Chapter 1: Bad Life! Better life? - The Boy
Stopping to stabilize his breath, Bucky's body sweltered with sweat as his hands pressed against his knees for support (after completing his daily exercise routine) to prevent the man from keeling over.
'Oh God, i must've really lost track of time, Steve will be troubling himself wondering where I am! Oh well I'll make my way back now'
Regaining composure, he sauntered the long way home to the Avengers Tower, taking in the more alluring sights of the 'Big Apple'... Well that was until he was stopped in his tracks.
"Please stop! Please, I am begging you, it hurts!" - A voice in the distance whimpers attempting to reason with his attacker. Bucky considers whether or not the cry is genuine - maybe it was just some teenagers having there own standards of fun.
As loud and sudden as a gunshot, a blood-curling scream immediately grabs Bucky's attention - who instantaneously figured this wasn't the victim of a mess about. Frantically, he forages to find the vulnerable soul waiting to be rescued. Worrying about what could - NO - what will happen if he doesn't find the attackers prey in time, Bucky identifes the anxiety rushing through him as he feels useless wanting nothing more than to help.
"You're going to do what I say kid or I'll kill ya and dump your body in the river - it's not as if anyone will come looking for you anyway" the other voiced called out in a menacing and sinful tone. "Now be a good, little boy and help your daddy here". The harrowing voice laughed out as he had his sufferer exactly where he wanted him.
Bucky examines his surroundings. Left first and then swiftly turns his head right gazing into the dark, sopping alley to see a man - a rough, overweight and tall brute - laughing as he channeled his power and weight into governing the minor to do exactly what he wanted. The young boy was squirming to get away from the hellish situation he was currently pinned into. Bucky's heart dropped into his stomach as he ran down the dingy area (as fast as humanely possibly) to be left alarmed and disgusted by what the man's intentions were. The thug had managed to tear the boy's already ripped jeans away from his body, about to remove the lower layer and complete his exploitation of the fragile junior...
A rage takes over Bucky's mind, he hadn't felt this way since looking out for Steve all those years ago. Bucky reaches out just in time to grapple the monster hurling him 10 feet in the opposite direction. The criminal pounds into the ground - falling into a deep concussion eliminating the immediate threat and serving the criminal a small part of the justice he deserved.
"Send the police to Evans Boulevard. They have a criminal that needs to branded with justice" He demanded to his mysterious contact on the other end.
Bucky eyes trailed from the man turning his focus to the young teen - wanting to tell him everything will be okay, that he's safe now - but he couldn't guarantee that despite his good intentions.
Bucky reaches out - he wanted to help, no he needed to help. The youngster was mortified, attempting to scoot back away from Bucky. Failing to move away he instead exposes his cuts, his scars, his broken arm. Bucky's world was turned upside-down. Horror could clearly be seen in the child's deep, brown puppy eyes that had melted Bucky's heart, which was a very rare occasion (especially considering it was Bucky).
"Hey come on kid, you're not going to get anywhere like that. Please let me help", as gently as he could, Bucky once again reaches his arm out - only for the teenager to cower away. "Please, please don't make me beg, you need help or at least let me take you home. Where do you live?". He poured his emotions out to the child. It usually took Bucky longer to care for someone, it did for Steve, but this kid was unique. He was different. Bucky felt a personal responsibility to cradle him and protect him from all dangers they could possibly face.
Failing to get through, the child stands turns and runs out into the streets - into one of the busiest roads in Manhattan, narrowly missing the oncoming traffic. Bucky gave chase, but there was no way he'd be able to get pass the bus in time, so halts to a stop. As the bus departs, Bucky glares into the road and to the other side and the boy had completely vanished - disappeared out of sight. Bucky began to panic (even more than when he thought he lost Steve forever - after he sacrificed himself to stop Hydra from bombing New York), but what could he do? He didn't have a clue where the kid ran off too. He leaves the street and heads back to Avengers Tower filled with shame and fearful of what could happen to the child all alone in the city.
Later back at Avengers Tower...
Bucky enters the elevator still filled with shame, fear and panic. "Welcome home Mr Barnes", the automated voice of Friday called out.
"Not now Friday, please I'm not in the mood for this", he returned.
"Okay, sorry Mr Barnes" - Friday knew better than to push Bucky for answers when he was in a foul mood like this.
The doors open again allowing him to enter his and Steve's apartment.
"Hey Buck, where have you been, I was starting to get worried" - Steve was relieved to see Bucky was back home.
"Steve, I can't stay. I've come to get changed and I'm going back out there. Please understand - I will explain everything when I get back". Bucky rushed to get changed as quick as he could.
"Wait Buck, tell me what's going on?" Steve vocalised his worry for his partner.
"Steve, not now - I really got to go!" Bucky blared out as he left their apartment to carry on his search for the boy.
Chapter 2: Bad Life! Better life? - What Lays Beneath
Warning: Depictions Of Major Injury and hallucinations
Natasha enters Steve's apartment after hearing all the commotion erupt.
"Steve, what happened? What's with all the shouting? Are you okay?" She exclaimed with a concerned look on her face.
"Yeah I'm fine, but I have no idea what's up with him. He came in all anxious saying 'I've come to get changed and I'm going back out there'. He changed his clothes and left immediately without any interaction or explanation! I tried to ask him what was wrong, but he shrugged me off and said 'he really had to go'. Should I be worried?" Steve asked with a dose of confusion and fret.
"I'm sure he's fine and he'll tell you everything when he's done what he needs to do. Maybe he has urgent business he needs to take care of", Nat letting off less than she really seems to know.
"He always tells me about business though! Maybe you're right, well at least I hope you're right Nat, I really hope you're right" Steve replied sounding hopeful yet doubtful.
Bucky returns to the scene beginning his search in the surroundings he first found the youth, scouring everything around him in great detail. Bucky torments himself with thoughts that are terrifying to say the least - 'what if he's dead'. 'What if he's been taken'. 'He wouldn't have been able to defend himself in the state he was in'. 'Please say nothing has happened to him, God why did I let him get away'. If something did happen to the boy, Bucky would be burdened with the guilt for the rest of his life.
Bucky continued to roam along the route in which the kid escaped, trying to process everything, anything that would lead him to finding the endangered child. Seconds turn to minutes and minutes turn to hours looking far and wide for the subdued kid - hoping that he turns out okay. Bucky couldn't take the risk, he needed to be definite that he was safe and secure away from the danger he faces on the streets. It was his moral obligation to make sure the kid was in no more situations like before.
Continuing to sweep the streets and alleys scouting out the boy, he was having no luck. Bucky felt that it was hopeless, what if he never found him. Throwing his hands upto his head to release some stress and reconsider his tracks. Suddenly he heard a voice grunting in pain.
Briskly, he turned in a 360 degree motion. Looking directly down the alley, he detected a set-up of cardboard boxes in the alley behind a restaurant. It could've been anyone, but there was something eating away at Bucky - 'what if it is the child I'm looking for?'. He couldn't risk the chance of not checking at least.
He proceeded through the darkness of the alley way. Hearing moans of pain and discomfort made Bucky distressed (part of him wishing it wasn't the kid). The further he approached, the louder and more agony he heard from the cardboard unit. Cautiously, he slowly walks over to discover what or who were trying to remain concealed away - only to be shocked with what brought tears to his eyes... the dampened cardboard was deteriorating, as was the child underneath.
"Hey kid, it's me. Come on let's get you out of he-" Bucky tried to be gentle, but was cut off by the rambling cries of the boy underneath.
"Please I-I a-am so so sorry. Please don't hurt me. I-I-I'll be good I promise!" the boy begged for the pain to stop, for people to stop.
Uncontrollably shaking and fevered, Bucky decided he needed to get the kid out of there now - he needed medical attention and the best place he would receive that would be on the medical bay of Avengers Tower. Bucky removed his phone and rang his emergency contact in a panic stricken voice.
"Hey its Buck, meet me on Pineway Walk, please hurry it's urgent". Bucky arubtly ended the call to the person on the other end.
"You're going to be okay kid, we're going to get you help" Bucky promises him as he picks him up into his arms - no resistance from the youngen due to the lack of energy, but that didn't stop the pleas of wanting his pain to stop. Again, the child's scars, bruises etc were exposed creating a somber feeling deep inside Bucky.
The emergency contact pulls up at the end of the alley, pulling the doors apart, nearly tearing them from the vehicle.
"Come on, get in!" Natasha demanded.
Bucky didn't hesitate, as he quickly bundled himself and the injured child into the car. The car hastened away as it raced against time to get back to the tower. Not a word was spoken on the way there - apart from the rambling of the damaged boy. Nat's eyes remained focused on the road as she sped through the streets probably breaking all the laws set for the road.
The child continued to cry out in pain and desperation - Bucky pulled him in closer. The sounds had completely faded as the kid fell into an unconscious state.
"Hey kiddo, come on wake up. Don't you dare give up on me now". All Natasha could do was observe - she had never seen Bucky in such a state, NEVER.
"Buck, we're here. Bruce is in the bay now" She said softly in hopes of calming him down.
As they arrive at the tower, Natasha bursts through the door as if it were barricaded, clearing the way for Bucky and the child he grasped so tightly. Without stopping they moved as rapidly as possible towards the elevator waiting to reach the medical bay to get the help they needed.
"Help!" Bucky screeched as soon as the doors opened. A team of nurses and Bruce ran over to assist the boy. "Is he going to be okay, Bruce please you need to save him!"
"Were going to do everything we can. The best thing you can do now is just letting us get to work", Bruce tries to reassure him the best he could.
The whole world around Bucky slowed down and drowned out, as all he could do was think about the boy and pray he pulls through. What if it was too late? Natasha pulled Bucky close to her. All they could do now was wait...
Chapter 3: Bad Life! Better life? - The Final Straw
Depiction of the build-up and attempted suicide of a minor
Following a night full of stress and anxiety, Bucky had finally returned to the land of the living. Awakening to the soothing, calm and collected voice and suprisingly tender touch of Dr Bruce Banner (who knew the Hulk of all people had such a soft touch to him - well his alter ego, but still). This startled him in the process. Without any hesitation he sprung to his feet in the hope of receiving positive news.
"Sorry to give you a little scare" - Bucky could see a smirk slowly taking over Banner's face. "Don't look so worried, it's good news - he's going to pull through Bucky, he's going to be fine. Although He'll need to rest for the next few days or so. I recommend he remains here until then - at least another two days - but from his progress he should be able to leave the med bay by the end of the day. He will need to be fully supported though". Bruce said in a smooth, reassuring manner.
"Thank you so much Bruce. I honestly don't know what we would do without you", Bucky was in high spirits after hearing this information.
"Don't worry about it - I mean it allows me to keep my mind occupied and prevent it dying from boredom" - Bruce begins to walk away, when he turns back to Bucky, but this time a look of concern and worry filled his face. "Hey Bucky, I wasn't going to share this because it's the kid's privacy and all, but it's too important not too share. He's.. he's...."
"Brucie, what is it? Come on, spit it out -you're making me panic!" Bucky's heart began to palpatate quicker than it ever had before (even faster than when he was fighting in the war).
"Something ate away at me because I only stabilised the boy when he came in and therefore didn't get the chance to examine him over fully. Once you fell asleep, I thought I would do an x-ray to make sure there's wasn't anything I was missing - You know better to be safe than sorry. There's no easy way for me to say this, but the kid... his body is full of everything and I mean everything. He's got burn marks on his back and torso, cuts all over - and they were difficult to find because of all the bruises. He has tears in areas he shouldn't. Bucky I think he may have been assaulted - both sexually and physically - and more than once!" The mood suddenly dropped and the horror struck as Bucky looked to Bruce with a mortified glare.
Bruce turned and walked away with his head hung in sadness - he hated having to relay messages like this. Steadily he made his way back to his office. Bucky stumbled to his feet and walked into the room, where the kid was sleeping so peacefully and calm (nothing like the state he found him). Carefully and cautiously scooting over so he didn't wake him up.
"Hey kiddo, I know you can't hear me right now, but when you wake I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure you remain safe and protected - even if we never talk after this, I'm going to keep my eye out for you kid. Now I understand why you was so sceptical of human contact when I held my hand out to help, but trust me I will never hurt you and neither will anyone else under my watch. We need to talk though when you wake, we need to let whoever cares for you know that you're safe, as you're going to remain here with me for the next few days. Boy you're in for a shock though (hope you're a fan of the Avengers)" He said in a soft, calm voice.
Bucky had remained at the bedside for hours - until he was called to the common floor, as Tony called a meeting for all the tenants of the Avengers Tower to attend.
The child had finally woke from his slumber with no one around - again - but this was nothing he wasn't used too. He had no idea of where he was or who brought him here or why he was here. The youngster moved himself from the bed and winced at the pain his whole body emitted - this was not going to stop him from exploring the unfamiliar building as he walked the halls of the med bay in astonishment.
'Wow this floor alone is bigger than the whole of Aunt May's house, well what used to be her house' - he felt the emotions building inside of him, as the pain of losing his dear aunt is still just as raw and painful from when she was first taken away.
However, he continued on to locate the med bay store room where all medicine was kept - he presumed. Looking around at all the medication, the teen grabbed the only box he recognised could cause him damage (he knew that painkillers would do the trick as Aunt May used to warn him about taking too much and the dangerous effects they had), but that wasn't all he needed.
He continued to shuffle until he found the staircase, which went all the way up and all the way down the length of the building. Dragging himself up the stairs to the next floor and pushing through the agonising pain, he knew that he hit the jackpot he wanted when he found the floor filled with vintage wine, beer, spirits - all the alcohol you could imagine was there. It took the boy a while to look through the bottles - as if he was looking for something specific - until he came across a certain brand of whiskey ('the one uncle Ben used to consume' - he thought to himself). The child knew he had all the components to execute the plan, now where could he go to fulfil it.
"Bucky, how the hell could you be so stupid? You don't know him, what if he has a connection to Hydra? What then? God, you never think this shit over do you?" Stark confronted him with his anger and wrath.
"Woah, language Tony!" Steve interjected to assert his displeasure at such distasteful language.
"Come on Stark, you're being ridiculous and a jerk right now! Ask Bruce, the boy is only young - and definitely not capable of Hydra's line of work". Bucky shot back showing Tony he was not intimidated by him at all. Bucky looked to Bruce - his eyes sending him the message to speak up.
"Tony, he's right. The boy is young. He may be 12/13, 14 at a push". Bruce replied whilst trying to maintain civility between the group.
Out of nowhere, Wanda and Vision jumped to Tony's defence. "We're sorry guys, but he's right. We don't know what danger he may pose and we need to protect ourselves. We can't risk Hydra taking over this place. I mean look what happened to the SHIELD HQ".
Clint, Natasha, Sam and even Thor (who was usually the most vocal of the group) sat in utter silence, not knowing what to say.
"Sorry to bother you in the middle of your meeting Mr Stark, but there appears to be a man sat on the edge of the roof in major distress". Friday the AI called out.
"Friday, identify the face please" He instructed the AI.
Friday displayed the image of the victim on the screen of the TV.
"Oh shit!" Bucky, Natasha and Bruce all called out in unison. They recognised the face didn't belong to a man, but rather the vulnerable boy they had brought back to the building to save. All three ran out of the room leaving the rest of them to stop and stare at the three, who urgently left without an explanation. They all exchanged looks between one another - confused by their reactions.
Reaching the rooftop, Bucky called out to the kid "Please stop, don't move kiddo. I'm going to help", trying his best to remain calm and as reassuring as possible whilst choking on the lump forming in his throat. "I'm going to help you okay, we're going to get through this together. So please come to me."
Gradually approaching the boy so he didn't scare him, Bucky wasn't expecting to see what the child had done. The child manoeuvred and turned himself around only to drop the three empty packs of painkillers and the bottle of whiskey, which was almost empty onto the floor beneath him. The boy began to sway as he felt himself beginning to fall from the building, as the world turned into a deep, desolate pit of darkness.
Bucky lunged forward with Bruce and Natasha not far behind. Leaning over the ledge and nearly toppling over in the process, Bucky gripped the boy's collar just in time to prevent him from meeting his disconsolated death hundreds of storys down. Natasha helped haul the boy back over the edge and into the safe embrace of Bucky, who cradled the boy tightly in his arms holding the kid's head close to his chest, sobbing and not caring who sees. Both Natasha and Bruce both showed their vulnerable sides as well by showing emotion they haven't ever shown before (at least in front of the others).
"Hey Bruce, do you have anything that could make him regurgitate the pills and alcohol back up? We might be able to stop the poisoning before it reaches danger levels" Natasha asked, clearly distraught.
A nod was what she received as a response, as he rushed off back into the building, hurrying to get to the medical bay. The Avengers passed Bruce and saw the tears streaming down his face before realising this was a lot more serious than they thought. The rest of the team joined Bucky and Natasha on the roof (Steve and Clint sprinted over to be pillars of support to their respective partners) only to be pertubed joining them looking down into the deep, pool of brown eyes of an unconscious kid - the one they either didn't defend or were against.
Chapter 4: Bad Life! Better life? - Can Those Who Don't Want To Be Saved, Actually Be Saved
This is and probably will always be my shortest chapter, its more of a filler between the events of chapter 3 and chapter 5. The next chapter is my longest so far, so i hope i can make up for this one being so short
Warning: Aftermath of a suicide attempt
The rest of the Avengers gather around to support the rest of the group and the boy.
"Oh God! Bucky I swear if I had seen the kid beforehand, I wouldn't have been so harsh. I really thought you and Bruce were exaggerating about the age". Tony was full of regret after his harsh judgement of the ill-fated child before he even saw him - now he's broken, open and vulnerable lying moments from fully overdosing, moments away from tangling with death. Tony's voice was just as quivered as his body was.
"Shut the fuck up Stark! Not now, we need to help him first. He's top priority now". Bucky's tone was angry, but the worried kind. The annoyed kind. The useless feeling kind. Tony knew this, he knew Bucky was panicking and decided he needed to ease the stress of the situation.
Tony stands attempting to discretely leave so he can investigate who the boy really was and maybe (just maybe) he would discover an indication as to why such a young soul felt the only way forward was to end their life. Running wildly through his mind like a raging fire were his thoughts. 'Why, how is it even possible, life can't be that hard for him. He's only a younger'. However, No one knew of his true intentions, so presumed the worst of him. Everyone's faces look staggered believing that he was being the 'selfish Stark' as he was portrayed to be by the media.
Bruce arrives back on the rooftop cutting everyone's thoughts from Tony back to the situation unfolding in front of them. "Bucky, inject this into him now, straight through his clothes!" Bruce exclaimed, whilst trying to recuperate his breathing to a normal, steady pace after frantically searching for the medication.
Bucky did not hesitate, ripping the medication from Banner's hand - nearly taking the hand with him - and immediately pierced the needle through the hospital gown and into the boy's battered and bruised arm. Bucky stared in the face of the young kiddo and waited for a reaction.
Although this devastating situation unfolded before their eyes and they were distaught by the sight - no one could quite figure out why Bucky cared for a stranger he barely knew (it was so unlike him).
A train full of painful thoughts entered his head - why wasn't he reacting? Was he too late? Bucky hands reached to touch his face. Why did he care for this kid so much - it wouldn't happen to be the fact that he saw a lot of Steve (pre-serum) in him. Would it?
Continuing to caress the child's face, he was beginning to give up hope (was this it? Was it really his time to go?).
"Please he's just a young boy! Someone fucking do something!" Everyone felt the rippling agony in his voice, yet there was nothing they could do except wait.
Promptly, his body began to convulse and his eyes suddenly shot open. Bucky tried to counter and refrain the violent shakes, the harsh convulsions caused him to vomit. The few contents left in his stomach were spread across the floor. The kid unintentionally looked upto Bucky. His eyes and mind were delirious and unsure of his current situation, but he just didn't have the energy to care. Through sheer exhaustion, he closed his eyes and entered into a new slumber (one in which he wouldn't hand be harmed). Bucky continued rubbing his back trying to console the boy, to give him comfort, to tell him that he wasn't alone and he never needed to be or feel alone ever again.
Chapter 5: Bad Life! Better life? - Alive, But Not Where It Matters
After the shockingly short chapter 4, i have now completed this chapter, which is my longest so far. I hope it doesn't seem rushed as i have spent days writing this part.
Warning: Aftermath of attempted suicide. Also, another attempt - not as descriptive as the last - but still a warning.
Relieved at the sight of the sleeping child, but still filled to the brim with obvious anxiety and fear, Bucky held the boy in a bridal style. He Decided to bring him back into the tower and out of the rain that was falling like hail and picking up pace.
A voice from the left of Bucky spoke out. "Are we going back to the med bay? I can go down and prepare the room". The voice, now calm and collected came from Bruce, who was glaring at Bucky waiting for an answer.
Appreciating the concern, but stumped for thoughts, Bucky was consciously trying to make a decision. Would he take the boy back to the med bay (where he knew he'd receive the help he needed), but somehow managed to escape and scale the tower without anyone's knowledge or take him to the common floor. The common floor had a spare room just in case someone was too exhausted to make it back to there floor after a mission or one of there many eventful nights.
'The common floor spare room could be the best place for the boy' Bucky thought to himself. 'We would all be outside waiting, there's no way he could escape without one of us noticing'. Bucky persued his internal debate before being cut off by the same voice that made him weigh up his options.
"Bucky, are we going back to the med bay?" Bruce called out again in hopes that he would receive a response this time, a hint of impatience resonating from his mouth.
"Sorry, um I was just thinking. I think it'd be best if we took him to the common floor with the rest of us. That way if he wakes up, at least we know he can't leave or get away or put himself in danger again because one of us would surely notice him". Bucky hoped everyone would agree with his ideology, he really didn't have the patience to dispute.
Everyone began to shake there heads in agreement, until one decided to speak out.
"That actually sounds clever. Well considering it's coming from you. I was wondering if you'd ever give a good idea!" Clint humoured with a smirk building on his face.
A hand swiftly made its way towards the back of Clint's head playfully, but roughly. He looked around to figure out where the slap came from before realising Natasha habouring a smile even bigger than his.
"Don't worry about him, he's just jealous of you because we all know that he's yet to say something useful, never mind clever!" Natasha jeered as it managed to put a smile on everyone's face - including Bucky's. "But yeah, I'd have to agree. That's probably the best solution - even if it does mean agreeing with Clint. God, I never thought I'd ever say that".
Clint shot her a look - even sharper than one of his arrows - looking slightly offended, but shrugged off with a laugh.
"Friday please take us to the common floor please". Steve sealed the decision, everyone had settled on.
"Certainly Sir". The British sounding AI spoke back in her usual respective manner before moving the Avengers (and the still unidentified child) down to the floor they wished to be taken.
- Meanwhile -
Back in his lab, Tony decided to solve the case. Who is the unidentified person in question.
Speaking with a hint of sorrow and concern in his voice, Tony asked his AI for help. "Hey Friday, do you still have the image of the recognition scan I asked for? The kid on the roof I mean?"
"I certainly do sir", the AI responded with a dose of pride in her response. "I presumed you would try to pry information on the assailant".
"Right, okay. Um, do a background check against all the databases you can find and don't try to converse until you have a result". Tony demanded sounding aggressive, but it was obvious he was just through concern.
The room was completely soundless.
Within a few minutes however, Friday spoke out. "Sir, I thi-" before being cut off arubtly by an annoyed sounding Tony.
"Fri what did I say?" Tony spoke in a condescending tone. "Just figure out the boy's name".
"Sir, shut up and listen!" Friday conversed in a demanding way, this leaving Tony with a shocked expression spread across his face. The AI continued, "Thank you. So I have found a match on the database. The person in question is 'Peter Parker' - an 11 year old male from Queens. It appears that he is due to attend Midtown High (a school specialising in technology and science) through a scholarship in a few weeks time. There is a hefty lot of information here, would you like me to still continue?"
"No, thank you Friday. Send the information to my devices and uh tell everyone to meet me on the common floor please. Tell them it regards our mysterious youth".
Tony was suprised by how fast Friday managed to collect the information. He stopped and thought to himself, 'of course he could collect it quick, I mean I am the genius behind it all' - his thoughts were intercepted, when the AI responded.
"Sir, I believe everyone is already in the common room. I can alert them of you're new found documentation and ask them to relocate from the shared eating area to the lounge area, if that's what you would like".
"Yes Friday, do that", Tony shouted as he stumbled out of his lab and into the elevator.
As the elavator doors opened to the common floor, all attention turned to Tony.
"Uh oh God, how are you guys capable of jogging for so long. Running to the elevator nearly knocks the life out of me" Tony spoke whilst trying to recollect his breath.
"Stark, what's this about - it sounded urge-" Steve began to ask with curiosity before Tony bluntly silenced him.
"Shh Capsicle. I know who the kid is. His name is 'Peter Parker', he's from Queens and is due to start at Midtown High in a few weeks on a scholarship. He must be some form of genius because it's not easy to get a scholarship there and-"
"Right...but is that all you got? I mean haven't you got any information which may point us in the direction of why he wanted to do this?" Clint asked in a apprehensive way.
"Of course! What do you take me for?" Tony quickly shot back. "I haven't read it all yet though, here's the rest of the intel". Tony connected the tech around his hand, which contained the information they needed to each of the tablets situated around the table.
All eyes reverted to the screens as the room fell into silence - everyone focused on the text - reading the scraps that were highlighted due to being the most important information, courtesy of Friday.
'Peter Parker - 11 year old male from Queens. Due to start at Midtown High on a scholarship in a few weeks time'.
After skimming across the information they learned previous to this, they dove into unknown territory. No one knowing of what was about to come there way - the devastation, the pain he faced...
'At the age of six, Peter and his parents - Mary and Richard Parker (both SHIELD agents) - were involved in a car crash in which he was the only survivor. The driver was said to have been drunk when he collided with there car. Parker escaped with cuts and bruises to his arms and legs, as well as three broken ribs, the rest being bruised'.
"Oh shit, this must've been awful for him!" Clint remarked in utter shock. Everyone looked to him and then back down to continue reading.
'After this incident, Peter moved in with maternal Aunt, May Parker and his uncle Benjamin 'Ben' Hughson. He lived with them for four years until an incident occurred resulting in the boy losing his uncle - whom he shared a very close relationship with. Peter and his uncle were walking back from a store located approximately five minutes away from there apartment when the incident occurred. A thief named Mario Descante - known for both petty robbery and large scale, planned heists - who is also now deceased was responsible. He attempted to confront and steal money from Ben, but as went to grab his wallet from his pocket, he was shot dead in front of his nephew and left to die on the sidewalk. Peter was found on scene smothered in his uncle's blood refusing to leave his uncle's body laying on the concrete below - whilst also refusing to believe that he was dead. Eventually, May Parker (the Boy's aunt) arrived and managed to heave him away from the body. Both were devastated by the sudden death and began attending therapy to talk and move on through the grief, which was successful after a long period of time.'
"You guys don't think it will get worse right? I mean maybe he didn't mean for any of his attempt to happen. Surely nothing else can happen". Clint wanted to believe that nothing else had happened, the boy had already been through enough, but with everyone's glares and his mind replaying those scenarios over and over, he knew it was likely that this wouldn't be the last factor in the kid's life that drove him towards attempting suicide. Again everyone turned there attention back to the case they had in front of them.
'Finally getting over the grief of his uncle, his elenth birthday would be one he wouldn't forget, Peter's last known living relative - May Parker - fell ill with a condition (autoimmune encephalitis, a life-threatening condition where the immune system attacks the brain). This pushed the Parker's into a financial strain as May could no longer work. After a month of treatment, May lost her battle with her condition after only a short amount of time and Peter lost the only person left in his life. A social worker had to visit the hospital as Peter refused to leave his dead aunt's side. She tried to get Peter to leave with her so she could add him into the foster system as soon as possible, but he refused to leave. The woman left to get someone else to help her get the child and bring him to the care home. However, when she returned to the room, Parker had already fled the scene. There was a report filed on him and he is still classed as a missing person. Parker is still being sought out by the CPS (Child Protection Services), but no luck of finding him has come yet. It has been over seven months since the child was reported missing. It is now believed that the youngen has either been taken in, kidnapped or dead as the search for Peter is losing pace.'
The room was left in stunned stillness, until Clint opened his mouth again.
Emotional and on the verge of tears, he blurts out. "What the fuck!" The sudden outburst startled everyone as they look in his direction. "How the hell does this happen to a single person? How does this happen to a God damn child? Th-this kid has faced losing four parental figures in the space of five years. This isn't right!"
"Clint calm down. We should contact the CPS and let them know that he's here and that they need to collect him", Steve said with caution in his tone.
"Steve, what the hell!" Bucky turned to his partner with horror and disgust made obvious by the expression on his face. "He's been living on the streets for seven months to evade them and now you just want to hand him over. What if he escapes again? What happens if he tries again? Without us, he might die. We can't give him up!"
This time a voice from the end of table piped up. "Look Bucky, I know your upset, but Steve's right, we can't keep him here. It's not legal and non of us have the parental rights to - he's better off in foster care than the streets".
"Fuck you Wanda!" Clint screeched as tensions were flaring and continuing to rise. "We are not getting rid of the kid, he needs to be supported!"
Clint, Steve, Bucky, Wanda, Natasha and Vision continued there altercation squalling and shouting obscenities at each other, whilst the others sat there in shock.
Tony mouths over to Bruce asking where Thor is before learning that the Norse God had to return to Asgard to talk with his father Odin.
-- A few minutes ago --
Peter was roused from his deep sleep, awakened (again in an unfamiliar setting) by the commotion outside. He began to panic - unsure of who was waiting on the other side. Maybe he'd been kidnapped and his attackers were on the other side of the door. The thought of what there intentions could be is the part that scared him the most.
Every moment he listened, a new voice seemed to speak out. 'How many people does it take to kidnap one child', he thought to himself.
Discretely, he made his way over to the door trying to remain as silent as he could, so whoever was holding him captive wouldn't be alerted. Cautiously opening it, he examines the room outside - this didn't help in figuring where he was being held prisoner. His eyes turn to the right to see the people sitting around the table, but these were not any ordinary people (these were the Avengers). He finally figured out where he was. Why the hell was he in Avengers Tower?
He continued to examine the room, hoping he wouldn't get caught as he was conducting and perfecting his escape route. Looking straight ahead, he noticed a large opening, which led to a balcony. 'Perfect' he though to himself. This was his chance to escape his life, his never-ending misery, all the pain.
Looking back to the table filled with Avengers, who were all busy arguing amongst themselves, he knew this was his oppurtunity, that it was now or never. He leaves the boarders of his confinement and begins running to the point he considers his solution. Edging closer and closer, Bucky looks up and sees the kid and where he is moving towards.
"Peter, Stop! Don't take one more step, I mean it!" his voice stopped the arguing Avengers as they all looked to where Bucky's voiced was aimed.
Loud footsteps approached Peter, who was startled by the fact they called his name, but none of them had stood or left the table. Not willing to let the chance slide, he continues running towards the open area - not noticing the tall, muscular man getting closer. He gets so close to his escape, he feels like he can finally breath again - find relief again. At the moment he is about to leap, his breath is taken away by the body that had landed on his.
Looking disappointed through his eyes, he discovers the man on top crushing him, preventing him from being free is non other than the God of Thunder himself.
"I am terribly sorry child of midgard, but unless you have some powers you would not have survived that mighty fall" Thor's voice thundered the obvious observation - naively unknowing of Peter's true intentions.
Bucky looked on in utter horror as he left his position on the table - followed by Clint - and was thankful Thor arrived when he did. Walking towards the kid, he was angry and distressed by the situation that had unfolded.
"What the fuck do you think you were doing!" He screamed at the boy below. "Do you have any idea of how worried I was? You don't get to do that to me kid!"
Peter looked up at Bucky, his head full of mixed feeling. Fear, confusion and panic prominent in his eyes, whilst Bucky continued his rant at the child.
"First I find you being beat on by some by some brute, I save you, but you leave for no reason. Then I somehow manage to find you again, which is like an impossible task in this fucking city, only to see you struggling with a fever, cuts and bruises and a broken arm. So again I help you, bring you to the tower - and what for? For you to go and piss your life away, which again we saved you from for you to try again! Why don't you care? What is your fucking problem kid?"
The boy's eyes widened as he looked up in trepidation, tears streaming down his face as his heartbeat and breathing hastened. His body clearly shaking as Bucky shortened the distance between them.
Overhead a voice cut in with an urgent warning. "I'm sorry to disturb you all, but the boy's stress level is continually increasing exponentially. So is his heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Along with the trembling of his body, I believe he is currently experiencing a panic attack". The AI advised them in a concerned voice.
"Shit, kid I'm sorry" Bucky says as he approaches the boy on the floor. "Look at me. Come on look at me". He pulls the child's body closer to his, forcing the boy's head onto his own chest. "Right, listen to me breathing and copy the pattern okay? We need to stabilise you're breath". He held Peter tighter in his arms, wiping away the tears streaming from his eyes. "I've got you okay, I'm not going anywhere and neither are you" Bucky attempts to reassure him.
Everyone looked on in shock, awe and amazement at how well Bucky was dealing with the situation. How fatherly he was being to a kid he met only the day before.
"Good, you're doing great. Just keep going. Barton, grab a bottle of water and something for the kid to eat please".
"Uh yeah, sure thing". Clint immediately stood and ran into the kitchen connected to the lounge to do what was asked. Returning back with a bottle of water and a pack of chocolate digestives to Bucky.
"Alright drink this Petey". Bucky held the bottle whilst Peter drank from it - it looked like a baby being fed.
"Everything is okay, you're going to be fine" Bucky spoke with a smile spreading at the site of the boy recovering from his panicked state - hopeful that this time he will make a full recovery. This time with the support he needs.
"How are you feeling now?" Bucky asked in a soft, soothing voice to further calm the child into a resting mindset.
"Sleepy...". His eyes start to close and his body goes limp in Bucky's arms falling into a peaceful, deep sleep. Bucky was not concerned as he knew panic attacks could wipe the energy out of most people.
Everyone continued there stares towards Bucky, admiring how well he managed to calm the child so quickly.
"He can't stay alone, not after all that has happened today". He broke everyone out of there staring trance. "Steve, he's coming to our floor and will be sharing our bed. And no I am not giving you a choice or freedom of speech - my decision is final. I guess we'll being seeing you all tomorrow morning and um before we go, Stark I want you to set up every safety protocol possible to prevent this from happening again please". Tony just nodded in agreement and was left in stunned silence, as Bucky left into the elevator carrying Peter in his arms with Steve by his side, who was equally as shocked as Tony.
As the elevator left, no one said a word. They all just stood gawping at each other - there jaws practically on the floor by this point. Did this actually just happen or were they all hallucinating?
- The elevator arrives at Steve and Bucky's floor of the tower -
After the exhausting day they had all faced, they wasted no time and immediately entered the bedroom to get the sleep they desperately needed and definitely deserved.
No more words were spoken that night, as Bucky lay Peter down in the centre of the bed before joining him. Steve climbed into the opposite side of the bed. Steve and Bucky's faces met in the middle of the bed just above Peter's head as they held each others arm, whilst cradling Peter. Slowly drifting away into a deep sleep, Bucky mind had one final thought - 'we need to give this kid, no our kid the life he deserves. Don't worry kid, you're part of the family now and you're not leaving - not now, not ever'.
Chapter 6: Bad Life! Better life? - Recovery?
Peter wakes up to face the demons of the past two days.
Next chapter he will formally meet and be introduced to the rest of the Avengers - well the ones living in the tower.
Warning: Anxiety and Panic Attack
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Circumspect and Vigilantly, Peter transpired from his sleep in the early hours of the morning - evident by the dullness and murk deposited outside the base of Earth's mightiest defenders.
Incidents from the past few days came flooding into his head, like a sudden gush of wind, when realisation of where he was currently residing left him stunned - 'Why am I still here' he wondered to himself.
The atmosphere remained noiseless, it felt like humanity had suddenly jolted to a stop and time had frozen everything in place - the silence was almost unbearable.
However, Peter knew this could be an advantage for him - he could flee and evade the residents of the tower without waking them, therefore avoiding all the inquiries and questions he knew he would be asked. Questions about last night and the past few days. Questions about his once 'personal' life, that were now exposed - secrets he intended to take to the grave - but they were now made common knowledge between the Avengers. It was inevitable.
Preparing himself for his venture, Peter tries to escape from his current circumstances. Attempting to relocate back to the streets he was familiar with, except he couldn't move - not even a slight fraction - something is anchoring him down, but what was it?
The only part of his body free enough to move was his head. Turning to his right confusion quickly took over his face. 'OH MY GOD', his mind was internally screaming at him as he realised the figure, who's arm was draped over him, was none other than the leader of the Avengers himself - 'Why the hell am I sharing a bed with Captain fricking America? Concentrate Peter or you'll never escape!'. Managing to snap out his trance, Peter reverts his attention back down to his chest, there was not just the arm of the Captain covering him. He notices another arm enclosed around his body, except it was coming from his left. Cautiously, he now turns to look in the opposite direction to see non other than the Cap's right hand man himself (first Cap, now Winter Soldier - Peter would totally start fan boying if it was different conditions, if he didn't have to concentrate on eluding). If his mind was jumbled before, its now completely fried. There was no way he could escape with all the muscle weighing him down. Instead he decided to accept his fate and remain immobile, so he wouldn't wake them - Peter knew there was a still a chance although it would be more difficult and the rate of success would be thin. He didn't need any unnecessary stress and he certainly didn't want to face them, the less interaction the better.
He used all of his efforts to make it look he was snoozing when they awoke, except he was disturbed when a voice broke out startling Peter from his plotting.
"Hey Kiddo, how long have you been awake? Are you hungry? You've not had anything to eat since being here! Or drink for that matter!" Cap himself spoke in a smooth, gentle tone to continue the relief of the calm atmosphere. Peter began to panic - thee Captain America was speaking to him. He didn't understand (he was just a homeless kid from Queens - how did he end up in this predicament).
"I'm s-sorry. I-I-I don't even und-derstand how I got here Mr Captain America sir! I-I'll just be on m-my way h-home". Peter replied, his shoulders tensing up from the pressure and stress of the situation. 'Damn' he thought to himself, he knew Captain America knew he was lying, but had to keep up his charade of lies.
"Really?" Steve spoke with sarcasm clear in his voice - he was slowly getting used to modern humour. "So, where is it you actually live?" Steve asked playing along with the lie.
"N-no offence s-sir but I-I am not supposed t-to speak to str-strangers". Peter was trying to remain respectful, whilst continuing his wall of deceit - Cap was one of his heroes after all.
Not having the patience to play along anymore, Steve replied calm, but stern. "Well first things first, just call me Steve. Second, come on - just give me a break kid. I know you remember what has happened over these past few days and we can't dance around the topic forever. We're all here to help, so just let us okay?"
"S-sir, I mean Steve. I do kn-know what happened, b-but my um, my a-aunt May will be W-waiting for me. With all d-due respect s-sir - sorry I mean Steve - but it s-seems like you're stalking me. I-I just want to g-get back to m-my a-aunt". His lies mixed with the nervous stutter left a sad, solemn look on Steve's face. He knew the boy was lying and Peter knew that he did - why is he still trying to lie?
"Kid... look. We're here for you. Yeah it might not make sense since we've known you for only two days and during them days - well you've been pretty out of it. But by the look on you're face - I know you realised that we found out who you are and what happened to you. So how about you tell me the truth? Please?" Steve practically begged the kid to open up to him, to help them understand, to allow them to help.
Peter finally broke, he couldn't keep up the act any longer. Bursting into an uncontrollable sob and violent shakes, he spoke out. "E-everyone I-I love di-dies and I j-just want to b-be with them again. W-with my aunt again. Th-then T-the other n-night, I mean yesterday b-before I attempted t-to kill my-myself the second t-time - I listened t-to your argument a-about me. I remember i-it clearly, it w-was you, T-the witch l-lady, Hawkeye, win-winter Soldier and T-the bla-ack Widow. I must've ha-have been listening for about f-five minutes listening to y-you and t-that witch lady argu-ing th-that I-I shouldn't be here and th-that they should ring the ccc-C-pP-S, but I can't go w-with them s-sir I can't". The harrowing breakdown is enough to wake Bucky away from his deep sleep. "I will go back t-to the streets. J-just p-p-please don't ring them. Please!"
Steve looked into the child's deep, brown pools of puppy-like eyes, which were streaming more tears than he'd ever seen before. His grip on the boy tightened pulling him into his embrace as guilt coursed through his veins.
"I c-can't do this". Peter attempts to wriggle out from the arms of the super soldier, with no avail - now bawling. "I don't h-have anything left to lose, p-please I just don't want to b-be taken away! I-I can leave n-now, you won't here f-from me ever again. I'm homeless - n-no one cares about the homeless, T-they don't look anymore. P-please I jus-t want it all to s-stop. P-please just let me go". Steve stares down at the broken boy as his breath quickens and is soaking in his own tears and sweat.
"Kid, look we're not going to force you into the system -" Steve is cut off by the boy rambling.
"Th-thank you, I-I will go now". Trying to loosen the grip Steve had of him, but the grip got even tighter.
"Petey, I can't just let you walk away - you know that". Dismay and agitation could be seen in Peter's face. "You're going to stay here with us. I mean you will need a consistent place to live, especially if high school starts in a few weeks".
"Yeah kid. We ain't letting you go that easy" - A new set of arms wrapped around his body encasing him into a warmer embrace. Peter stayed silent, it felt for the first time (since May) that he was loved - maybe he was just overreacting, but maybe not.
"You g-guys don't ev-even know me. Well a-at least not personally". He sobbed out, regretting speaking - he really didn't want to ruin his chance, but he needed to know that they definitely had made up there minds - that he wasn't being toyed with. He managed to control his breathing and discontinued the streams of tears.
"You wanna know a secret kid?" Bucky whispered into Peter's hair, with a nodding response coming back in return. "You remind me of Stevie here", he received two looks of confusion - one being the kid and the second being Steve. "Before the serum, Stevie here was a lot smaller, a lot more vunerable".
"Uh-hum, not a lot", Steve relayed playfully, but with a hint of seriousness also running from his mouth.
"Back to what I was saying", he cut back to the conversations they started previously. "I felt Stevie needed my protection, and that I was the only one that could save him. I loved him so much, I just never thought he felt the same way. It wasn't until he was injected with the serum that we both realised how much we needed each other and well here we are. But you remind me of him kiddo, I really adore you - like spangles over there". Steve shot a humoured look back to Bucky with a large smile crossing his face. "So, what do you say to becoming a permanent tenant here in the tower with me? With Steve? With the rest of the Avengers?"
Peter looked up as if he'd been struck with horror and loosened the tight embrace though not leaving it fully. "W-what if they don't like me?" Genuine fear and worry crossed his mind.
"Kid, don't be ridiculous. All of them have already taken a liking to you. Even the 'witch lady'" Bucky mused.
"Wait! You heard that?" Looking up, his faced reddened with embarrassment.
"Yep, every single word. At first, Scarlet was skeptical - mainly fearful. She didn't think the Avengers could take care of a child, I mean it does sound pretty ridiculous, but she really only wants what's best by you. After learning about you're past, she thought it wouldn't be fair to put you in a situation with the possibility of losing someone else. She was pretty terrified actually, she doesn't want you to feel alone or scared - she just wants to see you be a kid as do the rest of us". Bucky could swear he could see a smile surrounding the areas around the boy's mouth, but continued his brief pre-introductions of who he would encounter. "Now we come to Natasha a.k.a the 'Black Widow'. She was the one that assisted me in bringing you here in the first place. If she ever offers to do training with you, say no because she is absolutely petrifying - as if she turns into a new persona entirely. But although it seems she has a tough exterior and she'll appear to be stone faced and harsh, she's actually got a big heart - even softer than Stevie".
Steve let's of a small chuckle, whilst interrupting Bucky. "You better hope she doesn't hear you saying that or you will have to watch you back for the next week" - both were humoured by this. Peter however, looked between the pair and was glancing in incertitude.
"Anyway back to the conversation at hand" - Bucky regained concentration after his fit of laughter. "so next there's Dr Bruce Banner a.k.a the hulk". The boy's mouth dropped in astonishment, wonder and awe filled his eyes. "Wait, did I say something wrong?" Bucky was worried that he may have said something to hurt the kid - confusing his growing enthusiasm for discomfort.
"N-no, I'm just a big fan of Dr Banner's work, I've read a lot of his work. I mean he's revolutionised science with his work. He's such a big inspiration for me!" He squeaks out with excitement.
"One minute! Let me get this straight -".
"You can't make anything straight or get anyone straight for that matter!" Steve blurts out earning him an exuberant thump to his head from the hands of Bucky.
"God Steve, can I not get through a conversation with Peter, without you making an inappropriate comment every two seconds? I'm sure he doesn't want to hear all that! And since when did you become a comedian? Never mind actually, I'm going to try and finish my talk with Peter". Bucky chortles regaining his self-control in order to continue. " So You, an 11 year old, has managed to read his work? His professional work?" The boy nodded, whilst a spread of confusion slowly worked its way across his face. "Woah, I'm impressed and I'm sure this will impress everyone else too! Bruce told me it's what they only teach students, who achieve the highest of the highest qualifications. He only begins attempting to teach students who reach adulthood because he says it's so complex. Wait a minute, are you some super genius? You must be, considering you can read and understand all that at the age of 11". The boy's face perked up at the overwhelming expression of compliments coming from Bucky's direction.
"I hope you're as big a fan of Tony Stark as you are Bruce - otherwise you may just deflate his forever growing ego, actually that doesn't sound so bad. Anyway, Stark is the sarcastic one of the group, so you never really realise when he's being serious - but at heart, he's just a big softy. But he's also overprotective - he has protocols set up for everybody - including you, which alert him through his AI system Friday. We're basically all linked, so we know when one another is in trouble/distress". Utter astoundment filled his face leaving him dumbstruck for two reasons. One, he was in the same vicinity as his two biggest science inspirations. Two, he had been here a short amount of time and he'd already had safety restrictions and protocols set for him.
Buckys voice broke him from his trance. "Clint's up next A.K.A 'the clown of the tower', sorry I mean 'Hawkeye'. As a disclosure expect to be pranked at least once a week if not everyday. Actually I'm sure he wanted a sidekick so maybe you can help him out, but no pranks on me kid, Steve on the other hand - prank him to your hearts content. Ah, don't speak Steve, I can't keep getting distracted or it'll be christmas by the time I finish". Arubtly cutting off Steve so he could continue without any interruptions. "Back to the other Avengers, next is 'Vision'. He was once called 'Jarvis' and used to be Tony Stark's AI for the tower, well before the whole 'Ultron' situation, but don't ever mention that in front of Banner, Stark or Vision, got it?" Peter gesticulated his head up and down to show that he was listening and acknowledged what he had been told. "Apart from that, I hope you like random facts and trivia because otherwise he will bore you to death with the useless information. Also a regular tenant is Thor, the 'God of Thunder' - both literal and figuratively, It's almost impossible not to know when he's around. He just can't seem to grasp speaking at a normal volume. He's the gigantic guy that almost knocked you clean out the other night, but that was to protect you nothing personal. He's also slow, so if you need to explain anything to him you'll have to be patient because it will take a while for him to wrap his head around new concepts. Finally, there are many other Avengers that have rooms in the tower but only stay every once in a while because they have there own places they don't want to leave permanently. Most common to visit or stay are: Rhodey 'War Machine', Scott 'Ant-Man' and Sam 'The Falcon', but there are many, many other heroes. The last residents are me and Stevie and well you know us already, but you need to remember that all of us - and I mean all of us are here to protect you kiddo. We'll defend you no matter what! If you ever need one of us, we're all here to listen." Peter gave an acknowledging nod, whilst processing all the new infomation he just learned. "So, you think you're ready to meet the others?"
Peter looked into Bucky's eyes, his nerves were sky high, but his eyes gave the confirmation. He knew he'd have too at one point, might as well get over and done with. It was now or never...
I hope you enjoyed this chapter, please leave a comment, feedback or suggestions because this will be a big story followed by a series of other big stories eventually, and I don't want to run out of ideas.
So far i know the rest of this stort and the beginning of the next story, but i'll need ideas after that - things you would like to see.
Chapter 7: Bad Life! Better life? - Welcome To The Family Kid
Sorry it took so long to update. I also apologise for this chapter in general - i feel as if its my worst yet.
Warning: Mild anxiety, but nothing as major as previous chapters.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Anxiety and panic filled the elevator as they ascended to the common floor of the tower. Peter was about to come face to face with his heroes - with his biggest inspirations for as long as he could remember. Peter felt extremely embarrassed already, as he knew he was about to be face on with his captors for the first time. For the first time since his panic attack, which tinkered with his mind profusely. Since his plan to end his life was foiled, not once but twice.
Oblivious to how the situation would unfold, Peter craved for the world to open up and drag him to another place. The anticipation was so tense and substantial, it felt as if the Norse God was back on top - crumpling his bones and breaking down his framework to nothingness. The dreaded moment the doors opened would soon be upon him (it wasn't as if he could escape to prevent him from the circumstance) as he stood between two super soldiers and was soon to be surrounded by many more professional people. Highly talented superheroes.
'Two super spies - both were assassins at some point of there lives, two scientists who have both revolutionised science in different ways, a literal God who can summon thunder, a witch that can move things with her mind (her mind!) and a British AI turned synthoid that can shoot lasers out his head' Peter thoughts clouded his mind - what a way to get the adrenaline pumping and hysteria raging through his body. He was feeling very timid causing him to cower behind Bucky's legs (looking for comfort, looking for protection) as the elevator finally halted at the doors of the common room.
Everyone was already sat around the dining table awaiting there arrival. As the doors opened, all eyes were on them.
Thor was the first to voice his euphoria at the arrival of the super soldiers - well at least one of them. "Oh thank God Captain of America is here. I thought I was going die of starvation!" Thor's voice boomed across the room to Steve, who seemed content with a grin gradually taking over his face.
"Wait! What do you guys do when I'm not here? When I'm on missions? Someone else surely knows how to cook, right?" Steve looked on as all the Avengers shared glances to verify a fact they all knew - no one else could cook. "So what happens at those times?"
"Well usually we all sit and mope for a while and then order food to be delivered. I mean where would we go if we burn the tower to ashes?" Stark replied trying to make it sound less ridiculous than what it were.
"So why couldn't you do that today then?" Steve questioned in utter confusion.
"Well you're here, so... anyway, get to it Capsicle, before Bolty here dies of 'starvation!'" Tony said in his sarcastic tone, the one Peter had previously warned about. "You know he hasn't eaten at about five hours. If you're not quick, he'll just wither away". He manages to change the course of the conversation.
"God, I'll do it now! Seriously what would you guys do without me?"
"Well we'd starve like Thor close to 'dying' from not eating since when - about six hours ago" Natasha jeered. "Or we'd order breakfast to the tower, I suppose" She said in a very teasing tone.
Bucky took his first step out of the elevator, when Peter pulled on his leg beginning to panic, thus preventing bucky from gaining any further ground. "Pl-please B-bucky, I can't d-do this!" Peter pleaded with fear and sadness gleaming through his eyes. His complexion dwindling a shade whiter - looking like he was having his life drawn out of him.
"Kiddo, look at me! You're going to be just fine. Me and Steve are here and you know they adore you so much already, trust me I wouldn't lie to you. Just take a moment to breathe. Plus you'll be sat between me and Stevie, so if anything happens we'll be right there, okay?" Bucky spoke in a calm, patient voice to persuade Peter to join them at the counter. But to no avail, the kid looked as if he was about to burst from all the unnecessary pressurised dismay building inside his small body.
Bucky saw the apprehension and felt wicked for making the kid do this so soon, but the longer he allowed him to dwell in the dark, the more time and effort it would take to resolve the problem. Effortlessly, but mindful he picked the child placing his arms over his shoulders and pulling him into an comforting embrace - his face burying into Bucky's neck just below the chin. Making him as comfortable as possible, Bucky continued his walk to group with the rest.
Before anyone said anything or attempted to start up a conversation with Peter, Bucky's eyes glared giving a look to silence them from asking the kid questions or speaking to him in general - at this current moment he was out of bounds. Everyone resumed there conversations between one another managing to removing the awkwardness and tension that had filled the room. Bucky attempted to loosen the child's grip so he could see him face to face, but was met with no success, his grip was way too tight (and suprisingly strong).
"Uhm, sorry to stop everyone's conversations. Just letting everyone know, the CPS are on there way. I had to ring them to sort this mess out before we forget." Wanda spoke out breaking the quiet conversations and causing atmosphere to strain immensely - well for one particular person.
This caused Peter's heart to drop and crumble - teared from his chest and smashed into a thousand pieces. 'Bucky told me that everything was going to be okay, he talked about becoming a tenant and living here - was all that a lie? Did anyone really say what they said? Or was that made up to spare my feelings?. To make me stay and wait for them to take me away?'. Peter's mind was racing with thoughts and conflicting emotions.
Tearing him from his thoughts, Bucky replies to Wanda's warning. "It's for the best really. We can't keep it up in the air forever".
'Wait a minute! What does he mean, it's for the best? Oh my God, I knew it. They don't want some dumb, homeless kid here. I should have known! I should have known. How could I not see through the deceit'. His thoughts causes his mind to instinctually fidgets to escape his grasp, the time was now, he can't still be here when they arrive. However, his attempts are unsuccessful, the super soldiers grip us just too strong. Bucky grips on even harder as he knows something is wrong with the boy.
"Wow, hey kid - what's got into you?" Bucky's voice sounded concerned, but Peter knew of his true intentions - pretend to care about him so he would stay long enough to be taken away - he wasn't naive or stupid. Not making a sound, his breathing progressively hastened along with his heart rate (he felt like his chest was about to implode). "Kid, come on you're having another panic attack. We need to focus on you're breathing okay? Just like last time".
"Please, no let me go!" Peter's screams didn't go unheard as he felt the stares of all the manipulators and liars penetrating into different parts of his skin - the wounds they left may not be visible, but the impact internally would be damaging. "Y-you, you, you said th-that I-I wouldn't have to..." breathing to stop himself from passing out. "L-leave the building. Why wo-would you lie t-to me. I tr-trusted you Bucky and I trusted Steve too! Please don't d-do this, I won't s-stay. Please! Please?" Tears streamed down his devastated, reddened face as everyone sat looking flawed and confused at the kid's reaction, with no idea of what they could do. Peter's rambling continued.
"Kiddo, what are you talking about? You're fine - just calm dow-" Bucky was cut off by the 11 year old uncontrollably sobing in an hysterical rant.
"C-calm down? How the hell am I-I supposed t-to be c-calm? I-I-I'll be t-taken into the sys-system, I c-can't do that - I j-just want to go. Please, s-someone help me. I'll do anything, anything?"
"Hey, calm down Pete! Listen to me now, no interruptions!" Peter looked up at Bucky with fear in his eyes, as he was pressed against Bucky's chest (similar to the events that had unfolded the previous night). "Well first I need you to work with me, okay so listen to me breathing and imitate the pattern". Peter was pulled closer to Bucky's chest. "That's it, well done kiddo. Okay now listen, stop panicking so I can explain and you can fully function the information I'm relaying to you" Peter nodded to affirm that he was listening to Bucky. He Continues in his calm, soothing tone. "Well first, like I said this morning - you're staying here at the tower with me, with Steve and these guys (quite unfortunate for you, but hey at least you've got me)".
Clint interjected. "Hey you ass, We heard that!" Laughing at the comment Bucky attempted to keep secret from the group, everyone else grinned in unison.
Bucky proceeded on with reassuring the kid. "You're not going anywhere, well not under my watch anyway -".
"It's usually 'on my watch' but I'm sure it was just a simple mistake". This time it was Tony that interrupted the conversation. It was little quirks like this that he knew toyed with people's nerves.
"Really Stark? You really had to correct me when I'm trying to console Petey?" Tony held his hands high to show him it was just an innocent remark, whilst also giving the go ahead for him to resume. "Anyway... where did you even get the idea that you were going into the system? I made a promise and that's what I intend to keep".
Peter in a shaky voice replied, "sc-scarlet witch said t-the CPS w-were coming here". He sounded more like he was questioning them, after being taken over by confusion as to why Bucky questioned his thoughts. Maybe he misheard - he was fairly tranced in his thoughts.
"No, oh my God - kid no. Um, look this isn't my place to say it, so I'll leave it down to Bucky and Steve. Take it away guys" Wanda shifted the attention from her back to the opposite end of the table.
"Alright okay. I wanted to suprise you, so thanks for that Wanda. Anyway, we want you to stay here with us and you know that already" Steve sat on the stool next to Peter and Bucky and wrapped his left arm around the two. "But you can't stay here unless we register that you're not missing and -."
"But I-I'll be taken away?" Peter eyes widened once again. 'How am I going to be fine and remain here if the CPS knows where I am' he thought to himself. "I don't have a guardian".
"Well if you would let me finish then you'd know that you're in luck because we're going to sign for guardianship over you! Unless you don't want us to, but with how you've reacted with knowing the CPS are trying to locate you, well have located you now - we just thought you'd want this. I'm sorry if this has put any pressure on you Pete, but we're trying to do the best we can for you buddy. We want you to be a part of the family. Part of us. We have the papers ready to be signed, now it's down to you really. So what do you say?"
"That doesn't make any sense though. It takes weeks, months even for adoption. I've been here for two days, not to mention I've only been conscious for a few hours of those two days, so how is this even possible?" Peter didn't want to sound ungrateful, but scepticism filled him.
"Well, when you're friends with Tony Stark anything is poss-"
"Lies! Tony doesn't have friends - everyone knows this, right? It's pretty much common knowledge" Clint joked hoping to receive a reaction from Tony.
Tony outs an exaggerated gasp. He grabs his chest and acts as if he has received a wound in battle.
"Ouch, Legolas that hurt!" He joked back towards Clint - both shared an almighty grin with one another.
Bucky continued his disturbed conversation. "But to confirm that you want us to be your legal guardians, a representative from CPS needs to know that this is what you want. I mean we should have asked, but like I said, I did want it to be a suprise. So what do you say kiddo?"
"Why would you want to burdened with an orphan? This doesn't make any sense! Why me? I mean there's thousands of orphaned kids around the world!"
"Non like you though. You're a smart kid and seem well mannered. Plus, there's the other reason You know already kid". Bucky tries to reassure the kid that he isn't unwanted and he really is important.
"So I'm just a charity ca-" Peter was immediately cut off by Bucky with his assertive voice.
"No, definitely not! Look, I know we met two days ago and that we haven't exactly had much time to bond with well... situations, but I feel like i have a deep connection with you forming already. I feel like I've known you all your life. Hey, Maybe it's the fact that I do see Steve in you and want to protect you".
"Aww, look at one limb Jim saying something pleasant about someone that isn't his lover! Who knew that was possible?" Clint teased.
"Can it birdman! Do you ever not feel the need to make a comment in someone else's conversations."
"Ugh so offended! But still how cute, it's really adorable." He continued to singe Bucky's last nerves. Lucky for him, Bucky pushed his jibes to the back of his mind, to continue his concentration on Peter.
"Whatever Clint. So what do you think kid?"
Peter was about to speak, until the elevator doors opened adrubtly cutting the next dialogue from being said. Standing firm and strict, a woman, accompanied with her clipboard stepped out onto the floor.
"I'm Mrs Lawrence. I don't have all day so I'd rather get this out of the way as soon as possible please." Her sentences were quick and blunt - she spoke with zero emotion. "I'm exhausted, so I'm just going to ask one question and leave. Yeah I should spend some time considering and all of that other nonsense, but honestly I can't be arsed. So straight to the point, Peter you're orphaned and will need a guardian and in this case, I believe Mr Rogers and Mr Barnes would be responsible for taking care of you".
"Please call me Steve". He said trying to be polite to the woman, who clearly looked like she needed some desperately needed sleep.
"Uh, yeah I don't really care!" She replied dully in her unstimulated signal she radiated. "If not, you have no choice, but to come with me now and spare all the trouble that will ensue. So do you accept the proposed guardianship by Mr Rogers and Mr Barnes or not?"
Everyone was shocked and stared in amazement at how harsh and blunt this woman sounded.
"I'm pretty sure she just broke all the rules and regulations. Like isn't she meant to explain everything to the kid and slowly? How did she even get the job?" Clint asked Natasha in a quiet voice so he wouldn't be heard. He received a nod in return so she wouldn't break the dumbfounded daze everyone was encaptured in.
"Um, um yeah sure. I mean I'd really like like that. I-"
"Alright I think I get it, stop with the blabbing already!" Peter was cut off by the woman's merciless attitude. "So blah, blah, blah you're now the legal guardians of the child. You will need to update his birth certificate, details and what not as soon as possible to counter any hassle you may run into. Right, I'm leaving now so good luck. "
"Well that was certainly anti climactic! Guessing she's not a big fan of the Avengers." Clint pulled everyone out from the shock they were lulled into. "How is she even still a social worker, I mean she didn't do anything to the standard she is meant to. Anyway... welcome to the family kid. If you need anything, just come straight to meet as I can already tell that by the end of the week I'll be your favourite uncle!"
"Why would man of hawks be favourite, I'm clearly going to be favourite!" Thor voice howled many decibels louder than the others.
An argument erupted between the men on the table, the testerone in the room rising to a whole new level.
"Well at least that will keep them occupied and out of our way for the next few hours." Bucky sounded relieved and Steve's face glowed with hilarity at his comments. "Now, kid. One more issue remains here." Peter flustered under the comment, unsure of what situation he would be left in. "We're gonna need a bigger boat - now that you're on board".
"Did - did you just quote jaws?" Peter quizzed Bucky's statement. Did he really just quote a classic movie quote?
"What's this jaws? Because if it's a movie then I have no idea what you're talking about - I just meant you'll need your own room." Bucky looked on in a complete entanglement of uncertainty at Peter's quizzical glance.
"Nevermind, It doesn't matter". Peter couldn't even begin to explain the classic film. Only the film its self could really show why it was a masterpiece. Peter's eyes surveyed the room and discovered his conclusion. This is one big dysfunctional family - but this would be his dysfunctional family and nothing could make him feel any better than the way he felt right now.
The next chapter will be much better i hope. But please leave thoughts on what you think. I intend to take the story in a new direction - it will be much darker than you expect.
Chapter 8: Bad Life! Better life? - The Hawk & His Assistant
This was meant to be more of a filler between chapter 7 and 9. However, i went overboard and now its my longest chapter yet, but this is definitely a lighter chapter.
I hope i have managed to maintain an okay story and my writing is fairly consistent.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Although he now had guardians and a place to sleep, to stay warm, to live without fear - Peter was still overwrought by the sudden change in his life, he was still apprehensive of it all. How could it go from one extreme of a unpropitious life to a life living with superheroes through a simple signing of a single document, even if Tony Stark was behind it? Although irritational, the young boy couldn't help but think that this was some fever dream or sadistic prank, that he would wake up any moment with his head leaning against the rugged harshness of the alley ways he would consider his home for the night. As more and more time shifted however, his ideas began to change, but would be contradicted by a 'what if' (maybe he was just being absurd, but there's always the 'what if').
'What if it was just to benefit them? Give them good press' was the last thought racing through his head, but that didn't mean the others weren't swirling around at the back of his mind. This time felt different, he needed proof that this was all just a facade.
Still wary and perplexed over everyone's weird flourish of sudden tenderness and care, Peter persisted to remain in one area - Bucky and Steve's room on their floor they now shared with Peter (who personally felt that they were burdened, they didn't have a choice but to share with him). However, he made the decision to shut them out of there room, that way they didn't have to stay with someone they didn't want to. They could move onto a bigger floor, like one of the guest floors because for some reason, they settled on having the smallest floor. Not once though did they even consider leaving him. They needed to help the broken boy, there broken boy.
His anxious notions prevented him from joining or talking to anyone for basic activities. He wouldn't interact for movie night, for game night or even for food. He instead awaited for his carers arrival at his door followed with a gentle, subtle knock - he would await for them to leave before removing his barricade to collect the food outside his door, only for him to to replace his obstruction. This way he could evade interaction, he would be able to avoid the eyes glaring at him - thinking he needed or cared about there false sympathy. A collection of cutlery, plates and dishes filled the room.
It had been just less than a week since Peter was taken in by the watchful eyes of Bucky and Steve, the two famous super soldiers, but still no one had heard from him since he removed himself from the rest of the world. Not Steve and Bucky, not any of the Avengers, not anyone. It was the night after they had officially signed for guardianship, they joined the crew for the weekly board game night. Thats when Peter striked and began to ignore everyone who cared for the youngen here. Fortunately, Friday was installed in everyone's bedrooms in case of emergencies so they were able to monitor the boy.
Concern and worry was continuing to infect the group as they feared for Peter's health and wellbeing. They all wondered whether he was holding up okay being isolated and alone, but they knew Friday would alert them if anything serious was occuring. Tonight was different though, Clint decided enough was enough. He felt dejected from being kept in the dark over how Peter was doing, a report from the AI wasnt enough. Deciding he was not going to just investigate, but make sure he received answers and help the kid in return.
Excusing himself halfway through the meal they all sat to share together - Natasha, Tony, Steve, Bucky, Bruce, Thor, Sam, Scott and himself were the attendees - however the most important person was missing. Peter wasn't present and he was the one they all swore to protect, to love. How could they protect him if they hadn't made proper contact in nearly a week? Thinking of an excuse off the top of his head, he stopped the conversations to declare his separation, he assured he would back in a moment.
Locking the door to the toilet, he knew an oppurtunity was staring intently at him and grasped it with both hands. Manoeuvring his weight into the vent located on the roof at the back of the room, he advanced through the maze like system of the tower. The vents were Clint's secret way of getting somewhere faster or preparing a prank on a fellow member of the team, technically it wasn't so secret anymore (since he declared his one sided prank war). Everyone knew Clint was still a big child, but it was one of many reasons everyone appreciated his prescene. He was the humour that guided the group through the dark times.
After foraging around the vents, Clint located the boy's room. He caught a glimpse of the sadness and hopelessness filled on the young child's face - devastation and torment ran through Clint's heart. The young boy was locked away blocking the only entrance, the heavy chest of drawers placed in front and the boy sat behind them with his duvet and cushions surrounding him like a cacoon. No tears, no blinks, no movement, it looked as if the kid was peaceful - dead almost. Clint decided now was his time to intervene.
Careful but cautious, Clint dropped into the room, trying to be as gentle as possible so he wouldn't startle the child.
"Ahhhh!-" Peter's screams were muffled and silenced by the professional exterminators hands. Peter gazed in confusion and panic as his eyes glazed over with harrowing tears - now fearing for his life. Clint released his grip over his mouth when he was confident the child wouldn't squeal and was more tranquil. "H-how did you get in here?" Peter stammered his speech feeling unworthy and melancholy.
"Uh kid, assassin spy hero here, remember?" Clint spoke with a sense of satire. In reality though, he did this more when he was scared, when he was uncertain of how a situation would play out and at this moment he was undoubtedly terrified.
"What do you want though?" Peter sounded like he was aggressive, but really he was hurt. He didn't feel worthy of attention, of care.
"Kiddo, why are you separating yourself from the group? You're now as big a member as anyone else is! Please just come join us, everyone would love to see you". Clint spoke calmly attempting to convince the boy to leave his confines and join people, who cared for him dearly despite only knowing him for a short time.
"You people don't make any sense. One, you take in a random orphan from the streets. Two, I'm suddenly sharing or were sharing a bed with two war heroes and surrounded by literal superheroes. Finally three, you all care for someone you hardly know. Why? Why haven't you got rid of me? Wh-why won't you let me go?" Tears finally fell over the brim of the eyelids and began streaming down his face.
"Hey, stop that now!" Clint chastised him for speaking so lowly and negatively about himself. "Now look kid, we all care for you because like Bucky said, there's something about you, something different and that's refreshing. You are just precious and fragile, but we won't just stand by and watch as you throw your life away. That is why we won't get rid of you, that's why we won't let you go. We all feel like you're family. семействo. familie. семья. Ohana - ohana means family, family means no one gets left behind or forgotten - sorry I couldn't help myself with that one. I'm running out of languages here, but you get the message right. So come on kid, come join us, get something to eat. Sit by me, you don't even have to speak if you don't want - no one will force you. Or you can sit by mama Stevie and papi Bucky."
His expression returned from serious back to his usual joker tone. This caused a reaction from Peter. "Wait a minute! Is that a smile I see? Come on I'll show you a route through the vents, I mean if you're gonna be my new sidekick - and I know, you know what I'm talking about."
Peter knew exactly what he was referring to, but thought and knew there was no use attempting to reason or get out of joining his tyranny of pranking. Bucky had warned him of Clint's persistent behaviour and how he never backed down until he got his way (like a child). Acknowledging this, Peter nodded as he made his way over to Clint, part of him wanted this, part of him felt like he wasn't being forced. Ready to change his scenery for something different, Clint gave Peter a leg up to the vent.
Back in the common room...
"Clint's been gone for fifteen minutes, what's he doing in there?" Bucky asked with curiousness in his voice.
"Maybe Merida fell down the toilet and ended in Wonderland or narnia or somewhere like that" Tony attempted to add humour to the discussion. Unfortunately it didn't work with everyone at the table.
"What are those places you speak of? Wait! Those things are mystical contraptions you use to transport? Why haven't I heard of these before? Why didn't you inform me of these, I might be able to travel between Midgard and Asgard at a quicker pace." Thor asked many questions before being cut off by Tony's AI.
"Sorry to interrupt your meal sir, protocol PYP (Protection of Young Parker) has been breached. He has disappeared from his room and his prescene in the tower can not be identified" Friday warns everyone at the table.
"God damn what is that boy playing at. It doesn't make sense, he hasn't left his room all week. What if he's attempting to you know what again?" The Avengers stood racing to the elevator hopeful that this was a mistake, that Peter was in his room. Sam and Scott remained seated confused by the sudden rush of the rest of the group. They were unaware of anyone named 'Parker' as they did not usually reside in the tower.
"Who's Parker?" Scott was the first to break the silence.
"I have absolutely no idea, but that seemed like an overreaction. I imagine he'll be another new hero to come out of the woodwork, which is just confusing me even more if that's how they're reacting!" Sam replied and both just shrugged there shoulders before continuing there meal in silence, awaiting the return of the group.
On arrival, Bucky took no time before demanding that the boy allowed him access into his room. When no reply or noise was made, Bucky decided to take drastic action by barging into the door - part of him fearful that his kid was in danger yet again. Bursting through on his third attempt, the chest of drawers were sent flying to the opposite side of the room smashing to smithereens on impact. The tension in the room was so tense, not even a knife could cut through. There fears were confirmed, the boy was really missing.
"We need to go back to the common room, check the local surveillance - maybe that will help us track him down", Tony suggested. Everyone diffused out of the room to make there way back to where they previously were enjoying there meals to search for the lost boy.
Back in the Common room...
As the doors opened, they were hit by a wave of uncertainty. Clint's laugh was instantly recognisable - more louder and obnoxious than usual. Sam and Scott continuing to relay there story across to Clint. Curiosity overcame them as they caught a glimpse of the body sat next to Clint...
"Peter! How the hell did you get here? Why aren't you in your room? I mean it's good that you're out but... anyway how did you manage to leave whilst all that barricaded you in? One second was this your doing Barton?!" A sense of seriousness and relief left Bucky's body. "Please don't tell me you clambered through those vents".
"Um no, we left through the door. Right Pete?" Clint said in a mocking voice - nothing they weren't used to.
"Yeah sure, we just got the elevator up here." Peter joined on the open ridicule of the Avengers. Finally, interacting with the group was a sight they all welcomed, but with a slight humoured offence.
"Wow, you're talking as well, how did you of all people manage to get him talking? Wait, before i get distracted again, it's definitely obvious you're both lying because we took the elevator down. So come on cut the crap and tell me the truth!" Bucky insisted they he receive the truth from Clint and his kid - well soon guaranteed to be.
"Hey, language. Come on Cap, this is usually where you step in. What's wrong, cat got you're tongue?" Clint resumed his reign of terror. "We didn't technically lie, we just have a different recollection of events and memories".
"Yeah, what Clint said is true. I swear we came out the front!" Peter was learning from Clint too quick, too soon. The new dynamic duo of terror was forming way too quickly for anyone's liking.
Tony let out a sigh, "I feel like I'm going to regret allowing bird brain to interact with Peter. I can hardly handle him at the best of times - I mean no one can - but two people. We're all doomed now, it was nice knowing you before you were corrupted kid."
"Damn, who knew Tony had a humorous side to his personality after all. I thought it was just dry humour and sarcasm he was capable of." Clint was on fire tonight, offending almost everyone by this point. Although this would probably come back to haunt him at some point over the next few days.
Everyone rejoins the table and continues to eat and rejoice in peace that Peter turned up fine after all. No one asked questions, they left Peter in peace to familiarise himself with the group.
After everyone was content and filled with food, Clint suggested they should have a competitive tournament on Mario kart. Steve and Scott ruled themselves out of the competition claiming they would 'rather be spectators'. Everyone moved from the dining table to sit around the lounge area.
Clint and Natasha shared one of the smaller sofas, whilst Bruce and Thor took over the reclining chairs. Tony, Sam and Scott situated themselves on the beanbags, but leaning against the sofas for back support. Finally, Peter sat between Bucky and Steve - looking like an - which was quite ironic seeing as the Ant-Man was amongst the heroes here - in comparison to the massive figures sat besides him.
Clint, Peter, Natasha, Bruce, Thor, Bucky, Tony and sam were now deadlocked in competition. No one would spare there opponent the embarrassment. They instead tried there hardest to leave there opponent red-faced.
First up was Natasha and Clint. Natasha decided to be Bowser, whilst Clint decided on Yoshi. All the way around it was pretty equal, but Natasha had the edge until Clint used his power up he saved from the beginning of the race. He released the blue shelled turtle which blew up above Natasha causing her character to temporarily stop, this meant he could advance past and take the victory. Natasha was not too happy about being so close to winning, then it being pulled away last second. She slammed the remote onto the couch and walked away to get some air, before she flipped and punched Clint in his smug face.
Next people to play were Bruce and Thor, but everyone knew who was going to win from the beginning before the race had even started. All though he lost by some margin, Thor could not help but show his anger and wrath at losing. He crushed another remote between his hands - the fifth one this month alone and walked to get himself some ice cream to calm himself down.
"Well it's lucky I have spares for everything in the store cupboard". Tony cut through the awkwardness left in the wake of Bruce's landslide win before walking out with a spare remote, so they could resume playing.
Although he was apprehensive at apprehensive, Peter slowly relaxed into the couch not realising he was leaning on Bucky - who was relieved to see the boy calm and relaxed. His opponent was Sam, who chose to play as Daisy, receiving strange looks from the group but he just shrugged them off. Peter chose to play as Baby Mario - which suited and matched his position of the group. This match was similar to Clint's and Natasha's - except Peter gained the lead early and maintained it no matter what was sent his way. Sam was left impressed by the kid's skills and looked in admiration - not even bothered by his loss.
The fourth rivalry was between Bucky, who was still considered a newcomer and Tony (who considered himself to be a pro). However, Bucky managed to shock every member of the group by beating Stark and deflating his massive ego slightly. This left Stark utterly dumbfounded and impressed - Bucky was learning modern technologies at such at faster pace than the other icicle of the group.
After a small debate, it was decided the last match would be all four remaining players, instead of doing two semifinals and a final - plus it was more interesting and intense that way. This time around, Clint chose Bowser (Natasha couldn't help but think this was to rub in his victory over here), Bruce decided to go with Toad - which made everyone chuckle due to it being a juxtaposition to his usual growth into the hulk. Bucky continued on to play as Mario like last time. Peter also stayed on using his character of Baby Mario - Bucky and Peter's choice in characters caused the rest of the group to look around and give amused glances at each other, which didn't go unnoticed by Bucky. Whereas Peter was completely oblivious to both the glances and the meaningful message the posse put behind them.
As the game took off, Bucky slipped off to last place purposefully - his reasons weren't known by the group who just thought he got off to a bad start. It didn't take him too long however to get back to fourth position behind his human adversaries. He made a conscious decision to remain in fourth place, despite everyone knowing he could've slipped past Bruce and into third. Suspicions and theories were being passed around those who either had been knocked out of the competition or just simply weren't taking place over Bucky's intentions. It wasn't until the last stretch of the lap, that Bucky decided it was time to complete his plan. Releasing his power up, he knew his other challengers wouldn't be anticipating the upcoming shock. With the finish line I'm sight, Bruce, Clint and Peter were neck and neck. It was going to be a photo shot ending until finally Bucky's suprise had struck them, leaving them stunned when he drove by and took first place for himself.
"No surrender, no mercy!" Bucky roared out in laughter. "Sorry losers, but it looks like I'm the best".
"Damn, Barnes has got technique! Who knew that was possible." Tony blared, as everyone looked at Bucky. How the hell did he win was the thought running through everyone's head.
"Hey, that's cheating!" Peter, Clint and Bruce screeched in unison. Bucky's face was filled with glee as the comment flew around him as he intently was glaring with happiness at what he felt was his. Peter was fitting in so well, especially since a few hours prior he secluded himself from everyone and refused contact.
"That's just an excuse for how bad you were." He replied with a cunning grin. "Come on Pete, it's time for bed". Everyone looked at the secure, close-knit family unit tucked together snug. Peter was surrounded by his two fatherly figures. They knew from this point they would go to the ends of the galaxy for Peter.
Everyone leaves to go back to their floor of the tower as the early hours of the next day were pushing. Sam and Scott entered one of the many guest floors, as they were planning on staying for a while.
"Wait, I have a bed time? I'm not tired yet thoug-". His sentence was severed by the yawn erupting from his petite body. "I swear I'm not tired." Following this was a little nervous giggle, knowing he had been caught out.
"Yeah and I'm a purple elephant. Come on, let's go". Bucky slumped the boy's drowsy and worn-out body over his shoulders with Steve in tow.
Reaching there room, where they could finally rest again after spending days on the couch outside, Peter was placed in the centre of the bed similar to the first night he spent with them. Steve was exhausted and as soon as his head hit the pillow, he fell into a slumber with his right arm enclosed over Peter's resting body. Bucky was grateful for tonight, grateful for Clint (but you'd never him hear say that out loud). He lay down wrapping his arm over Peter before planting a soft kiss on his forehead. Before he dozed into a sleep, one final thought ran through his mind - 'my two favourite boys. We're going to give you the best life possible my little baby'.
The next few days saw Peter getting to know the Avengers at a closer, more personal level, even interacting with those who didn't stay at the tower often but dropped by to keep in contact with the Avengers. Bucky noticed all of the individual bonds he began to create, more so with the permanent residents of the tower.
With Clint he became the inevitable sidekick to the king of pranks, but with a kid at his disposal - to do his dirty work - he was practically unstoppable.
With Natasha he began to learn Russian whilst she ruffled and messed his hair - modelling all sorts of styles. Somehow he managed to suit each of them - luckily.
Tony and Bruce initiated him in as the third 'Science Bro', where they talked about scientific discoveries and technology - all that science stuff was just jibberish to everyone else.
With Thor he was fascinated by the stories told by the mighty God. He was shocked to learn that his adopted brother was none other than Loki the God of mischief - the one that had the elaborate scheme attempting to take over New York. Thor promised that one day, he would take Peter to visit Asgard.
Finally, he bonded with Steve and Bucky the most. Like with Thor, he listened to there stories about the war and how they found each other after being separated for nearly 70 years across the globe from each other. Peter began to feel as normal as could be again, he finally felt that maybe, just maybe he was lucky third time around - that his unofficial parents wouldn't leave him behind.
By the second week, everyone saw that Peter was now comfortable with the group and felt loved and self worth again. But the moment they all dreaded had also come to light - the youngen became fully corrupted, he was an apprentice to Clint himself - boy was this bad news for everyone else as they learned throughout the week.
Monday: Natasha -
Whilst everyone left to train Clint - who managed to avoid with a portrayal of ill health worthy of an academy award - stayed to look after Peter. Little did they know he was perfectly fine, but they set him and Peter up with a perfect oppurtunity to prank someone.
"Right, now that they've gone, it's our time to strike". Peter nodded with a half sinister, half smirk set on his face. "Let me know what you think of my idea. So yesterday when I went for a walk to buy some cool ranch dorit-" Peter bluntly cut Clint off questioning him.
"Wait, what has that got to do with the prank?"
"Jeeze kid, patience please!" Taking back the reigns of the conversation. "OK, so I went to by some cool ranch doritos and that's when my eyes caught onto the source of our next prank". Clint continued his proposition whilst pulling a bottle of bright blonde hair dye out of his pocket. "We use this. We'll replace the dye infused with an accelerator pill from Tony's lab". Peter shot Clint a worried glance, what if it caused some weird mutation and caused Natasha damage. "Hey, don't worry they're tried and tested as safe. I wouldn't cause any harm to anyone, well no serious harm anyway. But once she returns from training, she always goes to shower. Once she finishes, her hair will be a lot lighter, her reaction however can't be guaranteed. If she freaks, we run. Got it?" Clint finalised his plans with Peter who laughed and shook his head.
Two hours later...
"Clint! Peter! Oh my God, you guys are so dead!" A voice screamed out from Natasha floor so loud it could be heard several floors down. Peter and Clint both quickly jumped to there feet and headed for the elevator.
"Kid, we'll barricade ourselves in your room because it's closest." Clint was laughing with a slight panic in his voice. As they arrived, they took no time in barricading themselves in Steve, Bucky and Peter's room.
"Where the hell are they!" Natasha growled as she arrived on the common floor. Everyone turned to look at Nat, trying to hold back there stifled laughs.
"Erm, nice hair Nat, it's a nice change. It might even make you lighte-" Tony was cut off by Natasha fierce words.
"Say one more thing Stark and you'll regret it and that goes for the rest of you too!" Natasha stormed off ferociously ready to punish the two who maimed her hair.
Back in the room...
"It's gone quiet, do you think she's calmed down?" Peter asked with dread and regret in his voice.
Clint replied equally regretting there choice. "It's Nat kid, one thing you need to remember is she never forgives, she never forgets... unless she gets her revenge. She's probably on the other side of that waiti-". The vent on the roof swung down and tumbling out was Nat, who looked as if she was about to murder them.
"Ahhhhhh". Both tricksters screamed matched one another as Nat approached them slowly, to look as intimidating as possible.
Tony woke up a lot earlier than usual, so headed to the shared kitchen to grab a cup of coffee and something to eat before entering his lab. When he began walking back to the elevator he noticed Clint and Peter sat playing one of the new video games they had bought.
"Hey, you're up early Stark. How come?" Clint tried to hide the bruise on his left cheek.
"Ouch, I'm guessing Natasha caught you then" - clint just nodded in an ashamed face. "I just couldn't sleep so I'm heading to my lab - oh Peter you can join if you'd like". Peter politely declined the offer knowing what was really lying ahead for Tony. He managed to escape yesterday unscathed, but not without a firm warning from Nat. "You're up early as well - both of you. Why?" Tony knew something wasn't right, but just put his concerns to the back of his mind as he was too tired to figure out jthe problem.
"Same as you really, I couldn't sleep and I'm guessing it was the same for squirt. He was already sat here when I arrived." Both just smiled and nodded, which filled Tony with doubt. It was too early to interrogate, so instead he just advanced onwards to his lab.
In the lab...
"Dum-E, U, please set up my workspace please" Tony's bots were nowhere to be seen. 'What the hell is going on here, where are my assitants'. Tony's mind was going crazy - was he just hallucinating.
Tony's thoughts were cut off by a mechanical whirs. Tony, confused and a little overwhelmed by the sight, located where the sound was being emitted from. Stuck to the roof of his lab were his two original inventions.
"How the hell did you get up there?" As he started to unwrap the bots covered in tape, which seemed to go on forever, Tony saw a note written on one side of the tape, but to read it fully, he would have to wind the tape around his room. Once finished unravelling the tape and replacing to read the message, it read: 'Hey Tony, me and Petey just wanted to give your bots a well deserved rest. Hope you don't mind ; )'. 'Those ass holes, just wait. They won't know what's going to hit them!' Tony thought to himself as his revenge was soon to be made clear.
"Okay Clint, I think I've got an idea to prank either Steve or Bucky - whoever gets up first really." Peter trailed onwards with his devious plan. "This one is simple, but a classic. We should wrap clingfilm around the edges below the toilet seat. That way when one of them goes to pee, there will be shock when it flies back at them!" Clint looks partly shocked at the idea, but impressed by the proposal at the same time.
"Damn kid, you have definitely joined the dark side now young one." Both pranksters broke and laughed aloud prepping themselves for there antics.
Twenty minutes after...
Storming into the shared living space, Steve's anger filled his face as he flipped out of character to use language he never would dream of using. "Where the fuck are they? That little shit and shit for brains!" Everyone turned and broke into spouts of laughter except for Thor, who was trying to process his second sentence - he didn't think it was possible for people to have waste as there decisions makers.
A slight snigger came from behind the kitchen counter, Clint and Peter tried to remain silent so they wouldn't get caught out and have to face the almighty wrath of an angry Cap. "Ass hats I know you're there, you may as well surrender now. Get in here now!"
Both heads turned to look at each other before slowly peaking over the counter top to be met with the prescene of a seriously peeved Steve crossing his arms. Peter's nervous smirk shone through which lead Clint to smile along.
"Oh you think this is funny? Well it suddenly won't be funny now that you're both banned from the gaming console thing for the next week-" Steve delivered the first half of the punishment before being cut off by the the partners in crime.
"What!? So uncalled for dude" Clint said whilst stressing at the harsh decision made by Steve.
"Yeah, it's bit of an exaggeration isn't it? I mean it was just a little prank." Peter tried to reason with Steve
"1) No its not. 2) Before I forget, you're both on cutlery and cleaning service. If they're not spotless, I'll make you redo them until they are. And 3) You guys owe me new lounge wear." Steve continued to tell them the conditions of there comeuppance.
"That's what we have a dishwasher though?" Peter asked in a questioning tone confused about the second condition of the punishment.
"I couldn't care right now, you both need to be punished and this is what you're receiving. Or I could think of something much worse..." Steve said asserting his dominance in this situation.
"Hey, I'm not your kid - you can't punish me!" Peter's slightly stirred at the comment, he wasn't Steve child either - well not yet.
"Yes I can and yes I will". Steve finished the conversation as he walked off to change into fresh, clean clothes.
"Alright kid, listen! Considering were banned from using the computer, we may as well continue our one sided prank war" Clint suggested to prevent there death from boredom. "So I was thinking about what we could do to bucky an-"
"Oh we should count down from 3 and suggest our idea at the same time - see if we were thinking something similar. Okay, one...two..three"
"Draw on his face" both said at the same time. Both looked at one another with glee at there agreement and knew the plan was set in stone.
"But it has to definitely be permanent marker because that's difficult to get off." Peter spoke with a sound mixed of deceit and sinfulness. Clint nodded, yeah the kid was definitely learning and from the best.
Steadily slinking into the room of his guardians, in the early hours of the morning, Clint and Peter - both with a permanent marker each - decided that it was now or never. Peter drew a mono brow colouring in the gap between each eyebrow which caused Bucky to shift in his sleep, it seemed like he was awake in a sense. Clint decided it was his turn to change Bucky's appearance ('he'd probably look better to be honest' Clint thought to himself) as he proceeded to draw a beard and moustache on his bare haired face. Responsibility shifted back on to Peter, who began to dab small dots onto Bucky's face in order to give him small freckles in appearance. As he moved onto the last bit of his face, Peter felt flesh other than his touch his free hand, but it was not his either... Peter turned to look for advice from Clint, except he was already gone - this means it couldn't have been Clint's hand upon his. Cautiously, he moved his gaze from his hand caught in a tight grip and followed the length to find non other than one of his two guardians - staring at him with a large grin. For some weird reason, he felt a flush of relief through his body (glad it wasn't the strict, muscular blond) as he came into contact with the blue-eyed, chocolate brown haired specimen that was Bucky himself.
"Okay, I was not ex-expecting you to wake up. P-please don't tell Steve, please!" He pleaded with his guardian. He couldn't face a longer sentence than he already has.
Bucky started speaking in a stern, strict tone. "You are not in a position to be making demands right now, are you? Well I should just wake up Steve to discuss what punishment he thinks you deserve." This caused a look of terror to take over Peter's face, whilst Bucky couldn't hold it in anymore and snorted. He just couldn't keep up the facade any longer, the look on the kid's face wasn't even worth a 1000 words, but a million pictures instead. "Jarvis?" Bucky couldn't control his laughter as he addressed the AI. "Please save this interaction, this is too hilarious to let go!"
Peter's mouth opened even wider than before shocked by his reaction. "S-so you're not mad?" Peter's voice was filled with alarm at the possibility of angering Bucky too much or waking Steve.
"Kid, this is like the most minor prank, so no im not mad. You're lucky I have something that can get rid of the marker so quick though because otherwise you'd be facing the new wrath of the judge, jury and executioner over here. No I'm not going to tell him, so get out of here before sleeping beauty wakes up." Bucky said with a smirk taking over his face.
Peter never felt so thankful in his life as he quickly left the chambers of his shared room and returned to find his 'mentor' who left after throwing him under the bus and leaving him to take all the responsibility.
"So you're not going to throw me under the bus again are you?" Peter asked with doubt filling his mind after being ditched at the crime scene with incriminating evidence the day before.
"No, no. I promise." Clint felt a slight pang of guilt after leaving his apprentice to face the wrath alone. "Okay day five, today is Thor and -"
"I don't know Clint, I mean is there no one else we could do it too. He's the God of Thunder and I don't really want to be struck down for it." Peter voiced his concern unsure of whether they should go ahead with it or not.
"Okay I'll give you the option. We A) shave Dr Bruce's hair and risk the big green rage monster and I think I'd rather avoid that really. Or B) cut Thor lucious golden locks to give him a new look - I mean I doubt he'll unleash lighting in the tower. We can always throw some ice cream his way if he gets mad, I mean it sort of takes over his mind so he'll forget at least for a while anyway." Clint gave Peter the option on which avenger he'd rather vandalise.
"Okay Thor it is, I guess." Peter really didn't want to prank either, but supposed Clint wouldn't back down so chose the situation he thought was safer for him.
Approximately two hours later...
"Man of hawks! Child of midgard! You better have a good explanation for destroying my stunning appearance - hey this looks pretty good actually, but still speak or face the wrath of Thor, son of Odin." Thor's voiced roared and Peter swore he could feel the foundations below him rumble and shake. Everyone erupted in a state of laughter.
"It was Clint's idea!" Peter blurted receiving a look of betrayal from the man himself. "Hey don't look at me like that! You literally did the same thing yesterday." Peter tried to reason his way out.
"To be fair, I think it definitely suits you Thor - better than those long, ugly wires that used to hang down." Bucky spoke out trying to defend th- no, his kid. "No offence."
"None taken, man of wolves. You two are lucky I still look good, because next time you won't be so lucky. That is not a threat, but a promise." Thor sounded reasonably calm, with a hint of annoyance and anger still deep within.
For the rest of the day, both Clint and Peter decided they would evade Thor as much as possible.
Saturday was just a calm day, but little did Clint and Peter know, everyone else teamed up to get back at them for the pranks they pulled throughout the week.
Clint and Peter were distracted by the computing console with Bruce - the only member to not be humiliated or pranked (because of the fear of the rage monster). However, Bucky, Steve, Tony, Natasha and Thor were all plotting their revenge - and they weren't letting it slide too easy.
Sunday Morning had come around and all the Avengers except Clint were sat around the kitchen island, awaiting Clint's arrival and for the kid to come in as well.
"Did you guys this!" Peter screeched. Overnight the pranked Avengers put there plan into place and dyed Peter's hair a dark, deep shade of blue. Everyone turned to smile at each other - it looked like there prank had annoyed Peter and that was the intention they wanted. "Guys, I love it. It'll be like new hair, fresh start. Thank you so much!" No one expected the enthusiasm in Peter's reaction, they personally thought he'd freak at the flashy colour his hair was dyed.
"Damn, when you think that you can get back at the kid, it all turns back and goes in his favour." Tony snorted, this was completely vexing knowing the kid didn't even consider it a prank, but an act of goodwill.
"Hey - woah kid nice hair!" Peter nodded in appreciation to Clint's comments. "Why did he get a cool new hair cut, whereas I'll be walking around with this bow on my back all. Day. Long." Clint was definitely displeasured with his treatment compared to Pete's.
"We didn't know he would like it, we were hoping he disliked it really. Now I'm kind of peeved by the fact he can rub his little, smug face in it." Tony said, but a smile was permanently stuck on his face - at least one of the pranksters got the punishment they deserved.
The rest of the day passed slowly, tomorrow would be a shake up for a few of the towers occupants.
Please tell me what you thought. Also, a warning - the fanfiction from this point will fall back into a darker tone, i think personally its darker than before.
Chapter 9: New Beginnings, Darker Days! - Ventures into the unknown
The first eight chapters were the just the introductory arc - so prepare for the next arc because the second arc is about to get a lot more darker and delve into more topics (I think so anyway).
Sorry for the late update, but i didnt like how this introduction to the second arc had been written - and i still don't. I cant think of ways to get around, so consider it a filler between arcs - I do think this chapter may be my worst yet - hopefully it only goes up from here though.
A few notes:
In this fanfiction, I am making Midtown high school start from 7th grade to fit in with my story.
Peter, Michelle and Ned are all in 7th grade.
I have decided to make Flash, Mary Jane, Harry and Gwen Juniors (11th grade) in this story. Flash will remain the bully as always. Mary Jane and Gwen WILL NOT be Peter's love interest at all during this.
Gwen, Harry and Mary Jane are roommates.
Michelle Jones is referred to as MJ - NOT MARY JANE (you will see why very soon - but not in this chapter).
"Peter? It's okay, I'm here!" Harry gently spoke with consternation, foreboding the angst running deep within his body. Peter was in trouble, but nothing was known as of why. Harry couldn't let him down, he needed to help Peter - No, he had to save him.
Two months earlier...
"Peter, hurry up - you can't be late for your first day at school! You don't want to set a bad impression." Bucky hollered across his and Steve's floor - well his, Steve's and Peter's floor now. Peter ran out from his new room (painted a deep sky blue, similar to his hair and decorated with anything he desired. Perks of living with a billionaire he supposed - although he didn't ask for much, he still remained as grounded as possible) with his hair sticking in all directions, looking as if he was shocked by Mjolnir during his once peaceful sleep.
'Shit, I overslept my alarm. Wait, Fuck did i just say that out loud? That sounded way too loud.' Peter was thinking to himself (or so he thought).
"Yes, you did say that out loud. Two obscenities in the space of five seconds - really kid? Really?" Bucky confronted Peter over his sudden outburst of foul language. Peter mouthed his apologies, before swiftly turning to return to his quarters changing into a new set of clothes.
With only twenty minutes until the school day started, he withdrew the contents of his drawers as he changed into something that would allow him to blend in and not stand out from the crowd. He really hated having any attention focused on him. The nerves were really beginning to set in now filling his. This wasn't any normal school, it was a specialist school - a specialist school he somehow got a scholarship too. The school specialised in technology and the sciences (Chemistry, Biology and Physics), but that's what scared him most. 'What if I am too stupid compared to the others? What if no one likes me?'
"Kid, I'm sure no one will think you're stupid. I mean you got invited to join by a scholarship! Do you understand how hard it is to get those?" Peter turned to stare at the door in shock. "And I'm sure you'll make friends kid, it's practically irresistible not to fall in love with you Pete. Your like an annoyingly cute magnet." Peter blushed, his cheeks becoming red with embarrassment. However, despite causing him humiliation at times, Bucky still always had words of wisdom and comfort for every situation - Peter thought it was quite freaky really because he literally had advice for everything.
'Damn, I need to stop saying my thoughts out loud.' Peter made a mental note to himself.
"Yep!" Bucky added emphasis to pop the 'p' at the end. "You do need to learn how to just make it and keep it mentally within".
"How long have I been doing this? I hope that doesn't happen at school, that's the last thing I need. I don't want to be the schools weird kid or I might never live it down."
"Don't worry, you'll be fine. Now come on or you're going to be late." Bucky's voice sounded berating. "Steve! Steve, come on we're walking Peter to school. It's his first day." No one else was up yet as they arrived home only three hours earlier from an Avengers mission in Brazil, so they were all flat out exhausted.
Stood behind them at the frame of the door was Steve standing with his arms crossed. "Buck, I've been here for half an hour waiting for you two. Anyway we'll take one of Tony's faster cars, I'm sure he won't mind. Well actually it will, but anything that annoys him is entertainment for me." Steve chuckled as Bucky and Peter hurled themselves across the room and into the elevator. Nerves were adding to the rising anxiety and pressure Peter already contained.
As the elevator arrived at the garage on ground floor, they all stood out. Steve had his arm draped across Bucky and Peter, whilst Bucky's hands rested on the boy's shoulders giving him a massage to relieve some of the tension.
"Okay kiddo, because it's your first day, we're going to allow you to choose the car you want to arrive in. So make it worthwhile, because when Tony finds out the oppurtunity may not arise again." Steve gave Peter the advice - basically telling him to choose the flashiest car he could.
"Um I don't want anything flashy, I really don't want to stand out and -" Peter apprehension and edginess was cut off by Steve again.
"Nonsense our little Petey-Pie, look I'll decide instead." Steve took over Peter's choice before stopping them in front of a car. Bestowed in front of them was Tony's prised possession, the most expensive car ever to be designed and he owned the very first. "Now this one is sure to turn heads. Let's go!" Steve said as he jumped into the drivers seat.
"No, please. I just want to be a normal kid - seen as normal by the other kids at this school." Bucky's eyes looked down at the fearful boy and decided to comfort him by pulling him into a hug.
"Alright kid, I'll make you a deal. Now that Steve is in that car he's isn't going to get out, so we'll take that car but park a bit further away from the school so we don't make a scene. How does this sound?" Bucky organised a plan with Peter, who seemed to agree with the guidelines of the arrangement.
Getting into the charcoal black car, Peter was shocked at both the exterior and interior. The exterior had a sleek sophistication with black tinted out windows. For a car it seemed flawless and absolutely beautiful - vehicular perfection. The interior was just as extravagant, the interior leather seats wear a deep white ice with heaters placed underneath. Also inside the vehicle was an expensive HIFI system surrounding the interior, as well it's own WIFI connection - this car was like a delorean - well except for the time travel. The car pulled out of the garage and onto the streets of New York heading for Midtown High School. The journey was filled with excitement, filled with trepidation as Peter glared out of the window stuck in a deep daydream.
"Pete, we're here." Bucky pulled Peter out of his aimless glance to face the intimidating school building ahead. "Don't worry kid, I'm sure you'll do great for your first day. Clint and Sam will be picking you up afterwards, so I'll them to wait here - no walking off or forgetting - actually I'll send you a text to remind you." Peter looked on and nodded.
"Have a great day kiddo!" Bucky and Steve blared out in unison. Peter quickly left the scene to enter what looked like the gateway to hell (little did he know of what hellish experiences lay ahead).
Entering the building at a slow and cautious pace, he was met by the presence of a tall, blond woman - her hair was tied back in a tight ponytail - she was way too overexcited to meet and greet the new students as she was checking them in and giving them maps to guide them to there intended destinations. As Peter continued to approach, he awkwardly walked into one of the older students before mouthing his apologies and hastily walking away to get away from the awkward situation.
"Hi there! Peter Parker right?" The enthusiastic voice called out. Peter was too nervous to speak, so nodded graciously. "Fantastic, I'm Mrs Laurel and I'll be teaching you in chemistry this year. I've got to say Mr Parker, I was pleased when I heard I'd be teaching you. I was one of many other professors and teachers that agreed to have you here on a scholarship, so I'm thrilled to see you here." This comment caused Peter to blush, not out of embarrassment, but because he felt appreciated - this definitely made his day. "Well enough of me rambling. Here's your map, but it's quite simple. Walk straight up this corridor, turn left and continue to the end of that corridor. Your form room will be the last on the left. And again, it's an utter pleasure to have you here Parker. I'm expecting all positive and brilliant things from that noggin of yours!" Her face emitted a large beam of glee before she sent him on his journey through the brand setting and chapter of his life.
Reaching the door, Peter saw everyone else was already sat around tables, already choosing there groups. It seemed everyone knew at least one other person, except for Peter - he never felt more alone than right now. With only a few seats left around the room available, Peter approached a table of four, as it was only occupied by two people. The occupants were a male and a female, both looked like they knew each other for life.
Finally mustering up the courage, Peter spoke out to ask them a question. "Hey, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering if one of these seats were free. If not I can find somewhere else -" Peter was cut off by the exhilarated voice of the other boy.
"Yeah sure. I'm Ned and this is Michelle." Michelle gave a little wave and Peter reciprocated except his hand had a weird awkward spasm in between. "We're just getting to know each other, hey we all should join forces and become friends or something."
Michelle then spoke. "Well like Ned said here, it looks like we could all use some new friends. I literally know nobody else here." A sense of relief ran through Peter's mind, at least he wasn't the only one who knew nobody here.
"I'd love that!" Peter said before being cut off by his new form tutor Ms Tyce.
The rest of the morning ran fairly smoothly, except for all the awkward 'ice-breakers' the teacher had set, so the class could get to know each other more - even though they seemed to put more barriers in between people. When it came to the lunch break, Peter, Michelle (nicked named MJ) and Ned went together. Briefly stopping at there lockers which were coveniently place beside each other, an older boy in his junior year walked by pushing Peter full force into his locker. The shear impact caused him to bust his lip, as he watched the mysterious offender walk back to his posse of jocks. Ned and MJ looked on in horror, but sudden alarm prevented them from helping or speaking.
"Screw you ass hole!" Peter screeched out causing the fixture to stop cold in there tracks. As they began to turn, Peter internally kicked himself and immediately regretted giving them a reaction as the brute made his way back towards Peter.
"Wait a minute, I know who you are!" Peter looked up in fear and confusion - did this person really know who he was? He didn't think the guardianship signing went public - Tony promised it would just be private.
"I'm joking - to me, and probably everyone here you're a nobody and you will remain that way you waste of space. I'm Flash and you better get that imprinted in that thick, simple mind of yours before you get really hurt because no one gives me shit." From this new disclosed information, Peter knew exactly who Flash was - the son of Harrison Thomson (the multimillionaire who tried to be competition for Tony Stark, but exceptionally failed at getting even close too). Flash let out a sadistic, humiliating chuckle as he began to walk away.
Peter, although terrified for his life, spoke back attempting to get back at Flash for his harsh words. He knew his smart ass words would probably get him into more trouble, but couldn't stand by and take it from someone without returning it. "Well at least I'm not a burden for rich parents - they probably just didn't want to look bad in the media. That's probably the only reason you're still around!" Everyone surrounding the hall let out an exasperated gasp, as Flash turned to back track his steps for the second time. From that point, Peter knew this wouldn't be good news for him.
In this instance the look spread across Flash's face detailed exactly what to anticipate.
Without exchange of words, a fist flew directly into the side of his face sending him tumbling to the ground almost causing him to black out. His vision blurred as he saw the tall, barbaric figure stood above his.
"Just because you don't have rich parents doesn't mean they want you around forever. I bet it's just temporary 'cause who would want a puny, pathetic twerp like you. So yeah even if I was a burden, at least I've got a permanent safe home and money to secure my future. You, well you're just a worthless piece of shit on the bottom of everyone's shoe, eventually you'll be scrapped off and left behind -" Flash's harsh rant was cut of by a feminine voice as three sets of feet came stumbling down the hallway towards them.
"What the fuck Flash? You can't intimidate anyone you're own age, so have to pick on someone much younger?" The voice was attempting to grind the gears of his attacker. "Why the hell do you always have to be such a dick? Go back to your jocks you trustfund baby!" Peter looked up and the two girls and the male that were enclosed around him before turning his attention to Flash, who was already flouncing down the halls.
Peter looked back up towards his saviours to solve the enigma of who and why they helped.
One of the girls was a tall redhead. She wore a a bright, exuberant crop top and a summer skirt to match. The overall outfit was expensive. Her skin and other attributes were flawless - nothing but perfection.
The male was wearing a fancy blue shirt, matching his denim jeans. His jaw was chiseled and the bulging muscles on his arms were holding an almost comatose Peter. His hair was dark and curly, similar to Peter's - well before it was dyed blue as a consequence of his pranks.
Finally, the other female who was sat shielding Peter - the one who had freaked out at Flash - was flawlessly stunning like the first girl. She had bleach blond hair which complemented the outline and perfect structure of her face. She dressed smartly in a pure ice white mini skirt and an elegant free flowing shirt to match.
"Stay out of it Gwen! Same goes for you Mary Jane and Harry - this is nothing to do with you. And you..." Flash had his finger pointing directly at Peter. "You need to watch your back with that faggot hair of yours kid. They won't always be around to protect you". Flash presaged as he turned the corner leaving the scene arriving back at the pack of sportsmen. However he turned and gave one last piercing look, with the intent to be intimidating when Gwen decided to strike another nerve.
"Sorry Eugene! We promise to stay out of it from now on." Gwen spoke with sarcasm in her voice as she let out a smirk, knowing that she had chafed his nerves again. Along with the glare that could penetrate fear into most, he stuck his fingers at them as he walked away. Gwen pretended to look offended before grinning at him letting Flash know that this was all fun and games for her - letting him know she won. As Flash's prescene slowly evaporated from the building, the older students attention was drawn back to Peter as Harry felt him fall limp in his hands - finally losing consciousness after the punch Flash delivered to his temple.
"Hey! Hey kid? Crap, damn it" Gwen spoke in panicked, rapid speech. "He needs help and God forbid we take him to the nurse's office, the bin could probably help him more than them. We'll take him back to our place." Gwen decided making her decision final, Harry and Mary J knew not to try and contradict. "Harry you're driving -"
"But I can't miss anymore work. Gwen, you know how much trouble I'll get in!" Harry spoke out, worried by the current predicament he was trapped in.
"We'll ring up and make an excuse. Come on Harry, look at him - we wouldn't want his adorable face to be permanently damaged now would you?" Gwen asked rhetorically knowing Harry wouldn't refuse to help. "Mary you can just tag along because I know you don't want to stay and will use it as a reason to leave regardless of whether it's with us or not." Mary and Gwen looked into each others eyes before bursting into laughter.
"You know me so well, too well in fact". Mary spoke before the conversation calmed down, so Gwen could address the two terrified children left standing.
"I'm just going to presume he's your friend. So If anyone asks where he is, say he's gone home ill. OK?" Both just nodded, no verbal confirmation was given because they were too shocked - no too mortifed to speak.
Gwen turns back to address her friends. "Right, let's go. Harry you pick him up and take him back to the car." Gwen ordered. Harry obeyed slinging the body over his shoulder. Luckily for him the boy was so light (although that probably wouldn't have been a problem still judging by the size of his arms). All three juniors bundled into the car with care so Harry could keep his strong grasp on the kid he held so tight. They pulled away allowing them to escape with the 7th grader from the school.
A few hours later...
Peter woke up in another unfamiliar setting. 'God, what is it with me waking with no idea where I am' Peter thought to himself before looking around the room he was placed in. It wasn't as big as his back at the tower, but it was fairly large otherwise. The room was organised and impeccably clean, nothing was out of place and everything was perfectly fitted into place. The walls were filled to the brim with pictures showcasing memories to last a lifetime.
Looking over the pictures, he figured out who the assailant was. It was obvious as there was only one thing that most if not all pictures had in common - Harry Osborn (the future heir of Oscorp Inc). 'Why the hell am I in Norman Osborn's sons room - have I been kidnapped, what if this is because of the rivalry with Mr Stark.'
His successive, hysterical thoughts cut away to hear brisk and lively laughs occupying somewhere else in what he presumed to be his torture chamber. With caution, he peaked around the door frame to see no one filling the adjacent area, but loud (almost obnoxious sounding) laughter continued to fill the surrounding areas. This could be a chance to escape his captors, whilst they were distracted, Peter was thinking to himself.
- 5 minutes ago, outside of the apartment complex -
After they returned back to the shared apartment, Harry took it upon himself to look through Peter's pockets for his phone. The school day was almost up and he was unsure of how the child travelled, whether it was by school bus, car or he walked - he couldn't just stand by and not get into contact with his carers or guardians. He scrolled down the contacts with an impressed face at one of his contacts in particular. Staring in astonishment when he scrolled over the name of none other than Tony Stark. 'Surely this is just a coincidence. The kid's outfit doesn't look expensive and I'm sure Stark would only buy him the most out there clothes he could find', Harry thought to himself as he continued searching through the contacts. Finally he came across two contacts - 'Pops - Stevie' and 'Dad - Buck'.
Unsure of which contact to ring, he decided to go with the one highlighted as Dad. The phone continued to ring until he was startled with a sudden voice.
"Peter!" The voice screamed down the phone causing Harry to flinch slightly. "You're meant to be in class, why aren't you in class? Kiddo it's your first day - you can't be skipping class -" Bucky's fulmination was cut off by a nervous, stuttering Harry.
"Um, M-Mr Buck sir." The unfamiliar voice caused Bucky to stir in dread. "My name is Harry Osborn and Peter is currently in my apartment with two of my roommates, but don't worry he's safe. We aren't kidnappers or murderers or anything I swear!" Harry's voice sounded scared as he continued to explain himself. "He was involved in a fight, well it was more one-sided. But he fell unconscious so me and my two friends brought him to my apartment to care for him - he's still unconscious at the moment. I just wanted to let you know so you could come and bring him back home and so you wouldn't panic if you turned up to the school expecting to see him there."
"Oh God, um I'm on my way. Down let him leave please." The phone call abruptly ended.
Harry just stood shocked by the sudden end of conversation, before slowly walking to get back into his apartment.
- Meanwhile -
Bolting for the exit, Peter heard sudden scuffles coming from a room at the end of the hall - maybe they heard him trying to escape, but he can't stop now. As he continued to advance to the door, his attention was primarily focusing at who or what was advancing behind him to see if his detainees were catching up. Peter ran into a stranger now towering over him. The figure, who stood tall - bigger than 6 feet, brought his hands down towards Peter. Panicked and anxious, Peter scooted back whilst his breathing and heart rate were increasing - only to be joined by the other two people holding him captive. The figure approached with his curled dark hair modelled into place - bringing Peter's body close to his at a gradual pace.
"Hey kiddo, where do you think you're going?" Harry asked the startled boy in a smooth, gentle voice in order to not cause him anymore terror. However, he was met only with utter silence. "OK, it's fine. You don't have to speak. Just stay calm and relax - I got in contact with your guardians. The one called Buck is on his way with Stevie, he told me to tell you that they won't be long. Now, just listen to me and breath slowly with me okay." Harry commanded as he pulled the youngen into his chest. Mary Jane and Gwen looked almost staggered by how well Harry was controlling the situation.
"One breath in... hold it... now release. One breath in... hold it... now release. Good, good you're doing great - continue with that pattern."
Trying to make light of the situation Mary Jane jokes. "Who knew Harry of all people would be able to help the young and vunerable".
"Not helping Mary!" Harry retorted sounding annoyed by her jokes in the current situation. She mouthed her apologies back feeling immensely guilty.
Harry felt a weight slump into the side of his neck, as he looked to see the kid had fallen asleep once his Anxiety attack had calmed down.
"How the hell did he just go sleep like that?" Mary blurted out in shock seeing as it was only a short amount of time ago that he had awoken.
"Mary, when you have a panic attack as severe as that, it wipes out all of the energy you have. I don't think I've ever seen it this bad personally though." Gwen contributed to the conversation. "Anyway, Har that was amazing! You calmed him down so quick."
"I like to read up on these things, you know it may come in handy at random times or places - much like this I suppose." Harry stood still holding the boy in a compact clasp making his way to the apartments sofa. He lay there still holding Peter close to his chest because if he was to wake at any moment, a familiar comfort (Harry in this instance) would prevent any unnecessary hysteria - or so Harry read somewhere. "You two should go relax, I'll wait with - um, Peter I think his name is."
"Wait, how do you know his name? Harold Theopolis Osborn, is there something you're not telling us? Wait I've got it! You're a psychic - Come on just admit it!" Mary's shock outburst only managed to turn the concentration from Peter to her as the other two juniors faces were filled with incertitude of whether she was joking around or being genuinely serious.
"Let's reign this back in quickly. 1) Don't ever call me 'Harold' again - never mind my whole name. And 2) in fact there isn't a second point to this conversation. Gwen please just take her back to her room or back to what she was doing previously please before she wakes the poor child." With an affirming nod, Gwen took Mary's hand and pulled her away leaving Harry to submerge into a silent slumber due to the peaceful atmosphere - with Peter head still resting under his chin.
After approximately 20 minutes, Gwen walked back into the main area of the building to make herself a drink - she wasn't expecting to be taken aback by the sight on the couch. The young kid had trustfully burrowed his head under Harry's protective chin. The sight caused her heart to melt as she approached them to place a blanket to ensure they would remain comfortable.
As she took a step back, there was a soft tap at the door - as if the person knew that they had to be gentle. Speeding her pace up to the door, she opened it only to be dazed by the sight of two of America's most famous figures - the Captain America and his right hand man (now husband) the Winter Soldier.
Gwen stuttered her words as she addresses the veterans stood at her door. "H-hello, how may I help you?" Her polite attitude and the fact she was oblivious as to why they were here caused the soldiers to smile.
Bucky spoke first as he was anticipating seeing his boy. "We're Peter's guardians. I was on the phone with a man I believe to be named Harry Oscorn? Or was it Ostorn? No wait - Osborn, that was his name!" Gwen couldn't help but laugh at Bucky's attempts to remember her friends name. She signalled for them to enter pointing over to where his kid was engulfed by blankets and a larger guy he presumed to be Harry.
"Oh, um - don't worry. Harry isn't some weirdo. Pete had a panic attack and Harry was the one to help him. It was actually quite interesting." She felt the glare from Bucky before she backtracked. "I don't mean the panic attack itself, but the way Osborn there handled it - he was saying he had read up on them before - so I suppose it was convenient really. Again not the panic attack, but the preparation. Anyway he pulled your boy to his chest and told him to replicate his breathing patterns and by the time he calmed down, he was so exhausted that he just slumped and fell asleep (bless his soul). So Harry moved him to the couch and lay down beside him saying something like 'he needs to wake in a familiar grip or embrace for him to remain calm' thus explaining why he's bear hugging your child." Gwen let out a sigh of relief after finally finishing her explanation to the soldiers.
"That's fine - come on Steve help me pick up Petey so we can get going. You remove Harry's grip carefully and I'll pick up the kid." Steve nodded and prudently manoeuvred Harry's tough grip from Peter, thus allowing him to move into a new embrace - but one he was used to regardless. "Thank him when he wakes up please. Uh - actually one last thing. Please do me a favour and look out for him in school for me." Gwen head graciously nodded which filled Bucky with confidence and relief as he left the apartment to return home.