Chapter 1: In Plain Sight
Peter swallowed down his nerves before walking out of his room. He hated social interaction as much as he hated Toomes, or closed spaces, or losing a Lego piece, or guns, or- he shook his head. Hating this, and dreading it, wouldn’t stop it from coming.
The suit he was wearing was tailored and definitely expensive, and he felt out of place wearing it, the fabric thick and smooth and confining.
“You alright in there, bud?” Tony asked smoothly. Peter had promised Tony that this would be fine, and he’d love to come to some stupid, boring party full of stupid, boring adults, and be treated like a stupid, boring child for a few hours- because Tony asked him to come. And Tony was cool. So Peter was fine with it.
“Y-Yeah!” He squawked out in response, practically throwing himself through the door. Tony smiled warmly at him and reached out to brush one of his curls back, fussing over the boy’s suit like Aunt May did on Homecoming night, adjusting his tie and collar.
“There. You look like a little mini-me!” Tony joked, and Peter finally managed to return the smile. It was no secret to him or Tony that they viewed each other as father and son, even if it usually remained unspoken, more a constant comfort. Perhaps he could tell that Peter was a bundle of nervous energy, or maybe he was nervous himself.
“Hopefully not with the beard though,” Peter smiled, running his hand through his hair again. He had gelled it back, and although it was uncomfortable and the smell of the gel was almost strong enough to irritate his super senses, he could bear with it.
Tony started their walk to the party. It was on the lower floors of Stark Industries, in the back rooms where the exits where many but the windows were few, Tony had a few bars there and room for an orchestral band- Peter jokingly considered showing up with his flute and playing his heart out in the empty space- and much more that Peter hadn’t seen. He knew it was safe there, even if his spidersenses tingled uncomfortably when they entered the room.
Sticking to Tony’s side for most of the night made it easy to hide in the man’s shadow. Surprisingly enough, not many people approached Tony, and Peter was only compared to scared puppy once or twice.
“You sure you’re okay with this?” Tony asked him for the fourth time, looking genuinely concerned. He was only going to leave Peter for a moment, but he was well aware of how nervous Peter got around strangers or in cramped, enclosed rooms. Peter shrugged- he could play off that he was fine with it. Tony visibly relaxed.
“Alright. Stay safe, kid, no alcohol and uhh… don’t move?” He gave him one parting smile before he disappeared into the sea of people, and Peter let his own smile drop.
The room was so crowded. Peter felt like he was suffocating in his tight necked shirt and he squirmed uncomfortably as more people moved around. The seconds felt like years without a familiar face nearby, so he pulled out his phone, mindlessly swiping through apps and settling on texting Ned and MJ, who he knew were both knee-deep in homework and unlikely to respond.
“Hey!” Someone said to him, sitting down in the space that Tony had left vacant, “Are you Peter Parker?”
Peter blinked, and nodded, his mouth suddenly dry as his spider senses tingled, a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach as adrenaline rushed into his body.
“Thanks!” The man said, removing his phone from his pocket and taking a quick photo of Peter, flash on, before standing up and disappearing back into the sea of people. The bright light had made a few people look over, and Peter felt the embarrassment flush his cheeks, making him grab his drink- apple juice in a whiskey glass- and stand up to be out of the spotlight. That incident confused him, and something felt inherently wrong, but he brushed it off as just anxiety. The flash had just spooked him and jolted him back into reality, painfully focused on the people around him, all men and women in their best clothes looking down on the flushed-pink teenager.
The man was probably an undercover reporter wanting a scoop on Mister Stark, or a fan who was too embarrassed to ask for a photo, or someone who wanted proof they were at a Stark party. It could’ve even been an accident, Peter reassures himself, and immediately manages to slam, chest to chest, into a total stranger. All Avengers reflex training failing him in that moment, liquid splashes over his fingers from his cup, and within seconds the stranger has his hands, fumbling with them.
“Oh, oh jeeze, I’m so sorry man-“ He starts, but the stranger laughs good naturedly and hands him back the drink he must’ve dropped, and despite it seeming like half the drink had spilt down Peter’s front, it appears relatively the same fullness.
“You’re lucky I have quick reflexes, Peter Parker,” he says, and Peter’s senses strike a chord of true, genuine fear in him. He takes a quick sip of the juice to quell his nerves, finding it bitter and overwhelming on his tongue.
“Are you sure this is mine?” He looks up to ask the man, but the stranger is already gone again. His head throbs with an oncoming migraine, and he can’t stand the loud music, so he backs away into the walls of the party.
Glancing back at the sofa he left, he notices that Tony isn’t back yet, and heaves out a breath he didn’t realise he was holding. Peter takes another sip of his juice before he remembers how terrible it tastes, and he looks down to see the same, innocent yellow apple juice in the glass. His head throbs harder, and he feels dizzy on his feet, like he’s going to throw up, or faint.
Stumbling over to the couch he picks up his phone, opening the screen to see some texts from Ned. Peter smiles against his rising sickness- Am I allergic to apple juice? He wonders, before lazily opening the screen- it’s hurting his eyes with it’s intensity.
‘You alright?’ It reads, and the black letters stand out starkly on the crisp white screen, a few hairline cracks making their way through the glass. He was going to replace the screen before the party, desperate to bury himself in the familiar comfort of wiring and technology, the crisp simplicity of removing a glass pane and revealing the inner workings of a simple miniature computer.
Now, he wonders why he didn’t, tracing his thumb across the lines in the screen of the phone as if he can replace it there, heal it over with the torn up, bitten nail that digs into the cracks.
With a response time all too late to match his usual Spiderman speeds, he types out a quick message.
‘Not sure tbh. this party sucks, i feel terrible ):.’
‘worm?’ The reply comes almost instantly, and he sees Ned start and stop typing multiple times before another message dings in. Even in such a crowded, loud room, the sharp noise of his phone burns through his senses and he turns the volume down with shaking hands, struggling to read the other message.
‘What’s up tho? you want to leave?’
‘no i just feel like i’m gonna be sick or something.’
Peter sips down more of his juice, trying to soothe his parched throat but recoiling at the bitter taste. His head feels so fuzzy and warm, unbuttoning the top of his shirt and pulling his tie looser to let some heat escape from his suddenly sweaty body.
‘go to the toilets or smth dude, wtf. Don’t throw up at a stark party’
He’s not really sure how he got to the bathroom on his unsteady legs, but it isn’t long before the whiskey glass falls to the floor and he joins it. The throbbing in his head has translated to a sickness that takes over his entire body, making Peter curl up and sob, unable to properly co-ordinate his heavy limbs.
“Peter Parker,” a familiar voice says.
The teenager tries to look up, but finds he can’t move his head. Everything is lit so brightly in the bathroom, white fluorescent lights over the blood leaking out of his palm from where he landed on the shattered glass, black spots flickering over his vision.
“M’st’r.. St’rk…?” He slurs out.
“No, no. It’s me, Einstein.”
Chapter 2: Humans and Monsters
“Hey, Pepper, have you seen Peter?” Tony asked his fiancé, furrowing his brows as he rescanned the room. He couldn’t spot his teenager anywhere- no hint of Peter’s suit which Tony had specifically made in an off-shade, something that to his eye would stick out like a sore thumb in a room full of one hue, women and men dressed alike in the “in” shades, deep and rich colours, his teenage protégé in a cold grey.
“Well, he was sat with you not ten minutes ago. Don’t tell me you lost him.” She smiles at the audacity of her joke, but Tony feels sick to his stomach. Threats against his friends, his family are a daily occurrence, but Peter was supposed to be safe.
Peter isn’t his. He holds that pretty thought in his head sometimes, plays with the idea of Peter being a result of one of his youthful flings- if only- or even just one day handing him adoption papers. May had told him that if anything happened to her, she would want either him or Ned’s parents to take Peter in. She said she’d do the same for all of them if they ever had a child, and Tony had stared wistfully at Peter as he thought about it.
“Of course I’d do that for you, May. He’s welcome here anytime.”
She’d smiled at him then, reaching out to hold his shoulder in a gesture that was as threatening as it was confiding.
“Keep him safe, alright? I know this superhero thing is his dream, and you’re all the Avengers but… he’s still my little boy.”
Tony’s gone before Pepper can ask him if he’s okay, searching through the crowd quickly. Peter isn’t here.
“Happy,” He murmurs into his earpiece, watching the man tense on the other side of the room as the message comes through.
“What’s up, Boss?” Happy replies, making eye contact with him.
“I need total lockdown on the place. Start clearing people out but make sure there are eyes on every single person who leaves, have FRIDAY scan everybody and record match them so we know exactly who’s here right now.”
“Got it, boss.”
The room was empty barely an hour later.
Tony stepped through dropped glasses and sequins, business cards and phone numbers scribbled onto pieces of paper, scouring the floor for anything, when he saw it. A whiskey glass, full of that stupid apple juice he’d pressed into Peter’s hand as a joke, to make him look like a grown up but to keep him safe. Peter wasn’t clumsy- hell, maybe he dropped a screwdriver or nail or two when they were working, but he was still a superhero. He wouldn’t drop a glass, in fact, considering how anxious he’d been when they arrived at the location, Tony would’ve thought that he’d been clinging on it tight enough to break it.
Bile rose up in the billionaire’s throat as the realisation that he abandoned a teenager. A super-powered, strong as hell teenager, but a teenager who looked at him with anxious eyes and too much trust.
And Tony had let him down. He ran into the bathroom, ready to throw up the few non-alcoholic drinks he’d had over the course of the night as the guilt churned in his stomach, but stopped at the horrifying sight laid before him.
Blood. So much blood and a shattered glass, and a small, half dissolved blue pill, and Tony really did throw up, emptying his stomach contents into one of the sinks and letting it wash away in the water. Peter was gone, he had failed. Terribly.
“FRIDAY,” He gasped out, feeling anxiety licking at the corners of his mind, like a fire in his lungs, “Call- fuck, call the kid’s aunt, I need- Pepper, Rhodes, Bruce, fuck, anyone, please-“
Peter groaned as he woke up. The suit was so tight around his throat and he couldn’t imagine how he fell asleep in it, and his head throbbed with a pounding headache. He looked down lazily, and noticed he wasn’t in the suit, or in an outfit he recognised. The clothes he wore were plain, a tight white bodysuit similar to his Spider-man suit, if all the colours were bleached from it.
His clouded mind struggled to connect the dots. Had Mister Stark made him a new suit? When? He didn’t even remember getting home after the party, just the bitter taste in his mouth reminded him of the drink he had earlier. Everything after that was shadowy and hazed.
“Mister Stark?” He asked the empty air, only to receive a chuckle from behind him.
“Come on, Einstein. Don’t you recognise me?”
Peter bolted upright at that name, and that voice.
“S-Skip?!” He questioned, scrambling out of the seat-bed combination that he had woken up on, and immediately crumpling onto the ground, his body apparently still drugged, his knees buckling and hitting the floor painfully, unable to hold himself up on shaking arms.
“I had something especially made for you, Petey,” The man says, stepping forwards and closer to Peter. The teenage vigilante feels like his heart is beating out of his chest, bursting into his throat, choking him. Skip can’t be here. Skip shouldn’t be here. Skip isn’t supposed to see him.
“How are- you’re supposed to be in prison, you’re not-“
“Oh, sweetheart,” Peter shudders at his grisly voice, “They could never keep me away from you.”
“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck-“ The teenager whispers hoarsely, angrily, but it only draws a sick laugh from Skip, who leans down and pulls him up by his underarms, hoisting him back up onto the table, laying him down like a bride.
“My little boy all grown up. You’ve gotten so much bigger,” Skip says eyeing Peter up and down.
He’s disgusted. The echo of Skip’s hands burn deep into the layers of his skin, pull memories from his head like flowers unready to bloom. It feels like a panic attack, it feels like waves and waves of nausea and fear are crashing over Peter, threatening to drown him in their size and unyielding speed, they are racing up his shoreline of safety and dragging him down into the riptide, because Skip’s hands are on him and scuttling up his thigh like the very thing Peter is named after, and he thinks, when he sees the suit, if he ever sees the suit again, he will throw up on sight, throw up everything in his stomach and every dirty part of him that must be cell deep, soul deep because Skip is back, and if Skip is back then he’s never gotten away from him in the first place.
He can feel that hand on his hipbone, caressing the dip where the bone concaves into tense muscle, and he feels a thousand miles away. It’s not him, on that table, just his body, as Skip talks, and talks, about all the things he’s planning to do to Peter and all the sick shit he thought about in prison.
“I’m sure if we worked on here,” Skip’s hand graces over Peter’s stomach, “and here,” He moves down to the boy’s thighs, rubbing the fabric-covered skin.
“Please, stop,” Peter begs. If he focuses, grasps at the lingering feeling of Skip’s touch, he thinks he can bring himself back to his body, he can fight off this sick man and he can escape.
“Hush now. Nobody’s coming to rescue you, darling. Let me make an honest boy of you, and you’ll learn to love it here.”
“No,” Peter’s stare is resolute, firm. “You can’t break- you can’t break me. You’re just a man.”
“Didn’t you call me a monster, when you were little? I was more than just a man then.”
Peter shakes his head.
“You’re just a human. A sick, sick human and when I get out of here, I’m gonna kill you, and-“
He didn’t expect the slap, but he rises into it anyways, struggling against the drug induced weakness that Skip has confined him to. The panic attack stings at the edge of his senses, narrowing his vision into one tunnel. If he was only free of these drugs, his fog over his addled mind, he knows he could tear Skip to shreds. And when Skip uncurls Peter’s limp fingers from his fist, joining their hands together, he wonders if Skip knows that too.
“Sleep now, my little prince. I’ll bring you a gift tomorrow.”
Chapter 3: Perfection
TW: Chapter contains mentions of child sexual abuse and Skip romanticising it HEAVILY as consensual.
Helplines masterlist: http://codedredalert.tumblr.com/post/109005732295/helpline-masterlist
“Mister Stark will find me,” Peter whispered to himself as he looked down at his situation, already feeling the sedative drugs wearing off from his body.
The outfit he was in was skintight and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t inflexible- which made Peter hopeful. If he could move, he could escape, no matter what.
“Ah ah,” Skip chides, like Peter is a disobedient child. He approaches like a shadow from the corner of Peter’s vision and a syringe glints in his hand, Peter’s heart clenching in terror.
“Woah, no, no, don’t, what is that, what the fuck-“
Skip slaps Peter’s chest gently, and grabs his jaw, forcing the teenager to look him directly in the eyes.
“Don’t use bad language like that. It doesn’t suit your pretty-pretty mouth.” The man’s thumb traces over Peter’s bottom lip and the reaction is immediate- Peter gags, and then spits at Skip’s hand. He sighs, and shakes his head softly.
“You always were difficult, weren’t you?”
The fear of the confrontation distracted Peter so much that Skip manages to lift up his arm- as much as Peter is tensing and flexing his muscles, trying desperately to even move an inch away from this monster. The syringe goes in easily but stings as Skip depresses the plastic end, and the man smiles, placing it somewhere out of Peter’s vision and using the back of his hand to stroke Peter’s cheek.
“There’s a nice little paralytic. That’ll keep you all still whilst I get the vibranium sorted but so perfectly…” Skip paused, brushing his thumb under Peter’s eye like a tender lover’s touch, “Aware. Alert, even. Awake.”
“Vibranium?” Peter questioned. The metal was incredibly rare- he’d only seen it used by the Avengers, or illegally. It was the only thing that could keep him restrained either.
“That’s right, Pete. See, I might as well explain how I found you after all these years, huh? You’d love that. You love stories.”
Peter blinked. Skip had stopped touching him now and moved away from the table, so the teenage vigilante used the chance to analyse the room that he was being kept in. It looked like an old, abandoned hospital- cement block walls painted white, a linoleum floor. He remembered when Tony had taken him into the Tower’s medbay once- Peter’s supersenses had given him a sensory overload and nearly made him rip his own hair out, and Tony had said “They use linoleum because it’s easy to wash the blood off of.”
A window to his right caught his interest as Skip walked towards it. It was set high, near the top of the wall, and only really a thin rectangle of transparent glass- but it showed darkness. If there was a window to the outside world, and the lights were on in this one room, in what looked to be an abandoned building, then someone would notice. Someone had to notice that bright light in a dark night. It was the only chance Peter had for someone to notice he was even here.
“Are you listening to me?” Skip asked angrily, and Peter’s head snapped to him. A response came tumbling out of his mouth before he could even think of a witty comeback.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t-“
Skip’s face softened from a hard, tense countenance to a softer, warmer smile.
“That’s alright Peter. With a big brain like yours, I can understand how my silly little story might seem boring. But guess how it gets interesting?”
They both waited.
“…How?” Peter whispered. Skip’s smile grew wider.
“Well someone- Toomes, or something, was spreading word in prison that a certain Peter Parker was Spider-man. And I guess word got around, I mean… suddenly, someone from HYDRA is making a deal with little old me!”
“…HYDRA? T-they made a deal with you? What deal?”
Peter can feel the paralytic setting into him now. Whereas before, the sedative made it hard for him to think, and made his arms and legs feel sluggish and deadened, this felt like a cold wave over him, as he felt his ability to move slowly leave him.
“Well they knew about our… past, shall I say? They knew all about that little blunder you made,” The adult moves towards him, walking slowly from Peter’s feet to his head, letting his fingertips drag softly up Peter’s skin and suit as he moves, smiling gently to himself.
It horrifies Peter to know end to know that even though he can’t move, he can feel. He can feel everything, from the soft pull of Skip’s skin against his, to the gentle rhythmic thud of Skip’s pulse through his fingertips.
“Blunder?” Maybe the sedative is still wearing off, because Peter can’t think. It’s the panic again- lapping at the verges of his consciousness, scorching the edges of his composure. His faked bravado is nothing anymore.
“You… telling everyone about what we did, Peter. The love that we had,” Skip grabs a fistful of Peter’s brown curls and tugs angrily.
“I didn’t- you molested me, I was a kid! We didn’t have lov-“
“Shut up!” Skip slams Peter’s head down into the table, the heavy thud echoing around the room.
Gritting his teeth, Peter rides the waves of pain as they come, breathing in heavily and exhaling violently. It’s not the worst injury he’s ever had, but it could impair his thinking, and Peter doesn’t want to wait around to be rescued.
“I loved you! You love me! Just because your stupid family couldn’t leave us alone, we were beautiful, Peter! And HYDRA,” He snarls that last word, like he’s a rabid dog. Skip alternates between tugging on Peter’s hair and stroking his forehead gently.
“HYDRA…?” The vigilante questions.
“HYDRA gave me the chance to love again. To… find you, and to make you a beautiful little boy again. To reunite us. They gave me this location, drugs that will work on your new body- don’t worry, I can remove those… unsightly muscles, they gave me so much Peter. And I promise, when you’ve learnt to obey me, and be good, we won’t need the vibranium or the drugs.”
Skip puts his hand into Peter’s, humming softly.
“Those are just going to help us… become perfect again.”