Peter sat on the edge of a building, his legs dangling down underneath him, fidgeting with his web shooters. The sun was setting on Queens already as Peter had started his patrols late after spending hours after school with Ned, putting final touches on their english presentation they had the next day.
“Hey Karen, could you make sure to record all the data on my new web formula tonight? I wanna have some good info to show Mr. Stark this weekend when we get together.”
“Of course I will Peter, would you also like me to let you know that there is an ATM robbery happening down on Jane street?” the AI responded.
“I- what- oh, ok!” Peter started, and stood up, his hands automatically reaching up to make sure his mask was on all the way. “You know you kinda just did anyway so..”
“My apologies Peter” she chuckled “I was coincidentally alerted of the robbery at the same moment you asked me about your web shooters.” He smiled under the mask.
“Wanna tell me which way to go then?”
“Head north” was the curt response. Peter did a full turn trying to decide which way that was. “Go towards that McDonalds sign”.
“Thank you” he laughed quietly at himself before jumping off of the building and swinging towards the action.
Spiderman crawled down the side of a building, in an alleyway across the street from the robbery. He could see inside the bank, there were three robbers in total, all dressed in black, and each with a ski mask. Just a typical robbery, except for the fact that the equipment they were using was obviously high tech. Not again. Peter groaned out loud.
“What is it Peter?” Karen whispered.
“Their weapons.. a-are they? Do you think they’re alien tech, or something? I mean they seem to be? But..” he trailed off. The bank was emitting random bursts of white light, as if a computer was short circuiting. One of the robbers was pressing a strange sort of rod against the ATM machine, while another was collecting the money that was shooting out of it and putting it into a large bag. The third robber was patrolling along the perimeter, glancing out the window, a really fancy looking gun in their grasp.
“I am unsure. I would not advise getting too close, you do not know what they are capable of.”
“Yeah well, someone’s got to stop them.”
“Be careful, I do not want to see you get hurt.”
“I’ll be fine.”
And he was, until he had managed to take out the robber with the gun that shot out strange yellow beams, and the one highjacking the ATM machine. He was coming up on the third, when the man picked up the previously abandoned rod shaped object that they had been using to hijack the ATM with. Peter closed in on him quickly but the man managed to jab him in the shoulder with it, sending him flying backwards in a wave of some form of electricity.
Peter landed on his back and was immediately winded, his whole body was pulsating from his shoulder, and there was a tingle in his fingers and toes that was rapidly fading.
The man took this opportunity to bolt out the door with the stolen cash, accidentally dropping the rod in his haste to get to the money bag. Ditching his fallen friends in the process.
Peter sat up slowly, still dazed and rubbed out his shoulder as he could feel a bruise already starting to form there.
“-eter! Peter. Peter, say something!” Karen was trying to get his attention, her voice sounding almost like panic. He finally inhaled.
“Ouch” he ground out.
“That energy blast temporarily disabled my systems, I cannot read your vitals at the moment.”
“I’m ok Karen, I promise, just got the wind knocked out of me for a second that's all”
“Are you sure you will be alright? Should I inform Mr. Stark of this?”
“No! No, don’t call Mr. Stark please, I-i’ll be alright, my shoulders just a bit sore now bu-but i’m fine.” He got up slowly, still rubbing out his shoulder. “Where’d that guy go?”
“Karen, please” he dragged his words out like a whining child.
“South side of the building next door. I believe that he is climbing up the fire escape.” She quipped.
“Right ok!” he was up and out the door. “South side… south side..” He looked at his surroundings. “Karen?”
“Behind you. You may want to hurry, he is almost at the top.” he quickly turned and began sprinting towards the fire escape.
“What does he think he's doing? Where is he gonna go, he's on a flipping roof!” he reached the fire escape and looked up. Karen was right, the man was very close to the top now. He shot a web up to a bar on the fire escape and yanked himself up a couple flights of stairs, ignoring his still aching body. “Unless you think he’s got like wings or something on him? Like Falcon? Because that would be awesome!” He reached the middle section, as the man reached the roof. But luckily, Peter was a fast climber, or in this situation, Spiderman was a fast climber.
“I gotcha now buddy!” he announced jovially, as he arrived at the top of the building. He had expected the man to stop his running because Peter had him cornered, and hand over his stolen money and go to jail and blah blah but the roof was empty of any person. Empty of any person but himself, of course.
“What the…” He walked over to the other side of the roof and looked over the edge. “... actual fuck?” Maybe he had jumped? Or he actually did have wings? Maybe some sort of teleportation device.. Did those even exist? Peter didn’t doubt it.
He felt it before he heard it. The all familiar tingle that ran down his arms and raised the hair on the back of his neck, he tensed and turned around just as the man's shoe scraped against the cement as he stepped out from behind some boilers. He was pointing something straight at him, a small rectangular device. He pressed a button on it before Peter could raise his hand to stop him.
The noise aimed at him was so loud Peter immediately covered his super sensitive ears, and screwed his eyes shut tight, but it wasn't enough to stop it, to stop the agony that accompanied it. It felt like his brain was leaking out his ears, like his head was going to explode. He realized at some point that he was rolling and writhing on the ground, but he didn’t care he just wanted it to stop. He was probably screaming, but he couldn't tell over the noise.
His world was white.
“Boss, you have an incoming call from Karen.” F.R.I.D.A.Y cut off his ACDC blaring in his workshop. Tony didn’t glance up from where he was working on a new prototype for his ironman suit.
“Who gave you permission to turn off my music?” he shot back, unbothered.
“If I remember correctly, you did sir.” Damn, he didn’t remember programming her to have so much sass. “She claims it is urgent.”
“Yeah, yeah. And who’s Karen again?” and why was she trying to call him at one in the morning?
“Peter Parkers personal AI.” Oh yeah, he had forgot the kid named his suit Karen. That was kinda cute. He put down what he was working on, if Petes AI needed to talk to him something must be very wrong.
“Alright then, Fri, patch her through.” It took only a second for F.R.I.D.A.Y to let Karen through to their systems.
“Sir, Peter is in need of your assistance.”
He was cold.
It was dark.
His head hurt.
“Are you awake now Peter?” a gentle voice whispered in his ear. The voice whispered but it was too loud. “Peter?”
He tried to groan but it came out like a hum. For some reason his throat was sore too. So was his shoulder, in fact his entire body was aching. He opened his eyes and found himself looking at the night sky, though everything was slightly blurry.
It was so pretty.
“How do you feel?” Something was familiar about that voice. Karen? Oh yeah, she was the suit lady, he was spiderman, he.. He was.. “Peter?”
“Karen?” he tried but his mouth was full of cotton.
“That's good Peter!” she sounded happy for some reason. “I have contacted Mr. Stark and informed him of your situation, he wanted me to let you kno…” Peter tuned her out.
He kept looking at the sky. Something about it held indescribable beauty.
“She's so beautiful” he whispered, voice still weak. He didn’t know why, but the sky made him think of her.
“Who is, Peter?”
“Hmmmm.. Michelle.” He smiled faintly at the sound of her name on his lips. It was true, she was so, so, beautiful. The dark sky was like her gorgeous dark curls, and big brown eyes. The stars like her freckles.
His head throbbed.
Something trickled out of his nose.
He ignored it.
“You ever dream, Karen?” It was a stupid question, but Peter legitimately wondered it.
“I am incapable of dreaming Peter, because I do not sleep. Why do you ask?” Her answer disappointed him for some reason.
“You ever dream of like… going to.. to.. space or something? And… and like seeing a-aliens li-like in Star Wars…” he rambled on.
God, his head hurt.
He was so tired.
It gave one particularly painful throb, stealing his breath away, and Peter had to squeeze his eyes shut for a moment, grimacing.
“What happened to me?” he tried, but his words weren’t coming out quite the way he wanted them to. There was a pause before the AI responded.
“What do you remember?” she asked him instead.
Peter racked his brain to try and remember what happened but ended up making his head hurt worse. There was a foul tasting liquid pooling in the back of his throat.
He let out a whimper which also came with a strange gurgling noise. He started to laugh, it jostled his still aching shoulder but he couldn’t help it. It sounded so funny.
He kept laughing softly until suddenly there was agony exploding from his head, quickly spreading to the rest of his body. He let out a yelp of pain before turning onto his side and curling into a tight ball with his hands back over his ears. He let out a quiet sob, and a few stray tears leaked out the corners of his eyes. Is this what it feels like to be dying?
He was still lying in the same position on the rooftop when Tony arrived 5 minutes later. He took one look at Peter and immediately assumed the worst possible explanations. Karen hadn’t said much to him prior, just that Peter was in distress and was in need of possible medical attention, meaning that she, herself didn’t know what happened to him. The Spiderman suit must have sustained some damage. Tony exited his own suit and took a tentative step towards his protege.
“Kid?” he tried, but there was no response from the boy lying motionless on the ground. Shit. He rushed to his side and gently rolled him over onto his back, being careful to check his body over for any sign of injury, but there wasn’t any that he could see. Peter barely protested being rolled over, he just mumbled something incoherent. Tony was worried to say the least.
“C’mon buddy, you gotta give me something to work with. Talk to me?” silence. Tony’s poor heart was racing. Usually this kid would not stop talking.
“Ok, i’m going to take your mask off now so don’t freak out, there’s no one around.” he began to pull the boys mask off and Peter didn’t even start to protest, which was frightening.
Peters face was stained with tear tracks, but the most worrying part was the freshly dried blood that had trailed out of his nose, and from both his ears.
“Alright kiddie, time for you to open your eyes… you’re really starting to freak me out.” he tapped Peters cheek lightly. “C’mon lets see those brown eyes, I know you got them.”
After another minute of face tapping and Tony hyperventilating, Peter opened his bloodshot, unfocused eyes, and gazed blearily up at his mentor.
“There you go. Hey Pete.”
“Misser… misser Star’?” Peter smiled at him, and Tony sighed in relief.
“Yeah, kiddo it’s me. Care to tell me what happened to you?”
“H-hey man.. Sss’good to see yah… howsssit goin..” He weakly raised one of his hands from the ground as if he wanted.. A high five?
Tony just stared at the kids hand still raised in the air, an eyebrow raising to match it.
Apparently it took too much energy for Peter to leave his arm half raised, and so it just dropped back to the ground, with a smack, un-high fived.
“Ss’weird runnin into you here” he stopped for a wet sounding cough that made Tony cringe. “Thats funny... Ya know I-I think Karen was juss… just talkin about you” he slurred out.
“Kid are you.. Did you hit your head or something?” He started running his fingers through Peters hair, searching along his scalp for any bumps, or cuts or any sign of head injury. The boy in turn simply turned his head into Tony's touch, crushing his fingers into the ground.
The pain was fleeting, as he just used his other hand to grasp his kids chin, and turn his head to the other side and hold it there. His kid groaned in protest and began to move his head around even more, in an attempt to dislodge Tonys fingers from his face.
“God dammit, Peter hold still, i’m trying to-”
“Stop.. hurts..” He whimpered, his face screwed up in pain. Tony stopped his pestering and placed a hand on Peters chest, concern for the boy flowing off of him in waves.
“What hurts kiddie? Is it your head?” Peter gave him a weak nod in response, his eyes slowly drooping closed. “Hey, hey!” he began to tap his cheek again “You know the rules bud, no sleeping with a head injury, or until we get you checked out, now let’s get you back to the tower, and run some te-”
Peter cut him off with another round of coughing.
This time, he coughed up blood onto his chin then began choking on it. Tony hastily turned him back onto his side until the choking subsided, rubbing small circles into his back with the palm of his hand.
“Shit Parker.” Peter brang his unfocused gaze up to meet his mentors, a lopsided grin plastered on his face revealing blood stained teeth.
“Dad?” He wheezed out a laugh.
Tony was momentarily speechless.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y run vitals.” He called back to the suit standing guard behind him, without taking his eyes off of his very disoriented kid who had started giggling. Fucking giggling.
“Mr Parker’s blood pressure is rising steadily along with his breathing rate, and his heart rate has slowed down significantly. It seems that he is experiencing side effects of acoustic trauma, and possible brain damage or skull fracture from an unknown source. His body is also showing signs of recent electrocution, and there is severe bruising to the upper left shoulder.” She paused for a moment to let him take that all in. “Medical attention is highly recommended.” She added.
“Jesus, kid you’re the main reason I have all these grey hairs coming in.” he muttered, grabbing the kids mask off of the ground and stuffing it into his pocket, before standing up and getting back into the Ironman suit. He bent back down to scoop the kid into his arms but he started to squirm in his grasp, and mumble about something. He let down his helmet so Peter could see his face.
“Hey, it's just me Peter, come on you’ve got to cooperate with me here.” Peter just stared at him, panting, with glassy, confused eyes. He looked so small in Tony's arms, and now Tony had never felt so protective in his life.
“Pe..ter?” The kid sounded confused at the sound of his own name.
“Yeah bud thats you, thats your name.” Now he looked even more confused.
“Misser Star’ i-i’m.. i’m...” he didn’t finish his sentence, instead breaking into another round of harsh wet coughs, more red painting his lips. Shit.
“Boss, time is of the essence.”
And he took off to Stark tower.