all black, spoke with a smirk. “Ah, you are awake, yes?”

 

Narrowing his eyes, Tony realized this was a kidnapping thing. They wanted something from him.

 

“We don’t want to hurt you,” he spoke again. Except with his German accent it sounded more like ‘ve don’t vant to hurt you.’

 

“Money? Weapons? Information? What do you want?” He wasn’t going to give them any of it, but it was fun to jerk them around.

 

“You being here is all we need.”

 

Tony scoffed. “What’s that supposed to mean? You gonna pick my brain? I hate to break it to you, but there’s no consent here. At all.”

 

They ignored him in favor of having their own conversation on the side. "Ist er schon hier?"

 

“Er ist auf dem Weg.”

 

“Good, good. Very good.” He turned back towards Tony. “You’ll be free soon. It’s not you that we want. Everything will be fine.”

 

Tony eyed him warily. There was something about the tone of his voice-- the way he sounded like he knew something that Tony didn’t. Which he, no doubt, did.

 

The man in front of him turned to face the man next to him. That’s when the shit hit the fan in .2 seconds and Tony realized howfucked he was. His blood turned cold when he saw the symbol: a skull with six tentacles coming out of it.

 

Hydra .

 

But what did they want? They had beef with Captain America, not Tony Stark. Maybe he was the bait? They were using him to lure Steve in? He had to know it was a trap, but knowing Steve, he would walk right into it.

 

“We’re bringing the boy in.”

 

Tony’s head snapped towards the door where the man that had just said that was standing. Boy . If they had Steve, they wouldn’t refer to him as ‘the boy’. Tony’s heart began to race. “Boy? What do you mean ‘boy’?”

 

“You’ll see soon enough,” he said with a grin.

 

Tony pulled on the restraints as he snarled, “Asshole, I swear to God .” But wasn’t sure what he was swearing for; he had no idea what they had to use against him. What boy?!

 

His question was answered a moment later when he heard shouting and banging coming from the other side of the door. Tony stared at the closed door, afraid of what would come in when it opened.

 

It shoved open and a boy did come stumbling in. The stupidest boy in the entire fucking world. His brown locks were clinging to the sweat on his forehead and his wide eyes scanned the room until they landed on him. “Mr. Stark!” He yelled, his voice cracking.

 

Two Hyrda goons came in behind him cackling. One of them shoved Peter harshly and he fell over onto his hands and knees. The other goon raised a gun to the back of Peter’s head and hit the base of his skull with it.

 

“Watch it!” Tony yelled, glaring up at the ass that hurt Peter.

 

But he barely paid any attention to it; he was too busy staring up at Tony. “Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”

 

Tony saw the worry in the kid’s eyes. He also saw the fear. Peter knew of Hydra; he knew how dangerous they were.

 

Swallowing thickly, Tony turned away from Peter and to his captors. “Is this kid supposed to mean something to me?” He ignored the panicked look from Peter. He hoped he would catch on.

 

The main good, that Tony was going to call Asshole,  laughed. “You think we are using him to get to you?” He shook his head. “You're his leverage.”

 

Tony blinked, pulling back in confusion. “What?”

 

“Peter Parker, otherwise known as Spider-Man , has extraordinary abilities that are hard to restrain. The only way to get him here was willingly. And that required a little incentive.”

 

Tony turned his wide eyes to Peter where he was still on the ground by Tony’s feet. “I'm sorry, Mr. Stark,” he mumbled.

 

“This is touching and I hate to interrupt your moment, but it's time for our work to start.” Asshole clapped his hands together.

 

Tony tensed, wishing he could protect Peter or at least stand in front of him. “What do you want?”

 

“Spider-Man, of course.”

 

“Over my dead ducking body,” Tony growled.

 

A grin spread across Asshole’s face. “So you do care about the little freak?” Peter flinched. “Still, our objective remains. Boss has everything ready and I'd hate to disappoint.”

 

“You really think you're going to get away with this?” Tony raised an eyebrow. “Spider-Man could knock you out with one punch.”

 

Asshole turned his full attention to Peter. “Look at me, boy.” Peter obeyed. “We'll let you choose, does that sound fair? We've been watching you for some time now. Your powers...Hydra wants them.”

 

“Tell Hydra to eat my shit,” Peter growled, looking like an angry puppy. Tony laughed, despite their current situation.

 

Asshole sighed. He turned to the goon with the gun. “Hit him.”

 

Tony felt his fury grow. “Don't fucking touch him.”

 

But instead of Peter getting punched across the face, Tony felt a fist slam intohis jaw. It would have thrown him to the ground if he weren’t tied to a chair. He narrowed his eyes at Asshole, who was smirking.

 

“Do it again.”

 

“No!” Peter screamed, going to get up, but the goon used the butt of his gun to shove him down.

 

Tony was ready for the punch this time. He heard Peter’s yelling over the ringing in his ear. A few seconds later, he could distinguish Peter’s words.

 

“Leave him alone, you son of a bitch!”

 

Asshole leaned down close to him with a smile. “How about you listen to our deal then?” He continued when Peter quieted down and settled on glaring. “In our lab we've got everything set up. Lots of fun toys for us to see what makes you tick.”

 

“You want to study me like a rat?” Peter’s nose flared in anger.

 

“You're a scientist, Peter, surely, you'd understand.” He grinned down at him. “I'm not going to lie to you, boy, this will hurt. A lot. But, it's all in the name of science.”

 

Science? You mean weaponry! You want me to make your own army!” Peter snarled. “No way!”

 

Asshole sighed. “I was afraid you were going to say that. Here comes your other option: you go free and Mr. Stark, over here, takes your place.”

 

Tony jumped at the idea. “He’ll take it! Let him go!”

 

“Ah, but be careful, Peter. The equipment down there and the tests we have planned...they are steered towards super soldiers and spider mutants. A weak human like him? He won't survive the first day.”

 

Tony didn't doubt he was lying, but he couldn't let Peter suffer. “He doesn't care--.”

 

“I'll go.”

 

Snapping his head to the kid, Tony yelled, “ What ?”

 

Peter ignored him. “I'll go with you --no fighting-- if you let him go.”

 

Asshole grinned like the Cheshire Cat. “Good choice, little one.”

 

Tony struggled, using his adult voice on Peter. “Peter Parker, I swear to fucking God himself, if you take one step with them, I will kill you and then bring you back to life so your aunt can beat your ass.”

 

But Peter was standing up and Asshole wrapped his arm around him. “I'm sorry, Mr. Stark,” he whispered as his voice cracked. He was just a fucking kid! He didn't deserve this.

 

“Parker, sit your ass back down or I will beat you myself.” Tony’s voice was wavering because he knew Peter wasn't about to listen to him.

 

Peter gave him a small smile, and Tony was already trying to burn the sight into his memory. “I'll be okay, Mr.

Then Asshole was leading him out of the room and Tony was going crazy. He was screaming and yelling and thrashing in his chair. “Peter! Dammit, Peter! Get back here!”

 

Goon was back with his ugly smirk. “I wouldn't worry about him, Mr. Stark,” the name sounded wrong from anyone other than Peter. “When you wake up, you won't even remember he's gone. It'll be like nothing ever happened.”

 

Tony’s blood ran cold. “What do you mean?” Another Hydra Goon took a step closer, holding a syringe. Tony repeated, “ What do you mean ?”

 

“Hydra thanks you, Tony Stark. Without you, we'd be years away from acquiring this development. I wish you could remember your generosity to us, but unfortunately, we can't let that happen. I'm sure you understand.”

 

“Getthe fuck away from me. I will kill you all! I'll kill you fucking dead!” Tony screamed, afraid of what happened when that needle pricked his skin.

 

“Goodnight, Tony Stark. Erinnerst du dich als…”

 

And then his world went black.Tony woke up to someone shaking his shoulder a little too roughly. He grunted, “Let me sleep.”

 

“Stark, get up.” Another shake. “ Tony .”

 

Tony pried his eyes open to see a very concerned Captain America above him. Tony frowned. “What happened?”

 

“Don't you remember the attack? Deranged scientist in a mask wanted to take over Queens with his mutant army of rats.” Steve didn't pull back even though Tony was up.

 

“What?” Tony tried to recall the last thing he remembered. It hurt. He remembered the alarm going off for the team to head out but… “Queens? I thought it was in the Bronx.”

 

Steve looked at him like he had five heads. “No, Queens. Are you okay? Maybe I should have Bruce check you over again.”

 

Tony say up from the bed was laying on, which he assumed was in the infirmary. “I'm fine, Cap. Don't get your Star Spangled panties in a twist.”

 

Steve rolled his eyes. “Excuse us for being worried

You've been out for over five hours.”

 

Tony’s eyebrows rose. “Really?”

 

Steve nodded. “Yeah. We weren't sure if you were gonna wake up at all. You hit your head pretty hard.”

 

Trying to remember anything besides his own name hurt too much, so he just nodded. “Yeah, I don't want to do that again.”

 

With a laugh, Steve stood up. “Sounds like a plan I can agree with.”

 

As Steve turned to leave, Tony couldn't help but feel like he was missingsomething. “Steve,” he called out hesitantly and waited for him to look at him. “Is everyone okay? No one is hurt, right?”

 

Smiling softly, Steve answered, “We’re fine, Tony. You're the worst out of everyone. Clint and Natasha are fighting over the remote control, Wanda is resting, Sam is fixing his gear, Bucky is probably breaking his gear once he fixes it, and Vision is floating around here somewhere.”

 

“That's it?”

 

Steve’s smile wavers. “Yeah, that's it. Besides for Bruce because he stayed behind and Thor because he's in Asgard. That's the whole team: safe and healthy.”

 

Of course, it was. Tony was just being stupid; he must have smacked his head really hard.

 

“Thanks, Cap,” he said, trying to rest again.

 

Steve stared at him strangely. “You sure you're okay?”

 

Tony nodded. “I'm fine,” he assured him with a smile. Hopefully, this weird feeling would disappear after he healed up.


But it didn't.

 

Almost a week later, Tony still had this empty feeling inside of him. He walked around the compound always feeling like something was missing or he was forgetting something.


“You don't have to do this,” Steve’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

 

A small voice answered, “He was only 15. Just a kid.”

 

Tony followed the sound of their voices to Wanda’s bedroom. He peeked his head in. “Everything okay in here?”

 

Steve looked up from his spot next to Wanda at the foot of her bed. He gestured to the television playing news footage from last week’s fight. “They found another body beneath the rubble.”

 

Tony watched as the television showed a picture of a young kid smiling widely. Underneath the picture was, ‘Peter Parker, 15, Queens'.

 

Tony stared at the TV intently. There was something, something burning the edge of his mind but he didn't knowwhat . He grunted as his head flared in pain.

 

Steve turned to him in concern. “Tony, are you--?”

 

“I'm fine,” Tony said quickly. This pain was normal. Whenever he thought too hard about something, someone started to take a hammer to the inside of his skull.

 

Steve turned back to console Wanda as they talked about the young kid leaving behind a broken-hearted aunt. Tony left the doorway quickly.

 

He didn't want to know anything about this kid. Giving the victims a name and a story made the job that much harder.


Tony had no clue who this Peter Parker kid was and he wanted to keep it that way.

Chapter Text

It never left. The constant thought that there was something special, something important he'd forgotten.  

 

Days turned into weeks and Tony was going insane.

 

There was always an itch in his brain. Like when someone left their garage door open, but they just couldn't remember that's what it was.

 

The battle against Hydra slowly turned into just another battle. They still mourned every innocent life lost, but they tried hard to keep them in mind when fighting. They couldn't carry the weight of every casualty on their shoulders, but they also couldn't let them die in vain.

 

Tony realized it was just him. Nobody else felt like there was something off about the battle. He still couldn't remember getting knocked out or why he woke up to it all being over.

 

Hydra had been weirdly quiet after that.

 

Tony could remember their continues attempts to destroy something for weeks following up to that battle, but now they were gone.

 

Clint said he was thankful for the peace and quiet, but Tony knew it wasn't that easy. Something was missing. Something important. He just wished he knew what .




Spider-Man went missing.

 

He hadn't been seen in weeks. He disappeared during that battle. Many thought he was dead, but there were still a group of loyal fans that insisted he was alive.

 

The first time Tony saw it on the news, he felt drawn to the story. There was footage of posters stapled to lampposts around Queens asking, ‘Where's Spidey?’. There was graffiti painted across brick walls.

 

The newscaster was standing in front of a wall of a popular Queens deli, Delmar’s, and looked somber. “We've been asking that question for weeks. But still, there hasn't been a sighting of our Queens hero in over a month. Maybe believe that this might be the end of Spider-Man, but there's still some of us that believe he's okay.”

 

The camera cut to a little girl with messy pigtails and a Spider-Man doll clutched tightly to her chest. “I know you're out, Spidey. You wouldn't leave us.” Her big green eyes welled with tears. “I miss you.” She rubbed her nose with a sniffle. “Please come back.”

 

It went back to the reporter. “If you're watching, Spider-Man, then you know, there are still people who need you. Queens is praying for your safe return.”

 

Clint spoke up when they cut to commercials. “Shame. My kids looked up to him.”

 

Tony turned to face him. “Spider-Man?”

 

Clint nodded. “Never met him, but he always seemed like a great guy. Sticking up for the little guy, staying loyal to Queens.”

 

“We've never teamed up with him before?” Tony asked because if he thought hard enough, he could just barely see Spider-Man giving him a thumbs-up before swinging into action.

 

“Not that I know of.” Clint eyed him warily. “He handled the smaller crimes. Not evil villains plotting to take over the world.”

 

“Are you sure?” Tony asked because his brain was screaming wrong at Clint’s words. His brain was rarely wrong.

 

“Yeah, I'd remember fighting alongside a guy in tights.” Clint paused with a frown. “Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah,” Tony said. “I'm fine.” But that was the moment he realized he was anything but fine.



The feeling persisted and steadily grew worse.




He was going through piles of laundry he had thrown into his hamper finally. He was starting to run out of clean clothes and Steve said he wasn't allowed to just buy new clothes when the rest were dirty.

 

He could easily call someone up and have them do his clothes for him, but Steve always talked about how soothing it was to do laundry. And Tony definitely needed something to calm the constant buzz in his brain. It felt like an unsolved puzzle, beeping every minute to remind the player to finish already. But he couldn't figure out the answer.

 

This pile was only his lab clothes so it was filled with oil-stained sweatpants and wife beaters. His sorting was stopped when he caught sight of an unfamiliar shirt. It was a gray t-shirt that said, ‘I make horrible science puns...but only periodically.’

 

Tony knew it wasn't his.  If the size didn't give it away, the cringe-worthy text did. Tony Stark didn't wear that stuff. Even if he was tinkering in his lab. And whoever wore it, wore it in the lab because of the giant oil stain on the shoulder.

 

But whose was it?

 

Tony held the t-shirt tightly in his hand as he felt a headache pound in the back of his head. He wasn't sure who's it was, but he knew that had to be involved in whatever the fuck was going on with him. That headache meany he was getting close. To what? Only God knew.




There was a DVD in the player. One that Tony knew he didn't own. Star Wars. He was never a big fan. Not enough to buy the special edition of The Empire Strikes Back. And his DVR was full of shows he never watched: Myth Busters, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who.

 

He asked Natasha if he missed a movie night and she shook her head.

 

He asked Steve if he figured out how to work the DVR yet and he rolled his eyes.

 

The headache returned.




The dreams came when the headaches stayed.

 

Tony could barely function. He was used room running on -5 hours of sleep and 12 cups of coffee a day, but this wasn't his exhaustion headaches.

 

These were blinding migraines that knocked him off his feet some days. Tony wanted to figure out this big mystery not to only satisfy his own curiosity but to also put himself of this torture.

 

Advil didn't work, eating didn't work, drinking water didn't help, and sleeping definitely didn't help. Every time he shut his eyes, his world War black, the pounding behind his eyes continued, and he could hear the pained voice of a kid calling his name. “Mr. Stark!”

 

It was never anything else. Just darkness and cries.

 

Until the night he swore was going to be his last.

 

The pain was unbearable: behind his eyes, in the back of his head, picking at the inside of his brain. There was no way this was normal or even a migraine. He was dying.

 

His eyes shut and the pictures were so vivid he wasn't sure if he was dreaming. The boy kneeling in front of him was so real that he wanted to reach out and touch him. But his wrists were chained to a chair. Tony struggled. The boy continued to cry and beg, “Mr. Stark, help me, help me. Please. Please !”

 

Tony could smell the blood. He could hear the pain in the kid’s voice. Tony wanted to save him, but he didn't know how.

 

The kid didn't have a face when he looked up. Or he did, but Tony couldn't see it. Which was frustrating because he could see the dark bruises covering the boy’s body as clear as day, but when he tried to picture his face there was nothing. Tony thought harder and harder and harder and harder-- he woke up screaming in his bed, clutching to his head.

 

He fell off the mattress and promptly threw up all over the floor.

 

He stopped thinking. For the first time, he gave in and let his brain hide it. Anything to get this headache away. The nightmares didn't come back the next few days, but later that night when Tony is holding an ice pack to his forehead and resting his eyes, despite the pounding behind them, all Tony could see were big brown eyes.




The team decided it was time to host an intervention. He was on his third cup of coffee, by 11 am, when he noticed it. They were all sitting around in the common room.

 

Tony frowned as he looked at them all. He hoped there wouldn't be an argument; he didn't need the loud noises for his headache. “What's this?” He spoke softly, knowing if he was too loud then his head would not forgive him.

 

Steve was the one who spoke up. “Tony, we've been worrying about you.”

 

Tony shrugged his shoulders as he took a seat on the couch next to him. “‘m fine.”

 

“You're not fine,” Steve actually sounded angry. “You're not eating or sleeping and these headaches are not normal. I think you should really consider going to the doctor--.”

 

“There's nothing wrong with me,” Tony said, but then thought about his words. “Well, there's nothing wrong with me that doctors will find.”

 

Steve sighed. “Tony, we just want to help.”

 

Tony nodded. “I know. But, you can't because no one else has this feeling. No one else knows what is going on.” He looked at each of them. “None of you feel it.”

 

“Feel what?” Natasha asked, not in a judgemental way, but curiously.

 

“Something's missing. Someone.” Tony grabbed his hair in frustration as the pain increased. He didn't think that was possible.

 

“There's no one missing, Tony--.”

 

Tony sprang off the couch with a shout, “Yes, there is! This is what I'm talking about! You all think I'm crazy! Can't you see the footprints this person left? And don't you think it's weird we can't remember him!”

 

Who?” Steve narrowed his eyes, looking at Tony like he was suffering from a psychotic break.

 

Tony turned to face Wanda. “Not even you? You don't feel anything ?”  

 

Wanda hesitated. “Tony, I...no,” she admitted as her shoulders dropped.

 

“Can you go into my mind? See what I'm seeing?” Tony asked, feeling frantic.

 

“But, you said--.”

 

“I know what I said,” Tony snapped, “but now I'm asking you to do it. Just this once.”

 

Wanda nodded and took a step forward. She placed her fingertips on his temples and shut her eyes. Tony shut his own eyes and concentrated hard on that kid, whoever the hell he was, the one that was haunting his mind.

 

He was only able to see the form of a kid running towards him. He was laughing, “Mr. Stark! Guess what Ned did?” He's almost close enough for him to see his face, but his concentration is broken when he hears Wanda let out a yell.

 

Tony blinked his eyes open and saw Steve holding him up by the shoulders; Tony hadn't even realized his knees buckled underneath him. Just over his shoulder, Tony saw Vision holding Wanda as she held her head.

 

“I'm sorry,” Tony moaned.

 

“I couldn't...I hit a wall I don't…” She shook her head in disbelief.

 

“You heard him, right?” Tony asked. “Ned. He said Ned. Maybe that's his name. Ned.” The name sounded familiar, but it didn't sit right on his tongue.

 

“Do you have a son?” She asked, casting a look over at him.

 

Tony’s face scrunched up. “ A son?”

 

Wanda thought it over. “Love. I felt love. Affection. Paternal .”

 

“I don't have a son,” Tony said. He wouldn't forget his son even if he had one.

 

“Maybe for some reason, you were forced to forget him, this Ned kid, and you're remembering him,” Steve said slowly.  

 

Ned Stark, ” Clint scoffed. “What is this? Game of Thrones?”

 

“I don’t have a son,” Tony repeated. “It’s not...he’s someone , but I just can’t!”

 

Wanda grabbed his arm swiftly with a warning, “Don’t push it. Something...whatever is blocking it is strong. I don’t know what it’s hiding or why or what will happen if you were to break it.”

 

“But, I can’t just--.”

 

“Tony,” Steve snapped, with a warning of his own. “It’s not worth putting yourself at risk.”

 

Tony scowled at the ground. Yes, it was.




Tony didn’t give up. Although he did his best to hide it from the team, he continued to search for answers. He did his best to dream about the kid (Ned?). He kept notes as anything new came up.

 

Curls was his most recent discovery. He had a dream of someone dragging the kid away as he screamed for him. The kid wrapped his arms around Tony’s chest to stop from being taken away and Tony tried his best to hold on, but it didn’t work. Tony could remember the mop of brown curls in his face.

 

Big brown eyes and curly brown hair.




The day he broke, started out as any other day. Nightmare, panic, scribble notes, think, swallow 3 Advils and think some more. (Sometimes he added some pretending to be normal and fine when one of the team was around). He was staring hard at a box of pop-tarts that were in his cabinet. He didn’t like pop-tarts. Were these the kid’s? Why did he keep clothes and snacks in Tony’s place? Did he live here?

 

“Sir,” FRIDAY suddenly interrupted his thoughts. “There is a boy waiting for you in the entrance hall. He insists on seeing you and only you. He looks very distressed.”

 

Tony’s head shot up. A boy? Could this be the one from his dreams? Without hesitating another moment, Tony ran to the hall. His part of the compound was thankfully not that fair.

 

He entered the room breathing hard and his eyes darted across the room searching for anything. He saw a kid a few feet away sitting in a waiting room chair. Tony hurried to his side and when the kid heard his chest clicking on the floor, he rose to his feet, looking furious.  

 

Before Tony could get a word in or even get to his side, the kids shouted, “I can't believe you!”

 

Tony blinked. He was angry. Why was he angry? Was this the boy? He didn't look like him; his eyes were too dark, his body was rounder and his hair was curlier.

 

“How could you let this happen? Why aren't you doing anything to stop it?”

 

Tony paused just in front of the boy. “What...are you talking about?”

 

“He's missing! He's been missing for weeks and you're here, sitting on your ass! I don't care who you are; he trusted you and you let him down!” There were tears falling down the kid’s face.

 

Tony perked up. “You know Ned?”

 

The kid’s anger was briefly replaced with confusion. “What? No, I’m Ned.” Now he was starting to look concerned.

 

“You're Ned…” Tony trailed off, recalling his dream. The kid had said Ned, hadn't he? Tony thought harder and the memory came back with a stable of pain. “You wouldn't believe what Ned did, Mr. Stark!” Staring widely at the frantic kid, he exclaimed, “You're Ned!”

 

“Is this some kind of joke?” Ned scrunched his face. “We've met before Mr. Stark.”

 

Tony knew he had never seen this kid in his life. But he focused on the more important thing. “You said he was missing. Who?”

 

And the anger was back with a scoff. “Who? Seriously? He goes off to battle with you and his body is found days later and you don't even say a word about it! May is a wreck, but nobody else cares. The school had a memorial service and was in mourning for like a week before things went back to usual. Now he's nothing but a locker memorial…” his anger dissolved, exposing his grief. “But he's something to me. He was my best friend, my brother, my hero.”

 

“I don't--.”

 

Ned’s eyes narrowed as he glared at him. “I thought you were different. I thought you'd care enough to make even a statement. Call me or May after it happened. I know to May and to the rest of the world he was just your intern, but we both know what he really did. And it can't be a coincidence he disappeared after a battle like that.”

 

Tony was doing his best to keep up, but this kid was being so cryptic.

 

“I know he's alive. That wasn't him. Whatever they pulled from the rubble...that wasn't him. He's still alive. I know he's out there.”

 

“Who are you talking about?” Tony asked desperately.

 

The kid paused and studied his face closely. After a long moment, he said, “You really don't know.”

 

“No!”

 

Ned’s eyes widened. “You can't remember him?”

 

Who?!” Tony just about shouted.

 

“Spider-Man. Peter Parker.”

 

The raging headache was back, worse than Tony ever imagined. That meant he was getting somewhere. “Peter Parker,” he said, trying to trigger a memory as he panted heavily.

 

“Mr. Stark...are you okay?”

 

“Talk about him!” Tony said, clutching his head.

 

“Uhh…”

 

“Say anything!”

 

“Sure, okay, um, he's my best friend. He's a little taller than me. Brown eyes. Brown hair.”

 

“Curly?” Tony cut in with newfound hope.

 

The kid paused. “Y-Yeah. It's curly.”

 

“More!”

 

“He's a super nerd. Really intelligent. Great friend. Best friend. He's the nicest person in the world, always smiling.” The kid’s voice was starting to break. “He's just Peter, you know?”

 

Peter.

 

Parker. Peter Parker. Peter Parker. Peter Parker. Peter Parker. Peter Parker. Peter Parker. Peter Parker. Peter--

 

Tony fell to his knees as all of the memories came pouring in.

 

Peter smiling at him as Happy walked him into the compound.

 

Peter pulling his mask off after he had his ass served to him again by Natasha in training.

 

Peter working beside him in the lab, his mouth moving a mile a minute as he spoke about something Tony couldn't hear.

 

Peter lounged across his couch, watching the television while he ate from a bag of chips.

 

Peter racing Clint in Mario Kart and winning and then jumping around the ceiling to avoid Clint’s arrows.

 

Peter laughing.

 

Peter smiling.

 

Peter.

 

Peter being smacked. Peter kneeling in front of him. Peter gasping in pain. Peter trading his safety for Tony’s. Peter getting dragged away by Hydra.

 

“I'm sorry, Mr. Stark.”



Tony’s eyes flew open. “Peter!” He looked up at the kid kneeling by him. He recognized him. “ Ned.

 

“Mr. Stark, what's going on?” Ned asked, worry filling his voice.

 

“Hydra is behind this. They have Peter and erased my memories of him. They somehow erased the whole team’s. Just so we wouldn't come looking for him.” Tony picked himself up on wobbly feet.

 

“You...remember now though, right?” Ned asked, sounding hopeful.

 

Tony nodded his head. “I can't believe I'd even forget.” He closed his eyes and felt nothing pounding in his head for the first time in weeks. His memories were back like they never left

 

“Mr. Stark, so,” Ned started, “Peter’s alive?”

 

Tony’s mind rushed back to Peter. That kid that gave his life to Hydra so they could study like a science experiment all to keep Tony safe.

 

But that was weeks ago.

 

Peter was in their hands, waiting for a rescue that would never come because Tony didn't even know he was missing.

 

Or so Hydra hoped.

 

They probably never imagined the kid had that much of an impact on Tony Stark.

 

Tony Stark: genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist...and now severely pissed off Hydra executioner.

 

They were all dead. Every last one that had something to do with Peter’s kidnapping was going to know just how furious Tony was. One broken bone a time.



“Come on, Ned,” Tony said, “we've got a hero to find.”



Chapter Text

“I'm not crazy!” Tony barged into the room where everyone was sitting around the table in the kitchen.

 

They all turned to stare at Tony and Ned, who was being dragged by the arm behind him. Clint spoke up first, “Are you involving us in a kidnapping right now? Because I am up for for a lot of illegal activity, but not this.”

 

“This is Ned!”

 

“Ned Stark?”

 

“No, Ned Leeds,” Tony said easily. He remembered his last name. He remembered everything.

 

“Tony, what's going on?” Steve furrowed his brows.

 

Instead of answering him, he turned to Wanda. “Can you do the brain thing. Fight it.”

 

“What are you talking about?” Rhodey asked, coming closer Tony. “Tony, have you been drinking?”

 

“No, no. Listen, Peter Parker.” Tony looked around the group waiting for recognition to flash through someone's eyes.

 

“The boy that died in Queens?” Wanda asked. Of course, she remembered him. She always remembered the kids.

 

“He didn't die!” Tony shouted. “He's alive. He's with Hydra.”

 

Steve’s face immediately turned into a scowl. “How do you know they have him?”

 

Why would they have him?” Clint asked.

 

Tony didn't want to think about that day. About how those assholes told Peter they were going to torture him, experiment on him, and he still willingly went with them. All just to keep Tony safe.

 

“He's Spider-Man. And he's there because of me.” Tony felt his heart racing. He wasn't sure what was worse: knowing the kid existed but not knowing who he was or knowing exactly who he was and what he did for Tony.

 

“Mr. Stark, it's not your fault,” Ned said quietly.

 

“Yes, it is,” Tony argued. “Hydra took me. And the kid came and he could have fought them off! But he's an idiot and turned himself in for me. They told him what they were going to do. They had machines to hurt him and he still gave himself up.” He ran a hand through his hair and was ready to go on about stupid this kid was, but then he looked at Ned’s face and he saw the worry in his eyes. This was the kid’s best friend. He knew those two were attached at the hip. He knew about Peter’s secret and he always worried about his well-being when he was on patrol.

 

“How do you know Spider-Man?”

 

“We all know Spider-Man!” Tony said in exasperation.

 

“Stark, are you on drugs?” Clint asked, staring at him intently.

 

“Mario Kart. He's the only one that can beat you. He got first place in Rainbow Road while he was upside down.” Tony came close to Clint.

 

The archer scoffed, “That's not possible.”

 

Tony turned to Natasha. “You kick his ass every Friday and he jumps back up with a smile.”

 

To Steve. “He loves your art. He gets super excited about your sketchbooks.”

 

To Sam. “You can't go one day without handing him a Capri Sun.”

 

To Bucky. “You gang up on him with Sam, but when you're alone, you arm wrestle him in the kitchen you let him win every time.”

 

To Bruce. “He's the only one that can keep up with you beside me and he's only 15-years-old. He's read all of your papers and understands at least 80% of it. Most scientists don't know what it means.”

 

To Rhodey. “We’ve been dropping MIT pamphlets on his desk for months .”

 

Tony turned to Wanda, ready to try and convince her as well, but she was already thinking hard. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she was holding her hair with glowing red hands. “You know him, Wanda. You guys watch Hallmark movies and eat a gallon of ice cream together.”

 

Wanda was breathing hard. He knew she was struggling to remember, but he couldn't let her give up. He had to keep spurring her memory.

 

“He lost a bet to Sam and he had to walk around the tower in his underwear for a full day. He eats enough pop-tarts to rival Thor. He eats enough food to rival Thor and Steve combined. He once went the entire weekend copying everything I did; he wore the same suit, he moved when I did, said what I said, he even had my facial hair.” Tony swallowed thickly, remembering one of the worst memories. “He has nightmares. You help him through his nightmares.”

 

Wanda finally spoke, even though it was almost a whisper, “Baby. He is the baby.”

 

“Yes!” Tony said frantically. “You called him our baby one night and Sam and Bucky gave him shit for weeks after.”

 

Her knees buckled and she fell to the ground with a short shout. The red erupted from her hands into a blinding explosion through the living room. Once it settled, all that could be heard was Wanda’s labored breathing.

 

Sam spoke up first, “The little asshole.”

 

Tony had never been so happy to hear Sam call him that.

 

“How the fuck did we forget Spider-Man?” Clint asked, looking haunted. “ Peter.

 

“Hydra,” Tony explained. “That fight they captured me and held me as bait for Peter. They told him that the tests they had planned...a regular human wouldn't be able to survive it. Peter gave himself up for me.”

 

“You can't blame yourself, Tony,” Rhodey said. “He's about as self-sacrificing as you.”

 

“Yeah,” Ned said softly and Tony almost forgot that he was still there. “He does it to me too. He throws himself in front of me whenever Flash comes our way.”

 

“That damn kid,” Tony said, running a hand through his hair.

 

“How did we all forget him?” Bruce asked. “That's impossible.”

 

“Well, it's not seeing as it happened. Maybe they did something on the battlefield. They've spent a while planning this. I'm more concerned how they wiped Peter from FRIDAY’s memory too.” Tony looked up at the ceiling.

 

“How are we gonna get him back?” Bucky asked. He knew more than anyone else the horrors that Hydra was capable of.

 

“They wanted Spider-Man, right?” Rhodey asked. “That means they want the suit. Don't you have a tracker in the suit?”

 

Tony nodded grimly. “Yes, but his information is completely erased from my servers. It'll take a few hours to reboot it and even get close to finding it. I have no idea what Hydra did to my computers or how.”

 

“What about my laptop?” Ned asked hesitantly. “I, uh…”

 

Tony’s hopes grew. “You hacked into my suit.”

 

“Mr. Stark, I'm sorry,” Ned quickly apologized. “He gave me the eyes . I couldn't say no.”

 

Tony waved him off. “Yeah, I know his unbearable puppy dog eyes. It's fine. I'm actually impressed, but that's not the point. The point is we can find the data on your computer, hoping Hydra didn't mess with that too.”

 

“I could remember Peter still so I don't think they touched it,” Ned said as he pulled it from his backpack. He turned it on and unlocked it before handing it to Tony.

 

Tony was quick to look through his files and he found where it stored all of the information from the suit. “Come on, please work,” he prayed.

 

After a moment of waiting, the GPS program popped up and so did a location. Tony was so thankful he had created a tracker that couldn't be disabled even if the suit was dead. He had Ned to thank for showing him how he could fix the previous suit tracker.

 

Tony tried not to think about Peter waiting to be rescued and they had his location right on Ned’s computer. He sent the location to FRIDAY and stood up. “Let's suit up. This kid has been waiting long enough.”


They were there only 3 hours later in the Quinjet. They had him in some warehouse just on the border of New York and Canada.  

 

They were in front of the warehouse; there were no guards whatsoever because they weren't expecting them. Not after almost two months of nothing.  

 

“All of you have his location linked up to your suits.” Tony was glad he had his suit because it was freezing. “Nothing stops us from getting the kid back. I don't care what you need to do.”

 

They all nodded. There was no argument. Peter had been waiting weeks for them. They were bringing him home.



They all went inside, trying their bests to get in unnoticed. Natasha took out a few guards silently before they were able to let anyone else know that there were intruders. Especially The Avengers.

 

It worked longer than expected, but of course, one had to get away and trigger an alarm. The bunker went dark except for blaring red lights with a matching alarm so loud Tony thought his ears were going room bleed.

 

But Tony wanted it to be louder. He wanted the kid to know they were here. He didn't want to imagine the state Peter was in, but he wanted him to be aware of what was going on. Maybe he'd start fighting some more on his side now that he knew he had backup.

 

Tony flew through the hallways shooting every Hydra Agent he saw. Steve was on the ground taking care of any cockroach that slipped past.

 

They were getting closer to Peter and they weren't slowing down. Any day, The Avengers were a force to be dealt with, but, take away their kid and you were making a death wish.

 

“They're coming! Lock up the freak!” One Hydra agent was yelling into a walkie-talkie.

 

Tony felt his fury burn underneath his skin. But before he could swoop down to take care end him, a blur of red, white, and blue came flying into his back. The agent went flying face forward into the ground, already unconscious, hopefully dead.

 

Steve barely spared the man a second glance as he picked up his shield. “It isn't nice to call someone a freak.”

 

“Really?” Tony asked with raised eyebrows Steve couldn’t see as he flew down to stand next to him.

 

“I don't like bullies,” Steve replied easily.

 

Tony smiled. He appreciated that even after his transformation from a sickly kid to a super soldier, Steve never lost sight of the little things he fought for beforehand. “Lots of bullies here for you to take care of.”

 

“Get in line,” Clint said after an arrow went whizzing by their heads and impaled a Hydra agent about to shoot at Natasha.

 

There was a handful of them left and Clint took care of the rest. Soon, it was only the 5 of them standing in the hallway. Tony, Steve, Bucky, Natasha, and Clint had decided to storm inside while Bruce and Wanda stayed behind in the ready to go Quinjet and Sam, Vision, and Rhodey waited outside in case Hydra tried to sneak out any backdoors.

 

They all slowly turned towards the big metal doors in front of them like it was the entrance to Hell. And who knew, maybe it was. It probably was.

 

Tony said, “The kid’s behind there.”

 

Steve put a hand on his shoulder. “He’s going be okay, Tony. He’s a strong kid.”

 

Tony’s eyes drifted to the man on the other side of Steve. His best friend, the one tortured and experimented on by Hydra for years. He was a strong guy too. But he was messed up from it all. He was still trying to heal from the horrors they subjected him to. And he was a grown man, not a child.

 

With a determined glare directed at the doors, he lifted up his hand and charged up his repulsor. Everyone behind him got into their own battle stances.

 

“1, 2, 3,” Tony counted before he shot at the doors with a missile from his shoulder. The metal exploded and Tony immediately went rushing in.

 

They stormed inside and were met with not one Hydra agent. The large room was dark and empty. All except for a tank in the middle of the room. It was a column standing at almost 7 feet tall and lit up from the inside glowing up some of the room. The tank was filled with a greenish liquid, wires all attached to...Peter.

 

Tony rushed forward, the kid’s name rushing from his lips. “Peter!”

 

He was unconscious in the tank and floating with dozens of wires coming from his chest, arms, legs, back, and neck. He was skinny, too skinny and pale. He looked dead. Tony hoped to a God he didn't believe in that wasn't.

 

He pointed his palm at the tank even though the glass looked thick. He was getting Peter out of there. A sudden voice stopped him.

 

“Ah ah, I wouldn't do that. A sudden disturbance of the cryostasis would not be good for our spider.” The asshole that dragged Peter away from him weeks ago stepped in front of the tank.

 

Tony made Asshole his new target.

 

“Shut it down. It's over.”

 

Asshole laughed. “You're a little late. It's been a few weeks. Have a little trouble?”

 

He was gloating. Tony felt ashamed; there was no reason for it to have taken 8 weeks to find Peter. He didn’t have any memory of him, but he still should have found him. Somehow…

 

“It’s 6 against one, pal, I don’t think this will end so well for you,” Clint said from somewhere behind him. Tony was too angry to even focus on anything besides for the kid in nothing but a pair of white boxers looking only a step away from death.

 

After the words left his mouth, at least a dozen Hydra agents with big guns came in from the shadows. They were all trained on them. “Doesn’t look so outnumbered now...at least for us.”

 

Bucky took a step forward, shrugging his shoulders. “More bugs to crush.”

 

Asshole snapped his fingers. “Speaking of bugs, I have to thank you for you giving us your little pet for so long. We’ve learned so much.” He started walking closer to Tony. He came to a stop and looked him dead in the eyes, well the slits in his faceplate for his eyes. “3 weeks, 4 days, 18 hours.”

 

Tony wasn’t going to give in and ask what that meant. But he desperately wanted to know.

 

“It took 3 weeks for him to break. To start begging. It was cute. To see him cry and scream.” A smirk grew on Asshole’s face. “He was quite a pain in our asses at times. Until he realized how much was at stake.”

 

“He's lying. He wants to make you angry,” Clint said without taking his arrow off of his target.

 

“Oh, really? I'm lying?” Asshole pulled out his cell phone and clicked a button. Immediately, the room was filled with a kid’s screams.

 

It could be anyone's. There no proof it was Peter. Tony realized he had never heard the kid screaming like that. He wanted to pretend it was someone else because if it wasn't then the kid he had promised to keep safe was brutally tortured for him.

 

Asshole smiled at the blood-curdling screams that had even Natasha Romanoff flinch. Barely noticeable, but it spoke volumes coming from her. “That was when I had my boys cut him open to see if he worked like a human. Having your insides poked and prodded with no numbing makes for beautiful times, I tell you.”

 

“You fucking assholes. I will kill all of you,” Tony growled.

 

“Oh, that was only the beginning. Once he cracked, he never could hold it back anymore. Especially when we told him what would happen if he didn't listen.” He played another audio file.

 

“Let’s hear your pretty screams, spider. It's my favorite part,” Asshole’s voice said.

 

The kid whimpered. “Screw you.”

 

“Yell or else I bring in someone to take your place. Tell me: do you think Iron Man handle the heat?”

 

Peter didn't answer.

 

“I guess we'll have to find out.” He paused and Peter couldn't hold back his quick shout. “Do you think Mr. Stark will like that? I can get you for a front row seat.”

 

“N-no, please, no,” Peter screamed with a sob. His voice was raw and he was breathing heavy with quick pants. “Please.”

 

“Then scream.”

 

Peter did.

 

Asshole shut off his phone and pocketed. “Did you know when a spider is set on fire, there is so much pressure on their exoskeleton that it explodes? Dies instantly. We learned two things from that experiment: 1) he is not all spider and 2) the world smell is the world is burning flesh.”

 

It took a second for Tony to realize what they did. Maybe because he didn't want to believe it.

 

They had tried to burn him alive.

 

Tony charged forward so fast, no one stopped him from the first punch. That was the only signal the others needed to start fighting.

 

He wasn't sure what happened. He knew they were going to win. Tony wasn't losing Peter again. Not when they were this close. And not when they were this furious.  

 

Asshole was all his. Nobody was getting even a scratch on him. He was going to know what it was like to scream and it was going to all be because of Tony.

 

He didn't stand a chance. Tony had him on the ground before the fight even started. Other goons were shooting at his back, but the armor was ricocheting them off of him.

 

Beating his face was satisfying enough. Not even the sound of metal pounding into his flesh and the crack of his now broken nose. He wanted to hear him cry and beg. Like he made Peter too.

 

Asshole knew he wasn't going to make it. He knew there no coming back from it. He spoke and Tony felt good at the sight of his red teeth. “If we don't have him, then neither do you.” He clicked something on his phone that Tony hadn't noticed he pulled out. “Hail Hydra.”

 

The sound of rushing water had Tony whipping his head to where Peter was. The door of the tank had opened and the liquid was pouring out.

 

“Boss, if Peter’s stasis is disturbed without proper warming, his body could go into shock.” FRIDAY’s voice said.

 

No. Tony didn't come all this way to watch him die.

 

Tony punched Asshole one more time, knocking him unconscious; Tony needed him alive for the plans he had. Once Asshole was taken care of, he jumped to his feet and ran.

 

He ran to where Peter was lying in a puddle; the wires were still pulling at his skin. Tony fell to his knees and pulled Peter into his arms. FRIDAY immediately starting rattling off his vitals, but Tony didn't pay attention to anything besides for "he's alive, Boss, but if he doesn't get help soon, he'll die." 

No. Peter was going to be okay. 

 

 

He had to be okay.

Chapter Text

Peter was too light. He had always been a small kid, but this wasn't normal. This wasn't healthy. He barely had any meat on his bones, Tony could count every rib and he could hold him up without strain even without the suit.

 

“We need to get him to the infirmary in the compound. Now!” Tony shouted as he ran to the Quinjet. They could get there in time if they hauled ass.

 

Clint ran ahead of him, ready to pilot the Quinjet. He was the best pilot out of all of them and could definitely cut their time in half.

 

Bruce must have heard the yelling because he was waiting at the opening to the Quinjet with wide worried eyes. Tony didn't like that look on his face. So, he ran faster.

 

He didn't pay attention to anyone else besides for him and Peter. They could get into the jet in time and if they didn't, then they were finding their own way back. Peter didn't have time to waste.

 

Once inside, Bruce was leading Tony to a stretcher they had ready. He hesitated once Tony put him down, looking unsure of where to start. “What happened to him?”

 

“He was in a stasis tank. A few weeks...I don't know exactly how long.” Tony felt useless just watching. “He didn't get the proper warm down.”

 

That seemed to be enough to get Bruce to start moving. “I don't have everything we need here. But we need to keep him warm. Do we have a blanket?”

 

Bucky was already rushing over with a shock blanket they kept in the first aid kid. He started to wrap it around the kid. “He'll be okay if we get back soon. Hydra does this all the time to their…” Bucky trailed off.

 

Tony didn't want to hear what he was going to say anyway.

 

“Was he hooked up to anything? Nutrients?” Bruce asked.

 

“Just enough to keep him alive, looks like,” Sam said, looking down at Peter. He looked so small wrapped in the blanket.

 

Tony sat down next to him and took Peter’s limp hand in his. It was cold. So cold.

 

“Clint,” Bruce called, “how long until we get there?”

 

“Give me an hour,” Clint replied in a clipped tone. Tony didn't doubt him. They were going to save their kid.

 

--

 

Sure enough, soon they were in the infirmary and Bruce was rushing through the room, hooking Peter up to more wires.

 

Tony never left his side as he silently watches Bruce do his job. When he was finally done, Bruce came to a stop by Tony’s side. “He's going to be okay,” Bruce answered his question before he could ask it.

 

“How long will he be out?” Tony stared at the kid’s pale face; he looked dead.

 

“I can't tell. A few hours, at least.” Bruce put a hand on his shoulder. “I've got to keep an eye on him, why don't you run and eat something or rest for a few hours?”

 

Tony immediately shook his head. “No, we finally found him.”

 

“Exactly. We found him: you have nothing to worry about now.” Bruce must have known Tony wasn't going to go so easy. He sighed and reasoned, “There's nothing else you can do. It's my job now to monitor him and handle it. You need to rest up for when he's awake and needs you.”

 

Tony knew Bruce was right. Peter had lasted 8 weeks without anybody, he could handle another few hours while Tony was fixing himself up. “I've got to pick up his Aunt anyway…” he trailed off, thinking about that was going to go. How was he supposed to explain to a woman that her nephew wasn't dead, just kidnapped and tortured by a group of Nazis.

 

Bruce’s face softened. “Go do that, then. He'll be right here when you get back, probably still sleeping. I'm sure she'll be happy to see her nephew again.”

 

Tony nodded his head, unable to imagine how it must have like to live thinking her boy was dead. At least they didn't remember him so they didn't grieve. May had a fucking funeral for him. She buried him.

 

He couldn't let her live in pain one more second. He stood up, ready to leave, but not before turning to Bruce and saying, “Call me the second anything changes. I mean anything .”

 

“Of course, Tony.”

 

He stared at the doctor for a moment before letting out a short breath. He trusted Bruce. Peter would be okay in his hands. “Thank you.”

 

Bruce just smiled softly.


Tony had handled hundreds of villains and other intimidating people of the sorts. But there was only one woman he was sincerely afraid of: May Parker. She seemed like a sweet woman, and she was, but she became an entire different person when someone threatened Peter. Her mama bear instincts kicked in.

 

He was standing just outside the Parker’s apartment with a fist raised and ready to knock. He hesitated as the image of her possible reaction played out in his mind. It involved lots of screaming, crying, and punching. Nothing good for Tony.

 

But, she deserved to know. So, he knocked.

 

There was no answer.

 

He knocked again and waited a few seconds. “May?” He called, hoping she was home. “May, it's me.” He casted his eyes up and down the hallway, hoping no one recognized him.

 

The next time he knocked, the door opened only a few seconds later. Tony’s eyes widened involuntarily at the sight of the woman in front of him. “May?”

 

She looked like absolute crap and that was saying something for a woman that always looked beautiful. Whether she was dressed to go out or whether she was wearing the same sweatpants for two days and hadn't brushed her hair in three. She was always breathtaking.

 

But, today, her greasy hair was flat on her head, not even thrown into a ponytail. Her eyes were being swallowed by dark bags underneath. She looked almost as skinny and pale as her nephew. “What do you want, Stark?”

 

He swallowed down his shock and said in a low voice, “May, I need to talk to you.”

 

“I don't want to hear it.” She went to slam the door shut, but Tony quickly stopped her by saying:

 

“It’s about Peter.”

 

A fire burned in her eyes as she snarled at him, “Don't you dare talk about him.”

 

Tony put a hand on the door so she couldn't slam it in his face. “May, please,” he begged, “it's important. Can we do this inside?”

 

Surprisingly, she jerked the door open to let him in. She crossed her arms over her chest and once he was inside, she slammed the door shut. “I don't want to hear this. The time to talk about Peter ,” Tony didn't miss the way her voice cracked at his name, “was when he died. When I was planning his funeral. When I was burying him in the ground!” Her face was red as she screamed.

 

“Do you know what it's like to go shopping for a casket?” May asked in a dangerously low voice. He swallowed as he took a step back from her. “Do you know what it's like to go shopping for a casket for your baby ?” There were tears streaming down her cheeks.

 

Tony couldn't answer her. This woman had buried her brother and sister in law, her husband, and her nephew. Tony wasn't even the one in charge of picking out his parent’s caskets: that was done for him.

 

“Where were you then?” May asked, but she wasn't looking for an answer. “Where were you when all I had for someone to talk to was a 15-year-old boy, who had just lost his best friend?”

 

She quickly wore a fake smile that hurt to look at. “But, you want to talk about Peter now ? Fine, let's talk about Peter! Where should we start? About how he looked up to you before he even met you, since he was like four? Or how about how he spent at least two weekends a month hanging out with you? But, then when he is killed in some Avengers battle you're nowhere to be seen.”

 

“May--,.”

 

“I understand, Tony, I do. It wasn't your fault that he died. I don't blame you for that,” her voice was slightly calmer. “But, I expected a call, at least. Maybe a visit. Not for me, but for him. You meant the world to him.”

 

Tony swallowed, and even though Peter was still alive, it hurt like hell. Peter had been counting on him to rescue him. He would beat himself up for leaving him in Hydra's hands for the rest of his life.

 

“I'm just glad he didn't have to be here when you let him down,” she clipped, narrowing her eyes again.

 

Tony felt like shit because he was alive to see it. He was waiting for Tony and he never came. He knew if he tried to beat around the bushes, she would never let him speak, so he said hastily, “He's alive, May.”

 

May sucked in a quick breath but didn't let it back out. “What?”

 

He didn't know where to start. “May, he's alive. His death-- it was a set-up. The people that took him, they didn't want people to come looking for him. They were very good at covering their tracks.”

 

May’s shoulders fell as she let out a shaky breath. “Get out,” she whispered.

 

“What--?”

 

“Get the fuck out of my apartment!” She screamed waving her finger at the door. “You think this is some kind of joke, you sick fuck? Get out and don't ever come near me again!”

 

Tony shook his head. “May, I'm not joking. I would never joke about something like this. Your boy is alive. I'm not lying to you.” He tried to make his voice sound as sincere and trustworthy as possible.

 

May stared into his eyes for a long while before she said slowly, “What are you talking about?”

 

“It's a long story--.”

 

“One I want to hear.”

 

“Okay, okay. But no matter how... crazy ...it may seem. Please know I'm not telling you a lie.” He took a step closer to her and started with: “Peter is Spider-Man.”

 

May’s eyes widen. “No...he's not. He can't be. I mean…”

 

As she trailed off, Tony continued, “He is. He was bit by a radioactive spider and it gave him powers. I can't tell you why he chose the path he did...that's his story to tell. But, let's just say he has powers that evil villains would do anything to get their hands on.”

 

May was started to look scared. Like she didn't know whether to believe him or not.

 

“A group of Nazis kidnapped him and they've had him since we all thought he died. I didn't...we just found him today. He's back with us.”

 

There was a quick flame in May’s eyes. “He's been held for 2 months? You only found him now? What the fuck have you superheroes been doing? Shoving your thumbs up each other's asses?” She was a ball of rightful fury again. “And you just let us think he was dead?”

 

“No, I wouldn't just leave him if I could remember. I would never,” Tony quickly said.

 

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” She placed her hands on her hips.

 

“It means that Hydra erased the team’s memories of him...we didn't know he existed which was crazy because how can anyone forget Peter?” Tony gave an empty chuckle.

 

“You forgot him?”

 

“They knew I wouldn't stop looking for him if I remembered…”

 

“How did you…?” May asked, her voice much softer.

 

“His friend, Ned, came over to yell at me. He knows Peter is Spider-Man. Wasn't sure why I wasn't doing anything and he somehow knew Peter wasn't dead.”

 

For a few seconds, May just ran a hand through her hair as she tried to control her breathing. Finally, she looked back up at Tony. “It sounds insane and I feel insane for believing it, but...this isn't something you'd lie to me about. I hope.”

 

Tony shook his head and repeated, “No, I'd never.”

 

May’s eyes watered again. “Then, that means...my baby is alive. I have my baby back.”

 

“Yes,” Tony said with a watery smile, “he's back.”

 

May wrapped her arms around Tony in a bone-crushing hug. “Thank you so much.”

 

Even though, he didn't deserve it, he wrapped his arms around her anyway and held her close. “I'm sorry. For leaving you alone to go through all this. I would have never if I'd known. I can't even imagine--.”

 

“It's doesn't matter. He's back now. That's all that matters. We can figure out the rest as we go.”


When they made it back to Peter’s room, Ned was sitting by his bed talking to him. “You should have seen it, man, people we never even spoke to were making speeches.” He mimicked in a higher voice, “ Oh, Peter and I go way back. I just can't believe he's gone. It's going to be so hard to come into school without him.” He returned back to his normal voice. “Even the guys that used to give us shit everyday tried to act like they cared.”

 

May and Tony didn't walk in; they stayed in the doorway to let him have his moment. They could hear the tears in his voice as he gripped Peter’s hand.

 

“Teachers kept telling me they were sorry. Sorry for what, who the hell knows. Everyone was sorry. I was just sick of it. They wanted me to give a speech at the memorial. Something so all of Midtown knew how special you were. I went up there to the mic, in front of the whole school, and told them to go fuck themselves. They didn't care about you when you were alive, so why are they giving a damn when you're gone. Why do they need me to make a speech to know how special you are? If they opened their damn eyes when you were around, then they'd see.”

 

He chuckled softly. “I didn't even get in trouble for telling the entire school body to fuck themselves. Something about processing grief or some other bullshit.” Ned shrugged his shoulders and then lightened up. “But, hey, wanna hear something cool? They named the Chemistry wing after you. There's a sign and everything. How freakin’ cool is that?”

 

Then, he started talking about nothing important: just things to fill the silence. So, May and Tony walked in. May couldn't keep herself away now that she could finally see her boy.

 

She ran the his side and fell to her knees beside his bed. He looked like complete crap hooked up to wired and a ventilator, but she didn't care. She cupped his pale cheeks and cried softly. “My baby.”

 

Tony stood off to the side to give her some privacy. Ned went to move, but May grabbed his wrist and pulled him close to her side. She kissed the top of his head. “We've got him back. We've got our Peter back.”

 

He heard Ned sniffle as he wrapped his arms around May. “Yeah, we do.”

 

Tony cleared his throat. “He wouldn't be here if he didn't have a best friend like Ned.”

 

“No, no, Mr. Stark,” Ned quickly disagreed. “I didn't do anything. I just came to fight for his honor. You're the one that remembered and got him back.”

 

“You're the one that helped me remember and could track his suit,” Tony returned easily.

 

“He's my best friend,” Ned said like it answered everything and really, it did.

 

“He's lucky to have a best friend like you,” May said softly.

 

“I really missed him,” Ned said as he attempted to choke back his sobs. “I thought, I thought he was gone and I was never going to see him again.”

 

“I know, baby,” May was quick to soothe him. “But he's back now. Thanks to you.”

 

The two didn't speak again until Ned calmed down his crying a few minutes later. With a loud sniffle, Ned asked, “Hey, do you think that since I saved his life he'll let me pick the next Lego set we build?”

 

May laughed, probably for the first time in a long time. “I think you may be able to persuade him.”


“Sir, Captain Rogers is requesting access,” FRIDAY said.

 

Tony waved his hand. “Let him in.”

 

The next moment, Steve was walking inside his workshop. He looked at him and said, “You're supposed to be sleeping.”

 

“What? Are you Banner’s spy?” Tony quipped without looking up from his tablet.

 

“No. Just a concerned friend.”

 

Tony grunted. “Wanna be concerned for a friend? Go look at the kid in that hospital bed. He's the one that paid the price when we let him down.”

 

“We couldn't have known,” Steve sighed sadly. He looked guilty and Tony knew they all felt bad. He was their teammate, their kid, and they left him in Hydra’s hold for too long. 8 weeks too long.

 

“Doesn't change the fact that kid was tortured for 2 months, does it?” When Steve didn't answer, he said, “Exactly.”

 

“He's going to be okay. We've been through worse,” Steve tried saying.

 

“Have we, though? I can't remember a time worse than this. And I know for a fact the kid never went through something worse than this.”

 

“He's going to be okay,” Steve repeated. “That's all that matters.”

 

Tony scoffed, choosing to ignore him for a few minutes because he had nothing else to say to that. But then he said, “Clint and Natasha won't even let me watch the freakin’ videos. Why can't I see what they did to him?”

 

“Tony, we're all close to that kid. Every single one of us loves him, but you...you're closer. You have a stronger bond with him. The stuff on the videos...I don't think you can handle it.” Steve refused to look at him.

 

“What? You watched it?” Tony put down his tablet to face him. “Am I the only one that hasn't seen it?”

 

“No, Tony, it's just Clint and Natasha. I walked in, but I couldn't stay. The stuff they did to him, Tony, you don't need to see that. I couldn't stand there and watch it...that's why I'm here.” He said softly.

 

“That bad?” Tony asked, his voice quiet.

 

Steve just nodded.

 

Tony closed his eyes. “All I keep thinking is that he was there all alone. All a-fucking-lone. They said they had things planned for him. Things that I don't even want to imagine. It was supposed to be me , but he gave himself up. He's such a self-sacrificing idiot.”

 

“You sure he's not a Stark?” Steve asked with a smile.

 

Tony’s lip curled up in a small smile. “Still waiting on the paternity tests, actually.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “But, no, I'd be lucky for him to a Stark. Or maybe in another life, I would have liked to be a Parker. Kid could use some more family.”

 

“You don't need to share a last name to be family. He's apart of the team, he's apart of the family. Which is why we're not giving up on him.”

 

“You think I could see him?” Tony asked, feeling restless. “Have I been away long enough for Bruce to think I'm sleeping?”

 

Steve chuckled softly. “Yeah, Tony, I think it's okay if you go see him. Give Ned and May a chance to rest themselves.”

 

Tony was eager to go up, so he shut off his tablet and stood up. “Sounds good. How long have I been down here?”

 

“5 hours, give or take.”

 

Raising his eyebrows, Tony said, “Seriously? Wow, time flies when you're burying your guilt in work.”

 

“Tony, it's not your fault,” Steve said softly.

 

“Yeah, yeah, I heard you. This whole self-deprecating thing is hard to shut off.” He meant it as a joke followed by a empty chuckle.

 

But, Steve took it seriously. He was quiet as he placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder. He didn't say anything until Tony looked up at him. “I'm here to help you make it a little easier. Maybe one day you'll look in the mirror and see the Tony Stark I see.”

 

Tony looked away. “You've got your work cut out for you, Cap.”

 

“Then it's a good thing you're worth it.”

 

He hated when Steve got all mushy-feelings and sentimental on him. He was already going to have enough of that crap when Peter woke up. He could say what he was really thinking and tell Steve he was definitely not worth it, but then Steve would insist he was and the cycle would continue. So, he settled for, “Whatever you say, Cap.”

 

Steve smiled at him as they walked out the door of his workshop and Tony had a really bad feeling that he wasn't going to give.

 

God damn Captain America.

Chapter Text

“So,” Tony said as he strolled up next to Clint. “Care to share with the class what you've learned?”

 

Clint was filling his coffee mug up and barley paid any mind to Tony. He grunted and Tony know he probably wasn't in the mood for jokes. He had spent the entire night scrubbing through the video files. “I'm not showing you the videos.”

 

Tony groaned. “Come on, Barton, like you wouldn't want to see them if you were me.”

 

“Of course. And if you were me, you wouldn't want me to see them.” Clint took a large gulp from his mug.

 

“I'm not a child. I can just go watch them myself, you know,” Tony argued.

 

“Nope. Nat hid them. You won't find them any time soon.” Clint sighed and turned to look at Tony. “Look, man, I get it. But, the stuff on those tapes...it's rough. And I'm a freaking assassin.”

 

“And I'm some delicate flower? I know what Hydra is capable of. If a kid had to go through it, then I can watch it.” Tony narrowed his eyes.

 

“Stop, Tony.” Clint pinched his eyes shut. “I need some time to get that shit outta my head before I continue.  Pete needs you and if you see that shit, you won't be on your best game. He needs you.”

 

“He's not even awake. I can watch--.”

 

“And what are you going to do after you watch it?” Clint snapped. “It's done. It's over. Watching it won't make it go away.”

 

Tony knew he had to drop it now. Clint was never angry, but when he was, it was a big deal. Whatever made him angry had to be intense. Part of Tony didn't want to know what was on the footage.



What did they do to Peter?



It must have been beyond horrible. And Clint was the one that had to skim through it all. He had to hear those screams from their kid. He had to see what the monsters did to cause if.

 

Tony swallowed. “I'm sorry.”

 

Clint sighed. “It's okay, man. Just...just do me a favor?”

 

“Anything.”

 

“Forget about it. Forget about everything except being there for Peter. Because he's going to need it.”

 

Tony could do that. It was the least he could do for the kid. “Yeah. I promise.”

 

Clint nodded. “Good. No go see him. Make sure he doesn't wake up alone.”


 

He didn't wake up alone. He woke up with Tony by his side and May sleeping on the couch against the chair. Tony was thankful Steve had been able to get Ned out of the room for food. There was no reason for him to see this.

 

Peter woke up with a choked scream. Tony rushed forward while May shot up off the couch. He barely heard her scream for Bruce as Peter continued to choke and sob.

 

“Stop, Peter. Calm down,” Tony said, loudly with a hand on his shoulder.

 

Fat tears slipped from the corner of his eyes as he continued to thrash on the bed. The ventilator was still in his mouth, causing the most problems. He started pulling at it, but it wouldn't budge.

 

Luckily, Bruce was there a moment later and was trying to talk to Peter. “Swallow, Pete.” He held onto the ventilator.

 

Peter shook his head.

 

“Swallow or else it will hurt,” Bruce warned him.

 

Another shake of his head.

 

Bruce clenched his jaw and pulled out the tube anyway. Peter gagged and made more frantic noises. When it was out, Peter coughed and yelled, “Stop!” His voice was raw and so unlike Peter.

 

“Shh, take it easy, Pete. It's okay.” Bruce rubbed his arm and Peter whimpered.

 

“I don't want to eat,” he said, showing no signs of recognizing Bruce.

 

“That's okay, baby,” May cooed as she held his hand. “You don't have to. You're okay.”

 

At the sound of her voice, Peter peeked his eyes open. They stayed on May for a long moment before he whispered, “May…?”

 

She nodded, her own tears spilling. “Yes, Peter, it's me.”

 

Peter started crying again as she leaned forward to pull him into a hug. “I missed you,” he said as his voice broke.

 

“Oh, I missed you, too.” May ran her fingers through his long hair.

 

Tony had to look away as he felt his own eyes burn. He swallowed last the lump in his throat. He didn't look back to Peter until he heard his name being called softly.

 

“Mr. Stark?”

 

He took a quick moment to composition himself before turning back to Peter. “Hey, kiddo, how're you feeling?”

 

Peter ignored his question. “You remembered?”

 

Tony sniffed as he stuffed his hands in his pocket. “Yeah, well, I kept finding your nerdy science tees thrown around my workshop. And your best friend wasn't so ready to let you go.”

 

Peter started to cry again. This time in relief. “Thank you for coming. Thank you for bringing me home.”

 

8 weeks.

 

“I couldn't let you stay there. They've got nothing but poor reviews on Yelp.”

 

Peter tried to smile but it looked too forced. Too pained. “Missed your jokes.”

 

“Yeah, kid, I guess I missed you too.” He used his hand to brush Peter’s bangs from his eyes. He needed a haircut desperately. Well, he needed a lot of things desperately.

 

Peter looked up at him with a small smile, but Tony saw his eyes and how he definitely didn't want to be smiling right now. He was trying so hard to play everything off, but Tony knew there was so much more behind it.

 

Who knew what the hell he went through in their hands? All because he gave himself up for Tony. “Don't do that ever again.”

 

“Mr. Stark, what--?”

 

“If you ever think about turning yourself in for me, I will kill you myself. This self-sacrificing complex of yours needs to stop. Now.” Tony’s voice was stern and strong.

“Mr. Stark!” He whispered loudly, his eyes back and forth to May.

 

Tony scoffed. “Oh, don't worry. She knows.”

 

Peter paled. “What?”

 

“I know, Peter. And believe me: when you're feeling better, we're going to have a long talk, mister.”

 

“May, I can--.”

 

“Not now, please. Just let me enjoy having you back before screaming like a crazy woman.”

 

“Sounds good,” Peter said like he wasn't really sure. He was probably still confused on how May knew about Spider-Man. But she was just happy to get her kid back she didn't care.

 

“Oh, I thought I lost you, baby,” she said, kissing the top of his head.

 

Peter leaved into her hold, letting himself break a little. “They told me everyone thought I was dead. And, and, I really thought no one was going to know I was missing. I was so scared.”

 

Tony looked away. He had never heard the kid admit he was scared before. He's been scared but never enough to say bit out loud. At least when Tony was still in the room.

 

Not that he blamed him for being scared now. He was trapped in a place for 8 weeks without any hope of being found. Tony remembered how it felt like to be in that cave. How he was sure after weeks and weeks, they would have stopped looking.

 

But just like Peter, Tony had a best friend that refused to give up.

 

Peter also had the entire team of Avengers that refused to let him struggle on his own. He was getting through this. They all were.


Ned and May had gone back home only a few hours ago. He had school and May had work. She promised to be back the second she got off, but Tony told her not to rush.

 

Peter slept through the night and looked like he'd sleep through most of the day. Tony hadn't left his side just in case. He didn't want him to wake up alone.

 

So, close to noon, when Peter started to blink his eyes open, Tony was sitting right there. Peter still had that panicked look in his eyes, but it died down when he noticed Tony was there.

 

“H-hey,” he mumbled, visibly relaxing.

 

“Hey, kid,” Tony said, unsure of where to start. Now that May wasn't here, he had the kid conscious and all to himself. He wasn't sure if he liked that combination.

 

Not when he was the one that put him on that damn bed.

 

“Where's May? Ned?” His eyes lazily glanced around the room.

 

“Work. School,” Tony said and then it went quiet. Not a comfortable quiet. He was about to apologize when Peter beat him to it.

 

“Mr. Stark, I’m sorry.”

 

Tony wanted to yell and smack him upside the head for even thinking about apologizing, but that wasn't such a good idea to do to the kid that was mercilessly tortured for weeks.

 

Peter took his lack of response as a bad thing, so he started to ramble, “I was an idiot and got myself caught--.”

 

“Please don't apologize. I'll throw up if you finish that sentence.” Tony shook his head. “You're not the only one that got caught, kid. Actually, you only got caught because of me . You only gave yourself in because of me . And then I left you there for weeks. So, I think I should be the one apologizing.”

 

“You couldn't know, you didn't know,” Peter argued. “They screwed with your head.”

 

“But I could have,” Tony said. “I knew there was something going on. I should have figured it out sooner. Before they--.”

 

Peter squeezed his eyes shut. “Please don't. I don't want to think about it.”

 

Tony paused and was afraid to say, “Pete, you can't...you can't keep it bottled in.” He reached out and took Peter’s hand. Peter gripped it tightly back. “It doesn't have to be me, but you should talk to someone.”

 

The kid’s head barely jerked as a negative. “No, no, I can't--.”

 

Tony raised his free hand. “Okay, not now. But...maybe in the future?” Peter tugged on the blanket but didn't answer. Tony sighed and said, “Fine, but don't--.”

 

Bruce interrupted him by walking in with a tray. He smiled softly at Peter as he placed it down on his bedside table. “How's my patient feeling?”

 

Peter barely showed any sign of seeing or hearing Bruce. His wide eyes were focused on the tray he had brought in. Tony frowned at his reaction. Even Bruce noticed something was wrong.

 

“Peter, are you feeling okay? You look a little pale.” He placed the back of his hand on Peter’s cheek. He didn't even flinch. His face wasn't this white seconds ago.

 

“Pete, c’mon, you're okay,” Tony said softly with Peter’s hand still in his.

 

“I'm going to get him water,” Bruce said before hurrying out of the room.

 

“C’mon, kid, it's just me: Tony. What's wrong?” He asked softly. When he received no response, he followed Peter’s gaze to the covered tray. Tony looked back at Peter and he felt like he was talking to a baby, “The food? Is that what's bothering you?”

 

Peter flinched. Hard.

 

Tony leaned over and pulled the tray into his hands. Peter’s chest started heaving faster. Tony slowly uncovered the lid and all that was there was a bowl of oatmeal. Peter’s eyes started to water.

 

“Peter, it's food.”

 

“N-no,” Peter’s voice broke. “Please.”

 

“Peter, you need to eat. You haven't eaten food in weeks. ” Tony had one hand holding the bowl of oatmeal and the other holding Peter’s hand.

 

“I don't want to eat. You can't make me. No more.” Peter’s eyes were unfocused and watery.

 

Tony wasn't sure how it happened but one moment, he was bringing the bowl closer to Peter and the next, the bowl was being kicked out of his hands. The bowl went flying and shattered on the ground. Broken glass and oatmeal covered the floor.

 

His eyes widened in shock as he turned back to Peter. Peter was breathing a little easier, but he still wasn't completely with them. “I don't want to eat. Please. It hurts.”

 

Rushing forward, Tony sat on the bed next to Peter. He pulled him close to his chest and let Peter cry in his arms. He felt bad for pushing it: whatever problem Peter had with food.

 

“Shh,” he soothed, rubbing his back softly. “It's okay. No eating for now. It's gone.”

 

Peter continued to cry in his arms. Ugly, gasping, choking sobs. “Hurts. No.”

 

Tony pulled him in closer. “You're safe. You're safe.” His lips pressed the top of his head. He looked up at saw Bruce watching them from the doorway.

 

He looked scared.

Bruce never looked scared.

 

Tony squeezed his eyes shut. “It's okay, kiddo, it'll all be okay,” he whispered.


”I'm not playing anymore fucking games,” Tony growled after he cornered Clint. He was on the computer still, doing who knew what. Tony didn't care.

 

“Tony, what's--?”

 

“What did they do to him?” He yelled. He didn't even worry about Peter hearing floors away. He was so out of it before he fell back to sleep, Tony wouldn't be surprised if he slept until night.

 

The confusion left Clint’s face. “Just calm down, Stark. I thought we both already agreed it would be better to sit with the kid and--.”

 

“That was before he started crying at a bowl of oatmeal!” Tony narrowed his eyes and poked Clint in the chest. “Tell me what happened.”

 

Clint must have sensed the fury in Tony’s voice because he didn't argue with him. “You said he's not eating?”

 

Tony nodded, afraid where this was leading to.

 

Sighing, Clint answered, “That's because he didn't want to eat with them either.”

 

“Huh?” His genuine confusion paused his anger just for a moment.

 

Clint ran a hand over his tired face and part of Tony felt bad for freaking out on him. Again. “I'll show you, but just...it's not good. Like really not good. And this is coming from me.

 

“Show me.” Tony didn't care. He wanted to know.

 

Clint sighed and pushed back his chair and stood up. “Sit. You'll need to.”

 

Tony replaced his spot and stared at the screen; it was black. Clint cleared his throat and said, “FRIDAY, playback section 8.” Tony looked up at him and he answered, “Nat and I are sorting the segments of the videos. What's important. What's not.”

 

“Everything is important! Peter was fucking tortured--.”

 

Clint flinched. “Tony, please. I know. Just watch the video.”

 

Now that he was being given permission, he suddenly was having second thoughts. He knew whatever was on this tape would haunt him forever. But if it helped him understand what Peter was going through, then it’d be worth it.

 

“FRI, play,” he said softly.

 

The screen came to life.

 

Peter was strapped to a metal table. He was covered in bruises and blood. But he was still fighting.

 

There was a Hydra agent holding a spoonful of mush next to him. He kept poking Peter’s sealed lips with it. “Open your mouth, boy!”

 

Peter shook his head.

 

An agent next to that one groaned. “Just pry his fucking mouth open. We don't have all day. Boss needs him to eat for the tests “

 

“He hasn't eaten in three days, do you want to try?” The one poking him with a spoon snapped.

 

Tony was so proud. Even though that crap look disgusting, it was probably the biggest temptation for Peter, who hadn't eaten in days. But he kept his lips shut.

 

The hunger strike, while was very noble, scared Tony. Prisoners used he hunger strike when here was no other way out.

 

Is this when Peter started to believe that he wouldn't be rescued?

 

Tony tried not to think about it.

 

Back on the screen, the other guy snapped right back, “Give me that.” He grabbed the spoon in one hand and lifted his other. He jabbed Peter in the ribs with the taser he was holding.  

 

Peter’s back curled as he let out a loud shout. With his mouth open, The food was shoved inside. Peter didn't hesitate before spitting it right back in the guy’s face.

 

The agent wiped the gross crap off his face and raised his hand, ready to smack Peter, but then he was interrupted by Asshole: the guy in charge of all this.

 

“Is it giving you a hard time?”

 

“The subject refuses to eat. Should we stick him with an IV?”

 

Asshole walked over to Peter and smiled. “He think he's so smart. This will accomplish nothing, boy. We will keep you alive, whether you like it or not.” He turned to another man and ordered, “Bring me the tube. I want him to hurt.”

 

They came back, wheeling over a large tubing.

 

Tony frowned, turning around to face Clint. His face was pale as he stared down at his feet. Tony looked back.

 

They were unraveling the tubing while Asshole spoke, “We gave you a chance. You could have ate like a normal human. But, no, you must be difficult.”

 

Peter’s eyes were glancing back at the tubing as well.

 

“You cannot die. We will not let you.” Asshole grabbed Peter’s cheeks and said, “They all think you're dead. Anyone that has ever known you. No one will come looking. That means you have the rest of your life to spend with us.”

 

Peter shook his head.

 

Asshole made him nod his head. “Yes. Now, I hope you learn your lesson because this is not something you'd want us to do again.” He jerked Peter’s head to the side and turned around. “Get him hooked up, boys.”

 

It was obvious what it was. Or maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was. Maybe Tony just didn't want to believe it. But when he saw them force Peter’s jaw open and shows the tube in his mouth, his stomach churned.

 

He didn't want to watch. But he felt Peter deserved that much if he suffered through it. Alone.

 

They worked slowly, inching the tube deeper and deeper. Peter was making choking noises and pained whimpers, but they continued. It was large and no doubt scraping up the lining of his esophagus.

 

It didn't stop. It went on for a few minutes as tears leaked from Peter’s eyes. He couldn't cry. Not with the tube in his throat. He could barely breathe.

 

They stopped finally, probably when it would go no further. Peter was grunting and making noises Tony hoped he never heard again.

 

Asshole looked over their work and grinned. “So, it still works. How does it feel, boy? Feel nice?” He jerked on the tube coming out of Peter’s mouth and the kid let out a strangled cry.  He smiled. “Dinner time, boys.”

 

One man came over with a funnel, while the other came with a bowl and poured the mushy concoction down the pipe. Peter cried louder.

 

“You asked for this. You could have eaten this like a normal human.”

 

At one point, the agent got a little to eager with the pouring and Peter started choking. Asshole barely cared. “Slow it down. We don't want him dead.”

 

Peter squeezed his eyes shut so his panicked gaze wasn't all over the room anymore.

 

They continued for a few minutes until they were out of ‘food’. Peter looked relieved but then tensed up again when Asshole said they weren't done: they had to let the food settle so he didn't throw it back up.

 

All while, Peter laid there trying his best not to move.

 

He stayed like that for a half hour before they finally started removing the tube. The process hurt just as much coming out as it did putting it in. Peter screamed some more and was close to unconscious when it was fully out.

 

Tony wanted to be sick. He wanted that to be a bad dream. He knew Hydra was bad, but to see his kid go through something of that level…

 

Back on the screen, hey were talking and taunting him, but Peter just laid there and cried.

 

They didn't even clean up the mess of the mush they split on his chest and face. They just left him panting and struggling to catch his breath on the metal table.

 

The video paused.

 

Tony felt a tear fall down his cheek. He didn't bother to hide it from Clint.

 

“They do that 12 more times until they put him under.”

 

Tony wiped at his face, wanting time just wake up from this nightmare. That's why Peter panicked at the ventilator in his mouth. That's why he didn't want to eat. It all made sense.

 

He turned to Clint. “I want to watch the rest.”

 

“But--.”

 

“Give me a glossary for the segments. I don't care. I'm going to watch it all.”

 

Clint hesitated but nodded anyway. He returned with a spiral notebook opened to a page with a lot of words scrawled on the page in one hand and a garbage can in the other.

 

Tony stared at the small bucket and he couldn't take his eyes off of it. He knew why Clint was giving it to him. He swallowed as he listened to Clint say, “It's...it's rough, Tony.”

 

Taking both of them in his hands, he said, “Then I better get started before the kid wakes up.” He started reading through the notes and said, “FRIDAY, segment 4.”


The video started playing and Tony took a deep breath. Here we go...