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Misophonia

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It was easy to brush off at first, hardly noticeable at all. But soon, it turned into a pattern that Tony couldn’t ignore. The kid has a lot of weird habits, being a part spider mutant does that. So the first few times it happened, Tony brushed it off. Now, it was undeniable; Peter never ate around other people. Well, that wasn’t always true. It would be more accurate to say that Peter never ate with others. He would snack on random things in the lab with Tony, but the second that other people in the room started eating, he left.

Once, Peter had been hanging out with Tony in the lab all day when it happened. “Hey kid, do you want to order pizza?” Tony asked, his own hunger becoming too much. “Oh, uh, sure!” Peter said, hesitating slightly. “Okay, what do you want?” Tony asked, cleaning up his workspace. “Um, just get whatever you want, I don’t care.” Tony just shrugged and placed the order with FRIDAY.

“Boss, your pizza is here.” FRIDAY announced about 15 minutes later. Suddenly Peter, who had been twitchy the whole 15 minutes, got a phone call. He leapt out of his seat, “Sorry Mr. Stark, I really have to take this. I’ll see you later!” Peter yelled back, practically running out of the room. Tony was shocked for a second, before shrugging it off and grabbing his pizza. ‘Weird kid.’ Tony thought affectionately.

It happened again on team dinner night not a week later. Peter bounded into the room a couple minutes after Tony had asked FRIDAY to call him down. “Hey Mr. Stark, what do you need?” Peter asked, smiling as he usually did, but pausing when he saw the dinner that was spread out. “Team dinner, kid. You’re invited.” Tony responded, setting out plates and silverware. “Where do you want to sit?” the older man asked without looking at Peter.

“Oh. Uh, that’s super cool of you Mr. Stark, but I’m good. I wouldn’t want to intrude, and anyways I actually just ate a little bit ago.” Peter responded, shuffling awkwardly. Tony raised an eyebrow at him, “FRIDAY, is that true?” Friday responded instantly, “Mr. Parker ate two frozen pizzas and a bag of cherries less than an hour ago.” Peter just smiled uneasily. Tony sighed, “Okay, kid. You’re excused.” Peter brightened up, “Thanks, Mr. Stark!” He yelled as he left the room. Bucky entered a second later, a confused look on his face. “Kid was in a rush.” He stated. Tony just shrugged.

A week later, they had movie night. It was difficult to get so many people in one room and even harder to agree on a movie, but they managed. “Hercules is my favourite Disney movie!” Peter yelled excitedly when they finally came to a decision. “Is it? Who’s your favourite character?” Tony asked as he took his seat next to Peter. “Hades.” Peter answered without any hesitation. Tony just nodded his head approvingly.

A little bit through the movie, Clint got up to get snacks. He got back part of the way through ‘Go the Distance’. Not even a minute later Pater was out of his seat and scrambling to the door. “Sorry, I have to go. I totally forgot that Ned wanted to call me about our chemistry project tonight. You guys enjoy the movie!” He yelled as he left. Some paid no mind to him while others eyed Tony and the doorway that Peter had left out of suspiciously. Tony also didn’t know what had just happened, though. The movie distracted them and they mostly forgot about Peter’s strange behavior by the time it was finished.

“FRIDAY, does Peter eat enough?” Tony asked one day. He was in his lab, working on a few updated to his suit, when his worries got the better of him. “From behavioral scans and physical scans, it appears that Peter eats just as much as the Captain does. Though his diet isn’t as… healthy.” Tony rolled his eyes, relieved. “He’s a teenage boy with an enhanced metabolism, what do you expect?” FRIDAY made a humming noise and Tony, his worries having been soothed, got back to the updates he was making. ‘I guess we just make him uncomfortable or something.’ Tony thought.

The others quickly caught on to Peter’s strange habit. Once, Peter and Clint were playing Mario Kart in the common room when Peter randomly left the game and the room altogether. Clint just shrugged and continued to eat the chips that he had just grabbed. Another time, Peter and Steve were in the training room when Natasha had come in chewing gum. Peter had practically sprinted to the door a moment later. They were concerned, and when they were concerned about Peter, that meant confronting Tony.

“I don’t know what else to tell you guys. FRIDAY says that he eats enough and that he’s totally healthy. So what if he doesn’t like to eat around us? We all have weird habits.” Tony stated. The entire team had confronted him in his lab after Peter had left, all voicing their concerns for Peter’s health. “Maybe this is something else. Maybe you should call Peter’s aunt, she should know something about it, right?” Bruce said thoughtfully. Tony shrugged, “Sure thing, Brucie. I’ll do that in a bit, I still have some work to do.”

Later, once the team had all filed out of the lab, Tony gave May a call. “Tony Stark, what can I do for you? Peter alright?” May greeted. “Yeah, Peter’s great. He should be coming back to yours this weekend.” May hummed in approvement. “But this call is about Peter.” Tony added. May got quiet again, “Okay?” Tony started pacing slightly. “Okay, so I know he gets enough to eat. I have scans and dishes to prove that,” May chuckled. “But he has this… habit? That’s a little concerning and I was hoping that you would be able to shed some light on it.”

“Out with it, Stark.” May said, sounding concerned. “Why does he never eat around others?” Tony blurted out. May was quiet for a second before she started laughing. After almost a minute she calmed down. “Sorry, Tony. I was just expecting something worse. I think the right way to say it is that he’s never around when you eat.” Tony thought for a second before he realized the truth in the statement. “So this is nothing new?” Tony asked. “No, this is nothing new. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t talked to you about it yet. It’s not for me to tell you about though, you’ll have to ask him.” Tony nodded though May couldn’t see him, “Okay, I can do that.”

“Hey kid,” Tony said the next day when Peter was hanging out in the lab. Literally hanging, he was on the ceiling. “Yeah Mr. Stark?” Peter responded, hardly even looking away from his book. “Why do you always leave the room when one of us is eating?” Peter completely froze where he was, almost falling off the ceiling while he was at it. “Am I that obvious?” He asked in a tentative tone. “I’m not gonna lie and say you’re not.” Tony responded. Peter just sighed and moved to a safer area to drop off down.

“If it’s something we’ve done, you can tell us. You know that, right?” Tony said. He still didn’t know what to expect as an answer to Peter’s habit, and he really didn’t like not knowing things when it came to Peter. Peter set his phone down on his lab area that Tony had set up for him. “I promise there is an explanation for that, but I really don’t want to explain it to every single person, so I’ll just explain it when everyone is around. Tonight’s movie night, right?” Tony nodded. “Yeah, so I’ll just explain it then.”

Three hours later, everyone was gathered in the common room and Peter was nowhere to be found. “FRI, can you call Peter down for me?” Tony asked. Before FRIDAY could respond, Peter slid into the room, quite literally. “I’m here! I’m here.” Peter said, not at all out of breath due to those damn superpowers. “Welcome, Peter.” Tony smiled, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you say that you had something you wanted to tell everyone?” Tony asked, jumping right to it. Peter nodded his head vigorously.

“Yes! So, if I could have everyone's attention, I think I own you guys an explanation.” All of the eyes in the room were on Peter. “So, how many of you have noticed that anytime one of you is eating something I leave the room?” Peter asked. Hands shot up. “Okay wow, I wasn’t expecting all of you to notice.” Peter said under his breath.

“Are you eating enough?” Bucky asked, surprising everyone. His concern was unexpected; nobody knew that Peter and Bucky were actually pretty close. “Yes, Bucky, I’m eating enough. I promise. I just have misophonia.” Peter stated. Everyone was quiet for a moment, “How terrible! I’m so sorry!” Thor yelled, tears in his eyes. Peter just looked at all of them, “None of you know what that is, do you?” He sounded unimpressed. The others shook their heads. “I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s not the most common mental illness.” Peter said, under his breath again.

“What’s misophonia?” Wanda asks, also looking concerned. “Okay, so misophonia is a mental illness in which certain sounds make me irrationally angry. My main trigger is also the most common trigger for people with misophonia. Mouth noises. Including, but not limited to, chewing, smacking, crunching, heavy breathing, kissing, things like that.” Peter explained. “Damn, kid. You sounds like a WebMD article.” Tony said, causing everyone to laugh. “Yeah, well, I’ve had to explain this a lot.”

“And you’ve tried noise cancelling headphones?” Tony asked, already thinking of solutions. Peter sighed, “Yeah, and those used to work!” Tony paused for a second, “Shit, your senses. That must suck.” Peter nodded solemnly. “It all sucks, being angry sucks! I would love to just be able to sit and eat with the people I love, but I can’t! And it sucks!” Peter was getting frustrated. Bruce nodded along with his words, knowing a little bit about anger himself.

“Okay, guys. You heard the man. No more snacks on movie night when Peter’s around. It’s not like you guys aren’t constantly eating my food anyways.” Tony said, clapping his hands together. “Pete, I want to make a list of your triggers so we know what to avoid and how to avoid them, I also want to get some readings on your hearing levels so I can see if I can do anything about some headphones for you.” Peters smile was watery as he flung his arms around Tony’s waist. “Thanks, dad.” He whispered. Tony just smiled and ruffled his hair.