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Finally Take the Key

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Team Bifrost

 

Peter never thought that a week before winter break was when Ben would finally break.

 

Albeit it had been two and a half years since May had died. Two and a half years of listening to mean names and having to pay the rent. Threats of being kicked out and afraid to go home cause he’ll just be drunk again and yell at you and god dammit Ben you were the one who got me through everything when I was younger.

 

It physically hurt to see his uncle turn into the man he’d become over the past two and a half years. He didn’t think his life could get any suckier, especially with every aspect of Peter Parker’s life going on a roller coaster ride.

 

Spiderman was fine though. Spiderman was the only part of Peter Parker that had to be fine. Everything else can go to shit.

 

Like your sanity Parker. I’m still here.

 

Peter thought it would end at the name calling. No, he hoped it would end at the insults and threats and breaking bottles over his head. Ben had hit him a few times, but nothing serious.

 

Nothing like this.

 

Nothing like the sharp knives sliding across his cheek drawing slivers of blood it’ll heal by morning . Nothing like being shoved to the ground so hard that his shoulder popped, no it dislocated...again . Nothing like being kicked so hard in the gut he felt like he was gonna throw up the nothing that you ate .

 

Nothing like this.

 

By Ben. Not by Ben. Ben was so nice to him. Ben took him in, and fed him food, and read him stories, and watched movies, and called him names, and made him pay the rent and-and-

 

Ben had changed .

 

Ben had become cruel. Disgusting. Mean. Threatened to kick him out and made him pay for the things that should already be paid for him because he was a freaking kid .

 

He was a kid and he knew that. Everyone told him that. It was the reason he got sidelined when he was with the Avengers - or at least they tried to sideline him, but Spidey was a free lance hero who didn’t take order from anyone, not even the Avengers. He was always poked fun at because of his age, but he didn’t feel his age. He felt older because he was saddled with the responsibilities of an adult and got the privileges of a kid. It was unfair. Sure, Peter had realized by now that everything in life was unfair - especially to him. That didn’t mean he didn’t get a little huffy when people - especially the Avengers - judged him because he was a kid. It was a childish reaction, but he was entitled to it.

 

Just like he was entitled to be taken care of by someone other than himself.

 

Maybe it was the fact that he always took care of himself, that he didn’t ever actively seek out help in others. Everybody he knew said that was a trait he should get rid of sooner rather than later, because if he got rid of it when he was officially an adult, then no one would help him. Because that was when he was supposed to take care of himself.

 

But yeah, he was Spiderman. He could take a punch. He’d been shot before, so this didn’t hurt physically so much as the meaning behind it. It meant Ben didn’t care about him anymore. Peter Parker had officially lost his second set of parents in 16 years.

 

He really wasn’t any good at this, was he?

 

OoOoO

 

It was on Monday when Peter had hobbled into school on a now semi-fractured leg that Ned knew something was wrong.

 

Peter got injuries on patrol sure, but those were cuts and bruises that usually healed before he even woke up. In the past two and a half years, Peter had gotten better at being Spiderman. Which meant taking down baddies were easier. He made little to no mistakes web slinging. And he wasn’t as clumsy or careless as he was when he first started.

 

Which meant that a semi-fractured leg was a big deal .

 

“Dude, what happened last night?” Ned whispered harshly in his ear. Peter had the gall to look at him like he didn’t know what he was talking about. Ned rolled his eyes and gestured to the leg. “If you don’t tell me, I’ll get MJ.” He threatened and Peter looked a little panicked at that. MJ always knew how to make Peter Parker talk. Even the threat of telling her was enough to scare him. She’d find out anyway, no way this was going unnoticed.

 

“I just fell and landed on it wrong.” Peter shrugged off, ignoring the pitch his voice decided to take. “I’m fine.” No you’re not .

 

“Landed on it wrong?” Ned echoed in a bland tone that meant he didn’t believe him. Because Spiderman doesn’t just ‘land on it wrong’. Idiot. Peter shrugged innocently as the bell rang.

 

“Gotta get to class. See you at lunch dude.” He said quickly as he closed his locker and left in a quick fashion. Well as quick as one could get on a semi-fractured leg.

 

“We’ll talk about this later.” Ned said behind him and Peter tried at a nonchalant shrug, but his expression was anything but guilty and worried.

 

When Peter sat down at the table he was immediately assaulted by MJ.

 

“You’re stupid, but you’re not this stupid. What. Happened.” she said. Peter sighed. Straight to the point like MJ always was.

 

“I’m fine. I swear, I literally just missed my target when I was swinging and fell.” he said unsure if they would believe him, MJ raised her brow and he sheepishly stuttered out “I-I may have forgotten to eat yesterday before swinging and-” MJ groaned.

 

“Nevermind. You’re slowly getting stupider.”

 

Peter , you’ve gotta eat your metabolism is-”

 

“I know Ned.” Peter groaned and stole a fry from his tray “I’ll work on it.” he smiled and MJ and Ned rolled their eyes.

 

Crisis averted

 

OoOoO

 

His limp was not getting better.

 

Even as he walked into Stark Tower because he really didn’t want to go home, especially after last night. He also couldn’t go web-slinging or beat up bad guys when it hurt that bad. He had enough self preservation to know that it wouldn’t be worth it. It was also cold beyond belief and he can’t thermoregulate, so the sooner he gets out of the biting weather, the better. He hugged his thin jacket closer to him a shivered.

 

Plus Harley was coming home for the holidays, well he’d already been there, he arrived during the weekend, but Peter had been too busy with school and stuff to come to the tower.

 

Upon entering however, he was greeted by Pepper, Jane and Thor all sitting at the counter and drinking warm drinks. Wow, that just made his stomach grumble, but only enough for him to notice, as he walked across the length of the room to greet the other occupants.

 

“Hi.” he said meekly as he sat on the counter stool to pull out his homework.

 

“You look like a snow drift fell on you.” Pepper smiled, trying to make it sound like a joke but Peter detected thinly veiled worry.

 

“Nah, I get cold easy is all.” He didn’t mention the part about his spider powers being the reason why, cause they would worry and send him to Bruce to have this tested and yeah he could see where this all could go wrong, but it really wasn’t that big a deal. Just an annoyance. That could kill you if you keep thinking like that.

 

“Young Peter! How have you been?” Thor smiled and Peter smiled back. Thor had been out a while, with Jane and going to do his kingly duties on Asgard and such. He hasn’t had much time to fly by the tower and say hello. Plus Peter has been busy too.

 

“I’ve been good. Lots of work though.” Peter sighed and Thor just gave him a sympathetic smile.


“I know what you mean. You seem to be especially busy with your numerous foes.” Thor said gesturing to his leg. Peter had to do a double take. Did Thor just subtly address the problem of his leg? He wasn’t stupid, he knew Thor would notice, if fact it would be concerning if he didn’t notice Peter limped instead of walked. But Thor was never one to dance around an issue. He always addressed things head on with his emotions on sleeve.

 

“Oh- oh uhm yeah. I just was...web-slinging you know and kinda took a spill. I’m fine.”  Peter waved off. The ache in his leg thumping and making him wince slightly.

 

“You usually heal quicker, no?” Thor asked, a hint of worry seeping through his voice.

 

“It’s not that big a deal.” Peter dismissed opening a textbook. He missed the silent conversation Pepper and Jane had with their eyes.

 

“But it is.” Pepper said in a matter of fact way as she closed his book and he looked  up at her with a noise of indingancy. She stared at her with a look that dared him to protest any further.

 

“Yes, your healing is in direct correlation to your metabolism and health. If you’re not eating enough or sleeping enough then your healing will be all screwed up.” Jane said taking off from where Pepper left off. Thor looked worried and Pepper looked unimpressed while Peter looked baffled.

 

“How did you know that?” he asked with a gaped mouth.

 

“I’m a scientist.” Jane said and crossed her arms.

 

“You’re an astronomer.” Peter said “A cool astronomer, but still my body isn’t a constellation. It’s falls in the biology field.”

 

“Bold of you to assume I only work in the astronomy field.” Jane smirked and flicked Peter’s forehead. “You need food and sleep.” she continued “You’re metabolism is probably even crazier than caps. If you didn’t eat today, then it’s no wonder you’re not healed.” Jane said going behind the counter to fix something.

 

“I-” Peter wanted to protest before Thor cut him off.

 

“Young Peter, you are a warrior. You must eat as such. Unless acquiring food is a problem, in which case Stark wouldn’t be inconvenience if you ate here more often. And you need your rest. It is just as important as training and fighting. You must let your body heal.” Thor lectured and Peter couldn’t help but groan exasperatedly. He had eaten today and had slept through Econ. He was taking care of his body better, but it was the injury itself. It was more damage than a little sleep or a few fries could fix. Pepper looked at him with a weird look he didn’t have the energy to decipher.  

 

“Unless,” Pepper said, cutting Thor off. As soon as she started talking Peter felt a dreading feeling in his stomach. As much as he didn’t want to be lectured by Thor, he would take that over facing the calculating stare if Pepper Potts. “The injury is more than you are telling us.” When the god looked at the hunched over composer of the young teenager, Thor’s mouth snapped shut and he let Pepper plow on full steam.

 

“I jus’ fell.” Peter said meekly and tried opening his textbook, but Pepper shut it again.

 

“Or someone broke it on purpose.” Pepper said and Peter couldn’t help but feel a bit of frustration. He was in pain and he had a test tomorrow, he needed to study and Pepper wasn’t letting him. If he failed, then MJ would be mad and he didn’t have time to go in for a retake, especially before break.

 

“That wouldn’t be so weird either though.” Peter glared and Pepper looked at her with that calculating look that he couldn’t quite place, because it wasn’t a cold heartless gaze, but it sent chills up his spine anyways. “People beat me up all the time.”

 

“You’re right, people beat Spider-Man up all the time. That’s not as concerning as people beating on Peter Parker.” she said without much emotion and he felt more than saw Thor tense up and how Jane inhaled sharply. He didn’t dare stray away from Pepper’s intimidating gaze, but he couldn’t help but curl in on himself. You’re not Spiderman. You’re Peter Parker. She knows the difference. Peter started to internally panic. Someone finally caught on and he didn’t know if that was good or bad. He and Spiderman were not  the same.

 

Someone was bound to notice eventually. He had to get out of there.

 

“Okay, yeah. Someone pushed me around. It’s not a big deal.” Peter answered, and hoped it would get her off his back. It didn’t.

 

“It is a big deal, because if you didn’t do anything, and I’m assuming you didn’t, they’ll think it’s okay to do it again.” Pepper said and Peter shrunk in on himself as she continued “And also if they are willing to break your leg this time, imagine what they’ll do if you let this keep up.” Pepper reasoned and Peter snatched his textbook off the table and stomped/limped out of the room. He was frustrated.

 

What could he do about it? Ben lived with him. He couldn’t avoid him - well he could but that meant he couldn’t go home and it was freezing outside. He couldn’t say no to him or fight back. Ben was his uncle . And abusive drunk asshole, but still his uncle. They’d been like father and son before May died. He couldn’t just leave him without leaving all those memories too. It’d be way more painful than a broken leg or a bruised ego.

 

He never really made it out of the room. Harley and Tony just blocked him in the elevator.

 

“Hey Peter.” Harley said and Peter looked at him with a slightly red face and wide eyes. Harley looked at his appearance and noticed Peter was standing board straight. It was awkward and that meant he was in pain, because Peter never stood awkwardly. Always well balanced and steady, not looking like he would topple over if you tapped him.

 

“What’s up kid.” Tony must have noticed too, because there was some worry behind his nonchalant stare.

 

“Young Peter seems to have some sort of injury relating to his personal life.” Thor blurted and Peter would’ve smirked. There was that forward approach. But he didn’t as Harley practically carried him to the couch and his protests went unheard.

 

“Ow, ow! What the heck, Harley!” Peter nearly snarled, but refrained from doing so.

 

Heck? What, did you spend too much time with Barton’s kids?” Tony laughed, but there was an analytical look in his eye. “So who pushed you into the locker.” he said with a little smirk.

 

“It wasn’t at school!” Peter yelled out in frustration. Flash picked on him, never actually physically bullied him. Not a lot at least. Ruined shirts and crappy insults, but never anything too physical that would leave any marks. Peter barley noticed that he might’ve just given himself away, as Tony’s smirk vanished and He, Harley and Pepper went board straight.

 

“Who did it then?” Tony recollected himself before Harley or Pepper or even Peter could. If Peter was frustrated that means he’d be easier to pick apart. Peter had to recollect himself fast, but he couldn’t. He was in pain and worried and stressed and Pepper knew he wasn’t Spiderman. Had Tony figured it out too? What about Harley?  

 

“I’m fine.” he gritted out. It didn’t sound convincing but he wasn’t gonna tell them more. “I’m fine, I’ll heal. It’ll heal. It’s fine, it was an accident.”

 

Was it really though?



Chapter Text

Team Soldier

 

The last day of school before winter break was always the quietest. Quieter than the last day of school and very relaxing because the teachers never gave any homework and just watched a crappy Christmas movie instead.

 

Well in any normal school anyways. The last day of school before Winter Break at Midtown was stressful. Because teachers gave you extra homework and since kids had to go on vacations the day before and that day, they usually had to check in with teachers to receive said work. So the last day of school for Peter was review worksheets and quiet study halls to do them in, as the kids who were unfortunate enough to not be in the Bahamas were mindlessly scratching at the endless problems and equations.

 

Ned had left for Hawaii to see family the day before, so Peter was alone in his study hall with MJ. He was sporting a large bruise that covered his entire cheek area, his fractured leg was still tingly but nothing more than an annoyance at this point.

 

Ben had been drunk again last night and punched him across the face. He’d been doing it more often this week- albeit nothing as bad or as shocking as the first time - and Peter was so used to being ignored by him, he forgot that if he went home, he’d probably be beaten up. He was so spacey lately. Weather if it was because of Ben’s attitude or the holiday joy going through the air, he didn’t know.

 

God he hated the holidays now. They were so full of hope and cheer, filling everyone up with warmth and comfort. Being with family and friends and just laughing and talking and loving each other. It used to fill him with so much joy, but now it was just an empty reminder of what he lost. Of what you screwed up.

 

Getting a bush of a tree and hanging paper made ornaments on them. Aunt May burning the cookies so Ben had to buy Chips Ahoy from CVS. Getting 5 dollars because Ben and May were broke, but still wanted to give him something. His crappy pictures he drew for them that got hung up for six months until they were replaced on May or Ben’s birthday. Cuddling in blankets and watching crappy hallmark movies while the AC was broken because they couldn’t afford to get it fixed and letting cold air in.

 

He missed it all so much.

 

It wasn’t perfect. They would never be perfect to anyone else. But to Peter, it was perfect. Just everything he’d ever want. It was hard, but never disappointing, because the best part about it was that they had tried . Tried to make him happy. Tried to provide for him. Tried to be enough. Tried to love him. And they did just fine, but they kept trying harder and harder and Peter never once thought to tell them to stop, or that this was enough. He always figured his smiles and I love yous and no complaining said it all. But it didn’t. Because he spent more time at the library or working by himself or extra classes and not helping. If you had just helped them then maybe… -

 

“You actually gonna answer that question, or keep staring at it for 10 more minutes?” MJ’s bland voice said. He looked up at her and blinked. He must’ve spaced out again.

 

“Uh sorry. Guess I’m a little spacey today.” He gave a tired, shy smile and MJ scoffed.

 

“Or your brain is melting from all this work.” Peter laughed a little, it didn’t sound real even to him. “You know I thought you’d be all peppy for the holidays. Like annoyingly so.” MJ pointed out, not mentioning his fake happiness. So definitely noticed though. Peter shrugged.

 

“I guess the holidays haven’t been the same since...you know, May…” He didn’t want to say that she died. Cause then it’ll be true. It is though, and you’ve been denying it for two and a half years you dumbass. But how could he accept May was dead when Ben was like this . Ben was still suffering from her death, and in turn Peter was too. They haven’t gotten over it. But no matter how far you push it back doesn’t make it any less true. “Nothing has.” he said quietly almost to himself and looked down at his half finished worksheet.

 

There was a long silence before MJ sat back in her chair. He looked up and saw her looking at him with sad, understanding eyes. No one was in the library accept for them and if those eyes had even a slight form of pity in them, Peter would’ve been upset. But that’s one thing he loves about MJ, she doesn’t pity people, she sympathizes with them.

 

“I know what you mean. It’s been a year since dad died and I still haven’t really you know, believed it yet.” MJ said and Peter eyes widened a bit. He almost forgot, during the whole lizard thing. 30 police officers were injured in the final fight. 5 including the chief were dead. Chief Jones. MJ’s dad . Peter wanted to cry. What was up with him getting his friend’s dad arrested or killed. He wanted to die.

 

“I’m so sorry.” Peter whispered and MJ sighed.

 

“This is why I didn’t wanna bring it up with you.” she said. “Cause you blame yourself, and it’s not your fault.” Yes it is, I’m the hero. I’m supposed to prevent these things. It was because I’m not good enough, and now you don’t have a dad. Your family is broken.

 

Just like mine.

 

“MJ, I’m never gonna stop feeling bad about that. But I never really did apologize. You dad should not have been there, and the only reason he was was because I spaced out for a minute.” Peter told her, MJ stayed quiet. “I got hit, but he died. He was protecting me . No matter what anyone says or looks at it, that really isn’t the way it was supposed to go.” MJ was quiet for a few seconds, and the silence was stifling.

 

“What was he like…” MJ asked in a small voice. “Before he died. You were the last one with him.”

 

“He…” Peter thought back to Captain Jones’ face. That bloody smile, bloody but content. Happy his city was safe. His family was safe . “He was smiling. I...He saw the Lizard get put down.” Peter said, his voice lacking some emotion. He studied MJ’s face for any reaction. After a moment there was a small smile.

 

“Good.” she said and looked at Peter. “Thank you.” Peter looked at his lap now.

 

“I should’ve saved him.” he whispered and MJ shook her head.

 

“He was happy when he died, now I know for sure. Thank you for telling me that.” MJ paused before saying “And thank you, for caring. I would’ve probably buried it until I forgot.” MJ gave a dry chuckle with no humor. Peter smiled a sad smile.

 

“He was awesome though. And the only one who believed Spiderman wasn’t a menace.” Peter said, and it was true. When under Captain Jones’ orders, he never got hassled by the police. With the new chief he got shot at. “I’m not gonna say he was a soldier, but he’s a hero.”

 

“Well you don’t have to be a soldier to be a hero.” MJ smiled at him. And for the first time he smiled back.

 

Really smiled.

 

OoOoO

 

Swinging around New York a week before Christmas was probably the best way to get to the tower.

 

The streets were busier than usual, with shoppers and tourists - who always came around more often to visit family or just be on vacation. The subways and metros were crowded by big coats and heavy bags. The air was the only clear space to travel, and a heck of a lot faster. Maybe I should wear a Santa hat on patrol this week.

 

That conversation with MJ, while it was heavy, was strangely boosting his spirit. Maybe because it was MJ’s weird rare sentiment, or because he had someone to relate to - cause no matter how awesome Ned was, he hadn’t lost a direct family member, or someone you see as an equivalent to a parent, and Peter never hopes he has to ever because it sucks . It didn’t matter right now, he was just happier than he was when doing mindless zombie work thinking about everything that he’d done wrong. Everything he’d done to deserve this kind of heartbreak. Cause Peter learned the hard way there was multiple kinds. And even if he had experience in everyone, which he’s pretty sure he has, he could never explain it better than ‘my heart is being carved out of my chest slowly and I can’t breathe .’

 

...But that’s just the air pressure right now.

 

Peter landed on the side of a building and looked around for any bad guys. It was colder and spandex weren’t the best option for the weather, but He was going on patrol tonight no matter how chilly it got. Crime rates always spiked before christmas, burglars and robbers taking advantage of the busy crowd and NYPD officers getting jammed because of it. If only they could just swing in from the sky and tie them up. Shame.

 

This is the time of year when Spidey really pissed them off. Before Captain Jones he would’ve felt bad. In fact, he felt bad all the way until the 12th time they shot at him. But let’s be fair, it was annoying to be shot at by people with the same goal as you, sometimes the officers even let him do the hard part and shot at him as soon as the criminal was tied up. In his web! That was really irritating. Peter just wanted to help. But they’d never listen to you. No one does.

 

Then something caught his eye. From where he was, he probably shouldn’t have been able to see it, but spider powers were amazing things. Enhanced vision. It’d be weird if it gave you extra eyes like a spider.

 

A glint of metal, which wouldn’t have been surprising because this is New York but on further inspection, it was a metal hand. He looked to the face of the owner of the appendage and found a smile creep on his face under the mask.

 

It was Bucky, who had a baseball cap on and a winter jacket, although it looked more like a wind breaker. He must’ve not been affected by the cold that much.  He is the winter soldier after all.  Peter couldn’t help but snicker. Next to him was Sam in something similar but slightly thicker. He was talking, or most likly - knowing the two’s relationship - arguing with Bucky about something or another. They were holding bags and the congestion on this street wasn’t too much, but again more than usual. He ducked into an ally to put on a large hoodie and jeans before they could see him. Police officers were within hearing distance of a shout and he didn’t know how much tact Sam had to not yell Spiderling! As soon as he saw his bright red and blue contrast with the dull colours of the building.

 

As he was putting his jeans on he noticed he had to roll them up so they don’t slip off of him. That kind of made him depressed because they fit just fine, if not a little loose last week, and now they were falling off of him when he had his Spiderman suit on just under it.

 

He decided to walk the next few blocks. It wasn’t that far, and there probably wasn’t much foot traffic anyway.

 

Well, that plan was shot the moment he stepped out of the ally and bumped into a metal arm that was veiled by cloth. Peter stepped back and apologized but when he looked up he saw Bucky and Sam staring at him with wide eyes. He couldn’t help but look the same way back. It was weirdly quiet between the three as they just stared at each other, with the noise of the city drowning behind them.

 

“What the hell- Spider-kid?” Sam stuttered out and pointed to him. “But what are you doing here?!” he asked with a pitch in his voice.

 

“ He lives in the city you dumbass.” Bucky mumbled and Peter blushed.

 

“No,” Sam nearly whined. He probably would’ve denied it, but Peter thought it was borderline whine. “What was he doing in an ally.” he said exasperated and looked behind Peter to see nothing but empty alley and a dumpster, probably expecting a webbed up criminal.

 

“I was…” Peter blushed, he didn’t want to tell them, especially Sam he was changing in an alley, that was weird. “Nothing. Real question is what are you doing out here.” Peter shot back and Bucky and Sam looked confused so he continued. “I mean, it’s normal for me to be out and about, even in allies. Perfectly natural. But it’s not everyday you see the Winter Soldier and Falcon going Christmas shopping.” Peter said with a bit of a smile. Sam scrunched up his nose.

 

“We’re not going shopping, we’re getting some food because Wanda banned everyone from the main kitchen until Christmas eve.” Sam stated and Bucky grunted and looked at him.

 

“But we might need  to go Christmas shopping.” Bucky said gesturing to Peter’s oversized clothing. While helping, not keeping him warm. “Unless you’re body can stand extremely cold temperatures.” Bucky raised an eyebrow and Peter shivered.

 

“Just the opposite actually.” Peter said conversationally leaving the ally and heading to the tower. “Spiders can’t thermoregulate.” there was a tense silence behind him and Peter didn’t like the stares baring into him by the other two so he laughed and said “That means they get extremely cold and freeze-” he turned around to see the other two walking toward him with purpose in their steps and it was so intimidating that Peter froze as Bucky picked him up easily and Sam cursed typing into his phone.

 

“Christmas shopping.” Sam muttered under his breath like it was the most annoying thing he’s ever heard. Bucky grunted.

 

“H-Hey, what the heck. Where are we go-going. I can walk just fine on my own.” Bucky nodded to the officer as they passed and he just stared wide eyed at the Winter Soldier carrying a freezing skinny kid and Falcon who was hot on his heels trying to find a clothing store. Peter sighed exasperatedly as he let himself be dragged to wherever they were taking him. Why do you even speak sometimes, Parker?

 

They got to a flashy brand named store that looked so modern. It only had a logo on the front and he couldn’t read the font because it was too wavy. But just by the looks of it, Peter guessed easily he didn’t have the money to even think about this place. He was just a dirt poor kid from Queens. How could he think about getting nice outfits when he could barely afford a form of edible substance to put in his body. Plus, expensive cloths were either the softest thing in the world or the most uncomfortable. It was a 50-50 chance and he did not like those odds. Even if they were the best odds he’d get in any deal ever .

 

“No, no. Absolutely not. You can’t make me go in there.” Peter said and tried to stuggle and wiggle and make some kind of dent. But Bucky held him above the ground so he couldn’t stick to the ground. Peter sighed and kept half heartly struggling but already resigning to his fait. “C’mon. You lived in the Great Depression. ” Peter tried with Bucky, who just ignored him. “And I know your flat broke Sam.” Sam pouted, but didn’t say anything “This can’t be any worse. I mean it’s nothing .”

 

“We might’ve been flat broke, but Stark sure ain’t. Plus we don’t have superpowers with downsides like not being able to stand the cold. ” Sam said back. “Anything else we should know about too? Do you need to eat processed bugs to get enough protein or something.” Sam asked and Peter scrunched up his nose.

 

“No, that’s disgusting.” Peter huffed and then mumbled quickly “,but I’m allergic to mint.” Bucky almost stopped right then and there and looked down at the kid.

 

“What?” he asked in a cold tone, that would’ve scared Peter but Peter looked up innocently.

 

“I think eating bugs is disgusting?” he asked and Bucky gave him a hard glare that only dared him to mess with him. “Fine!” Peter huffed and crossed his arms. “I’m allergic to mint. And that really sucks you know, because I used to love mint chocolate chip ice cream and Thin Mint cookies. I mean who doesn’t like them. But now I can’t have it cause it’ll make me really sick and...and did you know that...that most...seasoned...food...has...Bucky, could you please let go, I can’t... breathe .” Peter weezed as Bucky loosened his grip on the boy who took it as an opportunity to run.

 

He’s Parker Luck decided this was the right moment for him to bump into Pepper Potts. Who raised a brow looking between the seething war assets and the frozen teenage boy.

 

“I feel like I’m going to regret asking this.” Pepper sighed and looked to Peter, if only because he was probably the most sane one. “What’s going on?”

 

“Nothing.”

 

“He’s allergic to mint.”

 

“Kid can’t thermoregulate.”

 

He, Bucky and Sam all said at the same time and Peter hoped the blinking look on Pepper’s face was of confusion. But then it slowly turned stone cold, and how she understood any of that was beyond him, but then he found himself being dragged into the store and- wait…

 

“You know thermoregulation?” Peter’s voice pitched, mostly because he was scared, but also impressed. Not many people know or remember that from school.

 

“I’m engaged to a Science Geek.” she answered simply “And you , Mr.Parker, are in dire need of a change in clothing. You’d be freezing out there even if you could thermoregulate in that thin piece of cloth. Which, by the way, is not very fitting on you, you look like you’re more clothes than human.” Pepper scolded as she sat Peter down on a couch- they had those in rich people store apparently, but how was he supposed to know - and sifted through a coat rack of extra small coats.

 

“I’m-” Peter didn’t even get the full word out before Pepper threw back a glare that said she wasn’t done.

 

“And your allergy is something we definitely should’ve known. You’ve eaten enough with us to not have some form of mint in your food.” she glared and Peter ducked and relized she was waiting for an explination.

 

“You...I kinda..mostly eat the pasta and pizza and chinese you guys order..” he sheepishly rubs the back of his neck and Pepper flared up again.

 

“You should have told us.” she said in a stern voice as she dumped a pile of clothes next to him and pulled him up to check the sizing. They were too big for him even in the smallest size and Pepper dutifully held up every one.

 

“I didn’t wanna bother you Ms.Potts.” Peter mumbled embarrassed, he vauguly noticed Bucky and Sam watching in his peripheral and if he wasn’t so terrified of Ms.Potts, he would’ve been embarrassed of being treated like a kid who couldn’t pick his own cloths - which he probably should’ve let May do, but science puns.

 

“And having a superpowered teenager, who doesn’t react well to medicine or painkillers other than a shit ton of advil,  break out into hives is better how?” Pepper said more like a fact, and it was, but Peter couldn’t help but mumble.

 

“I actually just throw up a bunch and get headaches.” he said under his breath and regretted it immediately as Pepper looked ready to kill. “I’m sorry , Ms.Potts but I’m 16. I know what  I can and can not put into my body.” Now. Pepper’s gaze softened a bit as she took out a nice blue and grey double jacket of it’s hanger and crouched down to put it on him.

 

“Peter, it’s not about that. You’re responsible enough to know that, I know. But for things like that and in a body like your, which needs a lot more food and nutrients than normal teens and adults, the fact that you can’t eat foods that are seasoned with an ingredient used in a lot of things? It’s something you just gotta tell us, honey. Okay?” the jacket was too big, but fit better. And he still had his sweater paws so he was content as Pepper zipped it up.

 

“Okay.” he nodded and Pepper smiled.

 

“No more secrets?” she asked hopefully.

 

“No promises.” Peter mumbled  but looked up with a smile “But I’ll try.”

 

Pepper smiled back. “That’s all I ask.”

 

And if Peter left the store feeling a little warmer, then he was all the more happier...And if Tony banned every item of mint for a week before he needed some Thin Mints...well who cares.

 

Because who could resist those.



Chapter Text

Team Smash

 

Ever since the spiderbite Peter hasn’t gotten sick that often- not that he was complaining.

 

The most common reason he’d get ‘sick’ was either due to poison, which would make him throw-up or have a massive headache. Sometimes he’d get a sore throat from screaming or being strangled and choked or smoke inhalation. His stomach would hurt if he ate too much too fast too, as he’d learned. But he was absolutely sure that he couldn’t get sick, like the common cold or the flu, anymore.

 

But here he was, walking to the training room to meet up with Natasha to train, like any other Sunday. But unlike any other Sunday, he woke up to an open window inviting -7 degrees of biting wind into his small room. He must’ve forgotten to close the window last night after he gotten back from patrol. He woke up to the freezing cracked wooden floor and a head full of cotton.

 

He tried to brush it off as if it were nothing, because there was no way he could get sick. He barely even remembered getting sick before the spiderbite. But he vaguely remembered it was a similar feeling like the one he was experiencing now. Head feeling too heavy and like it was about to fall off.

 

But there was no way he could be sick. He wasn’t gassed last night, nor tainted by any sort of poison. No one strangled or choked him last night, although the robbers and shoplifters had tried, they were far from close to accomplishing that. Hurray for the Holidays. He hadn’t eaten anything except for two granola bars and some water.   He normally would have grabbed an apple from the counter before heading down to the training room, but he didn’t feel hungry.

 

Maybe his body was just adjusting to the weather. It wouldn’t be abnormal for his body to have some negative reactions with his constantly putting it through different things. Hot to cold, eating to starving, rested to stressed, uninjured to mortally wounded. It was no wonder his body would have some backlash- which was frankly more concerning than being sick but whatever - but it did that sometimes, he just had to deal with it.

 

Peter got to the training room where Natasha was already waiting. It was just the two of them today. Usually Sam would join them, but he had flown out yesterday to pick up his mom for the holidays. Which was too bad because when Sam was there he’d usually challenge to take on both Peter and Natasha at the same time, he’d lose easily only to challenge them again making up some shit excuse to why he’d lost. However, when it was just Natasha and Peter, it was more of a Natasha vs Peter. Of course Peter would lose more often than not, he was no match for Natasha’s trained prowess. When they first started out he barely lasted two minutes against her, but soon the spars started to get longer and he even started to win a few. He’d never been more proud of himself in any other moments.

 

Natasha was impressed with the kid too. She only started to train him because Cap had told her to because he’s just a kid god dammit .She thought it’d be an annoyance, not because she didn’t like Peter - the kid had always been polite enough. It was because kids -teens- tended to throw fits when they didn’t get something.

 

She should’ve known Peter was different.

 

He was smart and resourceful, making it almost annoyingly easy for him to pick up things quickly - especially with his abilities because his raw power, agility, speed and talent not to mention intelligence were just off the charts and that was without any formal training. Natasha loved it because she didn’t have to re-explain things as much as she thought she would have, had Peter been anyone else. He never asked stupid questions and always listened to her instructions perfectly when training. In the field he’d put his own Spidery twist to things, which never failed to amuse her.

 

It felt good when he listened. Sure Natasha was used to giving orders to people in the field, but they were blindly following her orders because she was Black Widow or Agent Romanov. With Peter she was Ms.Natasha - and she only allowed the honorific because that was just Peter .

 

She would be lying if she said he wasn’t fun too. Peter was just Peter Parker, he was also Spiderman. That meant he not only brought his webslinger skills, but also the persona. The wise-cracking, sassy attitude mixed with his polite intelligence was when Natasha felt like she really saw Peter. The real Peter Parker.

 

No doubt the boy felt more comfortable around the Avengers & co, but his completely different personalities always got in the way of letting him just be himself. Peter Parker was a quiet, shy, and polite kid that just blended into the background. Spider Man was a wise-cracking, sassy chatterbox that never knew when to give up. In the lab he was the intelligent meme/vine referencing genius. With the kids, he was the most responsible and patient teenager in the world. With adults, he was the most respectful kid with  small smile. With his peers he was a science loving geek who watched too Star Wars. With the Avengers he managed to be all of those things and absolutely none of them at all.

 

Behind every personality there was one constant. That sad child that had gone through too much and seen even more in too little time. The weight of the world crashing on their shoulders with secrets that could never touch the light of day. All of it crammed and hidden behind thick walls and paper thin smiles that were sometimes genuine, sometimes reassuring and sometimes worrying because there is no way he could be okay, he’s just a kid god dammit.

 

Peter would never intentionally show any one he was stressed out or injured or angry or sad or any negative emotion. If something hurt him, he’d laugh and walk it off. He was a bright kid with too many dark secrets to truly be happy. Secrets no one would understand. Natasha get’s it, she understands that she’ll never be able to understand what Peter is going through. She’s the same after all. Although not as young as he is, she still carries the way too dark secrets. She knows from experience that she could never truly be happy just satisfied. She’d accepted this as her fait, yet for some reason she couldn’t accept it as Peter’s. The kid was too good and pure and genuine not to be happy.

 

Peter, for all his strengths, was not good with words. He’s not good at telling people what’s wrong, because he’s spent his whole life pretending everything was okay. He never wanted to burden or cause trouble for the people he cared about. Trying not to get in the way, in fear of rejection or abandonment - which Natasha has to remind herself sometimes that yes people (monsters) have abandoned this pure, loving child that deserves the entire universe (she’d slit their throats if they weren’t already dead). Natasha can see it just under that sometimes paper thin smile.

 

Luckily she and the rest of the Avengers & co. have their own ways of dealing with helping Peter subtly without alerting him that they are doing so.

 

So when Peter comes into training looking like utter shit, gears start to turn while her brain shuts down simultaneously. She eventually just let instinct take over and grabbed the boy by the wrist that was hidden in his oversized NASA hoodie. She examined his sunken red eyes and his paler than normal skin. He sneezed a little cute kitten sneeze and that was all it took for her to start dragging him back to the elevator.

 

“H-Hey, Ms.Natasha!” he says hoarsely as she quickens her pace towards the elevator.

 

Once their inside she smoothly asks “What happened?” not quite yelling but putting enough dominance in her tone to dare him to not answer honestly. He shrunk in on himself a little before answering.

 

“I don’t know.” Natasha gave a nod at the soft reply. She believed him. It wasn’t often that Peter didn’t know what was going on with his own body, or in general. He’d admit if he was wrong or if he didn’t know something. If he was hiding something he’d just say he was fine.

 

“We are going to Bruce.” she informed pressing a button and the lift started to move.

 

The lab doors opened to find Bruce and Tony at work. They looked up to see Natasha dragging the spider-kid in by the arm as he stumbled behind her confident, purpose filled strides. He looked like a hangover zombie, and Tony only hoped he finally had gotten drunk, but Natasha’s not madness told him that was far from the truth.

 

“What happened?” he asked before Bruce could get the words out of his mouth. Peter shrugged as Tony was up and helping Peter onto the couch. The kid didn’t like hospital tables, he’d learned that the hard way.

 

Bruce came over and took a look at the miserable boy. He made Peter open his mouth and tested his rather impressive reflexes - even while sick the kid was on guard, he wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

 

“Well, you’re experiencing minor cold symptoms.” Bruce said as he retracted his arm from where it was rested on Peter’s heart. “Any idea what could’ve caused it?”

 

“I left the window open last night when I came back.” Peter mumbled and before Natasha or Bruce could say anything, Tony was up and scolding him.

 

“You hooligan! Why would you- Do you even know how cold it was outside last night. FRIDAY!” Tony gestured to the ceiling while Peter went to defend himself.

 

“I thought I’d be fi-”

 

“-7 to 3 degrees last night, sir.” FRIDAY said politely. Almost sinister sweet. Tony gave Peter a look like he better get an explanation.

 

“Okay, maybe I pushed it. But in my defense it was an accident.” Wrong choice of words.

 

“Accident?!” Tony went on a worried tirade for the next few minutes before Bruce and Natasha looked at each other and decided it was best to leave.

 

“Think he’ll be okay?” Bruce whispered as they left.

 

“Stark got it.” Natasha answered smoothly.



Chapter Text

Team Tech

 

Peter never really celebrated Holidays, not in any way that counted at least.

 

Technically he was half Jewish, so Christmas wasn’t even in the picture. When his parents were alive they didn’t celebrate with him his birthday much less holidays in general. When he went to live with Ben and May, they would try to watch one Hallmark movie, then give up and go on a Star Wars marathon, or watch cop shows. They weren’t rich enough to afford gifts, but Peter didn’t mind. He felt slightly awkward when he came to school after winter break though, because everyone was talking about how they hung stockings and ate candy canes. Downside to being the only poor kid in a rich school. It didn’t matter though, because it was a tradition he wouldn’t let go for anything.

 

Until May died. Anything resembling a normal family left when she did, and their traditions with it. Everyone kept theirs though, he forgot about that when he lost his. The holidays became like any normal day. He was lucky to have Spiderman to distract him from the loneliness he was sure would be there when he came home, especially around this time of year.

 

He didn’t notice himself slipping this into normalcy, and he didn’t notice that all around him everyone was with their families. He considered the ignorance a blessing and went on with his life. The only thing different about late December was how many more robberies there were, and that wasn’t all that bad considering he wanted something to distract him.

 

All the criminal activity and fixing of his gear made it easy to forget why he got school off for half a month. He forgot the world still remembered though, and everyone in it celebrated one holiday or another. He forgot other people had their own traditions too, including the Avengers.

 

Nonetheless, he didn’t really put two and two together until 3 days prior, when a Wakandan ship landed on the platform and Shuri and T’challa came out with a bunch of Wakandan honor guard- Dohra, Peter was once told by Shuri.

 

“Hey Peter!” Shuri waved and hugged him, and Peter returned the hug but was still confused.

 

“Shuri? What are you doing here?” Peter asked as they broke apart.

 

“You poor idiot. We are here for the American holidays.” Shuri said with a playful smile.

 

“They are more international, but sure.” Tony said coming up behind Peter to greet T’challa.

 

“Plus, Stark invited us to the parties.” Shuri said and nudged Peter. “You are going no?” Parties? What Parties?

 

“Uhm...I don’t understand.” Peter said slowly

 

“Oh yeah kid, you can come. Although I thought Pep told you, but I guess not.” Tony said casually and then looked at him. “But if you’ve got other plans…” it was then that it clicked

 

The Avengers had a Christmas Eve party on the 24th every year since the Chitauri attacked. Ms.Potts hosted it, and Mr.Stark usually hosted the New Years one.

 

Peter totally forgot.

 

“Yeah- I mean no. Holiday stuff, Christmas parties. Yup, those are normal things.” Peter said in a hurry. Shuri looked at him weird for a second before she shrugged and opened her bag to take something out.

 

A little wrapped box manifested in her hands and she gave it to Peter. “I know it’s early but I just couldn’t wait. Open it.” she said with an excited look and Peter bewilderedly take the box. Peter panicked. He’d never been handed a formal present before but now...

 

“Uhm I don’t celebrate Christmas.” He said quickly. Everyone looked at him weird as he handed the present back, but Shuri didn’t take it. “I mean, I’m Jewish...Christmas presents I can’t- I mean I appreciate it,but-...I just can’t accept this…” he said, there was a beat and Shuri slowly pushed the gift back.

 

“Happy Hanukkah then.” she said with a playful smile and Peter wasn’t sure weather to feel happy or frustrated.


“No,” he said with a playful smile. “I don’t celebrate any holiday. Getting a gift just feels..weird.” Shuri didn’t take the gift back though.

 

“Then think of it as a luxurious asset. I was working on it for months, and not to disrespect your religion, you kind of needed a tech upgrade anyway.” Shuri insisted. Peter looked nervous, but didn’t push back as Shuri guided him through opening the gift.

 

It was custom Vibranium web shooters. They were ultra light and they were small and thin. They held 7 times more webfluid than his normal ones.

 

“How did you-”

 

“It took forever to figure out how to design them and build them. But it wasn’t my idea to make them.” Shuri gestured to T’challa. Peter looked at him speechless.

 

“I figured an ally of Wakanda should be treated as such. It is a small token for saving Shuri and helping us with out battle two years ago.” T’challa said.

 

“Th-Thank-you...wow, I’ve never been rewarded for doing my job before.” Peter said breathless.

 

“Hey! I provided a suit with a custom AI for you! I don’t get any brownie points for that?” Tony asked a little miffed.

 

“You took it away.” Peter pointed out in a deadpan.

 

“For like a week!”

 

“I almost died.”

 

“It’s not my fault your a self sacrificing little shit who throws themselves off of invisible jets fighting you girlfriends dad .” Tony shoots back. Touche

 

“But Mr.Stark!” Peter held up the web shooters “It’s Vibranium ! Like Cap’s shield and Black Panther’s suit! It can’t break. That mean I don’t have to keep rebuilding these anymore. Do you know how much time this saves me?”

 

“To do what exactly?” Tony asked with a quirk of his brow.

 

“Homework!” Peter smiled and Tony looked incredulous.

 

“What do you mean ‘Homework’?! That should be your top priority!” Tony yelled at Peter finally getting out of shock, but in more of a concerned way.

 

“Yeah but I lose brain cells just looking at it. It’s so easy .” Peter said. “Besides, it’s optional...sometimes.” Tony made a swipe for Peter’s head as he ducked out of the way and laughed.T’challa chuckled in a rumble deep voice as he ruffled Peter’s hair.

 

“Well I’m glad I can help you with that.” T’challa said. “If you need anything else, you only are required to ask.” Peter, if possible, looked even more starstruck.

 

“I just can’t believe you thought of me.” Peter half mumbled.

 

“He talks about you quite often when he is pestering me in the lab. Keeps up with all your media showings too.” Shuri informed with a snicker as T’challa lightly hit her.

 

“Shuri.” T’challa warned.

 

“What? You are obsessed with a sixteen year old white boy. That’s not my fault.” Shuri said back.

 

“I just want to make sure he is safe. He has a younger mind. We need to mold it accordingly.”

 

“Yeah and that molding includes a proper shitty education with some stupid ass professors.”Tony mumbled.

 

“Do you want me to come to your holiday restricting party or not? Because I won’t if you are gonna talk about school.” Peter said “I have an opportunity to avoid it.”

 

“Like hell.” Tony said “I’m telling Pepper to get some Latkes. It’s an all religions party now. So now your obligated to come.” he crossed his arms and Peter had a shit eating grin.

 

And if he did finished his over the break homework that night, no one would know.



Chapter Text

Team Red

 

December 24th. Peter swung over the rooftops in the city above the apartments and just below the high buildings.

 

Normally he’d be enjoying the view, the city was like something out of a  a wintery steampunk book. But there was this feeling like he was forgetting something. Oh and also the blaring sirens and high speeds of the car that he was chasing, took all his attention. He shot a web out and latched on top of the car and crawled his way up to the driver side and glanced into the side window and waved to the driver upside down.

 

“Hey buddy!” he said cheerfully. The driver made an indigent noise. “I get that these are a steal right now, but that doesn’t mean you can actually steal them.” He smashed the window and grabbed the wheel and swung in, kicking the guy in the face. “You know, when you have this feeling.” he said as he shot a web to the gear changer “when you know you’re forgetting something.” the car swerved. “But you just can’t figure out what.”  and yanked the stick into park. The car made an awful sound and stopped abruptly. “Cause I’m having that feeling right now and it’s really annoying me.” Peter then shot a web to the driver and strapped him in the chair.

 

Peter climbed out of the car to see the police officers that finally caught up and got out of their cars but were a bit too stunned to react quickly enough. Peter threw them the keys.

 

“Happy Hanukkah!” He said as he swung away before they could take their guns out to shoot at him.

 

Man was that a rush. He loved that feeling of adrenaline when he stopped bad guys. He wanted to ride this wave out and stop more, but he that inkling came back, like he was forgetting something. Then his phone rang.

 

“Hey Harley!” Peter said with a bright smile even if no one could see.

 

“Don’t ‘hey Harley’ me. Where are you?” the older boy yelled into the phone and Peter almost smacked his head. The Holiday party at Stark Tower! He totally forgot.

 

“Why do you need me? The party doesn’t start til’ tonight and I don’t even know if I’m gonna make it.” Peter said, because he never actually said yes per say.

 

“You sure as hell are gonna be here.” Harley nearly demanded. “Wanda’s catering.”

 

“Oh yeah, then I’ll definitely come.” Peter’s mouth started to drool a bit. Who knew the Scarlet Witch can cook like a goddess? Cause she can and Peter has never tasted anything better than Wanda’s homemade Lasagna. Only rivaled by Wanda’s Portuguese Stew.

 

“Yeah, well we need your help. We’re making that Jewish dish you wanted and don’t know how it’s supposed to taste.” Peter stopped mid-lazy swing.

 

“What do you mean we I thought Wanda was making it.” he said with his brows furrowed and his voice was borderline whiney.

 

“Yeah, but there are a lot of dishes and I’m doing the potatoe based ones.” Harley grumbled and Peter laughed a  bit.

 

“Did you lose a bet or something?” the frustrated noise Harley made indicated Peter was right.

 

“Can you just come over so we can see if this is edible or not.” Harley said in a frustrated tone.

 

“And what makes you think I know what Latkes taste like.” there was a pause.

 

“...Cause our Jewish.” Harley said in a bemused tone.

 

“Yeah, I’m Jewish. Or at least my mom was...I think it was my mom at least.” Ben wasn’t Jewish so his dad wasn’t either. “Yeah definitely my mom.”

 

“Okay, so you know what Jewish food tastes like.” Harley said getting a bit irrated.

 

“I dunno. She never cooked.” She made chemicals to inject in me does that count?

 

“Can you just get your religiously tolerant ass over here.” Harley said through the phone and Peter only laughed as he hung up the phone and swung into the Stark Tower kitchen in the common room.

 

There were dishes laid out on the table and ingredients on the counter. The stove was running and the oven was baking something. Peter couldn’t even say hi before Wanda used her magic to shove Latkes into his mouth.

 

“Th’ goo’” he mumbled putting a hand over his mouth as he swallowed. He took a step forward, then it hit him all at once. The adrenaline crash and the slight vertigo he got from swinging fast and high. His vision blurred for a second and his stomach did a flop and he was back and fine. Wanda was about to shove more in his mouth before he put up both hands. “Wait, give me a second.”

 

“Was the first batch okay?” Wanda asked quickly as she stopped her food pursuit.

 

“Yeah it was fine. They were really good.” Peter smiled and walked over as Wanda sighed. “Need help?” he asked as he washed his hands.

 

“Go change first you hooligan.” he heard Mr.Stark’s voice from the couch. He was boredly scrolling through Twitter and didn’t look up.

 

“Right… uhm where is everyone?” Peter asked as he looked around the near empty common room.

 

“They are not allowed to enter unless they want to die.” Wanda grumbled mixing a batch of something with an off white colour and Harley sighed.

 

“Super human metabolisms, God of Thunder and immature adults.” Harley summed up and Peter nodded understandingly.

 

He then walked off the change, “Missing something?” Harley asked and Peter turned around only to relize he didn’t bring his backpack with him so he had no cloths. Harley tossed him some that was on the coffee table. “They are mine, but I expect them back and washed.” Peter laughed and went to change. When he came back he helped Wanda and Harley. But it was mostly just them making him sample a bunch of things.

 

“‘Y do I ‘ave ta do thi’?” Peter asked behind a mouthful.

 

“Don’t chew with your mouth full kid.” Tony scrunched up his nose.

 

“Because you have superhuman metabolism and won’t eat everything.” Wanda said as she fed Peter something of he didn’t even know what at this point.

 

“I’m not gonna eat at the party if I keep eating now you know.” he stated and Tony furrowed his brows looking up from his tablet.

 

“You have a superhuman metabolism, so you could eat like 20 full pizzas.” Tony stated and Peter swallowed.

“Yeah well mine doesn’t exactly work right now.” he mumbled back as Wanda went back to making a batch. “Too much salt.” he said quietly and Wanda smiled as she added less salt to the bowl.

 

“What do you mean ‘doesn’t work’?” Tony stood up and strided over.

 

“H-Hey Wanda, mind if I decorate cookies?” Peter asked trying to avoid the Stark by going behind the counter and grabbing a batch as Wanda nodded.  Tony walked around the counter as Peter did the same to get to otherside and put the tray of cookies down. Tony walked towards Peter again, but he went behind the counter and the Stark let out a frustrated growl.

 

“Keep still would ya kid. Let me get a good look at you.” Mr.Stark said as Peter went to get the icing and turned around to duck out of Tony’s way and laugh nervously.

 

“What are you a doctor?” Peter said idily.

 

“As a matter of fact, yes .” Tony said as he kept pursuing the boy. “Now what did you mean by ‘doesn’t work’?” he said as Peter was about to duck out of his reach again and grabbed the kid’s skinny shoulders.

 

“It means he screwed up his eating habits and now it’s taking it’s toll.” Harley said casually.

 

“He did not eat enough and his body grew used to it, so it’s harder to take in a normal amount of food.” Wanda said still mixing the batter.

 

“Wait you two knew about this and didn’t tell me?” Tony asked as he looked over his shoulder, firm grip still on the spiderkid. Harley and Wanda shrugged and Tony groaned and focused back on the fidgety kid.

 

“Why- Who else knows?” Tony asked Peter. The boy tried to shrug casually but his eyes averted as he mumbled.

 

“Thor and Bucky.” And Tony blanched. “They found out, I didn’t tell them.” he said quickly like it fixed everything.

 

“That’s even worse .” Tony said as he let go of the kid to message his temples.

 

“Sorry Mr.Stark. I just… didn’t think it was a big deal.” Peter tried to amend.

 

“Okay… well based on the context clues, I’m guessing Wanda and Harley are helping you with it… so that’s good. Next time just tell a professional , like Bruce.” Peter nodded numbly.

 

“Okay, next time I have a deathly problem I’ll come straight to you.” he said seriously and Tony sighed.

 

“Knowing you it’s gonna be when not if.” Tony mumbled and Peter smiled.

 

“Yup.”

 

“Go back to frosting your cookies.” there was silence then.

 

“You wanna help me?” more silence.

 

“Dammit kid.” Tony grabbed a piping tube.



Chapter Text

Tony’s Solution

 

He hated the holidays without May.

 

It was full of pain and memories of him Ben and May all being a dysfunction but slightly functional broken happy family they were. He never got gifts, or if he did it was one pretty ratty hand me down. He never really cared about that though, because they watched crappy movies and were just laughing and having fun together.

 

Now it was him being shoved into his room and Ben guarding his alcohol and yelling at him drunkenly. Something Ben wouldn’t remember and something Peter wouldn’t forget.

 

Peter wanted to get away, wanted to go out as Spider-Man. He didn’t want to think about the pain and memories. But it was too cold outside and if one of the Avengers found out he was out again, it wouldn't be good. They were bound to get suspicious about his overtime as a vigilante, not that they weren’t already pretty suspicious and dangerously close to figuring out the full truth about his home life. He didn’t want to make them worry about him when they could be spending time with their families. That wasn’t fair to them. That was the reason he couldn’t go to the tower. Because it was December 26th and he’d been there for two days with little to no food, but also a limited amount of money because he even though he got his Holiday bonus- which went straight to booze because Ben was drunk not stupid - and work was closed for a week.

 

So he just lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Spare parts seemed scarce in his bins, since he’d been tinkering on ideas for the past two days. The books on his nightstand were read ten times over and he wasn’t up to watching movies without someone right now- plus Ben might overhear and he didn’t wanna deal with that can of worms right now. The library was closed, everything was closed. He was alone, listening to Ben's on and off insults through the locked door. The only thing to do was let his ever present loneliness and the thought of how things would never be the same again, swallow him.

 

Yeah, he didn’t like the holidays so much anymore.

 

His stomach growled from lack of food and he sighed putting a sweater pawed hand on his abdomen. He’d gotten skinnier, he noticed. Stupid enhanced metabolism. Stupid Harley making his diet regular again.

 

What was the point if he was gonna starve easier? He then felt guilty because Harley was only trying to help. Nearly nobody did that for him anymore, but at the same time they didn’t have any reason to care. Even if they did they wouldn’t know how. Peter didn’t even know how.

 

For someone so smart you sure are dumb. You don’t even know how to save yourself, how are you going to save anyone else?

 

It was then that the door was being banged on and yelling started. He barely paid it any mind until it got louder and the door cracked and his room was invaded as the door was banged down an angry and very drunk Ben was standing there.

 

“You little shit I called you ten times!” Had he? Peter hadn’t noticed. Peter could only look at him with blank eyes as Ben strode over and picked him up by the scruff of his baggy hoodie and started to drag him.

 

Peter expected to be yelled at and told to clean or do his chores, since he had been ignoring them the past few weeks - he didn’t want to come home . He hadn’t expected to be slapped straight across the face and kicked down.

 

“It's your fucking fault!” He yelled and kicked Peter in the stomach it made Peter gag. There was nothing there and it hurt more. “She’s gone because of you ! You were supposed to die and she died for you! You don’t give a damn about it though, because you’re a selfish little prick who don’t deserve to live! She was everything to me and you took her away. That’s all you do, is take and take and take and you never stop!” Ben yelled kicking him and bring him up to slam him in the wall. The words hurt more though and he started to cry. He could take a beating, but Bens words hurt more than anything.

 

And the thing was he was right. Peter could’ve saved her. May would be alive and they’d be happy and everything would’ve been okay if he just hadn’t froze. Ben said other things but Peter had a ringing in his ear blocking everything out.

 

You call yourself a hero, Spiderman?

 

Ben eventually threw him to the ground and stomped away.

 

You’re a joke.

 

Peter curled into a ball on the floor and hugged himself.

 

No one takes you seriously.

 

He wanted someone there so he could hug them.

 

Not Ben or New york.

 

He didn’t deserve it, but his chest constricting and the pain in his stomach and headache and dialed up senses were too much.

 

Not Ned or MJ.

 

Everything was going too fast and he couldn’t keep up, because his legs were broken and he couldn't Chase whatever he was trying to catch.

 

Not the Harley or Shuri or the kids.

 

He was running out of breathe for something he didn’t know, so why bother.

 

Not the Avengers or SHIELD.

 

If it was like everything else in his life, it would probably just be a disappointment.

 

And especially not-

 

He felt his phone buzz and he took it out, his blurry vision couldn't make out the text but he could read the name.

 

Tony Stark

 

Peter had enough. He couldn't take this anymore, cause he wasn’t living with Ben. Ben was kind and sweet and helped him. All semblance of that was gone.

 

He turned on the tracker Mr.Stark gave him. In case he needed backup or was kidnapped or something else happened. He never used it before. He was in too much pain to think of the consequences or second guess himself now. But he knew it was a stupid reason to use it. He wasn’t worth the help. But his body moved on it’s own and he didn’t do anything to stop it. He was too out of it. Everything blurred.

 

Then he passed out.

 

OoOoO

 

As soon as the tracker was online, Tony got a notification. He didn’t even know it was off, and he never bothered to check. Spider-Man was an independent vigilante and even if he was a kid he could take care of himself, despite how much he and the rest of the Avengers hated how he went about it. He was just a kid after all. Not just text book kind of smart. But  could hack into Stark tech and take down a multi million dollar corporation in two days kind of smart.

 

Tony looked at the screen and the location that blinked on it.

 

Queens.

 

Tony took a minute before he got into gear and something clicked. Peter turned on the tracker on purpose. He needed help. Now.

 

Tony grabbed his portable Iron Man suit for just in case and took the elevator to the garage. If he needed back up he’d call. But Peter was there, so he probably didn’t. Kid was powerful, Tony didn’t know how much, but he could probably knock out Cap and was as flexible as Widow. At least with what he’s seen. Part of him wonders what someone like that-who was smart, fast, agile and strong(basically a perfect soldier, oh Ross would have a field day if he ever get his hands on the kid)- considered an emergency.

 

Then again that ‘perfect soldier’ was still a kid and a solo vigilante.

 

Then again said kid was Peter Parker who hated and refused asking or receiving help left and right, not because he thought he was too good for it, but because he thought he didn’t deserve it. Which was absurd considering he was probably the only hero who did in fact deserve it.

 

He didn’t want to be an inconvenience and now he was asking for help, this close to christmas- even if the kid didn’t celebrate it. Not that Tony minded , it’s just this would probably be the only time that Peter wouldn’t call in for help.

 

Was it that bad?

 

He finally got to the destination where the tracker led. It was a dingy old apartment building, the signal was coming from the seventh floor. Everything seemed to be perfectly normal about it compared to the ones around Queens, the place wasn't at all abandoned. Tony squinted up at the building, counting to the seventh floor. There were lights on and normal activity could be seen. Why would Peter lead him here? No suspicious activity, or anything out of the ordinary.

 

Tony followed the signal and went up the rusty old elevator. He walked until he got to apartment 714 and stopped out the door. He pressed his head to the door carefully to listen in, there was only the sound of snoring and glass clinking. Tony jiggled the door knob and the door popped open with a squeak and he made his way inside the half lit apartment. Everything seemed normal, except there were beer bottles everywhere and a man in a ratty stained tank top snoring on the couch the entire room smelling of alcohol. Tony briefly scrunched his nose in disgust before He looked around for a bit before peering down the hallway and seeing a door kicked in. He walked down the hall and peered into the room.

 

Tony took in a sharp inhale at the sight as everything clicked into place and he felt so stupid for not realizing it sooner.

 

The room was small and washed out green walls. There were posters of NASA and MIT and Star Wars on the walls and some notes and old parts and a homemade computer on the desk. Some clothes on the floor and on the chair and books piled high in stacks all over the room. Messy half made bed and boxes in different corners. It was a teenagers room for sure. But not just any teenager.

 

This was Peter’s room.

 

It simply screamed the kid, and also Peter was in a corner tucked between boxes hood up and head in his knees that his arms wrapped around. He looked so small, Tony almost overlooked him.

 

Tony took one last glance outside at the man on the couch and snarled before walking in the room and crouching by the kid. He put a hand on Peters shoulder and the tracking signal clicked off. He noticed a unusual bulge in his fingers under the sweater paws and figures it was the on and off switch that The kid must’ve built. Brilliant.

 

His head was still in his knees and he didn’t seem to move.

 

“Hey kid, you good?” Tony asked softly as Peter did not answer but relaxed under his touch and his neck untensed a little. Tony dug his hand under the kids chin and lifted it gently. And another sharp intake as he saw the kids face. To put it lightly he looked like shit. Bruising blooming from his cheeks and a cut above his forehead. The biggest and blackest bags Tony had ever seen in his life hung off the kids eyes and his cheeks were hallowed in a little as if he hadn't eaten in months. His eyes were red and puffy and there were still some tear tracks that were visible. His lips were cracked and his bottom one was split.

 

A flash of Peter smiling softly and laughing quietly at the Holiday party and sipping Hi-C juice. Sam poking and making fun of him for it and talking animatedly to the adults. Playing with the kids. Referencing memes and vines with Shuri and Harley. Talking brightly with Pepper about anything.

 

How could that bright child  be the same broken kid in front of him now?

 

Everything clicked into place.

 

“No.” Tony said firmly before Peter could attempt to explain, the kid hadn’t even open his mouth yet, probably hadn’t even formulated coherent thoughts in his mind to form words.

 

He said it because he wouldn’t let this happen any longer. It’s already happened too lang and the kid looks like he was about to cry or break or yell any minute. Tony could feel his own chest restrict. He wouldn’t let that asshole hurt his kid any longer and his mind was made up.

 

Pepper would approve. He wouldn’t let her disagree with him. Not with this. She probably wouldn’t anyway.

 

He grabbed the forever packed backpack with kids stuff that was on the chair and swung it over his shoulder before he scooped up the kid, and Jesus Christ almighty a 15 year old shouldn’t weigh as light as he did. Did the kid even eat?

 

Peter didn’t say anything or protest as he was carried out. Just staring blankly at something Tony couldn’t see.  With one last snarl toward the uncle that was sure to be put through so much hell he'd have a reason to drink in hell when it was all over he left. Peter was put in the passenger seat and the backpack at his feet as Tony buckled in the seat belt and drove to the tower in silence.

 

It was only when Tony parked that the kid broke into soft whimpering cries. It was so heartbreaking that Tony couldn’t help but bring the kid across the dashboard and hugged him as he cried into his shoulder and he scooted closer so they were practically on the same seat and he was holding Peter close to his chest as the kid shook and cried. It was highly uncomfortable, but Peter didn’t deserve to feel this way.

 

Not alone.

 

Not anymore.

 

He deserved to be loved and have a happy carefree life just like he acted as if he had.

 

Acted . He didn’t know how the kid suffered this long. It wasn’t fair that he was put through this shit and it wasn’t fair that the kid didn’t cry or yell or throw a tantrum, because god dammit he was probably the only kid in the world that deserved to and had a good damn reason too.

 

Instead he smiled and helped and put everyone before himself. He hid all his emotions until he broke and lost everything ten times over, but never complained. He made others happy and listened and respected people that had no reason to be respected and had the most energy and was smartest hard working kid in the world.

 

Ben had lost a great thing that day, but Tony just got probably one of the best kids in the world.

 

It was Ben's loss honestly.