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The City is no place for a singing bird

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There are over one thousand different species of bird in the world, Spread out across the globe it is impossible to determine how many exactly. In New York alone it is estimated that a majority of the birds live in Central Park, the most common of them all pigeons, are bred to find their way home from long distances away and have been used for thousands of years to carry messages. A Bird could sense a disturbance of natural elements and warn it's surrounding mammals.


"Peter, psst Peter"

"Ned oh my god, shut up you'll get us in trouble again!"

The harsh "Whispers" of Peter and Ned were barely whispers in the silent classroom of Freshman History at MidTown Tech. Ned was poking Peter gently in the side, his StarkPhone (Mr Stark had given it to him on his birthday but if anyone asked he'd pretend it was 'Fred' and no why would he remember the birthday of his Intern's best-friend?) grasped tightly in his hand under the desk as he tried gaining Peter's attention. 

"Dude you gotta see this, it's insane" was the breathy reply, sighing softly and realizing his friend was not going to give in anytime soon, Peter threw a quick glance to his teacher who was perched at her desk, oblivious to the encounter and focusing intently on her own device. "Fine, give us a look" he muttered under his breath. Slipping in the cordless ear bud he was offered, Peter shuffled down in his seat to watch the hidden screen,  his attention was immidealty grabbed by the CNN title of an article, "MASS SUICIDES IN EUROPE", a cold sweat of nerves began dripping from the nape of his neck and down the back of is light blue sweater.

the video began playing, 

"This morning we have seen scenes coming from Europe where it is now apparent that Mass public Suicides are taking place in Italy, The UK, Republic Of Ireland, France, Germany, Russian Federation and many other euro states. The cause is currently unclear yet officials reviewing the footage declare a form of widespread pyscosis that is currently untraceable, the US have shut down all flights and modes of transport entering or exiting the nation to prevent similar occurrences here in the United States. We now have footage from London where a mass has taken place, viewer discretion is highly advised"

Peter agreed with Andy Cohen as soon as the footage began and his stomach churned uncomfortably, People in the streets were purposely crashing cars, bashing their heads, burning, shooting, biting themselves with any attempt to kill themselves, it was something out of a horror film. Ned's eyes flickered from the screen in his hand to Peter's expectantly, Peter cleared his throat, "I, uh I don't know Ned this is pretty bad". Ned scoffed, "Of course it's bad peter, it ain't good that's for sure". Looking back down at the screen where the London footage was still playing Peter squinted to look harder, hardly believing what he thought he could see, a man, a single man stood behind a car to the side of the view watching with a sick smile as everyone ran chaos. His face chilled peter to the bones, why was he fine, let alone smiling!? Before Peter could reply he heard a gasp from the front of the room, both boys whipped their heads up fast, thinking they had been caught on a device, but their teacher sat in front her computer with a trembling hand covering her open mouth, black rimmed glasses askew.

as far as they could tell she was probably watching the same thing. Ned shoved the starkphone into his pocket and both boys went back to their work but their minds couldn't stop running over what they had watched, as the lesson went on, Ms Abbott had left twice to make different phone calls, returning to the room looking more stressed and agitated every time. She seemed totally unaware that most of her students had pulled out phones or opened laptops and were fully immersed in videos, CNN, BBC, RTE, SKY, any news channel they could first click, to read and watch what had happened. Something didn't sit right with Peter, it wasn't quite his spidey-sense but something was starting to put him on edge and it wasn't his anxiety for once.

Then there was the loud screeching of the fire alarm, the very one that only went of for evacuation protocols. Ms Abbott quickly leapt to her feet to begin ushering nervous looking students out to the corridor. Peter tugged on Ned's sleeve to pull him to the back of the line, "Ned we should stay here" Ned pulled a contorted face, "Are you crazy!? If that thing is here then shouldn't we follow protocol and wait for like the special forces or something to handle the situation". Peter reluctantly followed Ned, his fist still bunching the scratchy wool of his friends turtle neck. The class dispersed into the corridor where the other students and teachers had done the same, the hallway was buzzing with excited and nervous chatter as students tried finding friends and were snap chatting the evac on their phones. The noise was drilling into Peter's skull, he could feel every vibration of feet scuttling and voices travelling. Even that couldn't muster the gentle breeze he felt on his face as they got closer to the fire exit doors. Suddenly the breeze felt very strange, it wasn't a breeze but rather something or a someone, and Peter could feel them getting closer. His heart began racing, the hairs on his neck stood straight as his Spidey-sense began screaming at him. All at once the breath was snatched form his lungs, it was here, in the corridor. 

Peter pulled Ned back to face him, people continued rushing past the two of them like rocks and water on a river. "Peter what the hell are you d-" But before he could finish Peter dragged back through the crowd, away from the breeze and deeper into the corridor. The flow of people was steady and no one was phased as the two freshman pushed their way against them, until MJ was standing to a halt in front of them, "Hey Losers, what are you doing? Don't you want to come see?", "See what Michelle?" Peter ignored the two of them talking, staring deeply into MJ's face carefully, something was different about her, her eyes had a gentle glow that only enhanced sight could pick up on for it was barely there. 

He snapped himself out of his daze, bringing himself back to the conversation, "It's going to be spectacular, you have to come look, please guys, you'll love it". Ned frowned, that wasn't MJ's voice, she never got excited about anything, not even when the Decathlon team was announced to be in the finals last term and when they won. A pulse of pain hit peter in the temples roughly, keeping a strong grip on Ned, he used his other hand to rub his head, nothing had hit him, it was if his Spidey-sense had reached a whole new level. Screams began filling the air around them as people began turning around to run the same direction as Peter had led Ned.

"We have to hide, Ned come on" Peter forced his eyes open, keeping on hand on Ned and using the other to push his way up the corridor, Ned resisted, turning between Ned and MJ who stood smiling at them, "Peter we can't just leave MJ there!" Peter shook his head in reply, "That's not MJ, Ned we have to hide now". MJ as if forgetting they were there turned on heel to stare back toward the fire exit, walking slowly and calmly. Determined to keep Ned going, Peter used his free hand to force his head forward, glancing back himself at the shout of his name, he saw something he could never forget, Cindy was running away from students at the doors who had begun smashing their head into the lockers and windows, blood staining the walls as they collapsed, others used sharp pencil case items such as a compass or sharpener to slit their throats, one boy, a senior Peter recalled shoved a biro up his nose before smacking himself face first into the floor, the biro dissapering entirely. Cindy screamed for Peter as she was forced by the chaotic crowd toward the doors before being hidden from Peter's sight.

 

Ned who had the luck to not witness what his friend did, led Peter into an empty Lab, it was dark, the blinds had been pulled down and a projector was knocked onto the floor, casting blue light onto the lower front wall, Peter finally released Ned who pulled the door shut tightly, being sure to lock it.

Peter collapsed to the floor, Hands covering his ears, He could hear them screaming, hundreds of teenagers and teachers screaming out in fear and pain, the sqeulch of blood being spilt on the floor, bones cracking and breaking. He couldn't take it as he sobbed in his fetal position on the floor, in the distance he heard what sounded like his ringtone but was far too gone to register it. 

"Peter Its Mr stark should I pi-"

"No Sir we are hiding in some Lab, Peter sensed it, we were running the opposite direction when he went all funny and-"

"Peter, Mr Stark is coming to get us but he says you gotta stay awake"

"peter"


It was the same ringtone that woke Peter up from his sudden black out, "You shook me all night long" rang out softly from behind him, rolling himself over he reached out for his phone, it was Mr.Starks ringtone, he was calling, he'd save them.

"Hello?" 

"Peter Oh My god Kiddo it is so good to hear from you, are you okay, where's Ned is he okay!?"

Peter turned to see ed who sat in front of the door on his own phone, face lighting up when he saw Peter was awake,

"Yeah He;s fine, he's by the door"

"Thank fuck for that, Listen Pete I'm on my way to you, ETA 3 minutes, but you gotta listen to me carefully kid, this bit's important"

"Hang on" Peter pulled the phone away from his ear to speak to Ned, "Mr.Stark is coming to get us!"

relief flooded Ned's face as he pocketed his phone, quickly standing, "He won't know what classroom we are in, We should go outside, it's quiet now so-"

but Peter had already gone back to his phone call to pay attention to Ned, "What were you saying Mr.Stark?"

Tony's vice was fast and full of panic, "Kid are you in a room with blinds or black outs? is it dark?"

"Yeah there was a screening on in here and they evacuated straight away leaving the blinds down and the projection on, why?"

"Do NOT let any light in, Don't go outside or back into the corridor, stay in the Lab, i'm tracking your phone and watch, FRIDAY will help me find you, you gotta stay where you are Pete do you understand, If anything happens keep your eyes closed and covered, do NOT look until I say so!?"

"Why Mr.Stark? What's going on out there!"

"Pete you gotta trust me Bud, keep your eyes closed, stick close with Ned away from the doors and windows, under a table or desk and wait for me"

 

Ned quietly unlocked the door, unaware of Mr.Starks warning, his fingers wrapped around the handle tightly as a voice filled his hears, "Ned, Peter!?" It was Mj, she sounded scared, "Ned Please I need your help, Ned, please come out!" , cautiously he opened the door slowly, it creaked as it was moved

Peter whipped his head around, "NED NO, DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!", Dropping his phone he scrambled over to Ned who was already head first out the door.

"MJ I'm here, Mj it's safe come sit with us! Peter's got Mr.Stark on call he'll save us!"

 

Peter reached out to grab him and pull him back, "Ned no don't!" but he was shoved back onto the floor, landing on his ass. Ned stepped fully out into the corridor, all Peter could do was watch until he remembered want Tony had warned him of.

If anything happens keep your eyes closed and covered, do NOT look 

Squeezing his eyes shut tightly, Peter felt his way out the door, hands searching for Ned, instead his hands found a warm sticky liquid. retracting quickly he realized he had planted himself in a pool of someones blood, he fought to keep the bile down as he felt the Breeze again. And soon enough he too heard the voice of MJ, and the voices of Ned and Aunt may, calling out to him, begging him, "Peter please, look at us, it's safe baby I promise you it is safe". Despite hearing his aunts soft voice in his ears Peter curled up against something warm and hard, pulling his Jumper over his eyes which he kept shut, he covered his ears once more an waited for Tony, the voices leaving after a while..


 

"Do we even know what the hell this is?"

"Mind your language Wilson" 

Sam turned to stare at Steve, People are killing themselves out there because of some paranormal alien type pyscosis and it could hit here next and you worried about the word hell?"

Rhodey put himself between the two former soldiers, "Cut it out both of you, getting all hot headed will get us no where". Steve nodded before plonking himself back down in his chair at the table. The other Avengers looked on awkwardly before FRIDAY interrupted, "Boss new footage coming in from Siberia". Tony unconsciously shivered at Siberia which didn't go un-noticed by Steve and Bucky who both shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

"sounds good baby girl play the footage"


 

"Pepper please just, just stay here okay, no one, not even me can override FRIDAYS blackout code on this floor the ones above, only myself and the team have access to the lower floors, you're safer here", Tony pulled Pepper into a tight hug, breathing in her perfume, he could feel her shake underneath his grip.

"Sorry to break up the party but you gotta come see this", Clint stood in the door way of the elevator on Tony's private floor, Reluctantly said billionaire let go of his wife to be and followed the agent into the elevator and back up to the Avengers consult and logistics floor. Walking into the conference room, multiple avengers ran around , some on cellphones arguing and shouting and others were on computers typing furiously. "Stark" greeted Natasha, waving him over to where she sat with her laptop, "We have confirmed mass suicides in downtown NYC, it's here". Tony swore under his breath as he looked over the latest report from HQ, "Fury's told us that DC, LA,Miami and New Mexico have been hit, all cities with major water ports". 

"This thing didn't come from a person, it wasn't a bio hazard, there's no patient zero" Bruce called out from across the room, "That Siberian report was right about one thing though, these people, they're seeing something that just isn't there!".

Tony pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to stall an oncoming migraine, "Hey turn that up!", he looked up to see Sam standing in front of one of the channel screens, it was a FOX report from downtown NYC, Tony panicked, he needed to get to Peter and May, the tower was their only chance. Excusing himself quietly, he slipped out of the room and into the bathroom to call May...


 

 

 

Peter had no clue as to how long he lay on the floor of the ground floor corridor, it was dead quiet, a few rustles of leaves that had blown in from the still open doors filled the white noise void in his ears, the voices had been gone for a while and yet his spidey-sense was still going, he knew what it meant. Don't be fooled, the threat is still there. He laid there for what felt like hours, days even, too afraid to move or open his eyes.

Suddenly the sound of familiar whirring and repulsers came within ear shot followed by a soft "Peter? Ned?", Peter burrowed down deeper into his spot, feeling more, now lukewarm, blood sink into his pant legs and torso as he shook his head furiously, the voices were back".

"FRIDAY where are they?"

"What do you mean there's only one heat signature?"

"shit, are you sure?"

"oh god, I found them, him , I found him, let the team and Pepper know, I'll grab him and be on our way, ETA 10 minutes"

 

It was at hearing this half of a conversation did Peter realize that it wasn't the voices, but Tony was actually there, he whimpered with relief and fear, but didn't dare to yet move until he felt soft, strong hands roll him over, "Pete, kid it's me, can you hear me".

nodding he stuttered out a simple "yeah".

"Tony hesitated for a second before pulling Peters arms out of his sleeves, "I'm gonna tie this over you're head so it doesn't come loose okay bud?"

"Mr.Stark where's Ned?" but tony ignored Peter, instead silently ding as he said he would before scooping the teenager into the arms of his suit.

"FRIDAY, autopilot the plot home please" he said softly, a hint of pain to his voice.

Peter kept his eyes shut but he knew they were outside when the suit gained speed and the cold November air hit his bare skin, being exposed without the comfort of his jumper.

the flight was a cold quiet one, the streets were, for once silent, no cars were running or people were talking or moving for that matter, what disturbed him the most was the lack of heartbeats he could hear apart from his own and Mr.Starks which was faint due to the suit. And that's when it hit him. The silence when he laid in the corridor crying for Ned, the blood on his hands, his clothes, his skin, the warm solid he lied against, he was lying by the corspe of his best friend. The events hit him a full force, unable to fight the bile, he shuffles in Mr.Starks grip before promptly turning his head vomiting in his own jumper, shivering and dizzy, he kept it up, ignoring the reassurances from Tony that they weren't far. 


 

Bruce, Natasha and Wanda were waiting for them on the Medical level of the Avengers tower when FRIDAY announced they were in the elevator on the way up. Tony's helmet had retracted and his was a tired, sorrowful face they met, carrying Peter who's head was covered by a bloody jumper, in fact 90 percent of Peter was covered in blood. The genius gently settled the boy on a cot, while Bruce and the other two cautiously made their way over, "Pete you can look now, you're in the MedBay at the tower, I'm here and so is Natasha, Wanda and Bruce, the others and Pepper are upstairs. FRIDAY has us on total blackout, I promise you, we are safe to look in here". But Peter curled in on himself, shaking from both cold and shock, Bruce glanced towards Tony worryingly before trying, "Peter it's Bruce, I'm going to take the Jumper off your head, you can keep your eyes closed if you like but we need to get you into warm, clean clothes".

Bruce slowly began untying the sleeves of the jumper while the other took his shoes and socks off followed by his pants, Tony had picked the girls to come because he knew Wanda could be gentle and keep Peter calm as could Natasha, they would handle this gruesome task better than the men of the team, Bruce was the only other Man who could do all of the above AND had some what of a medical background.

Peter's eyes remained shut the entire time until he heard the soft voice of Natasha, "Peter, Please, you can look, I am real, here feel me, hear me" and with that she took one of his shaking, bloody hands and pressed it against her rib-cage, below her heart which beat rhythmically and soothingly.

Sighing with content, Peter Opened his eyes, blinking blearily at the harsh LED's of the MedBay, "Hey kid" she smiled softly, "How are you feeling?". Peter who had significantly relaxed tensed up again, tears filling his eyes, "My friends, my, Ned, he-he heard someone, heard MJ and he went outside to the corridor, II couldn't stop him in time" Peter sobbed, falling into the strong gentle arms of the former Assassin. 

She hushed his woes and began singing softly in his ear as the others wrapped a blanket around his semi-naked figure, deep down he knew this was only the beginning, Aunt May should have been here but she wasn't , she didn't make, like Ned didn't and Cindy didn't. There was something about this dark entity that made him shiver how that man took great joy at his sight in London, how MJ had done the same, neither covered their eyes, yet didn't have the overwhelming urge to die? No, no more, those thoughts could wait, for now, he felt safe, he felt loved as he listened to Natasha singing.

 

You wore a little cross of gold around your neck
I saw it as you flew between my reason
Like a raven in the night time when you left
Mm-hmm, I wear a chain upon my wrist that bears no name
You touched it and you wore it
And you kept it in your pillow all the same

 

My high-flying bird has flown from out my arms
I thought myself her keeper
She thought I meant her harm
She thought I was the archer
A weather-man of words
But I could never shoot down
(My) my high-flying bird