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Chapter 1- I’m a Webslinger

 

We don’t own a gun.

 

His Aunt was dead. A bullet hole in her head and a gun in her limp hand. Peter was smart, it only took two seconds to figure out what happened. He should be scared, terrified, or traumatized. But the only thing his frozen form can process is that:

 

Ben owned a gun...but May buried it with him...right?

 

 

Right?

 

The gun in May’s hand looked awfully like the one that Ben had kept in their dresser in the top drawer along with his cards and keys. The steely black that now had bloody limp fingers  curled around it, couldn’t hide the curve of the trigger. The scent of gunpowder and the tendril of smoke from the exit point of the gun.

 

Peter wasn’t surprised. He wasn’t scared that he wasn’t surprised. This happened all the time. Everyone goes away eventually. Everyone leaves him at some point. Get tired of him. This happened all the time.

 

It still didn’t stop the ache that he refused to acknowledge.

 

After a good hour of just staring into a void, trying to figure out how this changed his life and what he was going to do but kept drawing a blank when he looked at the body again, he called someone. Not the police, or his ex friends. No,  he called the director of SHIELD himself.

 

The teenager never called SHIELD, he was too busy and never had a right reason to call, he couldn’t imagine what it was like for a director of a secret society that manages the Avengers. He probably didn’t want to here about a common mugger or a math test or a guy in a wingsuit that was carrying  alien weapons ohmygodhesgonnakillyou!

 

And besides he didn’t like depending on Fury. On anybody really. It made it harder for him to let them go when they left.

 

He’s never had anyone to depend on in the past. Not really.

 

The phone picked up on the fifth ring and answered with a tired and irritated “You little shit.” Yeah that was about right.  Fury sounded like this was such an annoyance, which it probably was. But to be fair Peter hadn’t picked up Fury’s calls in months. It was always something or another and Peter never wanted to get Fury or SHIELD involved, even if they could help.  Nor did he want any part in his sneaky sneaky spying thing.

 

“I need you to pick me up.” he said and it was so deadpanned and even he didn’t know how he did it himself. How emotionless his voice was, when his head was so full of feelings and plans and just everything. It was giving him a headache.

 

“Why?” the older man asked, his tone didn’t change.


“My aunt committed suicide.” Peter said in the same tone and he could hear the tenseness from the other person and sighed.

 

“What am I supposed to do about it?” Fury growled out only missing a beat. Despite the situation Peter’s mouth quirked up for a second but went back down at the sight of the dead body of his aunt. It was just so rewarding when he got a rise out of the man. But there were people dead...but then again that was kinda normal so...

 

“And also the scent of the blood is making me sick and the sight is just… I feel weird… c-can you just-” Peter plowed on like Fury hadn’t spoken was growing quieter and quieter. So maybe feelings decided to visit his voice after all, he tried to choke it back. Fury wouldn’t do anything about that part, Peter had to figure out his own physiological mess of a mind he had. Fury wouldn’t give a shit if he was crying or not.

 

“Whatever.” And Peter nodded like it solved everything. But SHIELD would handle the body, Peter never like handling bodies. He wished that they could sweep this under the rug, they probably would officially.

 

He wished it did the same for mentally.

 

They didn’t own a gun.

 

OoOoO

1 year later...

 

“That’s it. It’s official. I hate explosions.”

 

Peter gritted through the comms, as he got out of the burning building with the last two kids he managed to get out, but not without burns to his sides. A flaming beam had  fell on him on the way in and he’d managed to avoid such incidents on the way out with the kids.

 

“Comes with the job.” Clint’s blunt gruff voice mentioned. There was no room for argument and Peter wanted to sigh. There was an unspoken ‘If you can’t handle it, then leave.’ And Peter wanted to scream like a kid, because he couldn’t just leave people to suffer. Not anymore. Especially now, That much was obvious, if the continuous explosions in the city were anything to go by. At least, They were wrapping up by the looks of it. He felt more dread sink into his stomach.

 

He was fighting with the Avengers against some more aliens, who apparently liked explosions. Very destructive explosions.

 

Well he wasn’t so much fighting with them then cleaning up after them right now. He was on ‘crowd control’ as he so called it- and Steve, sorry Captain Rogers, didn’t take likings to his names that he dubbed certain things, like Spidey sense (Wade said it sounded sexual and laughed, but to be fair Wade’s default mindset was to find the most sexual way to use every combination of words in the English Dictionary).

 

He was assigned to keep the citizens safe and get them out of buildings that were dangerous and into safer zones of the city. When ever Spiderman ‘fought’ with the Avengers, he was always assigned this position. But he didn’t mind. He always slept better not wondering: Hope that guy got out safe because the crazy octopus is going to blow up the building across the city and I didn’t have time to check!

He couldn’t say the same about the other Avengers, but he rather liked his job of crowd control. Put more ease on his anxiety- because being a paranoid person even before the super anxiety (spidey sense=precognition=no surprise birthdays) was probably the worst part of it. Even if the only reason why they made him do it was because they probably didn’t want that kid to get in the way, you know, avenging.

 

Even if he did have the least number of casualties and was the least destructive and went on patrol almost every night, and beat up bad guys on most of said nights. The Avengers didn’t do their job unless it was city-wide, world ending, hydra invading, aliens, etc., and that put Peter at ease a little, because  despite all the good they do their collateral damage is...well not the best.

 

He could hardly imagine the Hulk out on patrol. It would be hell for the cities construction crew and Damage Control, but at least it would keep criminals away. Or it might encourage them to make more dangerous weapons, it could go either way really.

 

If Peter were to really have it his way, he wouldn’t even be fighting with the Avengers period. Don’t get him wrong they’re awesome and amazing heros that save the city - the world - a million times, but the only reason he was even taking orders from them was because of SHIELD(which he really didn’t follow but whatever).

 

Besides he could never be like them.

 

Last year after the Goblin attack, Peter had been on his patrol when he was stopped by an agent from SHIELD - wasn’t he supposed to be dead or something, oh well weirder things have happened. He gave a proposition to be an agent, not the same as shipping him off to the army- but that time neither had control of the situation, ‘water under the bridge Phil’- but Peter had declined because he had an identity to keep, plus he gave him the choice to say no -‘see? we’re growing Phillip.’

 

Turns out they knew nothing about him either, not anymore at least,he’s changed...a lot. He underestimated at what lengths they’d go to get information they didn’t have. The real reason they were there, Peter knew, was because they saw Spiderman as a threat; and Peter Parker was a threat long before that too, just a different kind. So Peter made his own proposition(because he’s nothing if not fair and genuinely nice person): He’d allow SHIELD to monitor and check on his patrols with no interference, he’d even help them if they needed it - because Spiderman always helps - but in anything regards to Peter’s identity or his personal life is under wraps, and he does this on his terms - he’s allowed to say no. Under no circumstances - unless he says so - my his personal information be researched or revealed.

 

It was the first and last time he would ever formally and seriously -like seriously seriously- recommend something. At least for a while.

 

When May died, Fury and he had agreed that it wouldn’t do well for either of them for Spidey to go into the system- besides he had already graduated high school-, and in turn assigned him a ‘babysitter’ of sorts. Except that ‘babysitter’ happened to be a plural and the Avengers.

 

So it turns out he was a sort of member of the Avengers now. Which was cool, but all they knew was his name and age and that’s it. They didn’t know why he was on mission with them and they didn’t know anything about his past. That’s really all he gave Fury, and he was surprised that’s how much he actually wanted. Or at least, he was surprised he stopped there.

 

Peter never let his guard down once around him.

 

He didn’t hear from anyone til’ about a month later, a couple weeks after he’d officially graduated high school. He ended up fighting with the Avengers in Philly. He didn’t really follow orders all that well so he wasn’t assigned to the team as much as he would’ve been, if it had gone well.

 

After the first few times, he stopped giving reports altogether because they just sounded silly even to him coming out of his own mouth. He couldn’t tell Fury about the “big” stuff he did on patrols and when he wasn’t with SHIELD, cause he’d just send some agents, or worse the Avengers, to go interfere and that would make the situation worse. But to compensate, he always gave information if asked or if relevant.

 

Turns out they didn’t really care either, about his reports or him. They all had various reactions to him being assigned to the team - none he’d write home about. You know, if he had a home. Or someone to write to. Wade was right, that wasn’t a great analogy. They were all invalid, that’s the point.

 

He didn’t take well to orders. But not because he was a defiant teenager going against all adults- even if that’s his excuse or that’s what they thought, and he just let them believe that- it’s because he just didn’t agree with the methods used. He got the job done, in probably the most annoying wreckless way possible, but if it was less collateral or an extra child was saved, then it was worth the bad press. And hey, everything always worked out.

 

It’s probably what annoyed the Avengers the most.

 

Steve’s reaction was surprised at first. He was assuming it was because of how young he looked. But in the end, he just put on a professional face and accepted the assignment - not kidding that’s what they called him an assignment. He hasn’t been called anything like that since he was six. He ended up yelling at him after the first mission about fighting a monster or something without permission, which okay Captain America I’ll just let this ugly ass insect beat me into the ground while I await further orders. He didn’t actually say that but still.

He decided Cap’s opinion was invalid due to ineffeciancy.

 

And none of the other Avengers reactions were any better.

 

Tony took one look at him and scoffed saying something about the itsy bitsy spider is a bit too itsy bitsy for the job. He then proceeded to come up with the most insulting nicknames for him, made cracks about his age and body -I’m small because I’m a kid not health issues short stack- and Peter thought that was just rude. He did his job fine, even if he was a kid. It’s not like a robot cared if he was 15 or 50, it would beat him up just the same.

So Iron Man’s opinion was invalid due to logic.

 

Natasha had just looked at him and turned back to whatever she was doing. He almost caught this hurt in her eyes, but then realized this was Black Widow, she would never let her emotions slip around a rookie- especially one like him. He could never figure her out, but he could tell she was frustrated that she had to deal with him. She’d also lay into him whenever they did talk, But she really didn’t have to often because Cap seemed to be doing that just fine.

So Black Widow’s opinion was invalid due to ‘I don’t know what she’s really saying and she’s scary. Byyeeee~’.

 

Clint had a scowl and calculating look in his eye. It was almost haunted or horrified, and it put Peter on the edge most of out of all of them. But then he said that he would be good for stealth ops if he wasn’t so loud. But like he talked over the comms all the freaking time. So that was hypocritical. Plus he had kids so he was biased not to let him fight.

Hawkeye’s opinion was invalid due to bias.

 

Thor seemed quiet but distraught that he was there. A clear sign of distrust and disgust- or something similar. He had said that a child wouldn’t take their battles seriously, which okay Mr.Thor, but Peter didn’t take anything seriously. And considering most of his personal villains liked to dress up as mechanical animals and throw pumpkin bombs everywhere… well he just had a weird ass spectrum.

Thor’s opinion was invalid due Peter’s fucked up system.

 

Bruce immediately left the room.

So Bruce’s opinion was disqualified. Hulk was pending.

 

He really tried not be hurt by it, he honestly did. He got it, he wasn’t thrilled about this either. He’d rather see his childhood heros as something he could never achieve instead of trying to play on the same level. But he was thrown into this prematurely, like he was thrown into a bunch of other things that messed him up. This would’ve been no different, something to screw him over even more. But this time, the Avengers all had to deal with it, just like him.

 

They fix things, not screw things up.

 

Peter was promptly proven wrong.

 

He was a solo act after all - thank god he kept some of that in his contract deal thingy, he never actually signed anything so he wasn’t sure how this worked. Oral agreement? - he wasn’t good at being a team player, no matter how much he tried he couldn’t think of himself as one.

 

All he really had to do was listen to them on the field and that’s it, they wouldn’t be a big part of his life and they would dictate too much. Peter wasn’t stupid enough to believe he’d keep all his freedom- he never did- , but if he wanted to avoid conflict it was best to keep his head down and nod. After all they were on the same side, fighting for the same things. Why fight them when the real fight is out there.

 

How hard could it be?

 

If you keep fighting the people pulling the triggers, you’ll never get the guy aiming the gun.

 

And then he heard the orders, and saw a million different ways it could go wrong. And it did, but he didn’t follow the follow-up orders, because he already had a freaking plan in his head, that had too many moving parts for him to explain quickly, and people were dying now. So his goal changed to keeping his head down, to fixing the mistakes and making sure almost everyone comes out alive? Prettypleasedontdiemisterpersonsiritwouldbeappreciatedthankyou!

 

It annoyed the hell out of them, but he didn’t mean for it to.

 

He didn’t have to be best friends with them anyways, just cooperate. How hard could it be to be professional?

Apparently very hard when you’re a 15 year-old kid who graduated high school  and can’t afford college and have no friends cause they’re either in jail or died...or you just abandoned them cause you didn’t want to see them hurt or dead or gone. But now their gone cause you left them and...Peter didn’t like thinking about it much because, ugh feelings suck!  And it elicited too many feelings. So goodbye emotions he should probably deal with but isn’t going to~!

 

Peter didn’t even know he was looking for a friend or someone to trust, because May still didn’t know about Spiderman- and would never know ohgodshewasdead - and it was all so stressful right now and ugh emotions suck!

 

He had no one to talk to about it, and no one to report his injuries to or just be there- he used to have May but now he doesn’t causeshekilledherself. He still had those feelings bottled up because May only knew he lost his uncle - that he didn’t care much about anyway, but okay May you love him so I’ll try for you - and his lab partner and the Avengers don’t know - or care - who Gwen Stacy is and the media just knows Spiderman couldn’t save her. He doesn’t have his outlet in which he can vent to and it makes doing the things he does so hard sometimes.

 

He acknowledged that he needed someone to talk to, and hey, maybe the Avengers were up to it. He wouldn’t go all at once, he had to make sure he could trust them. So he cracked a few jokes over the comm, and got nothing but ‘stay focused’ and ‘stop acting like a kid’ or just groans and sighs. That was a major shut down, because Peter had mainly said jokes to his friends and they always said they were bad but it was never so harsh and it would make them happy anyways.

 

So since plan A-Y were shot, he just decided to give up and bottle things up like a real protagonist should- ...he missed Ned. No STOP! Feelings are not good! Not now! Wait til’ you’re alone to cry about it, people are dying and buildings are falling. No time for fucking feelings.

 

He grabbed a kid just as a beam was about to fall on him and landed him near his mother, who hugged the poor child viciously, and check him over and kissed his head repeatingly. Don’t look people are still dying! He thwiped away.

 

FRIDAY was a good friend to him, which was honestly sad considering she was a computer, AI thingy in Tony Stark’s walls. And he only got to talk to her when he was at the tower and that was only for debriefed.

 

When he’d first came back to the tower after getting stabbed and stuff on patrol - like more than usual - she’d ask him to inform Tony. He obviously declined immediately. The last thing he needed was for Tony or any of the other Avengers to have a real reason to think he couldn’t handle it cause then they’ll take it away, and at this point Spiderman was literally all he had left to do. It was just a light stabbing; nothing important and he wasn’t really an Avenger so... She then said it was protocall to inform Tony or Bruce if any of the Avengers were hurt, Peter told her to just lie because they didn’t need to know-and he could still walk so that was worth something, right?- but FRIDAY said it’d go against all her programing and that she couldn’t lie to Tony. So Peter decided to overwrite that and basically compromised - and somewhat outsmarted the AI: If any of the Avengers asked if he was hurt she’d tell them the truth, but if and only if they asked. This wasn’t only a way to avoid getting babied but also a way of testing the Avengers to see if they cared.

 

After all he wasn’t really an Avenger.

 

He tried not to be disappointed when FRIDAY never said to go to medical about his injuries again. But she did give advice, which was boarderline saying go to medical before you bleed out!

 

It was all good in the hood.

 

He intended to avoid the Avengers for personal things outside of missions, and they’d avoid him and for the better part of the year. Not That Peter minded, it worked out for all parties; Avengers aren’t annoyed and Peter gets more freedom than he originally thought. It got to the point where they only saw him after missions. He didn’t even report to Tony or Steve anymore because they slashed that BS immediately - Fury wasn’t surprised.

 

Nonetheless, when Fury found out- in a terrible act of anti heroism committed on Peters part (he let some bombs go off in a port yard on patrol) - he had yelled at Tony and Steve, as well as mentioning the other Avengers that they were doing a horrible job in keeping the kid in check. Which would’ve been fine, if Fury hadn’t mention all the reasons they were even keeping him in check. Because he was dangerous and a potential threat. He was too naive and childish, but he knew what was out there. Blood and death and abuse and suicide and molestation and rape and death and families being torn apart and human experimentation and death and death and death.

 

It all ended in death.

 

And Peter had taken offense to that, after all what did he ever do to them? You know beside be a pain in the ass. He didn’t think that he did anything to warrant that kind of treatment. Well, besides the bomb that killed close to a hundred people- but that was his fault! Or was it? It was his job to make sure they were safe and ohmygoditsyourfaultPeter!

 

But when he opened his mouth to voice such a complaint, Tony growled ‘Zip it. The adults are talking.’ and that shut his mouth and any ideas of the Avengers being his friends slashed into the ground.

 

It was all professional.

 

He went on missions and did as he was told - to an extent, the Avengers and Fury were not the boss of him and he wanted that to be very clear. Because for once in his life he actually got to choose what happened to him, even if the choices were shit. He didn’t have to answer to anyone. It didn’t dictate his life, but god damn if those condescending looks from his teammates didn’t make him insecure - more so than he already was - then he’d let Tony test his new repulser on him.

 

‘Okay. Good job team. Let’s go back to the tower.’ he heard Tony say and shot a web at the side of the building and swung back to the tower. He had to debrief and he’d go to Saint Margaret's to sleep on Weasel’s couch before opening hours.

 

That sounded amazing right now.

 

OoOoO

 

Mission debriefing was one of the most insufferable things he’s ever gone through.

 

And he’s been through a not war in Sudan with a raging knife half wolf mutant and his team of freaky powered people for 4 months. But to be fair the X-men were much more chill with Spidey than the Avengers were.  

 

Sit up Parker

 

You can’t be that tired

 

Don’t fall asleep

 

This wasn’t even concerning him or anything he had to do, he was just here out of courtesy. He didn’t need to be here and frankly he didn’t want to either. It was just Fury droning on about the mission success to the council -which he didn’t even get cause  it was straight forward- and they certainly didn’t approve of Peter’s methods of doing things. He’d rather not be glared at by giant disapproving adult heads thankyouverymuch. Sorry if it wasn’t his favorite pastime.

 

“So what of Parker’s behavior?” here they go again. Peter rolled his eyes, and got a condescending look from Rogers. Well he can just fuck off, because they will say the same thing again. So yeah...fuck off Captain.

 

“Pard-” Fury didn’t even have time to finish.

 

“Denied. You’ve made every excuse imaginable, I highly doubt you could find something feasible.” What did I even do? Much to his annoyance the Avengers perked up at this, like come on guys help a Spider out. Adults were just kids with more years on them, ugh.

 

“Why do you give so much slack. He did not follow any of the protocols SHIELD put in place. Why do you deny him any form of punishment?” Oh...this was new… he looked at Fury who starred one eye back exasperated. Was he not following some sort of important rules? Is he getting if in trouble? If they were important shouldn’t he know about it? Fury read my mind and answer me!

 

“That goes against the agreement and you know it.” Fury said in a monodrone like he’s been over this a million times before. He has, Peter could testify to that. But not in a way that exposed him like this to Peter. “It’s personal.”

 

“In discussion of this...agreement… is he not a teenager? Surly his abilities don’t scare you so much you should feel the need to constrain yourself and let him off with free passes.” What the hell. That was new. Were they finally tired of his same old bullshit? Probably.

 

Well, better step it up then.

 

“The order is-”

 

“Not relevant to the current mission. Bye asshats.” The call ended as Stark pressed a button. Oh ho, Ironman comes in for the save. What did he want? Regardless Peter breathed a silent sigh of relief. No more blue floating coward heads.

 

“Stark-”

 

“Those guys are bitches looking for a weapon they can scapegoat.” Tony’s eyes flickered over to Peter for a second and his breathe caught. Did he just call me a- oh HELL no! ” Nah, Fury I would like you to tell us why you spoil the kid without them breathing down your neck. What makes him so special?”

 

Years of mutation, human experimentation, enhancements, cross breeding, broken DNA and trauma. But you can take your pick Stark. Peter thought bitterly. But his origin story checks out to be that of either a superhero or supervillain, plus he’s got the protagonist emotional disorder, so he’s basically a comic book god. His plot armor was too thick for him to not die in one of the most dramatic heroic plot twisting ways possible.

 

Or he just would keep getting rebooted.

 

That would suck though.

(come on Marvel give me a break for like a good decade here, see if your franchise can thrive without me) (answer it can’t)

 

But he wasn’t gonna tell Fury- or anybody for that matter - that. The abridged version, ‘I got bit by a spider and now I’m strong, sticky and can heal.’ and therefore, his plot armor was stripped away...or was that just the protagonist emotional disorder? He’d have to ask Deadpool.

 

They had no idea about...everything else.

 

“He’s an asset...my personal asset-” Fury was cut off by Peter’s slow tired words.

 

“‘M nobody’s asset, n’ you know it Director.” Peter said formally respectful while having that hint of rash disregard.

 

“Then what are you?” Natasha said in a cold tone, narrowing her eyes.

 

“I’m not a weapon.”Peter answered with a nod but didn’t look at her directly. Instead looking at Stark with a glare. He returned it with a nonchalant look. I’m a kid! You said so assholes.

 

"You’re certainly not a soldier though.” Steve pointed out with a slight glare directed at Peter that screamed authority. “You don’t follow orders and don’t bother to show up to half the missions.” Peter shrunk in on himself self consciously, before shrugging again.

 

“I’m busy.” Just like you’ don’t bother to show up any of the time to half of the other ground breaking problems in this city. Like I don’t know, Taking care of giant rhinos and lizards and octo-pervs and checking Fury’s sources. Like dude, I can’t be on Avenger standby 24/7.“I have a life you know.” Ha! No you don’t. Not any more. You gave that up for plot armor. Oh yeah… oh well.

 

“Getting cats out of trees?” Sam remarked slyly with a smirk, Peter gave a bright smile back. They don’t expect such happy reactions to degrading comments, he loved it when they stumbled over their responses.

 

“Sure, let’s go with that.” he said and turned to leave. Smirking to himself with their fumbling words, in response to his form of defiance.

 

“Wait! What’s that supposed to mean?!” Sam finally asked indigently.

 

“It means this is the end of our conversation.” Peter said a little more gidy than he anticipated. He threw back a half smile and left.

 

Well this is gonna be interesting.

 

OoOoO

 

It was a sound, screwed up system.

 

Nick ordered missions and Peter took them.

 

If he wanted to.

 

And usually that wouldn’t fit well with the esteemed Director of SHIELD. But Parker was different from other heroes, hell he was different from other people.

 

He only listened when he wanted to. It really depended on his mood. Fury was getting annoyed with the kid’s behavior about it though.

He got cats out of trees and helped old ladies cross the street. He also kicked a lizard’s ass, a rhino’s ass, a mechanical octopus’s ass and a bunch of random space alien asses and fought shit that came out of the sky. Yet he wouldn’t do reconoscence unless he was bored. But he’d bust his ass making sure a kid didn’t get hit by a passing car. He wouldn’t do data, hacking missions to get information, unless he had a free weekend. Yet he’d be out til’ 3 in the morning in the soaking rain trying to keep a box of kittens dry.

 

He avoided the Avengers’ missions and when he couldn’t he was a little shit to them just cause he could be. Fury couldn’t blame him for that one though, on some level he was actually amused by it. But then he’d turn around and be painfully polite to the lady at the counter in the coffee shop. Like genuinely polite.

 

His MO was all over the place and it was frustrating.

 

What annoyed Fury more is that the kid was damn good at what he did - when he actually did it. Better than any agent he’s ever had. The agents who trained would get their asses kicked by him and Parker  knew it too.

 

He was smart and powerful and strong and way more cunning than he showed. He didn’t show off, he did what needed to be done with the least damage possible in the most efficient time. But he’d laugh and go along with all the insults that were saying he was basically a talentless stupid entitled shithead. Yeah he was all of one of those things; a shithead who could keep so many things about his personal life from the best super spy in the galaxy.

 

It was fucking terrifying.

 

Because he did a better job than most of the useless fucks he hired, Fury kept Parker out of trouble with his superiors and had him first on instant dial - he’d never tell the kid that though, because he’s never had anyone on instant dial since the Chitari attack. He’d evaded the CPS so long, and Fury hardly needed to do anything, the kid was damn good at not being found when he didn’t want to be - which was fucking annoying if you were trying to find him.

 

Fury stood up for his small ass, and said it was because he was a kid. But Fury would be honest when he said that he owed Parker more than the other way around. The kid never mentioned it though. Which put Fury on edge, because you could never tell with that kid. He didn’t like being called ‘asset’ or ‘weapon’, and Fury had no intention of even hinting that he was a soldier - he was  the furthest thing from it actually.

 

Fury couldn’t care less if he was a kid though, that little fucker was just fine on his own. Fury knew it. Peter knew it. But he didn’t act like it.  Because everyone else didn’t think that a teenager could take care of themselves in this fucked up world. Fury would rather keep someone as smart, powerful, lethal and cunning as Peter Parker in his reach at all times rather than let him potentially become on the opposite side.

 

That. That right there. Would not be good...it would be like world ending bad. The child could probably take over the world if he had a free Sunday. Or enough incentive.

 

He’d also rather keep Peter mass intellect and power and just overall deadliness to himself too. Peter didn’t even need to be told to do it, so Fury thought he had similar thoughts. It would be less of a pain in the ass if no one knew he was a kid and was potentially the most dangerous being in the world. Well maybe not most powerful, but defiantly up there.

 

But goddamn, the kid was so ominous.

 

“You can’t walk out like that.” Fury said in the driver's seat.

 

“It projected power.” Peter said sarcastically from the passenger seat next to him and gestured outward over exaggeratedly. It was at times like these that Fury wondered why he recruited the kid.

 

“It was immature and childish.” Fury responded, like he would an adult. Peter deserves enough respect from Fury at this point, even if no one shares the same thoughts. “Look kid, I can’t keep covering for your dumbass. So follow orders, or suffer the council next time.” How many times has he said that, only to completely not follow through? Oh yeah:every time.

 

“They are a bunch of holographic cowards. They can’t even beat up a butterfly, and yet they are a pain in the ass.” Peter grumbled and Fury knew he was just venting a bit, but it seemed more closed off. Peter never insulted anyone in person, but usually he never got angry with anyone either. Not really. Just meaningless banter and empty insults he didn’t mean. He was more of a passive aggressive type of person. Emphasis on the passive.

 

Shit like that would get literally anyone else in his position killed in an instant.

 

“So are you.” Fury shot back.

 

“I know how to fight.” Peter assured with a snort.

 

“God knows how.” Peter just scoffed at that, but didn’t answer the unasked question. Fury sighed, worth the effort.

 

“What did I even do this time?” Peter asked in a whine. He looked at Fury with innocent eyes, he knew made Fury’s teeth grind. Fury didn’t know what the kid was trying to play at here but it wouldn’t work. Or was it working for him? Fury could never tell with this kid.

 

“You didn’t follow orders.” he said simply. Peter groaned and slouched in his chair. If Fury has any sympathy, he’d most defiantly had wasted it in this kid long ago.

 

“I couldn’t.” Peter muttered, he was annoyed. But he wasn’t trying to hide it, so Fury guessed he was okay with showing him. He sometimes envies Peters ability to switch on and off his emotions as he so chooses.

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Fury asked, not looking over at Parker and the kid groaned like a real teenager. He is a real teenager.

 

“It’s supposed to mean: tell me who their actually pissed at?” Fuck, he forgot this kid actually had more than two brain cells. Parker actually did a better job than anyone could have hoped or gave him credit for. He made all the right calls, but it was at the cost of not answering to the given ones, and he didn’t give a shit as he made them anyway. Still he saved a hell of a lot more people than he would have if he actually followed orders.

 

“They’re just arrogant, hotheaded entitled bastards, who think their right all the time.” Fury said “And you proved them wrong and embarrassed them.” the boy nodded his head wisely, as if he had enough experience to give wisdom out. He probably did despite being only 15.

 

“So they value their egos over 15 innocent people’s lives and 3 dogs?” Peter asked and Fury nodded. “Well they can stick their goddamn lectures up their asses then. I don’t give a shit about their damn reputation, or mine for that matter. It can burn in hell for all I care. If I’m can save 18 lives, you know I’m gonna do it. Fuck their egos.”

 

“You count the dogs?” Fury raised another brow. Not sure weather to reprimand the boy or be amused.

 

“Fuck yeah!” Peter responded without hesitation. Fury barked a hard laugh.

 

“Seriously? They can mess you up in ways you never thought possible.” Fury reminded, and god if talking to Peter didn’t remind him of talking to Carol. Everyone was so professional around him, but never those two. God forbid they ever meet and reek havoc on Fury’s life.

 

“I’m already messed up in ways that should be impossible.” Peter said and Fury raised an eyebrow. “Look I fight the guy aiming the gun, not shooting it. Less messy and a hell of a lot more easy, plus no trail of red. So yay, extra credit. If I need to kick their ass…” Peter shrugged. Ominous. God Fury didn’t even know what he meant half the time, but at the same time he did. And god fuck, only Peter Parker could do that.

 

“Just next time don’t do your own shit. Or at least try to follow orders.” this kid was gonna be the death of him and many others, and sometimes Fury thought that was his plan. He seemed all innocent, but then kicks all kinds of ass. He seemed harmless, worthless, loser, but then he saves over 100 people's lives and the body count is less and Manhattan is actually intact, if not a little sticky. He was a fucking genius and no one even knows it, and Fury think he likes to keep it that way, so he had an edge for when people gave up and turned on him.

 

And god damn was it a killer edge.

 

“Hey, do you think our stomachs think all potatoes are mashed potatoes?”

 

The kid was a fucking mastermind.

 

OoOoO

 

Thor did not like the spider child.

That’s not to say he did not like children, he in fact quite enjoyed their innocent company. Their eyes were filled with naive wonder and they were excited by the littlest of things. Impressionable and obedient to adolescent orders and requests. Though they scream and cry sometimes, they were cute and a ray of sunshine in the otherwise bleak face of reality. They hadn’t had life break them down, and were blissfully ignorant of the problems and harsh way of the worlds they lived in.

But Parker was not like other children.

He was a child, and though he had the age and characteristics of one, he was joining them on the battlefield. He was facing the harsh world in the face without being prepared enough to do so. He had not seen the real world yet and was not prepared to fight in battles that involved the Avengers because of his naiveness. He’d hold them back with his childish antics, that had no place on the battlefield. Either that, or he’d run when his comrades most relied on him.

He also didn’t light up in wonder like normal children would at certain things, like the presence of the Avengers- he in fact tried to runaway from them. He was snarky and sarcastic. Didn’t follow authority, or orders, and though it has worked out for him so far and no one got hurt, it still angered the god, because Parker was getting away with things that he shouldn’t have. The good Captain has made an effort to set him straight but it has fallen upon deaf ears of the arrogant boy.

He was not at all like young Keener, whom, although sarcastic and snarky, was nearly a year older and didn’t get into battles directly. Then again young Keener was not enhanced or mutated or had any form of training outside of the self defense he and his fellow comrades taught. But that was the issue, young Parker thought he had to use the powers given to him and didn’t know they could be a burden. He thought this was all fun and games, and it would soon get someone hurt.

Harley was a perfect example of the reason he loved children. He could joke with the Avengers and listen when they told him to hide. Thor, much like the rest of his fellow Avengers, adored him. He was smart and helpful when repairing damaged or destroyed gear. He helped and didn’t get into fights, unlike Parker who only used violence and destruction of enemies as his answer. He had not lost his innocence as well.

There was something dark though, that frankly scared Thor, inside of Parker. It was the thing that made him avoid and ignore the young boy instead of reprints him like the captain. He didn’t think the captain saw it though, because he was sure that Rogers would be afraid of it too, if he did. It was terrifying to see, especially in a child.

The only reason Thor noticed was because he had seen it in his own brother. The darkness of seeing something you weren’t supposed to, of being stripped of innocence so young in age. Having been treated like an outcast and knowing nothing more than that. Watching a scene of happiness knowing that you will never get the same feelings. That haunted look mirroring from green to brown eyes was identical to that of his brothers.

His brothers defense mechanism was to act out and try to take over Asgard. Violence was his answer. Parker’s answer seemed to be humor, which was leagues better than Loki’s but it still scared him. And annoyed him.

Though different tactics on dealing with it, it was the same problem. The longing look that his behind that mischievous sparkle. Wanting to be treated as something better.

And maybe that’s the real reason Thor avoided Parker. He reminded him of Loki. Reminded him of how he failed his brother, and if he tried to console Parker, he’d surely fail the same way. There were so many things knew he could do differently with his brother, but that is only because he’s known his brother all his life. He only had just met Parker, and could not change any mistakes that he may have made. Loki and Peter were only similar in that one sense, not in any other. He wouldn’t know how to fix young Parker, even if he could.

But instead of feeling remorse to that fact, he felt anger. And he took it out on the young child.

“Uhm, sorry to bother you and all, but we’re landing in like five minutes.” Parker said and his hand was hovering over Thor’s arm, as if afraid to touch it. Thor’s brow furrowed as he ripped the hand, maybe a little too harshly, away and Parker stepped back immediately. He did not look deterred or scared, just looking at him with unreadable eyes.

“You do understand the challenges we will face out there, correct?” He said more than a little coldly and Parker looked up at him confused. Cocked his head like a small dog, and reminding Thor of all that stripped innocence. Taunting him with his mistakes. “It’s better to leave before you get in over your head, especially when comrades of mine are counting on you.” Thor said, stepping up to Parker, who did move. He wanted to make it clear that a child didn’t belong here. That if anything happened to the people he loved because of the boy’s childish antics, it would be met with harsh and serious consequence, preferably administered by Thor or even Natasha herself. The Black Widow was indeed intimidating, far more than any warrior of Asgard. Peter paused before grinning lopsidedly.

“You count on me? Aw that’s sweet.” The child said lightly and Thor felt his anger flare at the child’s take away.

“This is not a game.” Thor said tightly, trying not to yell. Not to let his anger show, just as Peter was, rather successfully, not letting his fear of this mission show. Parker may be a kid, but surley he at least knew that if he messed up enough, innocent people would be killed.

“Yeah, but like still.” Peter shrugged nonchalantly and Thor picked him up by the back of his collar to have him look at the god directly in his furious eyes. The nonchalance was intolerable at this point. Inappropriate really, because people’s lives were at stake. People that they were trying to protect.

“You must follow orders. You cannot avoid consequence with me. This is not a joyride for your awarded powers.” Thor said lowly Peter looked him directly in the eye. “Although, I don’t even know why you were given such great ability at such a young age. It is unfit for an inexperienced child to have such power and waste it as you do.” Thor continued into his harsh tirade.

 

“Could you have said that maybe like, 10 years ago? Give the speech and everything?” Peter muttered after a moment, letting something other than his irritating humor come into his voice. It pissed Thor off that he couldn’t distinguish it.

 

“You don’t understand-”

 

“Can that lecture. I’ve already heard it.” Peter sighed, letting boredom take over his tone. He was holding something back, because his voice sounded a little too strained to not actually care. “And I wasn’t, how did you put it ‘awarded’? These powers. Things happen. Accidents happen. Where were the Avengers for-” Peter shook his head as he went on to make another point. “I don’t avoid consequences, no one dishes them out. Besides,” Peter then smiled “everything seems to work out in the end.” Thor slammed him down and Parker was caught off balance due to the odd angle and fell to the ground.

“We shall see about that.”

 

OoOoO

 

Parker reminded him of his kids.

Clint didn’t want his kids to end up like him. Being a killer, spy and/or agent of SHIELD, for SHIELD, or even associated with SHIELD. At all. He wanted his kids to be able to trust other people like normal people, and not be paranoid about their family, current and future. He didn’t want them to look over their shoulder and expect danger. He wanted them to be carefree and have fun and live their lives in the daylight and not in the shadows.

Parker was a perfect example of what he never wanted his kids to be. But also everything he wanted his kids to be. That was at the top of things that pissed him off about Peter Parker. In fact, that pissed a lot of people off and he didn’t seem to give a shit that they did, in fact, have shit list specifically for them. He seemed to encourage it, actually.

He was rash, reckless and disobedient. Never followed orders. Went off on his own. Disappeared for days to only come back casually with a smoothie. He was unreliable to the Avengers, and unreliable to probably everyone else in his life. Hell he was probably skipping school for this ‘superhero’ shit, if he even bothered to go at all anymore. He acts like he knows everything, and acts like he too good for somethings, like a teenager- which he fucking is. He doesn’t listen to anyone, and had no regard for safety.

But again, SHIELD couldn’t hold him down. No professional organization could honestly say they controlled Spiderman. He was too hard to even be monitor. That was the only part of Peter that he wanted to be handed down to his kids. The fact that he could come and go as he pleased into SHIELD. Unlike the Avengers, SHIELD couldn’t tell him what to do, just asked if he could do it. Peter could say no to SHIELD. He could piss off just about anyone in that organization and get away with it. And Fury seemed to support that. He seemed fine letting Peter come and go with no warning or permission. And Fury didn’t waste any resources on tracking him down. They never needed to, because they couldn’t give less of a shit about him. Unlike the rest of the world, Parker, and he could not stress this enough, could not be monitored.

 

It was impossible.

And that probably pissed Clint off more than anything. Clint has never asked questions like Peter did, he never said no to SHIELD. He thought that was a given coming in, no questions asked. And he kicked himself for it later, because this kid came in and had done just that. Said no, disobeyed orders, stood up for himself. He was everything Clint didn’t do because he thought it wasn’t possible.

And Peter Parker is anything but possible.

He was confusing and managed to put almost everyone working with him at risk. He couldn’t even imagine how much trouble Parker’s family - of whom he never talked about, strange - would be in. His loved ones must be in hell trying to reel in this fucking kid who’s ego was so big that it decided to screw everyone in New York over, just because he could.

 

He’d never tell Peter about his kids...Ever... even if held at gunpoint. Just keep harassing the kid until he left his life for good. Left his team and family alone.

And that’s the thing, he’s still a kid. He acts like he knows what going on, but he doesn’t. Just like every other kid in the world. He doesn’t understand the dangers and he doesn’t get that this world is a harsh cruel place. Spider-Man doesn’t kill, at least that’s what he’s heard from people, not the kid himself. He doesn’t get that death and destruction don’t stop because he decided to become a hero. It doesn’t just stop when one person that you love dies. It keeps going and it never ends until it kills you too.

 

“Hey, like four minutes to landing.” Peter grumbled, like a teen who’s just been grounded for staying up past curfew. He’d heard Thor had given him a lecture. Good, that kid needs one.

 

“Yeah?” Or maybe he needed a few. “So what’s your plan hotshot? Gonna go in there and listen or like guns blazing?” Clint said in a dull tone. And Peter shifted a bit and rolled his eyes.

 

“Don’t call me hotshot.” he mumbled before saying “And it depends if your plan’s any good.” he shrugged and was about to walk off before Clint grabbed his arm, rather harshly and spun him around. He would not have anyone, especially a spoiled brat, talk to him like that. He needed to be set straight and be actually punished for his attitude. He had to treat adults with respect and not like they aren’t trying to help him. He needed this.

 

“Like Thor said, this isn’t a game.”Clint said, even as Peter lightly tugged on the grip, he made it tighter and watched a flash of panic go through Peter’s eyes, before determination and another unreadable look flooded it, before continuing. “So you better stop treating it like one. Stop acting like you know everything.”

 

“I don’t know everything.” Peter admitted, but it didn’t sound like a confession. Clint growled, gripped harder and Peter had a flash of fear in his eyes this time, Clint barley caught it.

 

“Not listening to orders? Going off to do your own thing? If that’s not true, then tell me kid, why do you act like you think you’re better than everyone?” Clint’s voice rose in his angry whisper. Venom dripping from every word. The kid didn’t flinch at that as he ripped his arm away, and Clint was sure he used more strength than he meant to, as the older man stumbled back.

 

“I’m not, asshole.”

 

OoOoO

 

The kid wasn’t afraid of him.

That was weird because the only one who wasn’t afraid of him immediately was Tony. He poked him and even mentioned the hulk. But Tony Stark was Tony Stark, he could hardly settle as a good example for young upcoming heroes such as Peter, who also happened to be his own entity the more Bruce spent time around him. He hardly knew how Harley ended up so responsible, much more responsible than his adoptive father. It was also worrying because he was a goddamn kid who didn’t know what kind of dangers he was in when around Bruce or the Hulk. Or maybe he did, as Bruce said, Peter was turning out to be an unpredictable anomaly.

Every other Avenger was careful around Bruce for the first few months of being a team. Eventually they were just as carefree with him as Tony was. But Peter? He was not afraid of him. Sure he didn’t talk much to the kid personally, but when he did the boy seemed pretty happy to talk to him. The only reason that they didn’t talk much was because Bruce was afraid that he was going to hurt Peter. Physically, that is. He wasn’t so attached to him that he could actually do any mental or psychological harm, and even if he could, this was for the best Bruce stayed away anyway. Parker had a way of pushing people’s buttons, and unlike Harley, Peter didn't have a parental figure that dons a protective suit of armor. Even if Peter did have superpowers, Hulk could crush him in one swing of a fist.

The kid seemed like a good kid at first, He was shy for the first half of their first mission. Kept to himself and they thought he was listening. They were the Avengers afterall, and what kind of kid doesn’t listen to the Avengers. Peter Parker, apparently. Turns out he wasn’t listening, he was just too bored to voice it, then he ended up pissing everyone off. It was more than a little irritating that he never followed orders, and though Bruce didn’t like it, it was nothing the Hulk would come out for. Well that’s probably because he did follow orders, on his own terms.

 

Pissing people off never seemed like a problem for Peter before. Why would it be, he just stopped car thieves and got cats out of trees. But pissing Bruce or the Hulk off? That was a big danger, to not only Parker but everyone around him as well. But Peter didn’t seem to understand, because he was too naive to. Hulk could kill that child with one finger in no time, and all the kid seemed to be able to do was taunt and tease and again piss Bruce the fuck off!

But there was this weird feeling whenever he talked to Peter. Like the anger he was forcing down to keep down the Hulk vanished. The Hulk wanted to come out whenever he was around, but not out of anger. Which was weird, because the Hulk hated people. Bruce knew he couldn’t afford for the Hulk to come out under any circumstance that didn’t require a code green.

 

The kid just didn’t see how he was putting everyone in danger by being so careless. Forget just himself, he was being too reckless for the repercussions not to have already been sounded. He was a kid, who thought that everything would work out because he was a minor, that everyone was safe just because he was swinging about in spandex. And yes, while that is part of the job, the other much more important part was to actually help and listen and do what needed to be done so everyone was safe. He needed to know that this was not just a game, and could not be reset if he screwed up.

 

That this wasn’t training. This wasn’t a drill. There was no redos, retakes, or reset. When people die, they die. They aren’t coming back. And when they died because of him. Because of his mistake. Because of a choice he made- and yes he would have to make those choices eventually. That would eat him up inside, and it would never stop hurting. And it didn’t just affect him. It affected those other people’s families, maybe even more so. Because they didn’t know the names of everyone they saved, and they didn’t know the names of everyone they had let down. That they had let die. This wasn’t a game, the kid needed to know that.

“Touchdown in 3.” Peter gritted as he stomped in from the other room, in anger, or what seemed to be anger. He was about to stomped away, when Bruce gently grabbed his shoulder and Peter tensed before he whirled at him. “Don’t you dare say anything about following orders I get it.”

 

So the others talked to him too? That was good. But that only served to piss Peter off more. Which wasn’t good.

 

“I don’t quite think you do.” Bruce said gently and Peter ripped his arm back and breathed a bit. That was good, that Peter knew how to calm himself down. Bruce knew he wasn’t completely clueless, he had been doing the Spiderman thing long before he was with the Avengers. He just needed to go about it differently, because his old way of quips and thwips wouldn’t work for him forever.

 

“What do you even care?” Peter mumbled and didn’t look him in the eye. God, that really did make him look like a kid. Like Harley looked whenever he was being a moody teenager, not wanting to leave the lab to do his homework.

 

“Because things are dangerous out there and the orders are there to keep you safe.” Bruce reminded. Not coming closer, Peter didn’t seem to want to be touched. Which Bruce got, he didn’t figure Parker had an easy life if he ended up where he was standing now. Hopefully he wouldn’t be in the end end.

 

“That’s not why we’re going on the mission.” he mumbled as a reminder and Bruce sighed. They were going to save other people, true, but...

 

“Yeah, but you’re a kid.” Bruce said “Just listen, and it will be okay. Try not to piss people off so much.” Peter looked at him with a slightly wounded look before turning and going into the other room. Bruce just barley caught what he mumbled.

 

“I do try.”

OoOoO

 

He reminded him of a soldier.

 

When Steve was young, he wanted to be in the army. He was young and foolish and skinny and small. He had asthma and couldn’t even walk to school sometimes because he was so sick all the time. All he ever wanted to do was help people, and prove himself. When he’d finally joined the army and all that, Steve finally had a chance to actually do that. They didn’t let up in the army training for him, and gave him the same rough treatment as everyone else. They reprimanded him more, in fact, and that only pushed him to go harder, even though he was pretty sure they wanted him to quit. Then he had the opportunity of the serum and could help people even more. And even more so, when he joined the Avengers.

 

When he first saw the kid come in, he thought they were one in the same- he actually got a bit giddy. He thought that the kid had wanted to grow. Though the kid wanted to fight for the greater good. Thought the kid would listen and push harder to impress. He thought that he was a kid just trying to help and prove himself.

 

He was wrong.

 

The kid didn’t seem to have anything to prove to anyone. He didn’t follow orders, he didn’t push harder to impress. He seemed to get a kick out of annoying everyone with the fact that he could get away with anything.

 

He didn’t want to be a soldier. But all the same, Steve couldn’t help but feel he was witnessing some sort of shell of the soldier that he could be.

 

Or the one that he was.

 

Steve could tell though, without a doubt, he wanted to help people. And oddly, he was. In his own weird twisted way, he managed to save a bunch of lives. But still, his methods was highly unorthodox, and inappropriate, so much so that if there was a chart he would be so far off it that he’d probably end up on Asgard...metaphorically that is (he didn’t think that Thor would even let him have the options of transporting through the Bifrost). He had all the characteristics of a child too young to be in a battlefield. Just like Steve had been, but Steve didn’t actually get to fight until post serum anyway. Probably like Peter, if you substitute a consented monitored experiment with an unplanned radioactive mishap.

 

Nonetheless, Steve treated him like a soldier. Because weather he was one or not-and Steve was almost positive that he was, somehow, and that thought terrified Steve even more- he was fighting with the Avengers. Under Steve or Tony’s command. He had to listen. He had to follow orders. No matter what. No matter the stakes. He had to stay in line.

 

Except he didn’t.

 

Peter- no matter how many times Steve lectured or Natasha reprimanded or Tony sniped or hell, even Bruce at one point yelled at him- would never, ever follow orders if he didn’t agree with them. That was the most accurate statement, because sometimes he did follow orders, and Steve figured it was going with the plans he never cared to share with anyone but himself, or he was too tired to actually rebel. It didn’t matter the harsh treatment they gave him, because that’s what needed to be done in order to save more lives in his mind. This wasn’t daycare. If the kid wanted to fight, he had to understand he was a small - very small- piece in something much bigger than himself and his own whaky agenda of - what seemed to be - shitting on the Avengers, well, Avenging. He didn’t understand that he was fighting for something bigger.

 

Because he was just a damn kid. Smaller and younger than Steve ever was.

 

Then he didn’t show up for a while. And Steve thought that it was okay, he was just on leave. But then Fury was giving them a mission and muttered - or bitched, as Tony so eloquently put it - about how they could’ve used Parker for this mission. Steve had wondered why Fury hadn’t just called him. It took Steve a second to realize that, Parker had actually turned down Fury when he asked for help. To potentially save the world.

 

That. That right there. Was not okay.

 

When Parker did eventually come back, bruised to hell and back he might add, Steve had gone off on him. He didn’t let up, because the kid had made a commitment, and he helpfully reminded him of that. The kid was submissive for a while, until he wasn’t and bit back that no, in fact, he was just doing SHIELD a fucking favor. Steve had been confused, and he still was, but the harshness in Parker’s voice when he said, and Steve quotes “Stay in your fucking lane Rogers.”, had Steve never ask him about it again. “If Fury hasn’t already told you, then you don’t need to know. Be a good soldier and march off or whatever.” Was the logical appeal, and Steve left him alone about it. But he didn’t march and made that very known in a grumble as he walked away, eliciting a laugh from Parker that made Steve’s head swirl.

 

Didn’t stop him from lecturing Parker about the other shit, for lack of better word, he did.

 

“Two minutes.” Parker said from the doorway, crossing his arms. He shifted from one side to the other, as he waited for Steve to look over. Steve steeled himself staring at the face of a highly uncomfortable looking boy. That was odd, Parker was usually so well trained in his facial expressions.

 

“Who told you that?” Steve asked. For lack of a better segway into the conversation he was about to have. Peter looked like he knew what was going to happen, but didn’t want it too. He bit the line anyway.

 

“Mister Stark.” It was weird how Parker did in fact have enough courtesy to address them by formal names such as Mister and Miss and Captain and Agent, but he never added a sir or ma'am. He never said those things unironically. Only if he was teasing.

 

Steve didn’t want to do this, it felt wrong on so many levels - because this kind of thing was common sense among the army. Parker wasn’t like other soldiers though. But he was nonetheless, and he shouldn’t act or be treated any differently.

 

“Sir.” Steve reminded stoically and Peter looked confused for a second. Cocked his head and blinked at him, almost like a confused puppy.

 

“Pardon me?” he asked. As if he hadn’t believed what he heard, either that or he was just confused at the random word just spoken, or he didn’t expect the conversation to go this way. Honestly neither did Steve.

 

“‘Mister Stark, sir’” Steve said for him and stood up to his full length as the look of understanding crossed across Peter’s face. Then a look of anger mixed with something else. He watched the anger slowly seep out of his face and into his eyes, which was terrifying, but Steve could pin the emotion he kept spread throughout his body. And what the ever loving holy fuck, a kid shouldn’t be able to do that!

 

“I’m not calling you ‘sir’, Captain.” he said snidely, and Steve had to hand it to the boy. He managed to keep most of the anger out of his voice. But the attitude had to drop.

 

“You will, because you may not be an Avenger yet, but you are fighting with them, and you-” Steve was cut off.

 

“I’m sorry, what?” Peter said, in a voice that made it sound like he was more disbelieving than mad now. Steve raised a brow for him to explain his interruption. “Whoever said I’m gonna be and Avenger?” Steve sighed. This Kid.

 

“That’s why Fury had you shadow us-” Steve was getting annoyed with these cut offs. But it was hard to prove Peter Parker wrong, especially when the kid didn’t really prove himself right verbally most of the time. He’s never had to. He was always so irritatingly right all the time. But one day- Steve hoped, and it was a terrible hope- that Parker’s luck would run out.

 

He didn’t know how ironic that was.

 

“Ha, that’s not why he had me ‘shadow’ you guys. Cute term by the way.” Peter scoffed and shook his head. Steve flared a little at his arrogance and what he implied.

 

“Then tell me why you think your here?” Steve, in all his wisdom and glory, could not fathom how the child before him could just shrug and throw away all the anger that Steve had seen pooling his eyes before. How could a child have that much control over his emotions? It was scary and worrying and insulting and just not fair. Steve barley had even an ounce of that kind of self control, and Parker, from the looks of it now, seemed to have an endless supply of it.

 

“Dunno, but it’s not to be an Avenger.” Peter said and Steve opened his mouth as he glared at him. “You don’t get to decide that.” Steve held up his hands in slight surrender.

 

“You’re right about that, but Fury put you on the team for a reason.” Steve reasoned and Peter nodded.

 

“You’re right, and if you needed to know, he’d tell you.” Peter said casually and shrugged, and Steve felt his anger flare a bit again, but not at Parker- at least not directly.

 

“And he told you?” Steve growled at him, in a mocking way. Parker didn’t bite on it though.

 

“Maybe if you asked him…” Peter said and finally looked at him with a confused almost smug look. “Have you?” he said in a way too sweet to be innocent way. “Ask him, that is.”

 

Steve shook his head. “You can’t just ask the Director of SHIELD that.” Steve said. “That isn’t what good soldiers do. They don’t ask those kinds of questions.”

 

“Then I think you’ve answered your own question, Captain.” Peter said stepping in, like he was going to claim Steve’s territory. “What makes you and I different, is that I am not a puppet soldier that puts my head down when I have to.” Peter said snidely and Steve couldn’t help but let his anger stir inside him. He knew Parker was just trying to get under his skin. He knew that the kid was just trying to make him say or do something he’d soon regret. But the way he knew exactly which buttons to push. The way he didn’t hesitate in pushing them. The way Parker was. It was so damn frustrating.

 

“And what makes you think that you aren’t meant to be treated like a soldier in training?” Steve said suddenly. It was unexpected but didn’t seem to catch Peter off guard. Not in the least, even as he never hesitated to answer.

 

“Because I’m not.” Peter said and pushed off to step forward to Steve. “And I would rather not be.” he said in the same voice he used to taunt bad guys in. Steve snarled and strided all the way so he was towering over Parker, who only made it two steps in the room and wasn’t moving to claim anymore ground. Staying near the door so he could run out at any given moment. While probably one of the most effective and best strategies for any given situation, Steve only saw a coward and not a scared little kid facing his fears all alone. Because Parker was never scared...right?

 

“And what’s so bad about it? What goes through your head to make you hate the fact that you’re not just fighting for yourself? What makes you so afraid to be a soldier?” Steve asked, those were all rhetorical, but Parker didn’t answer them like he would have as he kept on glaring up at Steve, seemingly undaunted. “Why do you refuse to be what you are?” Steve had meant that Peter was a soldier weather he liked it or not. And there was so many things that he could have interpreted that one statement as, but weather if it was to make a point or the fact that he just didn’t care or just to genuinely get Steve to shut up about it, he answered the unasked question: “Why don’t you like being a soldier?”

 

Steve was too angry with the kid to actually process what he had just said, in the moment- the small window of time where his opinion actually counted. But Peter’s answer would later forever haunt Steve:

 

“Because it sucked the first time.”

 

OoOoO

 

‘Follow my lead soldier!’

 

He was trying.

 

‘Do exactly as I tell you!’

 

He was trying.

 

‘Come here!’

 

He was trying!

 

Of course in the middle of battle he usually does his own thing. It usually didn’t matter so long as he got the job done. Usually he didn’t care. Usually he wasn’t so scared and mad and confused. Usually he didn’t felt this betrayed and alone. Usually he never felt like he had to prove anything, even to the Avengers,

 

But now he needed to follow orders. He’d promised Fury he’d at least try  not to be a little shit about this. He thought he could do it- he wanted to do it- because the Avengers gave up ordering to do things when it wasn’t absolutely necessary. And if he couldn’t, then you know, no sweat. They usually didn’t care anyway.

 

Except today apparently.

 

Today, they wanted to let him know that he was a screw up. Today they wanted to yell and reprimid him about following orders. Today- of all fucking days- they wanted to let him know just how much they didn’t believe in him.

 

Now he had this weird feeling, a feeling he hadn’t felt since he was 11, that he needed to fucking prove himself to these entitled assholes. He wasn’t a coward. He didn’t think he was better. He knew the dangers. He wasn’t a soldier, not anymore.

 

Not anymore!

 

So why the fuck did he want to prove to these guys that he wasn’t what they thought he was. Today, the day he was actually trying to be nice and follow orders because Fury had gently - at least for Fury- and politely - at least for Fury- asked him to follow rules. To try. Just this once. And he was doing this because he wanted to, at first. But now it felt like he needed to. And didn’t need  to do anything since he had graduated high school.

 

Cap had given him a specific set of instructions, and they were easy enough to follow. But then Tony decided to ask him to be at the other side of the battlefield and do a completely opposite set of tasks. Then Natasha decided now was a great time to order him around and he was needed elsewhere. It didn’t matter though because they all ended up coming to him. But he had different things he needed to do, like the original orders, and he kinda just blanked out and skipped to the end.

 

Getting a little rusty there, huh?

 

Cap said he needed some monster goblin thingys webbed up, and Tony said he needed the alien goblin thingys beat up. Natasha said she needed the transports they were using, but in the end he only heard one thing.

 

Beat the bad guys.

 

And that’s exactly what he did.

 

Too many orders plus not enough time equaled a panicked spider. Here was his equation: 2O+Ti-1=PS. Logic, or actually no, that wasn’t an equation. But he had no time for balancing god dammit, but that did sound way more nice than this... he’d show his work later, for now he ended up beating them all up and webbing them after and then collecting their transports.

 

So there, everyone was supposed to be happy.

 

But they weren’t.

 

They just kept yelling at him. And his vision was already foggy and he had a bunch of cuts all over him, and everything was too loud…. Oh... oh no.

 

This was exactly not the right time to have a sensory overload. Absolutely not the right time. Can’t his anxiety suck it up for like 2 seconds here, at least, so he can fucking breathe. Pretty please? It would also help if you stopped yelling at me!

 

“You didn’t follow my lead! You should’ve webbed those guys up, not all of them.” Steve said in a stern tone looking down at Peter with a painfully hard glare. It reminded him of his old commander, what was his name again? Don’t think about it!

 

“He was not ready for this.” Something with an S. Stop thinking about it!

 

“Can’t he just follow, I don’t know one  order?” Or a C? You’re going to throw up if you think about it!

 

“I swear, there are 3 year olds who listen better than you!” Cotn..is? Stop!

 

“We literally gave you the easiest orders to follow.” Cotn...it Don’t you dare think it!

 

“If you can’t even manage to follow those, what are you even doing here?” Cotner! That’s it-... oh god.

 

I told you.

 

“Are you even listening to us Parker?!” Oh sweety, do you think he can actually hear you over all this white noise? That’s fucking Hi-larious.

 

But seriously, he was gonna pass out or puke if they didn’t get him out of here like yesterday.

 

“Yeah, and you can’t just web em like that, if your webs were weaker then they would’ve gotten out.” Tony glared at him and it made him further shrink in on himself. He can’t breathe and it wasn’t the asthma.

 

Please help.

 

He’d work on the webbing when he got some fucking chemicals, pending for better chemicals, he had to use cheap high school shit so bare with him. But he worked so hard to make sure they were a strong binding instead of silly string. They carried a full person and all his weight and added force and all the physics stuff. Albeit he was skinny and didn’t weigh as much as he should...

 

You know what, no, he will not be self deprecating himself over his genius. EVerything else about him could go down the garbage, and probably already has, but this? It was the best he could do with the materials he had, and you know what? Fuck you Stark, not everyone was a fucking billionaire, some of us are actually fucking broke, thankyouverymuch. Not everyone inherits their family’s multibillion dollar business. Not everyone can get a fucking job that supports your entire wellbeing, especially if you’re a minor. And not everyone can hold a job, especially when you’re a fucking superhero. So back off dipshit.

 

I’m gonna see flashbacks

 

“I just asked for one transport. Was that so hard?” Natasha was probably the worst and Peter wanted to cry. He really wanted to cry or scream. But instead he just let out a sigh. Crying and screaming wouldn’t do anyone any good but waste time. Maybe it would help him feel better, but it wasn’t worth the hassle. But damn his head hurt and his vision was going blurry, he needed to get out of there cause everything was too loud. But the Avengers were still lecturing, yelling, and putting him down. At this point he could only catch pieces of what they were saying, and even that was working his ass off.

 

I don’t wanna see flashbacks.

 

“Can’t even follow simple orders…”

 

Not there.

 

“Children should not be on the field….”

 

I am not there.

“What was Fury thinking bringing an irresponsible little…”

 

I need to get out!

 

“I need to go.” Not even realizing that he was cutting Steve off mid sentence because he couldn’t hear him. He wasn’t sure if his voice gave anything away, and right now he didn’t care. He stood up on wobbly legs. He couldn’t hear anything except loud muffles and sirens and screams and cars beeping and skidding and crashes of rubble. It was all too much and he couldn’t be there because it hurt.

 

He barely managed to shoot a web and stumble in the right direction and swing away.

 

Please help...

 

OoOoO

 

“Where’s Spider-man?”

 

Fury more demanded than asked the Avengers. Peter, no matter what he did, rarely skipped debriefing, even if he knew he was going to get yelled at. He only skipped it if he was injured - and in his language that meant any form of unconsciousness, no a stab wound isn’t severe, come on Fury stop asking stupid questions- or if he had other pressing matters to attend to- and that, that right there, is what scared Fury even more than any form of flesh wound the kid could ever acquire.

 

He sorely hoped it was the former.

 

“He ditched us after the battle.” Steve grumbled and Fury sighed, here they went again. The kid was going to literally be murdered by Steve Rogers on the accountability for pissing him off to much… that was probably too much to hope for, the kid was too stubborn to die.

 

“What did he do?” Fury asked already knowing the answer. It was a formality.

 

“Didn’t follow orders.” everyone said simultaneously and Fury gave a long suffering growl. This was getting tiresome. Why did they even bother trying anymore?

 

This. Kid.

 

They literally had a talk about this not even 10 hours ago, how the fuck did he manage to screw up this bad?... or maybe he wasn’t the one to screw up...

 

“Why’d you even want to recruit a snot nosed kid?” Clint said his feet on the table looking like he didn’t care but he did want an explanation. Fury knew Barton enough by this point to know that. Barton never asked questions so when he did it made them worth something, unlike Parker who asked stupid seemingly meaningless questions and got stupidly terrifying answers to almost anything based off that.

 

“He’s dangerous.” Fury said simply, not answering the question fully. The kid was a hell of a lot more than dangerous. He was lethal, which is a better word for dangerous that describes Peter Parker nearly perfectly.

 

“You know Fury, that’s the answer we always get.” Tony said and most of the rest of the Avengers looked as if they almost agreed with him for once. Only Parker could make people who were never meant to even meet, agree with each other. “Yeah, sure he’s got some freaky powers, big deal? He’s not trained and he’s a kid.”

 

“ Yeah the kid needs to be monitored, but why not do him like the Defenders. They’re under monitoring but not apart of Avengers Initiative. Why does the kid have to be?” Natasha asked in her own monotone. She cared a lot more about this situation than she let on, but if she could just see Parker’s potential beyond him being a kid, she would jump on him for help with her little… problem.

 

She just had a thing about child soldiers, but Fury did too. Parker wasn’t a soldier or an asset though. He was free to do as he pleased and sometimes that meant a little treat for Fury to get to monitor him up close, when he agreed to go on Avenger missions.

 

Fury furrowed his brows and scanned the room for Peter even if he knew he was not there. Something wasn’t adding up. Peter never followed orders before- hell, it was expected- but followed them back for briefing every time, without fail. He always faced the music. He never skipped it and never let anyone else take blame for mistakes he made no matter how severe.

 

So where was he?

 

When some of the others looked a bit confused. Fury didn’t answer the questions they were asking. He never did. “Why did he leave? Was he hurt?” that made them all pause. They actually didn’t know if Spider-man was hurt they just yelled at him and Fury wiped a hand over his face. “Find him.” he said in an irritable voice. The Avengers looked as equally annoyed but Tony started typing on his Stark pad anyway. “Wait.” Fury back tacked,how could he think these guys could find him. He obviously ran away from them. So the last people on earth to find him were all standing in this room. “I’ll fucking do it, you can’t.” Stark made an indigent noise.

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?!” he asked loudly. It means the kid doesn’t want to talk to you guys.

 

“It means you fucked up.” Fury said honestly and dialed Peter’s phone number to hear it ring 4 times before the kid answered.

 

“What?” his voice was scratchy and hoarse. Like he’d been strangled. He probably was. It sounded like he was choking down something, like a sob or lump or another emotion, no wait it was probably bile or saliva. Fury didn’t care right now.

 

“Where. The fuck. Are. you.” Fury sounded irritable as he grounded that out through gritted teeth, as if it would be some filter for his anger.

 

“Not there.” Peter shot back, like the little shit he was. And then groaned in misery, and no he wasn’t being melodramatic, it actually sounded like the kid was dying a slow and painful death.

 

Fury plowed on with no empathy to the other voice on the phone.

 

“Why.” these were statements, not orders. Demands not commands. Peter knew the difference, the Avengers didn’t.It was the only way to get Peter to not completely be an insufferable shit and somewhat corporate...sometimes…if your orders weren’t stupid.

 

“What do you care?!” He heard one of the Avengers scoff as if that proved a point. He rolled his eyes, just as he heard muffled retching. “Shit.” He looked to the Avengers who were looking at him intently.

 

“Are you sick?” At that the Avengers all bristled and he heard Peter spit something before groaning again.

 

“Fuck off.” He muttered but didn’t hang up. It sounded like he had dropped the phone and probably put it on speaker. How did that kid have anything to toss, he barely ate? He couldn’t help but wonder.

 

“What the hell? Why didn’t you say you were sick you should’ve-“ Fury was cut off by Peters loud moaning. Oh he didn’t want a lecture. He sharply glared at the Avengers who all look mostly annoyed if not a bit guilty.

 

“I said fuck off, ‘m not sick.”  Wow, was the kid really trying to play this game? He just threw up on the phone with the director of SHIELD. Albeit Peter was always unprofessional, titles meant jack shit to him anyway. You could rule the world and he’d still call you out and kick your ass if he needed to. Or wanted to for that matter.

 

“Kid, I just heard you toss your cookies into wherever you did.” Fury was hoping it was a toilet or sink and not a trash can in a Queens alleyway. Cause no matter what the kid had put him through, he didn’t deserve that.

 

“Yeah, but I ain’t sick.” Peter insisted. He sounded tired now, not so irritable. Unlike Fury. Who was about to explode with impending anger.

 

“If you aren’t sick then-“ Fury’s eye twitched in irritation as the kid casually cut him off again. As he seemed to do so many times, and not give any shits in the world about it.

 

“Fury, I said it twice and I’ll say it one more time, Fuck off.” Peter said pointedly. And it must have been bad, whatever it was that was going on with him, to call him Fury. You know without the sarcasm. Fury dropped it because he didn’t know how to voice any question that related to the topic now. He hated how Parker could do that.

 

“Words are powerful. The right ones can make or break a person.”

 

“Where’d you here that?”

 

“...A friend.”

 

“Fine” Fury sighed, deciding to move on “Then wanna explain why you ran off instead of telling the Avengers you were gonna puke?” It was met with irritable grumbling At the snipe. Fury heard someone’s muffled voice in the background but it wasn’t Parker’s. He couldn’t make out anything else than there was another person wherever he was. Parker decided to answer him quickly, but not out of fear, more out of wanting to get the hell away from this conversation as possible.

 

“I tried what you said. It was the worst experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in. So thanks for that, you delusional bastard. I feel like shit. Fuck off into the hellhole you come from and leave me alone. Have a terrific day!” The call ended before he could ask any questions and Fury slid a hand down his face. The Avengers hadn’t heard the conversation and frankly he wished they had. Just so he could see what he had to deal with, when they were making it difficult for the kid.

 

At this point, he honestly couldn’t blame the kid. His words exaggerate a lot, but his actions always tell the truth. They fucked up this time, Peter did the thing that would save the most people and got yelled at for it. No wonder he was always trying to get out of group missions and not following orders. He’d always take the best course of action even if it meant doing it the hard way and alone.

 

“What happened?” Steve asked like the good Captain of a team of superheroes and super assholes he was. Or at least, that was what he was supposed to be.

 

“He was sick.” Fury sighed and Steve immediately straightened “and it takes a lot to make him sick.” He said pointedly. Steve then deflated.

 

“Enhanced metabolism?” Bruce asked under his breath, Fury ignored the question that the scientist surly had by now and was turning around in his brain. Figuring tons of equations Fury hadn’t even known existed nor did he care existed.

 

“We didn’t notice he was sick, he seemed fine on the plane ride over.” Tony mumbled, his forehead pinched in confusion.

 

“Maybe he was faking it?” Clint suggested “We were lecturing him, maybe he just used it as excuse to leave and not pay the consequences.” Clint shrugged and Thor bristled in what seemed to be anger. Fury better shut down that train of thought because it probably wasn’t true. And he didn’t need the Avengers going on an all out war with a teenage spider kid. It would be embarrassing when they lost.

 

“Tell that to the kid who was throwing up on the phone and insisting he wasn’t sick.” Fury said in a deadpan and Clint looked disappointed while Thor visibly calmed down. Those little-

 

“If he doesn’t think he’s sick, then why did he leave?” Natasha growled. It didn’t add up, she was right. Maybe he just needed space? You know to feel better and then come back. But it didn’t sound like he was coming back anytime soon. Definitely not for debrief.

 

“Do you all wanna be watched as you toss your cookies?” Fury asked with a raised brow and nobody answered so he continued “What were the orders he didn’t follow?”Fury asked the group, he was gonna get to the fucking bottom of this.

 

“He webbed all the baddies up with just his webs. We said to incapacitate them, not shoot them with silly string.” Clint answered and Fury had to do a double take. Did he just hear that right? The kid followed orders and they yelled at him.

 

“You’re all idiots.” he laughed but not with humor. “Those webs have the tensile strength to lift 10 planes and then some. Their not breaking anytime soon.” Fury slid his hand down his face again and stopped at his mouth. “God, he’s never following orders again. If he’s gonna just get yelled at for doing it and yelled at for not doing it. Oh my god, you’ve officially found a way to make this worse. He’s never gonna listen again.” He mumbled to himself hysterically. It was silent for a moment.


“Shit!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2-This is My Arena

 

Peter found the devil in his trash.

 

The guy was trying to get out of a fucking dumpster and head three bullet holes in his shoulder. Now Peter had seen a lot of weird shit when doing this particular chore of throwing away previous used, and currently unusable items, but this is like 6th place. Peter wasn’t gonna leave him like an asshole, no matter how many people accused him to be.

 

He met Wade Wilson long before Deadpool was even a concept- actually deadpool was never a concept, it kinda just happened. They’d always gotten into fights and those were the most irritating, yet amusing fights he’s ever been in. Every fight with Wade or Deadpool was like that.

 

Deadpool met Daredevil eventually, but Peter never knew how and they weren’t telling. Wade and Peter were literally banned from teaming up by the fucking government , but no one ever said SPidey and DP couldn’t have a friendly...unaliving session. And obviously the more the merrier and these guys were scumbags so hell yeah you can bash their heads in Double D . No one could stop them when they didn’t know who they were. They all teamed up once … at least that was how it was supposed to go.

 

Obviously, like most shit in Peter’s life, it didn’t go according to how it was supposed to be.

 

They formed Team Red, a group of mentally unstable assholes who don’t give a single shit about society or their laws. Or anything really. Not even personal problems- in fact they just laughed at their own depression, and refused any sort of therapy.They generally annoyed the shit out of anyone and everyone who came into cross paths with them because of their past that they couldn’t let go of. The past that tied itself to them and wouldn’t let go no matter how hard they ran from it, but they wouldn’t know because they’ve never tried to outrun the darkness that slowly swallows them up and pushes everyone they love away from them. It was a toxic unhealthy environment that they created for themselves, and Peter should probably get the fuck out of it.

 

It was the best thing to happen to him.

 

Matt was blind lawyer and Wade was scarred mercenary, or “bounty hunter” when cops or any legal people were around and he was in his street clothes- but those were very particular cases, cause honestly no one wanted to fuck with him or talk to him just by his face alone( and Peter has blatantly mentioned to Matt that he looked like an old avocado after it got shitted out, but only when Wade was in earshot). That’s what he knew. He didn’t associate their names with their faces. He associated their names with their real life shit and problems. And they probably did so with him too.

 

Peter preferred Team Red over the Avengers.

 

They bitched about their problems without giving or getting any meaningful solutions that would end in all parties happy permanently. In fact their solutions encouraged grudge holding and drinking it away until they forgot about it and then in the morning didn’t care about it because they got hangovers (Peter never participated in the alcholism, but he did enjoy it when Matt and Wade got drunk and allowed himself to forget about his problems by watching their misery).

 

They didn’t give him orders, they just threw sticks- and bullets and webs and knives and sometimes sledgehammers very occasionally a beam, maybe a bomb or two, but like small bombs, but mostly glitter and sticks of every material they weren’t picky-at the bad guys and watched the aftermath. Usually it ended in the guys hitting back which lead to one of them punching back and then they were knocked out, but sometimes Wade punched with his katanas - they are fucking swords Wade, but whatever floats your boat man- and they kinda...died? Unalive? Stopped breathing permanently? But it was okay, because Peter did that sometimes too, and he always dropped their bodies in the Hudson in five different places all of which were not where they actually killed the guy- he had a fucking reputation man, unlike Wade who could just leave the body there, lucky bastard (but sometimes when Peter was too tired, he’d just blame it on Wade and he didn’t care that Wilson got the street cred as long as Parker got to sleep).

 

They fought with little to no communication about battle strategy, and a hell of a lot of talking about literally anything else. They were always way more violent than they needed to be, Peter noticed he was more aggressive with them around. But it’s almost like they monitored each other. That they wouldn’t get too aggressive that they would kill someone by beating them to death - they weren’t fans of prolonged death unless completely necessary- but also they wouldn’t judge each other and they could let loose, way more than when they were alone or around other people. It was a place for Peter to get all his aggression out- and he never told anyone that because it would ruin it. There was always blood- waaay too much blood for Peter’s usual taste- and Peter minded it a lot less with them around. He thought it was because they talked too much to notice it. Almost like sweeping all their problems under a rug.

 

Matt always said he wore red so that people wouldn’t know he was bleeding. Wade said it was because he didn’t wanna deal with the stains. Peter saw the logic in each of those probably messed up, but nonetheless accurate- because stains were a pain you had to buy like ten tide pods to get them out, and Wade thought that was a waste of a perfectly good snack- perspectives and told them he wore red because it was the cheapest thing on the rack. They nodded wisly and understandingly to that.

 

Team Red had only one plan of action:

 

Just beat them up.

 

That’s all.

 

No orders or being told how to do things in a specifically specific and tedious and boring as fuck way, so long as they got the job done they were all good. No plans or protocols, cause plans usually went to shit within the first twenty seconds, and protocols not working were the reason they were doing this shit in the first place. They were totally off the books. Handled things not even the cops could dirty their hands with because of said plans and protocols going to shit, as previously mentioned.

 

They didn’t have this untouchable hierarchy that Peter had to meet the standards for. They weren’t arrogant bastards who took the law into their own hands either. They were just people who saw messed up shit in their past and wanted to beat up people like that because they were A.) mad and wanted to take some sort of revenge B.)had a burst of angelic happening and suddenly want to do what was right(But those were like adrenaline shots and soon wore out after one job that happened out of pure kindness- suffice to say Peter got those the most) or C.) they were just fucking bored and they all - well two thirds of them, Matt had a fucking day job (ugh, successful people, am I right?)- had nothing to do all day.

 

Team Red was the only time he was really himself around people. He felt most relaxed fighting with them because he could use the technique he grew up on - the ones with guns and fighting dirty and hacking so he could make kittens replace their files. Even though sometimes it got fucking weird. Like the time DP made him hack into the speakers in a bad guy base just for him to play a Lady Gaga Essentials playlist, and sing along to really off key even if it blew their cover. Or the time Red threw two sticks at him and told him to ‘ hit me as hard as you fucking can.’ even though he knew he had super strength and could probably kill him, because even though Red was fucking awesome, he wasn’t enhanced like he or Wade were.

 

Suicidal bastards.

 

He fucking loved it.

 

He got good at reading them.

 

If Matt was punching bad guys ten times harder and literally nearly killing them, then he was having a mediocre day. If he was slamming them against the wall and kicking them in the balls over and over and over and then proceeding to almost kill them, then he was having a good day.

 

Matt on a bad day was scary. Even for Peter.

 

If Wade was joking around constantly while shooting people in the head and slicing their bodies in half it was a good day. If he was talking to the voices in his head and the bad guys at the same time before turning them inside out, it was a mediocre day.

 

Wade on a bad day was scary. Even for Peter.

 

Peter was proud of himself because he could figure them out, and they literally were the hardest people in the world to be figured out. But he also kind of hated Team Red, cause they could read him too, and Matt was a fucking lie detector and Wade just somehow knew . He didn’t like that, but they never talked to him if he was having a bad day, if he was having a bad day and didn’t want to talk about it, they would just stay the hell away from him.

 

They were shit at dealing with emotions, but very aware of them. It fucking sucked. Because some emotions hurt and others were just too big and they took up too much space and sometimes it made it hard to breathe.

 

“Who shoved a stick up your fine ass?” DP said from behind him where he was waiting for them to all gather on a rooftop. It was always a rooftop. Wade had said they should be called the rooftop pals, Matt said it sounded like a Magic Tree House rip off. Peter responded by reciting the entire first book by memory to punish Wade who had never read the Magic Tree House because he lived in fucking Canada. Wade had responded that Peter was a fucking audio book and Matt agreed that audio books were the best kind of books. Peter had said that Matt’s opinion was invalid due to the fact that he was blind and told them that audiobooks weren’t actual books but go off, I guess.

 

“The Avengers suck.” Peter said in a huff. That was obvious. He shouldn’t have been so broad cause he actually wanted to talk about this with them, if only to hear them roast the Avengers because it would make him feel better.

 

“Foggy wouldn’t shut up about how you did a good job.” Red said and Peter groaned. That’s not what he wanted. He didn’t know how to deal with compliments and Matt knew it too, hell Matt had the same problem. And when Peter didn’t know how to deal with something he either threw it or ran away from it. Unless it was a math problem, but he always knew how to deal with those.

 

“Yet they yell at me! I don’t do what they tell them and they call me a brat, and when I do they yell at me! I just want to be able to do what I need to, it’s not like I’ve fucked up so drastically that it was irreversible.” Peter vented and crossed his arms, taking them back on track. Wade fucking laughed, that asshole.

 

Team Red was the only place he could act like the kid he was. No judgement, no scolding, no serious babying (they’d always make fun of his age, but they never actually meant any of the stuff they said), no lectures. Because Wade, and Matt on some level, acted just as childishly. It was a fucking sanctuary.

 

“So he does have teenage rebellion in him. Atta boy, I knew you could do it!” DP called out and Peter huffed again. Damn right he did, they just didn’t know said teenage rebellion wasn’t just to spite the Avengers but to save this damn city from their ignorance. Yeah, he thought it. Sue him. He didn’t see the Avengers : Earth’s mightiest heroes out here breaking up debt crippling drug and sex trafficking. It might not be immediate world ending, but it sure was destroying these people’s lives...wait that was serious, backtrack backtrack!

 

“It’s our fault for not restricting him, and now he’s a true brat who thinks he gets everything he wants.” Red said sarcastically and Peter nodded. Now they were getting it, this is exactly why he came to Wade and Matt. They got him.

 

“Damn straight it’s your faults. I don’t like being told how to do my job, thank you very much.” Peter said as a matter of factly. He felt a little better.

 

“Good always remember you’re manners.” DP said coming up next to him to sit down, Red on his other side. There was silence for a while, and then Peter heard police sirens and sighed.

 

“I wanna quit so bad.” Peter mumbled and Red barked out a harsh laugh.

 

“Same.”

 

“Mood!”

 

 

“We’re all fucking idiots.”

 

“Wanna go kick some ass?”

 

“Hell yeah!”

 

OoOoO

16 years earlier…

 

The Red Room was cold.

 

Both physically and emotionally. Washed Out white walls that were in desperate need of a repaint, but no one said anything about that part, because aside from the meaningless peeling paint, there wasn’t a speck of dirt. Not one single blemish in the routine. There was no time to even look at the wall, much less care about it. It was a soul sucking place if you even had a soul, though usually you didn’t coming in. You usually didn’t have a choice in that part either though. And there was only one way to come out.

 

At least, that’s what they told her.

 

It was no place for love. The kids who grew up there knew nothing of it and the adults who did scoffed at the concept. Discipline. Work. Death. There was no room for trivial things such as love and affection. But that was a given, you were never taught that. It was supposed to be common sense, because in a place like this, how could one maintain love of all things.

 

Natasha was indifferent to the concept. She didn’t bother with it or try to understand it. It was something that just existed and she’d never be able to obtain it, that was all she knew. She didn’t care though, it seemed useless to her anyway. She genuinely thought it was just a trivial meaningless fluke and gave it no other thoughts.

 

Until she experienced it.

 

She then knew how horrible it was. It was terrible, nothing to scoff at but to be warned about. It was dangerous, more dangerous than any weapon even feasible to man. It was soothing and lulled you into a false sense of security. Ripped out your heart in a million different ways and stitched it back together wrong, it was excruciating. Yet it was addicting. The pain was like a drug she couldn’t get enough of. And like all drugs, she was sure it was slowly killing her inside.

 

Yet she still didn’t seem to care.

 

The first time Natasha experienced love is what one would call a phase. At least that’s what the director had called it when she found out. That was what she dubbed it for a whole 3 weeks after she was banned from seeing her lover ever again. After Madame B, her director and tormentor as she’d soon realize, had been pissed and tortured Natasha 10 ways to hell.

 

She was supposed to be the Black Widow. This was supposed to be her mission, her first in fact with her having such a title. A title she’d been working to all her life. A title she screwed people over in 15 different way. A title she had poured her blood, sweat and tears (when she was younger, the Black Widow doesn’t cry) for. Something she knew she’d never screw up. Something she couldn’t screw up.

 

Yet she did. All because of that useless, excruciatingly painful emotion.

 

Love had been her downfall, because she underestimated its power.

 

It was no excuse, Natasha was weak against it. She hadn’t been prepared, and that wasn’t on the Director or the trainers she’d killed. It was solely on herself, she owned up to it. But she would never be more powerful than love, it just didn’t seem possible.

 

It started on a joint mission between the Red Room and Hydra. She didn’t remember the mission, only her partner. That probably was a problem, but she never was too worried about it. Her Partner  was caught under the same deadly trance she was, so she could barely blame him for not being as strong as the haze.

 

Before then she was the top student in the red room, if there had been any respect to students she would most certainly have it before that mission. Her partner was an enhanced American soldier who she knew nothing else more than what she was told. Turns out they weren’t lying when they said that he knew just as much as her. He didn’t even know his own name.

 

They both only knew his mission. Their mission.

 

It lasted months. Months of staying in close proximity to one another. Months of training in secret in deep dark forests under the moonlight and starless skies. Months of sharing one small dirty room with only one bed. Months of fighting, eating and living together. They were never apart for more than 3 hours. By week 3 they were nearly inseparable, whereas the weeks before they’d want their own space.

 

At first they didn’t talk much, just clarification on the mission given. You never knew who could be listening. Slowly throughout their training sessions under the moonlight in the forests they started talking in short bursts. Commenting on a punch, scoffing at a missed kick. Never was so much emotion displayed, and it surprised them both. Neither of them were talkers, and even if they were they didn’t have much to talk about. Their lives were pretty straight forward, at least her’s was. They had no dreams, their superiors made sure to crush any of those early on in their trainings. They had no preferences, as they were soldiers and soldiers don’t complain about trivial things that do not compromise the mission. Their focus was only their missions. But somehow they managed to do find something to scrounge up, hidden deep within the recess of their minds. A real genuine preference, and not a persona created to lure enemies into a false trap.

 

They took comfort in each others words and presence. Natasha has never been this close to another human being and she found the times when he was away to be so lonely. It was stupid. But that feeling of emptiness was almost too much for her to bare alone.

 

She hated the feeling. Even if she was used to it, it was never like this. Never amplified to this magnitude. She had been trained to be independent on other people, especially men. She could take care of herself and her feminine woes were just a ruse to trick enemies into a false sense of security.

 

Then again she never felt the way she did now around anyone else, including the dull men that flashed briefly in her life.

 

And apparently he reciprocated the feelings.

 

It was only once and no one was supposed to find out. How could they? It was just a taste of what love felt like, how could it have been so wrong if it felt so right at the time. If there was no evidence, how could they be blamed?

 

At least, there was supposed to be no evidence.

 

The mission ended and he had to go. She hated seeing him leave but said nothing of it as he gave her one last indifferent look when he was escorted out. He had no choice. She was a soldier. She had no attachments.

 

At least, that was how it was supposed to be.

 

The feeling of loneliness ate her more than anything. It was more painful than the worst torture.She was sure it was a form of torture. Torture that ripped her heart and gnawed on her insides. Torture that made it feel like she couldn’t breathe sometimes. SHe begged her emotions to stop killing her. She vowed never to love again, but it didn’t go away. It just dulled overtime, and even when dulled it was more painful to think about. She never wanted to love another being so long as she lived.

 

Then she started to get sick.

 

OoOoO

Present…

 

They didn’t apologize the next time Peter was with them.

 

Peter just got a text on his beat up, cracked, untraceable burner phone (ha, in your face Nick, he’s Gen Z the superior in every way in technology generation, who used the greatest creation of all mankind for memes) from Fury saying that they needed help downtown.

 

He rolled his eyes and patched in his comm. Even if he really shouldn’t do this. Even if he wasn’t ready to see the Avengers, much less think of them with getting a wave of nausea and panic.But…. people needed help, and Peter would be damned if he let the fucking Avengers break down his self esteem so much he couldn't help.

 

So fuck it.

 

But did Fury always have to tell him so fucking late? He knew he probably would’ve shown up anyways, he probably would have if he weren’t swinging on the other side of New York with his earbuds in, looking specifically away from the giant squid monster attacking Manhattan. He just had to finish this one mugger off with a little note and gift wrapped in webs for the cops. He made a bow and everything, he even went to get new sharpies, so he was going to take his time breaking this one out. It was fluorescent purple, can you believe it? They had that! And Wade had already called dibs on the pink that came with it, but Peter didn’t know why Wade would need it. Whenever Deadpool left a note, usually to Peter and Matt if he wasn’t home to feed his cat, he left it in bright red crayon, and not the stupid cheap Craze-Art shit, no deadpool was a hardened serious man, he was ex special forces and he had been through the worst kind of hell to get his powers, he used fucking Crayola damnit.

 

But if Peter were here to talk about the proper purchasing of children’s school supplies he’d be here all day with this mugger dude who was about to knife this poor woman. One life saving emergency at a time please. Aliens will just have to get in line, thank you for shopping Le Beat Down De Spidey , have a nice day.

 

He didn’t say anything to them as he joined the fray and they didn’t notice he was there until he kicked a mini squid (whom was created out of the mommy squids suction thingy, like talk about independent labor but gross) from nearly killing Falcon by laser shooting him (seriously? When can squids laser shoot with their fucking tentacles?)  and said “Welcome to Chiles!”. Sam’s surprised face was priceless and he laughed at it. That’s why he wore the mask, because they couldn’t see his facial expressions and look like a fucking idiot. - he says as he trapezes in with his bright red and blue spandex.

 

Pretend like nothing ever happened.

 

Spiderman?”

 

Pretend like you’re okay.

 

“Hey kid.”

 

Like you always do.

 

“What’s up?”

 

Yeah sorry I’m late. Fury didn’t send the e-vite in time.” He said, a bit too quickly but he didn’t care. They seemed weird too, much more gentle than last time. Maybe Fury told them about your tender tummy . He growled at the voice snickering, but not enough so that the Avengers could pick it up on the comm. “I think I was on an auxiliary guest list.” He and that voice are going to have words. Then he might have words with Fury too, he wasn’t some whiny kid who got bent out of shape cause of a bad day.

 

It had just been… a lot that day.

 

“About time.” Natasha said. Ahhh, there was the judgy voice of grown up lecture, yeah missed you there for a second. Welcome back to reality bitch. He honestly didn’t want a lecture, he just wanted to mute the comms and continue with his day. But at least they weren’t pitying him. Or at least Black Widow wasn’t. He could always count on her for a consistent message of ‘I hate you’.

 

“Flank left.” There were more mini squidy that-is-not-proper-squid-birth-procedure-but-go-off-i-guess thingies on the right. Goddammit, they couldn’t see from down there, and there were still people in the way. They were gonna get hurt, but Peter was gonna get yelled at. Peter went right, obviously. His logic was flawless: fuck it. He was gonna get yelled at anyway, if last time was anything to go by. He shouldn’t change his whole dynamic that he had going on with the Avengers. That was like a one night stand kind of thing, not that Peter knew what a one night stand really was, not intimately. But he didn’t know what sex was like romantically and you know consensually . Okay, he was way too pumped on adrenaline for this conversation to be happening with himself, the point was: listening to the Avengers against his better judgement was a one time thing. One and done. That’s all those ungrateful bastards got.

 

That’s what Fury wants you to think rationally not out of spite, go left. Listen to them.

 

 

Yeah, so...go right, right?

 

Heh, homonyms.

 

“What the hell!”

 

“Not again.”

 

“Stupid kid, the fight’s this way.”

 

No it’s not. Peter rolled his eyes, as he connected his foot with a squishy sploching-he believes the proper term is ‘ squelch’- sound so it made a loud noise for emphasis- even if iky black ink went everywhere, gross! He heard muffles and growls and groans and smiled to himself at the chaos he had caused.

 

“‘Mmmmm watcha saaayy~”

 

“Tell us next time!”

 

Peter couldn’t really find it in himself to give a single shit about the Avenger’s preferences.

 

All felt right with the world once more.

 

OoOoO

 

Fury didn’t go easy on him, like the Avengers.

 

Fucking bastard didn’t have enough of a soul to feel guilty. He was perpetually pissed and irritated. Those were his only two emotions, Peter would bet all his money (no he wouldn’t he was much more responsible than that, he’d bet all his monopoly money) that those were the only two emotions Fury had ever experienced. Ever. It was a cycle. Peter sometimes wonders how fucked up your life had to be to get that way. Peter had asked and Fury had stormed away irritably. It was truly inspiring.

 

But as much as he looked up to the old grump and aspired to be as get-off-my-lawn-y as Nicholas J Fury, he would never, in the history of ever give him his secrets.

 

“Saw your work with Deadpool and Daredevil yesterday.” Fury started off and Peter just kept a blank face. A face that said ‘we are really doing this’, come on Nick, at least try to be subtle about it. Peter was actually  surprised he had the balls to even touch this subject, especially after all that shit that happened not even three days ago. He wasn’t gonna out his team, or at least the closest thing he’s got to one. The preferred term was ‘band/bunch/gang/cult/what-have-you of assholes’ but that was just a recommendation. They also were considered ‘bastards’.

 

“They are unstable assholes.” he gave a grin and balanced on the balls of his feet. “And as long as they don’t wanna see you, you ain’t seein’ them.” he laughed at their confused faces, but Peter didn’t know why they were confused. He may have jumbled the words up, but he thinks he was pretty straight forward. He was never good on delivery.

 

“Yet...you fight with them?” Clint asked with a quirked a suspiciously suspicious brow. What did they care who he hung out with in his free time anyway, it wasn’t like they were his goddamn guardians.

 

“Deadpool kills.” Natasha started with a bit of venom in her tone. Bold of you to assume we all don’t kill.

 

“And isn’t Daredevil a bit violent?” Tony asked, but Peter could tell by the tone of his voice he was in fact stating as well.

 

Well shit .

 

Whomst the fuck did they think they were to judge? It’s not like this is a peaceful line of work, in fact the Avengers were only known for hitting their problems into the ground so hard they’d never see the light of day and not being good at negotiating any other way, shape or form. They had a freaking Hulk for crying out loud and they weren’t afraid to use him to destroy the city at a pin drop -even if Peter thought he was one of the most valid of all the Avengers, and yes that included Bruce separately- and he didn’t think that was an orthodox or civil debating method, but it sure as hell worked. So what if a few people died, yeah sure it’s not ideal but if they were bad guys it should at least soften the blow. Plus at least they wouldn’t hurt anyone else. And it’s not like Peter didn’t feel a shot ton of guilt on his shoulders afterward.

 

“Yeah.” Peter shrugged. Fury sighed like it was the millionth time.  He knew prying information out of Peter was impossible, or at least he should know that. Peter may not have been known for his interrogation techniques, but he did make his tormentor’s lives hell when he was interrogated. It was cute how Nick tried though.

 

Why ?” he asked very demandingly and tiredly. Peter didn’t like the tone, but smiled regardless. Knowing he wouldn’t give anything away.

 

“Gonna have to be more specific on that one.” Peter said lightly and Friy groaned and rubbed his temples in annoyance.

 

“For the love of all things holy-“ Fury muttered to himself as Peter’s smile grew “ Why do you fight with them?” He said in a voice that was very specific, Peter would’ve complimented him on it, but he choose not to and give Fury this one. He just hoped that Fury knows he could’ve been a hell of a lot more annoying and this was an offering of god send and pity - and mostly because he was way too tired to actually keep this conversation going on for a while.

 

“They don’t tell me what to do.” he stated like it was obvious, in his ,what he liked to call, ’teenager voice’ . It elicited the typical kind of response he’d expect from responsible people like the Avengers and the thing Peter thrived off of. Exasperation and annoyance.

 

You know the good stuff.

 

“I bet you love that.” Cap grumbled and Peter barked out an unexpected but not unwarranted laugh, cause he actually got Captain America annoyed with him. This was fucking amazing. MJ would be so proud of him-...

 

If she was here. Shut up.

 

“Yeah, I do.” he laughed, ignoring his voices and gross emotions. Steve growled and Peter tried to stifle his giggles and focus on the fact that he was in the present and forget about his past. Pretending works . “I got you mad. Holy shit, like I haven’t done that to you yet. Everyone else? Yeah, sure they’re easy. But you? This is amazing.”

 

“Parker!” Fury barked and Peter choked on his laugh and stood on alert snapping his head to Fury. Way to suck the fun out of it, Nick . He deflated.

 

“Yeah, erm...sorry… but like… there was this guy and he stole something.” Peter mumbled and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Evading was one of his specialties, but when that wouldn’t work (ie when a bunch of scary Avengers were getting pissed off at him and he didn’t feel like fighting them) he could always be elusive. Fury was actually really good at taking a hint and dropping the subject, letting him figure it out on his own. Trusting him. Which was stupid, he’d let Nick down eventually. It was just a matter of time. But Peter always managed to get out of situations far more dangerous or worse than whatever Nick thought of before. He always got the job done, no matter who or what he was working with, even if it was all by himself. Especially when by himself.

 

Not this time apparently.

 

It was a matter of time.

 

“What?” Fury grounded out, prying everything out of him was a pain, he knew. It’s why Fury didn’t do it often. And Peter gave kudos that he’s stuck it or this long without murdering him. But Peter wondered why he was doing it now. It’s very hard to be this annoying, Nick, please appreciate the effort. Condolences include, dropping the fucking conversation .

 

“Kids...from Afghanistan…” Peter said in a quick mumble, he didn’t know why he was self conscious about it. Or maybe he did, it was because he’d handled these kind of things a million and twenty two times before and Fury never said anything before, and there was literally no reason he should now.

 

Except for puking when you were on the phone with him.

 

“Kids?” Fury asked like he was saying ‘really?’ And okay, maybe ‘stealing kids’ is a bit of a big problem and maybe that was just a weird way to say kidnapping, but he wasn’t entirely wrong. And he wasn’t lying. He didn’t look at any of the Avengers reaction, instead Peter looked Fury dead in the eye as everyone stood up straighter.

 

“And their puppies…” Fury looked down right murderous at the addition. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the situation or how Peter made it sound like it wasn’t a big deal.

 

“Again with the fucking dogs?!-” Fury said like he couldn’t believe how blatant Peter was with this. But the novelty of child trafficking (which Peter did not tell them about) had worn off Peter long ago. Probably when he himself was basically trafficked because he wasn’t found in America but in Russia.

 

“They were puppies ! Small children dogs and they were mutts and they were soooo cute! Rottweiler and German Shepherd, I’m like 95% sure! A kid even let me pet one, and then guess what? I got to pet it ! It was the best thing I’ve done in my entire life!” Peter said emphasizing his point by waving his arms up and down and ending in a satisfied cross and nodded his head approvingly. Like he just stated the most amazing reason to live.

 

To him, it probably was.

 

No, it was. Most definitely 100 percent was.  

 

“Oh so your superhero criteria was met?” Fury said in an heavily sarcastic voice, now that he knew everyone got out okay (Peter was honestly insulted that Fury ever doubted he would let those kids and dogs down) that was not meant to be answered back to. Parker answered anyway.

 

“Yes!”

 

God this kid!

 

OoOoO

15 years earlier…

 

Love worked her way into life again.

 

But instead of a ruthless man with no clue about his past, it came in the form of a mini version of said man. Needless to say, the director was furious upon seeing her child.

 

Even as Her honor and respect was stripped. Even as she was looked on in disgust. Even as her child (she had a fucking kid, oh my god she was a mother). She couldn’t find it in herself to care.

 

She never had a choice before, to have a child or not. In fact upon imitation as a Black Widow- as the black widow- she was opposed to be sterilized. She was going to be, after her vital mission. Nd when they found out she was pregnant she was supposed to get an abortion. But she argued -stupidly set herself up, and fucking argued with her superior about a dumb mistake she made- that she never had disobey anything she was told to do before. Anything to keep her child- she had no idea why she wanted to keep the kid, she didn’t even know what a mother does. The director looked affronted and just as astonished as she was when she spoke out, the disgusted looks turned to shock then turned to sneers.

 

She couldn’t care less about what they thought, in light of what her lover and her child thought -oh my god what would her child think of her. Not when she was looking at her baby. A baby made by love. Her love. A child made by warm love and not by cold necessity. Something that she thought was impossible. For her at least.

 

Pytor Romonov

 

The director wanted to get rid of it, of him. She had glared and held the child close to her chest and refused to give him up, even as her boss made to grab him right from her hands. She would not let him go, not as she did with her partner. She would beg this time if she had to, and Natasha has never begged a second in her life. Not even thought about it. But she was willing to cast all her beliefs for this tiny human being that she had created.

 

Her son.

 

That was when the doctor dared -stupidly, probably just a little more stupid than her- to speak out. Telling the director that he could be used, be trained and used for the red room. It was after all, the biological child of two enhanced individuals. That hasn’t been tested before that any of them know of. He could be the first child that grew up on all pillars in the red room, no outside connections. No other purpose except be loyal to the red room.

 

The doctor didn’t do out of the kindness of his heart. His yellow teeth smiled when the director approved albeit reluctantly. He did it because he was sick and wanted to run tests. Wanted to strap him to a cold metal table and experiment on him. Wanted to cut open her child and dissect him like a frog.

 

She thanked that doctor once.

 

They trained her like a dog after that. Tedious and demeaning things that were meant for the children, but cranked up to a level where it would be taxing. Not stopping and relentless. She barely had time to breathe, and sweat was her constant companion. They beat her and worked her and tortured her body over and over.

 

But at the end of the night, when dawn was just peeking over and she was sent to sleep for a few hours. That was when she finally go to see him, her precious baby Petya, she’d do it again. It was worth it.

 

He was worth it.

 

The next three years of watching him grow and walk and speak in the three different languages she taught him. He watched her train but did Not fight, not yet. Her child was smart, smarter than most children, and quiet. And even if he was still a toddler he’d already developed a personality, one that wasn’t cold or heartless, but warm and compassionate.

 

She knew that the first night she came in and he was awake and reaching for her, at first she thought he wanted something, but his diaper was clean and all he wanted was for her to lay down with him and cuddle.

 

It melted her heart and made her love him more, and she didn’t think that was possible.

 

He progressed much faster and adapted much quicker to his lessons than any of them thought he would. For that she was grateful. The director was somewhat pleased.

 

She loved her little Petya. With everything she had.

 

He made it easy to love.

 

And then that love was ripped away by cold heartless hands. The same heartless hands that ripped his father away. In a cruel twist of fate and a decision just as sudden as Natasha’s love for her son.

 

The worst part wasn’t that she could fight back, because she had tried. The worst part was how she couldn’t fight. How She could do nothing but watch as she was strapped to the chair and watched them knock Pytor out and carry him to she not know where.

 

She was again experience of the worst feeling in the world as for the second time in her life, Natasha cried for the first time since she could remember. She hadn’t done enough to keep her love and let it slip through her fingers again.

 

She hated love. She hated it so much.

 

OoOoO

Present…

 

Natasha didn’t not like the kid.

 

He wasn’t a bad kid at all. Snarky and a little sassy, but not a bad kid- those were probably the funniest traits about him, and she has always had a thing about deceiving looks. In fact he seemed more sweet than anything, the Avengers just happen to be on his bad side all the time, or at least when he was incredibly tired - seriously kid should get some sleep. But if you help old ladies cross the street with your super abilities, and go out of your way to get a cat out of a tree, how bad can you possibly be?

 

She knew she was off putting to him. She snapped at him, though not as much as Steve did, whenever he got too close. She was keeping him at arms distance, because he was 15 and had no business being around this kind of shit. Though he got that a lot, but only because it was true. Even so she could tell he was sick of it, no matter how much he tried to ignore it or roll with it or make it seem like it didn’t get to it. A good defense mechanism that she wished she had when she was younger too, but it didn’t make it any less annoying. It must have been especially so when he was reprimanded for doing a good job. She was getting annoyed with it a little too.

 

But…he reminded her of Petya a little. Even their names were similar.  

 

Petya would’ve been 15 too…

 

She thought that she had to keep him at arm's length, because as she said before, the kid had more than two brain cells. He was perceptive, way more than he let on. It’s not like he tried to hide it, but he didn’t necessarily advertise it. It also wasn’t obvious with him. So she reprimanded him more than he deserved, because she was playing the same game as him:

 

Pretending nothing is wrong.

 

Sometimes she wondered if Petya was Peter would he be using his powers for good? Or would he be using them for HYDRA? Would he kill people like she did, or would he try to save as many people as Peter? Would he do the right thing, even if it meant he disobeyed orders? Would he be free to choose what he wanted to do?

 

The more Natasha thought about it, the more like Peter she wanted Petya to be. She wanted her child to be exactly like Peter, but that wasn’t fair. What if Petya was lost, or different. She would love Petya anyway, but when she imagined him, she imagined Peter.

 

Maybe it was the name. Or maybe it was the superpowers or mysterious background. She didn’t know, because she didn’t feel like this when she had met Harley. But she knew things about Harley. She never dig into Peter's past, even if she could find anything out she wouldn’t want to. Because the less she knew about Peter the more she could pretend he was Petya.

 

Then she got so mad, because Peter wasn’t Petya, but some maternal thing inside of her didn’t want Peter to get hurt either. Because Peter was perfect, she didn’t know how Petya would be yet, but she knew he’d be perfect too. That Petya would expose Peter’s flaws and free her from the cage that was Peter Parker. She could go on and find out about his entire life and pick it apart just like she was supposed to.

 

For now, she’d get mad at herself for not letting herself get attached to the boy. It also meant she had to prove it too, by being mean and cold. Not helping him when he seemed like a kicked puppy, and if she found an opportunity, kicking him even more. It was messed up logic, twisted so it made sense but the longer she thought about it, the more her head would hurt. The more regret and remorse she would feel because Peter was just a kid . He wasn’t supposed to know where child traffickers did the most business or murderers laid low or super villains evil layers were. But he did, and somehow it seemed like too much for him to put Natasha’s weird emotions about her probably dead son on top of all of that. He already seemed to hate his own emotions, why would she want to deal with hers?

 

She didn’t like it. She knew what she was about to do. Peter has had a lot of things piled on top of him lately and Natasha can see  it, he doesn’t sleep and he is getting skinnier and slouching more. His quips are a smidge too dry and his timing is all off. He’s tired and doesn’t need anymore stress. But she had to do it.

 

“You should have reported it. Human trafficking is way too dangerous for you.” Natasha sneered. He reminded her of what she lost, somewhere inside of her she knew it was unfair and unnecessarily cruel to Parker. She’s glad Peter is as strong as he is. He didn’t deserve the hate that was boiling inside of her. Somehow it was easier to take it out on him, maybe because she knew he can take it and won’t be offended. Somehow he never got so offended. Or maybe he was offended, but he was very understanding. She had seen him take Steve’s heat about fucking seatbelts because the Captain was having a bad day. But she didn’t think the same method applied to favors. She really didn’t want to owe him, not when she already owed him so much, but she would do it anyway.

 

For Petya.

 

Fury had sent her to the docks to deal with a situation, but when she got there, the police were there and Social Services too. The guns were scattered everywhere and the dealers were... webbed. Anger boiled up inside of her, for the kid to be so reckless when she needed him. He was going to ruin everything . He couldn’t die. Not with Petya still missing.

 

She found Spider-Man on a rooftop exactly 1000 meters away, on top of a roof where the police couldn’t see him but he could see them. His suit was a bit scrunched and dirty, but he looked otherwise unharmed. Just a little tired. He was probably more tired and banged up than he let on. Natasha had to force herself not to care. Peter had to take care of himself if he was going to live in the world he wanted to.

 

But what if he doesn’t want to.

 

He noticed her as soon as she stepped on the roof though. Snapping his head toward her, mask still in place. Her hands were on her hips. He looked confused as to why she was here. She looked like she wanted an explanation. And to get rid of that stupid mask, it was harder to read him with it on.

 

“Can I help you?” he asked as he looked up, not bothering standing up. His voice was a bit out of breath and wheezy. But otherwise gave nothing away. She didn’t mean to get so frustrated with him.


“Why are you so-” she groaned into her hand and he laughed and took off the mask. His face was pale and eyes tired, but they held a childish amusement in them. He contrasted himself with his actions and words and Natasha didn’t know which one was genuine most of the time. It always alternated.

 

“Insufferable?” he asked with mirth as he turned to face her. She glared at his sly smile, he analyzed her for a minute, mischievous sparkle never leaving his eyes. Any other person would’ve missed the tense in his shoulders, as if he already knew what she was going to ask “I have a theory about you.” He said instead of following through with his hunch. Natasha could tell he was letting this play out.

 

Way more than two brain cells. Smart kid.

 

“I don’t want to hear it.” she said not amusedly. She was trying to ask a professional favor here, but at the same time, she needed this conversation to play out his way. Remind herself that he was a kid and he he needed some control if he wasn’t going to half ass this.

 

“I think you do.” he said, his tone dropping the lightness in it. It wasn’t that much of a contrast as she had thought it would be. “I think you don’t hate me, like you try to.” Peter said and cocked his head at her “and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why you do that.”

 

“I don’t try to hate you.” Natasha said astounded but at the same time not that surprised. She let herself feel a little bad at the kicked puppy look he flashed across his face before it settled into a neutral look.

 

“Yes you do.” he said like it wasn’t a big deal, but a little sadness and disappointment leaked into his voice. It made something in her chest constrict painfully. “I remind you of someone, don’t I?” he asked more in a mumble. She felt like she’d been punched in the stomach.

 

“No yo-”

 

“Yes I do. It took me a while to figure it out, but I know I do.” he said jumping up and walking over the the ledge. Her eyes followed his back. She let herself analyze him, it didn’t take her long to figure out he had this conversation before. He had lost someone like this before. He understood that he would never understand what her pain was like, and it was honestly more comforting than if he did know what she felt like. At the same time it was the most heartbreaking thing she’s ever seen. He just seemed so...tired of it. “And isn’t it weird that you remind me of someone too?” he asked. That caught her a bit off guard.

 

“You’re crossing a line, asshole.” she growled out, she hadn’t meant to be so mean to him, but she doesn’t know how to feel about what he said. He looked back with large brown eyes, widening in something only a child could muster.

 

“So I am right!” he said with a little laugh, it made her mad because this was supposed to be serious. “If I wasn’t there would be no line to cross!” There was silence on the rooftop for a while. This conversation was progressing too fast, but she didn’t know the proper way to bring up ‘help me find my lost son that you remind me of even though I’ve never met him’.

 

Natasha shifted and he gestured for her to sit next to him. She approached slowly but confidently and sat next him but didn’t look at his face. More silence as the sun went down and the sky was a burnt orange. Until he spoke again. “Did you not like the person I remind you of?” He said it softly, gently. Not carefully, but comfortingly. Reminding her that he wasn’t the same person she wanted him to be. She didn’t answer for a while. She didn’t think she would, until she did.

 

“No, I loved him with everything I had.” she answered honestly. He nodded, but didn’t face her. “How about you?” it was only fair that he answer her honestly, after she did.

 

“I don’t know. I don’t think I hated her.” Peter said, and seemed like he was contemplating how to explain it. Or he just didn’t know how to explain it. It was okay if he didn’t, because she didn’t know how to explain hers either. She didn’t expect him to continue, but he did. “No, I’m sure I didn’t. I can’t remember her all the way, but I think… I was too young to remember her face, but I think it was my mom.” Peter whispered. Natasha snapped her head toward him, Peter shrunk in on himself almost self consciously, something he never let himself do. He looked guilty like he shouldn’t have said that,he probably shouldn’t have, but he did look lighter somehow. Then he started to stutter with fire red blush painted across his cheeks.“Oh my god, Ms.Romanov. I’m sorry. That was-that was weird. I- I know your not my mom, but like-”

 

“You remind me of my son.” she said, and didn’t know why she didn’t hide the small smile as his mouth clamped shut and he looked at her with that confused puppy look again. She didn’t know why she said it. She wasn’t supposed to say it. Not like that anyway. She made sure her face gave nothing away, but she couldn’t find it in herself to regret it.

 

“You-You’re son?” he whispered in a hoarse voice more to himself, almost as if It was painful to say. He was calculating whether or not that had been in something he read or heard or something . He was working something out in his head but kept coming up blank because He seemed confused. she expected questions. He didn’t ask them though. She was oddly grateful for that. “I won’t tell anyone.” he said instead. If she could be anymore grateful to the kid, she would be. She didn’t even have to threaten him to keep his mouth shut. He knew exactly the right thing to say. He didn’t owe her a damn thing and yet he was keeping this, something if their roles were reversed in a weird way she wouldn’t hesitate to expose him for.

 

He also seemed to understand her request, though he didn’t nod or make any indication that he knew what she was going to ask. Somehow he knew what she wanted and somehow she knew he was fully invested in this.

 

If anyone could find Petya, it was Peter Parker.

 

OoOoO

 

Harley Keener was Tony Stark’s adopted son.

 

Peter knew that. Everyone knew that. You’d have to live in Antarctica not to know that. Peter didn’t like keeping up with superhero news anymore, it was kinda useless now that he worked with them - he wasn’t actually one of them - because he could always get it faster with hacking- because no way in hell they would tell a ‘stupid kid’  all their deep dark and dirty secrets. Plus tabloids never had anything good to say about him when he did come up. He didn’t need the extra negativity. If he needed to know something, he’d know it soon enough. Simple as that. Peter never went digging for information that he didn’t know he needed.

 

But that doesn’t mean that Peter doesn’t have a mental file of Harley Keener. No way in hell would he ever write this shit down. And the only reason he made a mental file for him, was because he wasn’t a superhero but a kid and a big target.

 

The things he knew about Harley Keener before meeting Harley Keener states as:

 

  • Harley Keener had saved Ironman with the Mandarin thing.
  • Harley Keener had a sister, who had went with his mother god knows where, leaving him behind in his little shack in Rose Hill Tennessee (this is why you don’t live in the fucking country).
  • Harley Keener was noted as a kid genius.
  • Harley Keener was 8 months older than him.
  • Harley Keener started going to Midtown Science and Technology the year after Peter graduated from the same high school.
  • Harley Keener’s best friends were Ned Leeds and Michelle Jones, who were interns at Stark industries (Michelle for Pepper Potts and Ned for R&D, they were smart he was so fucking proud of them).
  • Harley Keener did not like Pineapple on Pizza( don’t even ask him how he knew that one, it just happened)

 

Despite knowing all these things, he’d never actually met Harley Keener. Tony was too paranoid or something to bring the kid around the Avengers -or at least him, because the Avengers seemed to adore Harley. But apparently wasn’t too paranoid to talk about him all the time ( was that what a good father sounded like? That seems fucking annoying.). He got that he was a wildcard, and he didn’t really do ‘personal’, especially with the Avengers( Even though it’s been a fucking year, seriously they just need to be adults and suck it the fuck up. Peter has gotten over it ages ago). It made sense that he’d never met Harley, and it would make sense to expect never to meet him because Peter didn’t want to get ‘personal’ with the Avengers.

 

Until today, apparently.

 

Fury said he needed something and didn’t trust Peter alone( at least in Avengers Tower, which...okay that’s fair). Then they bumped into Pepper Potts and she fucking beamed at Peter and started talking to him. Like, a normal human. Like with no screaming or yelling. Which was a surprise, because people usually just ignored him if they didn’t yell at him.

 

She was nice, and not a lot of people were nice to Peter these days. She asked if he wanted to join the Avengers for dinner, and he didn’t quite know how to respond. It all escalated rather quickly for his liking and he ended up being embarrassed somehow and slipping up that he wasn’t actually planning on eating dinner. He didn’t know how it ducking happened but Fury was having a fucking field day at his fiddling. That asshole.

 

He ended up going, because he was nice (no shut the fuck up Fury, he he was) despite everything anyone had ever said... ever. Plus he was a little hungry…

 

Okay, He May or may not have remembered the last time he’d eaten, and he may or may not know that he hadn’t made his shift at Saint Margrets in like forever. Weasel usually wasn’t too picky about good help, Peter would usually just show up work and get paid. There was no schedule, Weasel understood that he didn’t have time for this ‘stable life’ crap but still had to eat somehow. He doubted he could find a job that would pay for food and shit because he was fucking 15.

 

“Bye kid, have fun.” Peter has never seen Fury look so happy in his life. He was wiggling his fingers and acting like a smug school girl. Peter let his mind replace Fury in a blonde wig and acting like he was in Mean Girls (he and MJ used to love making fun and criticize and compare that movie) and he let that disturbing image entertain him all the way to the common room.

 

Asshole fucking deserved it.

 

Peter wasn’t uncomfortable about his body, he in fact knew he was very skinny. And even if he doesn’t prefer people hassling him about what kind of shit he put into his body and how much of said shit he consumed, he didn’t stop eating because those assholes can’t mind their own fucking business. Peter always avoided eating with the Avengers for a very, very good reason and it was not any of those:

 

They didn’t like him.

 

They always invited him out of courtesy before, but he never accepted cause he was sure they didn’t want him there. He kept declining and the stopped asking, rather quickly if he does say so himself.

 

They didn’t want to get close to a reckless vigilante and frankly he didn’t want them to. Although no one has ever gotten that close. Not even May. He never let them get that close, because he never liked the baggage he had to unpack when they did. It was a hassle to talk about and a hassle to figure out his emotions after they left.

 

They always leave.

 

Plus they’d probably insult and interrogate him. He didn’t like that. And he didn’t want to be yelled at longer than strictly necessary (even though he could just never go on Avengers missions, but he needed someone to yell at him sometimes and May and Ben weren’t alive enough to do it anymore). Cause even if the Avengers didn’t care, they were nosy about unknown entities. Peter was, in fact, one of such unknown entity. He took pride in it thankyouverymuch.

 

But Pepper was assertive but nice and no one was ever nice to him. There was no saying no to her. Not that Peter didn’t want to, he just didn’t want to. People were always just assertive and mean and told him that he was too young to talk back (how was ratifying your very solid argument ‘ talking back’ that was just a grown ups BS  about being wrong). He also figured Pepper Potts wouldn’t take no for an answer, and he was too tired to deal with much right now.

 

He’d suck it up for Pepper. He always had exceptions.

 

We freaking went over this, Parker.

 

He knows that but...

 

The elevator doors opened and he was assaulted with the greasy smell of pizza and cannolis and pasta and soda and wine and alcohol. He wanted to run away, it smelt so good, probably because he was so hungry . How did he not notice it was this bad?

 

Everyone was in sweats and comfortable clothes. Peter was in an oversized sweatshirt with faded letters and his grimy bloody suit was on underneath. His torn, tattered converse barley held together by silver peeling duck tape and his equally tattered bag didn’t stand a chance. Needless to say, he was very out of his element. It was like Pepper took in a stray cat just to feed and throw it back on the street. Actually, that was exactly what this was. He was a fucking spider dammit, not a kitten.

 

Wear red to cover the blood.

 

It was different from how Team Red celebrated big successes. It usually consisted of bad liquor (not that Peter would know he didn’t drink) and bar hopping(he’d eat the fries and laugh at his drunk teammates). Singing bad karaoke when Matt and Wade got drunk enough and then dragging them back to Wade’s flat to crash and maybe watch a movie with too many blankets and pillows.

 

Suffice to say, it was way different. And Peter preferred it, honestly. It was more… low key and not giving him anxiety about...things (prices, amount of leftover, how much time to get to the port, escape routes,etc.)

 

“Hey honey.” Tony smiled and walked over with a glass of champagne in his hand. He stopped when he saw Peter hiding behind her a little looking at him with big eyes. The eyes he used when he didn’t know how to feel and wanted someone to tell him what to do, and that didn’t happen often. “What did you bring the bug in for?” Peter felt disappointment and another nasty emotion sink into his bones. He wanted to leave. He had to deal with this in the field, there was no way in hell he was gonna deal with it more than he had to.

 

But Pepper is so nice to you…

 

...

 

Fuck!

 

“Tony,” Pepper said in a way that made even Peter scared and afraid to disobey. “ Peter,” he winced at the mention of his emphasized name. ‘ it’s actually pronounced… ‘ nope we’re not going there. Not now . Not fucking here.“ is here because you should get to know him. He has been going on missions with you for a little more than a year now, and you know next to nothing about him.”

 

Good . He didn’t want them to. Please don’t ruin this.

 

Tony scoffed. “He’s like 7, how complicated could he be?” Peter looked slightly affronted, but hunched in on himself anyway. Did this man, this tiny man, just question his origin story? What the actual fuck? This was a fucking declaration of war.

 

I think I’ve been through enough thank you very much.

 

Matt always said he had great manners.

 

“I’m 15.” he mumbled on instinct and then felt dread run though him as he noticed the tangible silence and flet all eyes on him. God he hadn’t meant to draw attention to that. He hadn’t meant to speak. It was suffocating and he shifted a little, never looking up from in between his converse.

 

“Great!” Pepper said happily and clapped her hands happily, dispelling some tension. Peter fucking whirled at the topic change and tone. Boy, being nice to was so whack . He couldn’t admit that he liked it, want was a dangerous thing for him to have. “That’s nearly Harley’s age.” Tony actually did cough on his champagne and Pepper plucked it out of his hands and took a sip, like the fucking boss she was. Peter has a bad feeling in his gut.

 

She wasn’t… no that was her son. She was nice but she would never make him-... no. Would she? …. no...just….no

 

No!

 

“Ms.Potts, I don’t think-” Peter timid voice was cut off by Pepper addressing the ceiling. Of course, he didn’t get a say.

 

You never do.

 

Peter Parker? Opinions?? Being Valid??? Not in this economy. You know why? Because this economy hated mutants and hated kids and fucking sucked to live in when you are doing blue collar jobs on and off with an enhanced metabolism.

 

That’s why.

 

“FRIDAY can you bring Harley down for dinner.” she said sweetly, like venom dipped in honey, and sipped the champagne and looked at Peter with excited eyes. They were almost crazy. Oh god, she did hate him after all. Peter leaned back a little.“You’re gonna love him, although he’s a bit standoffish at first, but I’m sure out two will be good friends.” Peter felt like he was drenched in cold water.

 

Why even fucking warn him? Why not just throw him at MJ and Ned and reveal his identity? This had bad omens written all over it. This was bad, he had to get out. He already knew who Harley Keener fucking was. He knows who he is. And if he’s good enough to tough out MJ’s standoffish nature, then he was already awesome. Case closed.

 

He hadn’t had friends since he’d graduated. He couldn’t. It’s not that he didn’t want them, he fucking had the best friends anyone could ask for. He just didn’t want them dragged into these messes he got himself into. These bloody, red messes with too much death and hurt and wounds and scars and death. So no matter how much they called and texted they’d stop eventually. And they had, well sort of. Ned still texted him sometimes. MJ texted once a month...sometimes.

 

He always read them, never answered.

 

He didn’t want a new friend. He couldn’t protect him/her. He didn’t know how. He didn’t have the means necessary to have friends that can’t heal from a gunshot wound in one day. No matter how awesome they are, they weren’t mutants (well Matt wasn’t a real mutant, but he was over 18 so he didn’t count). And even if he did, his enemies knew he was dirt poor, he went out in leggings for fucks sake. If they were using a hostage 9 times out of 10 they were probably gonna kill them anyways because they wanted to hurt him . Not just physically, they wanted to play with mind, wanted to break him in every way possible and then some. He could have all the money in the world and it probably wouldn’t matter.

 

He couldn’t save them. He knew. He tried. It always ended the same way.

 

He must have zoned out because he was tapped on the shoulder by none other than Harley Keener, who looked more amused at his sudden shock. He didn’t miss Tony whispering something in his ear as he passed. The boy grinned more. Peter felt himself shrink a little, bad feeling only increasing but his spider sense wasn’t going off.

 

“Come on Spider boy.” he gestured and Peter followed, hands fiddling with his sleeves and eyes looking anywhere but another human being namely one Harley Keener. Spiderman could do this, Peter Parker couldn’t.

 

Fuck.

 

They sat down at the counter and Peter tried to ignore the Avengers burning holes in his back through the corners of their eyes, listening into the conversation he was having instead of theirs. They should fuck off!

 

Be careful. Don’t give anything away. Yeah no shit!

 

“Harley Keener.” the kid smiled. Peter gave a shy smile back as Keener grabbed a slice of pizza. Peter watched, but made no move for his own. “You hungry?” he asked with a quirked brow. Peter was starving . He had an enhanced metabolism so he was never getting enough food. He shook his head anyway. If he was eating then it’d be harder for him to escape. He knew he’d want more food, but he also knew he needed it and this opportunity would never come again for awhile.

 

Unless you actually make friends.

 

“I’ll eat when I get back.” Peter mumbled, putting his head in his crossed arms on the table. He just wanted to sleep. Maybe Harley could take a hint, unlike his parents, and actually fuck off.

 

“Back where?” Harley asked taking a bit of pizza. Peter made to answer, lifted his head and everything, but found he really didn’t have one. Peter thought about it. He didn’t have a set place to call ‘home’ right now. No one would allow a 15 year old to get an apartment by himself, and even so, he didn’t really have your standard paycheck. What he was currently referring to was Matt’s flat. Matt was always home late and up early. He and Wade let Peter crash on their couches sometimes, and let him pilfer food if he really needed to. But Matt barely had any food and all of Wade’s stuff was expired takeout. If he felt too guilty or neither of them were home, it was a storage box or the couch near the Billiards at Saint Margaret's.

 

“Good question.” Peter decided to say instead. Ominous. Good. Maybe too good. He knew he had to follow up on that sometime. He dropped his head back in his arms and turned his head to face the other boy.

 

“Where do you live then?” Harley asked. Okay, so apparently not taking a fucking hint was like inherited. It must be contagious, because the Avengers didn’t back off in the staring. Seriously they should mind their own business.

 

“Queens.” Peter automatically answered. Cause that’s where he grew up. Like really  grew up, not white picket fence or anything, but it’s where he met his friends, went to school, had fun and all that childhood shit he should have been doing since he was born or something. He was proud of it. Queens that is. Not of his less than spectacular childhood of hell.Queens May be where he was raised, But it’s not where he’s from. It’s that white room.

 

It will always be apart of you.

 

“Rose Hill.” Yeah, I know. But he doesn’t know that. “So where do you go to school?” Harley asked. Peter eyes him suspiciously from over his arms.

 

“These are very standard ‘grown up’ questions.” Peter noted in a suspicious tone and felt the air tense up just like Harley’s shoulders. Oh, this is their attempt? Wow they really sent in a kid to dig up this kind of stuff. Peter smiles, okay he’d bite… just a little “kidding.” He said lightly and Harley hugged out a nervous laugh.

 

“You joke a lot, huh?” Harley almost accused and Peter gave him a dry stare.

 

“ well you ask a lot of questions that I don’t like answering.” Peter shrugged and Harley looked baffled for a minute and Peter smiled into his arm.

 

“I just asked where you lived and go to school.” Harley huffed and crossed his arms. “It’s not a lot.” Peter smirked into his arm more, Harley was making this way too easy.

 

“That’s exactly what a child predator would say.” Peter smirk grew at Harley’s growing blush and he felt almost proud of his work. He thought Tony would come and take his kid out of the fray but he didn’t.

 

“I’m a kid too asshole.” Peter quirked a brow at the profanity. “What?” Peter shrugged.

 

“I didn’t think kids from a place called Rosefield knew that kind of language.” He said in a wistful tone “but I guess Tennessee was a slave state so I really shouldn’t be surprised.” There was a shocked moment before Harley growled at him.

 

“You know my friend would dunk your head in this pizza if she heard that.” I’m not so sure she would. Who the fuck do you think I got it from? “And you don’t have to be so fucking rude, I’m trying to be nice here!” Harley spat out with venom and Peter smiled a bit more.

 

“How is stating the fact that your states history in correlation to the country’s, has affected you culture in comparison to your dialect and namesake of your county, rude?” Peter said with a smirk as Harley gaped at him for a moment. Peter rolled his eyes “but sorry if I offended you. That was a very controversial way to bring it up.”

 

“N-no. It’s...it’s fine… it’s just that hoe she would probably say it too. Sorry for making a big deal of it.” Harley said and Peter actually blinked at him, too stunned by an apology that was so stupid yet, the first he’s heard in a long time.

 

“I don’t.” Peter said and Harley cocked his head confused as Peter turned his head to look more seriously at him “I wasn’t really good at...school.” He may have graduated but they didn’t need to know he can’t afford to go to college. He knows he sounded like he was a dropout. That’s how he wanted it to sound like. Plus, ever since the powers, people have made him more anxious and he was anxious to begin with. He didn’t want anymore. But he stayed cause it gave May more time to get college funds, even if he insisted he didn’t want to and could go to college when he saved enough. May wouldn’t take that shit.

He hightailed it as soon as May died.

 

Sorry.

 

Harley scoffed. Here it came.

 

“Well I guess it’s either or.” Harley shrugged and Peter wanted to act smug, but he knew he shouldn’t. He wanted to be mad, because they literally Jus t had an academic debate and Peter defused it immediately. He wasn’t brainy but he wasn’t muscly. He wasn’t either or, not that he was both. He wasn’t neither either. He was everything and nothing. He’s exactly what he needs to be. His doesn’t need those mean girl titles.

 

“I guess.” he said instead. He ignored Tony’s entitled snort.”What about you?” he asked conversationally. He knew the answer though.” It’s that smart kids school in Manhattan, right?”

 

“Yeah, Midtown.” Harley said and he saw Tony puff out his chest a little in pride. He wished uncle Ben had done that when he got in on a full ride. May secretly bought him icecream that night, so he had nothing to complain about. And the best part was that she got high after he was supposed to go to sleep and not during the ice cream eating. He had been so proud of her that night.

 

“That’s a good school. Got any friends?” Yeah, your friends you dork.

 

“Yeah, they’re wicked smart.” I know . “They’ve got internships here. Michelle Jones, and Ned Leeds.” I know.

 

“Watch out for Flash.” Peter mumbled absently as he lowered his head back down. Harley did a double take.

 

“What?” he asked surprised. Peter smiled. Oops. At least he said it low enough only for Harley to hear it and not anyone of the Avengers.

 

“Nothing, just it must be nice to be a school full of nerds, cause like there are no bullies for the nerdy kids.” Peter said and Harley scoffed. Yeah that’s about right. Flash had been tormenting Peter since grade school. Primary school? He thinks it’s called elementary school in America.

 

“Yeah but there are jerks.” he said back. Peter knew exactly who he was talking about. Flash must’ve moved on to the next kid to get better grades than everyone else. It kinda made him wanna go back and actually punch him like MJ said he would if Flash fucked with him too much.

 

God he missed them.

 

“Well there will always be jerks.” Harley scoffed back and looked at his plastic water bottle and Peter continued, never lifting his head and looking exhausted, but he must’ve looked bored. “But they’re just that, jerks, and sometimes they change, just ignore them if they don’t.”

 

“That what you do?” Harley asked dully and Peter looked up, surprised by the shift in his tone. “Ignore jerks. Like you ignore the Avengers?” Wow, personal much? Calm down there buckaroo.

 

Also, escalation? Where did that even come from?

 

“Nah, I just ignore everyone. It’s kinda my thing.” Peter waved off ending the topic, this conversation was getting too personal. And his phone buzzed in his pocket. He looked at it. A text from Wade.

 

‘Let’s hit some fuckers balls.’ Peter grinned.

 

“Well, I listen when I feel like it.” he stood up and saluted Harley with a goofy grin. As Harley looked on incredulously. “Sometimes.”

 

And proceeded to flip out the window.

 

OoOoO

 

Wade preferred the term asswipes.

 

Matt thought it was putting it delicately. Peter couldn’t help but agree, and they promptly dashed the name in favor of motherfucking asswipes. And then they collectively agreed adjectives were the best form of grammar and proceeded to blow up a window.

 

Team Red had a certain expertise, if you will. Said experitise was made into an art form. That art was their profession. There was a lot of ways to say they had a certain set of skills, but the point should’ve gotten across by now. Said set of skills were dubbed reckless, dangerous, hazardous, suicidal, weird, explosive etc. by the general public. Those set of skills were also particularly useful when busting bad guys that the Avengers or police don’t bother with.

 

The Avengers and police don’t bother with certain things, like trafficking circles. The police were not cut out for it, but big league superheroes couldn’t be bothered with when saving the world. That’s the grey area where vigilantes like Team Red come in. They were the in between parts that nobody cared about but probably should.

 

They were currently busting a drug trafficking circle, but the only reason they had even got on it’s trail was because a fucking idiot decided to play with some kids in the wrong way to pass the time in between jobs. That poor, sick son of a bitch. He must’ve been from out of town.

 

When Spidey decided to swoop in ‘all heroically’- he was not a hero, thankyouverymuch, look in the mirror Wade ‘I’m going to save orphans from a burning building’ Wilson- and the guy ran, all the way back to his little hideout, where he was obviously tracked to. Wow he was like a really bad bad guy. Matt actually laughed when Peter told him he didn’t think anyone followed him. Like come on bro, at least try  to make this challenging.

 

Peter wouldn’t say it was suspicious though, if there hadn’t been an increase in trafficking, in general and not just drugs that were being trafficked. But the past six months have leaned away from mobsters and now were more into circles like these. He found some ex-mob members joining so quick it was like mobs were out of style now. Wade said they were out like 10 years ago.

 

Oh well, he couldn’t find any real connections, except for their increase in popularity and honestly Peter’s been going through an existential crisis for the past week and a half. Matt said he should join the club, Wade said that this was his 14th one since he had joined the Avengers. Peter had replied that this one was actually because of the Avengers.

 

By the end of the night, there were TIME and Science Magazines and Newspaper clippings hung up on a wall that were either burned, punctured, soaking, or drawn on by honestly creative colouring; and Peter was so full of ice cream he felt like he had gained 10 pounds(he did regret it in the morning with an awful stomachache). Who said Team Red couldn’t be petty? They were literally the definition of the word.

 

“And then he just pushed a damn pizza my way and began to insult me. As if I would take it in stride? As if I was entertained by people unironically roasting me? I mean, I can take a good roast, but like a lecture? From a kid barley 8 months older than me? What the actual fuck! ” Peter vented to the criminal he kept punching into the ground. As if he would have any answers. The guy looked up at him dumbly and he looked so stupid Peter actually laughed. “Do you think that this counts as peer advice or just some entitled spoiled kid being stuck up like his dad? No seriously I need an honest opinion, what do you think?” Peter said seriously and half tooth stammered out an answer.

 

“I-I th-think he is j-just a k-kid try-trying t-to def-defen-defend his fa-fa-father?” he ended the answer on a high note making it sound like a question, and Peter stopped punching him. He blinked behind his mask and his mask reciprocated  the action. He then cocked his head. His brain malfunctioned for a second and he needed a jump start.

 

“Explain…” Peter slammed his perp into the wall, probably harder than he needed to. Why did his chest constrict when he said those words? Those awful, bad breath laced words (like seriously buddy would it kill you to pop a mint or two between shots of heroine)? Was it sourcery? No these guys weren’t that stupid to mess with dark magic. Nor were they smart enough to read English, much less an ancient alphabet that was written in a language from another world/galaxy/universe/dimension (take your pick).

 

“We-well, did-didn’t St-Stark take him o-off the st-streets? Li-like it w-w-would ma-ma-make se-sen-sense that he w-would w-wanna def-defend h-hi-him.” And that, right there. That was a good point. This scumbag, this disgusting, woman...touching-without-consent scumbag, had a fucking point. Peter didn’t get it from a personal experience standpoint, but he got it from a logical- even though emotions aren’t logical, they are just stupid and they hurt- perspective.

 

From all those fairytales.

 

‘You’ll never get a family.’

 

“Huh, never thought of that.” he mumbled in awe. “I mean those weren’t the options, but like option C I guess. I never did make the rules. Thank you. Thy opinion hath been heard.” Peter said as he knocked the guy out. He then yelled to the other two adults. “Guys! Half tooth here helped me figure it out! I think my existential crisis is over!” No it’s not.

 

Matt scoffed, like the rude shit he was, and then spoke the mother fucking truth “Your life is an existential crisis.”

 

Then Wade, as the equally rude shit he was as well, spoke another motherfucking truth. “Honey you’ve got a big storm coming.”

 

Jokes on them though, because Peter already knew that.

 

OoOoO

 

“Why would she tell me though?”

“I thought you were smart.” Fury said in a deadpanned tone and Peter groaned and laughed at the same time. It was more of laugh, if you asked Fury. Like he couldn’t believe what had just came out of Fury’s mouth, or he didn’t agree with it. Disbelieving and not at all fit for the situation.

Honestly this entire conversation was unfit for the situation. They were supposed to be on a stake out for a HYDRA base, they were supposed to be stealthy. Honestly, Fury would’ve preferred Romanov or Coulson, hell even Barton, as a stake out partner. But the Avengers has left on a mission, and Coulson was with his team somewhere. Speaking of which, he had an inhuman, Fury said he’d look more into her and some reliable sources to give tips and advice and maybe even training. So maybe this wouldn’t be as much of a bust as he thought it was going to be.

 

Parker was reliable(sometimes...okay none of the time, but a reliable source is one very good definition for him), and he was a mutant himself. He specializes in picking up clues and going off on a trail with basically a speck of dirt and coming up at the end with a supervillain that had been hiding in the sewers. Plus he had contacts with other unregistered mutants(he wouldn’t give up their names, because despite being loyal, Parker isn’t a snitch and is incredibly loyal). He’d surely know some good sources to help them out.

“That’s your mistake.” Peter said and Fury rolled his eyes. Maybe… he wasn’t such a good idea. I mean he just was the closest mutant to being an Avenger and rejecting them so hard they got pissed off at him. And really, tracking a lizard through New York’s sewer system isn’t that hard...right?

 

 

Shit.

“You know why Romanov told you.” Fury stated, not looking at Parker “She’s been chasing whispers to find that kid. And you, Parker, are unnaturally good at that.” Peter hummed In confirmation. At least he acknowledged it.

It was true, afterall. Peter was good at chasing literal words and finding out about things that were never meant to be found, and weren’t supposed to be found, especially by a teenage punk in tights. Impossible leads, he figured out in meer seconds. His brain worked even faster than Stark or Banner’s head, but instead of using that for just science, he used it practically. Like Fury wished Stark and Banner used their heads. Romanov was right to recruit him to help her find her kid. Parker was an invaluable asset in that department.

“So she wants me to find her son? I don’t mind helping, but she does know I work alone.” Fury grunted. Of course. How could he forget. Parker wasn’t a good team player. He never shared anything he figured out until after the battle had already been won. For someone who talks so much when he does anything and everything, he never spills any information that was actually useful . But Fury knew his talking was most just for distraction. To distract his opponent and throw them off. Not a lot of people could do that while they were fighting, but it seemed to help the kid focus more.

“She just wants you to follow a lead when she finds one.” Fury said in the same tone he has been using all night, still not looking at the kid “And keep to an eye out. You’re more perceptive than most and constantly taking down international gangs.” Fury said casually.”You hear things people normally wouldn’t.”And that was what made Peter was an invaluable source when chasing a lead. He didn’t just know HYDRA stuff, but also stuff from all sorts of organizations and gangs. He had a complete different set of informants that not even Fury could figure out yet. And those informants had a completely different set of information. Romanov was trying to find a different angle, and Peter was a complete 180 from the leads she was currently going off of.

“That’s good. I like a good puzzle.” Peter said sadly, nodding his head in understanding. “So What do you want?” See perceptive. And fucking terrifying.

“What gave it away?” Fury smirked, not looking at Peter and trying to not let him known he was a bit thrown off. Peter hadn’t been looking at him either. Just straight ahead into the dirty polluted water of the Hudson and not at the base next to them of Fury’s side of the car.

“Everything.” Peter giggled (which, what the actual fuck? Like seriously, this kid was supposed to be Spiderman, andhe fucking giggled) and turned to him with bright eyes. “come on spill.” He said bouncing up a few times before propping his head in his hands. Elbows on the dashboard, and bright excited look in his eye, like a schoolgirl that’s talking about gossip (or ‘tea’ as Peter said, or was it ‘t’? He’d never get Peter’s generation sense of humor).

“Do you know any people that are good for mutants?” Fury asked rather bluntly. He knows how it sounds and Peter knew that it meant nothing like he said it. But Peter didn’t call him out on it, because Fury never asked these sort of questions. The kid cocked his head and thought about his answer before he said it.

“Hmm, depends what you want. Do you wanna hide them, protect them, control them...?” Peter asked and finished on a open end with a high note in his voice. When Fury didn’t answer, Peter took a moment longer before he spoke again. Cautiously, though as a serious look crossed his face;that look of realization. He set his hands down and sat up a bit straighter. “Is this about Coulson’s team?” He didn’t sound at all joking anymore. He sounded dead serious, and that honestly terrified Fury more than the fact he knew about Coulson being alive, nevermind that he had a team and that said team had a mutant on it. Not even the Avengers know Coulson was still walking among them.

“How do you do that?” Fury said through gritted lips, letting frustration prick his tone. He got annoyed because Parker was one of the few people who could read him. And one of the only people who could read him this well. The kid shrugged and looked forward again, calm and casual look taking over his usually amused features.

“Cause you don’t care about that kind of shit. But you do care about Coulson, no matter what you say. Not judging B T dubs.” Peter said in a not snarky or sarcastic but not entirely serious voice. Fury let him talk the rest of the way to answer his question. “Let me guess. One of his crew discovered he/she powers? Having trouble controlling it?” Fury didn’t say anything when he paused and nodded as if he had gotten an answer before he continued “Normally, I would suggest going to Xavier, but he’s not very trusting especially to SHIELD. They’re probably an agent too and I don’t think Coulson wants to lose whomever it is, especially to a school with an extended curriculum. Are they inhuman or mutant?”

“Does it matter?” Peter made an affirmative sound, but didn’t take offense. He must be really serious about this, either that or he really wanted to help this agent. Probably the latter, the kid was like that. ” We believe inhuman.”

“Okay. So powers linked heavily to emotions and memories. My advice? Power dampeners and train with it. It’ll hurt and take a while to get used to. But that’s the safest way. Unless they wanna give her up or get her discovered, then I’d suggest Xavier, but I don’t think SHIELD  wants to owe the X-men anything.” Peter said. He didn’t look at Fury, but the air of the conversation was over and Fury confirmed that he had taken his thoughts into consideration.

“Noted.”  there was a second of silence and then Peter took off his seat belt.

“There’s our guy.” Peter mumbled as he leaped out of the car to go take this motherfucker down.

Fighting with Parker was always a joy ride on adrenaline. He always managed to get as close as possible without getting hurt. Kid had skills though. Though, those skills weren’t used in any way Fury had ever seen them used. He was flexible but strong. Agile and quick but firm and precise. He would flip like Black Widow and punch like Captain America. He was like those two plus Hawkeye, and Winter Soldier with Iron man’s intellect rolled into one tiny human being that could one day, be the strongest person in the world.

God forbid he ever become a supervillain.

They were intercepting a HYDRA informant. They had to capture and interrogate. Get information by any means necessary.

Fury wasn’t interrogating him.

It was honestly a privilege to watch Peter interrogate someone. It was like Romanov; he made it into an art. Peter never let anyone watch him, except for a select few while he did so. Fury was almost honored that he was one of the few who got to see him work.

Actually Peter was a lot like Romanov. His espionage and control of emotions, were more than a little unorthodox, but on the same level as the Black Widow. He also fought like her, using flexibility and speed as a default instead of strength. He observed things, could read people like her. Could be stealthy and clever like her. He even spoke over 6 languages- which Fury didn’t know until he did it.

But What really reminded Peter of Natasha, was the interrogation and torture. They made it an art. Beautiful but dangerous. Graceful but vicious. Delicate but painful.

They didn’t start with pain. They gave the victim a chance. One chance. To avoid pain. To speak up. One chance.

Fury has never seen one victim ever take that chance.

Peter knew exactly every person's weak spot without ever having to guess. He knew where it was, and how to poke, slash, or gouge it. One second they were fine, the next in pain far beyond what they could handle. It didn’t escalate, it wasn’t gradual, it was instant.

Parker said it was because he was impatient. Romanov said that was only the beginning. They got the information in exactly 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

 

A new record.



Chapter Text

Chapter 3- I’m the Black Widow

16 years ago…

 

“один… два... три”

 

Shots rang out on the third count. The thick Russian accent bouncing off the bleak walls. A row of girls no older than 15 lined up against the wall, reflecting their perfect picture on the other side of the room, dark shadows casting over their stoic faces, watching as the freshly appointed Black Widow made her final shot to earn the honored title.

 

The woman watching over on the tall balcony who had been proctoring the test didn’t move one bit, just as she had been when she first came. Never made any motions to indicate the test was over, never writing down the tests progress. If the candidate messed up even a little, the test would be over and the participant would fail. There was no room for even the slightest error in the Red Room.

 

“Приемлемо, Вдова” (Acceptable, Widow.) she addressed never moving an inch, but her voice rang out as powerful as a tidal wave. The red haired 22 year old lowered her weapon, but didn’t look up nor did she acknowledge the praise.

 

Praise wasn’t meant to be acknowledged. It was a part of the test. Praise was just a distraction fueling your ego and making one arrogant and overconfident in one’s ability and competence. Praise was just a mean used to seduce an opponent into a false sense of respect and admiration. Praise was a tool to be used against enemies.

 

The man next to the director did not look pleased. He did not know any better because he was not from the Red Room. He was a potential alliance and if he was to actually, officially be allied with the Red Room, then he would have to know his place. But for now, they allowed the German HYDRA official speak his incompetence. He was allowed to furrowed his brow and speak his feeble concerns to the Director in German.

 

“Diese Mission ist in unserem Bündnis von entscheidender Bedeutung. Sind Sie sich sicher, dass dies Ihr Kandidat ist?“( This mission is crucial in our alliance, are you positive this is your candidate. ) The Director did not humor him with an answer and turned to the large chipped wooden doors at the back of the balcony. The heavy doors opened and the Red haired woman walked straight. She followed the beige halls with flickering lights that grew more ark inbetween the next lighting fixture on the wall with no doors. Passing by the same old wooden normal sized doors to a point where you thought there was no Vega inning or end to them. But lead to a red door that stood out, breaking the dull pattern which continued on the other end of it. That is where she stopped and knocked exactly once before waiting. There was no indication that was visible or heard but after exactly 10 seconds of waiting with her hands behind her back, standing straight as a board, Natalia opened the red door.

 

The Director was sitting there at her plain desk, no emotion on her face as she stared straight at Natalia, directly in the eye. The man from earlier stood in to the side of the desk his body turned more toward the Director than to to her, he looked at her though threw a bit of a side eye and his expression was a little late to be schooled from his almost angered and irritated expression to a scowling neutral face, that only had a bit more emotion than the Director’s and Natalia’s stoic, solemn expression that have no emotions away. Almost as if they were robots. Then there was a man that hadn’t been in the training room, against the wall that casted shadows over his still figure in grey and black. He had long brown hair and a black mask that covered his mouth, his eyes were as lifeless as Natalia’s as he stood attention, back never touching the wall and his hands at his sides. She noticed his left arm was made of metal and a red star on his bicep. He didn’t look at her, just straight ahead, as if he was a rag doll and awaiting orders.

 

Natasha dissected him quickly, as she was expected to do with any and all unknown entities that surrounded her. He was American. Around 24. Closed off, and attentive. He had a Hydra symbol on his clothes. So did the German man.

 

The Director was talking about alliances and this was a mission room- and not just any mission room the mission room; the room where all the higher ups got their missions they were to assign to the Red Rooms assassins and soldiers and the room where the Black Widow got her missions directly. Natasha felt dread pool in her gut, she didn’t like group missions. She was better solo. Other teammates held her back and she was very good at following the Red Room Number One rule:

 

Companions are for the weak.

 

It was the rule she based her entire life around. She cut off or killed all her connections outside the Red Room. She made herself the number one assassin- the Black Widow- in the red Room. She had no emotional attachments or connections and it made it easier to be lifeless. Easier to make her obey, because all her morals were dashed. It made it easier to kill with no personal attachments.

 

But on group missions, she had to interact in ways that weren’t deceiving or seducing her target. She had to work together with other people. And 99 percent of the time they were more emotional than her. They had connections and wanted to make them with her. She made sure to distance herself as much as possible, stay on guard around them, and never talk to them unless it was to discuss the mission and only if it’s imperative . No nonsense, no side conversations, no unnecessary interactions. If they didn’t get the plans on the first time they discussed it, then they would die and Natasha could improvise. She never ever depend on anyone else during a mission. Especially a team mission. She always assumed they would fail or be incompetent or die. She made auxiliary plans for every scenario she could think of.

 

“Natalia, you are the newly appointed Black Widow of this Red Room. A sort of congratulations are in order.” the Director said in nearly perfect English accent tonite only slightly with a Russian one(English is a boarder language that was spoken fluently among HYDRA and the Red Room, so she is already supposed to know that she is to speak mostly English on the mission and speak in English when she answered the questions verbally in the briefing room) and she slightly tilted her head in reply, but just to acknowledge the fact, face never showing emotion. The director’s lips formed an amused smile, in display of her control.

 

The Director was the only person who could show such emotion, she rarely did it. When she did it was to emphasize her anger or displeasement. She nearly never showed that she was pleased.

 

The HYDRA official, on the other hand, was not . And spoke such insolence that defied her director's decision. Especially for a second time. Natalia was genuinely curious how this man was still alive.

“She is new. She will not be sufficient for this mission. She does not have enough experience in her job well for this-” the German man went on a tirade. His German accent that laced his tone was ugly and thick, she never liked that language. It left a bad taste in her mouth. The Director cut off his venomous flow of words with a harsh slap of a paper to her oak desk. The sound resonated and her smile had completely vanished, a hint of irritation pinching her face in a way that a normal person wouldn’t even notice.

 

“She is the most obedient and strongest of all our candidates, and was the only one combatant enough to pass the exam on her first try. Natalia is the most acceptable for this mission, for she has never failed a mission assigned by the Red Room before. She will suffice the needs of this mission perfectly.” The director informed the German man never losing her composer, but allowing the heat and authority in her voice assert  dominance over him. She then turned back to Natasha. The German man shut up. She looked the fresh Widow in the eyes and held her gaze in a deadly stare as she informed in a voice that threatened that anything less than perfection was unacceptable on a level that would get her severely punished. “You will not fail.” Natalia nodded once and stood straighter as she said:

 

“Yes, Madam.” In a firm voice that did not show weakness or defiance. It showed promise for what she would do. The Director nodded in approval once before continuing the debrief.

 

“This mission is a extended mission in Italy through Germany. You will be assassinating delegates that might have future influences on the country, but have none as of now. Your target list will be given to you upon departure.” she said formerly, never breaking her eyes away from the Widow.

 

Black Widow .

 

“This mission is also important because beyond assassination and influence, there is alliance that will be maintained if all goes accordingly. You will be partnering with Hydra’s main asset.” the Director said barley gesturing to the soldier with the metal arm. Natasha didn’t take her eyes off the director, she didn’t turnto even glance at the man. She only heard as the man stood to attention by turning toward the Director and stepping away from the shadows and stood a few paces behind her. Locking his hands behind him to show compliance. “It is a partnership that we have been working on for decades. This mission’s success will be the deciding factor. Hydra’s new asset and the Red Room New Black Widow. Don’t mess up.” She warned, her tone suggested this would be something greater than she informed Natalia of. But it was not Natalia’s place to question her director.

 

She left with the soldier following her. Her next orders did not have to be said. She was to get ready and leave immediately. She got to her quarters quickly but never in a rush and closed the door packing a small beige backpack she acquired from Iraq. She does not have design preferences, the accessory was to only be used as functional and a tool on a mission.

 

When she walked out of her room, the soldier was standing by her door looking confused as if not knowing what to do, but in a way that he didn’t have any emotions on his face as he stared at the opposite wall blankly. She wanted to scoff, but she kept a neutral face as she made her way to the transports they would be using. Passing him by without a second glance.

 

He followed compliantly.

 

OoO

 

They didn’t talk to each other while traveling.

 

They didn’t talk on the ride to the airport, in which she drove and he took the front seat. They didn’t talk to each other at checkout, she only talked to the check-in lady at the airport. They didn’t talk on the flight, they sat together while listening to the usual noise of coach seating area. They didn’t talk on the way to the hotel, they walked because it was only a short distance and kept to the shadows and mapped out the surrounding areas for their mission. They didn’t talk at the hotel, as they silently claimed their spots and unpacked.

 

As soon as they got to the one bed hotel room, she sat on one side of the bed and placed her pack on the floor, claiming the side as her own. They only got one room with one bed to avoid suspicion. It was unsaid that they’d be posing as a couple, not on a honeymoon or anything, just taking a simple vacation. There was no need for couples to request separate rooms or two beds and saying they were coworkers on a business trip was too complicated. No one asked questions this way.

 

Digging out a pad to show their first assignment of 25. The missions were given on a location based system. There were 25 assignments that unlocked as soon as they were in each city and locked again once they left the designated city. Currently they all were under the incomplete tab, once the assignment was complete they would get a new source of information and the necessities to travel to the next location. She estimated it would take 1 week per kill. That was 25 weeks.

 

The mission details were very clear, but not giving too much information. Just a name, location, and time. The way that they had to kill the first target was open ended and there were no building plans so that meant they had to scope it out before they went in.

 

The Soldier was quiet as he sat on the other side of the bed. Back toward her, sitting straight up. Waiting for orders. It was clear that she would be leading this mission. She didn’t find herself wondering about the mysterious man. She believe the expression went ‘curiosity killed the cat’. It was one of her flaws however, to be maybe too curious about things she believes she has no right to understand. It took a lot of her teenage years to suppress that instinct and still took a lot of self control to keep those thoughts away.

 

The Asset didn’t try to make an emotional connection to her. It was a bit off putting, but it did make her job not to get attached easier. So she shrugged it off.

 

They had a mission.

 

Week 1.

 

He didn’t talk.

 

She didn’t talk.

 

The lights Just turned out and they went to sleep on the first night. Both of them slipping into a light, restless sleep. Only inches apart and not touching. They made no noise as they slumbered, and did not move or wake up, as there was no threat.

 

The next morning they both woke up exactly at 6.

 

They got ready quickly and went out the door to scope their targets location of his imminent death. They only talked when they needed as to not look suspicious, and it was in codes about the mission. They spoke in Italian.

 

Natalia was pleasantly surprised when the Asset wasn’t as mindless as she first thought. He gave important input on the plan, that they were apparently expected to make on their own. The more technical things that is. He never said much and she talked only slightly more than him. Only to show him plans and her routes and if he had adjustments he would make them. Then they’d burn the paper to erase all evidence once the plan was solidified.

 

The target was killed by the end of the week.

 

Week 2

 

They were in Sicily.

 

Not far from where their first mission was, just across a straight. They took a boat there and the ride was only two hours. Neither one of them talked.

 

They didn’t really need a plan, they only need not to be caught. Unlike the last mission, they weren’t to make it as quiet as possible, but this time there was a note under the name, location and time. The note had said that they were to make a specifically of it.

 

Make it noticeable but not to be noticed.

 

Asset took the reins on this one by building a time bomb out of some scrap metal he found and taking gunpowder he had packed. She had to admit out of the little resources they had, it was a pretty decent bomb. She never verbally acknowledged it, but it did cross her mind.

 

They blew up the delegation center where their target was.

 

Week 3

 

She was bringing toast up to their room in Barcelona.

 

It was far away from the second kill, which was plastered all over the news. The delegation buildings bombing killing twenty people and injuring 103. Out of those twenty, only one was a target, but she couldn’t find it in herself to mourn the 19 others who had fallen. She hadn’t had those kind of thoughts in so many years she can barely remember.

 

“You have crumbs on your shirt.” he said in American. It threw her slightly off because That was the first time he’s ever spoken to her and gave her information that was not about the mission. It wasn’t an invitation of companionship, just a fact that she acknowledged by brushing it off and not offering a thanks.

 

But she couldn’t help but notice that behind the gruffness and an accent only a Native American (she believe it sounded most like a Brooklyn accent, but that part of the accent  was barely noticeable) in his voice was a tint of gentleness and the same barely noticeable confusion that always laced his voice whenever he talked. It wasn’t like the German Officer, in fact he rather liked his voice.

 

She shot a woman in the head the next day.

 

Week 4

 

“I am going out.”

 

She had said one night and he got up and followed her into the woods that was near their hotel in a small town in Scotland.

 

She was going out to train and to not lose her edge. She didn’t expect him to come but she didn’t deny him and his silent invitation to spar. Their default fighting styles were completely opposite.  She used speed and her agility and flexibility. He mostly blocked and used his strength and precise hits that would do a lot of damage.

 

They didn’t go easy on each other and that was the way she liked it. No one would go easy on them in the real world and it’s best to train with no handicaps.

 

They spared in silence for hours until they were both drenched in sweat. Sneaking back into the hotel near 3am, sneaking past the half asleep receptionist. Not letting anyone notice as they slipped back into their room and took turns to shower and get ready.

 

Two days later they hung a man in the early morning under a monorail track.

 

Week 5

 

“I am Natalia.”

 

She told him and he looked up, and they stared at each other in silence for a long time. His expression flashed a bit of surprise, before settling back into the blank stare, that the longer she looked at it, noticed it wasn’t so blank. It held a swirl of emotions and memories that he, now that she really looked at him, visibly suppressed.

 

She never told him her name in the month that they had worked together, she felt it was appropriate considering the next 20 weeks were going to be spent together. They were going to be undercover at least once in that time.

 

“I don’t have a name.” he informed in a clipped tone. She did not feel sorry for that. She respected him too much to pity him. Natasha pitied no one. “They call me Soldier.”

 

“You need a name for this mission.” she said, but she didn’t offer him a suggestion. He hummed in affirmation. Agreeing with her. And took some time to think of one.

 

“How about Aktivs.” she raised her brow. She didn’t like it. Latvian for Asset. That wouldn’t work, as they were in Latvia. That was basically like going to America and saying that he was named Asset.

 

“No.” she responded. He gave her a cocky smirk, one he probably would never dare to do where his handlers could see. One that showed more emotion than Natalia had been shown her entire life. It was so sudden and shocking and overwhelming that Natasha could not stop a quiet gasp from her mouth. He falter just a bit before continuing.

 

“Krasnaya.” Interesting. Her shock was gone and replaced with that curiosity she suppressed. If he could be cocky then she could be curious.

 

“Russian?” she asked. Letting amusement and interest cautiously enter her tone. He looked a little shocked but for less time than she had and he nodded.

 

She liked it.

 

It didn’t matter that they had shown more emotion in the past 30 seconds than they had in their entire lives. Their bosses weren’t here to call them out or punish them. And it wasn’t like they were going to tell them, because if Natalia was honest, it was kind of nice.

 

He strangled someone to death the next day.

 

Week 6

 

“Natalia.”

 

He Said her name for the first time in the dead of night, as they were laying on their hotel bed in Munich. They were sharing a bed, as they always did, inches apart and not touching.

 

She liked how he said her name. His Russian accent being nicely fused with his gentle English.

 

“Krasnaya.” she responded in her own tone tinted with slight affection. If he noticed then he didn’t say so.

 

“Do you ever think there is something else out there. Besides this.” He said in almost a child like tone. Innocent and unassuming. This was dangerous territory he was defending into. Even questioning their existence and what it meant for them to live was deadly and would warrant immediate punishment. She stared at the ceiling for a second, and couldn’t help but contemplate her answer. It should’ve been simple.

 

“Not for us.” she responded. That was the simplest way to put it. They had no life other than being their organizations tools. Being a small part of a bigger picture that they could not know.

 

When she was younger and more naive, she thought it was like a jail. She was a prisoner being made into something that wasn’t human.

 

She wasn’t wrong.

 

They drowned a 19 year old the next morning,

 

Week 7

 

“I can’t remember.”

 

He mumbled to himself in a frustrated tone, having more emotion than it should. Natalia looked up from her book that she was reading on a chair. He was sitting on the bed, back facing her. His hands gripped his knees so hard that she saw his flesh hand turn white.

 

She shouldn’t say anything. But she does.

 

“What?” She asked simply, quietly. Letting gentleness creep into it as to be non threatening. For the first time, he seemed upset.

 

“Before I woke up in HYDRA.” He said and turned slightly to her as she put down her book but didn’t get up. He looked down to his arm. “The only thing I can remember, is that I didn’t have this.” He the movement in his arm minuscule to indicate what he was talking about.

 

She didn’t have a response for it, so she didn’t say anything at all. But she did attempt to send some sort of silent support, not offering any apology.

 

This wasn’t her fault.

 

But she did feel a flash of anger blaze within her. Anger that she hadn’t felt since she was 16. Anger at this system, this organization for not treating them better. She hadn’t had these foolish thoughts of think she deserved better since she was a kid.

 

But she felt Krasnaya deserved better than how HYDRA had been treating him.

 

They drowned two women in the cold water of the Mediterranean sea.

 

Week 8

 

“I like the way you fight.”

 

It was the first time they talked during a sparring session. Which was sort of strange because the only noises that were heard was the nocturnal creatures and dull sounds of the city. The only noise they made were flesh on flesh or metal and their slightly heavy panting.

It was nearly 2, and they were just about to end up their sparring session with one last round before heading back to the hotel in Zermatt. She took him off guard and went for the legs, smirking as he went down and then jumping on top of his fallen figure, straddling him with a freshly sharpened knife to his throat.

 

“Oh yeah?” She asked, with a hint of amusement at his chagrined face. It took a second for the miffed look to disappear and replaced with something else.

 

“Yes.” he confirmed after a while with a nod and she smiled a bit more, never leaving her position as she leaned closer toward him.

 

“And what exactly is it about my style that you like?” she asked in an almost seductive way (but it wasn’t seductive, because she wasn’t trying to flirt just tease) , letting her curiosity get the best of her and took over her words.

 

“It’s almost like a dancer.” Krasnaya replied, Natalia scoffed. The Red Room entire theme was a ballet studio. The dancers were as physically fit as one could be. Ballet took a lot of self control and hardwork. Physical prowess was everything when it came to training. Being called a dancer was supposed to be an insult, for Natalia it left a bad taste in her mouth. It reminded her of the Red Room and the torture she had to go through to get to where she was now. She couldn’t focus on the past because the mission didn’t require that.

 

But somehow, when Krasnaya complimented her, when he said that she looked like a dancer. She knew it was his American way of saying she was graceful and elegant. In American eyes, Russian Ballet was an untouchable art form. She couldn’t help her smile.

 

They killed the tenant in the room just above theirs when they got back.

 

Week 9

 

“Natasha.”

 

He said and she looked up from the plans she was making for their next target in Berlin. He had been looking at her for a while, just staring. It wasn’t unnatural for Krasnaya to stare at her, or at the wall or anywhere really, so she had ignored it. Had she looked up she would see that he had a look of concentration on his face. Like he was trying to figure something out.

 

“It’s easier to say in English.” He explained and she gave a look of understanding and exasperation, but hid her small smile by ducking down to continue making their plan.

 

She liked it.

 

She sliced a 42 year old woman’s throat 2 hours later.

 

Week 10

 

“I like cats.”

 

It was the most random and weird thing to say. Completely inappropriate for a woman of her status and a situation this dire. Yet she couldn’t find it in herself to be regretful of the words, especially as Krasnaya gave her a baffled expression. That showed he was completely lost on how to reply.

 

They were currently in the vents (they were really big vents) in a convention center in Edinburgh. Their target was two rooms away and the vents were big enough for both of them to fit so they could get a clear shot of their target as he walked by.

 

“I think I like dogs.” he finally responded and Natasha let out a small quiet laugh. Of course that’s how he’d respond. He looked at her again and smiled.

 

“You seem like a dog type.” she observed and she in a million years would never expect him to respond with:

 

“I like the way you laugh.”

 

That took Natasha by surprise. She didn’t know why her heart stopped and she froze. She didn’t know the feeling that was crawling up on her insides, it was warm and fuzzy. That was probably a red flag, a warning sign that she was emoting but she couldn’t help but like the feeling that came upon her.

 

She didn’t even notice their target was dead until she saw red.

 

Week 11

 

“You remind me of someone.”

 

He said to her as they were eating breakfast in a little cafe in Nerja. They were trying to listen in on their target, but he had gone to the bathroom and they made no move to follow. Best to keep suspicion off of themselves. They already had all the information they needed, but couldn’t find it in themselves to go. She looked up from her biscuit with a raised eyebrow as he hurried to add.

 

“I mean I think you remind me of someone. A woman.” he said hurriedly and Natasha nodded in understanding. She didn’t give any indication for him to continue, but didn’t speak as she munched on her breakfast. “Someone before…” he moved his metal arm only slightly.

 

They’d talked about this on and off for a while. Krasnaya not remembering anything, not even his own name. HYDRA not telling a thing about his past to him or anyone else. They used his metal arm as an indicator of timestamps.

 

“What do you remember about her?” she asked, having an almost foreboding feeling in his gut. She shifted and didn’t like the way that the thought of talking about her made Natasha feel. And she didn’t know why she was feeling the way she felt right now, she just knew that it was probably stupid. So she schooled her expression into a neutral one, Krasnaya didn’t seem to notice.

 

“I remember that she has brown hair. I also remember her being a strong individual. I usually remember her with a blonde boy, I think. I don’t know, everytime I look at you I get reminded of her.” Krasnaya said and shifted a little. “Like, you two have the same...air about you. You two seem very different otherwise. But strong and independent is what I’d call her, and you remind me of that.” he shrugged.

 

“Do you like those characteristics?” she found herself asking without think about it. He looked at her oddly before shrugging.

 

“I do, but I don’t feel the same way when I think of her as I do with you.” he sounded confused. And Natasha found herself in the middle of relaxing and tensing up even more. She didn’t know why; he was just telling her what he remembered.

 

Like he always did.

 

She strangled their target in an ally on his way to lunch.

 

Week 12

 

She kissed him.

 

She didn’t know why she did that of all things, but her target was looking directly at them. They were in a corner of a shopping mall in Mons. They sat on the bench waiting for their target to finish purchasing a very expensive watch, and they must have looked suspicious because he looked over and narrowed his eyes a bit. Now he averted his eyes and was hurriedly walking away.

 

Krasnaya seemed just as surprised as their target, if his eyes widening to the size of dinner plates were anything to go by it. She waited until the target was out of sight to part lips, looking distinctly away from Krasnaya’s shocked murky blue eyes.

 

Her heart shouldn’t be pounding this hard; she had to do what she had to do to avoid suspicion. But was kissing Krasnaya the best way to go about it? It was an instinct, an in the moment decision which was weird. She never not kissed someone to maintain her cover before, but somehow this was different. Should couldn’t help but feel that this wasn’t just to maintain their cover. She actually quite enjoyed it, which wasn’t good because she shouldn’t have enjoyed anything.

 

“Why did you…” he whispered, body only tensing after  she broke them up. He looked at her and she only looked where her target had left. Trying not to pay any mind at his intense stare baring into her. He didn’t seem upset or mad. But she felt that he was confused, she was too.

 

“He saw us.” She explained herself and glanced, only for a second, at his still tense and unmoving form. “Physical displays of affection make people uncomfortable.” She couldn’t help but smirk as a light red dusted his cheeks, barely noticeable.

 

She got up to finish their job.

 

The target never even noticed he was dead.

 

Week 13

 

“This tastes like shit.”

 

He scrunched up his nose at the breakfast she had made him. There was a kitchen in their hotel in Lyon. They didn’t feel like eating out today and had a more complex mission to plan. They needed more intercite plan and they only had two days to make it. She had made a drink with kale and Chia seeds she had found in the market. She just boiled that combination in water to give to him as he continued with the plan. She huffed and turned away.

 

“It’s good for you.” She insisted and he pushed the cup away from him. It looked like sewer water in the dark. He wrinkled his nose again at the cup as if offended him.

 

“I think you’re trying to poison me.” He mumbled and she snorted. He had a pouty look on his face, and it was kind of cute…. Wait...what?!

 

No no, that was the exact wrong thing to think! She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t have feelings or affection if any kind for Krasnaya. That would get her killed. That would get him killed.

 

“Stop being dramatic and drink it.” She found herself saying in almost a scolding tone, even if she was going to an existential crisis inside her brain and heart -How was her heart fucking apart of this now?!

 

They poisoned a lady, with real poison that evening.

 

Week 14

 

“I would never forget you Natasha.”

 

Krasnaya looked at her seriously as they were staking out a woman with red heels in the car on the edge of a small town 50 miles outside of Berlin. It came out of nowhere and Natasha looked at Krasnaya a bit shocked, just like he did when she sometimes did something odd, it must’ve shown because his face softened from the serious expression it was.

 

She didn’t know why the hell she felt lighter. She felt a flutter in her chest and it made her feel nervous and relaxed at the same time. But most of all she felt warm and comforted. She found that she didn’t mind the feeling nearly as much as she was trained to. But she couldn’t find it in herself to care.

 

With Krasnaya, all her training and self control over her emotions flew out of the window. She could breathe and relax and let herself feel because Krasnaya doesn’t judge her or yell at her when she does. It was okay because He doesn’t care about self control nearly as much as he should either.

 

“I count on it.” she smirked at him. He smiled back. That smile that made her feel a sense of happiness. She didn’t fight it this time. She found that letting herself feel emotions wasn’t as bad as she thought.

 

Not with Krasnaya.

 

They killed the woman with a noose.

 

Week 15

 

“He was blonde.”

 

They were about to go to sleep when Krasnaya had a major flashback. He had fallen off the bed and his eyes went wide. His breathing picked up to the point he was hyperventilating. Natasha went on autopilot and did what she thought was the natural way to deal with this. She instantly took him to back the bed sitting across from him in a cross cross as he mirrored her breathing.

 

Then He tentatively requested to talk it out, as if she would say no. She scoffed at that insecurity and told him to spill, because that was what she was going to tell him to do anyway.

 

He smiled up at her with a small painful, but genuine smile. She had her own easy small genuine smile just for him too.

 

They had talked for hours about a small boy that was always sick and could barely breathe. Natasha guesses he had asthma and he had another series of flashes and told her that the boy put newspapers in his shoes to be taller.

 

Most of the memories were painful, some he laughed painfully at. Almost all of them had that small blonde boy with newspaper in his shoes. But no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t put a name to the face.

 

Krasnaya said that the memories were painful because it seemed like he had a good life before the metal arm. It didn’t seem at all like he was working for HYDRA.

 

Natasha has never felt more hate to the organization as she did just then.

 

They strapped a man to the bottom of the boat instead of sleeping.

 

Week 16

 

“Do you ever wonder if we could have a normal life.”

 

She asked in the dead of night, staring at the ceiling of their motel room in Unquera. He hadn’t said anything to her, but she could tell that he wasn’t asleep. They both couldn’t sleep. But she guessed it was just one of those nights.

 

Those night where their thoughts were too loud to go to sleep. Where they screamed that what they were doing was wrong and that they could have a life outside of this. The nights where they imagined what life would be like if they never were apart of their respected organizations.

 

She couldn’t help but notice that being with Krasnaya increased those thoughts. She also did notice how he snuck his way into her fantasies.

 

“I do.” He whispered into the darkness. He inches closer to her and she did the same to him, breaking their streak of not moving while in the bed. She could help but think it was nice and wondered what she would feel like if they closed the contact all together.

 

But for now, two inches closer was enough for her.

 

“What do you think it’d be like?” She asked in the same quiet tone, barley even making any noise. If he was anyone else, it would’ve been like the question wasn’t even asked.

 

“Better than this.” He predicted not changing the volume. She couldn’t help but agree with that assessment.

 

Because if they had a normal life then she could be happy and feel emotions with no repercussions. If they had a normal life they could see more smiles from each other. If they had a normal life she could touch Krasnaya with no reservations.

 

She snapped a man’s neck 12 hours later.

 

Week 17

 

“Hey Nat, did you get the report?”

 

She paused at the name. She had never been addressed so informally before. ‘Natasha’ was already pushing it a little. But shortening that name even further seems unprofessional.

 

That was something friends do.

 

Normally she would panic. Worry that her training had fled her or that she had to close herself off even more. But Krasnaya seemed to be the exception to nearly all her rules. She didn’t mind the thought of being companions with Krasnaya.

 

And she didn’t care at all by now.

 

“What did you just call me?” She asked, hoping she heard him correctly. Hoping that he too dashed all his morals to be affectionate with her. She smirked as she saw that he blushed a bit. But he didn’t repeat himself nor did he deny that he had given her a pet name.

 

She wished he could give one to him, but she didn’t know his name. She found herself thinking that he’d find out. She’d get that information, if not him than for herself.

 

So she too could call him a ridiculous pet name.

 

They decapitated their target near a lake.

 

Week 18

 

“You’re an idiot.”

 

“It’s not my fault, it just froze, Nat!” He said as he adjusted his arm on the wrong way again. He had landed on it wrong when sorting and in the morning they had found that some gears had shifted out of place.

 

“God dammit.” He cursed under his breath adjusting the gears again and she laughed at his misery. “Don’t laugh, this fucking hurts .” He groaned, and she just knew he was being dramatic. This had happened before, it wasn’t that big a deal if he put everything in its proper place before he shifted them again. That only made her laugh more.

 

“Don’t do stupid things, like try to beat me.” She shout back with a teasing smile and he looked at her exasperated then went back to poking a screwdriver in his arm, rolling his eyes.

 

He hit the kill spot of a 35 year old man at dawn.

 

Week 19

 

“I’ve always wanted a family.”

 

He said in the front seat as they drove through country roads to get to their next destination. She wasn’t taken by surprise by his random notes that he made. If Krasnaya remembered something then he’d tell her and she’d respond, hoping to encourage more of the memory to come out.

 

But this one took her a bit by surprise. She didn’t take her eyes off the road but her left hand gripped the steering wheel as her right settled on his left arm comfortingly.

 

She couldn’t help but feel remorse for that one little fact. She’d never thought about having a family, it just never seemed to be in the cards for her. She was indifferent to it before she met Krasnaya.

 

Now the thought was a pleasant but far away one. She could never have a family and neither could he, not anymore.

 

It seemed to communicate over to him as he slumped. He knew it too. But whoever he was before would’ve had that, and that probably made it more painful for him.

 

Her heart constricted, because as much as she wanted Krasnaya to be truly happy and have his old life back, that life would’ve taken him away from her. She found that She was willing to sacrifice whatever these feelings were for that.

 

As long as he was happy.

 

He rammed a pole into a woman’s head near the afternoon.

 

Week 20

 

“I never knew my parents.”

 

She finally told him as he looked at her with a raised brow and she shifted from side to side. They were standing in a line to the metro so they could get to the place where the kill would take place.

 

She never really cared about her parents before. She never gave them much thought, even when she was younger. But being with Krasnaya brought out a lot of things she never thought twice about.

 

Even killing people seemed to lose its luster.

 

He smiled at her a little, easing her nerves and grabbed her hand gently with his metal one. A silent form of support that they hadn’t spoken about but was still a reoccurring thing now. She didn’t mind it in the least.

 

“Well I don’t either.” He said snarking her and she rolled her eyes but couldn’t help but smile as she jabbed him in his ribs.

 

She never did let go of his hand until they were in the front of the line.

 

She strangled  a man with twine at 8.

 

Week 21

 

“I don’t think I agree with the Red Room.”

 

He looked up with her, panicked look flashing though his eyes as he nearly dropped his muffin. They were in another cafe, this time in London, eating breakfast, because apparently her cooking was shit and Krasnaya’s was way better but they didn’t have ingredients.

 

His face settled into a more serious expression before he answered with “I don’t agree with HYDRA’s either.” He admitted and she had a feeling he’d say that. Especially after all they’ve done to him.

 

“This is dangerous to think.” She replied in a solemn tone and he rolled his eyes and but didn’t look confused.

 

“Then Why’d you bring it up?” He asked in almost an exasperated tone. She shrugged.

 

“Because it’s an important things to know.” He didn’t respond to that, nibbling away at his muffin again. But the air around them was speaking volumes when they didn’t. It was tense but relaxed.

 

It felt right.

 

They strapped a man on a subway track in between terminals.

 

Week 22

 

“What if we didn’t go back?”

 

That was even more dangerous than even thinking about defying the Red Room expectations. It was a fantasy though, she couldn’t help but want that after all these weeks. Want was a dangerous thing for both of them. Hey didn’t have that luxury and leaving was not an option. They were trapped in the messed up system that broke them. The system that said that they would fix them when they didn’t know that were ever broken. When they were too young or confused to understand.

 

“Krasnaya-” She warned gently. They had talked about this before, just not so blatantly. She didn’t panic anymore when they did, and neither did he. But they did keep a closer look on the area around them, just in case anyone was listening in. Anyone that would rat them out.

 

“No, I’m serious, Natalia.” She stiffened because he never called her Natalia. Only when he was really serious or mad. They had played with this idea, and she thought it was a mutual fantasy . She never let it be anything more than that. If she did then she’d have hope and hope was something that she absolutely could not allow herself to feel. Hope was deception and she was firm in that opinion and not even Krasnaya could change that. Hope was a downfall, and was the ultimate thing that would tear her apart if she felt it; she knew that.

 

“They’d find us.” he didn’t argue with her, but she did feel his sadness in the rejection. He understood the logic but couldn’t hold back the want. She sympathized with it, but she could let Krasnaya have false hope. It would break his already broken mind.

 

They watched the drowned man’s kids find their father.

 

Week 23

 

“I think I love you.”

 

It was said with such sureness and confidence as she stood in front  of the man she proclaimed it to. She knew had never had these feelings before, never had any feelings of affection for anyone really, so she could not be 100 percent sure.

 

But she knew what she felt was intense. She knew what she felt was more than just friendship. Over the past months she had grown a bond with Krasnaya, a bond she did not want to break. A bond that she wanted to hold onto forever.

 

“I think I love you too.” He responded, taking her hand gently in his. He said it in a quieter tone but with just as much conviction. Both of them did not know what love was, but to them it didn’t matter.

 

She wanted to love Krasnaya, and it didn’t matter of the Red Room or HYDRA. It didn’t matter if she was an assassin or not. It didn’t matter if Krasnaya couldn’t even remember his own name.

 

They would love each other in their own way and she doubted anyone could stop them. Even if they were a million miles apart. Even if he forgot her, he’d always remember her love.

 

You never forget love.

 

When they kissed this time, it wasn’t because they had been spotted.

 

They slit the throat of their target quickly that night.

 

Week 24

 

It was a quick thing.

 

Something they didn’t even think about. It really just happened. Almost like an instinct. They didn’t discuss it before hand or anything, just went at it.

 

It was unplanned, but it felt right.

 

They didn’t trust. Never learned how. But if there was some semblance of trust in them, this was the closest thing they had. Their relationship was based off of trust and blood. Silent comfort and aggressive sparring. Their mutual lack of knowledge of their organizations desires and the confusing thoughts of their mutual wants.

 

“This isn’t a good idea.”She isn’t sure who said it, but she couldn’t help but agree. She also disagreed, apparently, because her body was showing otherwise. He seemed to feel the same way, but like her, they just didn’t care.

 

“No one will find out.” The other responded. How could they? There were no tests, nor were there any way to find out or evidence that indicated they did this. Not in anyway their organizations could find out. And they certainly weren’t confessing about this.

 

But they only had a week to do this. She didn’t know much, her mind went blank when she tried to remember what initiated this. She wasn’t sure who said what but she acknowledged it; she wasn’t sure if anyone would find out but she doubted it. She only knew how she felt, and she felt her love for him and his for her collide together in intense passion.

 

And as she laid there with Krasnaya on top of him, she couldn’t help but think that this felt natural. She couldn’t find herself to be worried about it; about her director’s opinions or the punishment that would occur for both of them if this was ever found out. He didn’t seem to care. She found that she didn’t care either, because this felt right.

 

More right than anything in her entire life.

 

They hung a 23 year old man the next night.

 

Week 25

 

It was that week that he was ripped away.

 

Out of her sight forever.

 

She was never to see him again, and she couldn’t say anything. She couldn’t do anything. In the knowledge that they’d both be punished if they defied their bosses decisions. In the knowledge that it would arouse suspicion and mistrust among their separate peers.

 

She just watched him go, standing board still upright with her hands behind her back. He walked the same walk he did when he first came in. The following soldier walk. She relieved only now that she hated that walk. Her Face never gave her away to any emotion. Neither did his.

 

She couldn’t help but feel that she wouldn’t see him again for a long time. She had known that before, but only now was it sinking in. Tearing her to pieces inside.

 

His going was the most painful torture she had ever experienced. She would give into all forms of punishment to just hold him one more time, one more second . But even if she admitted that she’d get punished with no compensation. The compensation was her speaking out.

 

Their relationship was cut by people who used them like puppets. Their hearts ripped out and put back all wrong.

 

She felt no regret for their relationship, she only felt regret for not fighting harder for it. That feeling of regret was only sinking in now. Regret that she could never see him again. Regret she didn’t notice the feeling soon enough so they had more time. Regret for not trying to run away from the empires that chained them. Now as she let him go and watched him leave with a straight face, she felt that.

 

Leaving him was wrong. Letting him go felt wrong. It hurt. Hurt so much. And even though she showed no emotion anymore and nor did he, she knew he felt the same and he knew how she felt.

 

It killed her more than she thought anything ever would.

 

OoOoO

1 year later…

 

She thought she had erased all the evidence of that night.

 

That night that they promised each other they’d tell nothing about. The night they promised that they’d never even whisper about. That night they promised each other no one would find out what they had done.

 

She obviously hadn’t held up her end of the deal, as there was now a small child in her arms. At first, when she found out after being sick for multiple weeks, she regretted not using protection, or being aware enough to even think of it. But now, she only felt a love for the tiny human in her arms, bundled in a tan bleak blanket. Soft quiet mewls, even if only being just brought into the world. The child did not cry and if she wasn’t so grateful for it, she’d be worried.

 

A boy, not but a few minutes old. He had brown hair like his father, and brown eyes that were so big she thought if they were any bigger he’d become a cyclops. He had her button nose and thin mouth. His cheeks bulged a little less than they should, and his tiny body was smaller than a normal child. He only weigh but a few pounds and she couldn’t help but laugh internally because during the prime of her pregnancy she had gained 30. He was beautiful.

 

Pytor Romonov .

 

Her mind instantly supplied and she smiled but only to him. She let the few moments of bliss with her child. Being close and radiating her love. She’d make sure he was loved. Krasnaya crosses her mind and she couldn’t help but imagine him kneeling next to her and touching the child’s, their son’s, delicate face. Smiling his soft general smile as the tiny baby gripped his finger just as he did hers when she held it out for him to grab.

 

The fantasy was broken when The Director came storming into the room ruined the moment. She was furious. And to the child’s credit he never raised his voice as she clattered in, But he did continue mewling more intensely, expressing his discomfort.

 

“ избавиться от этого” (Get rid of it.) she demanded curtly, expecting her to obey immediately. She looked up with defiant eyes, and brought the child closer to her chest. They had already discussed this and she had refused to take abortion medication. It wouldn’t have worked anyway, with her slightly enhanced body. They all mutually agreed that they’d let her have this child, but they trained her very hard and she was not excused from punishment. Still, despite her poor condition her body was in, the child that was growing within her was too stubborn to die. She felt proud of it, even if it had been unborn and left her weak.

 

She’d never felt so weak.

 

“Я не буду” (I will not.)she said simply. The Director flared in anger. She must have thought she would kill her child . But if these nine months of defiance was anything to go by Natalia- no Natasha- behavior, then she was a fool to believe she wouldn’t protect this baby with her life.

 

“ Вы не можете заботиться о ребенке и продолжать обучение в качестве Черной Вдовы. Я не позволю этому позору всех наших стандартов бродить среди нас. Убей это.”(You cannot take care of a child and continue your training as Black Widow. I will not let this disgrace of all our standards roam among us. Kill it.)she said quickly and frantically. Anger seeping into her voice and she’d never known the Director to use so much emotion in her life. She glared and that only caused the anger in the room to increase.

 

“нет.”(no) Natasha said quietly as she looked down at her child. He had started to cry even more intensely at the negative atmosphere clouding the room, and she couldn’t help but feel anger toward the Director for discomforting her child.

 

“Госпожа.” (Madam) The doctor spoke up meekly. The Director turned her vicious gaze to his hunched over form, which only served to hunch over more. She had to admit, he had balls. And even though it was because he wanted to dissect the unborn baby, but he was supportive of her pregnancy. She had tried to avoid him, but he had become her personally OB. Now She looked pleadingly up at the disgusting doctor, but he didn’t look at her. Only at his notes, trying to avoid the deathly gaze of their director.”«Это первый ребенок двух усиленных людей. Это может сделать удивительного солдата, если его правильно воспитать. Также мы можем обусловить его при рождении, это никогда не было сделано раньше, так как нам никогда не приходилось сталкиваться с этой ... проблемой.” (This is the first child of two enhanced individuals. It could make an amazing soldier if nurtured properly. Also we can condition him at birth, this has never been done before as we have never had to deal with this...issue.) he argued in her place.  she looked to the director who was seemingly and reluctantly mulling over it.

 

“ отлично” (Fine.) she allowed, angerily and reluctantly. No doubt planning an intense training procedure in her mind. Planning on ways of breaking her child before he had a chance to be built into something else. Something defiant. She hated how grateful she felt, this was horrible, but at least her child was still alive. The doctor’s smile was sickening. “ Но вы должны натренировать его, Наталья. Он не несет ответственности ни за кого. Я хочу обновления каждые две недели. Ваше обучение увеличится, это также жесткость. Если я недоволен его темпом, он будет уволен. Вам разрешается один месяц материнства, и тогда это начнется.”(But you are to train him Natalia. He is no one else’s responsibility. I want updates every two weeks. Your training will increase is rigidness as well. If I am dissatisfied with his pace, he shall be terminated. You are allowed one month maternity and then it will begin.) she left swiftly. This time composing herself in a second as she left the dank examination room.

 

Natasha breathed a sigh of relief.

 

OoO

3 years later…

 

Pytor was smarter than most kids his age.

 

Natasha couldn’t be more proud of him. She didn’t hide her sense of pride for him either, always whispering praises when other people were around - because praise to the young child wasn’t a tool, but an encouragement- and she’d speak to him softly when in the privacy of their room.

 

He had effectively learned Russian, French and German at once. They spoke in English when he was in her room with her though, just for a sense of Krasnaya. She knew if he was here, if he knew of their son, he’d support them. He’d be happy and proud of their family. It made her heart ache sometimes and Natasha wondered if Pytor  would ever want to meet his father one day.

 

Pytor loves to read. He was on a first grade level in most of the maths and sciences, which was incredible me for a child of his age to be so literate. He wasn’t even supposed to be reading, he was supposed to be learning the alphabet. He could crawl when he was two and was getting on his sea legs with walking. The doctors were pleased with the quick progression, and the Director was indifferent to it.

 

Natasha loved to tell him stories. All sorts of stories. Stories he didn’t understand but still enjoyed them. She told him stories about his father and how he loved him in the dark of the night in their room. She told stories of all the dumb things he did and it would make him giggle, which was small and soft and his smile was so bright. She loved to make him smile, just like how she loved to make Krasnaya smile. She couldn’t help her own smile whenever Pytor did it though.

 

Her little Petya.

 

“Mama?” he said to her one day after training. Pytor always watched her train. His eyes followed her graceful movements as he observed. He always watched her so that he knew what he’d be doing when he was older. It was teaching him how to fight without actually fighting. She told the Director that he’d start actually fighting when he was five - the age kids usually have mastered walking and running and are able to walk or run without stumbling. Natasha hates the fact that Petya had to watch her fight, even if he didn’t know the meaning of violence, she didn’t want it influencing his life at such young an age.

 

“Yes Petya?” she asked back a small smile forming on her face. They were in her room so it was okay. He asked questions a lot, but mostly to her in the room. He learned that he was scorned and never asked many things to the doctors or trainers, but Natasha encouraged him to ask questions. Seems as though he’d inherited her curiosity and she did not want to snuff out that intelligent light for as long as she could maintain it.

 

“Why am I not allowed to talk when you are dancing?” he asked in a childish and sweet voice. She looked at him sadly. He thought she was dancing?

 

“You’re almost like a dancer.”

 

She couldn’t help but smile. He really was his fathers child. It made her love him even more when he said and did  things along the lines of his father. Made her love him and hurt her just a little, but it was okay. It was almost like a piece of Krasnaya was with her when she was with Petya.

 

“Because I need to concentrate. I can’t concentrate when I have a cute little spider to distract me.” she tickled him in a way that made him laugh. She smiled. She called him little spider because when he had read a book about Spiders, he had found the Black Widow spider classification page, he seemed more invested in that page than any other one. He knew Natasha was called the Black Widow and it melted her heart and made her laugh when he asked if she was part spider.

 

“But you are graceful like one, Mama.”

 

“Then I guess that would make you my little spider.”

 

It was okay now. She was always okay when with Petya. Just like when she was with Krasnaya.

 

“I love you, Petya.” She said softly.

 

“I love you too, Mama.” Petya replies instantly by snuggling near where she had been sitting. She pulled him in closer to her chest and kissed the top of his head.

 

Everything was okay now.

 

A week later it wasn’t

 

The director banged into their room, she didn’t even notice herself standing up from her sitting position and Petya looked over from where he was reading next to her at the foot of the bed on the floor. He looked scared, not yet learning how to surpress his emotions and she wished that he’d never have to learn. She wished that he could express and act freely. Like normal kids.

 

The Director glared at him, but then a sly, foreboding smile crossed her face. Natasha couldn’t help but feel a dreading sense of deja vu and by the time she knew what was going to happen it was too late. The Director herself strides across the room in a few paces and snatch Petya off the floor before she could say or do anything. Before she could lung and try to take back her child, trainers had their hands holding her back as the Director walked out the door. She punched and kicked and ran, but she could not fight off all the trainers in time, and could only watch through her restrainirs as Petya got further and further away.

 

Petya didn’t make a noise. He didn’t speak or yell or cry. She was proud of him for being so brave and when - not if - she got him back she’d praise him for it. She’d love him for it. Love him for being himself. But her heart broke as she picked up the slightest voice.

 

“Mama?” It was soft and terrified and echoed longer in her heart than it did the hallway. He was scared. She had to protect him.

 

“ мы переезжаем его” (We are relocating him.)They told Natasha simply. Fighting her to stay down and that only made her increase her efforts to get to her son.

 

“I am his mother.” she said fiercely in English. Defending her child that was no longer by her side. She needed him by her side. She wouldn’t let him go. Not like she did with Krasnaya. She’d fight for this love, because she understood now. Understood that she had to fight for love. And she wasn’t going to watch her child be taken away from her without putting up a damn good one.

 

“That doesn’t matter.” They responded in English as well. She felt a glare of anger in her heart. Theirs was so heavily accented and she punched one of them when Petya was out of sight. She didn’t stop punching when he was gone.

 

Her vow became a promise.

 

OoOoO

 

Petya didn’t like it in the new place they had brought him to.

 

It was darker and dirtier than where he and Mama was. And this place didn’t have his Mama. It was scary without her because people that weren’t her were really mean. They didn’t smile at him even when he smiled at them. And the people who weren’t Mama that did smile at him only smiled when they hurt him with knives and scalpels and when he was strapped to a metal table with irritating light filling only his part of the room in the middle. He didn’t like those smiles, they weren’t safe like his Mama’s.

 

He wanted his Mama.

 

Somehow he knew he’d never see her again. Or at least for a really long time. Somehow he knew that made him sad. Sad was an emotion and Mama said emotions were okay only when in their room with her. But they weren’t in their room and Peter didn’t like being sad. It made him not feel good and Mama always made it better when he was sad.

 

But Peter’s sAd was really big this time and they weren’t in their room. He didn’t know if he could wait til’ he was in the room with Mama alone again. The new mean people were just as mean with him as the old mean people, but he felt lonely because Mama wasn’t with him with these new mean people. When he was lonely he was still sad, but it was much much worse. When Mama was with him, he never ever felt lonely, even when she couldn’t talk to him or he couldn’t talk to her. She still made him happy.

 

Somehow he knew he shouldn’t cry.

 

The old mean people didn’t like it when he made noise or showed emotion. Crying and laughing were doing both and they’d get really mad at him when he did those things, so he tried not to cry or laugh. These new people probably didn’t like it when he made noise or showed emotions either. It stung his eyes but he didn’t cry. Not even sniffle. Maybe if he was good he could see Mama sooner.

 

He’d make sure to be extra good then. For Mama.

 

They brought him to a room with white walls and a white floor. It wasn’t like Mama and his room because there was no bolted window and the walls were grey in their room and had books. There was nearly nothing in this room. There was a mat and a metal beat up bedside table with no drawers. The door wasn’t wooden like Mama’s, but metal and looked heavy. Like a door to a cell. There also toilet in a closet. But There was a cot too, and someone was on the cot.

 

That someone was not his Mama.

 

A man with a metal arm and long brown  hair and brown eyes looked up from where he was laying as Petya was tossed in by the new mean people. The man looked haggard and his face was blank, but it didn’t look mean like everyone else did. It also didn’t look nice like Mama’s was. It looked… indifferent, uninterested. It was better than snarls and sneers so Petya counted it as a blessing. They stared at each other for a while. Never breaking eye contact. His wide eyed stare reflecting back to him as a blank uninterested one.

 

They didn’t say anything. The man didn’t speak to him as he turned over and Petya didn’t say anything to him because Mama told Peter not to say anything to strangers. Petya creeped cautiously into the room, making sure not to make loud movements because sometimes the mean people didn’t like it when he was loud or moving. He went to the opposite end of the room in a corner from the man. Never took his eyes off of him. Mama always told Petya to be on guard and watch out for any dangers when she wasn’t with him. She told him to always keep his eyes on any threat or unknown especially in a new environment. To never ever take his eyes off of them.

 

The man was not a threat right now but he was unknown. And he was in a new environment. So Peter didn’t take his eyes off of him for a second.

 

They sat like this for hours until the light turned off with a loud echoing click. Like there was a lot of lights turning off at once. The sound echoed in Petya’s ears longer than it echoed. and the man just turned around and went to sleep.

 

Petya didn’t.

 

He wanted Mama.

 

He let himself cry in the dark, lack of light covering his tears. He didn’t sniffle or make noise. He made sure the tears soaked up in his shirt rather than fall to the floor.

 

He really missed his Mama.

 

When the lights came back on, a long time later, so did the man. He sat up on the bed and looked at Petya again, this time a flash of surprise on his face.

 

Petya was tired. And he felt heavy and laggy. He thinks he went to sleep when he blinked for too long, but he didn’t want to go to sleep without Mama. Mama meant that he was safe and he wasn’t safe here. He didn’t move from his spot all the time the lights were off. But by this time, the tears had erased all their evidence off his face. Or at least he hoped so.

 

The mean people came back and the man with the metal arm stood up and followed even though he wasn’t told to. One mean man stayed back and picked him up by his right arm roughly, it twisted weird and it kind of hurt, but Petya didn’t dare complain. They brought him to a window that was a bit dirty and looked into a room that was nearly black and still had no windows. There was a bunch of cage like fences making a circle and a flimsy door made of the same thing with a chain lock on it. Petya was told to watch as the man with the metal arm fought 20 people at once.

 

It was like Mama’s dancing...except with more blood.

 

OoOoO

1 year later...

Natasha was on a mission.

 

It wasn’t the one the red room gave her. Everytime they sent her out now they never let her do it with anyone. That was okay cause that’s how she liked it. That was how it was supposed to be from the beginning, but it wasn’t like that one time and she had her heart ripped out not once now but twice. Now solo missions were good It made it easier for her to find her child. She had no teammates pestering her about her whereabouts.

 

And her mission wasn’t to the Red Room. Her loyalty to that place has become as flimsy as a piece of paper. Her mission was to keep her promise to find her son. Maybe even his father, but the first priority was her son. If Krasnaya were here, he’d drop everything and sacrifice anything to help, she knew.

 

The director said that wherever he went, they had killed him for not being good enough. It made her furious because Petya was better than enough. He was everything. She didn’t believe that shit for a second. Petya was too fucking stubborn to die. She knew first hand how he presumed even when everyone scorned him, only focusing on her positive energy. It was like he could do anything with the smallest bit of constant encouragement and praise. And she was proud and relieved at that because she couldn’t show how much pride she really had for her son.

 

He was all she needed and Natasha would be damned if she failed him now. When he needed her most in his four years of living - he’d be four years old.  

 

The Director didn’t tell Natasha where they shipped her son off to either, and Natasha didn’t let that deter her. This was a big world and she wouldn’t stop until every inch of it was covered to find her son.

 

The red room was built on lies and death.

 

Sometimes, throughout the year Petya was gone, she wondered if she did the right thing, keeping the baby instead of getting an abortion. She didn’t regret having Petya when he was with her, but at the same time she did. Especially when she was him smile. She brought an innocent child into the world under horrifying circumstances and conditions. Conditions that would break him more than anything in this world, conditions more terrible than death. But Petya wouldn’t know that. He would know that people were actually nice and that they helped people and had families of their own. Petya probably thought the quiet and mean sneers were just how things were, and that Natasha was the odd one out. It was heartbreaking.

 

She wondered if he missed her, or even remembered her by this point. God she missed him so much . Like she had missed Krasnaya. She wanted to cuddle him and hold him tight and never let him go again. Focus all her love for him in their tiny world that had no room for such emotions under all the blood that drowned them. Shield him from the bad things even though they were surrounded by them every turn. Cover his eyes when people died even though she  was the one pulling the triggers.

 

Would he become a killer? Natasha didn’t like that thought one bit. Petya was too pure to kill. Too curious to do it without any hesitation. Or did he just think killing was normal too. That cause other people pain was just apart of life.

 

She was in Venezuela when she was hacking through different organization record of Hydra and other smaller underground groups that may have her child. The Director must have given him to one of her allies, or maybe just threw him out on the street somewhere far away.

 

She found absolutely nothing .

 

Again.

 

She wasn’t giving up.

 

She would never give up. This was all just part of the fight.

 

She shut the laptop and walked out of the private office that once had one man in it and now had a dead corpse, to go to the elevator.

 

“Hold the elevator!” said another man, she didn’t move as he squeezed in a little out of breath.”Thanks.” he mumbled sarcastically as they started to move down. The only noise was the horrid elevator music that was starting to irritate her. She was already in a bad mood for having a busy in this source. When the elevator reached the 20th floor, he spoke again.

 

“So what’s a pretty assassin like you doing in a place like this?” he asked in a low funny tone. It was almost annoying, if not for the hint of seriousness in it. Natasha glanced at him, but wasn’t surprised. He was Hawkeye, a SHIELD agent. She would be dumb to not know who he was. She wasn’t surprised about SHIELD being here, they’ve been after her for years.

 

“You here to kill me?” she asked just a lowly. No mocking nests in her own voice. Just quiet promises and threats. Even if Hawkeye was infamous in the underground spy world for his sniping skills, Natasha was fairly sure the Black Widow could beat him in hand to hand. And could beat him if he tried to run. Sniper usually weren’t as fast as her.

 

“No.” huh, that was new. She let the slight surprise stay inside her head as a note. They usually go for the throat by now. If he wasn’t, she would in the next 30 seconds. So he’d better make his case fast because she really didn’t want to have to go to the stairs because a corpse was in the elevator.

 

“You’d save a lot more people.” she shrugged, it was on him if he didn’t kill her now, she could kill countless more in missions that didn’t even exist. And the mission that she was perpetually on until she found her son.

 

Anything for Petya.

 

“That’s what my boss said. I agreed, but I think I’ll make a different call if you tell me what’s in that drive in your pocket.” he said and she shifted a little, but didn’t speak. He side eyed her. Like she’d actually let this man kill her with such important things at stake. And this drive wasn’t for Red Room purposes. “Something tells me it isn’t what you were supposed to go after.” He was good, this would possibly interesting.  they were silent for the rest of the ride down.

 

The elevator dinged and let them out of the bottom floor and he said one last thing.

 

“Whatever you’re looking for, I’d be down to help.” he said and slipped a piece of paper into her pocket discreetly. She was stunned for a second but didn’t let it show. What was he playing at. Probably something to trap her. Either that or he was typed. What ever one it was she would be an idiot for taking up the offer.

 

She threw it away after memorizing it.

 

OoOoO

 

The Soldier and the child didn’t talk for weeks.

 

Even as the Soldier was dragged out to be put in assignments. Even as the child was dragged out to be tested on. Even as they trained together. Even as they ate in the same room. Even as the lights went out and they both didn’t sleep.

 

Dr.Parker. That was the name of Petya’s Doctor. He told him his name on the day after he watched the man with the metal arm dance - they called it fighting though. No one ever told Petya their names before.

 

He wasn’t a nice man.

 

He opened Pytor up and stuck needles in him. He hurt him and electrocuted him. Pytor didn’t like when he had to go see him. The lab table was cold, colder than the one in the place where his Mama was, and the needles made him sick with headaches and nausea. They never did that before.

 

But what Pytor didn’t like the most was that he said his name wrong. In an American accent that was supposed to sound like German. It was terrible and left a bad taste in his mouth.

 

But he’d never liked the German language, so maybe he was biased.

 

He liked Mary though. Mary Parker was Dr.Parker’s wife and she said his name like Mama did.

 

Petya.

 

He liked it when Mary was testing him because she brought him books and let him talk to her if he had questions about Math. She didn’t strap him to a table and she didn’t yell at him for making noise. She smiled like Mama did, but a little different, so Petya didn’t ask about the no emotions rule, which seemed to be common sense here, but Mary never got mad when he was a little happy, because sometimes she got a little happy too(but sometimes she’d get sad and Petya would hold her hand gently like Mama did when he was sad, and she’d be happy again on her face, but Petya could tell she was sadon the inside. But that’s okay, cause Petya is sad on the inside too). She said he was smart and he was happy because not a lot of people were nice to him ever.

 

She spoke to him in English like Mama did.

 

He liked Mary Parker.

 

OoO

 

There was a little bit of a routine now.

 

Petya could expect certain things to happen like at least a little bit of training with Soldier and a little bit of testing with Mary. Sometimes testing with Mary would be replaced with testing with Dr.Parker in the dark lab, and his training would be shorter so he could spend more time with Dr.Parker. But he didn’t really like Dr.Parker

 

In between training and testing he’d get food and after the second part of the day he’d get food again but this time in the room with Soldier and then they had a little bit of a long time before the lights went out.

 

When he got back to the room with the soldier after training, just like everyday, they were instructed to eat. There was stale bread, mush and water- just like every meal. Sometimes Peter couldn’t eat because of the needles, and today had been a time when Dr.Parker replaces Mary. But today was a little worse than all the others (and sometimes this happened, but it was happening a lot more now) and left Peter so sick, that he didn’t want to eat. But when he didn’t eat fast or at all they took away his food and didn’t give it back until the next meal time- and then it would be gross and slimy because it was the same food. He would go hungry when the sick was over and the hunger pains weren’t something he liked very much. They hurt a lot even though no one punched him or hit him, and sometimes he couldn’t do anything but lay down and hear his tummy ask for food- and when it did that it hurt even more.

 

The fifth time he didn’t eat his food the man with the metal arm got up from the cot. Whenever they were in the room, the man never got up from the cot. Only when they had to leave or come in or to get the food that they threw down near the door- but sometimes when Oetya wasn’t too tired, he’d bring it because it was the nice thing to do. He took his plate and went back to the cot to eat. Petya didn’t make a move because his stomach hurt to much to even flinch. The man stared at him, Petya’s eyes were closed but he could still feel the gaze. He heard some shuffling and Petya’s eyes shot open. Petya watched the man with wide eyes as he grabbed Petya’s food and instead of going to the cot, sat down in front of him and started to eat Petya’s food. Good at least it wasn’t going to waste and he wouldn’t get slimy mush and really hard bread. But the man just  finished the mush and left the water and bread. He split the bread in half and handed it back to Petya with blank eyes, and Petya noticed a flash of expectation.

 

Pytor looked at the food and shook his head. The man pushed the water toward him and Pytor shut his eyes. The stale bread was normally order less, but the scent seemed really strong now and it made Petya’s stomach even angerier.

 

“Open your eyes kid.” he said in English. It was gruff and almost demanding, but there was a large hint of gentleness that only came into Mary and Mama’s English. Pytor could understand him and was so shocked. Not a lot of people spoke English in this place. He opened his eyes and the offending bread was still in front of him.

 

“I...d-don’t…” he stuttered his words in English and the man sighed and closed his eyes for a minute, as if trying to collect himself. Which was also weird because everyone else just let themselves be mad with Petya- except Mary and Mama, but they never ever got mad with Petya.

 

“Yeah, but you need to.” he said and kept holding out his hand with the consumable and after a bit of time Peter took it and nibbled at it. He then sipped the water(which kinda made himfeel better when he drank it slow), but he was too slow. When the mean men came back in, The bread and half finished glass of water was taken from him. The man went back to his cot and Petya went back to his mat to wait for the lights to go out.

 

When the lights did finally go out, the man tossed the other half of the bread toward Petya and it landed on the mat beside Petya’s head.

 

Petya finished it by morning.

 

OoO

1 year later…

 

Over the year, Petya and the man had gotten closer.

 

He also figured a few things out. As Mary had said, he was smart. This place (the one he was in now) was Hydra. The man with the metal arm that slept with him and helped him a little when he got sick, was known as the Winter Soldier. And according to whispers, they called Pytor “his kid” or “his son”, behind their backs. Pytor heard, The Winter Soldier didn’t seem to. He didn’t understand that part though.

 

But another thing he learned (even though no one said it, Petya just figured it out):The Winter Soldier did not like being called ‘The Winter Soldier’.

 

When Peter asked what he should call him, the Soldier just stared at him confused for a minute. As if no one asked him that question before.

 

“You can call me Pytor.” he whispered in the dark one night.”But you don’t like being called Winter Soldier.” He knew the Soldier heard him by how he tensed.

 

The Soldier never answered or called him by his name for a long time, so Petya never called him by his name (because he didn’t like it either). They never addressed each other properly, but somehow that was okay with them.

 

He was finally allowed to have books in their room now. Mary fought for that for him and he was really happy. He was only allowed one book in the room and he could read in the room with Soldier after they finished food or with Mary when she was grading his tests, but Petya sometimes had to read the books in the dark after lights out and sometimes if he was staying up too late Soldier would have to take the book away and tell him to go to sleep.

 

Pytor read them constantly and as much as he could whenever he could.

 

Sometimes the Soldier would look over sort of curiously, trying to be sneaky. Pytor caught him every time though. When that happened he’d get up and  sit next to the Soldier and read the book in a whisper beside the cot, translating it into English, no matter what language it was. He seemed more relaxed when people talked in English. But that was only with Petya, no one beside Mary and Dr.Parker knew English and Dr.Parker didn’t like speaking English and he doesn’t think Soldier knows Mary, or else maybe he’d have his own book too.

 

The Soldier would go out more than Petya did, like outside outside( the outside Petya was never allowed to see but always read about). They said he went For missions. But everytime he came back, he’d be confused and not recognize him for a few hours -that was a long time apparently- before he did and then he still didn’t talk to Petya, even after that.

 

“Peter.” the Soldier said one day and Petya looked up. He said it in an American accent, although he could say the name Pytor perfectly in Russian. He rather liked his American accent, it was calm and gentle. “It’s easier to say in English.” It took a second to realize that it was his own name. Just said in English. Which was kinda cool.

 

Peter.

 

He liked it.

 

It was a nice thing they had. Soldier didn’t smile that much, and when he did it was only in the room. It was small and almost not there but it was genuine and happy and Peter noticed it every time he did it. It was Something that he liked. But not how he liked books and asking questions. He liked it Like how he liked Mary and Mama.

 

Peter decided he liked Soldier too.

 

OoO

1 year later…

 

Soldier started acting weird when he came back from a mission.

 

It was like any other mission, except this time he wasn’t prepped. Usually Soldier had to be prepped before a mission, but recently he hadn’t been. To get prepped they drag him out to a room and he’d come back for only a minute to get something, but Petya could tell, Soldier wasn’t well... Soldier.

 

But they hadn’t been doing it as often lately. Peter suffered the backlash of this choice.

 

When Soldier would get back, he wouldn’t go to the cot or pat Peter’s head as he passed while

Peter was reading a book to get his attention. Soldier would pace around the room muttering in all kinds of languages Peter did and didn’t know, walking right past Peter as if he didn’t even exist.

 

When he wasn’t pacing he was screaming at the door, which was after lights out. Sometimes he even hit the door. He wouldn’t stay in his cot ever, and he wouldn’t eat, even if they brought food and Peter was being good and eating too. He would sleep either, Even when the lights went off and Peter was trying to sleep.

 

It became a pattern that was messing all the good little moments in Peter’s life in between training and testing with Dr.Parker, which was becoming more consistent now.  Peter didn’t like it at all. He didn’t get to see Mary often and Soldier was acting... scary .

 

When Soldier muttered, Peter couldn’t concentrate on his book. When Soldier paced, Peter’s appetite left. When Soldier yelled, Peter couldn’t sleep. When Soldier stayed awake, Peter had to train extra hard the next day(even though he was even more tired than Soldier sometimes).

 

Soldier stayed more, because he got less missions, because he was screaming so much. Peter hates that he wants Soldier to go on a mission, but just a little one (one that wouldn’t make this worse). Just so he could get some sleep.

 

Just for a little bit.

 

Peter wanted to help Soldier, but everytime he started to pace or hit the door or yell, Peter was frozen. All his thoughts left him, and all his emotions started to fill his body, which was bad enough as is but all the emotions that started to flood were bad and scary and made him mad and sad at the same time, and he really didn’t like those feelings cause they didn’t make him feel good. He couldn’t move. It was like he was paralyzed, like the stuff Dr.Parker used when Peter moves too much on the cold table so he can make him stop moving. Except there was no liquid or needles, and he didn’t get hurt, just scared. Peter hated it more than when Dr.Parker made him freeze.

 

They never removed Soldier’s weapons.

 

When he finally did realize this, He started shooting at the door with his big guns. The door was bullet proof. The gunfire sounds hurt Peter’s ears because they were so loud and close and the smoke made his eyes full of tears he wasn’t allowed to shed and made him cough a lot when there was no more bullets.

 

“Please stop.” Peter whimpered once, the Soldier whirled at him, with crazy eyes and walked over to him in a way that made Peter scared. Foreboding was the correct word. He had never felt so terrified to see another emotion besides indifference in Soldier’s eyes. This one was wild and panicked and almost insane. Soldier grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him.

 

“You can’t trust them. You can’t trust any of them. You can’t even trust yourself.” He hissed and Peter whimpered again, he didn’t know weather it was because the grip was too tight or the voice was so scary but as he was thrown back, he felt himself shake with uncontrollable fear.

 

What did he mean?

 

He never spoke when Soldier was yelling or shooting the door again. He never talked in front of Soldier anymore period . Not in training, or when he was eating. Especially not when he was quiet. Peter didn’t want to ruin it. He just needed the peace and silence to last as long as it could.

 

Peter told himself it was the smoke from the gunfire that made him cry. And only when it was dark did he let the tears fall and pretended they didn’t exist.

 

He knew it was a lie.

 

“Let me out you son of a bitch! Let me out and take me away from this hellhole! There ain’t anything here that’s worth a damn dime! You fucking hear me?! Just fucking put a bullet in my brain!” the Soldier screamed and Peter started to cry even though there was no smoke and it was not dark and it was really bad today.

 

“Please no.” Peter said quietly and the Soldier turned on him. Eyes wild and Peter was scared. The Soldier looked even more scared and pulled out his gun and pointed it at Peter.

 

Everything stopped.

 

They stared at each other. Like they did the first day they met. Peter being scared and sad because his Mama was gone, and now he was scared and sad because Soldier was gone too. He hiccuped and Soldier didn’t take his gun away from Peter’s temple.

 

Even as the guards poured in. Only did he take away his gun when he was dragged out, but even so, Peter didn’t move. He just kept crying, Soldier’s terrified eyes looking at him like he was trying to grasp something but just couldn’t hold on to it.

 

Peter never saw Soldier again.

 

OoOoO

:3

This was a bad ,stupidly crazy idea

 

It was probably the worst decision of her entire life. And She didn’t really give a shit about it. Usually she wasn’t so flippant about impulsive decisions, but it’s been two years since she seen Petya, and that felt like an eternity.

 

No one in the Red Room was going to help her, because they fucking thought Petya was a disgrace. The Director wouldn’t help her, she took him away in the first place, and pulled bullshit of telling her he was dead. She didn’t have any outside connections, and she wasn’t sure where Krasnaya even was. SHIELD might actually help. If not them, than Clint Barton actually had offered to help her.

 

Anything for Petya.

 

She told herself that and steeled her expression as she walked into the cafe and sat next to Clint at the end of the bar. She was just going to talk to him, see if this wasn’t a trap or ploy. See if he was actually genuine about his offer to help her, no questions asked ( which was fishy but she was running out of options here). He smirked and put down his menu.

 

“I’m not telling you what we are trying to find.” she said immediately. He didn’t seem surprised, she was a bit relieved that this could be casual and quick.

 

“Wow, you were quick!” he said, commenting on the fact that it had only been three days. She was desperate. “I thought you’d be more loyal to your ‘cause’ or whatever.” he teased and she looked at him and shrugged nonchalantly.

 

“Never had any other option.” she said honestly and ended that conversation swiftly. “But I know people don’t just give out handouts for free.” she narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously, trying to throw him off his game. His turn to shrug nonchalantly.

 

“Call it a hunch, but I think you are a nice person.” he laughed, and she was a little stunned at the accusation “Crazy right?” uh, yeah it was. Who in their right mind would call The Black Widow , a highly trained assassin who has no problem killing anybody, nice ? “But you’re right, I’ll help you and keep your little search under the radar, if you switch sides.” There it was. The catch but...

 

Join SHIELD? Was he crazy?

 

There were so many reasons she should say no. Saying yes shouldn’t have even been a consideration. Not for a second. But… she was more loyal to Petya than to whatever bullshit the Red Room had planned for her.

 

And then she thought about Petya when she finally found him. How he’d have a Mama that didn’t kill good guys. A place that wasn’t terrible and horrifying to live in. A Mama that helped people and showed him the kindness of the world, even through the black dark nasty things out there.

 

Natasha decided it was her time to press Fuck it.

 

Anything for Petya.

 

OoOoO

1 year later…

 

Mary wasn’t Hydra.

 

Peter found this out as she was running toward an almost futuristic looking plane. Like the one from his fantasy books. Like that one book, Divergent, but like the ones in the last book. He didn’t really like that last book, it was a bit anticlimactic.

 

He was dropped in the plane with her carrying him out of the compound like he was a sack of potatoes, and a man with thinning hair lead him inside, barking orders to everyone but him, and placing a gentle hand on his back as he lead him inside the plane. He looked back, to ask where Mary was but like magic Mary was gone too.

 

He never saw her again, and somehow, he’d developed a feeling for it. Every time he was going to lose someone, he just... knew . He hated that feeling a lot more than he hated anything else.

 

He wanted to ignore it, tell it that it was wrong and she would come back and so would Mama and Soldier. Even in that moment, where he was denying everything, as Mary Parker left the plane, he knew he’d never see her again.

 

Mama. Soldier. Now Mary.

 

3 out of 3. That was 100%.

 

Peter wasn’t stupid.

 

He knew that was everyone... everything he had.

 

He lost it all.

 

He felt more alone now than ever before. Even when the organization called ‘SHIELD’ took him, as he found out two hours in the flight (through eavesdropping and oh, yeah their bird logo. Was that an eagle?). It was another hour before a man with thinning hair, they had called Coulson, came to him in his room/cell thing (not like HYDRA’s cell/room thing, this one only had a metal table and him cuffed to the table). He wasn’t allowed to leave it, and he’d never had his own room before, so, by deduction, it was a cell.

 

Coulson opened the door and looked at him as he gestured to follow him to another cell, but this was was darker, with hexagon patterns on the wall and a metal table but this time with two chairs. They sat down at either end of the table.

 

Coulson looked a little too excited for an interrogation(that’s what this was, right? Because he was HYDRA), and had a weird smile on his face. Not like Mama’s, Soldier’s, or Mary’s, but not like the doctors either. His smile said that he knew was hiding something, but wasn’t as creepy as the ones in the HYDRA base. It was barely acceptable for a smile, Peter validated.

 

“Hello, I’m Phil.” Coulson said a bit giddily. Like he was nervous, which was weird too, because Peter  was usually the nervous one when having a conversation with an adult of unknown origin. “I’m excited. I’ve  never talked to a child soldier before.” Peter didn’t answer, just nodded his head. Was a ‘child soldier’ supposed to be like, important at SHIELD? Peter had never been anything important to anyone ever. At least not that he knew of. Phil then seemed to pause at his lack of answer. “Do you speak english?” Phil asked, cocked his head to the side, like Peter did sometimes when asking a question to Mary. He decided not to say that and, nodded “Great. Are you ready?” No one’s ever asked you that. He nodded once, in fear of the wrong answers. Because sometimes if he said the wrong answers, he’d get punished. “Okay, I’m going to ask you some questions.” Peter nodded again, curtly and shortly.

 

They begun.

 

“Let’s start with your name.” Phil said moving into a comfortable position that made it seem like he let his guard down, but the tenseness in his hand and shoulders gave him away (Was this a test?), shuffling papers around and holding up a pen to a pad of yellow paper with lines across them.

 

“I’m…” it’s easier to say in english . “Peter.” he said slowly. Sounding out the word he’d only said once before. Since Phil seemed to speak English to all his subordinates and naturally speak it to Peter, he guessed Phil would be more comfortable when Peter spoke his name in English too. Just so it was easier for him.

 

“Any last name?” Peter shook his head instantly. Phil nodded and wrote that down. (Should he be lying? But these people seemed like the type to see through his lies.) “Age?” Phil asked hopefully, Peter had to think on that for a second.

 

“6.” he mumbled. He sounded unsure. Mostly because that’s what Mary had said to him 2 months ago, he doesn’t know how he remembered, but Peter remembers a lot of things he shouldn’t. The number changed though, sometime in August, but it still changed every year.

 

“You sure?” Peter shrugged.

 

“That’s what Mary said 2 months ago…” he informed him slowly, and he must have been taken back by his voice, because at a higher volume it sounded raspy. He didn’t use it much after Soldier left and Mary started to replace Dr.Parker instead of the other way around.

 

“You’re being awfully compliant.” Phil said skeptically looking up at him as he wrote that down too. Peter nodded, but didn’t answer. Mary had handed him off to Phil, so obviously Mary trusted him. Peter wouldn’t trust Phil, but he owed it to Mary to answer the questions honestly.

 

“Were you raised in HYDRA?” Peter nodded after a second, he could barely remember being raised by his Mama. “To be a soldier?” another nod. “Do you know how to fight?” a shrug. He’d been training with Soldier, when Soldier left he still trained but with meaner people who didn’t pull their punches like Soldier did sometimes. They just knocked him on his ass.

 

“Afraid I’m going to need an answer.” Phil said, almost apologetically. It took Peter by surprise. No one that had just met him was ever this nice to him. Why was Phil being so nice? Did he want something? But if he wanted something, why not beat it out of Peter? Why ask him all these questions nicly rather than demanding them?

 

Despite all the questions, he rather liked that he didn’t have to get hurt to answer them. It felt...nice.

 

“A little.” He answered, a stunned but relaxed tone in his voice. He didn’t want to let his guard down, because he was in a new environment and Phil was an unknown.

 

“Okay, so … it’s okay if you don’t know this, but why did HYDRA take you?” Phil said and he just kept getting nicer. That was really weird, but he could tell that this was an awkward topic for Phil. Peter answered as best he could, because Phil had been so nice.

 

“I’m not sure...but I think I know what they...were going  to do with me.” Phil leaned forward in a nonverbal gesture to encourage him to go on. “They have been experimenting on me, giving me...or at least trying to give me powers. I don’t think it worked though.” Coulson leaned back, contemplating look on his face. Peter was shifting in his seat nervously. There was a long stretch of silence, where Phil didn’t write anything on his paper or said anything, and Peter was not given permission to speak. Until Phil finally spoke.

 

“Okay, I think I know who to get then.”

 

OoOoO

1 year later…

 

Natasha was an Avenger.

 

She had first become an agent of SHIELD, giving as many as the Red Room secrets as she could. In reward for that she became Clint’s partnr for most missions. Due to her skill set and ability she quickly became one of  Fury’s most reliable agent.

 

She immediately thought what Petya would think about it as soon as she joined the table of heroes. Would he be happy? Would he be mad? Would she have to fight him if he was still in an enemy organization? Would she even know if it was him?

 

He would be seven now, she’d never forget the day he was born. He had to look different. Natasha would have to work harder. But… would he still want to hear her stories, even if he was older? She would have so many more interesting ones to tell him, not just about Krasnaya, who was still MIA, but her missions with Clint and interactions with Fury. And eventually her adventures with the Avengers.

 

Maybe even the Avengers could help her. Clint had mentioned it to her in private after Loki’s attack and she said she’d think about it.Clint never gave away anything though. Not until she was ready. He never told anyone, even as they moved into the tower together with Stark and Rogers and Banner. Never even hinted at it. But she saw where he was coming from, Stark could hack into literally anything within seconds, and had so many backdoors, Natasha couldn’t even keep count. Banner was smart and could run DNA scans. Steve, well he’s always been a soldier, he’d surely help, so would Thor, she knew.

 

But...She just couldn’t bring herself to tell them. Stark and Banner would ask too many questions and Thor and Steve would give her a kicked puppy look if she didn’t tell them. Clint understood because he too was a spy, who had to protect some form of his past, whatever that may be. For the past two years he covered for her. He gave nothing away, and went on nearly every mission with her, just to help her.

 

And not with just her mission but other things too.

 

He’d make jokes, she’d never laugh. He’d try to compliment her, she’d hit him every time. He’d try to get her to open up, she’d never even crack.

 

He had every right not to help her. Not to trust her. And then he goes and brings her to meet his secret family that only Fury knew about. He surprised her in every way possible, and she may not love him like Krasnaya, but she loves him like family nonetheless. He was like an annoying sensitive brother, and Natasha fiercely hoped that Petya got to meet him one day. He would be such a good uncle and role model, and he knew that Clint would love her son too.

 

That’s when she started to do little things. Like make too much cocoa when she stayed awake at night, or accidently tip some glitter in the vents so it blew all over Fury’s office, or just roll her eyes when he made a joke instead of reprimand him.

 

In her defence they were really bad jokes, and she refused to laugh at dad jokes.

 

“Why’d you tell me about your family.” she asked in a hushed tone in Stark’s living room. There was no one there, but it was an air of privacy and show of respect. He looked up from his comic book (which what the fuck dude, you have kids )

 

“I trust you Nat.” he said simply and that was a punch to the gut. And okay, yeah, somewhere deep down inside her she trusted him too. But she hadn’t even told him about Krasnaya or Petya. And he’d given her so much. SHe felt like she owed him, and he knew it was stupid, and that he expected nothing of her, but that’s just how these feelings go.

 

“Petya.” she said and he looked confused, but sensed that this was serious, so put the comic book down. He was always good at reading her, just like she was at reading him. “I’m looking for Petya Romonov. He’s my...my son.” She said in a near whisper, she almost thought she hadn’t spoken at all but when she looked up to see Clint staring at her, she didn’t look him in the eye and averted them to the side. She hadn’t spoken about Petya out loud in years and it felt like it was relieving her of some weight on her shoulders and also repeatedly punching her in the gut with sadness and remorse. “He...he was taken when he was three...they said that he was dead but…” Clint dropped his book, in two strides he was by her side and hugging her. She allowed it even hugged back slightly, but didn’t let tears fall. The next thing was said in an even softer whisper and gripped him a bit more firmer.

 

“They lie.”

 

OoOoO

:3

Peter hated his General.

 

Phil was really nice, but the man he handed Peter of to wasn’t. Phil said that they were different from HYDRA, but they did the same things. They were exactly the same as HYDRA. And Peter hated it.

 

Phil said that General Cotnet would help him get a better home. He said he’d take him to Mary’s sister May and they’d take him in. But Phil lied  to him, his nice was deceiving nice. Cotnet did not have his best interests at heart and he certainly did not want to take him to May Parker.

 

As soon as Phil left, the air in the room with General Cotnet became one of predatory seeking, and Peter didn’t like it one bit.

 

“So, Peter.” he said in a sickly sweet tone. A tone that wasn’t at all sweet. “Do you understand the term, immigration .” Peter only nodded, backing a few paces and head down. “Use your words, Soldier!” Cotnet’s voice did not have the fake sweet tang to is anymore. It was aggressive and made Peter snap to attention, hands behind his back, straight spine, head up, just as he did in HYDRA. Cotnet had a pearly white smile, not like the gross yellow green one that the HYDRA instructors had. But it was just as creepy as theirs was.

 

“When people not born in the country that are not citizens come in.” he summarized in a monotone, and Cotnet looked down right giddy. Not like Phil though, he looked the creepy kind of giddy.

 

“Yes, and your aunt lives in America, from which you are not a citizen. Do you know what that makes you?” he asked and walked forward to lean in his ear, as he froze with Cotnet’s hot breath making his neck tingle. “It makes you an immigrant.” he said in a voice that sounded like it was disgusting. Peter didn’t see anything wrong with it. Cotnet stood up. “Usually you have to get a VISA, but since you are a minor and don’t have any valdictation, like a birth certificate, you are going to have to do this another way.” Cotnet said and Peter didn’t dare speak in fear of angering a superior. “Now, usually the government would give you an acception, being a war prisoner and all, but you are also a mutant-”

 

“I am not a mutant, sir. I was-” Peter’s timid correction was cut off with a intense harsh glare.

 

“You will not speak out. You are a child soldier. And you are a mutant. A disgusting one at that. You will serve in the the United States special forces, compensated with a temporary VISA each year so you can go to school for nine months of the year.” General Cotnet whispered bitterally. “This will be off the books, I don’t need SHIELD breathing down my back, but this opportunity is too great to pass up.” he mumbled almost to himself, but it was too loud. Peter was cowering a bit.

 

General Cotnet looked him dead in the eyes. And said in a voice that Peter dare not defy. “Do you understand?”

 

Peter only nodded.

 

OoOoO

 

Wade had seen a lot of messed up shit in his life.

Coming from an abusive household, he’d been pretty messed up himself. What with his mother hitting him and locking him in the closet when she wasn’t on her drugs, and his uncle molesting him whenever his mother didn’t give a shit, which was all the time. School wasn’t a sanctuary. Everyone knew that Wade was abused, the teachers, the students, hell even Stick Jo, the guy at the gas station 6 miles out of town knew what went down at the Wilson household nearly every night. No one gave a shit, and Wade went right on not giving a shit about them either.

That mind set carried with him when he left school for the army. He wasn’t gonna get no degree, he wasn’t smart enough to and he still didn’t give a shit about that either. He developed a sense of humor, messed up and twisted, but in any situation no matter how dire, he could find a joke ( no matter how controversial). It had no place in the army in Canada and still had no place when he was transferred to the US army’s special forces.

Somehow he got to this position. He didn’t know how the fuck he did, and he also didn’t know who the fuck thought this was a good idea, but here he was.

Yes, Wade has seen and been in a lot of messed up shit. But none of them were as messy and twisted as Peter Parker.

Yes, Peter Parker as a whole human soul thing. His entire existence was made to be utter shit. This poor child would get nowhere in life, because some motherfucker decided to fuck in the wrong place with no protection and then proceeded to put him in a tiny cell to be tortured by the people who were in charge of him.

Now he was in charge of him.

A skinny, small stick with brown hair and too big eyes. He was seven and looked like a four year old and had the sense of at least a 17 year old to shut up at all times (good survival skills kid, you might actually live through this). Wade didn’t want to remember his age or name, he never did with anyone on every squad he went on (and he transferred a lot ), but Peter Parker, seven year old sunshine child, was printed in his mind. He stared dumbly at the kid and the kid stared widely back.

He was a fucking kid. What the fuck was he doing here? With Wade, who was holding guns and swords, and let he just say, they were never on safety(he had no time to mess with that shit). Wade who swore way to much to be legal. Wade who didn’t know what a fucking childhood was supposed to be like. No, he did know actually. It was supposed to be white picket fence two siblings and a golden retriever. Parker’s life was more like iron bars, dead bodies and mean attack dogs. Although the kid somehow made any attack dog into the perfect domesticated pet with one glance. Magic puppy child. Why the fuck was he Around people who have killed so many people. Literal murderers and pedophiles. The kid looked like he couldn’t harm a fly.

Wades eyes traveled to the boys wrists where there were whip marks and purpling handprints and he didn’t stop staring until the boy hid them under his too long sleeves, cause you know he was a stick, and Wade gave him a snarky smile. The kid looked at the smile for a second, almost like he was analyzing it and gave his own shy smile. Wade blinked at that. What in the fucknuggets...

They wanted Wade to train him. They told him he’d stay for the summer before going to school in the fall in New York. And frankly that was just cold. Having the kid make friends and have a life and then deal with this shit only to go back and act like he’s completely not scarred. Just going to uncle Wades. Which you know shouldn’t be a traumatic experience, but a fun time with you know chess and shit (he didn’t know how to play sudoku, muchless chess. Checkers maybe?).

They basically made him a babysitter, which again, whomst thought this was a fucking good idea? He’d kill the bastard who did, cause this sweet innocent child did not belong here mutant or not. Apparently not, Parker didn’t have any powers except for that adorable Bambi eyes and that smartass brain of his, like stupidly smart. Like he could probably solve a medium level sudoku smart.

But whatever. Let’s fucking do this. Corrupting the children? Well, never done that, but let’s give it a go.

The kid didn’t talk the first week. They only gave Wade three extra ration bars for the whole seven days. Which what the fuck, the kid needed more. Especially if he was a mutant. Which was weird cause he never showed any signs of being a mutant.

Wade gave him the three and said have at it. If the kid needed more, he’d give him some of his share. But the kid never asked and he seemed okay. Later he found out that The kid separated it for two whole weeks. Like a lil’ mouse. Adorable but also, what the fuck?!(see survival skills, the kid should really teach a class)

“I’m not a mutant.” He was the first thing he said and Wade looked at him. He was looking down and his voice was small and raspy. It suited him, but also, totally didn’t “I don’t have powers.” He rubbed his hands around his wrists.

“Okay.” Wade said. He believed the kid. Way more than he believed General asshat.

 

The kid laughed. So he must have said that out loud. Like cool dude, thanks for not judging me.

 

“No problem.”

Wade took him on missions. No matter how messy. Peter didn’t flinch when he killed. Peter didn’t react. He just looked at the bloody bodies and shot them in the head. He was like fucking Hawkeye. He never took a second shot on a target...ever.

It was disturbing.

His hand didn’t even reach the trigger on its own. He had to use both because they were so small. Like a kitten, was this kid just all adorable animals rolled into a human being.

“I don’t like killing.” He mumbled one night in the floor. He never even questioned why he didn’t get a shitty cot, just a fucking blanket and a mat. He seemed comfortable down there though. Wade never offered, if the kid wanted something he had to ask, which wasn’t so bad, little brats did it all the time. Thing is, Peter isn’t a little brat. Not even an ounce of bratty ness or complaining. He never asked for anything...ever.

“Then don’t.” Wade answered. The kid seemed to like blatant replies and jokes, which is what Wade was good at. He never needed to sugarcoat anything, because this is a shit world anyway and the kid knew that. SO despite not liking kids, he liked this one.

“They get mad when I don’t.”Peter said sadly.

“I’ll kill them. You just knock em down.” Wade offered. He didn’t know why, the kid should learn to do his own dirty work, but then again, he was a kid.

“How do you not kill though?” Peter asked and sat up with his hand propped up on his elbows supporting his head. Wade blew out a breath. That wasn’t right. Peter shouldn’t know not to kill.

“I’ll show you.” He picked the kid up like the kitten child he was (ie by the scruff of his way to big hoodie) and took him to the range. He didn’t care if it was two in the fucking morning, they both weren’t gonna sleep anyway.

Kid was fucking smart. He got things in an instant. Wade never had to repeat himself. And whenever Wade praised him he smiled up at him with the big sunshine smile he could pull off. It was like UV lights and staring into them. Blinding, the kid was trying to make him blind.

 

So he’ll say this again, and he cannot stress this enough:

 

What the fuck!



Chapter Text

Chapter 4-I’ll Make you Scream

Present…

 

“So, I’m sure you’re wondering how I got in this position.”

 

“Among other things.” Fury responded dully to the boy covered in silly string, spray paint and glitter. Honestly it didn’t even surprise him at this point. But after a year of knowing Peter Parker, he just knew that there were things that would happen to him that would definitely surprise him; far more than this.

 

“Well Nicholas, as my good friend says, ‘when you hit rock bottom you can trace it back to one big bad decision that fucked it all up.’ ” Peter said almost sagely, slender finger pointed in the air as he recited the stupid but nonetheless true quote, and it looked ridiculous in that mask with glitter on it.

 

“Is this rock bottom?” Fury raised an uninterested brow. He’d expect a little more...blood. No actually he expected a lot  more blood. Yeah, like a boatload or two. Maybe some fingers or dead bodies. Oh and a shit load of fire.

 

“Physically, not really. Socially, eh?” he could hear the smile in his voice as a waved his hand in a so-so motion. He seemed to be gesturing bigger with his hands today. “You needed me?” ignoring the way Fury stared at him like he was demanding answers by changing the topic. If he had questions, which he did, he didn’t voice them though. Like verbally. Even though Parker knew the questions he wanted to ask. He was a little shit like that.

“Get in and try not to get glitter everywhere.”  Fury said not even gesturing to his car as he got in the driver's seat. He hesitated before climbing into the front seat next to him, fidgeting a bit in his place, despite Fury’s request not to mess up the sleek black BMW.

 

“We have a mission?” he squeaked, a little too high for it to be intentional, and Fury raised another brow. The kid was never usually had reservations about missions with Avengers. No matter what, even if they treated him like shit or he had just been run over by a train. When he was available he came.

 

“What’s up kid, you’re usually never embarrassed.” Fury sent a smirk his way. Peter only faltered for a second, which should have been a red flag because the kid had no filter between his brain and mouth.

 

“I usually don’t have anything to be embarrassed about.” He said honestly, as if observing that fact of himself. That made Fury snort at how casually he said it as he pushed the kid in the front seat. Despite him not wanting to get glitter everywhere. That gained a surprised but nonetheless delighted laugh out of him. Fury only had a small smile on his face, and he’s sure Parker noticed, but he didn’t comment on it. Peter was weird like that, commenting on every little thing that doesn’t matter, and that was annoying. But it was nice that he knew some small things were rare, and enjoyed them in peace.

 

Parker needed more good small things in his life, but Fury would never admit that he thought that.

 

“Yeah cause a bright red and blue spandex is nothing to be embarrassed about.” Fury said back with no heat, just an amused tinge in his tone. Peter made a mock offended sound.

 

“Wow, I’m taking offense. You know what? No, I’m fucking proud of my glitter.” Peter declared and then the bone dead tiredness of the past four days sunk in. He hadn’t slept, and he hadn’t eaten in 2 days. He was tired and he could feel it. He could also feel the gnawing at his stomach, but he sucked in the growling until he could get to a place where the noise could be drowned out, he’d know Fury would notice in the nearly silent and almost soundproof car. Peter scuffed his feet on the rubber flooring of the car, smearing glitter and tinsel. “Do you really need me today?” something in the kid’s whiney voice was tired. It almost made Fury stop, but only because that it had enter his tone, and let the kid off the hook for the voice.

 

“Depends on what happened.” Fury said casually and shrugging. Referring to his obvious new paint job he had with his suit. Peter huffed quietly as he leaned his elbow on the window and rested his head on his hand, not looking at Fury but out his window.

 

“You fall asleep for 15 minutes…” Peter grumbled indingently, Fury wasn’t sure if he was supposed to hear that or not but That actually made him bark out a quick amused laugh. Peter looked owlishly over at the sound before realizing what he said wasnt gonna let him off the hook, but only make him look stupider. Then went back to sulking in his previous position with a louder huff.

 

“Yeah, kid you ain’t getting out of this one.” he said with a playful smirk, even if he didn’t really have to say it, he just wanted to rub it in. Peter responded by letting out a whine and squirming in his chair. Looking like a kid, but also trying to find a comfortable position for the rest of his body. He wouldn’t complain anymore, he was too old to complain.

 

You’re too old to cry.

 

Eventually they got to the Tower, Peter dragged his glitter coated feet and silly string trailed after him, and Fury was 89 percent sure that he was doing it on prupose. As soon as he walked into the briefing, Fury started to almost regret not saying that the kid could be let off the hook this time. But the team needed him for this mission(for all of these missions), even if they didn’t know it. Even if Peter didn’t know it either, and was only here to be a little shit. Fury wasn’t gonna let a little sparkles get in the way of saving the damn world (again). Even as Sam and Clint fell down laughing and crying and the kid hunched a little before pulling back up to his slouched height.

 

“I don’t even know what to say!” Sam said laughing so hysterically he was nearly crying. The kid still wouldn’t take off his mask, but he hunched in a again little before straightening himself out. “There are too many things to say!” He blurted and Fury notices that everyone who wasn’t stifling their laughter was giving him an evil eye (ie, Romanov and Rogers)

 

“That’s because I can actually pull this off.” Peter said back snarkily, crossing his arms over his chest as if he was satisfied with himself. Fury had to hand it to the kid, he was cowboying this like a champ. But he wasn’t out of the water yet, in fact it was only just the begainning.

 

“Do you think this is some kind of joke?” Romanov said a bit venomously and Fury could tell that Peter rolled his eyes under the mask. Like everything he did was reprimanded by the older spider themed superhero. She probably did, because Romanov held Parker at a higher standard, especially now that he knew about her kid.

 

“Yeah, a bunch of punks played a practical joke on me. I bet I look hilarious.” Peter said back (as if he wasn’t a punk himself), not defiantly though (as it should have been), just a curious statement along with a twinge of sarcasm, that only he seemed to be young enough to pull off (honestly he probably was the only kid who could even pull off that). Hell, he was never going to be old enough to not pull it off with the way his lifestyle was. He was like a mixture between a kid and a very mature 19 year old. There was no in between and Fury had a feeling it would stay this way until he was 70.

 

“How did a bunch of kids play a prank on you?” Steve asked confusedly, striding over to Peter to stand a few feet in front of him like a the kid was a soldier and he was a disappointed commander. And it didn’t matter how much Rogers wanted that, it wouldn’t happen as long as the kid had his shit list/ people I have to fuck with agenda in existence . “Didn’t you notice?” he crossed his arms, Peter mimicked the motion but hunched in a little more than Rogers, slouching. That was a very good question though, Parker’s senses were way above even the super soldiers, he must have noticed them.

 

“I fell asleep.” he sighed. Which he did, he passed out from exhaustion cause he hadn’t found a good place to sleep in three days and Matt was out of town and Wade was being Wade but in like Canada. He couldn’t ask Weasel to crash on his couch in the bar without arousing suspicion because he spent all of last week there. Cause Weasel was a fucking rat and would out Peter to Wade if he found out he didn’t have a home because he missed the lease on his storage box. And Weasel was also a glorified coward, don’t get him wrong he owed the guy for a job, but as soon as you even snarled in his remote direction he’d give everything he knew in a heartbeat.

 

“On the job?” Tony snorted mockingly and Peter huffed a little. It wasn’t entirely his fault. His ‘job’ didn’t really stop, or had a time frame, it kinda just happened (as Peter so eloquently puts it). Not like the Avengers’. You try protecting a city, maintaining a paycheck, and being hounded by literally everyone in the goddamn world 24/7, Stark. You have the fucking ability to go to sleep, it’s a choice for you not to take care of yourself. Peter didn’t have the damn time to fucking take care of himself (which should be a problem but he was fine) . It was simply a luxury he couldn’t afford, both mentally and financially.

 

But who needs health when you have energy drinks and painkillers.

 

Health...so stupid.

 

“I don’t think that part of it has anything to do with you.” Peter shot back defensively, maybe a little more snappish than he wanted it to be. That should have also been a warning sign Fury so graciously ignored. “And if you think that glitter and tinsel aren’t gender appropriate or whatever then you are a bunch of conservative assholes who really need to suck it up and get woke.” Poor Cap must be confused beyond all hell right now. But honestly, that outburst (which was uncalled for on many accountabilities) should really have made their heads turn to something was wrong with Peter.

 

But here they were, kept on ignoring the fact that somethings was fucking wrong with the kid.

 

“It’s more of an age thing, but take your pick I guess.” Tony replied with a shrug not at all affected by the comment like most of the other Avengers. Natasha wasn’t either, but she was not amused by it. “But hey, if you like glitter then you do you.” Peter gave an affirmative nod. Like he was satisfied with that answer.

 

“Thank you.” he said wanting it to be the end of the conversation. Rogers apparently had other plans though. It made the kid even more exasperated and snappish when he went on to tell Peter off. Again.

 

“Soldiers really should wear appropriate attire for the terrain they are fighting on. It matters and shows how well you actually take your job seriously-” Rogers was digging his own grave now. Welp, it was nice to know him. He really should have let Stark end it, he seemed to know how to take a hint.

 

“Okay let me just stop you right there,” Peter said cutting off the the good captain off in the most unnecessarily blunt way. While again, gesturing with each statement. “One: I’m not a soldier. I don’t like being told what to do cause I’m a teenager and all that rebellion shit. B:no I don’t care that I said shit it’s just a word, it ain’t gonna kill your kittens. Lastly: I take it as a personal offense if you think I’ve taken this” he gestured to the Avengers “seriously, at all. That’s not my thing, and frankly I’m appalled you’d even suggest such a thing.” Peter finished off and walked past Rogers right to the window to sit on it. Romanov stiffened a bit, probably rethinking her decision to recruit him, but it was too late. Despite all that he said, and maybe some of it was even true, Parker did take his job seriously sometimes. This wasn’t a walk in the park for him either. “So without any further interruptions, can we get this over with cause my cloths have a hot date with a dry cleaner. Glitter is really really itchy.”

 

Fury wasn’t sure how to respond to that.

 

OoOoO

 

For a kid covered in glitter and tinsel, he did a fucking good job.

 

He cleaned up the trash like he normally did. Maybe even better because even robots seemed to underestimate a 5 foot 5 person in spandex and sparkles. Defiantly faster than normal, if he was being honest. Parker must really want to take a shower or something, and Fury couldn’t blame him. He could still kick their asses though. It was at the end of the fight that Fury really finally noticed though.

 

Through the swinging and the kicking and punching and lasers and bullets, the kid was getting sluggish, much quicker than he normally did (and Spidey was the last to get sluggish in a battle because he seemed to have an inhuman energy supply). Lazily changing webs with heavy limbs and swinging higher to avoid fighting unease art targets to save civilians only. He didn’t really bother with robots that were doing nothing this time, sometimes even completely skipping over pods of them if an Avenger was near enough to deal with it. Aiming to kick the robots off their feet when they bothered civilians instead of actually engaging and fighting them hand to hand in ways that would put them out of commission for good instead of just throwing them off their games. It worked and he did his job, it just wasn’t normal for him to pick them off like this. Usually he’d corral them and fight them all almost at once.

 

By the time they got back to Avengers Tower, the glitter had mostly shaken off him-leaving a very sparkly battlefield wherever he had fought or swung over- and were stuck in crevices and indents that he had left in the robots. The kid was almost looked out of breath, managing to still stay straight and his breathing was almost sounding normal, but his chest was moving too fast and his movement was jerky and slow. It took Fury a minute to realize he was witnessing Spiderman being   tired . When he did it nearly knocked him off his feet with shock, because even though it was a perfectly normal thing for someone to be tired after a battle, the kid usually wasn’t easily worn out, much less show it when he was. He usually had a seemingly  infinite reserve for just that( along with the endless supply of facts about advanced STEM methods and achievements that he was sure not even Stark knew, and mindless questions that somehow made their way into the forefront of his mind on the most inappropriate times. Ie when he was trying to focus or sleep.)

 

“Mission successful but…” the stern voice had been somehow ignoring the child who was slouching in his seat for the whole meeting, but finally the big holographic heads turned to address Spiderman directly, and the kid was too out of it to notice that all heads turned to him. Probably thinking that he was off the hook when they didn’t immediately bash him for it. Allowing his guard to loosen (which also never happened and now Fury was kinda getting worried, but he’d never admit to that) just enough to make him startle at his code name.

 

“We reviewed the footage and your attire…” They really didn’t need to say it. Everyone knew he looked like a goddamn fairy princess had thrown up on him and threw him into a pit of glitter.  Fury winced at the noticeable bits of glitter still stuck on the boy, seeming to amplify the sparkle under the lighting of the conference room. “It is less than exemplary. While We can reluctantly tolerate you’re inconsequence to your rash disregard to rules for the sake of our respect for your Director, but this is a clear disrespect to our entire standing.” He said harshly, letting his voice spit out the poorly disguised insult. Fury thought he saw Peter flinch a little as the voice rose a bit.

 

“You should be grateful we don’t arrest you and send you to the raft or even the icebox . You’re getting more out of hand than Fury’s authority applies, with no explanation, and your kind is always noted to be on the opposite side of the law.” Said another council member, as if Parker wasn’t even human enough to be considered a person (Though fairy wasn’t entirely sure himself). That made Peter bristle and the others wince. Peter did have a thing about mutants rights(although he never defended himself, he always defended others) but Fury didn’t think the Avengers knew that. At least they were empathetic enough to know the council members had crossed a line.

 

“Then why haven’t you? If I’m so much trouble, why not send me?” He growled out with so much poison it even took Romanov off guard. It was deadly and scary and said that they had defiantly crossed a line. The Council wisely decided not to answer and Stark quickly found his autopilot and ended the call- but that’s all he seemed to be able to do until Peter lifted his spell. “That’s what I thought.” He crossed his arms with a huff and all the tension and malice that was building around him and expanding into the rest of the room seemed to vanish in an instant. Fury silently breathed as did the rest of the Avengers. Sure, the council members stepped out of line, even the Avengers could see that. But what in the everloving fuck was that?! Peter didn’t seem to notice the unasked question or didn’t humor them with an answer as he slumped further in his chair, with no doubt a pout under the mask.

 

“What’s the icebox?” Sam asked after a bit, that poor soul. Peter didn’t answer him though, just managed to look childishly upset with the mask on.

 

“It’s a place where they send mutants and inhumans if they do illegal things.” Natasha managed to answer. It was an understatement, that place was a literal hellhole with the worst kinds of psychopaths- definitely no place for a kid. But that about summed it up as far as a person who wasn’t either a mutant or already in the loop needed to know.

 

“I’m surprised they threatened a kid with it. It’s brutal there.” Tony states with thoughtful honesty, but Fury could detect a bit of concern (Fury was his fair share concerned too. why the fuck were they threatening Parker with prison now?) . Natasha studies the kid for a second, contemplating his mood and motives. Trying to figure out just what was going on in that brain. Well good luck to her, cause not even Fury could figure that mystery.

 

“Why didn’t they just say the Raft. That’s what they use for us.” Sam asked confused, clearly not getting the hint to shut up about it. Yes while there were mutants in the Avengers, the Raft was made under US government jurisdictions, the Ice Box was a UN thing that was a lot shittier and way more of a threat than the Raft ever could be.

 

“They didn’t threaten me with the raft because they don’t have…” Peter trailed off, not really speaking loud enough for him want be heard by everyone, but everyone heard anyway. Natasha managed to look surprised now, she must’ve figured out something that Fury wasn’t looking for. Peter straightened a bit when all eyes were on him. “They don’t have power dampeners there. Enhancements don’t count as a mutation because that’s… muscle reconstruction… in my case I was…” Peter paused like he didn’t want to answer the rest of the question but he’d already dug himself in this hole too deep, everyone was expecting him to finish now. “My DNA was mutated as well giving me powers. If your enhanced your DNA doesn’t change.” He said gesturing to Steve and then shrugging. It wasn’t what he was going to say before, it was probably censored and what he would’ve said before could’ve gave a lot away.

 

Damn his vigilance.

 

“They take your powers?” Clint asked a little surprised. But Fury knew that Clint wasn’t surprised at the fact they took the powers away; he was surprised that they threatened to take a child’s powers. Barton might not be a mutant, but he knows that a mutants health is based on their powers too. Especially a child.

 

“‘S not that bad. Just feel a little sick, cause I wasn’t…. it’s really okay.” Peter cutting himself off not ready to share the good stuff. Even after the year they’ve been together (although it wasn’t a very productive year in the terms of personal exchange between the Avengers and Parker). Fury sighed.

 

“Take the mask off kid.” Fury ordered, sick of trying to read the kid with the mask on and spitballing his feelings. Peter sighed and took it off, not arguing but Fury could tell he didn’t want to do it. He regretted asking the kid to do it immediately.

 

Now Fury, looking at Parker’s mask free face, regretted letting him come on this mission at all. He looked like shit- to put it lightly. His face hollowed like he hadn’t had a good meal in a while. His dark nearly black bags under his eyes, like he hadn’t gotten sleep in the last month. He was trying to wet his cracked drying lips to pass the awkward showcasing of his exhaustion. What was holding this kid together?

 

“Well, this has been nice. I’ve gotta go.” Peter said with a mock friendly voice and made a beeline for the elevator, trying not to look at the Avengers in fear their temporary stunned state would evapaoate before he could go.

 

Unfortunately, for him, it did. Steve stepped in front of him before he could get the last 5 strides. Everyone was kind of relieved in a way that he managed to get Peter to stop and not go around or dodge like he would’ve if he was t so tired. Peter sighed like he’d expected it. but he still looked a bit surprised when Rogersmoved his arm when Peter tilted his head to look at his goal. “That kinda means I’ve, you know, gotta go . As in leave .” Peter explained, trying to get the man to move, prepared to only go around him once.

 

“Yeah, and this means I’m not letting you. As in stay .” Steve shot back and if Peter wasn't surprised before, he sure was now. Captain America sassing him into staying. It worked enough to make him freeze his every limb and look up at the older man with wide raccoon eyes.

 

“Why?” He asked in a curious childish way, tilting his head only slightly. Like a toddler asking why the sky was blue or how birds fly. That voice shouldn’t be coupled with those tired eyes.

 

“How long have you been awake?” Steve asked instead, in his commander voice, and to his credit not being visably shocked at the contrast in appearances Parker had been giving off since he came in. It was like he thought it was the only thing Peter would respond to, which uhh, rude . And no, he would probably respond to that voice last if anything.

 

“I just told you I was pranked cause I was sleeping.” Peter furrowed his eyebrows, like he didn’t understand why Steve was asking the question. Steve mimicked the look, taking a second long to answer.

 

“Cause you passed out.” Bruce stepped in suddenly. His deadpanned voice being a relief to the order and professionalism of the conversation  that Peter couldn’t seem to wipe out. Peter whipped his head over to the doctor.

 

“I did not ‘pass out’. I just wanted to sleep.” Peter retorted “it was intentional. Completely and totally on purpose.” he huffed and crossed his arms like a child would.

 

“Yeah sure kid.” Tony snorted in disbelief. “You seriously need sleep, and that’s coming from me.” he looked at the kid and scrunched up his nose. And if Stark was saying that the kid needed sleep, then he probably needed a weeks worth of it. “And a bath.” He added, and Fury couldn’t help but agree. Peter glared at him, but the look had no heat.

 

“And some food.” Bruce put in helpfully. Or not so helpful because Peters eyes grew a bit panicked, for some reason. Banner didn’t seem to catch it as he went on. “Really just rest, why don’t you-”

 

“Bye.” Peter said backing up near the window and opening it and jumped out. As he probably would have before, had he not been too tired to notice it.

 

The Avengers sighed.

 

OoOoO

5 years earlier…

 

James “Bucky” Barnes was fucking Krasnaya.

 

The man she’d loved, and had been in the searching for was Steve Roger’s best friend. and now Steve was asking her to try and find him. Because he had gotten a tip about the Winter Soldier, that Natasha had been presuming and she had originally asked him for help, but then they found out the identity of The soldier and now Steve was asking her to make a different call and not to kill him. Like she was ever going to kill him in the first place.

 

So she agreed, because she wasn’t sure if she was ready to confess what she was feeling just yet. She wasn’t ready to tell Steve about the Red Room and HYDRA. She wasn’t ready to tell Steve about their child. Hell she didn’t even know if she was ready to tell Krasn- Bucky.

 

She was mad. Mad at Steve for making her do this- even if she wanted to do it anyway. Mad at Clint for not being here for her to vent. Mad at Kras-no Barnes, for leaving her with her son alone- even if they had no choice and he didn’t know.

 

Their son.

 

Even on that bunker she looked him directly in the eye, and he’s stared at her like he’d seen a ghost. Trying to remember her as they were Pointing a guns to each other’s head. He wouldn’t remember- even if he promised and Natasha feels angry that he forgot that promise too. Steve was not too far from her, trying to coax him to put the gun down, to tell him that she was a friend as if they hadn’t already known each other, but it wouldn’t work.

 

His eyes were fixated on her, and only her. A painful memory trying to escape and come into light to remember who she is. She could tell he was trying to have a memory of her. She knew she looked familiar to him. That haunted look in his eye, it was clouded by confusion. Like he needed confirmation.

 

She rolled her eyes, put her gun away and walked up to him, Steve stopped talking to him as she strutted up quickly, soon it turned into almost running. The feelings and emotions and pain made her go faster and she wasn’t sure if she was crying but right now she didn’t care. She was Running to her love, her family . The family she built in hell. The family she wouldn’t stop trying to find. The family she loved and lost. Slowly it would come together again. This was just proof of the hope she had wasn’t all for nothing.

 

He didn’t shoot her. He wouldn’t shoot. He couldn’t shoot. He pull the trigger as she walked up, but he had the panicked look in his eye, like he wasn’t prepared for whatever she was going to do. He didn’t know what to do. He froze. He didn’t shot when she kissed him long and hard.

 

“Natalia.” he said. It was confirmed when she didn’t answer. “Natasha.” he said and she smirked against his lips. Sealing the confirmation as he kissed back, albeit far more gently.

 

“Finally remembered?” she asked when they broke apart. “I thought I was unforgettable.” She said snarkily.  He smiled in a way that made her heart melt. She missed that smile.

 

“You are.” he said, and looked at her before the smile turned down into a frown. She raised an eyebrow. “I have to go.” he said going to pull away and she grabbed his arms tighter. She couldn’t loose him again. Not to this cruel world.

 

“No...you can’t” she said almost frantically, she didn’t know how she was going to tell him. She thought he was dead and thenfound out he wasn’t and then went on a submission to find him now. BUt now that she was here, and he was looking at her. Begging her to give him a reason to stay. She did. “We have a son.”

 

She heard Steve gasp(because he must have been quietly confused the entire time at the interaction between the two assassins). Barnes didn’t know how to respond, stayed stony and silent. She could tell that he was immediately in.

 

She still had a lot of explaining to do.

 

OoOoO

Present...

 

Fury dragged the kid more often than not.

 

It wasn’t a worrying fact, but it was a queer observation. The kid allowed himself to be dragged, as if he didn’t want to go but he also didn’t really care; and it really didn’t seem like much of a chore since he was so small. It was normal for them by this point, albeit the first time he did it, the Avengers were stunned into silence for a minute. I mean who wouldn’t  be surprised by the esteemed Director of SHIELD dragging in a teenage punk in spandex to an Avengers mission?

 

There were  a million questions when Peter first ‘joined’ the team, nearly none of them were asked verbally, even fewer were answered by neither Peter nor Fury. He didn’t really join, more like helped and then disappeared for a week or two. It was ‘ just take the kid, Stark.’ Peter hadn’t protested to it, although he did side eye the window, and Tony was pretty sure he wanted to make a break for it (out the fucking window). Tony didn’t know back then that the kid could jump out of a 70 story building and still be fine, so the thought that he was suicidal crossed his mind for a brief second. And then the second thought was: why the fuck does Fury have a kid? The third thought was: why is Fury giving me a kid? In hindsight, he probably should have wondered who the kid was, but he was so caught up in the fact that he was a kid, he didn’t really have time to dwell on it. But Fury wouldn’t answer his questions, so he took the presumably suicidal kid to the mission room.

 

He wasn’t exactly wrong.

 

The first mission they had together, he didn’t even try to listen to Steve. He just threw his small body at a freaking alien robot centipede that was shooting lasers directly at him. Somehow he got out of that situation visibly unscathed, but after the mission he was yanked to the side by Steve in the jet and lectured on ‘ turn your goddamn comm on!’ Peter looked at him confused, but didn’t say anything for the first 30 minutes, as Steve’s yelling got louder, and the kid’s face got more confused. Tony couldn’t help but notice, he wasn’t scared of the yelling, in fact it seemed like he was used to it. When Tony looked closer he noticed something else, the kid genuinely didn’t understand why he was being yelled at, and Tony had to give props to him for not asking or snapping at Steve sooner. Because when you were being yelled at by Captain America or any adult for that matter (at least when you’re a kid), you didn’t think about what you did, you just kind of assumed you did something wrong.

 

Not this kid.

 

“What comm?” he interrupted, finally giving up on trying to figure it out through context clues. Steve went silent and stunned and didn’t seem to be moving anytime soon. That must’ve been a new record and had Toony finally thinking: Who is this kid? (Although not under the appropriate circumstances, still plausible within first meeting) He was then quietly taken to the side by Clint (Because Steve was currently a mix between illiterate and guilt ridden to explain himself for yelling at a teenager for 30 minutes straight for his own mistakes) who explained the communication system they had in battle. The kid didn’t cry though, not even close. He didn’t seem sad at all, just neutral. Or maybe bored. Cap’s speech hadn’t affected him in the least.

 

The kid was a mystery.

 

Tony then made a mental file for Peter Parker:

1.)He seemed to pick on things really easily. (it was literally impossible to sneak up on him) He notices things even Natasha doesn’t notice sometimes.

2.) He also seemed to be more on the rebellious side of independent. But he also follows orders when he wants to. Sometimes it wasn’t even out of rebellion, actually it was mostly not out of rebellion. Okay, he was independent.

3.)He throws himself in front of anything and everything that harms even a stray cat (especially a stray cat actually), but he usually goes for the stuff that does the most damage first.

 

Tony’s been on over 30 missions with him, and that’s the only thing that is consistent: He follows orders when he feels like it, but it was hard to tell when he would. He didn’t have a particular mood for following orders, he kind of just did it or didn’t, so it was a toss up whether or not he’d actually listen. Either way, he got his job done exceedingly well despite what everyone says to him that he screwed up (which no, he only screwed up orders, so Tony never told him of, because there was less casualties when Spidey did his own thing. So he wouldn’t reprimand the kid for doing his job well, but he also wouldn’t stop the others from lecturing him about orders).

 

Sometimes Tony thinks the kid is just playing them all for fools, because even though he’s a kid and supposedly has dropped out of school for this superhero/vigilante gig he’s got going on, Parker wasn’t   stupid . The opposite, in fact. He was clever and quick-thinking, seeming to formulate ten contingency plans for when he thought the original plan would go balls up. And he always expected every plan to go balls up (which was smart, but also infuriating because he never had any faith even in his own plans. He just never had any faith in plans, period). He’s never really shown anything, intelligence wise, but his in-battle smarts; Tony figures it must take some sort of calculation to get the web to hit where he wants it to every single time. There is no way he’s so lucky as to have 100 percent accuracy without some form of basic math or physics (but none of the basics checks out for web slinging).

 

Peter talked too much, but he never gave anything away. It was frustrating when you were trying to read him or dig up something personal, and the mask certainly didn’t help especially when trying to know his emotions. If the conversation got too personal (Tony hasn’t really found the line, but he knows he’s close) Peter would just change the subject or jump out of a window - or off a roof, it really depended on his mood ,location and the weather.

 

He seemed to know exactly what everyone was gonna say, and exactly how to read everybody in the room (like Natasha, but like a kid that was male and could speak 70 miles an hour to a criminal while webbing them up). The only way Tony found this out was by observing the kid for literally 5 seconds instead of yelling at him immediately upon his arrival. He knew what to say, when to say it and how to say what he wanted without any regard to consequences. But he still knew what the consequences were, and didn’t give a shit.

 

It was terrifying.

 

The kid never really stopped talking, not even when nobody was listening. He seemed content with talking to himself or whatever voices that were in his head (Tony was 56 percent sure there were voices in his head, but Tony wasn’t judging, they all had voices in their heads too, quiet voices that never really talked but never really left you alone, or maybe that was just him? He doubt Steve had a voice in his head telling him to work and build and shit). Tony’s caught him through the comms once, yelling at something that wasn’t there, and that was probably the maddest he’s ever seen the kid. He was happiest when he was talking to someone that didn’t actually yell back, mainly that came in the form of a dog, cat or other domesticated animal- hell they didn’t even have to be domesticated, Tony had found the kid holding a decent conversation with a racoon once, when they were waiting for evac to arrive. Tony never mentioned it.

 

The first time Tony was scared of him was when he came stumbling in behind Fury after a mission in a baggy, ripped up hoodie and icy stare at the floor. He was quiet, calculative and angry . It was the most terrifying thing he’d ever experience. As soon as Parker walked into the room, all conversation had stopped, the air got too thick, and everyone could tell there was something seriously wrong . It was chilling and daunting, but the scariest part was when he noticed the Avengers(who hadn’t been looking at him, except for Tony) and the tension and ice in the room just vanished into thin air, and the room seemed to become bright again as the kid slapped on the smile that Tony thought was his actual smile.

 

It seemed so real.

 

He was bubbly and happy and talkative, but Tony watched him as he didn’t seem to notice that he was talking to himself three hundred miles per hour. It was like an autopilot thing. A thing he did to distract himself, or maybe comfort himself. They all had their quirks and coping mechanisms, so Tony wasn’t going to judge.

 

So in conclusion, Peter Parker was a child. Case closed. Right?

 

He knew he couldn’t be more wrong.

 

He had to be dragged to things (not necessarily screaming but definitely unwilling) that he didn’t wanna deal with. He didn’t like following rules, if not because he thinks he’s right then to piss someone off (whether it be Avengers, government officials, criminals, agents etc.) He was talkative and rambled too much about… anything really (especially about dog breeds).

 

Sure he was powerful, and cunning, and could slap together a decent plan, but those combined with his childish antics, made for embarrassing and amusingly strange first impressions. Like awkward teenager, but to the max.

 

He wasn’t even sure why the hell Fury would want to introduce him to the King of Wakanda (it was a bad fucking idea, and this kid was so controversial with strangers, he could start a war. Although he was never rude, he actually was probably the most open minded and accepting guy Tony has ever met. But that wasn’t what he was worried about). Probably because he was going on the next mission with them which was in a week, and his sister Shuri would stay here with Harley (they seemed to have kicked off some sort of science nerd thing together, he loved his kid).

 

T’challa was already here talking with Steve (probably about Barnes’ return, which was in a few days if he was not mistaken) ,and Shuri was doing the same with Harley (but like on a more excited level), they were just waiting on Fury, who was probably dragging along the kid. Who last time they saw him, was a week ago when he was tired and covered in glitter and the dictionary definition misery.

 

This time he looked more rested, although still sleepy, but not exhausted. He was in a NASA hoodie and hello kitty pajama pants, it was the first time he’d seen him without the spiderman suit or any variation of a costume/professional gear one could go vigilante-ing in.

 

He looked too much like a kid to be a person who fought alien robots.

 

He looked like a freaking teenager , and yeah he always looked like a teenager, but usually the costume and the webs and the tech dampened it’s affect (like he wasn’t really a real kid, just a kid). But the hoodie he was wearing was way too big for him and the sleeves went over his hands, faded letters that he could barely make out as ‘NASA’. The Hello Kitty Pants were soft pink and also two sizes too big, but the kid pulled the drawstring as tight as it could go cause two hot pink strings were dangling dangerously between his legs. And his shoes were literally a dirty torn up pair was grey converse and the soles and other areas were duck taped. He had a ratty black jansport backpack on his back, and one strap was broken, and there was also duck tape holding that together. Over all he looked like a normal teen with a lower class status. (And that’s what he really was, wasn’t he? A kid, from Queens who skateboarded with his friends and went to school. That’s what he should’ve been at least.)

 

He looked irritated and tired, but not as tired or miserable as last time. The tired like someone just woke him up from his nap kind of tired, and that was severely better than about to collapse from exhaustion and starvation tired. At least this time he was somewhat clean and not tracking glitter everywhere. Although, he still looked like he could use a meal or two.

 

“You know there’s a literal King in the room?” Clint said addressing the kid, as no one seemed to notice their entrance (besides Tony and definitely Natasha), the rest of the Avengers, including the king and princess and Harley, turned to them and Peter huffed a little, weather it was in defense or defiance he wasn’t quite sure, and crossed his sweater pawed arms (oh my god his looked adorable) across his chest. He wasn’t sure if he was trying to be intimidating, but if he was he failed. Like Catastrophically. He looked like a goddamn puppy.

 

Now I know.” Peter said a little red tinting his cheeks. “I didn’t think you were serious.” he mumbled to himself, probably referring to Fury. T’challa raised a brow at his appearance, but decided not to comment. If he was confused as to why the Avengers didn’t harp on him for the less than appropriate attire, Tony would not be surprised.

 

“Okay, last time you were in pink it was an accident. Why do I get the feeling this is on purpose?” Tony phrased like a question. His attempt to be subtle about the fact that Peter has often gotten himself into many a fashion disasters. And this, was not one of them. T’challa seemed grateful for it, and smiled at him with a gentle calm smile. That smile should be used for therapy.

 

“I was sleeping and this asshole,” he gestured wildly to Fury behind him. “Fucking woke me up. Like I blocked you for a reason bastard. Take a hint.” he crossed his arms, Fury didn’t seem phased in the least. DI the kid often block the director of SHIELD? Like what other things does a dropout do? He was 15 so he couldn’t get a job. And all he did was rescue cats and help old ladies all day, with the occasional criminal and odd supervillain… Right?

 

“You were asleep for three days.” he said in a monotone and Parker shot a mean glare at him with no real heat. Tony could testify to being cranky after taking a nap, but a nap did not last three whole days. That was a fucking coma. The king seemed amused by this and was laughing a quiet deep chuckle, Parker didn’t notice or didn’t really care as he continued.

 

“Just cause you sleep with one eye open doesn’t mean the rest of us have don’t have to sleep. We all don’t come from the depths of hell where relaxation and warmth doesn’t exist, you know.” Peter replied in what Tony could only describe as a ‘teenager tone’. Nice kid, Preach.

 

“You didn’t change because…?” Steve asked, probably pissed off at the attire too, but not commenting because last time they did, it was clearly and definitely not his fault (though it did seem like his fault this time, but you never know with Peter Parker, and Tony believes they were fully starting to understand that… after a full year). Peter looked like he was about to drop some mad wisdom. Oh this should be fun.

 

“I gave up and decided to hit fuck it for the sixth time this week.” Peter nodded seemingly satisfied with that answer. Steve sighed and quietly apologize to a very amused king about their not so resident spiderling, while Tony barked out a laugh.

 

“Wow, mood.” it was Princess Shuri herself who was smiling mischievously, Peter looked over to the voice and he looked at the other teenager curiously.

 

“It really is no problem. You are just a child, afterall.” T’challa seemed patronizing, consoling mostly STeve that it was okay, But Peter did not like that voice... at all . Still he slapped on a sickly sweet smile that screamed ‘try me bitch’, but at the same time was so damn innocent.

 

Shuri rolled her eyes and made her way over to Peter, Harley loosely following her, and examined his shirt. “You like NASA?” her eyes lit up, Peter looked more genuinely bashful now. But there was a unquestionable light that flared in his own. A light that Tony hasn’t ever seen on Peter Parker ever. Huh, interesting.

 

“Uhh, I-” he didn’t seem to know how to finish, or to begin really. Harley did for him.

 

“You didn’t mention that last time.” he said not unkindly, pointing at the sweatshirt and Peter looked quickly down then up again. Atta boy kiddo.

 

“I guess it never c-came up?” Peter said and Fury rolled his eyes and pushed the kids to the side to have their ‘playtime’ while Fury went over to Cap and T’challa to talk to them privately (probably about Barnes). Everyone went back to their own conversations, Tony listened into the kids’ though, sipping his coffee as he did so.

 

“So are you more of an aerophysics type of guy, or do you like astrophysics?” Shuri asked, trying to maintain conversation with a person that apparently was really shit at making decent conversation, despite how much he talked. Peter blinked at the question.

 

“I-I work mos-mostly with a-aero-” Peter said quiet in a stutter. Like he didn’t know how to respond to the question, or that he would respond wrong. He probably didn’t know how, considering he dropped out of high school if he wasn’t mistaken. But something about his tone was different. Shy. It was way different then how he talked to the adults. Tony thinks he knows what to say, just not how to say it, which Tony has never known Peter to be capable of.

 

“Aerophysics is more earthly based, while astro is space stuff.” Harley dumbed down for him. Based on their past conversation he had no choice but to assume Peter did know about science, although he did seem to know history facts and debate topics. Peter face seemed to fall a little, like he knew that but he just didn’t have time to say it.

 

Poor kid. He was gonna get roasted.

 

“W-Well yeah, I-I use Aerophysics when- when I go-” Peter was cut off again, Tony was getting irritated for Peter, cause he was obviously piecing something together. Peter on the other hand, seemed to be disappointed rather than mad or annoyed, every time he was cut off. It was as if he was finally being allowed to speak and say his opinion but then the rug would be pulled from under him every time.

 

“Harley, let him speak!” Shuri said crossing her arms. Harley huffed. Thank you Shuri. Listen to the spider child.

 

“Well he kinda dropped out of high school, but I don’t think they offer any sort of advanced classes at public school anyways.” Harley said in his defense. Peter didn’t deflate at the comment, rather smile a little. Just a quick quirk of the lips -like he knew something they didn’t. Shuri made and ‘o’ with her mouth and furrowed her brow in confusion.

 

“Then why does he have a NASA sweatshirt?” Shuri asked and pointed to the sweatshirt. Harley shrugged and she looked to Peter for an answer who just kicked an imaginary rock and shoved his hands into his pocket.

 

“It was the cheapest thing on the shelf…” he mumbled, Tony almost didn’t hear him. And oh damn , that’s a reality awakening. Shuri seemed to sympathize as she put a hand on his shoulder.

 

“Don’t worry, I didn’t even go to elementary school.” she said and Harley snicked, because Shuri was homeschooled, and by that, she meant that she literally taught herself everything. She was a super genius afterall. But Peter didn’t know that. That’s...kind of mean...

 

“Well, I liked Chemistry…” Peter offered tentatively, sounding like he didn’t want to be a total disappointment, not getting that they were being little shits right now. Something dawned on Tony.

 

Had Peter ever had friends before? A mutant and enhanced. Probably snarky and also closed off. Knows how to fight and piss people off. He didn’t really seem like the type to have-

 

Oh shit.

 

“Chemistry? I figured you liked Gym the most Parker.” Harley snickered and Shuri right along with him. Peter looked confused as he shook his head.

 

“N-Not really. I kinda sucked at Gym, but I was okay in Chemistry-” Peter looked a little shocked when Harley and Shuri burst out laughing and Peter looked down at himself and look back up confused. Like he didn’t know what he did that was so funny.

 

“Did you get a what, C+?” Shuri said and Peter took all of a second to figure out what was happening. He blushed and ducked his head, Tony couldn’t see his eyes, but his body position looked absolutely devastated .

 

“I-um-I d-d-didn’t...I- w-was…-” Why was he stuttering? Come on kid, say something smart. Say something funny. Jump out a window. Do something, say something! Anything! Don’t just stand there.

 

But he did. He stood there and took it. It was worse than when he was taking Roger’s demeaning lectures or Nat’s harsh reprimands. This caught Peter off guard, and he didn’t know how to do anything but take it. Tony hated that a lot.

 

“Parker, get your ass over here!”

 

Thank god, Fury.

 

OoOoO

 

He was so stupid.

 

He’d been bullied before, he e’d been insulted and babied and condoned. He’d been yelled at before. But usually those were all to his face, or mask. If someone had a problem with him, they usually didn’t try to embarass him before or lead him on. And if they did, he always caught on.

 

Albeit some people used to do that, but recently? Nope. Everyone just yelled at him. There was no one his age to do that with. Not with the parts and people he hung around with now. They were all grown ups. Condescending, jerkass grownups..

 

It’s just...they were asking questions that he could answer. That he liked answering. That he’d been telling himself about aerodynamics and physics formulas that made him fly above buildings, but only to people who don’t listen or creatures who don’t understand. Things that were only theoretical to everyone else, but he could do them (but couldn’t tell them because he had an identity to keep). Every web that was shot for swing was timed and placed according to the precise calculations he did in his head. Eventually they became a thing he did subconsciously,  but he could still tell people the formulas - and he kinda thought they were cool. That’s why he never got anything less than 100 in physics class.

 

Because if he got anything less than 100 as Spiderman, he’d die .

 

He let them lead him on and didn’t even notice. He didn’t have a come back or snarky comment to make at the end. He didn’t have the last word to say or anything, it was like his mind had went blank. What happened? He was doing so well. He never let that happen anymore, unless he wanted it to (and he never wanted it to, but like undercover shit was all about the details).

 

But then kids that were his age showed up and he started to get nervous. Started to lose his words. He didn’t expect to see them here, he had no time to prepare. These kids were a little older than him, but not by the margian that the Avengers were. They liked science and they talked about it with passion. He could hop on that train any day, and he was going to without any second thoughts.

 

You’re getting desperate.

 

He was about to ruin everything .

 

He should be glad that they didn’t actually expect him to say anything intelligent. He shouldn’t have gotten so depressed though. Because he let them believe he wasn’t book smart, and he knew he was smart. It just hurt sometimes that he couldn’t be himself around people anymore. He should’ve just made a joke or said something Spiderman was expected to say.

 

Why did he freeze?

 

He must have gotten too excited. He hasn’t done that in a while. That wasn’t fucking good.

 

“Suit up.” Fury said and he went straight to the bathroom to do just that, and stop his racing heart and melting brain. Was this really the way to do this? No… he couldn’t think like that. It’s safer for everyone if he just stays away. He was glad he wouldn’t have to see those two in a while.

 

He felt a pang in his chest. Which was stupid, because that was just some light joking. It wasn’t even that bad. They were just having some fun. They didn’t know Peter hadn’t had anything nice said to him in a while. They didn’t know that people never asked questions to him in a form of not yelling. They didn’t know that people never asked him about his interests outside of Spiderman. They didn’t know he missed MJ and Ned so much that it made his heart want to explode.

 

They didn’t know.

 

And it fucking hurt .

 

See this? This right here , is why he can’t have nice things. Not as long as he wears the suit. Not as long as he’s Peter Parker, or Petya or whoever he was.

 

And he can’t just give up the suit. Cause Spider-man was his constant now. He had nothing else. It was the thing that will never leave him (it can never leave him), whether he wants it to or not. He’s stuck with it.

 

...hehe... stuck .

 

There you go Parker.

 

“You good kid?” Tony asked as he was getting on the plane. What was his game? Peter narrowed his eyes suspiciously. Defenses rebuilt and now stronger than they were when he first walked in.

 

“I’m great .” That came out wrong. Peter ducked his head a bit, and moved forward faster, ignoring how Stark’s gaze lingered on his back a bit. He didn’t care. He shouldn’t care.

 

“Wheels up in 5.” Romanov said as she passed by him. So she saw his fallout too, because she didn’t sound that angry with him. Well they could suck it, cause he didn’t need sympathy...or friends. He gave that up knowing what it meant. He was losing the only people he had in life. The only people who would be willing to deal with his BS and everything that came with it. He wouldn’t let them, cause they were his friends .

 

Weird how that worked.

 

He went to sit on the ground in front of the third seat, under the window. It was unspoken, but his spot, no one touched it. He was there for a good 10 minutes after they took off before Stark came and sat in the plush aisle seat, leaning back casually as if he owned it (and he did, it’s just...this was you know, Peter’s place). He was gearing up on the floor, his legs in a cross, and only spared him a glance before looking back down intently relocking his webshooters, like he had done something wrong, unable to look him in the eye.

 

What was wrong with him? Did this really bother him that much? He’s been through so much worse. He’s Spiderman! He could fight 15 guys at once, and punch robots out of the sky. Why was this bothering him?

 

They should have known!

 

Focus on the mission!

 

He wanted the voices to shut up. They weren’t helping. He closed his eyes for a second before Stark spoke, affectingly silencing them.

 

“Teenagers can be mean.” he said and it made Peter uncomfortable. He shifted oddly, and still didn’t look up, but did stop fiddling with his web shooters. Stark continued. “You have friends?” he asked. He was silent until Stark believed he wouldn’t answer and moved to leave.

 

He should have let him leave.

 

“I used to.” he said instead. Stark took it as an invitation to stay, it probably was.He shifted into a more comfortable position in the seat.

 

“Where are they now?” he seemed a little hesitant to ask. Peter knew why. He never talked about his own personal life. That’s probably because there wasn’t much of a personal life to talk about. At least not anymore.

 

“They aren’t dead...but… they- I left them.”Peter stuttered out. He should really shut up. This wasn’t something he wanted anybody, especially Tony Stark (a man who can probably look up his name and instantly find out his friends intern for him and then he’d ruin this streak of silence and put them in danger and-)

 

“Why?” Peter shifted again. He couldn’t find a good position. His skin was too hot, he needed a cold new surface, but they just kept getting warmed up by his body heat.

 

“They aren’t like me...they don’t know about,” he gestured upward, and Stark knew he was referring to his powers and Spiderman. “This job...I don’t have the resources to keep them safe...not like you do…”

 

“Why don’t you just ask SHIELD, they seem to back you no matter what  you do.” Tony said crossing his arms and leaning back into a casual position. Peter knew that was a jab at his obvious irritation to getting away with seemingly everything. Peter shook his head.

 

“even if I did, there are some bad guys that don’t want money…” Tony seemed to understand that immediately, as there was a respectful silence for awhile. Peter thought it was the end of the conversation, but then Stark said something else.

 

“You seemed pretty into that conversation though. You like science?” Peter couldn’t bring himself to speak, there was a lump in his throat so he just nodded. “Why didn’t you just speak up?”

 

“I...I guess I forgot what it felt like… it reminded me of my talks with my... friends, I guess.” Peter shrugged. He couldn’t read Tony’s look, so he went on. “I shouldn’t have let myself- let it get that far.” Peter corrected, he could feel Stark’s gaze on him. Pitying. He hated it.

 

“Peter-”

 

“Stop.” Tony was shocked still at his tone. “Stop prying. And stop giving me that look. I don’t need it, and frankly I-” Peter took a breath, and calmed himself down, because now he was probably scaring Tony and if he screamed he knew he would sound childish. “I would appreciate you letting this go Mr.Stark. My interests and personal connections have nothing to do with what we are doing. I am not your teammate, nor an Avenger, so stay. out. of. It.” he warned.

 

He got up and took his bag with him to move to the other isle. This one wasn’t safe anymore.

 

Tony just looked at him as he passed the second aisle.

 

OoOoO

8 years earlier…

 

He didn’t like going home.

 

It had been 5 months since Peter had first came out of Special forces with Wade and was officially (by Wade’s terms)on reverse summer vacation- though he hadn’t understood what he meant at the time. Wade has dropped him off at the airport in Beijing and he got off at the airport in New York City to be found by  a mild mannered lady named Margaret who took him in a silver car to a dingy apartment building in a place called Queens and giving him to May and Ben Parker .

 

He didn’t know what to think about it at first. It was very different from all the other places he’s lived and people whom he lived with. The first thing that had gone through his head was that the apartment smelt really bad. The second thing was that Ben Parker smelt almost as bad as the apartment, if not worse. And the third was that May Parker was not all...there. Like she had been drugged. Peter could sure as hell smell drugs and alcohol from the surrounding apartments.

 

Nonetheless, Margaret wrinkled her nose and told them his name and relevant information as fast as she could before getting out of there and left as soon as she could. Ben waved him off to go somewhere as May stumbled over to him and was about to fall, until she used him as support. Now that he could see her closer she only looked partially sedated. There but not really aware.

 

He wondered what kind of place this would be like. What kind of training he’d get here. What kind of missions Ben and May would make him go on. This wasn’t really meeting the standards of all the other places, and far more unprofessional to be anything official. Why would Cotnet send him here?

 

May had taken him to his room which was small and had a bed and desk and closet and the walls were painted forest green instead of grey, and there were cloths that weren’t black in the closet and they didn’t seem to have any armor. Was he going undercover? She had said that he started school in a week and to take anything that was in the kitchen if he was hungry before stumbling out to do whatever. Peter shut the door for her and explored the room. There were books on the desk and a schedule that said Queens Elementary School Course list- Peter Parker. He read the relevant documents then he opened his shitty phone and typed in what an elementary school was.

 

That had been their first interaction. Peter kind of avoided them after that. He wasn’t really sure what they were meant to do(because they didn’t ask him to train and they didn’t give him assignments. School did But you didn’t have to kill anybody in school, in fact it was a rule that you weren’t allowed to hurt people), but after observing a few months of other kids and the interactions with their families, he finally understood what they were supposed to do. And he could help but feel a little sad that they didn’t do their job properly. That they didn’t take care of him or watch out for him. Or harp on him about his grades even if they were really good anyway(praise? Maybe a little praise wouldn’t hurt).

 

He found himself wanting Wade to be here, because Wade had taken care of him really well even if he was a bit odd (he took better care of him than anyone else he could remember). But he wouldn’t see Wade until the summer again and he didn’t think Wade really knew how to deal with this School nonsense either. But it was okay, Peter kinda liked school (the teachers didn’t yell at him when he asked questions and he learned things he already knew but it was still nice because they let him read a lot of books too).

 

After 3 months with May and Ben Parker is when the insults started. From Ben anyway. When May was heavily sedated or out doing work (because May was kinda nice and sometimes brought back extra fries from the diner she worked at, just for Peter) and only Ben was home.

 

It had started when he was getting some dinner, because no one cooked for him he had learned(but all he figured out with the little money that wasn’t spent on drugs was only able to afford take out and cup noodles). Ben was in the kitchen getting a beer from the fridge and Peter was set on ignoring him, because he was never very nice when he talked to Peter. He took out a cup of Ramen because that was all their paycheck could afford right now. Ben has commented on the sodium- or grumbled really- and Peter perked up slightly because that was kind of a sciencey thing to say so he started to prattle off about the element sodium but then Ben wrinkled his nose and snapped at him to stop being so annoying, he was just telling Peter that he looked like he was getting really big. Peter had looked down at himself and blushed.

 

He had been putting on more weight with more consistent, bigger meals, and he hadn’t been really training to burn calories as much because of school(which really the only class that burned calories was PE and that wasn’t even hard). So Peter put the cup away and didn’t eat that night- losing his appetite for the next three days in fact(before MJ practically shove a handful of fries in his mouth and told him he looked like more of a depressed twig than usual). He really had to watch what he ate if Ben even noticed that he was gaining weight(and if Ben had noticed anything at all it must be pretty apparent. How had he not noticed though?), it would make getting missions done harder if he wasn’t fit. And Ben never noticed him, so it must have been a problem... Right?

 

It took Peter 2 years to realize that was the stupidest thing he’d ever done because of Ben. And he had done a lot of stupid things because of Ben, but not eating and developing a kind of disability for a bit because of it (he got out of that though, especially when Ned had subtly voiced his concern and MJ not so subtly told him he was being an idiot. But by that time, he was more used to not eating than not, but he did get better) was the stupidest thing he had done for the man (although food bills were never a problem with him).

 

He would regret a lot of things he had done.

 

OoOoO

Present…

 

Spidey is a good smasher.

 

He is small, so when Hulk first saw him he didn’t think he would be a good smasher, but Spidey was strong in his puny body-to Hulks absolute delight. When he first met Hulk, he was wearing red and the bad guys were grey, so he realized that Spidey was a friend. But if he was wearing grey like he did that one time, Hulk would’ve smashed him (but he didn’t because he already knew Spidey was a friend). Spidey has started to fight with them more, and every time Spidey wasn’t there, Hulk got sad.

 

Nobody liked fighting with Hulk, except for Spidey. They all stayed away because when he smashes, sometimes things go boom, and he likes his friends when they make things go boom, but he doesn’t like it when they go boom too. Their smashing was more, or-der-ly- at least that is the term Shield used. He also said that Hulk smashing was too dangerous for others to be around except for the bad guys. Because it was good when the bad guys were hurt but not other things.

 

But Spidey didn’t need to worry about things going boom. He always moved away before they did, and Hulk didn’t know how he did it, but it made him stay near Hulk during battle. Spidey just knew when things were going to go boom before they went boom. Hulk only understood that much, but nobody else did because they all yelled at him when he ‘got too close’ to something dangerous.

 

Spidey had a metal thingy in his ear that let him hear the Avengers even though he couldn’t see them. Everyone had one. Except for Hulk. Hulk would accidentally smash the metal thingy if he had one. It still made him sad that he couldn’t talk to anyone like they did to each other. But sometimes Spidey would press a button and couldn’t hear them anymore. He would then make a relieved noise and start talking to Hulk instead. Which made Hulk happy, and Spidey seemed to like to talk to Hulk more than the others (because, even if Hulk likes his friends, they always yelled at Spidey, even if Spidey was Hulks friend too)

 

Hulk didn’t understand why he did that, but he liked having Spidey talk- because Hulk didn’t talk a lot. And Spidey talked a lot. He was funny and made fun of the bad guys and not Hulk.

 

They had a lot of fun together. They’d play smashing games together and it was fun. He liked it when Spidey laughed and was happy, because Hulk was making Spidey happy. He never made anyone happy or laugh or smile (even if Spidey didn’t have a mouth to smile with).

 

Hulk liked Spidey, because Spidey wasn’t afraid of him.

 

But sometimes, and Hulk always noticed, Spidey wouldn’t talk. He’d turn off his metal thingy before the smashing even started. He stayed closer to Hulk, and they would do serious smashing. That was smashing with no games or fun or talking- but Hulk could tell a Spidey wasn’t talking because of not Hulk reasons. Hulk didn’t like when Spidey went quiet. It meant that he was sad.

 

When Spidey was quiet, it meant that he had a lot to say. But he didn’t know how to say it, he didn’t read minds like the Red Girl did. But Hulk didn’t know how to make Spidey better and not sad anymore, So Hulk helped Spidey smash and didn’t say anything. Support Smashing, which made Spidey a little happier.

 

Today though, Spidey was really sad. It was the kind of sad that Hulk felt before he met him or when Spidey wasn’t on a mission with him. Hulk really didn’t like this kind of sad. It was the lonely sad.

 

“Why Spidey sad?” he asked, because he shouldn’t feel lonely, he had Hulk. And Hulk was his friend and he thought Spidey knew that. Spidey looked up at him confused. Spidey always listened to Hulk because Hulk never spoke much. But even if Hulk did talk a lot like Spidey, he knew Spidey would listen to him - he was really good at hearing things too.

 

“Oh, it’s nothing big green. Ready to smash?” What kind of question was that? Hulk was always ready to smash, but Spidey was sad now . Even if Spidey pretended not to be sad. Spidey was walking away and Hulk picked him up by his collar. Like the little kittens Spidey handed him once and Hulk was absolutely terrified to smash them because they were so tiny.

 

“Spidey sad now. ” Hulk insisted and Spidey just went floppy in his hand. He really was scrawny and puny. He weighed nothing to Hulk. Spidey need to eat more.

 

“I just...I dunno.” Spidey moved his shoulder up once and Hulk knew why Spidey was sad. Spidey was smart, so Spidey should know why he was sad too.

 

“Spidey don’t need to be sad, because Hulk is Spidey friend.” Hulk said, maybe he didn’t need to read minds like red girl, Spidey knew that but when Spidey didn’t answer for a while, Hulk thought he mind have been wrong. But then Spidey looked at him, and Hulk cannot see Spidey’s mouth(because he doesn’t have one), but he knows he made him happy. Good, Spidey deserve to be happy.

 

“Thanks, big green.” he said in a sin-cere way. “Now ready to smash?” Hulk smiled at him with his smashing grin.

 

This is why Hulk likes Spidey.

 

OoOoO

 

Harley was a good kid.

 

Tiny had known him since he was 11 and he had always been the one to be picked on, never the one to bully (even if he was a little shit sometimes, but that was just as endearing as it was irritating). Harley was a smart and observant kid, nearly spending two years in that she’d alone and going to school on his own. Making some cash to scrounge up for food, because she’d doesn’t have rent on it. That was before Tony had taken him in when he was 14 because his mom had inexplicably left him(even if she wasn’t there much from the beginning). Harley was a good smart kid, who helped Tony in his time of need by taking the hero in and Tony was returning the favor.

 

Parker was independent and smart enough to be consider not stupid (even if he supposedly dropped out of school for his vigilante thing). Parker could fend for himself and deal with his problems his own way. Emotional or otherwise, that’s the way it’s always been since Tony had first met him. As far as Tony knew, Parker never asked for help and didn’t really call in favors- if he had any. He didn’t make deals with the exception of SHIELD (which wasn’t a deal more like an exchange of favors and if that was so then Parker had a whole lot of leeway with Fury. Maybe that’s why he got everything he wants) nor did he make promises. Parker always dealt with things alone, which was another reason that Tony felt so wrong in stepping in this.

 

If he had to choose between Harley and Parker it would be Harley in an instant. No questions asked, he was his kid. He dealt with his endearing bullshit in a daily basis. Also Parker was nothing but a pain in his ass every since he first met the kid. Always disobeying and acting out. Parker had this coming to him for a while. It should be a good thing if he was knocked down a peg or two...theoretically at least.

 

So this conversation he was about to have felt wrong on all of Tony’s beliefs and on many other levels. Like he was betraying Harley by accusing him (more like pointing out) of bullying Parker. Tony felt a sinking feeling as he walked from the briefing room to Harley’s current location. Time seemed to not be able to go any slower as impending something came closer and closer. Anticipation? Dread? He wasn’t sure.

 

Harley was in the lab with Shuri, working on something in a holo-screen. They were probably building more prototypes for Avengers gear. Tony had long since allowed Harley to help (especially when Harley threatened to build an Iron Man suit and pull a Peter Parker to become Iron Lad or something). That’s when Tony stepped in (after almost having a heart attack) to say that he could help the Avengers by building some shit ( not a personal suit). Needless to say, Harley had jumped in that like a flea on a dog (was that how the expression went?). Shuri did the same thing for most of Wakandan and Black Panther’s tech, so when they were together they mostly bounced ideas and built things in the nearest labs while sharing some sort of inside jokes call vines (although Tony thinks it’s a Gen Z thing, considering he has heard Parker quote exact same phrases during a fight or briefing. Ugh, trends). That’s what they were doing when Tony and T’challa came in.

“Hey how was it?” Harley asked not looking up from the circuit board he was soldering. Shuri wasn’t even bothered to turn around from her analysis trials. They didn’t see T'challa and Tony glance at each other uncertainty flashing across the King’s features(he was probably in the same predicament he was in with Shuri. Kids right?).

“Shuri could you come with me for a moment.” T'challa wasn’t asking, showing he has had more experience in dealing with these sorts of things- lucky bastard. Tony was way more out of his element. Shuri groaned as she closed the stats she was toying with and dragged herself out of the room to latter behind the King, not even waving goodbye because she was probably going to be back within 30 minutes.

 

Harley looked up at Tony, and noticed there was something off about his posture. Like he wanted to say something but didn’t know how. Harley raised a brow, because this was a bit unusual to just come in and stop Shuri and him from working on respective projects. So something must have happened.

 

“What’s up?” Harley asked cocking his head and furrowing his brow confused. Tony breathes in, steadying himself for the conversation to start, not having much of a Segway into the topic because it was so obscure.

“I’m sure you didn’t even mean to do it. Well you meant to do it, just probably not have that kind of reaction...” Tony mumbled more to himself than to him “you’re a good kid.” Like he was firm in that belief. Harley furrowed his brows further, confused and now a bit worried.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen on the mission?” Harley asked tilting his head. Things often went wrong on missions, causing Tony to have various reactions to them. Some of those reactions were self destructive and Harley or Pepper or Rhody or Bruce has to drag him out of it. Some of the reactions had him building non stop. Some of the reactions had made him clingy and needy -as Pepper put it. This was the first time he was trying this new method though.


“No well... yes something went wrong, but more like before the mission...” Tony said and looked to the side for a second, before looking Harley in the eyes again as he continued. “It wasn’t really ... well it was more weird than anything? Off putting would be the better word. Words.”

“Can you stop dancing around it, what’s wrong?” Harley said a bit annoyed at Tony’s constant stuttering. If he had something to say, he should just say it. He never usually tried to find the right words to put into sentences, just always winged it. Especially with Harley, he didn’t have to hold back. So it was a bit irritating that he was doing so now. Harley crossed his hands over his chest, waiting for Tony to say what he needed to.


“Remember when you and Shuri had that little heart to heart with Parker?” Tony asked a bit rushed and Harley looked unimpressed. He nodded anyway in a Yeah-What-about-it kind of way.

“Yeah. You heard that?” Harley tilted his head. Not ashamed but more like confused and inquisitive. As if he didn’t understand why Tony was bringing up a seemingly random event. Which made it even more awkward for what Tony was going to point out - not accuse, Harley didn’t know he did anything wrong.

 

“Yeah...” Tony said a bit warily, making Harley’s face slightly contort In concern and still confusion. “it was a little harsh. Don’t you think?” Tiny said cutting straight through the chase. Harley blinked and stared for a moment, then scoffed amusedly.

“I mean yeah, but he puts up with way more insulting things everyday. Plus we didn’t even mean it.” Harley said furrowing his brow, like this was a stupid thing to talk about (it kind of was now that Tony was thinking about the conversation and not Parker’s reaction on the plane). “It was just some fun. And if you had a problem you could’ve told us then, we would’ve stopped. He could’ve told us too, I mean he isn’t a little kid. If he wants something, he should ask.”And that, Tony decided, was a good point. Parker is independent, he doesn’t need anyone holding his hand. Especially in this business.

 

“He didn’t know that.” Tony grumbled, in attempt to defend himself and his reasoning of talking to Harley. Sometimes when Harley made a really good point like that, Tony wondered who was the adult and who was the unreasonable teenager. But Tony was right about this one (even if it was hard and weird to explain). “I mean he knew, but I think it still like affected him.” Tony clarifies and Harley’s mouth made an ‘o’ in understanding.


“Did we hurt his feelings?” Harley asked, more amused than anything. And yeah, Tony got that it was amusing thought but...actually seeing it? Up close? It was a whole other ballpark.
it was honestly scary . Parker showing emotions somehow made him seem younger and like he actually had a soul that didn’t just thrive on pissing people off but approval and acceptance of his peers. Tony might not be a mutant, but he knows that it was a big deal for one to be accepted by their colleagues because of how rarely it occurred.


“I think you did. And as entertaining as it sounds, I witnessed Spidey have like genuine emotions ...” Tony said a bit dramatically, but it really was a sight to see, especially from the seemingly rebellious and snarky teenager that didn’t care about what people thought of him. “and it was fucking scary. Like he actually felt something. Never wanna see that shit again kid.” Tony warned and Harley looked like he didn’t know what to think.

 

“Was it that bad?” Harley asked a little more quietly, Tony seemed scared and that made Harley in turn feel a bit frightened as well.


“I dunno, yeah. It caught me by surprise is all. It just seemed a little brutal, but literally to anyone else it wouldn’t be but that kid just-...” tony stopped to think and rephrase his answer so he didn’t further Parker’s embarrassment more. “He just needs someone in his corner. You know not trying to use him or fight with him. You guys seemed like the first people to act more like a friend than anything in a while to him, and it was just a joke. That seems a little messed up, don’t you think?”

“I didn’t-“ Harley paled. Tony held up his hand. He wouldn’t let his kid feel bad over this because Harley had literally no way of knowing. He just had to be more careful next time.


“You didn’t know. You didn’t do anything wrong, I’m not gonna punish you for that. But like just for next time maybe.” Tony said kindly and smiled at him. Harley still looked distraught, as if that wasn’t the answer he was looking for. He wanted to make this right and Tony couldn’t be more proud of him for it. He is a good kid. “And apologize, or don’t. He seems like the type to not bring up the past.” he advised helpfully. Harley looked a little grateful for it but mostly wary and guilty.


“If there will be a next time...” Harley mumbled, still feeling mostly awful. “I didn’t mean to...” he looked to the side on the floor. Tony stood up and came over to him to put a hand on his shoulder.

“And Spideys no dumbass. He’s smart, like ridiculously smart. Just not like the rest of us.” Tony said as he pulled his kid in to give him a hug. “He uses Aerophysics more but I think he prefers astrophysics.” Harley laughed at that and it made Tony smile more.

“Really?” He asked, a bit incredulous.

“No, but he just seems like the kind of guy to like Astro.” Tony smiled down at his kid, who laughed again.

“Maybe I’ll try and teach him something then.” God he loved his kid. He smiled down at him as Harley pulled a bit away to look up at the Mechanic.

“I think he’d like that.”

 

OoOoO

 

The kid was drinking fucking HI-C

When the Avengers walked into the conference room, they expected Fury there for a mission. Usually it was a toss up whether the kid would come or not, but it looked like he was coming this time. Sometimes the kid would come on missions that didn’t require the whole team, that was not as likely to happen though but it still wasn’t completely out of the ordinary. The thing that was different is that Fury wasn’t in the room for briefing. It was rare for the kid to be anywhere that wasn’t a mission without Fury -at least as far as the Avenger’s know, he does go off on his own a lot actually.

 

This mission only required Steve, Sam and Clint. Usually if they had the mission info and no briefing it wasn’t a big deal and the kid never ever went on those missions. He only went on the really important serious missions as a sort of backup. So what was he doing here?


They could only assume that it included the kid too. He was sitting on the table, juice box in his mouth (the label read ‘poppin’ lemonade’ and although it was the superior flavor it also had the highest calorie count. Clint stores that information away just in case.) and he looked very determined to finish it -not even fiddling with his beat up outdated phone while he was doing so. He was in a hoodie and his Spiderman suit acted as pants and he was wearing his beat up converse. Equally beat up backpack next to him on the table. He didn’t seem to pay them any kind as they walked in.

 

Clint walked over and went to knock it up with his hand before the kid flipped backward to avoid it. Straw never leaving his mouth, but the corner of his lips quirked upwards. It was infuriating how he did that. Sam snorted at the kids antics and snack.

“Want some cookies with that?” He quipped and the kids eyes lit up as he looked at Sam. His small frame slightly bounced in excitement.

“You got some? I’m starving!” He said  with shining eyes. Finally releasing the straw from his lips. Sam looked affronted and Clint laughed at his friends failed roast.

“What? No! I was making fun of you!” Sam said. The kid pouted, seemingly disappointed in the fact that he didn’t get the cookie that was offered.

“At the expense of getting my hopes up? And when I’m hungry? Wow that just cruel man.” He said shaking his head in disapproval. Sam squawked in response as Cap took up the mantle of lecturing the child- as he so often did.

“If you were hungry then you should’ve eaten a proper meal.” Steve said in a chastising tone that he mostly talked to the kid with. It was rare for him to talk in any other voice else with Parker.

“Like a nice warm meal that you spend an hour to cook and sit down at a dinner table?” Peter droned on with a unimpressed look. It took Clint a second to process the question and another second to see that Peter had this look behind his eyes, like a longing look. It was covered and noticeable if you weren’t looking for it. Cap looked a little affronted for a second, probably at the strange question.

“Well yeah, ideally.” He said in a confused manner. Peter gave him a smile that shouldn’t be on his young face, nor should it have directed to someone older than him. Like the smile parents give their kids when they say some cute but totally unrealistic . Like unicorns (even though Thor insisted Pegasi did exist) and Santa Claus Or the Tooth Fairy. Things that would never happen...

“I’ll remember that next time.” He said back, in a more calm tone. He was trying to be gentle now, treading lightly over this topic. He didn’t just want to hide him from whatever he was implying (which Clint for the life of him, couldn’t figure it out). The kid was trying to shelter him from something. He didn’t want to break some sort of unspoken belief.

“Okay, where’s Fury?” Clint asked, getting a headache from trying to figure it out. He wasn’t sure he even wanted  to figure it out. He wanted to avoid the kids eye contact and ignore the feeling that he was a kid by looking around.

“Oh, he had to leave but told me to debrief you on your mission.” Peter said as if he was just remembering. He put down the box and picked up a sleek tablet with both hands (which made him look more like a little kid than a teenager) and stood up on the table to jump down in front of Cap. Clint raises an eyebrow.

“Your not coming?” He asked with his own raised eyebrow as the spider kid tapped away at something to pull up the mission, he shook his head.

“Oh, no. He gave me something else to do. He just asked me to tell you your mission before I leave.” Peter said and must have found what he was looking for because he made a delighted noise. “Your gonna raid a HYDRA base! It’s in Philly on the port side. The exact coordinates are in the Quinjet.” He informed excitedly in a fast pace before anyone could interject.

“Is that all?” Steve asked professionally, steeling himself and standing straighter. Peter didn’t mimic him as he double backed to the table for his juice box. Peter sipped his juice box as he shook his head and handed Steve the tablet with his other hand.

“Well, that’s what your files gonna say at least. Really what Fury wants you to do is take it out, but off the books you gotta get some information on the servers.” Peter said with a casual tone.Clint’s gotta say, it was nice to know what the real mission was. No sugar coating it with big words that justified stealing. It was unprofessional but refreshing.

“What’s the information?” Sam asked as Peter poked his straw around not looking very interested. Clint noticed the action was the kind his kids did when they were angling for juice that was stuck in the corners. It made his lips quirk up a little.

“Some dirt about SHIELD that they have. It’s always that, but they didn’t send regular agents cause this is dirt on the Avengers.” Peter said and looked up at them confused. Steve looked a little alarmed, as he should be because that was alarming.  “They don’t tell you what info your stealing?”

Cap grumbled that they weren’t stealing and Sam said “this would be the first time SHIELD had told us anything.” peter scoffed at that.

“How did they get stuff on the Avengers?” Clint asked. Peter cocked his head. Now a look of pure confusion totally taking over everything.

“HYDRA had infiltrated SHIELD.” He said and that made them all take a double take at the kid. “I mean it was before I came, that was partially the reason I’m here actually, not that they’d tell me that.” He grumbled the last part and looked back up at Steve “They didn’t tell you? I figured being Avengers you’d know.” Peter shrugged. They all just stared at him with slightly opened surprised mouths.

“How do you know?” Steve demanded and Peter sipped his juice box unbothered by the tone and shrugged.

“If Fury doesn’t want me to know something I’ll find out. It’s my thing. He stopped trying eventually and accepted his fate.” Peter said and then had a thinking look on his face. “Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that, but in my opinion I don’t do anything unless I know why I’m doing it. So if imma gonna brief you I’ll give you the real mission and not some half assed submission. Unless you want one, but I don’t got one for you.” He shrugged and continued on his juice box (which how was he not done with it yet?). “Any other questions?” He said with the straw in his teeth. They didn’t answer and he walked out of the window.

That kid was fucking terrifying.

 

OoOoO

 

Parker was a pain in the ass.

 

Not to Harley Keener in any direct way though. He was a pin in the ass to the Avengers therefore being constantly whines and complained about in the tower and he had to hear the complaints and ails that the kid (even though they were probably the same age) gave the Avengers.

 

Irritating, disrespectful, annoying, arrogant, brat, and other nasty things were thrown around. Even before meeting him, Harley thought he’d be a arrogant spoiled brat that thought he was better than everyone. Kinda like Flash. He thought that Parker would brag about his superheroing and all that shit that he did. Showing off his powers.

 

The Avengers might have mislead him a little. Because when he actually did meet Peter Parker, he was nothing like Harley could ever imagine.

 

He had this almost shy vibe to him. He didn’t talk much, but that wasnt because he thought he was better than anybody. It was because he was tired . And hungry, probably if his pressing of his stomach against the counter was anything to go by (Natasha had taught him to look for the little things). He could barely keep his head up, and Harley was confused as to how this kid could make the Avengers so aggravated.

 

Then he made the weirdest most accusing controversial set up Harley had ever heard. And when Harley got mad Parker handled it like a champ. Debated and reasoned not unlike MJ does when she brings up controversial topic. God forbid they ever meet.

 

Peter might be a superhero, but he doesn’t seem to think so either, no matter how people label him. He just doesn’t care about labels or people’s opinions of him in general. He didn’t seem very self conscious, so Harley figures he can take a light bashing.

 

It threw him for a loop when he found out that Peter could  in fact get offended. And Harley was well aware how many ways Spiderman could make his life hell. Unpredictable  Superhero from the Ghetto was not something Harley wanted to mess with.

 

He weirdly also felt bad . Parker could take a million people’s insults with no hindrance, so whatever he said to make Parker feel bad must have been really really terrible. Apparently though it wasn’t something he said more than did.

 

“Hey!”

Parker snapped his head up from the paper he was holding. He was currently stationed against the wall outside the conference room where the team was going over a few more mission things; apparently Parker was kicked out or uninterested or something because he didn’t seem to be doing anything important- but he shouldn’t assume that, because again unpredictable superhero from the ghetto. His backpack was next to him and he had put on an oversized hoodie, the NASA one. Harley looked to the space next to him and Parker slowly moved his bag, complying for the unasked request to sit down. He never broke his wide eyed confused eye contact. There was something innocently curious, but cautious about the look. It made him look years younger than he was (Tony says that happens sometimes).

Harley slid into the spot easily and looked at the paper, not trying to read it but draw attention to it. He knew better than to read something a superhero (or someone of that status) was holding. It could be dangerous or classified and get him in trouble. He couldn’t defend himself like the Avengers could. Hell, he couldn’t defend himself like Peter could, and they were the same age. Albeit, he Probably trained, but Harley doesn’t know by who. He was also a ...mutant? Enhanced? Huh, he didn’t know what Peter was. Either way he was all human , Which made him dangerous. Which means that he knew how to protect himself, even if he wasn’t formally trained. Harley had read somewhere that mutants have animalistic survival instincts that kicks in when they feel threatened, although he wasn’t sure that was entirely true for all mutants.

“Is that classified?” He asked looking at Peter quickly look down at it and snapping back to his face. He shook his head, not entirely looking him in the eye.

“So-sort of?” Peter stuttered looking down at the paper but not hiding it. He was nervous and weary. “It’s a solo op.” That got Harley’s attention. Solo op? He thought Spider-Man was just an asset for some Avengers missions. When he wasn’t doing that he was considered doing vigilante work (that no one bothered to stop anymore). If he was getting his own solo mission, then he must be an agent of SHIELD; which was news because Harley thought he was just a Vigilante.

“You’re an agent?” Harley asked, sounding surprised. Peter shook his head frantically and huffed a laugh.

“As if. I don’t even qualify for level 0. Just gives me something to do. Plus Fury needs to keep an eye on me, and I really don’t mind as long as he doesn’t out me.” Peter said casually, but Harley could detect a hint of cautiousness. Parker was good at covering it up, but he was watching his words and if Harley didn’t live with the Avengers including two super spies and an ex Assassin he wouldn’t have picked it up. There was more to the story. Harley didn’t press though, he was here to apologize not interrogate (although Parker would probably get more information off of the interrogation skills alone. Natasha said that people do that sometimes and it was a tactic she often used when being interrogated).

“What’s the mission?” Harley asked and Peter paused as if considering answering him honestly. Harley was sure that Peter could be lying and he wouldn’t notice it unless he wanted Harley to. Natasha did that sometimes to teach him how to figure out if people are lying.

“Enhanced profiling, just gotta get some basic info on this one guy in Queens. It’s boring as fuck, but like I got nothing better to do.” Peter said with a shrug. He was lying, or at least not telling the whole truth. Harley wasn’t really sure, but he knew he wasn't telling him something. No way Spiderman would do something he thought was boring, that just wasn’t his thing. He heard Fury complain on multiple occasions that Spidey turned him down because he had something better to do or just didn’t want to do it.

He didn’t exactly know how Peter and Fury’s relationship worked, but he did know if one of the Avengers did half the shit Parker pulled, they’d be in deep fucking trouble. How did Spidey get Fury to let him get away with so much shit? It kind of pissed him off, because Tony would come back to the lab bone tired and then get called on a mission not even five minutes later sometimes. He couldn’t take a break, what made Spiderman so special that he can duck out any time he wanted? Maybe because he was a kid but that didn’t really seem significant when the world was in danger.


“So who assigned the mission to you?” Harley asked conversationally. He was sure Parker knew what he was doing, and either didn’t care or played along.


“Fury, but it’s not for him.” Peter informed as he flicked through the page again, but not because he was reading it. He just seemed restless.

“Who’s it for?” Harley asked and Peter gave him a snarky grin. The grin that he was so often acclimated with. The grin that fooled him into thinking Parker wasn’t insecure. In light of the truth, it looked more like a defense mechanism than a personality quirk to Harley now.

“That’s what I can’t tell you.” He said coyly, not very apologetically. He knew Harley understood that he couldn’t know for his own safety (and if he was being honest he was glad Parker didn’t hate him enough to put him into danger). Then his demeanor changed. It was sudden and was like whiplash, caught Harley a little off guard. “Why are you so interested in it?” Harley sighed at Peters curious tone with a noticeable hint of suspicion, then he looked at the paper and it  then had a tint of sadness mixed in it - which really caught Harley off guard. “Did Mr.Stark put you up to this?” He asked there was a beat of silence when Harley opened his mouth to answer Peter did for him. “He asked you to apologize, didn’t he.” It wasn’t a question. (See? This is what Harley meant when he said Parker would be getting more information than he was dishing. How was that even remotely fair? he was like at least a few months younger than Keener.)Harley didn’t know what to say, so he said:

“Yeah.” It was honest and the truth. Peter couldn’t analyze it for lies, but he found something anyway. How did he do that?

“You feel that bad about it? It was just some fun. Plus I get a lot worse daily.” He still didn’t look up.(that’s exactly his logic. So dish Parker, why did you have a mini panic attack in front of iron man. He’s all ears.) “But I get it. I could tell Mr.Stark was really freaked out when he talked to me. If I’m being honest, I was kinda freaked out too. I don’t like when things get to me. It’s stupid and annoying.” He said like it was a problem to have emotions. Like it wasn’t okay to be sad, at least around other people. Has he never sought out comfort before? That was kind of...depressing.

“Did it get to you? Make you, ya know, feel...something?” Harley wasn’t sure what to say. What would it make Peter feel. He’d be pretty pissed and sad, especially if he didn’t have friends and then that got thrown in his face. How do you say sorry to that? Cause no matter how much he apologizes, it won’t actually fix anything. he was luck that he did have friends, and sometimes he took that fact for granted. He had amazing, smart friends and a supportive kickass family. What did Peter have? No friends and a freak accident that made him a outsider from everyone else. Maybe that’s what made him special. Cause he could not get angry when people dumped their shit on him and took for granted the things he didn’t and probably will never have. Like a normal life, with normal problems. Harley didn’t know much about enhanced people, but he knew that when you get enhanced so do your problems. At least, that was the simplest way to put it.


“I guess it was just unexpected.” Peter said looking at the wall now, with dullness in his tone. “I guess it caught everyone off guard, huh?” He turned back to Harley with a smile, it looked real but it was fake. It was hiding just how sad and messed up this situation really was. But Harley couldn’t help but notice that Peter wasn’t asking for friendship and he’d already given forgiveness without much of a second thought. Did he even want friends? This kind of stuff seemed easier when you had them.


“I’m still sorry.” Harley admitted. Peter waves generally, indicating it doesn’t matter anymore and is in the past. But this did matter, no matter how Harley thought about it. This was a fucking problem.

“No harm, no foul.” Peter said easily. But was that really true? Was he just hiding the harm Harley had caused him, because he defiantly cared more than he showed. “We didn’t really have a good first impression, so third time's a charm I guess.” He sighed and turned over to Harley and stuck out his hand. Now Harley didn’t know what he was doing now, completely lost. “I’m Peter Parker.” He said with an easy, welcoming smile. Harley took his hand awkwardly and shook it.

“Harley Keener.” Peter laughed. Harley didn’t see what was particularly funny but found himself laughing too. “God, this is so corny.” He couldn’t help but point out between fits of giggles.

“I’m not saying that third time was particularly perfect. But it’s better than the first time.” Peter said smile in his voice. It was friendly and warm and Harley thinks this is the first time he’d actually ever seen Peter smile .

“Yeah, definitely.” Harley said happily. He wasn’t completely sure what just happened, but he thinks he just made friends with Spiderman. Or maybe he just made friends with Peter Parker. Harley couldn’t find himself to think of this friendship with Spiderman more than his less infamous alter ego. He kinda liked the thought of being friends with Parker. Behind all that snark was actually a pretty chill dude. Who would have guessed?

“So...” Peter said, looking to the side after the laughter died down and a comfortable - if not a little awkward- silence fell between them. “What now?”

“Tony said you were smart.” Harley blurted, cause he had nothing else to say. He blushed a bit at the outburst and Peter Just looked amused.

“How did he get to that conclusion.” He asked in a teasing tone. Harley shrugged, trying to look casual but probably failing under Parker’s vigilance. If it did, he didn’t say anything.

“Dunno. But he says it. He doesn’t say it often so...” Harley trailed off and looked at Peter who now had an amused smirk on his face.

“It has to be true.” He finished for him and Harley nodded in confirmation. Tony didn’t say that people were smart often, when he did it was usually the idea or opinion and not the person itself. When he said a person was smart, it meant they were fucking smart . He didn’t throw around that compliment lightly. So when Tony said that Peter was smart, he took it like it was a unchangeable fact.

“Is it?” Harley asked, even if his opinion on the matter couldn’t be wavered. Natasha says that an answer, even if they really did have no choice in the matter, could tell you a lot of a person. In this case, it was Peter’s humility and ego that was being tested. Peter looked thoughtful before answering, he then looked up wistfully.

“I mean, I guess. I grew up in a place where book smarts didn’t matter. Street smarts would help you survive.” Peter said and then shrugged. “It was a toss up whether I’d even have enough money for a graduation gown.” Peter said and then grimaced “turns out I didn’t need one though.” There was more to that answer than he knew. Or probably he did. It seemed like Peter did want to graduate high school at least, but something got in the way of that. Something that wasn’t Spiderman related. That changed the story that Harley had fabricated a lot. But he also felt like he was still missing something.

“What happened? You don’t seem like a stupid guy to flunk out of high school.” Harley said honestly. It was true, when he first saw Peter he didn’t seem like he would skip or anything. He seemed almost intelligent, but then Harley jumped to conclusions about him dropping school for Spiderman at that first (not really but still) insult. It justified his anger if the person who was insulting them was wrong in their logic.

“Life. Aunt wasn’t paying the rent because she was getting high more often after my uncle died. Even if he was around he was too drunk to support us for much longer.” Peter said, Harley couldn’t pick out the tone. But geez, that fucking sucked. Aunt getting high and drunk uncle went hand in hand with abuse (but if Harley learned anything, he knew not to assume. But still, as messed up as it was, it would make more sense if Peter had been abused. How else would he be able to casually take horrible things in stride?). That part didn’t need to be said out loud though. Harley was only like 70 percent sure of it. Again he couldn’t assume anything about Parker.


“Geez, Sorry man.” Harley said, there seemed nothing else to say (Peter was rendering him speechless much more than he thought this conversation would). Somehow he wasn’t surprised though. It was messed up and totally horrific, but somehow it was what he was expecting. It made sense.

 

The thing is, he could totally see Peter getting abused and picked on. He was small and unassuming (or at least he looked that way. Harley wasn’t so sure he was the athlete type before he got his powers) He took his bullying as Spiderman with such little thought. Like it didn’t even effect him. It didn’t chip away at him. But one well placed comment could tear him apart. That kind of attitude came with experience. Experience That no one has ever accepted him and acceptance that probably no one will accept all of him.  It was messed up and Harley hated that he couldn’t see it before or do anything before. He was also kind of mad at the Avengers for not doing anything about it. But Peter didn’t seem like the type to accept help easily. Again, he’d been fucked over too many times to not be suspicious of someone being nice to him.


“It’s whatever.” Peter shrugged, he looked like it really didn’t bother him, which was weird cause that kind of shit fucked kids up. Harley didn’t want to believe that Peter had been in worse, so he didn’t, not until Peter said so. “Doesn’t really matter anymore cause they’re dead. I can’t keep a public record if I’m not going into CPS. So either graduate or dropout.” Peter said. That explained it. It was a fucking good reason not to go to school. No one wanted to go into the system, especially if you had other options (which Peter did have as Spiderman) Tony said the reason he dropped out was probably because he wanted Spider-Man and then went to reprimand the kid because he shouldn’t be focusing on dying, just school. Get a real life and all that shit but...

Peters real life was absolute shit. And the was putting it lightly.

 

Fucked up would be a better term; and he could never have any chance of cleaning it cause it was the foundations of his life. No wonder he wanted to escape into the world of heroes and villains, with his enhanced abilities it’d only get worse for him where he came from. With him being a freak and outcast and an orphan with no one to go back to. When There was really no where for him to go, because being someone your not was way easier to do than to face your shitty reality. Harley wouldn’t want to face it either. Peter thought he was just gonna end up getting a blue collar job and that would be it for him. At least he wanted to help people somehow by being Spider-Man.

 

It made sense.

“Why didn’t you go into the system?” Now that he said it out loud it sounded like a stupid question. Of course he didn’t go into the system, especially to finish something as useless (to Parker at least) as school. Who would want to put themselves through a hell they couldn’t escape? Because once you were in, there was no going out, there was no do overs, no second chances, no dropping out. You were in it til you were 18 and 3 years didn’t seem like much but it was really an eternity. The unamused look he got had him holding his hands in surrender and Parker rolled his eyes in an almost good natured way. Peter talked anyway, even if that question didn’t need to be answered.

“My life was fucked as soon as I was six- actually, scratch that, it was fucked when I was three. No way I’d get anywhere worth getting to before. And then this shit happened.” He gestured to himself, and Harley knew it meant his powers. “Then some other shit. Then I had to fix some of my own shit that I messed up. Then I was like well it doesn’t really matter anymore so if I’m gonna die then why not help some people out before I get there. Then more shit. Then this shit.” Peter gestured around himself, making wide gestures to emphasize how much he couldn’t get out of this. It was almost as if he didn’t have a choice in being Spiderman. “and now I’m here.” Peter put his elbows on his knees and looked at Harley. Neutral look waiting for an answer of some sort. He was way too casual for this sort of conversation. Being way too laid back about this topic. But as Harley said, Parker was a chill dude, like really chill apparently.

“That’s a lot of shit.” Harley said, acknowledging it almost as if he would be acknowledging something a child said.  “you dealt with all of it?”Peter shrugged.

“Eh most of it.” Peter said in a so so way, moving his hand in a corresponding motion.

“Anything they can help with?” Harley asked gesturing to the door which the Avengers were behind. Peter snorted immediately.

“Harley, no offense, but one of the reasons Fury brought me into this clusterfuck in the first place was because I would help deal with some of their problems. Trust me, I don’t need to add mine on top of it.” Peter said. Harley felt himself choke up for a second. The fuck? Does that mean the Avengers didn’t know about Peter’s real life. They didn’t know why he dropped out? They didn’t know he was supporting himself and barley getting by because he was a kid and didn’t want to raise suspicion and also because he was fucking Spiderman. The kind of shit he was dealing with required fucking a shit ton of therapy. Like noon to five, three days a week in a trauma center kind of therapy, at the least .

“Oh...anything I can help with then?” Harley asked more out of Curtiss. He knew he could help with exactly none of anything Peter was dealing with. Peter, bless his soul, looked at him in a thankful but unrealistic way for a second.

“Probably.” He shrugged. Harley, not expecting that answer, felt hope bubble in him. “But I’m not letting you anywhere near it.” Harley groaned, bubble officially burst. Peter laughed at that (and how could he laugh and smile like that when his life was utter crap).

“Come on Parker.” He whined. Peter smirked amused by Harley’s reaction.” Why not?” Even though he knew why.


“Because one: Stark would kill me. B: the Avengers would bring me back to life to kill me again- which if I die I do not want to be brought back to life, just let me fucking die. And lastly: my shit is not like the Avengers shit. It’s dangerous and not sponsored or supported. No doctors, no allies, don’t drag civilians in under any circumstances kind of thing. It’s not an alien invasion. Most of the time the media, much less the government don’t  even know about it.” Peter ranted off and then said more seriously and quietly, not looking Harley in the eye but at the wall in front of him. “And it’s messed up, Harley, it gets really messy and it’s so wrong that it’s not even funny. I can’t even find a way to joke about those things, and normal civilians aren’t dragged in unless they aren’t as normal as they thought they were. So unless your dragged in, no you cannot help.” He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to hear the quietly muttered “and I hope you’re never able to help me.” Peter said under his breath, but he did.

 

...Parker cared… a lot… and About him.

 

...Wow.

 

“How is it worse than HYDRA?” Harley asked almost breathlessly, not believing Peter but not entirely not believing him either. Peter huffed out an incredulous laugh, as if he couldn’t believe himself (but what he said was probably true. There is a lot of messed up shit in this world Harley doesn’t know about that Peter does. The papers in his hands is probably one of them).

“You don’t want to know. This is the kind of shit the government covers up when they finally find the bodies. It’s messed up.”  Peter said quietly, as if talking about was a sin. There was a pause and he clapped him on the back with an off putting smile. “Hey it’s gonna be okay.” He said happily and Harley looked at his smile in disbelief. How can anything be okay? How he say that when his life was so messed up. When he knew just much the world was messed up. How could he smile and nod and pretend like everything in his life wasn’t trying to actively kill him? How could he still want to help people when they only betray, use or belittle him? He has the world set against him, and he’s telling Harley some bullshit about everything being okay?

 

Hell no.

“How was any of the shit you just told me remotely near okay?” Harley asked with his brow pinching and Peter sighed. Like he really wanted to end it there, but Harley wouldn’t let that happen. Not until he understood why Peter pretended his life wasn’t going straight to Hell.

“It’s okay because despite all the shit that happened, and the shit that will eventually happen, I don’t regret having my kind of childhood.” Peter said quietly with a sad smile on his face, he didn’t look Harley in the eye and stared at the ground in front of him as he let his hand drop from Harley’s shoulder.

“Your kind of childhood was over before it even began.” Harley said in a dead tone. Peter huffed a humorless laugh.

“Yeah, but I understand things better than I ever could with a normal one. I know where drug circles are and dealer’s patterns and I know Queens like the back of my hand because of it and...” Peter let himself smile a bit brighter.” And I’m proud of myself for getting this far on my own. I’m proud of myself everyday I don’t die or help someone. Cause I didn’t rely on anyone but myself. I did it on my own. I got here on my own. And I’m helping people. I have no one to impress. No strings attached.” Peter said with a nod and looked at the mission and paused before continuing. “Well not entirely my own... the guy who gave me this mission” Peter flicked the paper up quickly “he saved me once... I owe this to him.” Peter smiles at Harley. Harley didn’t know what to say to that. Before he shook his head and smiled himself.

 

“God, that’s- that’s fucking inspiring man. You should write Disney movies.” Harley said with a shake of his head. It was corny but made sense. Peter made sense, and he didn’t make sense at the same time. But that’s okay, because Peter was okay (or he would be once he got out of whatever loop he’s been in).

 

“Technically Marvel is Disney.” Peter said back and Harley looked confused. Peter laughed and shook his head “never mind. I forgot you can’t break the fourth wall. “ He snickered And Harley slapped his arm playfully.

 

“Marvel? That’s so stupid! Why would our universe be Marvel?” Harley said with a snort and Peter laughed.

 

“Ask the producers.” He said and Harley laughed at that.

 

“Your insane, man.” He said good naturedly and Peter gave him a knowing smirk but didn’t retort.

 

Maybe having Peter Parker as a friend wouldn’t be that bad.

 

OoOoO

 

It could never be easy, could it?

 

He couldn’t enjoy the little good things that happen in his life for a long time; he’s long since learned to charity things in the moment. Good things don’t last for him that long. But bad things always linger. In hindsight he should’ve seen this coming. He should have known Parker Luck wouldn’t just get rid of his past so easily. That’s on him, he’ll admit to that much. But this ? He thinks he deserved a little warning before this kind of shit happened. Was that too much to ask universe?

 

Apparently it was.

 

“I don’t wanna. Last time didn’t go so well.” Peter whined tugging on Fury’s hand that was gripped around his wrist all the way up the elevator. He could tell all the complaining was getting on Fury’s nerves. But it wasn’t his fault, he was meeting someone new today apparently. Another auxiliary Avenger or whatever. He was still trying to adjust to a fucking king working with them, there was no way in hell that he could get used to...whoever this person was at the same time. It was all a little too much even for him.

 

“I don’t care Parker. We’ve got another mission. This time with a… rehabilitated asset.” Fury said again with a mumble. Peter made a whining noise again but didn’t say that that was the problem. Maybe if he annoyed Fury enough, he could get out of this due to Fury’s temper. What he didn’t account for was Fury’s Peter Parker BS tolerance (which went up significantly since they had met, and although Peter was immensely proud of Fury for growing, it was also a big dampener whenever he didn’t want to do something. It was harder to get out of things through annoyance alone.)

 

“Stop calling humans assets, it’s degrading.” Peter said back letting himself be dragged. Going limp and trying to add weight to himself instantly so Fury would slow down or trip up. Needless to say the method was ineffective due to logic and science. “And why is it so important that I’m here. Fresh out of the barn Rehab people and snarky annoying assholes don’t mix well. Like at all. Don’t you think this little meeting should wait until..I dunno, never .” Peter said as he was pushed through the sleek doors into the conference room where debriefing was held. If Fury answered, he didn’t hear it.

 

He froze.

 

Next thing he knew, Peter was pushed into the wall roughly, being heldup by his neck. He didn’t have time to react. He didn’t have time to dodge. It just happened and his Spider sense was making his heart pump out of his chest and vision blurry, sending painful raps down his back. And yeah he knew he was in danger.

 

‘Thanks a lot Spidey Sense, you are forever my constant companion and savior .’

 

He was pushed into a wall by a person he didn’t really wanna remember and couldn’t really breathe, which was you know, an essential life function. Weather it was because of the choking or the panic attack, he wasn’t really sure. Maybe both? But yeah, again thanks for the heads up SS, you really are the MVP.

He’d been pinned down before, in much scarier situations (or maybe this was the most scary situation. Okay remedy that to theoretically scary situations). But this was different. Very and completely different. Usually the people who pin him down aren’t (ex?) HYDRA assets who had trained him from ages 3-6, who were supposed to be dead and who he really did not to remember. At all. He could hear muffled screaming and talking and noise, every thing but the face of his attacker was blurry. He was going to push back before a clear voice said.

“How did you find me?” The hoarse scratchy deep voice said. Gruff and only sometimes gentle. Coming as a horrific confirmation that this was very much real.

That voice. He’d heard it before, although it didn’t make itself known much. The things it said were important. The words it said was what Peter built his life on. Peter could never forget that voice.  Low and gruff. As if it was only used to speaking in grunts.

No .

“How did-“ Peter's voice was hoarse and dry, he’d lost all his breath as if he had been winded. The clothed metal arm against his throat slammed into him again making him gasp a little. Tears sprang in the corner his eyes as he made a small choking sound. (He never choked very loudly, that was just something he noticed about himself. He liked being strangled without yelling or loud noises, because he had to save that energy for, you know, breathing.)

No. Not soldier. Not HYDRA.

You can’t go back!

“Hello I am Peter Parker. How did I ruin your life?” Peter gasped out, hand never loosening. The irony was that Soldier tore his life apart, nearly 10 years ago. He didn’t think the soldier heard him regardless.

“Answer the question!” The voice shouted. Peter closed his eyes and tried to breath, so it was definitely the panic attack. At least he figured it out. He was like 68.32 percent sure.

 

“Hey. Hey Buck. Put Parker down.” Nope. Not the right thing to say. Shut the fuck up. Don’t say that name as a singl- The arm tightened, Peter made a slight gagging sound in response.

“He’s dangerous,Steve.” Wow . What a fucking honor . Being a danger to the Winter Soldier? Too bad that compliment worse out like a whole decade ago. Because he left him, not the other way around, Soldier.

 

‘You left me.’


“No. He’s not.” Go an’ degrade him like that? Thanks a lot Steve. You know he didn’t work this hard to not be respected...it’s not going real well, but that doesn’t mean Steve can’t appreciate his effort. “He’s a kid.” Yeah, technically. But  he didn’t feel like one. Especially when he’s fucking dying at the hands of his old roomie.

 

‘You left me alone there.’


“Yeah, but... he’s not just a kid.” Okay, Soldier. Nope nope. No spilling uncomfortable secrets now. That’s not what HYDRA taught you. No sensitive information, that’s confidential for a reason . Cause he doesn’t  want anyone to know, and if Soldier does spill Peter has a lot of dirt on him too. So he better shut the fuck up!

 

‘I trusted you!’


Remember your training!

“Reign in the evil buddy. I’m just a kid.” Peter choked out, remembering to speak English (because when he spoke in English, Soldier always seemed less stressed). The head snapped back to him from lingering over to Cap, and crushed his neck once more, as if to shut him up, like he didn’t get a say.

 

Yeah, but when have you ever got a say? ... god  it made a point.

 

But he barely had room to breathe as tapped twice on the metal arm softly. He needed to get out. Just two taps. Just two.

“Let me go please.” Tap tap.

“I don’t want to fight you anymore.” Tap tap.

“I don’t want to fight you.” Tap tap.

“I don’t want to fight.” Tap tap.

“Please don’t make me fight.” Tap tap.

...

“It’s not up to me...” Tap.

The grip instantly loosened, releasing him from his oxygen lacking prison. Peter fell down on his knees. Coughing softly and rubbing feeling back into his throat.  It still was hard to breath, so 100 percent certain of a panic attack. Okay, okay…

 

He had to go.


“Buck?” He heard Steve ask cautiously. He didn’t see Soldier stumble back or Steve catching him as Peter tried to catch a breath. He didn’t want to hear this conversation.

“Who is he?”Peter instantly felt panic at Soldier's soft question. The tone was soft but it was loud in his ears. Peter shut his eyes and tried to breath.

“It’s easier to say in English.”

“Spiderman.” He choked out quickly. Not letting anyone answer for him. “And you’re the freaking Winter Soldier . Wow. Barnes? Right?” The excitement was dampened by his strained hoarse voice. He didn’t look up and see the Avengers flinch and some even took a step forward to maybe help him then thought against it so he could breath (smart choice) at it but he felt The soldier stiffen.

“How do you know my name.” Peter tried to straighten up but glanced briefly at Bucky from where he sat. Breath almost coming back to him now that he had some control over this situation.

 

Who are you fooling? You don’t have any control over what happens in your life. Where’d you get that idiotic thought.

“I went to school sometimes.” Peter muttered and he looked pointy anywhere except an animated being and Cap looked at him confused. “We learn about y’all during the World War Two unit.” Peter rolled his eyes, gaining back his composer as he started to ignore Soldier’s presence.

“Why’d terminator go AWOL on the kid?” Tony asked casually, pointing the pen in his hand jerkily between the two with a raised brow and eyes showing over his sunglasses that tilted down with his head. Voicing The question everyone was wondering. Voicing the question Peter was dreading. He just wanted everyone to forget about him. Forget about this situation. But he never going to ever be that lucky, was he?


Cause he remembers me after all.

“He reminds me of someone…” he said uncertainly, almost like he was scared. Peter couldn’t help but stare up at him in wonder. The soldier was only scared once that Peter had seen… he didn’t notice as he went completely still, heart pounding at an erratic rate “I wasn’t sure if he was dead.” Bucky mumbled Peter rolled his eyes, trying to gain some sense of himself. He couldn’t allow himself to panic. It would look suspicious and he hadn’t done it since he was a kid. The Soldier looked at him with a haunted look of someone who they thought was a ghost. Same dude, oh my god let’s start a club!

“Right. Like I remind anyone of anyone. I probably pissed you off somehow.” Peter said under his breath in an incredulous drone. Bucky looked at him panicked and confused, and just...sad (which gross! Pity sucked! Get it away.Ewwwww). Oops . He must have heard him.


“No you did-“ Peter had to stop this. He had to go. He had to leave and not come back until he’s screamed and cried out all these... feelings. He stood up so abruptly, the Soldier stumbles back a little in shock.


“Don’t worry. I piss everyone off. It’s kinda my thing.” Peter announced proudly, puffing out his chest. He was anything but proud of himself for that. It was because he didn’t mean to piss people off. He just needed to do the things that did sometimes (read: all the time). He didn’t want to not be liked. It made it hard for him to have a good self esteem. It just made it hard for him to do anything involving other interacting people.It made it hard for him to form connections.

That you can’t have idiot.

‘But it’s lonely’

You should go.

He probably should before this got messy. Well at least visably so. It still threw him off that Barnes remembered him (sorta). When they were in the room, he didn’t even know Peter existed half the time (after a certain point). And they fucking lived together. Trained together, ate together, slept together. He was in only one other place if Soldier wasn’t there. He was always there ! And then he left. Ripped Peters only semblance of stability into shreds and didn’t even bother to remember his own name. Now after all these years, he comes back having flashes of a time Peter wanted to so desperately forget. That he spent so much time trying to not remember ! He couldnt afford to remember it. He couldn’t afford to be that distracted and out of it. Not in the field and not before a mission or job. Defiantly not in front of the Avengers .

And Peter was getting better (in his own weird way). He was settling, finally settling. He was giving into routine. His life wasn’t changing too much, he was be gaining the courage to finally feel comfortable. As far as he could see (literally only seconds ago) it wouldn’t be changing a lot, before now.

 

He had been lying to Fury when he had found him after he got glitter bombed. This was rock bottom. This was the big bad fucking decision/event that would spiral the rest of his next few moths to a year into a clusterfuck of feelings and emotions and all the things he had been trying to avoid for nearly a decade.

Now his life was set to take many different courses. Many different painful courses. Now he was on a twisty road and he couldn’t see the outcome. It’s going to take forever for it to be straight road again (if it was ever straight to began with, well maybe it was but Peter could close his eyes and not have to worry about anything as he drove before -on this metaphorical road. Now he had to actually look where he was driving because people were on his road again. This was a fucking metaphorical road that was giving him anxiety now! What the hell was his life anymore?). He was going through a freaking existential crisis here!

So basically the world wasn’t spinning off its axis.

What a load of Bull.

“You... I’m sorry...” Soldier offered, that threw Peter way off (but he was already off the metaphorical road he was on). This guy fucking decked him as a 5 year old. He sliced him up in combat training to the point where his skin was more scar than flesh. Threw him against jagged cages of the arena they spared in. Yelled and screamed profanities when he was trying to sleep. He pointed a gun to his head right before he left for years and didn’t say anything. Stripped him of all innocence and sanity. Made him an emotionless shell that he was left to fill by himself because no one cared anymore!

 

Now he was saying sorry. He never said sorry before. He never said sorry when it actually meant something. Now he’s throwing Peter against the wall and looking apologetic? Like that would change everything he’s taken away!

Peter didn’t buy that crap for a second.

“Been in worse.” He said easily waving him away. He felt breathless. He was trying to act like he wasn’t breaking down. It usually worked, but it wasn’t working. “Happens.” He said trying to sound casual, it wasn’t working that well with his hoarse voice. He blamed it on the choking session. Hopefully he soldier (And everyone else) did too. If he did, he didn’t care. He had to go.

Reminds me of old times.

“I sh-“

“No. I’m really sorry. I don’t think I’ve ever said it to him before...” well that means a lot now. thanks. “I think he’d be around your age.” His eyes flicked to Natasha briefly and Peter followed the gaze. Natasha looked sad and it was kinda the same look that she used when she told him about her- oh...

Oh shit.


They think that kid was her son... Probably for a good reason, they wouldn’t  jump to that conclusion unless they had a good reason. It was really far fetched and totally unplausible so they probably have a really good reason. Especially the Black Widow and Winter Soldier had that reason. It was like 97 percent set in stone and probably true because they’ve been looking into it for like... ever .  But at least they had a bigger lead than they had let on.

Well he hoped they found him...

...

Wait.

Your the kid in the room.

Idiot.

You’re her son.

...


Oh...oh no.

Peter turned white. “I have to go.” His breathing was short now (like you know visibly) even if he just caught his breath. He couldn’t do this here. He had to get out. He looked at Natasha on more time and it only confirmed what he thought they thought their son was. It also confirmed something else. She glanced at Barnes.

No way! The soldier was his...

No no. This can’t be happening! This wasn’t true!

That’s my mom!

That’s my dad!

Those are my parents!

 

Peter was on the verge of a panic attack. He probably was already having one. Some one must have noticed because Fury had the sense to pull him out of there.

 

Thank god!

 

The relief was short lived. “What the hell was that?” Fury asked nearly screamed, his face enraged. Peter yanked his arm out of Fury’s hold harshly and stumbled. The world blurred for a minute. Didn’t focus all the way and Peter resigned that this was as good as his vision was going to be.

 

The Black Widow is my mom!

 

“I have to go.” He said quickly, mumbling trying to find a way out. Outside. His eyes zeroed in on the window. He made a beeline for it. Something grabbed him around the middle and lifted him a little.

 

The Winter Soldier is my dad!

 

He couldn’t fucking breathe.

 

“Oh no, Underoos.” Stark’s voice said and Peter tried to push away with a whine. He needed to get out of here! He didn’t want to do this here!

 

“I can’t do this. Not today.” Not ever. Never ever. Never ever again. “Can we reschedule?” his voice pitch an octive. He didn’t like that.

 

But who cares what you like? Who cares what you think? No one cares if you’re comfortable. They don’t care about. No one ever has. What makes you think anyone ever will.

 

That was the bad voice. That wasn’t good. That wasn’t fucking good!

 

“We gotta talk.” The outside voices were muffled with the inside ones.

 

They brought the Soldier back...

 

“Explain what just happened. Was that the inside voice?

 

He’s gonna take you to Hydra ...

 

“He’s not responding.” He needed to think.

 

They’re gonna be angry you left...

 

“He’s not a fucking computer Fury!” He needed for it to be quiet.

 

They aren’t gonna kill you…

 

“Just answer us!” Shut up!

 

They’re gonna destroy you.

 

“No!” Peter screamed.

 

There was a snap and then silence.





Chapter Text

Chapter 5- Everything You Wanna Be

 

Spidey was a nutcase in a nutshell.

 

Red was a nutshell in a nutcase.

 

Deadpool was just a nut.

 

They worked well together.

 

They could kick anyone’s ass decently enough. And Spidey and Red didn’t get in his way when he needed to kill. They understood. They didn’t try to stop him and they didn’t mention it. They let him do what he needed to do. They had enough collective common sense (or maybe just a messed up kinda sense) to not get in his way. And he had enough sense and respect to not get in theirs (it didn’t matter if he was unkillable, he was 67 percent sure that the kid had find some sciency or mathy way to kill him. But Petey knew how to combine those two subjects and that was just horrifying)

 

They must have grown to like each other, because they hung out when, as Wade called them, “two ugly sluts and a foster kid”. Matt agreed even though that was the time he was supposed to be blind (Wade was 43 percent sure he was lying) and Peter said he would touch the foster system with a 69 and a half foot pole (even if he didn’t even celebrate Christmas. But Wade didn’t even remember that song exactly so he wasn’t sure if it was really festive or not. But that sounded right)

 

Spidey doesn’t actually drink when he’s in the bar with them (like the good child he was). He doesn’t even take water which was actually really smart. He just buys and untainted coke or sprite or whatever soda or juice that was in sale (or if it was Wednesday, Wade would drag him to get a gas station slurpy from 7/11, and it was a toss up weather the kid would get sick and cuddly and they could watch my little pony or be perfectly fine and watch my little pony. Wade preferred the former because Pete was so cute when he was tolerably sick) from a nearby corner store and enjoys Matt and Wade getting drunk off their asses. But to be fair, the kid really does deserve to knock a few shots. It’s not like they would say anything.

 

The kid must’ve had so much Blackmail material. That wasn’t good for him (especially when the black file was in the hands of Peter Parker).

 

What also wasn’t good is how close the fucking kid had gotten over the past year (even closer than before and now it was more dangerous because what they were doing was technically ‘ illegal’  Or whatever now). He is smart, too smart. Smart enough to read Wade and tell when he’s lying (he’s always been good at reading people, and Wade had taught him to use those skills. Hone them if you will. but now he was like using it against him and that wasn’t good). Smart enough to dodge a bullet and fire back (or maybe that was skill? The kid used a thing called physics, Wade and Matt had agreed that was bullshit and continued on with their day). Smart enough to get the mid level Sudoku in the newspaper (he was pretty sure the kid signed up for like professional sudoku shit to get money for that stomach of his).

 

The kid was a freaking Genius.

 

He’d wiggled his way into his heart all those years ago, and somehow their relationship had changed from a weird ass mentor/mentee thing where the kid covered his own ass and Wade’s and now they had this weird ass relationship where either Spidey or Deadpool would suggest something stupid, the other would say it was probably the worst fucking idea they’ve ever had, and the proposer would agree, and they proceed to do it anyway, because why the fuck not? They were gonna die anyways.

 

So nothing's really changed persay. Just the situation.

 

Spidey was young but it wasn’t until Wade found out that Spidey was 15 (Wade always forgot the kid was a kid sometimes. He just considered Parker a tiny human being because he can’t remember dates. But that’s okay because Parker doesn’t know how old he really is too) and fucking graduated highschool ( he was so proud) to figure out how young he was. Which was weird because one would think that maybe seeing the kid with a gun twice the size of him going into battle, or maybe when the kid was crying in the rundown bathroom in Siberia because he was so stressed. He was a baby! Smart and fucking considerate child. He was a good kid who only wanted to help people and kittens, and what the hell was a kid like that doing in the middle of a human trafficking scam? Where literal kids -not even 2 years younger than him- were being sold as slaves, and being starved and raped, and there was blood everywhere !

 

Wade and Red tiptoed around him, trying not to get him involved with him in the big stuff until 2 weeks later they were found out, when the kid snatched a gun right out of Wade’s holster and shot him three times in the head and pointed the gun to Red’s and told them to ‘stop being fucking shitheads’ .

 

Despite a few select moments, Spidey was actually really easygoing. He quipped and joked with the best of them in the worst situations. Always had a way out and could plan for every happening in a second. When the plan went to shit, Wade found himself relying on Spidey to get them out with minimal damage. The personality the kid had also helped when they were trying to calm panicking kids or hostages. Peter by no means was a people person, but when handling kids it was best to have a kid to calm them down. And unlike Wade and Matt (who were shit with kids) he gave off less of a cereal killer vibe, so bonus points.

 

Yeah, Spidey could handle himself. And usually he was chill and laid back.

 

Except for tonight. He didn’t open his coke he got from 7/11 down the street. He just stared into a void ( the void) and goddammit the only time he’d seen Peter like this was when he came back from wherever the hell he was with Logan for 4 months. He would fucking kill Logan, because when the kid is staring into the void , it was fucking scary.

 

The void was the sucking of all the life and light in him and leaving behind all the broken sorrow and general confused and disappointed look as society seemed to fail him again. A harsh reminder that the kid had gone through hell and back several times and that no amount of joking and pretending would make him okay. He’d never be okay again. It was a reminder that people were mean and the world was a fucked up place and he had never gotten it gift wrapped like other kids. That Humans, no matter how much faith he has in them to be good, are still the worst fucking creatures on this planet.

 

Wade knew he shouldn’t continue letting the kid have that belief (or pretending to believe that the world was a great and interesting place and ignoring that it was really a shithole. The belief that he could help make it better and people can be kind to everyone. The belief that this planet was a fair and just place and good people get good opportunities and nothing bad will happen to them), but he was just a fucking kid . He didn’t need to be scarred and shown what the world truly was: A big piece of shit floating through space, inhabiting the most terrifying and cruel creatures in the universe: humans.

 

But Wade forgets sometimes that Peter had seen it. The blood, and death and tortured bodies all stacked on top of each other neatly or haphazardly. Lifeless corpses that were no less that 6 years younger than him. He forgets That the kid sometimes had to kill other kids. Had to put them out of their misery or followed an order. He forgets That the kid has tortured everyone between the ages 10-70 and then some. He forgets just how much red the kids hands are covered in. Seeping into his skin and soaking him to the bone.

 

Wade forgets that, because the kid actually acted like a puppy sunshine child and not some emo vampire teenager. No angst surrounding him and he didn’t let the red get to him. Before it was because he had to push down all the trauma because he had to pretend to be normal. Now he did it because he had no one to trust to be a mess with. He and Matt both forget, Peter has seen and done so many things that he shouldn’t have seen or been able to do.

 

But he did.

 

‘Because I can’t let them die , not again.’

 

He thinks Peter sometimes forgets he’s human, much less a fucking kid. But that wouldn’t be a surprise. For as long as Wade’s known him (nearly 10 years now,good god, how had the kid put up with him for that long?) he’s been treated like a freak. Like a monster. Called things that weren’t true back then. He was a normal kid who was super smart and could shoot a bullet right. That’s it. Back then he wasn’t a mutant, but he was treated like one. Even when they left Special Forces that air of insecurity followed him. It messed him up and made him think he wasn’t worth anything. He allowed himself to be outcasted because that was normal to him.

 

It was normal for him to be alone.

 

“Who’s ass do I need to kick?” Wade said to the out of it Peter. Peter didn’t acknowledge him until some light came back into his eyes. He knew that he was just borrowing it from the lamp above him, but it looked so real.

 

We .” Matt said from behind him, god that ninja bastard. But yes this was good, he could enlist Matt to track these motherfuckers down. It would be way easier with a sensor that was better than a bloodhound.

 

“It’s stupid.” Peter replied quietly and that’s exactly what he said when Logan dumped his ass on his doorstep and Peter meekly asked if he could stay with Wade until he got enough money to get a place to live… again. (Cable’s name was currently on his studio apartment (because he lost a bet with the kid - never bet against him he was always right) and that SHIELD job sometimes paid him a nice salary, and he sometimes worked the bar. But Weasel always pays him too much, weather if it was because he noticed how skinny the kid is all the time or he was just genuinely terrified of him - as he should be, Parker could kill him and he wouldn’t even know he was dead- he didn’t know. He thinks it’s a bit of both.)

 

“It’s not stupid if the black hole is back.” Matt said. Ahh, difference of opinion in the name but okay. Sometimes he forgot Matt could see the void too, even when he was blind.

 

Peter opened his coke and dumped a few painkillers, that Weasel had slipped in front of him when he first came in, into it and took a swig. Nice . He then barked out an ugly humorless laugh and Wade really didn’t like that sound coming from him. Matt didn’t either, apparent by the way he bristled like a fucking cat.

 

“Russian is a scary language.” Parker said looking at Wade, his face was dead serious. Ohh, so we were playing this game. Peter was good at this game because he was smart, Wade was stupid so he was bad and Matt was okay at this game. But no one can win against Peter Parker, he practically owns this game.

 

“Yeah, not as bad as German though.” Wade answered, this must be because of Spidey’s past before he was Spidey. So before 12 was the first hint. He always didn’t like German, Wade had noticed when they were in Berlin and someone was yelling at him in it and he was tapping his knife in contemplation of unaliving them to make the stupid seller be quiet (unfortunately, no one died and Wade didn’t get to see a nine year old slit a street vendors throat, but it was still funny) Peter shook his head.

 

“Yeah, German fucking sucks” Red nodded his head, apparently not liking the language either. Wade raises a brow at him.

 

“I don’t like the accent. It’s thick and annoying.” Matt answered his eyebrows and Wade made a noise of enlightenment and stored that piece for alter as Matt regarded Peter. “So is Russian. It’s like a more aggressive German.” Oh yes, Petey also had senses that were over the top. Man, did Wade feel left out.

 

Nah, it’s scary but ...nice? It was my first language.” the kid said and Matt nearly spit out his drink. Wade felt a little better knowing that he knew something Matt didn’t, but he was surprised. It’s not like Peter tried to hide it, he cursed in Russian all the time (probably in words that were too vulgar for the English alphabet ) But usually Red was more observant than that. Huh, oh well at least Wade got his second clue: It was before he met Wade. That was too easy baby boy. Maybe he’s going easy on them? But Peter had never ever talked about before he was six. Like never . So this was going to get harder, because now they were shooting in the dark.

 

“You’re bilingual?” Matt asked, apparently not addressing the issue at hand, which was they had no information on hand. Come on Matt,get with the program. They may not  do personal, but that felt like something he should’ve known. Peter smirked.

 

“Something like that, yeah. English is confusing but...but it can be nice...it also can be confusing...it’s not as pretty as Russian.” Was he okay? Wade was lost now. Was the kid on something? Was he tripping? Did he need to call a psychiatrist?...

 

Nah. It was probably a bit too late for that...

 

“So Russians?” Wade asked and Spidey got up. That meant time was up. Dammit they took too long, now they’d never get answers. And it was such a good opportunity to have something to pull over the kid when he betrayed him. Dammit. He didn’t have something as strong as Spidey’s black files and now the kid was more powerful than them.

 

“Let’s go.”

 

See? Spidey wins. Every. Time.

 

OoOoO

 

It had literally been a day since he left Wakanda.

 

It wasn’t even two seconds into his reinstament.  he’d been there literally less than a minute and he managed to screw up and ram a random kid into a wall and nearly choking him to death and giving him a panick attack.

 

He knew something like this would happen. Natasha had been so gentle with him and Wanda helping him get his memories back and T’challa and Shuri with the arm and rehab and Steve being there for him, and he started going on solo missions that didn’t last more than a week. Monitored, obviously.

 

He’d never fought with Spiderman before, but he knew the mask and he knew he was a kid. He’d never met him before. They kept missing each other for the whole year, but given that some of that year was spent in Wakanda and Spiderman generally not stopping by to just hangout, it made sense. He mostly stayed in New York and he was told he’d meet him eventually. Sam has been complaining about him for a long time, saying the kid wasn’t dangerous just annoying. But that wasn’t true. When he walked into the room, Bucky felt something dangerous inside him. Something he worked hard to surpress. Just like Bucky, but probably different.

 

He’d never seen the face, but that face and those eyes. Somehow, It triggered a whole different set of Flashbacks that he really could live without. A set of flashbacks that were so horrifying that he didn’t even want to think of them. The worst part is, he could live without them. Those certain flashbacks just reminded him of the monster he was.

 

White Room.

 

A kid in the corner.

 

He was reading a book in Russian, but talking in English.

 

It was terrifying.

 

The poor kid was backing away from him, looking as scared as that kid in the memories seemed to be when he was supposed to be sleeping. The looks were identical. It made him panic more, the kids presence obviously not helping him calm down. It made another man -Fury- pull the kid out all angry. He felt a little bad for the fate of that child. He’d done nothing wrong. It was just Bucky being dumb.

 

There was something about him though...

 

“Who was he?” Bucky whispered, Natasha’s soothing words finally coming through. Stark took one look at him and they locked eyes for only a moment before he huffed and stormed out of the room. Silently agreeing to get the kid out of the unnessasary lecture he was getting probably.

 

No, don’t yell at him. He doesn’t like it when people yell at him.

 

“No one love.” Natasha answered his verbal question in her gentle Russian accent. “What did you see?”

 

“I don’t know… there was this kid, he...he was reading a book. Pride and Prejudice I think. He was about...2 or 3? I don’t know….” Bucky said and quietly whispered. “He… he was in Hydra cell with me I think...I don’t know...I think he’s dead now...” Steve and Natasha stiffened before Steve quickly gained his composer back.

 

“It was probably because Parker looked so young.” Steve mumbled trying to sound justifiable, somewhere inside of him he felt bad for the kid. He was just as scared as Bucky had been, it’s not like anyone knew he would trigger a flashback. Why were they all so hard on him? He didn’t do anything wrong!

 

Still, he felt a little mad at the kid as Bucky choked up more. He had still triggered a flashback for him and that one hurt. A lot. He was on the verge of a panic attack and he hadn’t one of those in a while. But then something registered in Bucky’s mind.

 

“Parker?” he asked in a tight tone. The name triggering a smaller set of similar flashbacks. “He can’t be. Dr.Parker is dead . And he certainly wasn’t a kid.” Bucky emphasized, Natasha and Steve looked at each other. Worried and confused looks crossing both their faces.

 

“Who was he?” Natasha asked gently,petting his hair back and massaging his scalp in a way that she knew calmed him down. He took a deep breath before talking through it.

 

“H-He was a doctor at that facility the kid was in. He...He was the kid’s…” Bucky trailed off. The kid in the flashback looked so familiar, same big brown eyes same curly unruly mop of brown hair. Same scared looked (although the spider kid hid his better) Bucky felt something heavy go to the bottom of his stomach. He looked at Natasha who had paused and lost all colour in her face.

 

“What the hell!” a sound from the hallway, and Stark came stumbling in with a sickly bent arm, Bruce went over to him in a hurry to asses the damage. Steve was up and striding over behind Banner as Stark hissed at the prodding to the obviously broken arm.

 

“Safe to say the mission is thoroughly canceled.” Fury came back in almost leisurely. He had a deeper scowl than when he left. Obviously upset at the mission being canceled.

 

“What happened?” Steve stood up straighter and leaned away to let Banner work as Stark plopped on a seat. Fury looked like he was going explode with anger.

 

“The fucking kid bolted.” he ground out. It reminded Bucky of a boiling pot that was spilling over. They looked over to where Bruce was treating Tony best he could and blinked once.

 

“The kid did that?” Clint asked quietly sitting up in his chair. Worry setting into his own face, although Bucky wasn’t sure what he was worrying over.

 

“He’s so fucking- ugh!” Fury threw his hands up in frustration and spared a glance at Barnes. “You good?” He asked half heartedly, like a military commander. It was oddly comforting. Bucky choppily nodded. Natasha put a hand on his back and rubbed, amplifying his comfort.

 

“Have anything on a ‘Dr.Parker’?” she asked in a different tone than she used with him. Professional and straightforward. Fury stopped in his anger and looked at them.

 

“First name?” He asked back. Not even taking out a tablet. He knew something.

 

“Richard.” He answered without a hint of hesitation, like it was automatic. Fury looked like a deer on headlights, but he went on, “And his wife was Mary, I think that was her name…” Yeah, the kid liked Mary. There was silence for a while. Fury looked floored. All anger gone.

 

“...That’s not… Richard and Mary Parker are… are the kid’s parents.” Fury said gesturing to the door. He meant the Spider kid. But that couldn’t be true. “And he said he had a normal childhood, with his uncle and aunt cause his parents died.” Bucky scoffed. That kid was a spider mutant, there was nothing normal about that.

 

“Well he was lying to you then.” Bucky said without a hint of hesitation. He was sure. His confidence leaving the room silent. “Cause Mary Parker was infertile. All Hydra agents that are women are required to be.”

 

There was more silence.

 

“Shit!”

 

OoOoO

8 years ago...

 

He was a nervous mess.

 

That’s what Wade called him when he pointed a gun to the guys head in Scotland-which was a rather beautiful country if he did say so himself- and his hand was so shaky it could barely pull the trigger. That had been the first person he killed with a gun. He’d prefer killing them with knifes or strangling them with strings. It was less sudden and more interactive. He could control those more; control how deep he cut and where he cut. Guns were memories of Mama shooting target boards and people yelling at her to do better - even though Peter thought she was amazing. Guns was the pistol pointed at Mary Parker’s head and the blinking bird patch she left in Peter’s favorite book- Pride and Prejudice, the Russian translation of course. Guns were memories of Soldier one flick away from killing him and his terrified eyes- mirroring Peters own emotions.

 

But going to school couldn’t be compare to shooting a gun. School didn’t kill the person on the other end. Or maybe it did, he’d heard the kids wallowing about starting their first day of school in melodramatics and whining. They didn’t want to come to this institution and Peter couldn’t fathom what could be so bad about it. From his research, school seemed great . Learning things about the world and science and math and reading. Properly being taught and if he wasn’t mistaken, he could ask questions if he just raised his hand . It seemed almost too good to be true!

 

He was placed in second grade. He had never been to school before, But the people who placed him was told he was enhanced intelligent and that he’d been able to keep up in classes. They were wrong, he didn’t have enhanced intelligence and even if he did, he had the restraints on him so theoretically it wouldn’t work. He was still younger than everyone in his grade, because he had just turned seven, barley missing what they called a ‘cut off’, for the age limit.

 

Unlike other kids, his guardians didn’t drop him off. Everyone else called theirs ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, sure he knew what those were (your biological parent, but sometimes through the legal system they can become ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ but that technically wouldn’t be true because on legal forms it would be ‘guardian’. It was confusing) but only in books. In real life it seemed weird and almost painful, like a pipe dream (which was stupid they were just labels). He called his guardians May and Ben, by their names. Because Mr.Parker was evil and Mrs.Parker was dead. May wasn’t here because she had a long shift at the hospital and Ben wasn’t here because he yelled at him to get out and go to school and threw something that Peter dodges expertly (small training efforts).

 

Yeah, Peter couldn’t wait to go back to Wade in the summer, even if he did have to kill people when he saw him. He may not have like special forces, but he liked Wade. Wade was a nice grown up. Like Mary and Phil (well maybe not Phil since he dumped him with Cotnet). But at least in special forces he wasn’t alone, like he was here. Even though there were a lot of people and crowds always made Peter anxious and paranoid. New York was full of crowds and sometimes it made Peter’s head hurt with just how nervous he was around them.

 

Peter had stumbled all the way to school, looking on an old beat up phone for directions to the elementary schools name he saw briefly on a paper in Mays hand. As he went down the streets and sidewalks and buses, he committed the route to memory because he’d have to go on this route two times every day for five days every week (at least that’s what he thought with school hours and openings and closings).

 

When he finally got to the school, he didn’t know where to go so he looked around. He had no one to tell him what to do, so he looked around to just follow another kid. He needed someone oblivious enough not to catch on that he was following him and a target that was noticeable so he could stay a safe distance away and hide in the crowd. He picked his target: a big Philippine boy with a bowl cut hairstyle and large backpack with decals from a movie or show maybe on it. He was large so it was easy to spot him, and seemed innocent enough to be ignorant to Peters presence. He kept his head down as he followed the kid all the way inside the school weaving through densely populated hallways filled with students, teachers and parents talking to each other outside of rooms with light wood doors decorated with thick colorful construction paper. The boy turned into one of the many classrooms and Peter turned into the same one.

 

The classroom wasn’t as populated as the halls, so Peter was exposed. Still, he followed the kid (like an idiot , he should run before his cover was exposed) . When the boy stopped at a seat in the far end of the classroom halfway to the chalkboard near the window, Peter bumped into him because the desks were too close. The kid turned around as Peter rubbed his nose where it had smooshed against the large backpack full of school supplies (he brought like two pencils and a notebook that he bought at the dollar store).

 

“Ouch.” He mumbled, even though it only stung for a second, and the boy looked worried for a minute. It really wasn’t a big deal, he’s been in much more pain before. It was more a wound to his ego for not being as observant as he should. He should really find a word for his zone outs...or zone ins?

 

“Oh my god! I am so sorry! I didn’t see you there dude, you are so quiet and small.” Peter huffed at the blunt observation and crossed his arms. People called him small all the time, but that was because he was a kid and they were adults. He’d never been around kids his age, not in anyway that counted at least. Now he was surrounded by them and expected to interact with them, with people who had the same authority as him (at least by society’s standards). This kid was the same age as him, so he should not be allowed to make that comment. Still it didn’t seem like meant offense. It was just an observation; a comparison, because he was smaller than most of the other kids in the room. He let it slide.

 

“It’s alright.” Peter said nonchalantly, not wanting to make a scene of himself. He sat down in the nearest desk and leaned back in the chair, staring forward. It was a casual position that he had learned in Special Forces going on undercover missions to avoid suspicion. He rather liked the position, it was comfortable but highly unprofessional. The boys eyes went big he noticed out of the corner of his eyes, he looked over and raised an eyebrow. Silently asking him what he was thinking.

 

“You like Star Wars?” He asked as he noticed Peters bag. It was one that had been the least money (because he went to a convenience store for the bag), it was plain black with a white metal helmet patch on the front zipper. When Peter asked the cashier what the symbol meant, the guy looked at him weird before saying it was a stormtrooper and that he should really watch that series because it was good. He stored that away in the mental checklist that he needed to study pop culture.

 

Peter smirked at the memory now, the man had been so baffled that Peter didn’t know. He kind of liked it when he surprised people. “I’ve never watched Star Wars, but I didn’t get my backpack, my friend did.” He lied. He didn’t have a reasonable excuse that wouldn’t make someone pity him otherwise. The kids eyes widen and he looked invested.

 

“Woah, cool you have friends!” He said and Peter cocked his head. No not really. God damn he was going to regret this lie. The only friend he has that’s still definitely alive (or maybe not because he was in the tucking army) was Wade. And he wasn’t so much of a friend as he was like a laid back supervisor. “Hey would you mind being mine?”.... Shit…. That was not How expected this conversation to turn.

 

Interesting.

 

“I guess, I’ve never had friends my own age.” When they were older, the other boy would’ve questioned that. But they were kids so he didn’t see anything wrong with it. A friend was a friend no matter how you put it or what age they were. Sure it was little weird for a kid to be friends with an adult that was in no way related to them, but Peter was just a weird person. His lie has been anything but standard or any word that could be characterized as normal . He took what he could get, he wasn’t picky (especially if it was to society’s standards).

 

“Hey, maybe we can even watch Star Wars!” He said excitedly. Peter smiled at his antics. He rather liked the positivity that radiates from the boy. The pure innocence was refreshing and it was a nice example of what a kid his age should normally act. At least, he wanted to believe that kids all acted like him. It probably wasn’t.

 

“Yeah, sure.” Peter replies shyly. He felt good having someone be nice to him without being given the orders. Talk to him without any other motives than to just be with him. He enjoyed the idea of having a friend. It would make his life a lot less lonely.

 

“I’m Ned, by the way. Ned Leeds.” He smiled widely and Peter offered his own tentative smile.

 

“Peter Parker.” He said without hesitation. Even if that wasn’t his name in any of the sense. His name had changed so much from before, it kind of made him sad that he had to lose that piece of him, publicly at least.

 

Then a girl plops herself into the seat next to Peter, the one closest to the window. She had dark skin and wild curly hair that was just a few shades darker. And she was taller than Peter by a few inches, he noticed with a hint of envy. He was reminded of the small comment that Ned has pointed out. She pulled out a book and opened it to the marked page, and the title immediately caught Peter’s attention. Pride and Prejudice. But this one was in English. The girl seemed to notice his staring.

 

“‘Sup loser.”she said with a raised brow and nearly indifferent eyes, and Peter looked up quickly as if he got caught doing something bad and blushed a bit. Her nonchalant stare for him slightly unsettled him, but it was oddly comforting. More to what he was used to but...softer. Probably because they were the same age.

 

“Uhh…” Peter didn’t know what to say so he looked back at the book frantically to bring the attention to it and then at the girl again and blurted “the ending is kinda a let down.” It was lame and he kind of deflated at that. But the girl raised an eyebrow.

 

“Yeah? You’ve read it?” Peter nodded. She scoffed and went back to her book as she muttered “Huh, don’t spoil it then.” He smiled a little at that.

 

The next week, Peter was fully caught up on all the Star Wars movies and Michelle (as he found out her name when they were partnered for a science project) sat down next to him on Monday and said “you were right, Parker.” He had grinned. He was then given the right to call her ‘MJ’, for not being incompetent.

 

Maybe school wouldn’t be that much of a pain.

 

OoOoO

Present...

He’s successfully fucked off the face of the earth for 1 month.

 

He’s avoided the Avengers before but never to explicitly avoid them . Avengers fighting always meant a lot of publicity, and sometimes he really needed to stay low. This time was different.

 

To put it lightly, he fucked up.

 

The whole thing was a mess really. He was freaking out and couldn’t think straight. His survival instincts took over, and really they shouldn’t have gotten that close when he was having a panic attack (apparently his panic attacks were barley noticeable according to Wade. To someone who didn’t know him, he looked like he was just breathing a bit off. Like after a long run). Long story-short, He’d broken Tony Stark’s arm, and promptly banned himself from coming to the tower or answering any of Fury’s or the Avenger’s calls for six to eight weeks. (He was probably the only person in this universe who could ghost Nick Fury and get away with it. And he did take pride in that, thankyouverymuch).

 

He almost laughed to himself, because almost a year ago he was with May, watching bad Hallmark movies in the middle of April eating ice cream. He was gearing up to graduate high school early. A year ago he had friends and everything was moderately okay.

 

Now he was at her gravestone that was 1 foot away from Ben’s. And 4 feet away from Mary’s. Even if they buried an empty casket for her’s. The casket was for show, because they couldn’t say how she had actually died. They didn’t even have a body to bury . Now he was gearing up for the closest thing to war without it actually being war. Now he had no friends, no home and an on and off job of being a freelance mercenary/SHIELD agent/vigilante/bar tender, with sucky inconsistent hours and moderate pay. Just enough to get himself fed and keep himself taken care of (and even then he was still homeless because he was 15 and on the run from CPS).

 

He wished his mother was here. Or Mary. It was weird, but seeing Soldier again must have triggered some sort of want in him to see them and ask them what to do. They always knew what to do. But he couldn’t ask them.

 

Because their body’s ash. In Russia. It was Germany you dumbass.

 

Even his voices were wrong in their logic. It made Peter satisfied when he corrected them. It was a strange sense of satisfaction, frankly. He knew technically they were just a manifestation of insecurity and lonileness into a more real form. But sometimes, he just needed to pretend they were some one else.

 

He’d gotten six calls from Fury before he blocked his number (he did that sometimes when he needed to get away from him). He saw the news in a window on his way to work, saying Iron Man’s arm was broken- which seemed stupid to advertise but apparently if it was a non battle related injury due to a supposed ally...well, yeah he got it now.

 

The next day, Harley Keener ratted out that Spiderman did it on instagram, and Tony was too embarrassed that he got the shit kicked out of him by a spandex wearing dropout (which made him panic a little because that was a bit more sensitive information than he’d like to go out to public. Even though it wasn’t nesasarily true. But it made him think about all the other shit Harley could say, luckily he didn’t. But it was safe to say, his tentative trust in Harley Keener was dashed entirely). That’s when the general public started to turn on him, well more so (given that Jameson has already convinced them he was some sort of alien terrorist) by throwing things at him when he swung through the city (like fruits and toilet palate and eggs and just about your average grocery list. Which was a waste of good food, like come on guys. It sucked too because his stomach was too messed up to handle any of the products thrown. Like seriously couldn’t they just throw a juice box or popsicle his way? He was starving). It kinda sucked cause he thought that Harley and him would’ve been good friends. He understood where the non superpowered teenager was coming from but still…

 

It would’ve been nice to have a friend again.

 

Peter decided that he didn’t care. At least he shouldn’t care. He’s been in much worse PR situations and honestly he never really did anything based off of society norms anyway. He deserved the treatment anyways. It builds character. He made all the wrong moves, and now was paying that consequence (so suck in that Clint. Maybe the Avengers would Get off his back about avoiding consequences after this...Yeah right).

 

But what was really annoying him currently: he couldn’t get that little voice in his head to shut up.

 

That voice telling him to give up already and give himself to Hydra.

 

That voice that said screw them, they don’t deserve your help.

 

That voice that said that he didn’t deserve anyone else’s help.

 

That voice was so hard not to listen to (especially when he was alone), and everyday he was avoiding the Avengers it got louder and louder. It was fueled by guilt and regret and fear and uncertainty- and Peter was feeling all of them right now. It was like they were created to break him down even when he was already beat into the ground. The voice that was the one that made good, sensible decisions usually- whom he also didn’t listen to, he’d be damned before thinking twice about making a decision between himself and someone else- got quieter. Like it agreed with the bad voice; it backed down when the bad voice was unquestionably right. He couldn’t hear it, and Peter hated listening to anyone, especially his voices. But somehow, they had the most influence on him.

 

“Shut up.” he mumbled out loud, and turned quickly away from May’s grave to leave the cemetery. He didn’t want her to see him like this. She didn’t deserve that. Neither did Mary. But Mary isn’t here, and whose fault is that. He squeezed his eyes shut.

 

It’s your fault she’s dead. It’s your fault that you broke Tony’s arm. It’s your fault that you were placed in that cell with Barnes. You weren’t good enough for your mother. Don’t you realize by now? You needed a fucking babysitter because you are so weak .

 

“Be quiet.” he mumbled half heartedly. He agreed with the voices though, and that only happened in low moments that he usually allowed himself not to feel. “I didn’t mean to break his arm, you made me do it…” It was saying something if he was blaming something that didn’t exist outside his head for a stupid thing he did. Trying to defend himself when he was responsible for his own actions. It was useless, especially against himself because he knew he was wrong.

 

You WANTED to do it. Don’t blame your actions on me. You know that it was satisfying. You probably won’t do it again, but somewhere deep down you don’t regret doing it then.

 

“No, I do. I swear, I do.” Peter mumbled frantically walking faster to get... somewhere . Somewhere where the voices couldn’t follow. Failing in Convincing himself that it wasn’t his fault. That any of the tragedy in his life wasn’t his fault . The voices weren’t helping. He needed to get away from them.

 

You’ll never escape us.

 

“I can try.” he said back pathetically weak. He turned another corner as the voice laughed harshly and loudly, the fake sound ringing in his ears. It made his head hurt, and he felt like he was in a tight space with no way out. Made his chest constrict with panic. He made a pained noise. No one around him even flinched.

 

No one cares. No one will ever care about you.

 

His phone rang, the ringing muffling out all the other noises that were rising a crachendo around him and he picked it without a second thought, not even looking at the number. With the flimsy, not at all thought out plan that he would just piss off the telemarketer on the other end to escape the voices.

 

That was his first mistake.

 

What kind of telemarketer didn’t use an automatic messaging system? It was probably people like Peter who urged them to even use the system. No one wanted to deal with other people’s bullshit. Peter could testify to that.

 

“Kid?” he heard someone say as the bad voice shut up. He still could feel the smug presence as his horror raised making him stop in the middle of the sidewalk. He knew that voice. The voice he was trying to avoid. But then he realized.

 

His voice shut up!

 

“Ha, I told you I could escape.” he told the voice triumphantly. The voice didn’t answer, though and he didn’t know if it was good or bad as something empty settled into the pit of his stomach. Something daunting and full of dread. It felt achy and uncomfortable.

 

It’s because you haven’t eaten in three days. The sensible voice said. Well it was nice that it could make an appearance in its busy schedules. Where was it like 4 weeks ago? He could really use the back up. The voice didn’t answer the claims and Peter was satisfied that he’d shut that one up too.

 

“Kid?” that new voice sounded more concerned, and somehow more concrete. He didn’t want another voice, his stupid mind had enough. He’d get even bigger headaches if there was anymore screaming in his head.

 

You’re going crazy.

 

“Oh shut up. Don’t you start too.” he said to the good voice and it promptly shut its mouth more permanently, he didn’t see it but somehow he just knew. “Thankyou.” he said, because he felt bad for it cause it was just trying to help. Peter knew though, the voices were never there to help him. No matter how much good advice they have, it was only to taunt him. Get him to trust them. He wouldn’t allow it.

 

“Who are you talking to?” the voice on the phone said and it finally registered that it wasn’t a voice in his head, it was a person. In like real life. A not dead person. A person who instilled so much unnecessary guilt inside him. A person that was the root reason the voices were talking so much lately. A person of whom he had trying to not see for the next two weeks at least.

 

He wasn’t prepared for this. Not yet. He was not in the right mind to have any sort of conversation with actual people right now.

 

“Wrong number.” he said quickly and wanted to hang up the phone, the call didn’t end. He pressed the end call button a bunch more times, each tap getting more and more aggressive and frantic -desperate, but that made sense because he was very desperate right now- but it didn’t seem to end.

 

“Nice try kid, but I hacked into your phone. This conversation ends when I want it to.” Stark said triumphantly, he could almost hear the smug smirk that was definitely on the man's face. Peter groaned. He didn’t want to talk to people right now, he just wanted to dissociate from real life and take the rain of insults his voices were showering him in (not the best solution or coping mechanism for guilt, but it’s the only one he’s got).

 

“Nothing is stopping me from yeeting this thing off a building.” he said in a matter of fact but also threatening way- but not the kind of threat that was intimidating, it was like the kind of threat that made him sound scared. Stark made a confused noise, and he heard giggling in the background. He didn’t know why anyone was laughing, he was fucking serious. He would yet this piece of shit - that was basically from the Stone Age- as far as he could and let him just remind them that he had super strength so it would go pretty far.

 

“You’re so old.” he heard a voice, sounded like Keener’s, and the giggling must be Shuri. Why were they there? They could hear this call. Keener was still mad at him last he checked. But then again he did check three weeks ago. Maybe it blew over for him. That shouldn’t matter because he betrayed Peter, so Peter didn’t trust him (not that he ever trusted Keener in the first place but… yeah). Conditional statements and what not.

 

“You uncultured swine. You have a child of the Zth generation, you hath not know his tongue? Disgraceful.” Peter said trying to avert this conversation from the one he knew was going to happen, the giggling got louder. At least he could still make people laugh. Even if it probably was at him and not with him. He was good at conversation divergence, it’s why he’s never talked about his problems out loud before. Sure little things build up and then push him over the edge, but it just takes too much time to explain from the beginning. These problems that were arising now were because of the problems that had planted their seeds in his past and he didn’t know how to explain that. He didn’t think he wanted to either.

 

You know they’re gonna ask you to do something, and you’re gonna say yes. Cause, you know, you’re a dumbass. You aren’t in the mindset to do that. You gotta chuck this thing. It’s shit anyway.

 

He wasn’t sure which voice said it, but it was getting annoying. Probably the bad one because of the wording and the suggestion of chucking something he couldn’t afford to break. He’d have to take a merc job to pay for the phone and not only was he not in the right mind set to kill someone with 100 percent control over his actions, he also had to talk to the client he was killing for. He couldn’t work at the bar because again, he was trying to avoid social interaction and SHIELD was obviously out of the question. He only had the little money he did save up and that was mostly for rent on the cheap studio apartment under Cable’s name and food, which he hadn’t eaten at all (he’d have to go to work soon, because money was dwindling, but he didn’t think about that). So yeah, no extra expense. “Okay A) we can't afford that. Second of all, do not interrupt me you inept asshole. I’m trying to have a civil, unwanted or warranted conversation. I don’t know which one you fucking are but I swear to god, I will find the little space in hell that you hide in and incinerate it.” He growled the threat.

 

“...What?” The real person voice said. He sounded a bit confused and concerned. Peter paid no mind to it as the voices responded.

 

Hell’s already on fire.

 

“Do not tell me logic! Not when your entire existence isn’t even remotely logical! You shouldn’t be real .” Peter said back. The voices weren’t real. But at times like these (when Peter was acting like a lunatic) they felt more reel than really real things. “And if Hell’s on fire then I’ll fucking freeze it .”

 

Now you’re thinking. Good job.

 

“Thank you.” Peter nodded satisfied with the small praise. It made him feel absolutely disgusting that he accepted it so easily. But he...he kinda needed it right now. No, not needed, he craved it. He always has, but like most other things in Peter Parker’s fucked up life, he suppressed that. Usually he was good at it, but again he was not in the right mind to think logically.

 

“Who are you talking to?” Stark asked, as he made his way back to reality. The voices had died down for now so he could hear Stark break him out of it. Well partially break him out, he was still half under. Probably even more than half.

 

“I don’t really think you wanna meet them. They are annoying and mean.” Peter answered without really thinking. Answered like they were real people and Stark could meet them. Stark couldn’t and Peter didn’t want them to get worse by trying to find a way to make that happen. They probably could with the right inspiration. Peter knew as much to keep them contained. “And don’t encourage them, they won’t shut up. I can’t even have a chat with you without them putting in their two sense.” Peter said quickly to dissuade Stark from asking anymore questions about them.

 

At least we have sense. ‘ No you don’t so shut up.’

 

“Are you okay?” That hit him like a sucker punch. Made his head reel around and spin. It caught him so off guard he his brain froze, the voices froze, everything just stopped. No one’s asked him that in a long time. He didn’t know how to respond.

 

“I...I thoug-thought you w-were ma-ad at me?” he stuttered and cursed himself for doing so. He tried not to breathe in too audibly to calm himself down and get back in his loop. “Why did you call me?” he composed himself a bit more. Probably a bit too professional, god he must sound like he had a bad case of bipolar disorder. Stark huffed and pod no mind to the supposed mood swings.

 

“Fury couldn’t get through to you, so he asked me to.” he said blandly, ignoring or not noticing Peter’s stuttering. Thank god! But come on Nick, can’t you take a hint? He block Fury because he needed space. Nick has the Avengers to call, he’d be good for a few more weeks without him. He was good without him before Spidey and he’d be good now too. Plus, Peter was pretty sure he was in no condition to help anyone with rational thinking (like he had to do with the Avengers) anyways.

 

“Aww, Nicky’s worried about me.” he gushed dramatically and giggled at the end. Yep, defiantly sounded bipolar right now. He couldn’t control all these feelings that swirled in him so fast it was making him sick...or maybe it was the hunger. Oh well. “He wants me to come to the tower?” he said in a bubbly tone that did not at all fit the conversation or situation.

 

“Okay, you need hardcore therapy, kid. I’m serious. You want me to hook you up, I will gladly do so.” Stark said, Peter ignored the suggestion and furrowed his eyebrows. Like he could afford a therapist. Did he not hear how he was in a tight financial situation earlier? And even if Stark was willing to pay for him (especially after h fucked up so catastrophically) he was pretty sure no therapist would be willing to sit through five minutes of his goddamn sob story. He was pretty sure they’d run at first sight. Lucky bastards, he couldn’t outrun his life. What a load of bull.

 

“That sounds like a drug deal, Stark and Mama raised me Better than that.” Peter said in the same tone Wade used sometimes. He ignored the pang in his chest and refused to think how his mother was dead. It probably hit a little too close to home right now, considering the location he was walking back from.

 

Your Mama didn’t raise you. ‘Thanks, I was trying to avoid that.’

 

“Ugh, What the hell no . I’m not selling drugs to a minor!”Tony groaned and Peter raised a brow. Why did Mr.Stark sound frustrated? He was the one trying to end the unending call here. If anything Peter should be the temperamental one. He was literally on the verge of a breakdown or meltdown or any kind of down. He was going down was the point.

 

“Does that means you sell drugs to adults, cause I gotta say while it’s not surprising, it’s still illegal.” Peter said in a mock condescending tone. His voice was going everywhere, he should just pick an emotion already. But if Mr.Stark was selling drugs to minors or adults, it was illegal and Peter kind of specialized in busting drug dealers. Billionaire or not, if Stark was doing something illegal then he had to bust him.

 

You’re doing something illegal too. ‘Really what?’ Alphabetically or Chronologically? ‘...’ That’s What I thought.

 

“Kid no I’m fucking Iron man. A role model to all children thank you very much.” Tony said and Peter shrugged even if Stark couldn’t see. If he wasn’t doing anything illegal then there wasn’t a problem.

 

“Kay, but if you want drugs I got a guy.” Peter said not really kidding, but shouldn’t he not say that. It’s not like he did or sell drugs (willingly) he just knew someone who did. That wasn’t illegal right? Was knowing a bad guy illegal?

 

“You take drugs?” Tony asked with disbelief in his tone. Peter assumes that he didn’t mean Advil and that he did mean Cocaine and Heroin and shit like that. You know, the illegal stuff.

 

“No, but I still know a guy who is good” He said neutrally. Of course he knew a guy, he had to research drug circles and bust people for doing and selling them. Also Wade stashes cocaine in Blind Al’s house next to the cure for blindness (which he should really give to Matt before blind Al, but Peter thinks Matt likes being blind. He’s gotta say that a disability does make you less of a suspect for vigilantism. So does being a kid and a supposed burn victim).

 

“And how would you know that?” Did Stark really ask that? Peter thought that he was supposed be a genius. That’s a pretty dumb assumption that he doesn’t know the names of his targets- because, yes sometimes he did actually, occasionally plan to bust a drug trafficking circle (he wasn’t a complete mess all the time).

 

“Ben went out and never came back, so I guess it was worth dying over.” That’s not how it went down. He didn’t notice that he’d mentioned his dead uncle so blatantly. Oh well, he was a bastard anyway. There was a pause on the other end of the line and Peter didn’t speak as he waited for a reply. Finally Tony spoke slowly- almost carefully.

 

“Maybe you should come back to the tower. I don’t wanna discuss these kind of things over a phone.” Tony suggested cautiously. Peter rolled his eyes at the tone. Yeah, he got it. This was supposed to be a ‘serious conversation’ but like Peter didn’t exactly do that kind of thing. It wasn’t a big deal, everyone can stick it up their asses. He wasn’t some charity case; he could take care of himself.

 

“There is a perfectly good reason I am not there now, and won’t be there til...when is your cast off?” Peter asked cocking his head and looking at his sleeve covered wrist mimicking looking at the time, even though Stark couldn’t see. It was the thought that counted, or whatever.

 

“3 weeks.” he answered in a dull but slightly amused tone. Peter didn’t really like what it implied. “What you feel guilty or something?” he sounded like he had a smug look on his face. Peter didn’t like that tone. He was getting fucking cocky. Well jokes on you Stark, Peter Parker is incapable of caring about anyone’s wellbeing- especially his own.

 

Your right about one of those things.

 

“No, I have real people shit to deal with. The guilt phase lasted like 2 seconds. But if you wanna like Avenge yourself, I’d be down to you breaking a few of my ribs?” Peter giggled at his pun, ignoring his white lie and paging no mind to his offer. Stark made an appalled sound on the other end of the line while Keener and -yeah that was definitely- Shuri said “do it” , behind him. See it was a three to one vote! He was definitely winning...wait what was he winning again?

 

“I will not break your ribs! What the hell kid? Seriously are you okay?!” That was the third time he asked. Why does he keep asking that?! Were they practicing CPR or something? There was no way that this could be right. Maybe he was talking to someone else. At that thought Peter felt irrational disappointment drop into his stomach, making it growl. He ignored that (just like he always did. But Peter was pretty sure he’d throw up if he ate anything now.)

 

“Good god. Don’t get bent out of shape about it. A ‘no’ would’ve been fine.” Peter rolled his eyes, trying to keep the constricting feeling in his chest from showing in his voice. “But now I owe you a broken bone so… if your ever angry and need to break something, hit me up.” Peter outright laughed at that one. Broken bone pacts were one of the things Peter would never break. He didn’t give them out lightly, and Stark better not waste his. But it seemed like the man was adiment on not learning the significance of it (probably because he’s not a Vigilante. Castle or Jones would understand. They took their broken bone pacts seriously too and Peter was proud to have one broken bone with each of them).

 

“You need help.” Stark said seriously. Peter could imagine him calling therapists as they spoke, or having FRIDAY call therapists (A.I. were so handy these days). Peter would go even if Stark paid him though. No amount of money was worth wasting a good person’s time. And if Stark made him go then he’d lose bone breaking privileges.

 

“Oh come on, that was a good one.”Peter said with a smile, no appreciates good humor anymore. “Besides, my physical health isn’t as easily deterred as one might think.” No cause you’re a fucking freak Parker. His mental health however? A completely different story.

 

“I’m more concerned about your mental health.” Stark said, and Peter paused for a minute- not even acknowledging that he was just think that. Concerned? May day, May day! Abort fucking mission! NOPE! ABSOLUTELY NOT! Unacceptable! This isn’t FUCKING GOOD!!!

 

“Stay the fuck in your lane Stark, or you lose bone breaking privileges. I’m not the tower cause I don’t wanna deal with your fucking bullshit right now. And you sure as hell don’t wanna deal with mine.” Peter said in the phone in a completely different voice practically dripping with venom. It was dark, had an edge. It was threatening and harsh. And it reeked of ‘ get your fucking dog bitch!’ . Peter rarely used it. It came out when he was trying to protect himself from things that made him a whole world of uncomfortable, sad and angry. Protect himself from triggers that other people would start. Protect himself from getting his hopes up only for it to be cruelly taken away in the worst ways imaginable. It was a warning and It took Stark a second to reply.

 

“Good, I don’t want those privileges. And cool it with the swearing kid, god.” Stark assured, not mentioning the tone but taking the hint and dropping the subject and Peter let out an ugly laugh that usually made any adult he was talking to bristle. He could tell Stark did it on the other end.

 

“Stark. A little piece of advice: if you have bone breaking privilege, you wanna save that shit.” Peter said and went back to his casual voice. All venom vanished. He no longer needed to warn Stark to stay away, so there was no need for it. Maybe he is smart after all . “And I come from Queens, not a fucking Rose Field or Wakanda or whatever. Words don’t mean jack when your face is a bloody mess.” You also come from Russia… .your point? ... thought so.

 

He heard an indigent noise in the background and smiled a little, before the call abruptly ended. Good he didn’t need Stark on his back anymore. But why did he feel so empty all of a sudden. He couldn’t feel the presence of the voices in his head either. It was like he was alone. An empty void. The emotions drained out of him and he was just walking aimlessly now. No thoughts intruded his head, it was almost like he’d shut down completely. Maybe his social battery was drained, if he even had one.

 

He welcomed the loneliness, just as he always did.

 

OoOoO

 

If Peter didn’t have his Spidey Sense he’d be dead.

 

He has not listened to his Spidey sense enough to know it was a fucking bad idea. It was always right, and sometimes it felt like everything was okay and it was just a weird feeling. Peter was already a paranoid person before the bite, HYDRA and Special Forces did that to you if you stayed in it long enough -and Peter grew up on basically the battlefield. He’s come to realize that he should always be on the look out if he got tingly and what not. Especially after he became homeless (well he wasn’t anymore, because Cable lost a bet and now was the name under Peter’s dirt box of a studio apartment until he got evicted for not paying rent, it was his).

 

But yeah, point is: he should really listen to his Spidey Sense more. Then maybe this whole mess could have been avoided.

 

You see, Ever since he’d met this particular guy, his Spidey Sense felt a pang. He figured it was because he was in an environment where if the people in the room teamed up, they could beat his ass into the ground (if he took on the Avengers one by one, he was fairly certain he could at least hold his own). Whenever he saw Ross it was with the Avengers in the same room. Probably because the first time he was an anomaly, and the other guy was a high standing important grown up person with a stick up his ass (even if he couldn’t throw a punch to save his own ass, he had people for that. Ugh, officials) . But then after the second time, it was very apparent that Peter wanted to slug the guy into Canada. After the third time, he discovered the Avengers wanted to slug him into Mexico, and see that really didn’t work out with his plans going opposite ways and all (but he could hop on board that train since Mexico was further, therefore requiring more force in the punch). After the fourth time, he figured the Avengers got dibs for actually putting up with this asshole for longer than him, and he was nothing but a fair person (he couldn’t imagine having to deal with that prick every week much less twice every week).

 

Either way, he never really made an effort to actually hide that he hated the guy with a passion (he was not a good dude. He was probably more of the reason Peter didn’t like going on missions with the Avengers than the Avengers themselves. Whenever Ross gave orders, they were always doomed to fail so Peter has never followed them. When Cap gave orders off of Ross’s Peter never followed them, but when Cap gave orders on his own with no influence from Ross, Peter was 74 percent more willing to follow them). Ross was a stuck up ignorant intolerant asshole who probably beat on innocent people for fun. Peter might be young, but he could smell a pedophile from across New York since he was ten, and Ross reeked of a child rapist .

 

He probably should have said something sooner, but who would believe him.

 

Turns out he was proven fucking right - once again. And of course it was within the 8 weeks that he was avoiding the Avengers that he found Ross out and had like solid evidence. He’s been spending his time taking down these sex trafficking circles, that took children from all over the world with even a slight tie to mutants. It was a good way to clear his head (which probably should be concerning, but then again so should being able to kill people while effectively making sure their bodies were never found). It also reeked of Ross, because Ross hated mutants, he made that much clear. Peter was honestly embarrassed it had took him so long to put the pieces together.

 

He knew he couldn’t do anything about it, because Ross probably had a reason that he set up the hub in New York where the fucking Avengers lived and it was so easy to find. He was stupid but not a fucking idiot (because somehow he hadn’t been found out yet). He either had a bunch of connections that made this possible or he really was just fucking stupid (probably both if he thought someone wouldn’t ever figure him out. Or maybe he wanted someone to figure it out. Bad guys did that sometimes). But looking through the window of that wearhouse, Ross smiling in the middle to another equally disgusting man that he recognized as some of his cronies (great SHIELD has been infiltrated again, but this time instead of world dominating pedophiles it was mutant hating pedophiles). The kids -who were no younger than five but no older than thirteen- tied up to the ceiling in no cloths and whip marks all over their bodies, there were some chained to the wall with big men doing inappropriate things and others huddled and held down and chained by their necks like they were animals . Every one of them was covered in blood and only a few had clothes on, the ones that did were torn to shreds and they all were starved and malnourished. Rib cages so prominent and spines sticking out at odd angles. Bags and tears streaking their faces. They all were scared, but somehow there was a sort of acceptance in their hollow eyes; like they accepted that this was how they were going to die. They had lost all hope and at so young of an age. It made his blood boil.

 

Screw rational thought.

 

You should call Fury. Said the voice in the back of his head (you know, the sensible one). Yeah right, like that was gonna happen after the shit he pulled with Barnes and then Stark. He would smack them if he wasn’t on either of their hit lists by the end of that call, because that would be fucking stupid to not put him down on it. It would also be stupid to go after him alone (they would like tag team or something. Winter Soldier and Iron Man, now that would be a good fight), he’d kick their asses again even if they are old if they came after him solo though. It was stupid to go after a mutant when you yourself weren’t one.

 

‘Spiderman doesn’t discriminate .’

 

“Oh Ross~” Spidey sang as he broke through the window (eww, gross that made him sound like a pedophile). He had to calm down a bit, he didn’t want to scare the kids anymore than they already were. They could get hurt. He’s done this enough times to make sure the conversation was going to be kept light and preferably PG. Guns trained on him as he ignored his little voices.

 

Call Team Red!  

 

You got this!

 

You need help!

 

They won’t come in time!

 

You’re all alone!

 

No one will save you!

 

 

I have to help.

 

“What the-“ Ross’s face went wide as he  made a break for the door, leaving his puppets to do the battle as always. Peter wasn’t standing for that, he wanted answers. So he webbed him up and tied him to the ceiling upside down just as he was a few feet from the back entrance, that didn’t seem to stop the guy as he barked out orders to the stunned men. It was quite a sight actually. His face was red and purple and so fucking mad. And it was kind of hard to take him seriously when he was upside down and his wig was peeling off. He even saw some of the kids giggle which filled him with pride (maybe they weren’t so broken after all. Maybe they could be happy again).

 

“You know, I’m kinda not surprised to find you here.” He said casually walking past as he thwiped out a web to seal his mouth. He didn’t want to touch him, but then again he didn’t want to touch any of these men. Sometimes he had to get his hands dirty for the greater good (by touching them to cuff them up. They were disgusting). “Time to get to work.” He mumbled to himself as he jumped up and webbed every single one of the men from the ceiling, refrained from killing them. Not in front of the kids. He did not kill in front of kids. Behind the back alley after the cops arrived? Maybe. But he had never had any witnesses for any of his kills. Well none that were alive. It’s why Fury could actually confirm that he killed people. He only did it on special occasions anyway, it not like he had no control over himself. But sometimes people needed to die and he accepted that long ago.

 

Once he was done laying out all the cronies who actually knew how to punch (they weren’t very good with their martial arts, nor were they good at using the guns they held either.) he dodged a small pocket knife, no doubt what Ross used to cut the webbing off. So now he was defending himself? Did he really think he could beat Peter physically? Wow, yeah no. Peter was a Child Soldier, enhanced mutant ex-special forces, part time mercenary/assassin and fucking Spiderman . And those were just contributing to physical strength. Ross could be dead and not even know it was Peter who killed him.

 

The children were quivering as Peter slammed him into a wall and pinned him there in a painfully twisted grip and holding his neck into the splintered wood just enough so he could barely wheeze. He was greasy and slimy under Peter’s grip and the scent of the children’s tears mixed with their own blood increased in Peter’s senses. It only serves to fuel his anger and he gripped tighter and twisted his arm more painfully that he heard a crack and a sharp painful wheeze because Ross could barely breathe, much less scream (Good, he didn’t like it when his victims screamed. It hurt his ears.)

 

“You... can’t ...kill me.” Ross said in gaps between bated breaths. Peter knew that but he didn’t like that Ross did too. He squeezed a little harder, if he put him in anymore pain it would risk letting him pass out and he could have that.

 

“And what’s stopping me?” He slammed his head into the splintering wood again. He knew exactly what was stopping him. Reputation. Ross would easily blow this off and make up lies. If he had connections to keep this going for years and still be a government standing, there was no way he didn’t have a contingency if he got caught. And the only undeniable proof is the kids confessing, but he’d kill himself and everyone else before he made them confess. Would anyone even believe them? Some of them were mutants and according to the law, they technically had the same rights as a squirrel. This was too messy and a lawsuit would get them all hurt, not to mention Peter’s reputation was down the drain. He was technically a runaway homeless worthless loser in the eyes of everyone else. And Spiderman was-not to quote JJJ or anything- a public menace, and an unsanctioned vigilante. In the eyes of the government he was a dirty mutant.

 

No one would believe him.

 

“I’m too... high ...profile.” Ross snorted shortly, Peter loosened the grip around his neck but tightened it on his arm. “I thought you... were smarter... than that... Spidey.”  Peters temper flared as he threw Ross clear across the room. He fell into a bunch of crates with a deafening crash.

 

“You’re gonna go to jail.” He seethed, clenching his fists in anger because he knew that wasn’t even a remote possibility either. The police would cover this so much that it’s be a practically new color. It was because it was just that bad . It was fucked up, but apparently they have egos that are more important than justice. Justice that actually mattered. It was also because this would change so many laws -because Ross had a lot of influence in the law - and that meant extra work and they didn’t want to deal with that over ‘a couple of mutant kids’ or whatever. What a load of absolute shit . There were only a few officers that were actually looking out for people in this world anymore. The rest didn’t give a shit about this kind of stuff. They just let it happen, when they know full well that it was going down. They just didn’t want to deal with it, even though it was their jobs to and not  people like Peter.

 

Fucking chickenshits.

 

“I can web you here and leave you to the cops.” Peter said and Ross snorted arrogantly again from where he was lodged in the creates, he picked him up by the arm. Cuts and bruises littering his face and the force of the roughing up disheveling his sleazy appearance a bit. He smirked a disgusting smile that pissed Peter off.

 

“Seem you have more pressing matters to attend to.” He gestured at the kids and Spidey looked back at the shaking children, his eyes softening for just a second (they were the priority not Ross, he had to remind himself)  distracted for just a second , looking them over making sure there were no immediate fatal wounds that needing his tending. In that second, Ross flipped his body and ran. Peter has the wind knocked out of his just enough to let him escape. He can flip you because literally weigh the same as an orange you dumbass. Eat a burger or something. He ignored that voice in favor of dusting himself off as he stood up.

 

He should’ve brought back up.

 

Dammit.

 

I tucking told you!

 

And he couldn’t go after him because he needed to make sure the kids were okay and he didn’t fucking have backup. He didn’t have allies right now to presume the bad guy, but that wasn’t the point of the job. His job right now was to make sure the kids got to a safe place. Make sure they got the help they needed. It frustrates him to no end that Ross got away, but it’s not like he’s never had make this sort of decision before. He picked immediately helping people over pursuit every time.

 

You are the world's biggest dumbass.

 

He sighed and walked over to the group of huddled kids. He knelt down to the closest one, as his tried to make himself smaller. Less of a threat. He wasn’t going to make them do anything they didn’t want to, and he was going to help them. He needed them to know that and making himself smaller and less of a threat was one way to tell them that. He held out his hands in a gesture of peace. Not actually getting anywhere near enough to touch them, but just in reach so he could tend to them and make sure they were okay.

 

“Hey,” Peter spoke in a soft tone, a major change from the snarling almost feral growl he had with Ross. Even he could admit he was sometimes scary. “I’m not gonna hurt you.” The kid looked at him disbelievingly, he didn’t trust him and Peter didn’t expect him to. There was always a show before the helping. A bloody red and violent show that probably instilled fear more than hope. They needed to know that the show was only for the bad guys and not them. Never them. “no really, I’m here to help. Do you speak English?” He said in a light way. Trying to be happy and open. Welcoming and kind. The kid slowly nodded. “I know what those sleazebags did to y’all, so you don’t have to come here, but I’m gonna call the police so your someplace safe. Let me just get these ropes cut so I can get your friends down. I promise I won’t hurt them.” He said and jumped up as the kids marveled as he systematically cut and carefully caught each of the children hanging over bin filled with what smelled like blood. He gently placed them away from the tanks before going on to the next child. Making jokes and talking to the nearly silent kids. Just to make the air lighter and less scary. It would be more ominous if he did this in silence. This way was calming and reassuring. After the last kid he looked back at the tanks.

 

They were gonna drown them in blood . Probably for torture or punishment...

 

He ignored the anger that came with the voices note. Pushed it down and made sure it made no presence known to anyone but himself as it featured in the pit of his stomach. He focused on trying to be not threatening and getting the kids out. He needed to be reassuring and not angry. He needed to help them. There were some kids completely nude, and he ripped off the jackets and shirts of the pedophiles to put on them.

 

“It’s only temporary, don’t worry. They’ll give you new cloths.” Peter said as he wrapped up a girl who had broken her leg in one of the too big coats. He used his webs as a makeshift cast and wrapped her up slowly. Soothing her with nice words that didn't sound creepy. “Can I pick you up?” The girl was hesitant and Peter was patient as she gathered her bearings and cried softly. He didn’t touch her but sat next to her to be present in case she needed him.

 

“Grown ups are mean.” She sobbed and all the other kids seemed to agree as he looked around. So they’d been fucked over by every adult in their lives too. They should start a club. “they always hurt us.” She spoke quietly for everyone. There must have been no fewer than 100 kids in that room. Peter did a quick sensuous and counted 105.

 

“Yeah, well lucky for all of us  I’m not a grown up just yet.” The girl looked up at him in awe and he laughed “Come on, what kinda grown up in 5, 3… Well besides Tony Stark.” That made the girl giggle and another boy look up in awe. He smiled at their glimmers of innocence they had clung on to. Good.

 

“You know Iron man?” Peter winced a little, because he did know Iron man and was close enough to break his arm. Had these kids heard about that? Probably not because they were getting fucked by inhumane assholes a month ago. They probably weren’t even in New York a month ago. Did they know they were in New York?

 

“Yeah, I’m Spiderman. Ironman didn’t send me, we kinda had a little... falling out, but I can promise you, he’d want you all to be safe.” Peter said honestly. Tony did care, probably more than most. It’s why Peter felt so bad in breaking his arm, because Tony at least attempted kindness when the others didn’t. And now he’d never be kind to him again after that little stunt.

 

Remember the phone call… he was concerned.

 

Focus on the mission!

 

The police might lie to the kids (say everything was okay, but Peter wouldn’t.) He wouldn’t lie to kids who have been lied to their whole life. “I’m gonna hand you off to the police, and they’re gonna take you to a hospital. With nice adults. Like Ironman and Captain America.” He told them, because the police might not like him but some could look past that to help people who needed it... some .

 

The kids all were hesitant before nodding once. The girl allowed him to pick her up. He did so and whipped out his phone as he lead the kids into the cold night air. He tapped a few numbers in the phone, hands a bit shaky because he hasn’t tried to call anyone in weeks. But there was one person who could help these kids and not ask any questions. One person that would let him go and not pursue him as he took in the children.

 

Peter didn’t trust him. But again Peter didn’t trust anyone. He was a cop and if Peter wasn’t careful, he would be arrested by this man. But he was one of the few officers that would put people’s well-being above his ego. Looking at the shivering kids solidified his decision to hit the call button. It rang and the voices didn’t say anything, so he assumed that meant he had their approval too (he shouldn’t need it, but at this stage in his existential crisis, it was vital. He hated himself for it).

 

“Mahony, I have a pick up at pier 12.”

 

OoOoO

 

Bucky’s purpose changed 5 years ago.

 

When he had saw Natasha for the first time in ages. The first time he remembered  her. Remembered their love. Remembered who they were to each other. He had just been a mindless husk. Reprogrammed countless times after every single mission. He hadn’t cared then. Hadn’t cared who he killed. Hadn’t cared who he hurt. Hadn’t cared what it meant.

 

Then he was deprogrammed and he suddenly was aware of how much of monster he was. The people he’s killed and the work he’d done - no matter how unwilling - for HYDRA was unforgivable. He had put people in unspeakable pain, so much so that they had begged for death at certain points. When he saw Natasha, he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about her thinking he was a monster. She could understand that feeling of giving up. She understood the strength it took to get back into the road of redemption. She understood how it felt to accept his fate. Afterall, they had accepted theirs long ago. They never thought they’d see each other again and didn’t even say goodbye.

 

It had been messed up. Cruel. Unethical. But...it was their life. And they had accepted the choices they made as their own. Because they had no other choice .

 

But then she told him that they had a kid- a son . A child. That was made with their genes and DNA. That had half of Bucky’s blood running through him. That maybe had some of his personality  and maybe had some of Natasha’s. That was born into this world of their love and affection. Their child was one of love born into a world of blood.

 

When she told him, every changed.

 

He needed to find the child. It was almost as if a protective insisting kicked in. But then he worried what would happen once they did eventually find him. Bucky worried that he’d have to explain that feeling of giving up and accepting one’s fate- even if it was a terrible one. Explain to his son that he had a monster for a dad.

 

Then he worried that his son already knew what that feeling of giving up and acceptance felt like too. And somehow that was even worse to think of. The idea made him sick.

 

Natasha and him were in their room in the Avenger Tower. Well floor, it was like a really nice modern apartment. It was big and had a living room and kitchen, open concept. Two bedrooms although they only needed one, both with bathrooms. Stark was really generous in giving them this, but Natasha told him Stark was just showing off as she rolled her eyes. Somehow he knew that the man wasn’t showing off his money so much as generosity. Stark just waved the thanks off.

 

When he had seen Parker though... Peter Parker … why did that name sound so familiar. The memory was just there but still locked up. It was frustrating. If he could just figure out who the kid was, then maybe he could stop dreaming out about him.

 

But Bucky knew nothing about Peter Parker. He’d never met him before. He never ever met any child soldiers, he’d remember if he did. It’s just...Peter looked scared . The same haunted look that crossed that child’s face in the white room. The exact same . Terrified and knowing no one would save him- even though he was in a room full of heroes. Why was he scared in a room full of people who protected kids like him everyday? Was he the only one who thought that was concerning? Peter shouldn’t be as afraid as he was in that situation if he hadn’t done something - not necessarily wrong , but not right either. Bucky didn’t know anything about the kid but he did know the kid had been betrayed too many times. He knew the kid has had to kill. He has had to survive in his own. He has had to take care of himself because he’s got no one watching his 6. He knows the look a soldier carries after war, and it was horrifying to see that reflected in a child’s eyes.

 

Natasha had followed up on Peter’s alibi with Fury and when she had come back she said nothing. So Bucky figures that it wasn’t Parker in that room after all.

 

He supposed Parker was a rather common last name.

 

Still he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

 

“He just...I don’t know reminded me of him.” Bucky said to Natasha in the privacy of their rooms. Natasha looked up at him from where she was sitting across the room for a moment and then she got up and walked the length of the room, setting down her book on the night table and sitting cross legged across from him where he was mimicking the action. It was the same position they used when talking about his sensitive memories. The action came with comfort. Bucky felt himself relax a little. “He obviously wasn’t him, but I have a feeling he’d look similar to…” Bucky trailed off not looking at her but at the bed sheets not finding the right word for the kid he’d pinned earlier that day.

 

“Parker.” Natasha helpfully supplied. Bucky nodded but didn’t speak for a while, until Natasha did. “He’s not our son.” Natasha told him firmly. She sounded so sure of it. Usually it would assure him, ground him, solidify his decisions - justify them sometimes. Today it only served to be more off putting. He may not know a lot about Peter Parker but he did know that the boy was hiding something big. A dark secret that was swallowing him. It was eating him and no one was even looking his way to help. That was scary. The fact that people could even care about him enough to notice he was drowning in this inky pit of black. The pit that one couldn’t get out of alone. The same one Bucky used to be drowning in. Maybe they could help him, but if they could why didn’t they already?

 

“But...he could be.” Bucky said desperately. A kid like Parker, he would understand what Bucky had become. He’d understand the feeling of acceptance. It would be easier for him to accept Bucky. Easier to explain what he’s done. Parker could understand. He wasn’t as innocent as he should be. Bucky felt earful for wishing it, because their son- no matter what- would be perfect. Parker wasn’t perfect enough to keep his innocence, and that was what Bucky needed in his son. It was terrible of him to think that. He wanted his son to be innocent for as long as he could, but...would he accept Bucky as a father if he was?

 

“No, our sources say that he was brought up in Queens, no accounts of being a POW. He might not be Mary’s son, but he’s never been officially found by SHIELD in a HYDRA facility. The files say Petya was in the facility with you. Parker was found in an orphanage fire near where Mary was operating when he was 6. Only survivor. I checked it up with Fury.” Natasha informed him of all the details and Bucky sagged his shoulders in a bit of disappointment and something else. Weather if it was relief or dread he wasn’t quite sure, probably both. Natasha touched his knee gently. “Kras?”

 

“Natalia...I” he didn’t know how to say what he wanted, but it’s okay, Natasha would give him all the time in the world to come up with the right words. No matter what he said though, it would sound bad because of what he was saying. “I want to find him. I want to really find him. But what if when he realizes who I am….” he didn’t need to finish his sentence. He looked at Natasha just long enough to see it click for her. A look of dawning and understanding crossed her face.

 

“You think Parker would understand? Understand what...we had to do?” Bucky winced and nodded. Natasha leaned back a little. “Parker is strange isn’t he. He probably would .” she said almost amused.

 

“He has the same look as us, Nat. In his eyes. He’s killed for someone before.” Bucky said voice just below being desperate. Natasha nodded and rubbed his knee.

 

“I know Kras...there are no accounts but...I know.” She said a little more lowly. “He hasn’t said anything about killing and I haven’t seen him do it or any of the bodies he’s killed. He’s good at covering it up. But… he still does it. Maybe not for someone else, but he still does it.” She said to him gripping his knee a little. She was worried too. Almost unsure. That unsettled Bucky a little.

 

“I just feel like...he...yeah.” Bucky stumbled over his words and Natasha smirked at him at his struggle. He hated it when he teases him without actually saying anything, but it was oddly comforting if not a little exasperating. “Can you tell me...about him?” Bucky surprises himself in asking, Natasha only looked shocked for a second before thinking.

 

“Hmmm.” Natasha looked contemplative and then shocked again, almost stunned. “I don’t really know all that much about him.” Natasha said and that threw Bucky too. Natasha always knew something about everyone. “But he’s good at finding things.”

 

“Finding things?” Bucky asked. That was a bit weird but sounded useful.

 

“Yeah, People, items, you name it. He’s known for taking the smallest hint and tracking it down to the source.” Okay Yeah, that was very helpful. He didn’t understand why Natasha didn’t enlist him immediately instead of wait a year. Surly Peter had heard something about Petya in the time he was working with the team. That is, if he was as good as Natasha was implying. Not a lot of things can slip past The Black Widow.

 

“That seems pretty helpful.” Bucky said to her and she nodded in agreement.

 

“Yes, it’s why I told him.” Bucky looked at her confused and she continued. “He’s running his own investigation. Keeping an ear out, finding leads but not necessarily looking for them, that sort of thing. I just told him to casually keep an eye out and if he finds anything, he’ll probably track it down before giving it to us if it leads out of his range.” Bucky must’ve looked uncertain because the hand was on his knee again. They were trusting an unstable entity that they knew nearly nothing about with their most prized secret. What if Parker slipped up? He was just a kid after all. The hand on his knee squeezed.“He’s a good one Kras.” she assured. Quieting his inner turmoil some. He breathed.

 

“He’s also a kid…” Bucky pointed out meekly and Natasha’s eyes somehow softened and hardened at the same time. Parker must have had a tough love kind of situation with Natasha. Or just an authoritative one? Professional? He was a kid and he was acting as a soldier. Probably had to be professional since he wasn’t technically apart of the team.

 

“Yes, but so was I. And Parker doesn’t kill.” Bucky furrowed his eyebrows. Natasha didn’t believe any of those parts and Bucky could read her like a book. He called her out because they couldn’t afford to think in such delusions.

 

“You don’t honestly believe that.” he gently accused and she looked down into her lap now taking her hand away to fold it with her other one. Sadness roaming over them. Sadness of a child having to grow up so quickly and losing the shred of him that made him innocent. They were putting him in these situations that stripped him of that. It was painful and it made them hardened toward him. Pretending he wasn’t a child at all was easier. Pretending like it did blow a hole in their hearts and that it didn’t matter was easier than letting the guilt consume them. They couldn’t let that happen, as sad as it was.

 

“There has never been bodies left behind so…” Natasha tried to justify. In the quiet of their room they were allowed to feel guilt of tainting this child even further than he already was. Ruining him instead of helping him.

 

“It’s easier to pretend like he doesn’t?” Natasha nodded. Bucky leaned back.  He understood that. It was easier to pretend like Petya was enjoying life instead of waiting ata HYDRA compound and being sent out on missions and killing innocent victims. “Not one body?” He asked. Natasha nodded again. Wow. This kid was good, if not even Natasha could find the evidence. Was he a mercenary or an assassin? Did the kid work for someone? He hoped not. He actually wasn’t sure if working for someone or him doing it by himself was worse.

 

“Fury and I suspect it. But not even SHIELD has found the bodies, doesn’t even know the victims.” she said quietly. Bucky listened with a more serious blank face. They didn’t look at each other. “But Parker doesn’t do what he does without a good reason. That’s what Fury says at least, and I may not trust him all the way, but I won’t doubt him about Parker.” Bucky knew what she meant. That she couldn’t doubt Fury about Parker. Because they didn’t know anything about him. As far as he knew Fury and Parker’s relationship was a lot more complicated than just professionalism. It was almost as if Fury trusted Parker, and that doesn’t happen. Like ever.

 

“Kid’s good.” Bucky noted with no humor or amusement. She nodded in response. Kid seemed like he got skills. Not just in fighting. In covert things too. Like it was breathing for him.

 

There was just something about him. He knew Natasha felt it too. Something that they were missing, but apparently they weren’t. He’d just have to trust Parker wasn’t who he thought he was initially. Trust that Parker would help them and not betray them. Trust that Parker was really as solo as he says he is.

 

He just hoped it wasn’t a mistake.

 

OoOoO

7 years earlier…

 

Coming back was hell.

 

He guessed that his expectations got higher. Spending all that time with MJ and Ned during the 9 months. Learning things at school and in the library. Reading with MJ and building LEGOs with Ned. It was fun . Like the type of fun that he actually thought was fun. The kind of things he didn’t even know he liked to do. He was allowed to make his own decisions and pick what they were doing and how they spent their time. He liked relaxing and watching movies with his friends. Binging Star Wars at ten in the night. Even if he didn’t have training to do, it was nice to have something other than fighting to do. It was nice not being yelled at by everyone, everytime they talked to him or if he had a question. It was nice to just spend time with people who wanted to spend time with him.

 

It was almost too good to be true.

 

If those nine months had been a dream, he wouldn’t have been surprised. He was walking into his old life now, as he stepped off the plane with his duffle bag and backpack. He was waking up and back in reality now; The reality where people screamed at him every second of every day and trained him until he couldn’t move. He expected that, when he got off the plane. But it didn’t happen. Not immediately anyway.

 

The first thing that happened was something was shoved in front of his face by someone he really didn’t mind seeing again. He almost smiled when he saw the tuft of brown hair that was swooped up in a familiar way.

 

Wade Wilson was the only nice person that was still alive. He wasn’t very responsible with him and Peter acted more like his babysitter than the other way around, but Wade jokes with him and laughed with him in the good way. He had a safe smile. Right now, he had a camera pointed at him and Peter cocked his head confused at his weird antics he hasn’t gotten fully used to it yet.

 

“What are you doing?” He asked with a curious tint in his tone. He should get used to showing no emotions for the next few months. If he wasn’t good they may let him go back to New York. He wanted to go back to his friends. But Wade didn’t give a shit if he showed emotions or not (its part of the reason he liked him).

 

“Like you know those videos when the soldiers come home?” he asked and Peter thought for a second before he nodded, vaguely remembering  Ned crying over those videos on a beat up laptop in MJ’s apartment and she and Peter laughed at him in a good way (he said they were heartless because it was so happy and they weren’t even acknowledging it and he and MJ only laughed harder). “Well I’m doing that, but like a reverse. Soldiers coming back to war. It will go viral!” Peter shook his head fondly (sometimes MJ did that when he and Ned did something silly or dumb).

 

“You do realize I’m a global secret?” Peter pointed out as he walked around Wade to go on the short walk toward the vehicular that Wade was using to pick him up. Wade huffed as he turned to follow him. Peter tried to ignore the squeeze in his heart at what he had just said. It made him remember he wasn’t entirely normal (try not normal at all ).

 

“Since when did you become so aware of your current status.” Peter shrugged in response and smiled happily at the camera as Wade turned it to his face. He was just glad Wade picked him up and not anyone else. The little good things that happened to him made it easy to smile.

 

He missed Wade.

 

They drove to the base where troops had been lining up and running through drills. It was oddly familiar and put him on edge. After seeing what normal kids do, this was glaringly different (Ned mentioned that he was going to a summer camp that was coding related but they did things like swimming and stuff, somehow Peter knew he didn’t mean it was at all like this, even if he hadn’t been to summer camp before).

 

Wade dropped him off where he was supposed to meet Cotnet - which was inside the bunker looking building near the center of the camp - and wished him good luck before driving off to do his other tasks he’s probably been assigned to. He steeled himself as he walked into the fortified stone building. Pushing open the heavy door a sense of foreboding filled Peter’s stomach. It was pitch black in the office/bunker and Peter had to wait a minute for his eyes to adjust. Not even the window was open and as the door closed the darkness swallowed him whole.

 

“Welcome back.” A sick voice said in the dark room. Peter could make out the figure if the official barley through the dark. The voice was unmistakable and made Peter stand up straight with his hands behind his back. It was more of a reflex than anything.

 

“Sir?” He asked to confirm that it was Cotnet, even if he already knew the answer. The voice was slightly different since he’s last heard it - given it has been nearly a year but still. That sounded like him, but he never sounded so... creepy before. The foreboding in his stomach increased and it felt like he had swallowed lead.

 

“We missed you Peter.” He said and Peter shivered at the name coming in that voice from his mouth. He didn’t like the way that he just said that. “How was New York?”

 

“It’s was fine, sir.” He said and could feel Cotnet approach slowly. A feeling of dread sunk in his stomach. He felt nervous. Why couldn’t they turn on the lights? Maybe that would make him more comfortable…

 

You shouldn’t want to be comfortable.

 

Peter was suddenly glad it was dark. He turned ashen white. Had the time spent in New York make him think he was worth comfort? Oh no, that wasn’t good. Special Forces was anything but comfortable and it would be harder to adjust to it from New York than it was to adjust from the HYDRA base. Then if he was good he’d go back to New York and ruin his progress. Oh no .

 

“That’s good.” Cotnet said and his voice was closer. Not paying any mind to Peter’s distress in his head. “Do you know why Wilson brought you here?” To get reinstated for the summer right? He thought that was obvious. Why was he asking obvious questions? When a superior asked obvious questions that usually meant they wanted to taunt Peter. It was a sign that he was in trouble. But what had he done wrong?

 

He knows you don’t want to be here.

 

“No sir? I thought it was to...get reinstated for the season.” Peter stuttered a bit put out by the question. He regretted the undecideds in his voice immediately when he felt a slap to his face. His head turned to the side, Cotnet didn’t even acknowledge the slap. Peter already knew what it was for.

 

“Yes, reinstated and reconditioned.” Peter froze at that. He only had heard the word ‘reconditioned’ when it was used for Soldier back in HYDRA. It has never been used for him. Whenever they ‘reconditioned ‘ Soldier, he would forget who Peter was. Peter felt his breath get caught, what if he forgot who Wade was? What if he forgot who MJ and Ned were? What if he forgot New York? What if he hurt them, like Soldier almost hurt him? Peter couldn’t deal with the thoughts and felt his breathing leave him. Cotnet doesn't seem to notice or care as he continued. “You see, you’ve tasted freedom for the first time in your life, if I am correct.” Peter didn’t like where this was going. Freedom was nice and now he was going to forget it ever happened. Why did they even let him have it in the first place? “You made your own choices and such. But here? You have no choice, my boy.” Peter hung his head. The allusion That has been with him the past nine months gone. Shattered like all good dreams. The darkness he’d been pushing away with MJ and Ned and at school and home was coming up and making itself known in the forefront of his mind. The reality he had to face when he got back to his real life. Fighting, bloodshed and torture were his real life. Movie nights and silent reading were a far off fantasy that he could never hope to see correctly again. There would always be the weight of the death he’s caused on his shoulders, and the blood streaking his hands. Leaving red marks on whatever he touched or did.

 

He had ignored the red for too long.

 

“I-I know that sir.” He whispered and then suddenly there was a dark looming figure in front of him. Peter felt fear creep up his throat as he looked up into sick, cream coloured teeth, smiling down at him menacingly. Like he was going to do something Peter wouldn’t like. But Peter should never be allowed to do things he likes. That wasn’t his reality. He wasn’t allowed to want things.

 

“Yes, but just to be sure.” The general said and made an obvious gesture that Peter felt more than saw. He was confused as to what the general was gesturing to. “Take it off.” Peter was confused.

 

“Take what…” then Peter understood. He looked down at his uniform. The combat pants he had to pull up discreetly every few moments, the baggy vest that had too many pouches. They hadn’t given him his weapons again yet, so all he had were the few knives he had bring with him and the switch sword he’d built himself (a sword that worked like a switch blade and he could adjust the angles or the three segments to it could work as a hook thing too. And it folded up nice and small so it only looked like a slightly bigger switchblade. Wade said it was cool). Dread dawned on his face as he realized what Cotnet wanted him to do...but it was.. not right . “S-sir-“

 

“This.” He felt the Generals hands swoop down and yank the waistband of his loose combat pants down. Ripping off the shoes with it. Peter felt his face heat up in shame and embarrassment. Fear making him shake. This is wrong!

 

“S-sir, this is highly-“ Peter tried to stutter out and was met with another slap to the face. Tears formed in his eyes as his cheek stung, but didn’t dare move his hands up to soothe it.

 

“Quiet Soldier.” The general growled as he continued to strip the young boy. Peter shut up and when he was fully naked he was glad it was dark in the room. Embarrassment flushing through him. A streak of anger driven by fear, he looked to the heavy door before dismissing the thought entirly. It was as Cotnet pushed him against the wall that he noticed that the general wasn’t fully clothed either. No, no! This is very very wrong!

 

Make him stop!

 

“Wh-“ Peter whimpered quietly. Cotnet couldn’t hear him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted him to or not. Peter’s mind was too loud to form coherent thoughts, much less words. He wanted this to stop. He didn’t like this. This was wrong.

 

“I told you. I missed you Peter.” The creepy voice said. And Peter would forever remember the tone. He knew it would come back, in the back of his mind he knew he’d be hearing it again. Being spoken to in that tone. He’d forever affiliate it with what just happened in that bunker.

 

The rest was fuzzy. He remembered pain. A lot of pain that shot up through him from a part of his body he knew shouldn’t be touched without his permission. He remembers being told not to scream if he wanted it to stop, biting on a cloth until his teeth bled. He remembers smelling blood, tasting blood and bile but never seeing it. He remembers stumbling to put on his cloths in the dark alone and then stumbling out to painfully blinding light of the day. Head too hot and hurting. He wheezed his eyes shut only to be met with the images he did remember from the bunker and tried to stifle a scream.

 

Wade was waiting for him where he had dropped him off and Peter stumbled to his SO. Wade put a hand on his shoulder, just like he always did when he was about to fall. It hurt to walk and he was sure it would hurt to sit. This time, when Wade touched him, Peter flinched so violently Wade took his hand away like he was burned. Too soon.

 

“Kiddo?” Wade asked almost concerned and Peter remembered Cotnets promise he made Peter say. He ordered him not to tell anyone. Or else he’d never be allowed back to New York. He Had to get out of this place, he knew now more than ever. The longer he stayed away from Cotnet the less he’d have to do… that again. “You okay?”Wade’s voice cut through his mind rambling and it came to a stop on the older man’s face.

 

He was a soldier. He had to be compliant. He didn’t get to make his own choices. It didn’t matter what he wanted. He had to do as his commander said. No questions asked. If he was told to forget something, he’d forget it in an instant. He moved on. Kept pushing. No emotions. He was compliant and followed orders. Obeyed, no questions asked. Served and fought for his general. This was Peter. Peter was a Soldier. No free thought or free will. No freedom.

 

This was Peter’s reality.

 

“Yes sir.”

 

OoOoO

Present...

He had a job to do.

 

That was his ‘excuse’ at least (which wasn’t really an excuse because he actually had to get some work done that wasn’t for the Avengers). The past four days have been him staying low and following Ross’s pungent scent that he’s been leaving around the city (For a long time apparently. Wade called him and Matt sniffer dogs- he didn’t know what those were, maybe some Canadian thing- and not even they could see this coming. It still made sense and wasn’t at all surprising, but still. It’s not like they’ve been ignoring this on purpose). It was nasty and dirty and he’d have no trouble finding the locations of every single one of the circles. But that wouldn’t fix the problem, just sedate it. Mediate? Not fix it entirely. He had to take out Ross -or who ever the big boss was - to really fix the problem.

 

This had nothing at all to do with the Avengers. He couldn’t go back to the tower and face the music because this needed all his attention right now. So he was justified in ignoring Fury’s text of a debrief for a mission in Chicago. They should know by now he wasn’t going to be reliable, and that he needed space (even if he did get like 5 weeks worth of the stuff). He was swamped right now, with everything that has been going on outside of the Avenger’s little bubble (it was so much cleaner in there than it was out here). He wasn’t going to make a single one of those kids confess, but he would get Ross to justice if it was the last thing he’d do.

 

There were a lot of things he’d do for the last thing he’d do in his life.

 

Having this new job also cleared his head. The voices were mostly dormant for the past four days, as he had no time or energy to focus on them. Just focus on this. It doesn’t matter if he’s barely been able to sleep. It doesn’t matter if he’s barely eaten and his stomach is a growling mess.

 

After four fucking days of busting up minor circles, picking them apart for any new leads, he finally found something worth while. Well, it was supposed to be worthwhile at least. It was an Irish dealer, alone in a supposed sex warehouse that Ross rented out. He wasn’t chained so it looked like he was there if free will. There was no guards or drugs. No victims or kids. Just a disgusting old man who didn’t speak english apparently.

 

Fáilte, Damhán Alla. “( Welcome Spider. ) he said in his thick Irish accent. Despite him being in the rafters and visibly noticeable, Peter made sure to make his presence noticeable- the guy was obviously waiting for him. Peter didn’t miss a beat in responding in his own Irish accent (what? He went on undercover too...and also learning new languages was fun. He learned Irish when he was 11 when he found a book on it in the Library and just decided to spend his weekend cramming the language in his head so he could annoy MJ because she hated the Irish accent. Which he is proud to admit he mastered).

 

“Cá bhfuil Ross?“( Where is Ross? ) he said in a low, nearly dark tone, as he jumped down silently a few feet away from the man. No humor or emotions. Professional. This was serious. And it could also be because of the fact that Peter was tired and not in the mood to make any jokes. When he talked in a foreign language, it usually was to prove a point or interrogation (at least, that’s the only purpose it served now . Technically English was a foreign language to him, but he only cursed in Russian as a part of his daily vocabulary anymore.) The man’s yellow smile turned sickly sweet, reminded him of the old HYDRA agents when he was a kid. (Eww. Gross. Memories!)

 

“Leis na Avengers, ar ndóigh.“( With the Avengers, of course. ) the man responded his sickly sweet smile showing off even more yellowing rotten teeth. Peter scrunched his nose under the mask. Gross. Like pop a mint sometime, his breath smelt like sour crout; and Peter had a very sensitive nose - especially when he was hungry, which he was very very hungry currently - so do everyone the courtesy of using a toothbrush, thank you very much.

 

“Ansin cad atá á dhéanamh agat anseo?“( Then what are you doing here? ) It was kind of weird. An old man who really needed to brush his teeth, standing alone in an abandoned warehouse. Why would Ross do that? Was this a trap? What was he playing at?

 

“Dúirt Boss go raibh mé in ann súgradh leat.“( Boss said I could play with you. ) he hated when criminals said play like they got some sort of kick out of making innocent people bleed out or tortured them. Like Peter had his fair share of jokes and quips, but never did he enjoy watching his victims bleed. It was cliche and manic. It’s why he never smiled when he killed, not even for show. It just made it seem like he had a sick satisfaction in it and he didn’t. He took no satisfaction in killing, he only killed out of necessity, or just in case reasons. He always knew when he was going to kill, there were no ‘ifs’. He was going to kill this guy, because Ross must have some plan for him in the future and this was already too complicated for Peter to keep up with, without another whack variable. He would get the information he needed and killed this guy when he was done. He didn’t like playing with his victims.

 

“Sea?“( Yeah? ) Peter said with a slight smirk under his mask. He kicked the guy in the stomach so fast that the man didn’t have any time to realize he was on the other side of the room. The action was too fast, and too unpredictable. He used the timing of the fact that his voice was laid back but his actions were quick. The moment escalated too fast for the other guy to block or fight back. Ross underestimated him, everyone did. He had the guy laid out in four seconds flat, not giving him a chance to adjust his mentality that Peter was actually strong. Now there was an unconscious entity on the ground. Peter didn’t take his eye off him for a second.

 

Peter looked around in his prepheries. No other enemies. No victims. No items. No evidence. Except for the guy in front of him. He couldn’t hear or smell anything else. This guy must’ve been a distraction. He didn’t have any other leads to follow, a supposed dead end. Ross knew that he had no more leads. Peter looked at the unconscious man again and smirked ‘ But that’s just what he wants you to think ’. Guess it was time for an interrogation.

 

Peter sighed as he webbed up the man to an aged chair that looked like it was going to fall apart any moment (god knows what it was doing here, because the man certainly didn’t bring it here. It had cobwebs all over it). The man wouldn’t be able to outrun him, he wasn’t even enhanced, and Peter had webs- so even if he breaks the chair, he still was trapped (if worse became worst, he’d be dead before he went three steps). Plus he didn’t seem all that important, so he wouldn’t have any important information. He just needed a small slip up from the man. Something small. Anything at all.

 

The boy slapped the guy upside the head and the man’s head pulled forward, but he didn’t wake up fully. Then he pinched a pressure point on the neck making the man wake up to searing pain running down his back as he choked out a yell as he woke up.

 

“Ba chóir duit labhairt.“( You should speak. ) Peter suggested quietly in the man’s ear as he tipped the chair back. It was a threat and Peter wasn’t really in the mood to full on torture this guy, so he hoped the painful awakening was enough to get him to talk. He didn’t have a lot to work with interrogation wise anyway, so he took out a small switchblade and flicked it open on the man’s cheek, making him bleed.

 

“Ní mharóidh tú mé.“( Y-You won’t kill me. ) the man said unsurly. Peter almost wanted to laugh. When he was this close to the man he could smell the semen on the man from a recent fuck. It was a child’s. If the man thought he was leaving this warehouse alive , he was in for a rather rude awakening. Or death. Unaliving? He wasn’t going to leave this warehouse alive at all.

 

“An é sin a d'inis do mháistir duit?“( Is that what your master told you? ) Peter said letting amusement tint his tone. People usually assumed Spiderman didn’t kill, because he’s never left a dead body. What they didn’t know was that Spiderman did kill when he needed to. Although he didn’t advertise it, he didn’t necessarily hide it either. He just didn’t like evidence left behind. “Lig dom tú a chur ar an eolas ansin,“( Let me inform you then, ) he flipped over the chair as he pulled off his mask, hood coming up as he landed and looked at the man dead in the eyes. It wouldn’t matter if he saw his face, because the stupid man was practically dead anyway.“insíonn siad duit nach féidir le duine ar bith na comhlachtaí a fháil riamh.“ ( they tell you that because no one can ever find the bodies. ) he whispered and the man froze in fear as he looked into the 15 year old’s eyes. He was sure they were tired, but a hint of something else was glazing that. Man, that flip left him dizzy. He should eat.

 

“C-Ca-Cad ba mhaith leat a fháil amach!“( W-Wh-What d-do y-you w-wanna know! ) the man said quickly, frantically. He was going to be so easy to break. He clearly had thought he’d be able to slip out once he stunned Peter or did whatever he needed to. Peter quickly turned the tables in his favor, it was clear this guy was only here to taunt him as his leads ended up at a dead end. Jokes on him though, because clearly Peter was getting more information than Ross probably expected.

 

“Gach rud.“( Everything. ) Peter said as he tipped the chair back and stepped away. The man started to talk.

 

“Níl a fhios agam aon rud!“( I d-don’t know anything! ) the man said frantically and Peter sighed as he took out his switch sword and flicked it out so it would stab the man above the shoulder in a shallow wound, the man gritted his teeth in pain. God, he was going for a lazy torture session? What had the world become?

 

“Ní rogha duit é luí.“( Lying isn’t an option for you .) Peter said with boredom in his voice as the man screamed out when he dug the blade a little deeper. God, he should just talk already. He knew he was going to give himself away and so did Peter. He should just cut them some time so he could carry on and finish this job and sleep and eat and sleep some more, maybe take a nice shower. His stomach growled lightly, luckily the man was in too much pain to hear it.

 

“ceart go leor ceart go leor! Tá bailiúchán le bheith in aice leis an Empire State Building. Is sa chás go bhfaigheann ár mbainisteoir gach rud. Tá sé cosúil le mol dúinn.“( okay okay! There is going to be a gathering near the Empire State Building. It’s where our boss gets everything done. It’s like a hub for us. ) Too much information, too good to be true. There was no way -no matter how stupid - anyone would give up a place like a hub in a light interrogation so easily. Especially since it’s been a secret for years and the head of these illegal activities is an official secretary of state. Peter cut the guy across the chest quickly.  

 

“caillfidh tú géag. Just a insint dom an fhírinne agus beidh mé ar mo bhealach.“( dude, you’re gonna lose a limb. Just tell me the truth and I’ll be on my way. ) Peter said blandly as the man wreathed and spat on the ground near his shoe. Peter raised a brow, so that’s how they were going to play this game. Peter may be tired, but he could still make this guys last few minutes hell on earth - so much so that he’ll be begging  for death.

 

Peter pocketed the switch sword swiftly and took out a loose nail out of the floorboards. He pushed it into a pressure point on the guys shoulder and the man’s eyes widened in pain. He used his other hand to hit a point on his chest so he couldn’t scream and the guy struggled harder and harder in immense pain, unable to scream but also in anguish (just like Peter had been when the same technique was done for days on end). This certain technique hurt like a bitch and Peter let go of both pressure points after 30 seconds that must have felt like hours to the man. The man let out a choked cry as he caught his breath.

 

“Ná ... ... tá a fhios agam i bhfad ... go díreach ... tá d-titim eile ... ag dul go ... h-tarlú in ... p-pier 14 in ... t-dhá uair an chloig.“( I-I don’t... know m-much...j-just that ...another d-drop off... is going to ...h-happen in ...p-pier 14 in ...t-two hours. ) the man stuttered out breathlessly. Peter checked his phone, it was 9:36pm. The Avengers would be on a mission in Chicago when this was going down. So that’s how Ross was able to cover it up. The Avengers go on missions that seem more important than petty drug circles while Ross trafficked. Clearly this guy was set up as a distraction for the next two hours, probably to hurt and be inappropriate with Peter - gross . Ross was probably going to remotely oversee the drop offs, but even if he wasn’t he should stop it. This sounded like a big deal.

 

“Go raibh maith agat. Beidh sin ar fad.“( Thank you. That will be all. ) the man’s sigh of relief was cut off by a slash to his throat. Peter stood up slowly after the slight flick of his wrist, ending the guys life in an instant. He didn’t like prolonged death. Only if it was necessary. But the guy had been more useful than he initially thought he would be. Peter didn’t do the whole ‘pay respects to the dead after you kill them’ thing. That just seemed over dramatic. He was more of a ‘gotta get rid of the body so I can sleep’ kind of guy.

 

If Ross was doing this while the Avengers were away, that means he must have called the mission in. Fury called him in for this mission too, he just didn’t answer (he’s glad he didn’t. All of Ross’s missions always seemed a bit odd and not something that the Avengers would do). There must be more than kids getting ‘dropped off’, some information too. And a pier? That meant he had to get a shipping line to expose themselves (or he’d just expose them, he was good at that). Man he had a lot of work to do. Ugh, and he just wanted to sleep and maybe eat, definitely take a shower - he stunk. But if he did any of that, he knew he wouldn’t wake up in time for the pier. His stomach let out a rather impressive growl and he pressed his stomach, willing it to stop.

 

What should he do to kill time? They probably weren’t there yet and if the drop off was happening in two hours he should probably stake it out if they were going to possibly be early. But they wouldn’t be two hours early, the Avengers shouldn’t have been out of debriefing yet. Peter started to torture this guy when it started. So he had 15 minutes minimum to kill. He looked down at the man he just killed and sighed.

 

Oh yeah, he had a body to causterate.

 

OoOoO

2 years ago…

The kid found him in a dumpster.

 

At first the heartbeat confused him. Heartbeats are usually the first thing he notices about a person, and he noticed that this kid was distinctly not even 14 yet. He also wondered why the fuck a kid would be up at literally 1 in the morning on what he remembered to be a week night in the middle of November, in an ally behind a merc bar no less. He also recognized this heartbeat, but he’s never heard it so close before. It was Spider-Man’s, and he knew because it had the same Rhythm as Spidey’s but maybe a little calmer. Now that it was close Matt had a better read on him. Too bad he was completely wasted, and didn’t put two and two together (even if he did he didn’t think he’d know what to say to the kid about his vigilantism).

 

The kid threw a trash bag on top of him so Matt assumes that he was taking out the trash - like a logical person- and that meant the kid worked at the bar (which he also didn’t attach together, because again he was wasted). It must have made a weird noise or he did because the kid stopped and sighed before he walked back to the dumpster and opened it to peer inside. He didn’t need to see to know the kid was unamused. Totally unfazed that there was a blind guy in a dumpster at one am. So he either was from New York or he was from a place just as- if not more- messed up (although he couldn’t think of a place more weird than New York).

 

Either way, he could tell this kid was different.

 

The kind of different that Matt was.

 

So even if he was sober, there was no persuading him out of vigilantism. Which Matt had no problem with, everyone had their reasons and the kid was no different. A good vigilante always kept their reasons to themselves and Matt never pried because that was their own business.

 

“Need help or…” the kid left the question open ended and Matt thought for a moment before deciding he didn’t want to be with his new rat friends (they were bad company, they nipped at his shoes) and nodded, confused because he had heard that voice before too but never this close. From between the trash and rats, the kid leaned in to grab Matt’s outstretched hand. “How’d you get here, Red?” He asked and Matt froze. He looked down even though he couldn’t see, but he was fairly certain that He wasn’t in costume, just hammered.

 

“You in civilian clothes Spidey?” He asked and the kid scrunched up his nose, probably at his alcohol breath. The kid must’ve had super senses too. That poor motherfucker.

 

“Yeah, at work actually.” The kid replied and gestures over to the bar. Matt was somehow glad that the kid didn’t actually treat him like a blind person, because he was capable of feeling and hearing gestures and he was glad Spidey was smart enough to pick that up (if he wasn’t good at hearing things then he’d probably have bullets in his head a long time ago). One question remained (actually a lot of questions but this one was at the forefront of his drunken mind): What was a kid doing working at a bar ? Then again, Matt should be asking why a kid was going out to be a vigilante, but they all had their vices. Matt tended not to question those and rolled with it.

 

The thing is. Matt’s never really interacted with Spiderman before but he still knew he was pretty young on his voice alone. He never said anything to the other vigilante if they passed each other or something. He had the stature of a kid, he was short and scrawny (but that could also be because of his mutation, the kids blood wasn’t human, so Matt couldn’t rely on that). Spidey tended to stay in Queens or sometimes Brooklyn and Midtown and Daredevil was comfortable in Hell’s Kitchen. It was kinda like how dogs would mark their territories. If anyone (i.e vigilantes, criminal, etc.) stepped foot in Hell’s Kitchen then Matt would know about it, and sometimes when he went to Midtown or Queens, Spidey would look out for him but never interact. He trusted him to get his business done in a timely fashion and respected that he sometimes had to step out of his usual jurisdiction. Red offered the same to Spidey when he had to swing through or follow a lead. It was a silent mutual pact. They didn’t actively go looking for villains that weren’t their own.

 

“You’re a kid.” Matt said to him, because he was a tad too drunk to say anything in proper context. So he just stuck with the facts. He could feel Spidey smirk.

 

“And you’re blind.” He said back and Matt groaned as Spidey took him back inside the bar where it was too loud for his whack senses (drinking was always a toss up on weather the alcohol would dim his senses or enhance them). Spiderman sat him in a bar stool and popped something in his ears. He noticed they were earbuds and the white noise was gone. Huh, strange these weren’t like normal earbuds. They were kind of nice.

 

“I’m out of my territory…” he muttered a little dejectly and Spidey shrugged. He really didn’t know how to talk to a blind man, did he? Or maybe he just knew Matt wasn’t a normal blind man. Just like Spidey wasn’t a normal kid. Probably the last one, because Spidey wasn’t stupid. His little knowledge of him could tell that much. The kid was smart.

 

“Can’t control you when you’re in real people cloths. I was told this was a ‘free country’ or whatever.” Spider Man said casually. He was told this was a free country? That meant he wasn’t from around here. But he’s been around long enough to not be surprised by a blind man stuck in a dumpster who also happened to be the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

 

Now he was shuffling behind the counter and shoving some sort of food in front of Matt. Matt furrowed his brow.

 

“What do you need?” No way Spiderman was acting this casual with him. No one was ever casual with him, in real life or vigilante. And no one was ever this nice to him (not even Spiderman and he was known for being nice. But Spidey was in his civilian clothing so he could be a completely different person. And in their line of work - and now kind of officially knowing each other’s identities - he was going to ask a favor.)

 

“Nothing…” Spidey said his voice pitching an octave making it fairly noticeable that he was lying. Matt raised a brow. “... well I might need some help tracking a few guys down. In Queens.” He said and then hesitantly and side eyed him cautiously. As if he expecting a no. Matt hadn’t answered so he asked sort of cautiously but trying to maintain the casualness he had earlier. It only partially worked. “You down?” Matt waited a second before he shrugged. It was probably the alcohol that made him agree, but something told him that he was going to have fun with this one.

 

“Sure, but just this time.”



Chapter Text

Chapter 6- No Heroes Anymore

 

Present...

“What?”

 

Peter was sitting on top of a roof gaping into his phone. He couldn’t believe the audacity of this man. He’s finally unblocked this bastard after one and a half months of steady avoiding (which was hard work, thankyouverymuch) and trying to take down their corrupted pedophilic boss, and then this motherfucker has the Gaul to accuse he was an affiliated HYDRA agent?

 

Well...you kinda are…

 

No . They weren’t having this discussion. Not again. He can’t afford to doubt himself right now. That would lead to him having too cryptic and accusatory answers and that would lead him to jail. He was not going to jail because he was not a HYDRA agent. Never was, and never will be (if he could help it). He was supposed to be, but he wasn’t. He didn’t do it. Goddamn, Fury get your facts straight, if you’re gonna dig where your not supposed to.

 

See? This is what happens when he leaves something unattended for a long time. This is the reason why he can’t ignore problems. Ugh, it was annoying. Like can’t he sulk for a month and a half in peace? Just like avoid all this drama? No, apparently not.

 

All things considered, he kind of expected this. Well not really this per say, more like he wasn’t entirely surprised. The last encounter he had in front of the Avengers was with the Winter Soldier (who kinda sort of recognized him and was kinda sorta maybe his dad. Whoopsie). He must’ve spilled something and now Fury had balls and incentive to finally look into him; even if it was necessary it was still annoying. He knew that Peter could whoop his and the entirety of SHIELD’s ass into next week if he was so inclined, so he needed a really good ass reason to break their verbal pact. And it must have been really tempting, but it wasn’t anyone’s fault. There was no way Barnes would keep his trap shut about that little incident a month ago, if Peter really did trigger memories (which he’s sure he did). And it’s not like Barnes was the only one who was triggered in that little reunion (god damn man up Soldier we’ve all got post HYDRA PTSD. no need to be a pussy about it). Even so, he’d have to face the music eventually (Especially for that broken arm which again, whoopsie). But that was fine he had 7 weeks to prepare. That should be enough...right?

 

So why did he still not feel ready to open up?

 

Probably never gonna be able to. You don’t ‘open up’, Peter.

 

Oh yeah. He was terrible at emotions. How could he forget?

 

But you know what he wasn’t terrible at: facts.

 

He had to keep in mind that he was only 5 when he last saw Barnes. When they accuse him, he could easily play that one off. There were a lot of kids that looked like him, and it wasn’t like he stood out in a crowd (brown hair and brown eyes, without the Spider costume he looked like any normal teenager). No defining features physically . Soldier would probably not remember any little ticks he had, he never remembered in the room and hardly ever had paid attention to him (now he could chalk that up as ‘daddy issues’ and finally join Matt and Wade’s and basically every mother vigilante/superheroes club. Well most of them anyway. Does finding out your dad is an ex assassin for HYDRA and used to beat your ass during training that he was brainwashed to do count as a ‘daddy issue’?). He had to keep all personal knowledge to a steady ‘ absolutely no talking about it’.  But that was easy, because that was what he’s been doing his entire life.

 

You’re running away .

 

No, he was not. He was moving on . Thank you very much. It’s not like he wanted these memories, and sure let experiences build you and shit, but this was one experience he was pretty sure he could live without. And also, growth. Character development. He had been so close to forgetting all about it. This was a test (even if he didn’t believe in god). To prove he could live without this experience.

 

But it’s not just one experience, it’s the first six years of your life.

 

Whatever, he didn’t even remember half of it. Normal kids don’t remember the first three years of their life and the older you get the less you remember about your first 7 years. Science was backing him in this one.

 

But you’re not a normal kid.

 

‘You know what? Shut up. There is no time for your negativity. We’ve got an interrogation to crush.’

 

He knew the Avengers were gonna pry into his life even if he made it difficult. They were gonna find out about this stuff eventually. Right, because those fuckers had Scarlet Witch, so it didn’t matter how many times Bucky was wiped, he’d still remember once Wanda had a crack at him. Maybe he could get Wanda on his side somehow. Like it didn’t seem like she hated him entirely yet. So there is still hope!

 

Really? I thought we were preparing for an interrogation, not giving into delusions.

 

And if they siced Wanda on him, it would be the finishing blow. They’d know everything. As much as he fought against magic, there was always some science to it. He didn’t know how to defend against something invading his mind . One would’ve thought he did because of all the brainwashing and different types of emotional and mental manipulation he witnessed and experienced as a kid. Apparently he didn’t. Magic was a whole other ballpark.

 

Well he just couldn’t let that happen. He’s had years of experience going through the worst kinds of hell without saying a damn word. He could stand up to some witchy stuff. Right?

 

Oh god, you’re screwed .

 

So he had two options. One was to tell the truth and confess. The other was to lie the fuck out of it, because those asses didn’t have any real evidence. Witchy stuff be damned. That wasn’t solid evidence.

 

The answer was so obvious.

 

“Okay? What does that have to do with me?” Peter asked in his flawless, ‘what the fuck are you talking about’ voice. Fury growled. Peter was so going to regret this later. Or maybe Fury would. Nothing stays hidden forever, but if they didn’t care enough, they’ll let him go...maybe?

 

Okay, yeah no. That ain’t gonna work out. They are actively trying to find you even though they don’t know it’s you. Even if they don’t care, they will figure you out eventually. They aren’t stupid.

 

Fuck you.

 

“You. Come here. Now. ” Ohh, breaking out the authoritative tone. Did he think it would work for Peter? Although, to be fair, he did sound really mad. Maybe Peter should humor him and come to the tower. Not that there was anything humorous about this, it was a very bad situation. But Peter likes to find the light in things.

 

Even if this is a shitty world.

 

Exactly!

 

“Are you growling? That’s fucking adorable Nick. I’m on my way.” Peter gushed with a smile even if no one could see with the mask on. He better get going before the voices decided to change his mind (he should do a lot of things before the voices changed his mind).

 

This was going to be interesting.

 

OoOoO

 

How exactly did he think this would turn out?

 

Not well.

 

In his head, this was more justified and better planned out. Now that Parker was sitting in front of him in a chair, it felt sort of silly (but not entirely surprising. It would definitely be embarrassing if they were wrong). How do you ask a teenager’ hey my best friend is freaking out cause he thinks you were in an HYDRA compound when you were a kid. Also your parents aren’t really your parents, and they were evil’? Yeah, that conversation was going to work well with a teenage spider mutant. Enhanced? They really didn’t know all that much about Parker - and that was the problem.

 

If Parker already knew, then this would be easy. They’d just have to expose him, and he didn’t seem to mind being exposed for the most part. He seemed pretty open, but that wasn’t the real case. If he knew something it was easy to hide it from them because they had never asked questions before - they assumed Fury had since he recruited Parker. Now that they were asking questions he would spill, because he was a kid and they had Romanov on their side (she could get anyone to spill). But this was serious…and what if he didn’t know. It’d be a wake up call, that’s for sure.

 

But even when had Parker walked in, he gave nothing away. He looked the same as he always has- except a little thinner, which come on kid how much thinner can you get - not at all like he broke Starks arm and bolted for 7 weeks(he didn’t even look like he could break a twig, those bags were ten times their size last time he saw him). It was too casual. It didn’t look right on his tired face, which didn’t look right on his young face. He just...didn’t look like a kid...but at the same time he did.

 

“So…” Peter rocked back and forth on his feet. Teetering between his toes and heels. Eyes darting around and looking anywhere but in their eyes. Was he nervous? Guilty? Any emotion they could probably use, but they had to pin it first.

 

“Are you a HYDRA agent?” Steve asked with a steely tone. Getting straight to the point and looking him directly in the eyes. Parker has a tendency to not address or completely ignore an issue if you weren’t straight forward. Peter stared back with owlish eyes, not knowing how to respond for a second before huffing an incredulous laugh. Like that was funny and not a very serious question.

 

“That was tactful.” Stark mumbled sarcastically, but they didn’t have time to waste. This was a serious issue. Parker had an issue with dancing around the problem and not actually answering personal questions. And this was as personal as you could get (if Bucky was right, that is). It’s not that they wanted to pry, but they needed to know if they were being infiltrated. Parker was a loose canon and had no obligation to be on missions with them. He was a wild card, and a dangerous one at that.

 

“Wow, yeah. No. I would tell you I don’t think it works that way even if I was , you know, HYDRA . But I see you want to be straightforward, so I’m just gonna skip to what brought you to that conclusion.” Peter said in a a tone that showed he really wasn’t taking this seriously. He wasn’t giving away that he was at all nervous about this, but he wasn’t the expert.

 

We’re asking the questions, Parker. ” Natasha said, saying his name like it wasn’t his. Nice. Get it in his head ahead of time. Peter didn’t look fazed in the least. So either he knew that wasn’t his name and had some weird justification for it, or he just didn’t get the implication.

 

Is this an interrogation?” And his eyes lit up?! Like this was going to be exciting. He seemed so...happy? No, amused. Fucking kid was getting a kick out of this. Steve growled inaudiblily. “I’m really good at those!” He said happily.

 

...oh shit...that’s right. They forgot the most important thing they did know about Peter Parker: He wasn’t a normal kid.

 

“We’ll see…” Natasha said under her breath, like she was determined to prove him wrong (Steve hopes they did). Peter nodded along and Stark gestures for him to sit on the chair in front of them. Maybe this was an interrogation, Steve never looked at it that way, but it was the only way to describe it.

 

“Barnes said that there was a kid in a HYDRA compound staying in the same room as him.” Stark started eyeing Parker suspiciously from the papers he was hiding behind. Not showing Parker his eyes, but making him feel the stares.

 

“That’s rough buddy.” Peter responded without missing a beat. Steve thought he saw Stark’s lips quirk up at the response (must’ve been a pop culture reference. Tony didn’t acknowledge after that though, so Steve didn’t mention it) “Why would I be that kid? I had a normal childhood.”

 

“Ahh, there’s where you’re lying. On files, officially your ‘parents’ Richard and Mary Parker are presumed dead. They also officially adopted you from an orphanage in Russia when you were six after they were dead.” Peter tensed a little at their names. It must have been a sore spot. So he did know more than he let on. He also could just as easily not want talk about it because they were his dead parents they were practically using against him (How low can you get? But then again these weren’t Parker’s real parents. But adoptive parents could be just as nurturing. Oh god, what if they actually didn’t do anything and they were accusing two good people of being affiliated with the worst orginization known to man. No, he couldn’t think like this now they were in the middle of an interrogation.)

 

“Believe it or not, that’s actually pretty normal. My parents had custody over me on a long term trip to Russia, the adoption didn’t process until after they were dead so I got shipped back to America to live with my Aunt and Uncle.” Peter said casually. that was true plausible. Adoption processes were a disaster especially if it was overseas. Also Peter’s orphanage burned down, so the kid was essentially homeless. He technically didn’t even need papers. Who knows how long he was with them before everything was properly filed. “but they are my foster parents. I never knew my biological mom and dad, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a normal childhood.” Peter said with a cross of his arms. His eyes darted to Natasha for a second but that was the most suspicious thing he did after he confirmed the adoption.

 

“So not knowing where you come from was what, fine with you ? ” Steve asked with a raised brow and Peter looked up like he was thinking, then a confused look crossed his face. Like he didn’t understand the question. He answered nonetheless.

 

“I guess? I’ve never really thought about it that way.I mean I come from where I’m raised, at least that’s how I think of it.” Peter shrugged. “ Call me optimistic but I like where I ended up for a period in time.” Steve notes the implication that he doesn’t like his status now , or at a certain point in his life. Growing up in Russia and then moving to America for socialization must have been hard for him, especially after a loss of the only people that took him in when he was most likely homeless. Peter wasn’t the most socially gracious, it didn’t seem like it was ever in his nature. It was almost endearing.

 

“And where would that be?” Natasha asked narrowing her eyes. Peter looked to her, leaned away from her. His owlish eyes were still curious, but as he looked at Natasha he seemed to be using that to cover something else. Natasha must be unnerving to him. Good.

 

“In New York? I’ve never left this place since I came, except in that one field trip to DC. Does that count?” Peter asked with a cocked smile. He was telling the truth according to the files. But there was one thing that didn’t add up.

 

“You don’t have a US citizenship.” Stark said and Steve wanted to have a smug expression on his face, but kept it professional. Peter didn’t change his demeanor. “Not a birth certificate either, so legally, you don’t exist. You have report cards and foster records but it’s as if you just appeared. Your foster records were fully processed until 9 years ago, correct me if I’m wrong but you would’ve been 6?” Peter didn’t miss a beat, and shook his head.

 

“I just told you that they didn’t process until I was six. How am I supposed to know why it took so long. As I said I didn’t know my biological parents, and I don’t know where I technically come from. Well it’s from Russia but I don’t know where. They don’t know either. I was a baby when they took me in, are you really gonna blame me for not remembering what my mother looked like when I was born? Sorry, but it’s not my fault that normal kids don’t remember anything before the age of three.” Natasha stiffened at that response. The kid was right. He couldn’t do anything about legal documents then, hell he was too young to do anything about it now. He must have just never gotten a VISA. It’s not like they were going to deport an unaccompanied minor.

 

“Okay, let's do this the hard way.” Stark said and got up. Peter’s eyes followed him. He noticed how Parker stiffened. Steve was a little unnerved now too, what were Stark and Romanov planning? At this point he could sadly say that he was on Parker’s side for this. They probably were too, but they were better at extracting every single bit of information than he was. So Steve just sat back and let them do their thing.

 

“Are you gonna use your bone breaking privilege?” he asked a little meekly, and Stark spluttered for a minute while Peter managed to look a little smug, but his posture was more defensive.

 

“No!” Stark said and quickly brought out a file on his Stark pad and slammed it on the table in front of Peter.“Your parents were scientists, Richard and Mary Parker, who adopted you and died when you were six.”

 

“Yes, but that’s information we already went over.” Peter said confused with a furrow in his brow. Steve could tell he was on the verge of an eye roll and had to give it to Peter for sticking it out this long. This was about to get a whole lot harder for him to keep that curious look in his eyes. Oh you poor child.

 

“And you went to live with your Aunt and Uncle…” Peter nodded slowly, electing not to speak. He must’ve felt something forboding because now he looked a little cautious. Stark breathed in and out through his nose. “They were supposed to take care of you...but unofficially your Uncle seemed to rack up tabs at the bar.” Tony plowed on like he didn’t say anything and looked Peter directly in the eyes, his expression changed to an unreadable one in an instant. “and your aunt was a heroin addict. Was she not?” That seemed to be the kicker, the kid was no longer smiling. He looked livid. His anger was thinly valed but Steve had a feeling he wanted them to see it. It was a controlled anger, that was fierce and piercing. It was threatening and menecing and Steve didn’t want anything more for it to be contained for as long as possible.

 

“That’s not even relevant to what you’re accusing me of. You were talking about when I was fucking six years old. Not what happened after. I was six and adopted and don’t know who my parents are, I don’t even know what you want me to say.” Peter said in a malicious tone, it turned the room dark and shut everyone up. The air was stifling and made it slightly hard to breathe, freezing everyone in their place with shock. What the fuck?! “What my Uncle and Aunt did to me has no relevance. How would a drunk and a depressed woman have anything to do with HYDRA? Why wouldn’t they have kept me at like a HYDRA place or whatever instead of taking me to them? If they wanted me as a child soldier agent thing, then why wouldn’t they have kept me?” He looked them pointed in the eyes with a vicious glare that pinned them down. Okay, aunt is a touchy subject. Let’s use that?  

 

Or not, not is good. The air was suffocating. What the hell was this kid?

 

“Are you mad?” Stark had a death wish with that glare Parker was giving him. Steve was sure, despite what Fury and Peter says, that Spider-Man was going to kill Iron Man. Those weren’t the eyes of someone who wanted to hug you or your kittens. That was the look of festuring anger. Steve wondered how long Peter’s been building it up to have that much . That amount of anger was dangerous, especially for a kid like Parker.

 

And yeah, even Steve could admit bringing that shit up about his aunt was bad. But like when you think about it, it was concerning.  Parker said what they did to him had no relevance. Meaning that they did something to him after his parents were gone. Abuse? Neglect? Anyway he swings it, it couldn’t be good. And the heroine thing? Steve knows for a fact that Spiderman was good at stopping drug circles. He does it often enough not to be weird, but that just made no body question why he was doing it. What kind of childhood did Peter have to get to where he is? He said he was content at one point, Steve couldn’t help but feel like he meant before he was Spiderman. But how can anyone be content with the things he was implying about himself? Even if it wasn’t with HYDRA, it still sounded messed up (he guesses that Parker didn’t need to be affiliated with HYDRA to be messed up, and that was honestly scary).

 

“I will break your arm again Stark.” Peter seethed quietly, getting up slowly; taking a seemingly dark aura around him - Steve didn’t know if his mind was playing tricks on him or if Parker’s anger was just that potent but it was truly one of the most terrifying the Soldier has ever seen/felt. Steve thought he’d actually do it. He probably would if Tony kept messing with him. And Tony - true to his suicidal tendencies - did, and Parker - for his part - seemed to respect that.

 

“So that is all I had to say? I admit, it’s a real touchy subject. Probably would be more concerning if you didn’t have feelings toward it. But seriously, all I had to do was find a few arrest reports on your aunt, and then here is her suicide...report” Tony said in his usual nochelonce, but fading towards the end. His eyes adopting a sad look in them, Natasha not saying anything “oh…” Now even Steve would admit he was taking it a bit too far now, even Tony had the look that he said too much. He obviously was spit balling after he found the sore spot. They didn’t know Peter’s aunt suicided, there was no two ways about it: it was just plain wrong to bring that up to a kid , no matter what they were accusing him of. Peter didn’t really much care.

 

“Yeah. ‘ Oh’.” Peter practically seethed “you know depression is a real thing. Not everybody has all the money in the world to get treatment for it, even when it’s really bad. And especially when no one but a stupid child cares about it. She tried her fucking best Stark and all you can do is disrespect her for it? But I’m going to warn you once,” Peter leaned closer to a wide eyed Iron Man menecingly. “I will break your arm and make sure it heals so painfully that you can’t build your fucking toys if you even mention her again. You won’t even be able to think in sentences, much less equations. All you’ll feel is searing, white hot pain. The kind of physical pain you don’t get used to.” Peter said so venomously and darkly that it even took Natasha by surprise. Tony was stock still and yeah, Spider-man just threatened Iron Man and it was fucking terrifying. He looked Stark in the eyes to finish. “I can’t kill you, but you’d wish I would.”

 

There was silence, and everyone could tell that Peter was dead serious.

 

“So aunt...not a topic to ever be touched in the history of ever. Got it.” Yeah that about summed it up. The air cleared a little, and Steve felt his breath run out. The kid had a small smile on his lips, it still had a threatening edge to it though. Steve has to do a double take. What the fuck.

 

“I would appreciate that.” he said in a more professional tone, smile warning but accepting. It was such a change in demeanor that it gave them whiplash (he’s sure even Natasha got it). “I’m gonna leave now.” he said walking away, but he stopped by the door and turned a little. “Oh and Stark,” he said not looking at anyone in particular. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but if your  Arc Reactor comes out of your chest. It’s my understanding that you’ll survive, right?” Yeah, but that would be pretty painful.

 

“Uhh...Yeah, but it would fucking hurt.” Tony answered still out of it and stunned. Oh you stupid motherfucker . “Why?” Peter looked him in the eye and smiled innocently in a not innocent way at all. This wasn’t a question, it was a promise.

 

“Tools in the toolbox.” He said wistfully and left a lingering darkness in his wake. That. That right there, was fucking terrifying. No child should be able to do that. No human should be able to do that. Did Parker have a power that they didn’t know about? Steve didn’t think that was power though. He thinks that’s anger . Justified and unruly anger. Anger that if Parker unleashed would create a monster, and not even the Avengers could fight that. Whatever darkness Parker was harboring, could be the downfall of whatever he so pleases.

 

Fucking Terrifying, indeed.

 

OoOoO

 

Bruce loved his interns.

 

Well they weren’t really his interns; technically they were Tony and Pepper’s. But that didn’t stop him from loving them and mentoring them on the side when their bosses were busy, with homework and such. They were helpful and bright. It made him sometimes think that he himself needed an intern to help him too -but then he remembered the other guy and decided that sharing Tony and Pepper’s interns were good enough (he also doubted he could find one as bright as them too. It was too much work to find a biochem genius child).

 

Ned Leeds was Tony’s intern. He was insanely good with computers, not really science, but he wasn’t incompetent in the field fHe seemed to have some advanced  fun facts from time to time; when Bruce asked where he’d learned that he said a friend of his used to really like science and tech. But Ned always had a sad look on his face when he said that so Bruce decided not to ask who the friend was. And Ned never mentioned a name.) His specialty was coding, he could hack into any database, through most firewalls, and even managed to hack into the Iron Man armor once (he only did it because Harley dared him to, Ned was too good of a kid to do anything with the armor. But he did get insanely excited about it.) He was an overall bubbly nerdy kid, who was incredibly innocent. He was good company and Bruce found his geeky rambling oddly comforting.

 

Michelle Jones was Pepper Potts more than competent personal intern. She was smart and witty and didn’t take anyone shit. She got the job done quickly and efficiently. Bruce was almost certain that if anything happened to Pepper, Michelle could take over swiftly as temporary CEO of Stark Industries. Hell Pepper sometimes even left her in charge. She said that she has had experience bossing around dumbasses and gestured Ned and Harley (but she also got the same look Ned did. As if something was missing.) She wasn’t as good at STEM fields as Ned or Harley but she could maintain a rather intellectual conversation about quantum physics, but only to a certain point (when Bruce asked her about she said that she used to have a friend who was only competent in the fields of STEM. Bruce has a feeling it was the same friend Ned was talking about. It made him kind of want to meet the friend. MJ offhandly said that he would like him if he was still around because apparently he was really good at Biochem and Chemistry, but that’s all she ever said about it). MJ has this scary aura around her when she wasn’t indifferent, but sometimes she had an endearing look to her face when Ned or Harley did something -but it was when they did random things, there was no pattern (like when Ned rambled about Tatooine but not Lothal or when Harley made a chemistry pun about an ionic bond but not an alloy).

 

Tony and Pepper wore their interns with pride and no shame, as if they were their own kids. They were constantly bragging about their smarts and skills. They went to the same school as Harley and they all had formed a friend group that was probably the smartest most terrifying thing ever, especially when Shuri was over. He was fairly sure that they could take over the galaxy if they were so inclined to do so.

 

Harley seemed to have develop a little crush on MJ at first and it was kinda the cutest thing ever. Tony made a point to tease him about it, and Harley would respond with a “Why not?” And a shrug. Then Bruce noticed that Harley wasn’t flirting with MJ, but MJ was teasing Harley. And then they figured out that it was just her personality, but she kind of died down by the time they got it right (she didn’t do it as often, it was almost like it wasn’t meant for Harley). They then concluded that their friendship was still the most adorable and exhausting thing ever.

 

Still, there was something about these interns that seemed a little... depressed. Hidden under something and their smiles and shrugs and normal teenage antics, it was like they were jerking around. Like they were trying to find something they’d lost. They oddly seemed incomplete (despite there being no one else in the picture). But there was no way to bring that up without sounding really fucking weird. They didn’t talk about it much, and they didn’t seem keen on mentioning it either. But Bruce noticed -and he’s sure every other Avenger and Pepper did too: they were grieving the loss of someone. Someone who seemed to have made a pretty big impact on their lives. It showed when they stiffened at certain phrases or actions. It showed when they held back from doing or saying things. It especially showed when they were in Bruce’s lab, surrounded by chemicals and physics equations. They missed someone.

 

It still made Bruce wonder.

 

The first time he really, finally got a clue was when Ned was working on a project in the common room on the kitchen counter. Pepper was in a meeting and Tony was doing that interrogation thing with Peter (though they didn’t know that because it was majorly classified and Bruce thinks that Harley is still pissed at Parker). The project is one that he was just finishing up for today’s internship, It requires complex wiring and the last steps were the most confusing. Harley was next to him typing on a laptop directing him through it (since mechanics were more his specialty) and giving him suggestions on what to do. MJ was doing paperwork - proofing Pepper’s flawless proposals for companies, and adding suggestions - on his other side probably hiding her amusement behind her dark curls that framed her face.

 

Ned let out a groan, “ugh I wish Peter was here.” He slipped up and The reaction was immediate. Harley and Bruce snapped their heads to Ned so fast that they almost got whiplash and MJ who bristled like a cat and they both froze. Surly he couldn’t mean...no it was a common name. He didn’t mean Parker...Right?

 

Peter?” Harley asked almost frantically, nearly choking in shock at the name as he leaned forward. Ned tried to give him his usual wonky smile, but it just turned out like a mix between wary grimace and a nostalgic sad smile, like he was nervous or scared or sad. Or all of the above. Everyone of those emotions were pouring off of him. Michelle has seemed to completely shut her iron walls, face giving away nothing in an unreadable expression that put him slightly on edge.

 

He did not like these looks on them. At all.

 

“Y-Yeah. P-Peter Parker. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of him.” Ned stuttered a little nervously. Bruce felt his breath catch in his throat and heart stop. They knew Peter? They knew Peter from before he was assigned to Avengers missions. Did they know him before Spiderman? But he thought Peter had said that he didn’t have any friends. How did they know him? Did they know him as Spiderman? Did they know Peter was Spiderman? There were too many questions and unknown variables for him to form coherent thought, and now he regretted not getting to know the boy a little better. MJ didn’t miss a beat.

 

“Nah, Keener wouldn't have heard about him. He graduated the year before you came.” She said nonchalance with a ting of the same nervous, sad energy Ned had. She was just better at hiding it, but Bruce could tell it was there.

 

Graduated? Isn’t he like our age? Like if he was your friend and all.” Harley asked frantically trying not to give anything he knew away, Bruce seemed to choke up. Michelle and Ned surprisingly didn’t notice his nervousness and choppy explanations in his want for answers. Bruce got it, he wanted answers too.

 

“Yeah, he was smart though, like wicked smart. He probably knew the answer to any test ever given. He even graduated high school with enough AP credits to get a few associates degrees.” Ned said like he hadn’t dropped the biggest bomb in the history of ever (because everyone thought that Parker dropped out of high school. They just assume and he even said that-... wait no...Parker never said he dropped out he just never denied that he dropped out… but why would he want them to think he was stupid and irresponsible? Surly them knowing he graduated high school - Midtown no less- would get him some sort of credit with them. Although he didn’t really need to graduate high school to be Spiderman)  and rattled off a list of Parker’s forgotten and unacknowledged academic accomplishments instead “Robotics, Biochem, Mechanical Engineering, Physics-all types of Physics he was really good at that- and uhm what was the last one, MJ?” He looked to MJ hopefully, they were both trying to cover up some sort of hurt with nonchalance and friendly interaction, she gladly took the bait and scoffed.

 

“Coding and Chemistry dumbass.” She said and there was a far away look that entered her eye. “I can’t believe you forgot Chemistry Leeds. It was his favorite.” She said quietly, not really invested in the conversation anymore. She said it with a kind of vulnerability that she had never shown before, but then she straightened and that look was gone. Harley was floored, Bruce couldn’t blame him.

 

“I was pretty okay at Chemistry…”

 

What the fuck. Parker literally had been dangling this in front of them this whole time. He hadn’t told them that he was a genius, but he didn’t deny when they called him a dumbass. They all thought that he wouldn’t understand all the complicated stuff and had used that to nearly mock him, but he had known what they meant. He was playing games with them, like he wanted to see how far they’d get before they would finally realize the obvious truth and see how stupid he could make them feel when they finally did realize.

 

At least, Bruce wouldn’t put it past the Peter Parker he knew to do that. Now, he wasn’t so sure he knew Peter Parker at all.

 

“What happened to him?” Bruce Asked this time, quietly and cautiously. He already knew where Peter was (a few floors below them getting his head screamed off and in a probably humiliating interrogation. Poor kid.) but he had no idea what had happened to the boy. He didn’t even know what was going on in the kid’s life outside of the Avengers missions that he hadn’t been on in nearly two months now. He was basically as clueless as Harley (who didn’t even know about the Avenger mission parts). Ned sighed and MJ scoffed lightly going back to her casual composer. Ned just looked tired - a look he also didn’t quite like on the boy.

 

“He disappeared off the face of the earth after he got his diploma, he didn’t even go to the graduation ceremony. We tried contacting him, be he doesn’t respond to any of our texts or calls. I think he went to college somewhere? MIT? He wanted to go to MIT.” Ned said with a nod and MJ snorted. Bruce felt a dread sinking to the bottom of his stomach. Peter most certainly did not go to college. He knew that much. He saw Harley go ghost white (did he know something Bruce didn’t? He knew Parker and him had a tentative friendship that was broken by Tony Stark’s arm. Maybe Parker told him something about his past).

 

“He couldn’t even afford Midtown, what makes you think he could afford MIT?” MJ said almost condescendingly. Her brows furrowed like she didn’t like what she was going to say next. “He was dirt poor, he literally has worn the same shoes for three years straight.” MJ said and Ned made an epiphany like sound. He looked down at the wires, not looking at anyone like MJ was, even if Bruce and Harley were staring holes through them with their full attention. They continued to talk casually, and if Bruce didn’t know any better, it was almost like they’d forgotten that they had an audience.

 

“Oh yeah, the converse that he got at the thrift store.” Ned said almost happily. Bruce could tell it was fake.

 

“ He had to duck tape those like ten times, honestly it’s an engineering miracle he’s been able to maintain them.” MJ grumbled over her work, Ned nodded sagely. Bruce’s mind flashed to Peter’s duck taped converse. He’s had them for four years now? He couldn’t even afford shoes? Oh my god, they were interrogating a kid who couldn’t even get basic necessities down stairs!

 

Ned then addresses them to fill them in “but like Midtown doesn’t give full rides either but made the exception for Peter. He didn’t have to pay a thing.” That floored all of them. Peter couldn’t afford to go to school. He couldn’t afford the education he should be getting. What else couldn’t he afford? He remembered the times Peter came in after a prolonged period of time and the Spiderman suit looked thinner as he compressed the skin tight material over his body. He remembered the blackish purple rings around his eyes. He remembered the almost inaudible grumbles that enmities from the boy’s stomach from time to time (and sometimes they were rather large and would draw attention to him, Pete would blush and play it off that he just ‘forgot’ to eat a meal - depending on the time). How had they not noticed? How had Bruce not notice? He was a fucking doctor for crying out loud. It was his job to notice these kinds of things. How had not noticed These signs of severe neglect. How had he not noticed that they were making a starving child fight battles that build up a strong appetite and then send him off without any food. Peter couldn’t afford big meals, he couldn’t even afford to sleep sometimes. How many times has he worked in empty only to keep having to work with no fuel? This wasn’t just neglect at this point, the Avengers pointedly ignored all these problems Peter had, and even contributed to some. It was a form of abuse at this point. Abuse and neglect elicited by the Avengers. Heh, some heroes they were.

 

He thought of a way to help Peter, but… Peter wasn’t a very trusting person. Would he even let Bruce help? He knew nothing about Peter Parker anymore. He could only trust the people who knew him before for information about him.

 

Peter Parker wasn’t the person everyone thinks he is.

 

Peter Parker is being neglected.

 

Peter Parker has gone to Midtown.

 

Peter Parker graduated Midtown early.

 

Peter Parker was fucking smart.

 

Peter Parker was fucking good at lying.

 

“MIT wouldn’t do that.” Bruce mumbled, it was all he could think of to say in his life shattering realization and shame. MJ looked at him with a mix of agreement and disappointment. Like she knew that, and she thought it was unfair. Like she thought Peter deserved a better hand than life dealt him. He probably did. There was silence for a bit after that. No one moved or worked on their papers/circuit board/projects. All sound seemed to seize to exist in that moment.

 

“I think you would’ve liked him, Dr.Banner.” Ned said quietly, breaking the quiet that was filled with stifling emotions that choked him. Bruce looked up slightly, Ned hadn’t turned his head to look at the man just down at his project. “He knew all of your Gamma papers since we were 9. He made a thesis for the science fair based off of it. He almost didn’t win because they thought he cheated and used adult help, but then he started to recited facts that even the teachers didn’t know and then they had to give him first prize.” Ned chuckled a sad laugh and clutched lightly at the menace of wiring, like he was trying to ground himself. It made Bruce’s heart break. 9? They’ve know. Each other since elementary school. They grew up together. They were friends . Rally really good friends. And then Peter pushed them away? He couldn’t even begin to imagine how that felt. Ned continued because Bruce didn’t know what to say (apart of him wanted to call Tony and bring Peter up. Make Peter face his friends again and give them an explanation as to why he left. Be with them and make them happy in a way that only he would know how to do. But he didn’t, because Peter was pushing his friends -his best and only friends- away for a reason. And Bruce was going to find out, even if he had to pull Parker’s teeth to get them) “I think you would’ve liked him too, Harley. If you got to know him that is… he’s really shy and doesn’t talk a lot when you first meet him.” Ned said in a sad kind of nostalgic way. MJ stayed silent as he continued, Bryce didn’t even think that Ned was noticing he was rambling (but not the good ramble that he’d come to enjoy. A sad almost hysteric ramble as an attempt to comfort himself) “His Aunt and Uncle treated him real...bad…like really bad. He had to live with them cause his parents died. They didn’t feed him much, sometimes his aunt wasn’t so bad. We were kids and didn’t understand that her mood swings were from… uh, he never like to t-talk about it.. but he al-always l-liked to h-help p-people. Everyone has always b-been mean to him, but he always h-helped them…and he al-always s-smiled...” Ned trailed off from his ramble that he tried not to cry through. There was more silence before MJ got up abruptly and left the room - no one stopped her. Ned’s breath hitched a bit as he sighed. Like he was fighting back tears. It made Bruce’s heart crack a bit more.

 

Bruce has never seen either of them look so lost and incomplete. He wondered if Peter was just as lost and incomplete without them in his life anymore. Why had he pushed them away? Why did he make them suffer like this? Was he suffering like this too? At least Ned and MJ has each other but Peter…

 

Peter was all alone.

 

“I wish he was still here. He always knew what to do.” Ned whispered to the wiring.

 

Bruce felt his heart shatter.

 

OoOoO

 

“I can’t believe you actually managed to piss him off.”

 

Fury crossed his arms as the rest of the Avengers sat in the common room. Steve had a brooding look on his face. Tony was still a little awestruck but recovering from his traumatizing experience. Natasha looked a little put out. Bruce looked tired as he massaged his head. Sam and Clint has been listening along with Fury. After they were done, Clint stared at all them and he could tell, they did not get any of the information they tried to extract. They all had told each other what had happened and what information they had figured out in their respective meetings. Suffice to say, they hadn’t expected the information Bruce was able to offer and they were equally surprised - especially Tony - to find out who the sources were.

 

They were left with more questions than answers. This was tiresome.

 

“And when were you gonna tell us the kids a genius?” Bruce asked tiredly, massaging the crease of his nose. The genius thing was a surprise indeed, he knew Parker wasn’t stupid, but he could never have imagined him actually graduateing one of the most esteemed STEM schools in the tristate area early. Fury surly knew about that before hand, since he had the most access to Parker’s official files. It was also Fury who gave them the files on his family history and custody records and nothing more, so they didn’t have his report cards or school forms. Fury scoffed in response.

 

“I thought you’d figure it out, after all you’re the adults .” Clint scrunched his nose at the implication. He was mocking their ability, Clint knew. And though  that mocking was somewhat deserved (a teenager had managed to hide a rather large portion of his life from them for over a year. It was honestly embarrassing how they went into this with so little information - which was not only a megear amount for the time they had spent together, but also inaccurate . They had two of the most experienced and talented spies the world has ever seen on the team, how did they get played by a child) it still was degrading. He may not advertise it, but he doesn’t exactly try to hide it.” Fury continued like it was obvious and pulled out his phone. An air of light shame and embarrassment came over them. The kid had beat them in the interrogation, outsmarted them for over a year, and managed to do it when he was starving and exhausted for at least 60 percent of that time. Either Parker was just that good or they really needed to step up their game.

 

“What are you doing?” Natasha asked cooly. Clint could tell she was pissed. She had never lost an interrogation before (even if Stark and Rogers May have tripped her up, Clint knew she took no excuse to failure. Especially if she was the one who failed) so it was clear why she was a bit miffed. She wouldn’t be underestimating Parker’s Skills anytime soon; none of them were after this.

 

“Calling him.” Fury said, Clint scoffed as he put it on speaker for everyone to hear the ringing. Like Parker would talk to them after that clusterfuck of an interrogation. They had insulted the woman who had raised him most of his life (even if she was high most of that time, Parker clearly had no other parental figure to speak of). After an interrogation like that, Parker was bound to be digging up things that he’d kept hidden. He still needed to process and bury them again (he was the type to never talk about things that were bothering him. It just seemed right and Clint went on with that assumption, and after today it was confirmed).

 

“That won’t-” after the fourth ring, the phone clicked as someone picked it up. Making Clint’s mouth shut. Huh, that was a surprise. The kid was throwing them through a lot of loops today, wasn’t he?

 

“Hello.” Peter said calmly, too calmlyafter a day like today. Clint felt a sense of forboding, like a calm before the storm. They were missing something. The voice was muffled and there was a lot of wind in the background. Where was he?

 

“Parker.” Fury asked for confirmation that it was really the kid. He did tend to get in a lot of trouble, and Fury didn’t want to disclose any private information to bad guys. It was something he did when he was going to say something he only wanted to person he was calling to hear.

 

“Yes, this is she.” Peter said in his usual joking way. Clint didn’t understand how he could sound so normal after everything that was dug up today. The wind stopped for a moment and there was silence on both ends and then he giggled (what the fuck?! Was he on something?) . Fury didn’t miss a second to respond.

 

“You motherfucking- you always do this!” Peter outright was laughing now on the other end. The wind picked up again, Peter’s laughter being drowned slightly. Fury looked to the Avengers with an exasperated look. They - to Fury’s credit - looked slightly apolegetic. “See what I have to deal with, everytime you go and screw things up?” Clint almost felt sorry for the guy. He was doing his best, especially with a highly unstable, intelligent mutant teenager (none of those things were easy to deal with alone, and together it was just impossible to deal with. Forget it, Clint would quit if he had to manage that. He has been working with the outcome of that mixture products for a whole year now and he was still never going to get over it).

 

“Oh, we’ve got an audience?” Peter decphered on the other end. Clint noticed how easy it wasfor him to get to that conclusion, even if it wasn’t excliplitly a scientific observation, Clint was still on a look out. He could tell everyone else was too. “In that case, hello fucking pricks who don’t know personal boundries, I hope you’re going through some sort of existential crisis.” They were. Thanks for asking .

 

“Langage.” they all mumbled simultaneously and Peter laughed again. He had obviously heard their reaction, he did have super hearing after all, even if they could barely hear him over that wind on his end.

 

“Are you high?” Fury asked in his normally irritated way. His tone seemed to pick up more authority when he was scolding Parker though. He was covering up the gentleness in it with a sharp edge. Clint has never noticed that before. Huh, Fury has a soft spot. Who would’ve guessed.

 

“About 600 feet, why?” Oh so he was swinging. Why had it taken so long to come to that conclusion? God he was losing his edge. But to be fair, Parker has been surprising them left and right today. Clint was half expecting him to say that he was half way up a mountain.

 

“Mother- where are you kid?” Clint asked breathlessly, location wise he meant this time. How was this kid still doing his vigilante thing today? He was expecting him to go dark for at least two days (then again he did go dark for nearly two months and still did his job effectively). There was a nearly silent click on the other end and the wind stopped abruptly, indicating Peter landing on something, probably hollowed metal. A crate or maybe a storage box that they kept near docks and storage houses. Or maybe a van?

 

“Oh more interrogation? You still want answers even After you were done needling my friends? Don’t you think you should stop picking at my life for a few seconds, you’re acting like my life is some addicting sitcom.” He said back in a airy manner, quieter than he was before. He said it casually, like he didn’t just say that he knew about the things he probably shouldn’t. (But Peter was Spiderman, he can do a lot of things he shouldn’t be able to).

 

“How did you know that?!” Sam stood up and yelled in surprise. Clint winced as did the kid, who was obviously in a high stakes situation that needed him to be calm, if the way he dropped his volume a few notches was anything to go by.

 

“I know a lot of things.” Peter said and there was a crash and some incoherent yelling from people that were not Peter . They sounded mad..wait was the kid on a job? Why the hell had he picked up if he was busy? “Well Hello there.” Peter greeted to the unidentifiable people on the other end and there was banging and gunshots. Holy shit this kid was in a gunfight while making a call! He was going to get shot.”I’m a little busy right now, can you hold.” He admitted there was a whoosh and a thwip then a clink. The audio was a bit more muffled but they could hear gun fire and there was a loud clang more gunfire and yelling and heavy footsteps, thwiped and people getting punched, more gunfire and an almost sickening squelch. “Motherfuhhh! What the hell dude! That fucking hurt you shit for brains.” He yelled out to the man who presumably shot him. They all raised a brow at that. Sure Peter cursed with them, just not to this extent so casually. Then again, they’ve never been on a phone call with him when he was doing his vigilante thing. It wasn’t surprising that he acted differently.

 

“You kiss your mother with that mouth?” Fury asked, looking a little impressed. Everyone winced as they thought ‘too soon’. Clint was just concerned. What was going on? there was more shouting and clanging and gunfire on the other end. Parker has obviously got back up, so the wound must not be that bad.

 

“Fuck you Fury, I don’t have a mother.” Peter sounded like he grit it out and there was more banging. He obviously didn’t mind the jab at his deceased mother. How was he so calm about this? He was not in any emotional state to be fighting and he was getting shot at and he was wounded. How was he still going? “Can you- Oh my god! I am trying to have a fucking conversation you inconsiderate asswipe. Can you just-” there was another clattering sound and more people getting punched. To the majority of the rooms surprise he said something in what sounded like Russian and Natasha looked mildly impressed and amused - Clint didn’t want to know what the kid had cursed to make even Natasha impressed, she said insults in Russian were all about delivery and word choice. “Fuck off! Tie yourself up and take your fucking kittens with you! Actually you know what? Give me the kittens, they don’t deserve to be fucked over by your pitiful misery and evil ways. Don’t ever drag kittens down with you, worthless shit head.” There was a look of understanding and exasperation on Fury’s face. As if this was a normal occurrence for a kid to be speaking so darkly and menecingly to protect kittens . Honestly, it probably was- Clint was surprised, this made more sense than a lot of things he was told today.

 

“What are you doing?” Sam asked and there was another gunshot, and a small meow from the other end. Woah, wait there were actually kittens? What the fuck was going on over there?

 

“Saving kittens, Wilson.” Peter responded with a huff of a laugh. Sam paled a little. Kittens? Guns? Yelling profanities that put a sailor to shame? Vigilantism was whack. Is it concerning that he actually kinda wanted to try it now?

 

“What the actual fuck.” Yeah that about sums it up. Thanks Sam.

 

“Right?” Peter said like he was agreeing with how strange it was that he was carrying kittens through the crossfire with no back up. “I had to save ‘em from a beam, like these stupid fucktards just left a whole litter of kittens up there because on top of being a sick pedophilic manics, they also abuses animals. Like overachiever much, right? Going for worst bastard of the week I see.” no one knew how to respond to that. Was that what vigilantism really dealt with? Pedophiles and animal abusers. That seemed like a drastic difference from the assumed ‘helping an old lady crossing the street’ and ‘giving directions’. Apparently Spider-Man’s service benches out to saving kittens from dogfights and saving kids from getting raped. It was kind of concerning. Peter didn’t pay attention to their silence as he cooed to the kittens gently as gunfire continued to follow him. His voice was oddly reassuring. “No, no Jiff, you’ve gotta stay in the bag, I know sweetie just for three more minutes and you’ll be out.” Fury knew how to respond to that.

 

“You fucking named them!?” he asked with his anger returning a bit more amplified. Peter didn’t pay any mind tot he tone as he replied cheerfully.

 

“Yeah, all 3. Jiffy, Tiffy and Chris.” Peter said happily on the other end of the line. Like he was almost proud of himself.

 

“One of those things was not like the other.” Tony muttered and   Clint couldn’t help but think the same. What kind of name was Jiffy? But they were Peter’s cats, so guess he got the final decision. Or maybe they had this weird naming system when they rescued stray animals. Did other vigilantes rescue stray animals? (An image of Frank Castle holding a tiny kitten crossed his mind and that was both understandably disturbing and weirdly adorable at the same time).

 

“I can bring em’ over if ya wanna meet them. I mean they have nowhere to be except the shelter, but I think I’ve gotta find a new one cause the one I usually go to in Queens is a bit crowded right now. Hey is there any nice shelters in Manhattan?” Peter asked not minding the comment about the names (he was distracting himself, trying not to panic. Trying to stay in control, trying to wrap his head around this. Juggling a million and one things at once and Clint wanted to so desperately end the call for Peter’s sake so he could focus, but if they caught him at a time where his attention wasn’t split like this, he’d be too sharp for anything to be useful), and then there was more banging but louder this time.

 

“No, I do not want to-” There was another gunshot, this one louder and closer and followed by a sharp yelp. Clint stood up and everyone flinched into battle mode. Who wouldn’t? They just heard a kid getting shot cause he was trying to save some kittens. “Kid?” Fury leaned forward, as if he was almost concerned (holy shit, Clint would totally make fun of him if he wasn’t concerned either). He made to move up and make this call a lot more private, but Natasha stared him down with a death glare that only dared him to leave (she cared too), so he stayed put.

 

“I think- I- Tif? Tif, you okay baby?” Peter whispered painfully, trying to sooth the uninjured kitten who was probably freaking out at the loud noise, and there was another mewl. A sigh of relief escaped Peter, followed by a wince. Clint has no words for that reaction. They were just a few kittens. Why was the kid going all out? Somewhere deep inside him he blamed himself for the kid getting shot. If they hadn’t made this call it wouldn’t have divided up Peter’s attention.

 

“Kid?” Fury asked a little less angerily and with a quieter tone. Probably a way of being reassuring to the shot kid. Peter paid no mind to the effort.

 

“She’s o-okay, don-don’t worry.” Peter relief washing through his voice. (Which what the fuck?! That wasn’t the fucking problem right now. The problem was that a child has been shot) There were more shouts and gunshots and the kid groaned.“Fucking shit! You’ve got to being kidding me? Seriously? You really want to- Fuck, you shit don’t let go. Oh my god, you fucking ass-” There was a loud yelling and a distant thud of body hitting cement. “Idiot. I tried to help you.” Peter muttered. Clint could piece together what just happened, what Peter had just seen. In the situation, Clint wouldn’t be able to move, much less attempt to help someone who just basically committed suicide because he didn’t want to go to jail. The thing is, Peter didn’t seem panicky or sad or freaked out about it. He seemed bitter . It made Clint wonder how many times this had happened to him before. It made Clint understand that the kid knew he couldn’t save everyone. He had thought the kid had never had to deal with this kind of thing before, but that tone of voice proved him wrong. Peter probably knew that fact more than anyone will ever know and he was only 15.

 

He was a...

 

“Kid.” Fury said and they heard a thwip as the gunfire ceased. The muffled shouts growing more and more distant as Peter muttered quietly for someone or something to call the police. He just kept going.

 

“Hey Fury, I’m gonna bring these kittens to you. Oh fuck, I have a bunch of shit to do now cause of this fucker. Just don’t send them to a kill shelter.” There was city noises in the distance, like the ones before the call was made. The wind wasn’t blowing as harshly as before though, meaning Oeter was swinging slower. Probably because of his cargo and his wound. “They have nice shelters in Manhattan.” He said and Clint wanted him to just forget about the kittens, land and tell them his location so they could pick him up and take him to the medbay and apologize for everything they’ve ever done (it wouldn’t be enough, Clint knew).

 

“Are you shot?” It was Romanov this time. Peter paused in speaking (probably not expecting any of the other Avengers to speak, much less Romanov. Even if he did know they were listening), and a few thwips of his web shooters later:

 

“Yeah, why?” he said lightly, only a hint of nervousness creeping into his voice, and everybody groaned. Part of Clint was hoping he’d deny it, like Oarker did sometimes when he was hurt, but they had heard everything. It was bad that Peter was trying to ignore this problem though. This wasn’t just something anyone could push to the side.

 

Yeah, but how many times has he had to do it though...

 

“Come to the tower kid.” Tony ordered, a little frazzled. He had a kid, like Clint, so of course he was kind of freaking out. Clint was just better at hiding it. Also Stark was closer to the kid than the rest of them (even if it wasn’t by much, it was enough to tell that Stark didn’t completely not care about this child. It made sense, Peter had been fighting with them for over a year now, they should care more about him at this point).

 

“Yeah, I am on my way. I gotta give you the triplets.” Peter said, not entirely getting it. Clint was concerned he hit his head a bit too hard. Or maybe he just assumed that’s what they were talking about in the first place. Maybe he assumed that no one would care enough to check up on him when he was hurt. Clint didn’t know which one was worse.

 

“No, you gotta go to medical.” Tony insisted, Steve nodded along agreeing even if Parker couldn’t see. Peter pauses for a minute, obviously not expecting that. But when he spoke next his voice wasn’t something Clint ever wanted to hear like that again.

 

“No, I have a bunch of shit to do because of some Irish fuckers.” Peter‘s voice was tired, he sounded only slightly annoyed. But he was mostly tired and exasperated. He probably wanted to sleep or eat something, if he came to the tower he could do that. But obviously whatever Peter was dealing with right now required more work to be done. He wasn’t just taking down this one gang, he was taking down a ring right now. Clint wondered if he just stumbled into it or if this is what he’s been keeping himself busy with for the past two months.

 

“We can help.” Steve assured, easily. It’s what Captain America does. He helps people, the Avengers help people. They take down bad guys and do the right thing. Clint already had his hand half way to his bow when Peter spoke again.

 

“No you can’t.” Peter whined, like he was teenager saying his parents don’t understand, but there was something harsh understating his tone. That was only half true. He was a teenager and but they weren’t his parents, and they did understand. They understood the situation at least, they didn’t understand why Parker didn’t want their help. Maybe he was close to solving this mission or maybe he was just wrapping it up. Or maybe he could still be in deep and had just found a cold lead. There were so many possibilities, and they could help if Peter explained it to them.

 

“Kid can you just swallow your pride and just accept of our help. You are so insufferable.” Clint said rolling his eyes. Peter let out a whine again, this time more annoyed than tired. It reminded him of his kids and Clint normally didn’t like to compare his angels to Parker, but he couldn’t help it sometimes.

 

“What? So I can just let you take over what I’ve been tracking for weeks . No thanks. Ever heard of first come, first serve. Might not be how SHIELD does it but it’s how the rest of us do.” Peter said a bit more like a teenager than he probably intended to, but then his dropped a little, tone becoming unreadable (Stark was right, kid was bipolar as hell) “It’s not about pride, if you could do this better than I can, you would-” Okay, so maybe they didn’t understand, but they weren’t his parents at least - Clint dared someone to prove him wrong on that. There was a loud bang again, like he was hitting a pole. A yelp from the kid and a pained groan, it made everyone flinch. Was he swinging too low? Wasn’t that dangerous? The kid was swinging and twisting his body with a gunshot wound, he needed to stop and tell them where he was or else he was going to bleed out over all of New York.

 

“Kid!” He wasn’t sure who said it, but he agreed. Clint reaches down for his bow again, ready to hunt this kid down if he needed to and drag him to Cho or Banner and strap him to the bed until he was better.

 

“Stop calling me that! God your just as bad as the voices!” Peter growled. ...the what?!  Okay highly concerning now. Forget the kids physical state, they hadn’t even taken into account his mental one. Holy shit, and that wa at He problem wasn’t it? His mental state was probably so messed up that there was no hope in even trying to fix it, oh god. “I’ve got people on the ground just-” there was a pause and silence. When he spoke again it was quiet and soft. Almost heartbreaking like he was losing something important. “Take care of my kittens.”

 

The call ended, and there was silence. Not quite sure what to make of the call and responses. None of the Avengers knew what to make of Parker at all anymore. Every idea or assumption had been dashed in the last 8 hours and now it was like Parker was just as much of a stranger as when he first came into the tower.

 

No one dared to break the quiet, until they heard a soft mewl from the balcony. Clint got up because he was the closest and the least frozen, he slid open the door, and looked around the vast (for a balcony, but this was Stark tower) ground.

 

There was 3 kittens in a small box with faded bloody handprints.

 

OoOoO

 

Not a lot of things surprised him anymore.

 

He’d fought with bastards made of steel, and could go through time. Emo Cyborg arms weren’t just in the DCU anymore. He could regrow entire limbs in hours. Bad guys were as cheesy as the movies. He was kinda in a super team of bastards with bad colour schemes. Aliens attacked New York every other year, but that really wasn’t worth shit anymore anyways.

 

He also befriended a Spider person. Or a more accurate term would be, his little soldier that he was supervising turned into a spider person, which frankly was terrifying because Peter Parker was already scary without super strength. He could snap a person's’ neck when he was nine, and now when he’s fifteen, he can crush their skull with a tap. He hated to admit it, but he was glad the government shits up there decided to put a little dampener on the kid when he was first found (even if the kid didn’t know about that. Or maybe he did, it really wasn’t Wade’s place to know). It was terrible and immoral, but it really did help Peter get a handle on his powers faster. Especially since he was kind of ruined for any professional help ever again. He was gone for a second and then Peter could suddenly crawl up walls, another second he was a mutant himself and then they met Red after Ness died and the party really started.

 

His life was crazy. But that’s just the way he likes it. So no harm, no foul.

 

Somethings still bothered him though, no matter how many times it had happened. Like when Peter perched on his window, bleeding from every limb, in that skin tight suit- and oh god the kid had lost more weight?- saying that they needed to take down the Irish mob. Again .

 

Like hold up buddy. Bandages? Band-aids? Advil? Kid’s healing factor was good, but Wade sometimes thinks Peter thinks he’s Deadpool or something (like love the hero worship but he was going to get himself killed) Had he taught you anything in that little summer camp? Apparently, the only thing Wade’s lessons got through, was: don’t let them fucking get away, or else no Chick Fil A Combo 1 Deluxe with Large Fries and Large Milkshake for you. ( Could Peter even stomach those anymore? He’s never been able to even finish the sandwich, Wade only got him the delux Meal to save on money so he could eat the good ¾ of the meal that Peter couldn’t.)

 

But really, Spidey could let the guy get away and Wade would double that shit, cause the kid looked like he could use it (even if he couldn’t eat it all without puking twice or more). The kid needed food. Like around nowish? You know, before he starves to death or loses enough weight to no longer have enough weight for the seatbelt blinker to go on in the front seat (yeah the one that make you actually put on the seatbelt, not because you want to live or anything, but because the noise is annoying and messing with the song on the radio). Oh wait they were past that like two weeks ago. Wade’s bad.

 

“Food.” Wade said without looking up and Peter’s stomach let out a rather impressive growl. No doubt he was blushing under that mask as he moved to wrap his hands around his stomach in attempt to muffle the noise. He made a little ‘eep’ sound as his ears heard his own hunger. Fucking adorable . He loved this kid (but not in the Spideypool ship ways, he and Peter laughed at those because they were just so wrong. Sure they cuddled under masses of blankets and binged MLP on Netflix, but Wade would rather die than actually do any sexual things with a fucking kid (saying sexual things were apart of his personality and Peter has put up with it since he was 7), especially the kid he knew has had to deal with pedophiles left and right since he was a fetus.

 

Wade smirked as the kid crawled in all the way, because he can’t be bothered with trivial things like doors. There was no use in chasing down the fuckers he was trying to catch today. Where ever they skulked off to, they’d be there in the morning - they always were cause they were dumb.

 

It would be better if the kid just sat down got his head on straight, slept and maybe try not to puke out Wade’s food. But Wade never said that, Spidey never asked. It was the way they were. Wade pretended like he didn’t care, and Spidey pretended not to notice that he actually did -kid noticed everything. Of course Wade didn’t know Spidey knew that he cared until the kid was like 10, because he was a deceptive/perceptive- Wade got the two mixed up - little shit who didn’t need to be liked by everyone, unlike every other kid on the planet. That’s why Wade lets him stick around.

 

Peter is different, he always had been and always will be. And even though they’ve known each other for years, that fact will endlessly continue to surprise Wade. Peter was unpredictable and it was fun to watch and be with especially since Wade often got bored of the same old thing over and over again). Kid always brought something new with him, whether it be a problem or a solution or a box of kittens. Peter Parker Was never boring.

 

“‘M not that hungry…” The sunshine child lies - like the lying liar he was - taking off his mask and digging through his bag only for one of Wade’s old sweatshirts - that absolutely did not the original owner anymore - came out and was swallowing the kids small frame. It was his Canadian Army one, the symbol on the chest faded. The material was still soft. That was his favorite. The little shit stole it. He walked to the pantry without saying anything about it though. Peter stomach let out another growl at him opening a family bag of chips, and this one made the child wince (hunger pains were the worst especially if you have a super metabolism). That’s what you fucking get, you little thief.

 

Wade ate three chips slowly before handing it over, just as slowly. Peter growled and grabbed it as soon as it was in his reach. Like a cute little angry toy poodle. Wade laughed as Peter devoured it.

 

‘Not that hungry’ his ass.

 

He got through half the bag before slowing to a stop. Wade’s eyebrows scrunched in the darkness as Peter pushed the half empty bag toward him. Wrapping his arms around his stomach. That’s a quarter less than last time. Peter needed to get this shit under control, before his stomach ate itself. Peter had some  control over it. He knew that he shouldn’t overeat and fill himself up all the way to not make him sick. Eat small and in multiple portions. But Peter’s eating schedule always was flying out of whack (and he needed a set schedule to actually gain any weight that meant something). He knew how to control portions, just not how much he could eat or when he could eat it. He just always had to assume that he’d be getting his next meal when he needed it, and sometimes that meant denying meals (which sucked painfully for him because he knew logically that he never would know when his next meal would come).

 

Wade had looked it up for approximately 15 hours. No more would be spent worried about something he couldn’t control. Peter’s diet was everywhere and nowhere. He ate as much as he could whenever he felt it was safe to eat, and that was rarely ever actually handed to him. It was always like that, and probably always will be. Even if he did get to a good place with good people, he’d still have to deal with this problem. It was easier for Peter just not to care about it.

 

“Thanks.” He mumbled and didn’t let go of his middle. Did it hurt that much? Peter probably thought he couldn’t see him gripping his stomach in a deathlock. Or he probably didn’t care. After all Wade’s seen Parker puke his guts out after eating a few fries after not eating for three days (but that was probably the longest he’s ever gone with absolutely no food). Sometimes Peter just wasn’t hungry, even if he hadn’t eaten in a while.

 

“You need TUMS or something?” Peter shook his head and leaned back in his chair. He looked exhausted, and Wade guessed that eating after not eating must be a shock to his very fragile system, so Wade guesses he’d just wait to see if the kid would puke or let it digest. He wasn’t really sure what he wanted to happen.

 

“There were kittens.” Peter informed and it made Wadr lean in. Chances are Peter wouldn’t tell me what they were doing outright. But Wade has become somewhat fluent (after nearly 10 years now) in the language of Peter Parker (this is why he considers himself bilingual). “By the docks, where junkies hang out. You know the part by Warehouse 103.” Peter said almost wistfully, he let Wade dechipher it, looking at him casually but not piercingly. Wade could forget he was even there if he tried.

 

So basically: these motherfuckers were a group of drug traffickers, selling some sort of cocaine through a couple of old war vets who couldn’t put their life back together after they came back. They weren’t selling directly, so Peter must have found the source by observing these guys for a while. Also light-probably unintentional but still fucking unacceptable- animal abuse.

 

So...not that bad.

 

God, did special forces help them out a lot with this kind of stuff (at first he thought it was a curse to always be on the lookout and watching his back and it eventually lead to him being a mercenary, but now he was thankful for it. He was one of the lucky ones who sorta found their feet. He didn’t judge anyone who served though, but he did bust them if he needed to. Same with Parker and Red and basically every other vigilante in New York. It’s what separates them from the NYPD. Separates them from every official ‘superhero’ orginization actually. They were willing to get their hands dirty when they needed to). When they had come back, they were young, Peter shouldn’t even have been able to register for a fucking drivers permit yet, but he still knew how to beat everyone in the division on a motorcycle. Hell, Pete was still too young for a driver's license. When they came back they were turned into freaks - Wade more so because he looked like an actual freak, Peter just looked like a kid (he is a kid). Freaks who couldn’t sleep at night with all the noise, in Peter’s case. Freaks who just wanted some cash, in Wade’s case. They were approached by different organizations that wanted them to join a war again (a war that was ten times worse than the one they had fought in. And they couldn’t do it anymore. Wade because he lost everything and finally found a place, and Peter because he was a kid and he finally started to act like one and understand what that actually meant) but this time they would be surrounded by even more freaks who just didn’t get it . They Wanted them to fight with a team, on their terms. Wade and Peter were sick of it, so they did what they did on their own terms. And it felt a hell of a lot better.

 

So suffice to say, despite being forced together all the time, they kind of sort of depended on each other at this point. They understood each other while keeping a respectful distance. But they were strangely always there for each other.

 

So Wade could easily call Peter’s Bullshit.

 

“Wanna speak the truth?” He didn’t know how to segway into  the conversation any other way. He never did. Peter understood that, he's been with him long enough to know it too.  It he left the question open ended, like Peter liked it. Peter could tell him what was wrong or what was wrong or just ignore the problem entirely. That third option was popular and Wade’s favorite. But Peter knew that Wade wouldn’t give him bullshit answers if he did want to talk about his problems, Wade would just tell him what he thought about it without sugarcoating it. He never tried to make Peter feel better, and Peter appreciates that (and Wade appreciates that he appreciates that because he didn’t quite know how to make anyone feel better).

 

It took a while for Peter to talk, it always did when he wanted to (he very rarely wanted to, so this must’ve been eating at him for a while) . He was trying to put his ideas into words that made sense. His thoughts were jumbled too, even if he was a genius he still couldn’t quite emote correctly. It was hard for him to convey things sometimes, because his mind was working in a different level than everyone else. It sometimes made people way stupider than him (ie One Wade Wilson) way more frustrating to talk to. It was part of the reason Peter didn’t talk much around strangers. Because they probably wouldn’t understand him anyway. And when he didn’t understand something, he could always learn about it. He hated not knowing things, and he rarely never knew something. What he could never learn through any book though, was his own emotions. It’s why he hated them. He could know about other people’s emotions by the way the acted and stuff they did, but he just couldn’t get a handle on himself. And that frustrated the boy to no end.

 

“How do you know..someone is your family?” Wade should know by now Peter is anything but predictable. He’s fought everything from a pedophile to a lizard (which were the same things in his opinion). He used windows to get into places instead of doors and bled out on Wade’s floor more often than not. But this? This was unexpected. Even from Peter Parker (actually given the context, especially from Peter Parker). Peter never cared about his family before, it was just as much as an f-word to him as it was to Wade before Ness and even now after Ness. Peter never had a break from it being a no no topic, but then again he just didnt care about it. Or at least it seemed like he never cared before. The way Peter wasn’t looking at him, staring at the spot on the table ( The spot that was on every table for Peter to stare at when he didn’t want to look anyone in the eye.) said that he maybe probably did care about it- maybe . Wade looked a little concerned now because Peter has stopped doing that when he talked to him a while ago and it made Wade feel special. Now he was back at square one like everyone else. How boring.

 

“Biologically or like ‘f word’ family.” Wade asked for clearance, Peter looked up at him with desperate pleading eyes (and he never had looked at Wade like that before). And Wade has a realization that slapped him clear across the face. The cuddling, the closeness, the slight trust (because Peter would never trust anyone completely). His compliance to Wade when he was younger, and his tolerance to real time Wade’s bullshit. Peter was trying to build a family. He has been for years, building in the empty hole in his heart that was forever incomplete with the complete wrong materials. And it didn’t just stop at Wade. His closeness with Matt during movie nights, how he always got mad worried when either of them got captured and made them do synthesis essays about rats to make it up to him, his tolerance to Weasels highly sexual jokes that Wade knew Peter hated, helping Cable with his tech, Sitting through Foggy’s boring court case analysis, helping Karen with her odd ghost hunt hobby and finding leads and allowing Domino to stuff his gut full of ice cream even if it made him sick. Wade didn’t think he was doing it consciously, he was trying to find acceptance and comfort in a family.

 

And that, that right there, was heartbreaking.

 

“Both?” Peter asked hopefully, voice cracking slightly and Wade couldn’t see it in the dark but he thinks Peter is holding back tears. The kid never cried (like he didn’t even cry when his intestines were spilling out of his side when he got too close to a bomb when he was nine) so Wade was certainly and rightfully panicking. Wade waited because Peter had to give him a bit more than that and he did have more to say but he had to collect himself a little first.  “I see...Harley with his... , you know, sometimes and...I feel something weird.” He took one hand that wasn’t wrapped around his stomach and rubbed it on his chest where his heart was

 

“Harley Keener? Stark’s PR stunt?” Peter shook his head.

 

“That’s what I thought too. But I can tell Stark really cares about him and he cares about Stark.” Peter mumbled. “I think he’s upset with me.” Peter sifted like he felt guilty. He probably didn’t show it to Stark and never would in a million years, but he felt bad about what he did. That kinda sucked and was one of the reasons why Peter didn’t need an adult in his life telling him what to do. He knew what he does wrong when he does it, sometimes he can’t control himself though. Doesn’t stop him from punishing himself when he does something bad (this time it was no sleep, barely any food, isolation and a whole lot of regret. His voices must’ve been having a field day.

 

“Cause you broke his dad’s arm. I’d be pretty pissed too.” Wade said with a raised brow. Peter looked at him in a deadpan.

 

“No you wouldn’t.” He said blandly and Wade hummed.

 

“No I would not.” He nodded his head wisely, as if approving that Peter did in fact know him very well. His father was a douchebag who deserved to rot. Wade would in fact pay Peter to break every bone in his body and torture him (because the kid had made that sort of thing into an art even if he didn’t like doing it). This got only a short half hearted smile from the child.

 

“I dunno, it kinda hurt when I saw them..the Avengers… acting... nice to other people...I never felt that way before. Not when I save kids and give em back to their families… but when I see Harley with his? I just...” Peter trailed off and shook his head. Wade was starting to understand and oh baby boy... he wanted to wrap Peter up in a hug, but he knew Peter wouldn’t want that. Or maybe he did? He obviously wanted some sort of comfort. Wade reminded himself that he came to Wade for Wade’s brand of comfort (which was highly not recommended to just about anyone with slight PTSD especially so to this child. But here they were) “is that stupid?” Peter laughed bitterly (the kind of laugh that Wade hated coming out of Peter’s mouth). He scrunched his nose slightly.

 

“If that’s stupid than I’m a retard too. Get the same way after Ness died, when I saw X men as family. You’re just missing it.” Wade informed off handedly. He wasn’t going to tell Peter that his support throughout that entire fiasco and even after is maintaining his will to live. It’s kind of funny, Wade thinks, because they both thought of family as an f-word but somehow unknowingly found it in one another; in a fucked up way they were family (or at least a That was something Collosis would say).

 

“But I never had a family Wade.” Peter informed him. Oh this poor child wasn’t getting it was he? Maybe Peter was in denial about something. He wasn’t telling Wade everything, but Peter would never in his right mind tell Wade everything. He was a smart one.

 

“Then you want it kiddo” Wade looked up with a bit of pity that Peter hated. Peter stiffened as he could feel Wade’s feelings coming off of him. “sorry Pete” he meant it and Peter knew he meant it. Peter breathes in and breathed out. Arms shift back on his stomach and Wade thinks he’s gonna puke. He makes an uncomfortable noise and Wade knows their done with this conversation.

 

“We gotta watch season 7.” Peter mumbled still not looking at him but at the living area where the TV was, and Wade cracked a smile as he got up to start the Netflix. Peter could come slower because he was feeling sick and didn’t need to move fast right now. He grabbed the thickest blanket that Wade owned. Once they got settled, Peter burrowed in the blanket on one side of the couch (sometimes he gravitated over toward Wade and by the end of the night was tucked by his side) and chip bag in the table in case Peter wanted to try again, Peter mumbled something else. Something offhanded, like he just remembered. Wade could tell he was trying to casual when asking, but the question meant a lot to him.

 

“How do you know if they are biological?” He asked a bit sleepily. He must be tired if he forgot about modern technology. Peter practically revolutionized it, even if no one knew about that (they wouldn’t listen to him even if he did tell someone because he was still a kid. Peter has ranted many a times about it, Wade only understood parts of the age discrimination that Peter faced mask or no. He couldn’t do anything about it and It must've sucked .) Wade looked down at him. Not hesitating in his answer.

 

“Easy. DNA test.”

 

OoOoO

 

Peter reads books.

 

Like a lot of books.

 

Tony never really noticed at first (but then again he never noticed a lot of things before. But now every detail about Parker mattered, because they knew absolutely nothing about the kid anymore). It just never caught his attention. Sure, he’d seen the kid tucked up with a book in his self designated corner on the quinjet after a mission or when he was waiting in for briefing or just moments when Peter had a few five minutes, but he never gave it much thought. The books were Just another thing he carried in that ratty mysterious ancient black backpack.

 

Tony didn’t really take interest in Peter until recently - no one did - but now everyone had their own personal file on Parker (and there was a little unspoken competition - like always because competing was highly motivational to Avengers to get things done - of who could find out the most accurate information about Parker. He wasn’t too sure who was winning but he did know Parker didn’t make it even remotely easy), that was something in the profile he was building for the kid. He didn’t know where or when he got the books, probably at a library because he seemed to be broke constantly. His scrappy, starved look was the stem of that hypothesis, also the fact that he hinted and mentioned it offhandedly a lot. The little hinge he did, like eat mainly non perishables and how he renovated his suit and shoes and clothes instead of get new ones. The kid always wore ratty clothes and the same torn up shoes (when he actually wore shoes). He carried around an outdated cracked phone that was barely one step above a burner (maybe he should get the kid a new phone because his looked like it would disintegrate at the slightest tap). He always looked like he could use a few extra meals (now he realized it was due to neglect and kicked himself for not noticing sooner. Tony has been neglected by his own parents, but he always had food and sleep accessible and available. He forgot the other type of neglect really messes not only with someone’s mental state but physical too. Add that to mutant/enhanced abilities? Result: basically a stick with super strength. It was strange to watch the kid fight now- because he looked like he’d break every one in his body if there was a breeze).

 

Peter was currently reading in the second isle - where he had migrated after their first little heart to heart (which Tony think is the only reason he’s winning is that and the information Harley told him. It was kinda sad that Peter had to give up any other friend because he had a panic attack and now was public ally considered a high level threat. He’d have trouble pulling himself out of that PR mess and unlike Tony he didn’t have a Pepper to come save him. But the kid never really cared about his reputation anyway. Must be nice). Tony heard more than saw Peter get up to do something, probably go to the bathroom he had been sipping on his water for three hours now and they were two hours to landing. Tony looked back for a second before turning the plane to autopilot and going over to the bag and the open book that was laying spine up that the kid left on the floor. He was obviously coming back to continue.

 

Even though Tony came to snoop the bag, his eyes landed on the book. It was a thick book that had the words Cambridge Mechanics level 10 on it. Tony recognized the book because it was the one that he was most thinking about while making the Arc Reactor in a cave. He had pulled ideas from the book and techniques. He remembered staying up late nights reading it in his last year of College.

 

He picked up the book and leafed through it, finding many hastily scrawled sticky notes (colors of which were various degrees of obnoxious)with ideas, thoughts, half baked blueprints, formulas and even suggestions. Tony had never seen Peters handwriting, but he knew this was his. It somehow suited him. Messy and slanted and light, like his and Bruce’s and Harley’s; like nearly every scientist/engineer he knew. Tony never pegged the kid to be a science whiz (before that day, he knew he was smart but this? This wasn’t just smarts. It was thinking on a whole new level.) but it didn’t seem entirely out of place now that he was thinking about it. Peter has always had this distinct nerdy look to him, and Tony never found that off putting. It suited him, quite well in fact.

 

Kid genius, huh.

 

Tony glanced over the few notes and was impressed. The ideas and notes were combining not just mechanics and code together, but also biology, physics and even chemistry. The kid had a lot of good ideas and seemed to have a lot of interesting methods to make them work (some maybe more efficient than the method Tony would think of using). He’s never think to use thermal energy the way like this one formula was suggesting. It was incredible. The kid knew how to think outside the box- so far outside that he didn’t even know there was a box apparently.

 

“Reminiscing?” Tony jumped at the the voice of the kid behind him (the one who was currently in ownership of the book and notes) and looked up like he was caught with a hand in the cookie jar, the kid laughed at the face. He hadn’t noticed before, but this laugh that Parker was doing now was nice. It threw him off guard of how carefree it was. He found himself wanting to hear it again when it stopped just to be sure Parker was really capable of such an innocent noise (he should be though, says the dark part of his mind. He knows Parker should be as carefree and innocent as every other kid on the planet) “Kidding.” He said lightly when Tony didn’t react in any way other than slight shock. He shifted a little awkwardly “But I would like my book back.” He asked quietly, Peer was never loud but when he got quiet like this it was usually when he was making a request - almost as if he was shy to ask, or afraid (he probably was, he’s been denied a lot in his short life). Tony handed over silently, not hesitating in attempting quelling Peter’s -very rational but also equally just as heartbreaking- fear of rejection. It was a small gesture that made Peter relax when the book was back in his possession and he hugged it slightly to his chest, trying to appear casual and somewhat not failing but not quite succeeding either.

 

Suddenly, Tony felt like he violated something personal (which he did all the time, but this time seemed to be toeing a line he would rather not cross again. In fact he wanted to get as far away from that line as possible because what was on the other side would most certainly destroy him painfully). An inventors notes were always very personal. The were the soul of them. It was their dreams and desires and wishes scrawled into the makings of their children (a bit over dramatic, but Tony was, if anything, the king of over dramatic) Tony was just waiting for the shoe to drop and for Parker to tell him to go, or even the dark aura to come back ( he really wasn’t sure where some parts of the lines were. Anything could set the kid off).

 

But Peter just moves past him (and Tony sees that there is a light dusting of pink on his cheeks which is oddly adorable. He’s never seen Peter as anything other than a kid that worked with him sometimes and got on his nerves.) and sat down under the window again without saying anything to him. Looking down at his book but Tony could tell he wasn’t reading it as he just stared at the random page he flipped to blankly. Tony took it as his turn to speak.

 

“Never thought of using thermal like that. You build?” Tony said airily. He didn’t comment on how Peters cheeks dusted a little darker -but he really wanted to because he looked more like a kid now than he’s ever looked (a shy humble kid who just wanted to learn and create things. Innocent eyes looking at the world like it hadn’t wronged him so many time. It was a facade Peter never put up and Tony knew that Peter never once believed the world to be fair. It was honestly sad) - and he clutched the book a little tighter around the edges, not reading it but not looking up to address the billionaire.

 

“When I have to.” He answered, trying to keep the same tone he had earlier (the one that was still like a kid but more professional, more mature but not quite there) but it was slightly off this time. It took Tony a minute to realize: Peter was embarrassed. And for the life of him, Tony couldn’t fathom of what the kid thought he needed to hide this time. The Kid was smart as fuck. He shouldn’t lock it up in that big brain of his. The discoveries he was making could revolutionize the world. Peter could help people by using his head and not his fists. Kid always was the pacifist type (and now that Tony thought about it, Peter never complained when they told him to only engage when necessary. He was content with clearing civilians. He never punched more than he had to. He never over did it. How had they not noticed that before?). He crouched down to the kids level, he peeked up shyly to meet the man’s state with wide doe eyes.

 

“When would you need to use aerodynamics like that though?” Tony asked tapping the book. Trying to keep the conversation going, coax Peter out his shell because he knew the kid could do it. He knew the kid can talk about this nonstop, just like he did with criminals when he was fighting them. Tony could see that the kid was fighting it back. Peter didn’t want to answer but seemed to give in anyways.

 

“When I have to stop a missile.” Peter mumbled biting his lip gently to suppress talk anymore than he had to, Tony looked at him oddly, obviously not satisfied with that answer, and Peter snapped a little nervously. Blush taking a little more effect “What? You think I just shot my webs any which way and hope for the best?” Fair enough, but still impressive. He tried to make a smile snarky, didn’t come out the way he wanted. “It’s kind of instinct, less calculation now, but it’s not that advance-“ Tony furrowed his brows.

 

“Why do you do that?” Tony cut him off. Peter looked a little confused, but mostly affronted. He shouldn’t be, Tony was calling him out for downgrading his own accomplishments and intelligence and he wouldn’t be Tony Stark if he didn’t put a stop to that shit  immediately - especially with a mind like Peter’s.

 

“What do you-“ Tony didn’t let him finish his sentence that time either. Peter wasn’t dumb, he knew exactly what Tony meant. Tony could see it on the kids face, and he was trying to deflect. Tony genuinely wanted to know why Peter put himself down like that- this wouldn’t be the first time he did so after all, in fact he did it more often than not and that was more than a little concerning.

 

“You know what I mean.” Tony said, maybe a little harsher than he intended, but Peter didn’t even flinch as he looked down with something akin to shame. It only made Tony more confused. “Why do you pretend you’re not smart? Why did you tell Harley that you dropped out of school? Why do you let people believe you’re stupid?” Tony plowed and Peter shrunk with every accusation, trying to bury himself in his book. Tony tapped the book harder to get his attention. Peter snapped up at Tony’s sharp voice with wide eyes, that didn’t look terrified yet but surprised and a bit wary. “You’re obviously not.”

 

“I didn’t tell Harley I dropped out...” he whispered, as if he can salvage this situation. He wasn’t trying to make an excuse (if there was one thing Tony has always admired about the kid, it was his ability to own up to his mistakes. He never made excuses he just gave explanations and graciously took his consequence. Tony respected people like that) ”and people just assume shit about me all the time. I don’t hide that I can do basic math.” Tony only realized now that he torn down a layer of Peters impenetrable wall. A wall that wasn’t meant to be torn down. A wall that Tony wasn’t sure if he wanted to explore or leave be while Peter quickly rebuilt it. He was trying to get to know the kid, so he might as well keep mining.

 

“You let him believe that though.” He told him in a normal business voice. Peter looked confused now, looking at him, trying to read his face. Tony didn’t try to hide anything, but Peter still seemed to not find what he was looking for. That seemed to frustrate him a bit. Tony smirked at that (what? It’s not everyday you get to see the Amazing Spiderman a bit upset. He was always painfully happy).

 

“I’m sorry...” he said slowly, carefully. Like he was walking on glass. Tony realized that Peter didn’t know how to respond to this. No one's ever asked him this question? Of course not, idiot. No one cared about him until a week ago. Tony suddenly felt a bit of guilt leak into his heart. He spent a year with Peter and the kid didn’t just become a STEM genius overnight. He’s always been into this and he and Tony and maybe even Bruce could’ve bonded and shit and he could see that someone actually fucking cared about Peter Parker and just Peter Parker for once in his young tragic life. If only Tony had seen past the snark and the disobedience and the youth. If only he just looked at the kid like a he was a kid. They wouldn’t be in this situation if he just pushed down his pride for two seconds to actually check up on this child.

 

“Why would you be?” Tony asked with a shrug like he wasn’t kicking himself over and over again in his mind, letting a teasing tone take his voice. “Isn’t that kind of your thing? Messing with people.” Tony meant for it to be a joke, Peter seemed to pick up on it but didn’t smile. Instead he shrunk into himself as if he’d hit a bit too close to home right now. Hunched his shoulders and fiddled with his fingers.

 

“Not all the time...” Peter tried to defend quietly. He didn’t really seem like he believed himself and Tony wanted to so desperately take the quip back. Jackass, you’re trying to get this kid to like you .

 

“Yes all the time. You messed with the Avengers, and criminals. You really don’t discriminate do you.” Tony kept saying, and he didn’t know if he was quite in control of his mouth anymore. Peter didn’t respond right away an unreadable expression mixing with a tiny of shame, nor did he look Stark in the eye. Peter didn’t say anything for a second longer than what was considered comfortable.

 

“I...I don’t like discriminating “ Peter mumbled like he was unsure of what else to say. He looked really uncomfortable in this conversation. He fidgeted a little eyes only flitting up to find an escape before going back down when he caught even a sliver of Tony’s glance.

 

“Yeah,” Tony laughed, trying to ease the tension he had created. “that’s good trait to have.” He smiled gently and Peter rounded on him, in a way he didn’t expect. It was probably all the confusion of the accusation going to praise, but To y could tell it was a little more than that.

 

“What are you playing at Stark?” He asked suspiciously, eyes narrowing in an accusing way. Tony looked at him seriously a moment, but didn’t move to answer as Peter elaborated and asked what he really wanted to know “why aren’t you yelling?”

 

“Why would I yell?” Tony asked leaning back letting Peter work through whatever he needed to. Peter just groaned like this was exhausting. Like Stark was doing this on purpose. Making him pick out everything even if it was supposed to be obvious. For the life of him he could not figure it out though. There was no context for this behavior but Stark knew that with Peter things aren’t as they seem.

 

“I let your kid believe something that wasn’t true. Why aren’t you angry?” He asked, looking sheepish and not looking him in the eyes now. Anger and frustration gone, a bit of regret and shame taking over his eyes as he shrunk back to try to hide it.

 

“That’s a stupid thing to be mad about.” Tony said a bit incredulous. It was Harley’s own fault for assuming things and it was the Avengers fault for not asking the right questions (or any questions at all) and just jumping to conclusions about the child. They all had thought that a kids life and mind couldn’t be as complex as it was, but half of them have had complex childhoods so it was stupid that they hadn’t seen this coming.

 

It’s just Parker acts different from how they did. He didn’t lash out like Thor, or make rebellious decisions like Tony. He didn’t close himself off like Bruce or didn’t not show any emotion like Natasha. He laughed and joked and covered up the problem with humor. He didn’t say what was wrong and he distracted himself through messing with people innocently. Made people hate him so they didn’t have the incentive to get close to him . It was how he coped, and it was a terrible mechanism and was bound to backfire.

 

“I know.” Peter emphasized, like he was exasperated. Like it was a stupid problem that he had to deal with. Like you know, an actual western teenager and not some emotionless drone. “It’s just...” Peter fiddled with the hem of his hoodie, not looking up and voice small. He was nervous, Tony finally realized. he acted like he didn’t know what he was doing or how to do it. It was out of place on the kid, cause god dammit Ned was right: Peter does know how to handle everything except his own emotions. Tony was now getting a first hand account of that. “People get mad at me for stupid things all the time...” he confesses.  Tony didn’t know how to respond to that. It’s like his brain temporarily short circuited and he said something he’d regret.

 

“Is that why you don’t listen? Cause you think everything we are yelling at you about is stupid?” Tony asked, a little accusingly. Peter flinched back and Tony wanted to take it back. He could see Peter get more tense at his rising tone. Trying to swallow his fear and regret pooping in his young eyes. Tony was making him regret opening up, and he was shutting down again. He needed to fix this, it wasn’t healthy for a kid like Peter to bottle everything up. He clearly had no one to talk to. Tony settled it down a little, Peter side eyed the ground.

 

“It’s not stupid...” Peter mumbled closing himself off. Head down, quiet voice, not looking up, making himself small, clenched fists, jaw tight, back wired. Tony somehow recognized these signs. It was Peter gearing up to get yelled at. Tony stiffened. He wasn’t gonna yell at him, but at this point it was Peter’s default to defend against being attacked - verbally, physically or even mentally. It made Tony’s heart construct a little.

 

“Peter, I’m not gonna yell at you.” He said as gently as he could and that seemed to take Peter by surprise. He still didn’t unwind from his defensive position- didn’t even loosen, but he did seem more eager to listen. He didn’t say anything so Tony continued, hoping he was making progress. “Why would I yell at you? I’m the one who snooped through your stuff. You don’t owe me an explanation because I’m guessing you’ve been doing this a while. I didn’t expect to talk to you when I came here.” He informed the situation and it seemed to work because Peter visibly relaxed a little. Tony coined it as a win. There was a weird not so awkward but not entirely comfortable silence before Tony talked again, in the same calm voice but a little lower. “Why do you expect people to yell at you?”

 

“Is this twenty questions?” Peter asked watery tone betraying him. He was Trying to be snarky, it didn’t work at all. The kid was terrified. Stark was unwavered. Peter seemed to notice and continued, trying to ignore his watery tone which he seemed to gained a bit more control over. “People get mad when a lot of little annoying things build up they just need to...let it out... they take it out on the easiest target...” Peter said quietly, almost afraid to speak. Tony got what he was trying to say. And Tony thinks Peer is trying to understand what he’s trying to do. It was justification for the world using Peter as a punching bag. It was his reasons for never standing up for himself. People needed to let off steam sometimes, and Peter was willing to be the one who took the heat. That thought made Tony’s heart clench a little harder than he would’ve liked. How many times has he used Peter as his own verbal punching bag? It made him feel awful.

 

“Why don’t you just not make yourself a target? It would be pretty easy for you.” It would be He was Spider-Man after all. He could easily stand up for himself. He didn’t have to take the short stick every time. Peter shrugged.

 

“I’m used to it.” He answered maintain casual tone somehow. “I don’t like seeing other people getting other people’s crap for no reason. It’s easier for me to take than to dish or watch it.” Peter smiles bitterly “I just can’t stop getting involved.” He grumbled. This has always happened to him, even when he was a kid. Tony could tell, Peter didn’t need to say it. He’d been the punching bag since even before he became Spider-Man, and he was so young that he was used to it. And it somehow made sense.

 

This kid.

 

He was taking the heat for people who didn’t and did deserve it. He didn’t take shit from anyone, but would take a two hour lecture to not waste anyone else’s time. Make other people feel justified in being mad, because it was easier to have a scapegoat. Like his reputation and time didn’t matter. Like he didn’t matter. Like he could shoulder all those burdens. He could go on and be worthless and take all this crap because it didn’t matter anyway. Because he’s heard it all before, and sometimes the Avengers didn’t even mean what they said, but how many times has Peter heard that? How many times has he been told he was a no good screw up? It didn’t matter if he didn’t believe it at the time, as time slowly built up and people say it more and more to him without anyone really stepping in and denying the claims, Peter  really must think he is a no good reckless screw up worth no one’s time or effort.

 

Something finally sank in for Tony. Peter was rash and reckless because he had to carry all these burdens. He didn’t just feel like he did, he didn’t have a choice . Cause no one was gonna pick up his slack, but he had to pick up theirs. Cause they tossed their shit on him and he couldn’t throw it back. He was expected to take it with no conditions or favors or anything in return. He expected himself to take it with no expectations. No one had ever helped him with these things, and as far as he could see no one ever would. He’s always done this alone. He was so used to the weight of everyone’s shit that he didn’t know what it was like to go on without it. He didn’t complain because this was what he was used to.

 

This was his life, it always has been and always will be.

 

And he’s accepted that.

 

He wasn’t used to people noticing him enough to care. He wasn’t used to people smiling at him and thanking him for what he’d done. He wasn’t used to having a nice conversation that wasn’t about complaining or whiny or insulting him. He wasn’t used to people noticing when he felt bad or sad or was dealing with a problem. He wasn’t used to people asking him about things he liked and about his interests and plans for the future. He wasn’t used to having people being nice to him.

 

He was used to being yelled at. Being kicked down and trying to build himself back up on his own while everything else threw around the pieces. People degradin, insulting and criticizing his every move. People telling him he was worthless and unimportant. People spitting on his shoes and walking away. People letting him take the fall for them with so much as a glance back (because they thought he deserved it and Tony thinks Peter might think the same, even if he doesn’t). He was used to being alone.

 

Tony felt dread sink in his stomach.

 

He is just a kid .

 

He put an awkward hand on Peters shoulder and felt the boy stiffen up. He didn’t know what to say. He was emotionally constipated. He could barely understand Harley’s normal teenage problems, much less a super powered mutant teenager who had the whole world set against him since the day he was born and somehow managed to keep going without any for of therapy.

 

But one thing for sure: this was going to change. He couldn’t let Peter feel like this anymore. Peter was a pain in his ass but no one (especially Peter Parker) deserves to feel this...degraded. Ostracized? Outcasted? Worthless? Insignificant? Any of those words. And anything else he might feel. No one deserves to take on every problem alone. Peter was a good kid and he deserved to know that he was worth someone caring for him. And if no one else was going to do that, then Tony had to take a stand.

 

“Well don’t go it alone at least.” tony said lightly, he really wasn’t thinking this through. He was creating the plan on the spot. Actually he didn’t think about it at all. He didn’t know how to do this, but there weren’t particularly any books or articles on how to deal with this kind of thing.

 

“What's that supposed to mean?” Peter asked cautiously, narrowing his eyes again, and Tony tapped the book, because he had no idea what was going to come out of his mouth next.

 

“Work for me and Bruce in the lab.” He said casually, this was probably a bad idea, but it might just be a good idea. Kid was a genius and he needed to flex his brain muscles. He obviously loved science and tech. He needed to use those more often, it would maybe make him feel better. Like he wasn’t just some secret weapon for the Avengers to pull out for man power.

 

“I can’t do that.” Peter said easily. There was something behind his eyes that looked a little pained. Like he wanted this but he couldn’t have it and he knew he couldn’t have it. Some messed up reason in his mind told him that he couldn’t afford it for some reason. He couldn’t risk what he had to get this, even if he so desperately wanted it. Longed for it even.

 

“Sure you can. It’s not like you have anything better to do.” Tony said easily. Peter looked down a little ashamed, like he wanted to fight back. He probably did have something else to do, Spiderman was always busy. The kid needed a break. And Tony could tell he wasthe restless type. Like Tony himself. “Plus, you are smart, graduated high school, especially at Midtown, on a full scholarship, isn’t easy. So you qualify.” He tried to persuade, maybe stating the kids credentials will help. Praising him will help.

 

“You don’t need me in the lab, you’ve got Harley.” Peter reasoned in an emotionless tone. He was trying to keep his emotions in check. Trying to keep his mind straight and not accept the offer to work in every needs candy land.

 

“I need another lab assistant during the school day.” Tony said with a sly grin and Peter finally squirmed. He looked like he really wanted this now and was trying to think of a justification for him not to have it.

 

“You aren’t thinking this through, I’m not like a harley at all.” Peter said quickly. Tony scoffed cause he knew that. But he was thinking Bruce would also like a mini lab assistant during the day. It could keep science at an all time high and they’d have a third opinion on projects that could be more classified with Parker.

 

“Yeah obviously, but like come on, what else do you have to do?” Tony asked again. Peter squirmed, battling something inside him, he was losing Tony could tell. He just needed a little more of a push.

 

“You won’t like me. I’m...not right in the head.” Peter said finally. God the kid was terrible at interviews. He wouldn’t be able to hold a job if he kept downgrading himself. Tony’s response was waving him off before saying:

 

“Kid, none of us are.” Peter groaned at Tony’s witty remark. That probably wasn’t the best way for Parker to convince him. But it said something though: Peter would defiantly bring a new perspective to the lab. When he joined because Tony is pretty sure he convinced him.

 

“What are the hours?” Tony silently cheered in winning the battle of wills with Peter Parker. It wasn’t that hard, mostly because he knew Parker wanted to do this too. “Don’t get excited yet, if it conflicts with what I need to do I’m not taking it.” He glared with a cute pout (Tony has accepted that the kid was fucking adorable when he was trying to be mad but not really. It was like looking at an angry puppy.)

 

“Every week day from 7-3. Holidays excluded and when Harley’s off. We’ll figure out summer break later.” Tony said with a wave of his hand. Ignoring the future problem and saving it for the time period of designated panic. “so how bout it kid? Working with two geniuses and full access to the lab of a lifetime and all the Avengers play things?” He said insentivly and Peter shut his eyes. Trying to find any reason to decline.

 

“Fine.” Peter finally grumbled. There was a small smile quirking at his lips and he ducked his head so Tony couldn’t see but he did. Tony decided he liked that smile on Parker, it made him smile too.

 

He was so going to regret this.

 

OoOoO

 

“I’m an idiot!”

 

Peter was currently laying down on the ancient rotating AC of Matt’s office in Hell’s Kitchen. It was the ends of Winter and well into Spring and it looked like it had started to open up its hot days in preparation for Summer. Matt had an old AC system that just blew out lukewarm air that was just barley colder than the sweltering heat waves. He was in a T shirt and shorts (which he didn’t often wear because of the scars on his arms and legs. He never wore them in public, because even his amount of whip marks, bruises, wounds, scars and slices were a bit odd in New York. Also his wrists and legs were spindly thin and it looked like he was anorexic, wearing long sleeves his that and no one asked questions or looked at him weird. But Matt was blind so it didn’t matter and he had a light jacket tied around his waist in case he needed to put it on if anyone came in) and he didn’t know how Matt was surviving in that suit. Black things absorbs heat.

 

It wasn’t odd to find Peter in Matt Murdock’s office at Murdock, Nelson and Page. The firm’s office was like one of Peter’s semi safe places (because there were no truly safe places for Peter to just be Peter). Usually he’d bug Matt when he had nothing else to do during the day because all of his jobs started when the sunset and sometimes he just needed a break from being daytime Spidey. (Nighttime Spidey was different on so many levels. In the daylight he got kittens out of trees and helped old women cross the street, but when innocent incidents like that happened it was only in the daytime. Nighttime was when the real trouble happened, and he couldn’t be as friendly as he would’ve liked.)

 

Matt let him chill in his office, rambling about meaningless things. Peter never needed an invite or anything and he could leave through the always open window (at least when someone was in the office. They always left it open for him and he was touched when he realized that) whenever he wanted. He tinkered on things here quietly too. Fixing a drone, attaching circuit boards. Matt never minded as long as he cleaned up. Sometimes if he was still around at Lunchtime, Karen or Foggy would come in and drag them out of their work space.

 

Peter also sometimes stole old case files for anything he was working on. Matt trusted him enough to know that sometimes Spidey needed some information and Peter wouldn’t go digging into anyone’s personal life for no reason. So Peter had free range of his concrete database that he couldn’t get anywhere else. Sometimes Karen even helped him with a case or job he was trying to solve and he was grateful to her for it.

 

“You finally got a job.” Matt said dully and Peter groaned and pressed his hands into his eyes. Right now he was currently moaning and thinking about Stark’s job offer. He just couldn’t figure out why Stark would want him in the office with him every weekday from 7-3. At first he thought it would initially be an excuse to keep more of an eye on him, but there were a lot of things that don’t involve personal lives mingling to do that. Then he thought that Stark was trying to cover something up, but that didn’t make any sense either. Peter had never seen suspicious activity being down by Stark Industries and he had tried to find anything that maybe shady. But Stark, for the most part, was clean. He’s guessing Pepper Potts as CEO is making it a no tolerance company, and she even had a no tolerance policy in their relationship because Stark looked marginally healthier over the year.

 

“Yeah, with Stark as his and Banner’s personal lab assistant during the day when their interns are getting a proper shitty education.” Peter whined and flopped onto the floor in front of the revolving AC. Then dread sank into his stomach. It was irrational because Stark and Banner were literally superheroes but what if… he did say to Stark that everyone needed to blow off some steam… what if they-

 

“Are you getting paid?” Matt asked cutting off Peter’s dark thoughts and Peter groaned and shook his head, even though Matt couldn’t see it he could feel  it. Matt was weird like that, he had senses better than Peter - we’ll not visual sight, Peter had a one up on him in colours.

 

“It’s punishment for going ghost on SHIELD for a few months. Stark somehow made that happen.” He said with a grumble in his tone. That was the official way to say it. He wouldn’t get paid and it was the only way to make this work out with the government since he technically wasn’t an Avenger or an associate with Stark Industries or affiliated with Tony Stark personally in anyway. It was on the DL and that’s the way he liked it. He didn’t need his face plastered all over Stark Industries.

 

“I don’t see why you are complaining.” Matt said and Peter rolled his eyes at his own joke. Matt was smirking. That little shit, Peter was in a real life crisis here. But Matt has a point: he didn’t know why he was complaining about the job when he just had suspicions about why he had that job now.

 

“It takes all the fun out of it when you do it.” Peter grumbled and Matt laughed a little at that. Wade and Peter made aight jokes all the time, but that’s because they know Matt knows their assholes. Peter would never make a blind joke to anyone but Blind Al or Matt - but mostly Matt (Peter kinda likes Blind Al, she gave good advice(maybe he should have gone to her). He wasn’t so sure about Wade. While Peter generally didn’t give a shit, Wade never ever have a shit and Matt was like a mix between the two- it’s hard to gauge him.

 

“No but really. You’ve always wanted to work in a cool lab making inventions and discoveries that help people.” Matt pointed out and Peter huffed. When he was younger and went to school for all of a week, it’s all he ever wanted to do. Build things to help people. Help people without fighting. It was a fantasy to him, it always was and always will be. He’s always known that. It was still nice to dream about it, because those thoughts had made him happy when he was a kid; it gave him some hope that if he worked hard enough he could get there. Now -that he’s graduated high school and still homeless and broke - it just served as a reminder as what he could never have. He was a child born into a war zone. He was born into the real world, where nothing was sugar coated and he didn’t get to be sheltered from the nastiness this planet had to offer. In fact, he was sheltered from good things at first. But then the two worlds mingled and no one had taught him how to navigate them. He wasn’t supposed to explore them as one world but he did. And it baffles him how kids could just laugh while someone got mugged on the alley two streets down. Maybe that’s why it was supposed to be separated.

 

“Yeah, when I was like a kid kid.” Peter said answering Matt. He dully looked up at the ceiling that was slowly rotating above him.  Something close to nostalgia come over him. “I always knew it was never gonna happen for me.” He shook his head. Innocent thoughts belonged in the past. When he was confused and somewhat ignorant. He couldn’t afford to think like that. It would get him or someone else killed. He wouldn’t let that happen again. It’s why he became Spiderman.

 

“But it is .” Matt said not looking up from his work. And god dammit, Matt was right. It was happening. Finally happening. Good things were coming into his life and Peter didn’t know why. Good things happen to everybody else, they didn’t happen to Peter Parker. Not without a catch.

 

“Yeah, and it seems I dunno...fishy? You know?” Peter said almost guiltily, hunching his shoulders a little. He should be grateful, he shouldn’t look into this so much. What if this really was just a nice thing finally happening to him? His Spidey Sense wasn’t going off, but Peter still felt scared. “I mean things like this don’t come so easily. Not to me. And especially after what happened with Stark and the Avengers the last week and two months ago. It just...seems too good to be true.” Peter sighed and it was quiet until Matt spoke.

 

“You’re afraid it’s going to be taken away from you.” Matt said in a way that made him sound as though he’s staring a fact and not a question. How did he do that? He knew Peter too well, Peter needed to fix that.

 

“...well, yeah…” Peter mumbled more self consciously than he would have liked and Matt sighed and stopped typing.

 

“Pete.” He said in a serious tone. Peter thought it made him sound like a dad. Matt didn’t use it often but when he did to Peter, it made him think he did something wrong. But Peter hadn’t done anything wrong. Not yet anyways.

 

“What Matt?” Peter shot up and glared at him. He knew Natt could feel the heat of the unheated glare. It was more of a defensive move, it meant that Peter was confused and frustrated and a whole bunch of other emotions that Peter didn’t know how to process and emotions that no one bothered to care about. Anyone else would yell at him for his tone. Matt was different - like how Wade is different and how Ness and Gwen were different and how MJ was kinda different too. Matt didn’t yell and waited for him to finish. “I know it’s going to be taken eventually.”

 

“Then why are you so afraid.” Good question. If he knew what to expect then why was he acting like this? Thinking like this? Was it because of when he thought back to the first time he could openly choose what happened to him and then nine months later become a puppet with no thoughts of his own. He had repeated that process for five years, and each time he did he broke a little more. It was so easy to take away his freedom back then, and it hurt when they did. Even if he expected it.

 

“I’m afraid because… I’m not a … I just don’t want to…” Peter trailed off. How was he supposed to explain that to Matt? He could explain it to Wade with no problems - mostly because Wade was there so he didn’t Have to explain it. The groaned and flopped onto the floor in front of the AC, and rolled over on his back. He was frustrated and he didn’t like feeling like this. He just wanted to understand. He had so many reasons but none of them seemed good enough. And the one that did seem good enough was also the one he couldn’t bring himself to believe.

 

“Find out how much you love it and then when it’s taken away from you, crave it?” Matt picked up for him and Peter nodded dumbly and fell back onto the floor. Matt got it, and that alleviated some of the frustration. He’d forgotten Matt was an angry child after his dad died. He had been in the same predicament as Peter just not the same situations. He guesses if dimes one's life has been crap enough, they just get used to it and when something good happened they never knew how to respond.

 

Peter could feel that.

 

“How did you know that?” Not sounding surprised but his voice cracking a little. He knew how Matt knew. Matt was different like he and Wade were. Matt was a Vigilante and he had his own past but Peter has found one connection between all of them -weather it be Frank Castle or Luke Cage. They’ve all had shit lives, and they all expected even shitter futures. No matter what they’ve been through, they all mutually understood: they were doing this for a reason that they couldn’t explain. It’s not only the fact that they didn’t want to, they just didn’t know how. And somehow that made Peter feel a little better when he remembered that. He could go to anyone of them and they’d understand - even if they didn’t. (Not that he’d just go to anyone, but to be honest, despite all the killing, indifference, and scary looks, the vigilantes of NYC were probably the nicest people Peter’s ever met).

 

“I know you Pete. You’ve been like this since you were 13.” Matt said typing on his laptop again. Indifference. Familiarity. It made Peter’s mouth smile a little. “You have always been afraid of things that you want.” That was true. Because when he got it, they usually came at a cost he couldn’t afford. A risk he just couldn’t take. Spider-Man wasn’t reckless because he was not afraid, he was reckless because he was afraid.

 

“I really want this, Matt.” Peter whispered to the cracked ceiling. As if he was admitting a sin at confession (Matt once told Peter it helped him, but Peter wasn’t Christian and he respected Matt enough to not go to church just so he could get something off his chest. He didn’t say that, but  Matt nodded at the refusal and thanked him and it was never brought up again).

 

“Then take it and enjoy it while it lasts. You don’t know for sure if you’re gonna make it to 18, Pete. Don’t wait.” Matt said and Peter scoffed. He wasn’t sure if anything, he stopped trying to predict things that would happen to him in his life. If you told him a year ago he’d end up on Dare Devils office floor trying to figure out to accept a Stark Industries job, he would have laughed. Hell if you told him a week ago he would’ve shrugged, but somehow it didn’t surprise him how he got here.

 

“Since when did you become my life counselor?” Peter said, sarcasms finally entering his voice. Pushing back his emotions because he just couldn’t deal with them anymore. He locked it in its box and shoved it to the back of his mind. Like he always does.

 

“Not a life counselor. A friend.” The emotions weren’t fully locked so Peter had accidentally let a real smile slip and his heart swell a little in happiness. He decided to keep it for a little while because he thinks he’ll need it later.

 

But Peter liked that thought.

 

OoOoO

 

Tony had a bad idea.

 

Bruce doesn’t even need to know the idea to know if Tony was cooking up a bad one. He’d known the guy for nearly nine years now, worked with him in his lab, they fought and ate together. They’d been in life and death experiences together. Bruce saw Tony at his lowest and highest and vis versa. They had formed the partnership Tony dubbed as the ‘Science Bros’ and Bruce didn’t complain about it because as stupid as it was, he liked the name. He’d seen Tony go through his PTSD and they helped each other. He supported Tony when he adopted Harley and helped him raise the kid. In that time, Tony has made a lot of bad and stupid decisions- even if most of them were with good intentions. The result ranged between small lab fires to nearly destroying the world.

 

Bruce has supposedly seen it all.

 

So Bruce knew something was up when Tony kind of fidgeted when he came into the lab. Tony always strutted in or walked in casually. Today he kind of just went to his part of the lab and Bruce zeroed in on how he was gathering loose papers to stack them - trying to make his chaotic workplace somewhat less chaotic.

 

Harley left for school 25 minutes ago, so he wasn’t gonna take a sick day to stay in the lab (he did that sometimes when he had a bad day, and that was okay because everyone in the tower had bad days). So Tony must be nervous about someone coming in, which he usually wasn’t. Lab only had strict access, only Tony and Bruce could invite certain people to the lab that they both had to mutually agree on being there. It was on of their lab rules.

 

“What did you do?” Bruce asked instantly narrowing his eyes and Tony leaned back in his chair. Maybe there was a SHIELD lab inspection? Those happened more after aileron, but had died down recently. Mostly because SHIELD couldn’t find anyone with ‘enough balls’ - as Tony so eloquently put it - to actually inspect Iron Man and Hulk’s lab. They also didn’t know half of what was going on in the lab either.

 

“I have done nothing deserving of that tone.” Tony said back casually, not turning to him. His wit was on point, so Bruce figures it’s nothing too bad. But still...

 

“But you did something.” Bruce said crossing his arms over his chest in effort to seem a bit more serious. Tony said he looked cute when he tried to be fake angry, but Bruce would beg to disagree. He agree that his serious gestures were much more authoritative though.

 

“Something.” Tony said vaguely and shrugged and turned his chair around to start on his project on the table behind him, not looking up “and also I hired a daytime assistant.” He said quickly and Bruce did a double take. Tony did not like people in his lab telling him what to do, and he hated people not being competent or fast enough to keep up with him. That’s why he liked the interns, because they were smart kids and could solve problems easily. But anyone else? Forget it.

 

“I’m sorry, you what?!” Bruce said almost floored entirely and Tony looked up at him with exasperated eyes.

 

“I don’t like repeating myself Banner.” Tony said and Bruce groaned. That’s exactly what he’s probably going to have to do with this new guy. And on such late notice, Bruce had no time to prepare.

 

“Tony you can’t just bring anyone into the lab.” Bruce insisted, a little hurt that Tony broke their mutual rule with something this big, and this was big. This guy would be here on a routine basis for hours at a time. Bruce didn’t know if he could handle that.

 

“We have assistants. They come every few days.” Tony said casually. Yeah they did. Assistants that were genius teenagers and not some random college student with just a bachelor's degree in Physics.

 

“Those are interns Tony. Knowledgeable, smart interns . You know we work in classified things when Harley is at school. You need someone approved by SHIELD to-“they did work on classified things, but that was the least of Bruce’s concerns right now.

 

“He is approved, but not by SHIELD, by me.” Tony said not turning back. Bruce groaned. “It’s my lab Banner. Those guys up in SHIELD don’t get to dictate what you or I thinks should be classified.” That was true. They were scientists and inventors. They shared their discoveries with the world. But there were something’s that the world just wasn’t meant to have. This Intern/assistant or whatever had to know how to keep a lid on it.

 

“What if this guy isn’t able to keep up with us? You’ll get frustrated and you’ll yell and kick him out and-“ Bruce said again only to be cut off by Tony’s sharper tone.

 

“No yelling. Not when he’s around. And not at him, at least not in the lab.” Tony said seriously turning back to Bruce and looking him dead in the eyes. Bruce was taken a bit aback by it. Tony was serious and this wasn’t just a normal assistant. Bruce knew when to trust Tony and when not to. But for the life of him he wasn’t sure whether or not to trust him this time. It was almost as if Tony was a little unsure of this himself. “And I’d be more worried about not keeping up with him. So bring your A game Banner.” Tony said, getting back his nonchalonce. Bruce glared a little.

 

“Oh, I’ll bring my A game and then some.” Bruce muttered. This guy might be Starks little assistant, but he sure as hell wouldn’t be his. He’d drill the kid so hard that he wouldn’t even want to get near Banner (although he might not want to do that anyway with the Hulk and all).

 

“Good, cause I think he can help both of us.” Tony said and Bruce rolled his eyes. They’d see about that. The guy better be a fucking whiz at least if he was going to keep up with both Bruce Banner and Tony Stark.

 

“No. He’s your little tool Stark. I don’t need a day assistant.” Bruce said placatingly. Huffing and going back to where he was working.

 

“He’s not a tool .” Tony said with a scrunched up nose and a bit of disgust. Huh, these were not reactions he thought Tony would have over any guy. But something tells him this is not just any guy. “He’s a... consultant” Tony said shrugging his shoulders. Bruce snorted.

 

“How old is he?” Bruce asked leaning forward and Tony blew out a breath.

 

“Old enough to be in college apparently.” Tony mumbled and Bruce actually made an incredouloys noise.

 

“He’s not even in College? Jeez Tony-“ Bruce rubbed a hand down his face. He thought his friend was smart. What the fuck were they going to do with a high school graduate?

 

“He can’t afford college Bruce. And you know better than to judge someone based on money.” That was rich coming from him. Bruce snorted at that part, but he did know not to base judgment off of financial standing. “I mean look at Parker. Kid genius and  Spider-Man and he still can’t afford a cup of ramen.” Bruce groaned again.

 

“Peter is completely different. Don’t even try to compare him to a normal guy.” Bruce said back. Tony gave him a wary look, it was almost sad. Bruce looked back indifferent as Tony softened his voice.

 

“Give him a chance Banner. He’ll surprise you.” Tony didn’t even sound unsure about that in the least. This guy would surprise him. Bruce groaned, he thinks he’s had enough of Tony’s surprises.

 

“Fine. But if I don’t like him, I don’t have to talk to him.” Bruce said crossing his arms again, but this time it made him feel like a child instead of serious.

 

“Fair.” Tony said lightly going back to his work as Bruce leaned against his lab table and sighed.

 

“What’s his name anyway?” Bruce raises a brow. Tony never got to answer as a soft knock drew away their attention.

 

“Uhm...Mr.Stark?” Came an unsure voice from the entrance. Bruce froze at the voice and both geniuses turned to the boy that was shifting in the doorway to their lab.

 

No fucking way.

 

Peter Parker, in all his 84.76 pounded (last he checked) glory, was standing in the glass doorway. His forever present black backpack that was more mismatch duck tape than fabric sling around his shoulder - due to a strap being cut. He was shifting in his equally duck taped converse that Bruce now knew the sad truth behind. His hoodie was too big for him and had the faded Canadian Army symbol on it (Bruce didn’t question it considering his financial standing Peter had to get what he could). His jeans were accidentally ripped and too big to be the skinny jeans they were meant to be. His hair was messy and eyes sunken as always, skin as pale as always. He looked terrible - but okay for him - but he didn’t smell bad. He actually smelt like raspberries and vanilla.

 

“I’m sorry. FRIDAY said that I should just come here…” Peter said a little shyly, not entering the lab. Not even trying to look at it. This was not a look that Bruce ever thought he’d see painted on the boy’s face. He was mostly wearing a mask around Bruce but when he did take it off he always seemed laid back and casual. Almost welcoming. The Peter in front of him was closed off and reserved. Ned was right, the kid was shy as fuck . Why was he acting that way to them though now? He had known them physically for nearly a year now - even if they knew nothing about him.

 

“No, that’s fine Pete. Come on in.” Tony said airily. Bruce breathes in and out through his nose. Peter was smart, he knew that. This might be Tony’s way of seeing just how smart he was. Tony was always curious and liked to solve problems in unconventional ways. And honestly, he wanted to see what made Fury so adamant on this guy being a genius too. He didn’t even call Tony a genius and rarely used it with Bruce himself. He said it so casually with Peter, as if it was just a fact.

 

Suddenly Bruce felt mildly out of his league. Peter Parker aka Spider Man aka the Bain of every Avengers existence was walking into a designated safe place for Bruce. He felt his space was being invaded. Peter must have noticed because he took a step out of the lab, head ducking further, the boy curling into himself self consciously. Bruce suddenly felt like an ass as Tony’s brows furrowed. Shame creeping up in the boys features. “Pete?” He asked and Bruce felt guilt surge in his features. The boy clearly felt his discomfort and was trying to make himself small. It was like he couldn’t bring himself to enter more than a step into the lab. Like there was glass keeping them apart.

 

He knew Peter was smart. Way smarter than he let on. He had different opinions about things sure and different ways he did things on the field but as Ned said, Bruce might like him when he wasn’t all battle mode. When he wasn’t going to fight something, he was shy and reserved and quiet and that somehow didn’t fit Peter Parker at all. Bruce felt shitty making him think he’s not good enough to be himself around some of the only people that would understand him. Always hiding behind another mask and never really showing who he was. It must be exhausting.

 

“Uhm, are you sure Mr.Stark. I mean...this is..” Peter trailed off quiet and shifted once more. Bruce didn’t know whether he wanted to send the kid off or drag him inside but he couldn’t stop watching. How long was he standing there anyway? Bruce hopes it wasn’t for too long.

 

“My lab, now come on. I’m not getting up to get you.” Tony said with an eye roll. In his usual Tony Stark way. It wouldn’t bother Spiderman Peer, but Peter Peter seemed overwhelmed by that. It was so strange to see Peter this nervous and unsure.

 

“It’s also Dr.Banners too…” Peter mumbled and Bruce felt oddly touched. No one (ie Tony) has thought about his feelings on this little arrangement. It made him want to keep Peter around. Maybe Ned was right. Maybe he would like Peter if he actually got a chance to know him outside the suit.

 

“What was that Pete?” Tony didn’t hear him. Peter was speaking too quietly. It occurred to Bruce just now that Peter had never been really loud in the first place. Just witty and sarcastic. Maybe this was a mask for Peter too. The other one focusing on his sarcasm and wit and this one being his reserved brilliance. Either way, they were both tentative versions of Peter Parker and Bruce found himself wanting to see the real deal. He somehow knew he’d have to earn that.

 

“Nothing...its just...Dr.Banner might not…-“ Peter spoke up. Dismissing his idea before his eyes moved to Bruce’s for only a second before going back down to the floor. He looked like he was going to throw up or pass out, poor kid.

 

“Bruce! How have you already corrupted the kid? You haven’t even said anything to him yet.” Bruce rolled his eyes at Tony’s dramatics. Peter seemed a little startled by that response and was immediately put on edge. He was so jumpy and anxious. How could this kid be Spiderman? He was a completely different person.

 

“It’s fine Peter. Come in.” He said shortly, trying to be gentle to coax him into the lab. This doesn’t mean that Bruce was not going to drill Parker. In fact, the fact that it was Parker made him want to test him more. He wanted to know just how smart the kid was.

 

“So...what do I do?” Peter asked in a mumble and Tony looked at Bruce before Peter. His job description was pretty vague. The meaning of assistant was to help out, so the question wasn’t all that out of place.

 

“Whatever we want you to do.” Tony said turning away and Peter flinched slightly and looked to the door for a brief second before lifting his eyes down again. Tony didn’t see but Bruce did and he furrowed his brows. Maybe Tony should have worded that better. “But Banner wants to drill that little brain of yours so you’ll be with him til lunch.” Tony waves them away already emerged in his project.

 

“Lunch...r-right…” Peter mumbled to himself as Bruce gestures for him to follow him to the chemistry part of the lab. Peter followed hesitantly and Bruce turned around once because he couldn’t hear Parker’s footsteps. They were like Natasha’s: absolutely silent.

 

He lead Peter to a table where he was synthesising a chlorine compound in a beaker. The bubbling green liquid in the spherical container was above a burner so the compound could mix entirely.

 

“Okay Parker. Currently I’m working on-“ Peter, to his surprise, cut him off with one glance and a twitch of his nose (which was kinda cute because Peter had a button nose like Natasha’s. Not that Bruce would ever say that to her, but the closer he looked the more and more like Natasha he saw in Peter’s features. His nose, and lips. His slim hands...weird).

 

“A compound that can synthesize plant tissue through chlorine?” Peter said looking at the green liquid and eyeing Banner briefly who was momentarily stunned. How had Parker known that? He hadn’t left any data out. He just looked at the beaker and the plants and just knew .

 

Oh, he was good.

 

“Y-yes. I think if I can accelerate the chlorophyll it would regenerate plant tissue faster than normal.” Bruce said trying to gain composer and Peter hummed. A little light picked up in his eyes. He hesitated in what he was going to say next.

 

“Yes, but if you added calcium-“ he offered tentatively before Bruce immediately shot down the idea. Anything with calcium would screw with the photosynthesis process. Maybe in humans that would work, but not in plants.

 

“It would completely destroy the plants cells tissue.” Bruce shot down with a furrowed brow. He thought Peter was supposed to be smart. Maybe biology wasn’t his strong suit? He obviously had a knack for chemistry.

 

“Not to the plant though..to...to the...never mind.” Peter mumbled and sighed shaking his head. Giving up on trying to explain himself. Bruce let a disappointed frown cross his face. “what did you want me to do?” Peter asked, the little light that was in his eyes when Bruce had agreed with him gone. Never had he seen Parker act this...reserved. Maybe it’s because he’s never seen him outside of his suit. It’s been a year, they should know each other better than this by now. But Leeds was right. Peter Parker was incredibly shy.

 

“I want you to finish your thought. Why did you suggest calcium?” Bruce asked and Peter fidgeted a little. If he wanted to test Parker, he was going to have to push it out of him. This was a test of intelligence not confidence. Confidence came later, right now he needed to make sure Parker actually was smart.

 

“I was thinking, if you synthesized a tricalcium dioxide compound and mixed it with a Synthesised Chlorine and Chlorophyll..compound..before ...you could..” Peter trailed off into an inaudible mumble, but Bruce already knew where he was going with it.

 

“Create new tissue instead of regenerate it…” Bruce said breathlessly. It was a crazy idea, one that Bruce wouldn’t have thought of before. It was almost insane to anyone with a more conservative mind, but Peter? That was just daring...at least in the science world. It was going against some laws of theoretical biology, but that’s what Peter does. Goes against laws. Bruce could now apply it to science and mechanic laws too.  “Where did you..?” Bruce asked wanting to know where he’d get such an outlandish idea from.

 

“Dr.Cho’s thesis. I just applied it to plant tissue instead of human. She used calcium and if you synthesis it properly then…” Peter fidgeted. Peter gestured to the beaker, not finishing his thought. He didn’t have to. Bruce oddly liked that. Peter didn’t use unnecessary words that could be filled in if you actually took the time to understand what he said. In a way, it was like he is testing Bruce too.

 

“Yes, but how did you know what I was trying to do?” Bruce asked with a slightly tilted head. Peter scrunched up his nose a little before shifting on his feet.

 

“I smelt chlorine sir…” Peter mumbled and Bruce looked down at him for a second before looking at the boiling chemical. Then he started to freak out. Had Peter sniffed  a deadly chemical? Oh god! How was he not dead. The chlorine was fully synthesised so it was a toxin right now. Why had this brilliant child done this to himself?

 

“Is the smell… you have super senses, oh my god, do you need a mask or-“ Bruce started to verbally freak out. Peter shook his head calmly.

 

“No, I’m inhaling all the stuff you are, I just can actually smell it.” Peter said in a top calm manner “ it has a smell normal humans can’t smell but I have...different wavelengths for my senses.” Peter blushed and Bruce could only look in awe. Brilliant child.

 

“Right...right...well thank you for...your opinion.”  Bruce said with a nod, trying to cover up his freak out. Peter nodded awkwardly back and then Bruce hastily gave him something to work on.

 

Peter worked on a different compound while he analyzed tests with Peter’s suggestions (they worked and Bruce wasn’t sure weather to be surprise for not). Peter was nearly silent when working and Bruce looked over once or twice to see how the boy was working and progressing. It was a chemical compound that Bruce had yet to work on. It was a filament that worked like quick cement to temporarily hold up buildings when the structure fell during battle. It was right up Parker’s ally it seemed, when he had no trouble comparing it with his own web formula  (which Bruce did notice that he was peeking at a piece of weathered graphing paper with all sorts of formulas written in bleeding ink on it as a reference, but never mentioned it.) It was a little different, and Bruce could count how many times Peter hit a snag.

 

It was once.

 

“You’ve been staring at that beaker for two minutes, something wrong with it?” Bruce asked as a joke (Parker was a kid, Bruce had seen it more in the past 3 hours than he had in an entire year) and Peter was surprised at the proximity because he jumped away form the dashboard he was taking notes on, so Bruce could review his work without him having to say much (Bruce could agree that having someone read your work is much easier than trying to describe it). Bruce looked over the notes and found that this wasn’t the compound that he himself was thinking Parker would try to replicate. It was a completely different stabilizer, that used cheaper materials than he’d originally thought to use. “Why’d you use Titanium?” Peter fidgeted a little, almost as if Bruce had accused him. Bruce made a mental note to watch his tone around him, because somehow Parker seems sensitive and on edge ever since he got into the lab. “It’s supposed to only be a temporary fillent.” Bruce said more gently, trying not to scare the boy off. It seemed to work because Peter relaxed, it was good he was willing to take criticism, it just had to be delivered correctly (maybe if they used this method on the field, Parker would listen to them. It kinda hurt Bruce to think that they never tried to be kind to the boy. Peter was clearly more sensitive than he let on).

 

“Yeah, but if I know New York, it’ll take a while to get to any repairs.” Peter mumbled and shifted again, as if he said something wrong. It was a valid concern, and certainly would put less stress on workers to complete the work. “I used Titanium because it’s strong and light, it’ll give people the time to...you know...get to it.” Peter ended in a softer mumble than he began and Bruce looked back and forth between the boy and the formula. Ingenious, not only had he made a filament with cheaper elements, but he also took into account the time stamp on which it should be achieved by. Peter really did think way outside the box.

 

“I didn’t think of that. And we could also use it to support structures during battle.” Bruce said and mumbled off too. He grabbed Parker’s shoulder and pulled him closer (wow, Bruce didn’t notice how thin that shoulder was, what the heck. The hoodie was giving him more bulk, Bruce stored that fact away for later). He noticed Peter stiffen apon contact and let go, sending an apologetic look toward the boy. “What are you having trouble with then.” He asked and Peter shifted a bit more before answering. As if he was almost afraid to ask for help (he probably was, especially from Bruce).

 

“The formula keeps adding molecules and atomic mass, I was thinking that it could be like a certain maximum mass, or else the molecules will break apart too quickly so…” Peter mumbled off and Bruce reviewed the work two more times before finding a fix. It wasn’t one he could spot right away.

 

“Why don’t you add another element to the compound, a light one. Like-” Bruce was going to say Aluminum. But he was cut off by a better suggestion.

 

“Silicon!” Peter blurted and it took Bruce off guard at the volume that he flinched out of the chair and onto the ground. The kid had been quiet until just now, and now he he was frantically covering his mouth and wide brown eyes. “Oh my god, Dr.Banner! I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to yell I just-” He stuck out a hand for Bruce to grab.

 

“Got excited?” he took Peter’s outstretched hand as the child nodded meekly and flushed in embarrassment. Bruce gently smiled back.

 

“Yeah, sorry.” he mumbled with a blush going into a deeper shade of pink as he pulled Bruce up. Strong grip, but then again this kid was Spiderman (which also, what the fuck . How had he almost forgotten that little fact?)

 

“No need to apologize Peter, I was pretty excited myself.” Bruce said honestly and Peter looked a little surprised, and there was a hint of light that shone behind his eyes. Like he was happy and excited and Bruce wanted that light to never leave. “How about we synthesize this compound and over Lunch it will incubate?” Bruce suggested, Peter cocked his head in confusion like a puppy.

 

“Lunch?” Peter asked and Bruce didn’t pay any mind to it as he continued. He wasn’t going to starve a child in the name of science, no matter how much he’d like to watch the process, Peter needed food. No way a stick like him could lift so many pounds and not have a super strength factor. And along with super strength also came a super metabolism.

 

“Yeah, and then after we can engineer a distributor and test it.” Bruce said and Peter nodded dully. Bruce didn’t notice the nervousness that picked up back in his eyes.

 

He kind of liked this kid.

 

OoO

 

Bruce sometimes forgets Tony Stark is a genius.

 

Between all his idiotic protocol names to his recklessness in battle and self destructive/sacrificing habits, it was very easy to forget. Tony made bad decisions a lot more often than he made good ones. He used his intellect to only enhance these bad decisions and Bruce has seen many a clusterfuck to be born out of them. But right now he was grateful for his friend’s big brain.

 

He didn’t even think this little ‘assistant’ stunt could not only be used to help keep an eye on Parker, but also help him a little with his health and getting food into him. Bruce had been thinking about Peter’s health on and off. The lack of sleep, and lack of nourishment really showed when he was maskless, and if you looked at Spiderman right, you could tell the bones were protruding a little to sharply in his ribs and hips, and his stomach was a little too sunken in to be any form of healthy. Peter must’ve had some padding in the suit, that was masking up he major skinniness. Like how his web shooters were bulky on purpose, Bruce hadn’t thought much of it before, but when he got a good look at Peter’s nearly pencil like wrists, he knew that the fashion decision was maybe somewhat on purpose. Peter didn’t like people knowing how skinny he was.

 

When Bruce told Peter they could go to Lunch, the kid fidgeted and said where he wanted him to wait. Bruce looked perplexed for a second before Parker spoke up, in almost an embarrassed tone.

 

“I don’t have lunch.” he mumbled, not looking Bruce in the eye and Bruce nearly facepalmed himself because of course the neglected broke kid didn’t have a lunch. When it was lunch time at the tower, sometimes Bruce and Tony skipped it in favor of working. But now they had a kid to not starve, so they had to take a break at some point- in this case 12:00pm on the dot (Pepper had drilled into Tony’s head apparently, that they could not starve this child if they were to go through with this plan. Tony had told him that and Bruce didn’t mention how Peter most likly was already starved beyond redemption). When Bruce and Tony did go get lunch, they usually just had whatever anyone was making for  post-morning training (they didn’t train with the rest of the team because their form of fighting came in science and mechanics).

 

“That’s cool kid. We always have extra.” Tony said lightly, joining in on their conversation (he swears he saw Tony smirking whenever he was blown out of the water by the kid’s suggestions) when his own brain short circuited and Peter’s face screwed up just a tad. Bruce couldn’t fathom why he was so against Lunch. Shouldn’t a kid like Parker take what he can get and then some?

 

“No I mean...nevermind.” he sighed and sagged his shoulders in defeat as he followed the older man out of the lab, Bruce right behind them. He had a feeling this would be interesting.

 

When they got to the common room, everyone was doing their own thing. Sam was in a chair reading while Wanda and Steve were cooking. Natasha was sitting on the counter and Clint and Bucky were playing cards on the table. Peter stiffened at the sight of Bucky, and Bruce winced because the last time they had been in the same room Peter got strangled, Bucky’s PTSD took a turn for the worst, and Tony’s arm was broken. All in all, it was not fun. And what was even more not fun was them interrogating Parker after two whole months of radio silence on his end (with the exception of one particularly interesting phone call Tony did not care to disclose the contents of).

 

“Hey, if it isn’t the 9-5 crew!” Sam said with a light note in his tone. He didn’t look up and Tony snorted. Science Bros, now 9-5 crew? He got the hours right, just not the times. Bruce didn’t voice his opinion on the matter, knowing it was futile. Tony,  however, did.

 

“More like 7-3, but technicalities. I kinda like it, what do you think kid?” Peter looked up to Tony with wide confused eyes (like no one has ever asked him a question before) and nodded stiffly. Poor thing was as wound up as a yoyo, and Bruce feared he’d snap under all that coiling. Was this all too overwhelming for Peter? Had they assumed just because he was Spiderman,meant that he could just casually chill with the Avengers? What did Peter do to relax? Why doesn’t Bruce already know it, because they’ve been with him for a year and never bothered to know anything about this kid.

 

“Kid? That was today .” Steve said as he whipped around to see Parker and glanced worriedly back at Bucky who had stopped his game with Clint to look at Parker. The kid shrunk under both their gazes and Bruce wanted to slap them over the had for being so damn rude.

 

“I think I should-” Peter started, and Tony - god bless his soul - did what Bruce wanted to do since he grabbed the kid’s shoulder to reassure him in the lab earlier. Tony pushed him to all the freshly made food and sat him down right next to where Natasha was (Bruce knew that she got Tony’s message to keep the kid there so he could eat a decent meal for once in his life. Natasha seemed to agree as she gave the kid a once over). The older Russian gazed down at the younger in an indifferent stare as Peter shrunk back under her gaze and didn’t look her in the eye. She smiled back a little fondly before covering her face back in the emotionless mask.

 

“Nope. You feel that shoulder? Should not be that thin at any age, thank you very much.” Tony said and Peter blushed at that as he covered his shoulders and hunched in on himself. Steve narrowed his eyes at the kid’s bulky sweatshirt, trying to see the real figure underneath. Peter curled in on himself more.

 

“Okay, I get it. Stop that.” Peter mumbled as he looked to glare at Tony. Steve looked away, in a quick gesture of apology for being so rude. Peter waved the gesture away, not knowing what to do with it.

 

“While you are with us, you can guarantee at least one meal every five days.” Tony told him with an affirming nod, like it was set in stone now - and it was, Bruce would make sure of that. Peter rolled his eyes and put his elbows on the table and he chin in his hands as he gazed a head.

 

“You can put food in front of me, doesn’t mean I’ll always eat it.” he said in a light tone and Tony looked baffled. Bruce felt the same way. He was sure everyone did at Peter’s answer. What was it even supposed to mean?

 

“Why wouldn’t you?” Tony asked almost absconded. He probably was considering the offer, and Bruce was trying to work this out in his head too, as to why on earth Peter would refuse food ever . The kid needed it, and looked like he hadn’t had a decent one in forever. Peter just shrugged in response.

 

“I don’t need it all the time.” Peter said shooting down what Bruce had initially thought. That was probably the most ridiculous bull shit Bruce had ever heard. Bruce had saw himself Peter lifting a fucking building . All by himself. No supports or help. He had super strength, super speed and super senses. He was bound to have a super metabolism as well (and that didn’t work well with a starvation diet. Like at all ). Then Bruce thought back to the kids in India and Pakistan and all the other food deprived villages he went to. How the kids could barely keep a loaf of bread down. Maybe that’s what Peter was going through now. They’d just have to wait and see, because he couldn’t very well ask Peter that question. Maybe they should keep a bucket or waste basket on standby.

 

“Really? And when was the last time you ate?” Clint joined in, slipping into the conversation casually. Bruce had forgotten that he was a parent too. He’d surely know how to deal with this side of Peter.  Peter just blushed and looked away and that was answer enough. Bruce was honestly surprised about how Peter’s stomach had refrained from rumbling throughout this entire conversation and with the smell of food roaming in the air. He hadn’t had anything in hours as far as Bruce knows, and super metabolism or no, he must’ve still been hungry.

 

“Irrelevant.” he said sipping at his faded Star Wars water bottle (how had they not noticed he was such a nerd?). Bruce would admit, the vague answer was more than a little concerning. It was totally relevant because they needed to know how much food to shove down the kids throat.

 

“Bullshit, you’re eating pasta.” Clint called out - like the sensible person he was - and got up, game of cards long forgotten. Bucky still had eyes on Peter as the boy mumbled a ‘fine’ and went on with his life. Clint fixes him a plate, hesitating at the red sauce and asking if Peter was vegetarian to which the boy snorted but told him to not put it on anyway. Clint shrugged and slid the bowl of buttered noodles of to him.

 

Bruce sat down next to him to make sure he actually ate something and not pushed around his pasta. Peter picked up his fork but didn’t put anything on it. What came out of Peter’s mouth next was anything but suspected. “I’ve got a lead.” he whispered to Natasha. Almost inaudible and Bruce was sure he wasn’t meant to hear that. Sometimes his teammate forgot about his slightly enhanced senses due to the Hulk. She immediately stiffened and so did Bucky who had been listening in. No one else seemed to notice, Bruce kept his trap shut like a person who valued their own life.

 

“You-” she started off with a slightly choked tone. Her eyes widening barley and expression changing into one of slight shock. Bucky features did the same.

 

“Unconfirmed, but it’s more of a hunch at this point.” Peer whispered quickly. Not letting them get their hopes up on whatever they were talking about. Their features died down into a look of solemn thoughtfulness.

 

“What is it?” Natasha asked seriously and Peter sighed and put down his fork. Shifting in his seat and rubbing his stomach even though he hadn’t eaten anything. He wasn’t hungry, Bruce could tell as much. But he had to eat something. They had to get Peter on a regular diet.

 

“Again, a hunch. If you want...I can follow through on it...but no promises.” Peter said hesitantly and Bruce saw Natasha glance at Bucky before he nodded once to her, almost desperately. Natasha turned back to Peter and slid into the chair next to his as Steve dished out plates of spaghetti to the rest of the team.

 

“Yes.” she whispered to him. Peter nodded once before sipping on his water bottle again, not bringing the plate of warm food closer. Bruce saw his stomach contract slightly against his hoodie. Peter was sucking in to hold the rumbles, he was good at it. Peter sighed and picked up the fork to eat a small bite to satiate his probably conflicted stomach.

 

“Thankyou.” Bucky said as he passed Peter to sit next to Natasha, and Peter looked stunned for a minute, he knew Natasha and Bucky noticed. It was Like the boy didn’t know what to do or say. His brain short circuited. His stomach gave off a light rumble in his surprises state which made him seem to snap out of it to blush as Natasha smirked just a little and he brought another bite to his mouth. He finally seemed to breath once before mumbling a:

 

“Don’t thank me yet.” so softly that Bruce almost couldn’t even barely hear it. He took a bite of his food.

 

In the end, Peter didn’t even eat a quarter of the plate. He ate all of 10 small bites before not trying at all anymore, so Bruce got his answer about the shrunken stomach (and that coupled with a super metabolism did not sound very fun.) Peter looked a little remorseful at the wasted food, but no one pushed him to eat anymore, as he did look oddly better and admittedly full (the way he was lightly cradling his stomach and how he mouth would barley open to say two words and he did slightly wince when he got up. Bruce thought he was going to double over and he thinks Bucky thought the same as he looked ready to dive for the trash can at any moment. Poor kid). Bruce gave Peter another 15 minutes before speaking again, when Peter didn’t look like he was going to throw up immediately.

 

“Okay, let’s make that distributor!” Bruce said and clapped his hand a bit suddenly as Peter flinched back and Tony made an offended noise.

 

“Nuh uh Brucey Bear. You got him all morning. It’s my turn to test Parker.” Tony said and Peter hunched in a little as he got up from the stool to put his pasta in the sink. He did it so casually, like it was an instinct that none of them rally realized until Peter was already halfway to the elevator. Steve shot up his head.

 

“Thankyou.” Steve called out lightly and again Peter stiffened at the gratitude before nodding once and scurrying off behind Tony’s purposeful stride. Bruce looked to Steve’s baffled look and shrugged when he silently pleaded for answers to the weird reaction. Bruce couldn’t know why Peter reacted like he did towards a simple thank you.

 

Bruce had a feeling that it wasn’t just a ‘thank you’ to Peter.

 

OoOoO

 

Tony knew the kid was smart.

 

Just not this smart.

 

Okay, yeah, he said not to hold back, but once Parker got some grub in that tiny body he actually had a little more balls. Not like he had with Spiderman, but in the morning he was more reserved, now he was just quietly improving everything that he could to Tony’s plans. But he was also making it obvious he made those changes.

 

Tony had tossed him an AI chip for one of FRIDAY’s more secure databases and asked Parker to ‘beef it up’. He couldn’t get Ned on it, because of the classified information on it, but Peter already had access to this information, sent by Fury. Or he could just as easily acquire whatever information was in the database.

 

He expected Peter to fix the glitches that were bound to be in the vast server. Not tear down half the fire wall and rebuild it entirely. Well he didn’t tear it down, per say, when Tony asked what the fuck he was doing he said that he had some ‘weak points’ in his code that he could ‘beef up’ - he used the air quotes and everything. By the time an hour passed Peter had basically reprogrammed the entire security wireframe, and Tony had to admit that even he would have trouble getting past that. He’d sic Ned on this tomorrow when he came in for the internship to see just how well this worked. Kind of underhanded because Ned and Peter were supposedly best friends before a year ago,and now Tony was putting the two hooligans against each other. Even though they didn’t know it.

 

Tony hadn’t even noticed the clock struck 3:00, and neither had Peter who was currently working on a circuit board (that Ned had been working on but just couldn’t figure out) in intense concentration. When Peter did notice the time, however, he scrambled to get his backpack and shit together to rush out of there as fast as he could - not that Tony minded him staying in the first place. He was just about to say his goodbyes when he bumped into a chest. Tony looked up to find Harley and Peter staring at each other. Peter in tired indifference and slight shock and Harley in a menacing glare that he brought to kill.

 

This would either be really good or really bad.

 

“What is he doing in the lab ?” Harley, to his credit, didn’t yell. But his displeasure was making itself very well known. Displeasure that Peter thought enough to put on his mask of casualness, and it was such a difference from the stuttering mess he was not even ten minutes ago that Tony thinks he got whiplash.

 

“Working.” Tony said casually, trying to respell the tension even if he was beyond confused at Peter’s attitude 360. “On the classified stuff you can’t.” He saw Peter shrink back as his masked slipped some and he was pretty sure Harley was seeing red.

 

“Yeah but-” Harley made a frustrated noise. Clearly he was confused as to why the kid who broke his dad’s arm was now currently sitting in the lab helping him. “He just broke your arm and left . You and Fury tried calling him for two months and he blocked you! When you did get picked up, he was acting all high and shit and being weird and bipolar-“

 

“I’m gonna go.” Peter mumbled, not wanting to be caught in the crossfire of the family argument (Even if he was the subject of said argument). Clearly he didn’t want to be insulted on his previous behavior.

 

“Oh no, I have words for you.” Harley whirled angrily at the boy and Peter shrunk back and tried stepping away, but he didn’t leave the lab. Firmly standing to receive whatever Harley had to throw at him. Damn, he loved his kid, but he was going to ruin what was turning out to be a seemingly good day for Parker. Parker deserves at least this much.

 

“Doesn’t everybody.” Peter mumbled sarcastically. Harley stepped forward and Peter stepped to the side to avoid physical conflict, even if Parker was a stick he could still lay Harley out in barley a second. He was still Spider Man. “Look, I know why you’re mad,” Peter halfway held up his hand in a gesture of peace and reasoning. Tony recognized that voice. It was Peter’s ‘diffuser’ voice (Tony originally called it the ‘negotiating’ voice that he used as Spiderman. He only used it once or twice and when Tony had dubbed it, Fury had scoffed and told him he’d know if Parker was really negotiating. Fury said it was more of a diffuser than negotiation). “And you’ve got every right to be.” he paused and Tony raised a brow. Where was this going? He ended on a low note, but there sounded like there needed to be more.

 

“But…” Tony picked up, trying to get Parker to maybe finish his sentence.  Harley’s shoulders relaxed a bit as Parker sighed.

 

“That was it. I’ve really got nothing for you.” Peter shrugged as Tony barked out a laugh. Because of course that was all Parker had. Of course he wouldn’t try to make an excuse, he never did even if he had a valid one. Harley didn’t find it as funny as Tony did though.

 

“Not even an apology.” Harley seethed, not understanding the testimony of Peter Parker. He didn’t understand that while Peter didn’t apologize, he didn’t make an excuse for his actions. He figured the punishment was apology enough, and that he did have a valid reason for acting out. Peter would never share that with the class though, he never did. Peter knew the consequences couldn’t be deterred by excuses in the real world. In the real world it is what it is and you have cause and effects. There was no chance in changing that.

 

“I already said I was sorry.” Peter said back and huffed, crossing his arms. Another useless apology to him. He had a reason for doing what he did and bolting. He had a reason he stayed silent for 2 months. Peter always had a reason.

 

“Fine, but that doesn’t explain why you’re in the lab.” Harley said and Tony took this one. He wasn’t even sure if Peter knew why he was here. Peter’s face showed the confusion that confirmed that theory, and also light embarrassment.

 

“9-5 crew.” he said casually and Harley looked baffled at the vague answer. So did Peter before it seemed to click and he groaned, and Tony smirked. Now Peter looked a mix between embarrassed and exasperated. Mostly the latter though.

 

“It’s not even accurate.” he mumbled, a light blush creeping up his cheeks. It made him look positively adorable. And while the name was workshopping, it’s the best one they’ve got. So thank you Sam, for the fixer upper. Leave it to the geniuses to get the names right.

 

“I’m still confused.” Harley said amusedly and he crossed his arms trying to look like he was serious and this wasn’t a game. It only half worked and Tony cleared his throat.

 

“Oh yeah, Peter is our little lab assistant when you and the interns are off getting a crappy but mandatory education.” Tony responded and Harley made an ‘o’ with his mouth in understanding. Tony doesn’t think he understood at all, but he stopped asking questions because Harley understood that he couldn’t know everything that was going on for his own safety. Tony sent him a slightly apologetic look and Harley waved it off.

 

“And you hired...Spider-man?” Harley asked and pointed to the smaller, probably younger boy. Was Peter younger? He didn’t exactly say what his birthday was. Then again the kid never told them anything.

 

“No, I hired Peter Parker.” now Peter looked stunned. A little touched too. A smile crept on his lips and he ducked his head, action going unnoticed by Harley. Tony felt himself holding back a smile too.

 

“Aren’t they the same person.” Harley groaned. Peter still looked a little shocked. Tony tried to send silent support his way before he said the next thing.

 

“Oh, they are more different than you’ll know if you don’t make up.” Peter seemed to get caught out of his trance and blushed. Tony gave him a knowing look. “So,” Tony made an open gesture and turned away. The. Let it play out from there. He heard Peter clearing his throat of any emotion that might’ve been stuck there before he mumbled:

 

“You don’t have to.” He heard clothes rustle as Peter shifted and Harley sighed and shook his head.

 

“But I should.” he offered honestly, slight guilt and regret entering his tone.

 

He smiled to himself, because he felt Peter’s small smile too.

 

OoOoO

7 years earlier...

 

He wasn’t surprised when he found Peter’s arm cover in blood.

 

Being a soldier is hard. Harder than anyone can imagine. He had seen things and done things that no one should ever have to see or do. But he had expected a life like this since he was younger. He was stupid and abused. He already knew he was getting no where in life but drug dealing or the army. But being a child and experiencing the hopelessness. The fact that he could feel like this was the only thing a person like him could do that was actually worth while. To feel that feeling when he was so young? It was heart breaking. Peter hadn’t even begun puberty before he had his first kill. Hell he still hadn’t started.

 

The kid was smart and resilient and if he was in any other situation than he was now, he could probably change the world with that big brain if his. Peter was happy for the most part, tried to be optimistic about his situations, found the slightest joy in the littlest of things and Wade would kill everyone on the force before anyone took that away from him. Because they’ve already taken so much from the kid.

 

He should have known it was all a front. Peter was literally the definition of perfect espionage. He’d been trained to lie since before Wade had ever known him. Trained to swallow his feelings and move on.

 

But even the best soldiers have a breaking point.

 

Wade pushed open the bathroom door to take a Whiz. The bathrooms were shit, but he’d seen shittier. The squad set up camp and they were all in shared tents. He, as always(because he was SO) was with the kid (and he had no intention of changing that because A) the kid didn’t snore, he was actually kinda cute when he slept B) he didn’t have a high protein diet, or any diet he just ate whatever he came into contact with and C) he was fucking good company dammit. Sue him, he liked hanging out with this kid). He stopped in his tracks when he saw the kid on the floor, leaning against the wall razor in his hands and he looked up at Wade with big brown eyes and tears that never fell.

 

The kid had been gone for an hour before and Wade didn’t make it his business to know where the little tike was. He was nearly nine whole years old, Wade had known him for nearly two whole years. The kid liked to have some time to himself, he was a growing boy and despite this his body still seemed to throw up anything more than 800 calories. He was getting taller, just more of a stick as his baby fat grew up instead of out. How he’s more not screwed up, Wade will never know.

 

But turns out Pete was more screwed up than he thought, because the angry red lines above the wrist guard was really messed up, and Wade knew it was the razor in his other hand that did the damage. Wade wanted to take away the razor, but Wade knew what this was about, or at least partially so. He wouldn’t take away Peters control, he needs this; as unhealthy as it is, Wade’s seen worse. At least he’s not pointing a gun to his head.

 

“Gonna take a whiz, kid.” Wade said instead of everything else he was thinking. The kids awe stricken damp eyes but looked away as he did his business anyway. Peter only sniffled once as he washed his hands and Wade looked back with a raised brow as the kid shrunk back, rolling the razor around in his hand but never making another cut.

 

Interesting.

 

When he was done he sighed and slid in front of the child who looked guilty as fuck. Turning the blade in his small hands. Wade watched as blood dropped to the floor. Dripping in crimson pellets. A child’s blood. A child who has given too much for humanity. A child that wasn’t considered human enough to sport any sort of child abuse. A child wasn’t even considered animal enough to be worth a damn.

 

A child who should have done this a lot sooner. That is, if that child wasn’t Peter Parker.

 

It was a while of nothing. No movements, no talking, no cutting, no crying, no nothing. Just staring. It was comfortable and not as unsettling that he thought it would be. It never was with just Peter.

 

“I don’t know if I can stop.” Peter admitted in a quiet whisper and Wade looked at him for a bit. He didn’t know what to say. Peter stares at the floor with broken brown eyes. Tears completely gone now despite him never letting any fall. It was like it was just a void. Wade didn’t like that void.

 

“Then Don’t.” That sounded wrong. He shouldn’t be doing this. He should take Peter to a therapist or physiatrist or some one. Some one that wasn’t him. Some one that wouldn’t tell him to keep going. But Wade never said to keep going, he never said to stop. He just needed to say to do what he needed to do. Everyone had their own ways of coping and at least Peter didn’t want to die. “If it makes you feel better then keep doing it.” That sounded worse. But it was working because Peter looked up. “I’m just gonna sit here.” Better? Maybe. Peter looked up fully displaying his confused expression. Like a puppy. Wade shrugged “Just so you know you have other options.” Perfect. Good job Wilson. 10 out of 10 redemption.Peter smiled down at his sliced wrist.

 

“How long did it take you to come up with that?” He choked out jokingly. Using humor to drown out pain? Wade taught him well. This young one would go far. Or not, Wade certainly didn’t.

 

No no, focus. Focus on Peter.

 

“When’d you start?” Wade asked freely. It was open ended and the kid didn’t have to answer. He knew he didn’t have to answer Peters smile dropped and he shifted. Wade thought he screwed and Peter wouldn’t tell him, but then he opened his small mouth, not looking him in the eyes, but at least he was sharing.

 

“When I was in New York last winter.” Peter said softly. So Wade couldn’t have prevented it from stopping. “There was this guy, my ‘babysitter’, he got arrested for drug possession.” Drug possession? In Queens? No . Honestly Wade was more surprised that the cops even cared about that. He must’ve been one stupid moherfucker to actually get caught. Peter’s aunt did smack and she got possession of one full human child. Like legally. Tell him that wasn’t messed up. “He... I didn’t like how he touched me.” Peter said quieter, and it was so quiet Wade almost missed it. A bubble of dread came up, he hoped he didn’t know where this was going. But he knew exactly where this was going. “ I didn’t like where he touched me...it reminded me of... back then...” Peter said and paused, because he was gripping the razor so hard it was shaking in his tiny fist. It had happened more than once . It had happened before. Wade doesn’t have a time stamp but it was before. Oh god. “But this time it was different.” Wade breathed in and out trying to remain calm for Peter. But oh god the kid got... “this time I felt...gross.” Just breathe. In and out. Like he’s been doing his whole life. The kid got… “and then he... did something, I don’t know what, but it was...inside my body. It hurt, Wade. Real bad.” Wades dread turned to raging anger. He saw red.

 

The kid got fucking raped.

 

“Peter...” Wade said trying to keep the anger at bay, the kid was already scared, but he realized he didn’t have any words of comfort so he closed his mouth. Peter had more to say apparently not hearing Wade’s failed attempt at reassurance.

 

“I wanted... it out of my body... so I...I didn’t know how. I cut myself and I felt better. All the bad stuff left.... but then I did it again and more bad stuff came out. Every time bad stuff came out, I felt better... but...Aunt May found me once and she...got real sad. I didn’t see her for three days...I don’t...I don’t think she remembers anymore...” Peter rambled and Wade tried to calm his breathing. Peter couldn’t seem to stop once he had started and now his voice was choking as it had shifted from emotionless to slight sorrow in the time he was talking. Eyes still hollow. “I think what I’m doing is bad...” he whispered brokenly and Wade jumped to reassure him.

 

“No, Peter you- this is normal... well no it’s not, it’s very not normal. It makes sense though.” Wades turn to ramble, god he was not  the best person for him to be talking to. But if he told anyone else would they care? They hadn’t cared when they sent an infant into war, they hadn’t cared when they beat this child into the ground until he learned how to fight, they hadn’t cared when they sent him out to kill at the age of 7. The kid wasn’t even out of elementary school and he already had a kill count that rivaled half the squads. No one would care if the kid was dying much less molested. They would probably laugh and tease him about it. “did you tell anyone? About that guy?” Peter nodded his head and hunched his shoulders.“What’s his name?” Peter hesitates. Wade thinks he isn’t going to answer for a second.

 

“Skip Wescott.” Peter mumbled softly.

 

Well, Skippy boy might be getting a quick visit to the after life. Ticket is on Wade. All expenses paid under the name Wilson. One way trip though, so he’s gonna have to get back on his own.

 

“Am I being overdramatic?” Peter asked and Wade looked at him, he shifted. Peter choked a little and Wade’s eyes softened. “I lied before.” Wade looked at him closer and Peter sighed “MJ saw the scratch’s, she said whatever they were for, I was being overdramatic. But then I told her and she said not to tell anybody I did. She hugged me, but she didn’t say I was being overdramatic.” Peter said watery.

 

Ah yes, the infamous MJ. Along with Ned, they were Peters favorite topic to talk about with Wade. They often were present in his tales of freedom outside the shithole that was the army. Hellion children that were going to take over the world one day and he hadn’t even met them yet. Based on Peter, Wade could conclude that MJ was naturally a menace/scary independent woman(or she would be, and Wade respected that).

 

“Did MJ tell you to tell an adult.” Peter shook his head. Smart girl . She would defiantly rule part of the world one day, defiantly Canada.

 

“She said there was a lot of adult stuff and that it would draw attention to me and she said she didn’t want me to have that type of attention.” Peter said meekly and Wade was grateful to any of the gods out there watching for giving this child one Michelle Jones to guide him through the shitshow that was the outside world.

 

Smart girl. Wade was defiantly going to take her out for ice cream.

 

“Smart move. She’s right you don’t want that type of attention. Right now at least. When your older maybe you’ll want to do something about it, but for now don’t tell anyone else.” Peter nodded in understanding. Even if he really didn’t understand. But then again Peter was smart; he’d understand eventually. Peter put the razor in his pocket for now.

 

3 years later Peter would put the razor in Wade’s hands.

 

But that was later.





Chapter Text

Chapter 7- Jump out the Window

 

Present...

The lab wasn’t all that bad.

 

Dr.Banner, despite his previous hostility, seemed to almost enjoy his company (Peter now even dares to venture that he looked forward to it). Tony has made a point to put food into him every time, and never pushed him to eat more than three bites of whatever they were having (they served him smaller portions and he was grateful for that).

 

He was settling into the lab nicely, and even looking forward to it. He hasn’t looked forward to doing anything for a while, life kept throwing him around and he’d never know where he was to end up the next day so he stopped trying to expect all together. But he enjoyed that he had a set time to do things like this - things he actually enjoyed - he knew he had to be somewhere when he woke up and not two minutes before he had to go. He felt better knowing he had a bit of stability now.

 

It was nice thing, predictability. Didn’t suit him, but still nice to have some .

 

Then it became a bit more not predictable (as most things in his life, unfortunatly). He knew that it wouldn’t stay like this forever, especially when Steve Rogers came in, fresh from a shower, smelling like some sort of wildflower that could only be described as cheap deodorant. He probably training a bit before that. Peter was glad he showered before coming in. If he’s learned anything from the time he’s been at the tower, Steve Rogers is no rude ass bitch. Even if he may not have liked Peter, he still treated him properly.

 

Steve asked Bruce if he could do a little fix on his Shield, because although the Shield itself was made out of one material, it was decked out with tech behind the face where the holsters were. Bruce said that he couldn’t deal with the advanced mechanics that were in main weapons of the Avengers and Tony was at a press conference. Steve nodded in understanding, Tony was more of the tech guy and he wasn’t here so Steve would come back later. It was about to be left at that, but then Bruce opened his big mouth.

 

Steve was about to leave when Bruce looked over to where Peter was, working on his webshooters (they let him work on his own tech when he had nothing to do) tuning out the world with headphones. You know, having a good time and not  socializing.

 

“Wait!” Bruce said quickly, and more urgently than he probably meant to because it made Steve whirl around to nearly full - Peter would say about 87 percent - attention and Peter snapped his head up looking for danger discretely. “Peter can do it.” He said and Peter blinked.

 

...

 

...What?

 

“He’s good at mechanics, that’s one of the reasons Tony hired him.” Bruce informed Steve directly not looking at the boy himself. Peter almost dropped his screwdriver at the low key praise. Steve looked over at him skeptically. Peter tried to pretend that he hadn’t heard any of the conversation and quickly put down his head to pretend like he was in intense concentration with his web shooters. Defiantly not thinking about checking out the tech behind the Shield that basically represented the god given (at least that’s what they said in US history) country he was standing in.

 

“Are you sure?” Steve asked carefully. Peter hunched in on himself willing his mind not to give him hope. Bruce looked a little put out with being questioned, before nodding frantically.

 

He probably should have denied that he could, he really should have denied it. but he didn’t know if his body could in fact do pass this up. It was CaptainFuckingAmerica Shield. Every nerd in the galaxy would collectively kill him if he didn’t take this chance. So all he managed to say was “well I can take a look at it, but no promises.” Steve nodded and catiously came over to Peters work bench and put the Shield down on the table and Dr.Banner went back to his work, ignoring them entirly.

 

“It wouldn’t hurt...but be careful.” He said almost earning my and Peter peeked into the dip at the back. He took the screwdriver in his hand and was going to poke around it to get a better gist of the tech, but then he heard Steve inhale a sharp gasp and he looked up with a raised brow and Steve loosened. “Sorry. I guess I’m a bit nervous.” Nervous? About your vibration Shield in the hands of a teenager who is known to go out and preform acts of illegal vigilantism? Why would you need to be nervous?

 

“As one does.” Peter was all Peter said as he nodded understandingly and smiled up at Steve, he looked a bit shocked before he smiled a bit back. It was genuine and happy, he was more relaxed now and comfortable with Peter working on the Shield that saved his ass since the 1940s. Peter got back to work.

 

He ended up fixing it in about five minutes, 30 seconds it took to identify the problem and 4 minutes and 30 seconds to fix it. That was the roughly estimated time at least. He heard Steve breathe in awe at the  efficiency, saying that he was better than Tony in time under his breath - Peter did let himself be proud of that little thought. But time didn’t really matter if he screwed it up.

 

Apparently, he didn’t screw it up because two days later Clint threw a bow on his table, even though Tony was right there. Peter raised a brow at him as he didn’t set down the screw driver and glanced at Mr.Stark, who was subtly glancing over in interest (he did that a lot when Peter was around).

 

“Stark made it, you can catch any of his mistakes.” Clint said easily answering Peters unasked question. Peter had another eye brow raised for that, but nodded in understanding.

 

Excuse me bird brain, I don’t make mistakes.” Tony said indigently (he did but that was human error. Peter made mistakes too, it was part of life. It’s just how other people deal with the mistakes). “but since you’re rude, I’ll let you have a less experience maintenance member of our little crew.” He said snidely but Peter could tell that Tony wanted to see how Peter would fix this problem. He tested him sometimes in the lab and Peter rather enjoyed these tests knowing there would be no consequences if he failed or asked for help. He was actually expected to ask for help, which he very rarely needed - he liked working through a problem on his own. Peter smirked to himself and Clint went on to explain how the bow kept jamming and he needed to manually assemble it every time he needed it, which was fucking in concur that. Peter nodded and picked it up to examine the problem, and then it went into telling a story as Peter fixed it.

 

“And then the bow just snapped, so I ended up jumping on him and stabbing it into his eye.” Peter heard Clint say casually as he fixed the rotation cupler that was jammed by some useless wiring. Peter took it out and replaced the cupler.

 

“As one does.” He found himself saying automatically. He briefly recalled saying the same to Steve. Oh well, it’s not like Clint cared about the offhandedly reaction. He was listening just focusing more on the problem than meaningless chatter. He still processed the story, it was just something about a haywire brain, that was trained to pay attention to every detail.

 

“Naturally.” Clint responded back easily. A casual response to an off handed remark (Peter fully noted that most people’s first reaction to a broken weapon would be to stab someone’s brain out through the eye, but okay go off).

 

And so it went on in similar fashion.

 

The next week, Sam came to him on Monday for his guns, Tuesday was Thor’s staticy comm, Wednesday Wanda’s kindle took a fall, Thursday was when Natasha threw her widow bites at him, and Friday was when Clint came in again and Peter smirked at his dejected/ embarrassed look as he threw his bow back on the table.

 

He still got to work with Bruce and Tony, but the Avengers would often come in during the slow parts of the day with broken gear and tech items. It wasn’t even gear sometimes, sometimes it was a laptop or phone, sometimes it was a kitchen appliance (i e the time Thor brought down the toaster because he broke it trying to make a pop tart. It actually happened more than once).

 

And the weeks followed in a similar manner. He’d work on Stark or Banner’s assignments, work on his own tech and an Avenger would come down with a quick fix to something. Soon he became the person who fixed minor issues in the Avengers gear and they didn’t even bother with Tony for it. And they didn’t say anything as he made improvements, unless it was the occasional story that he half listened to. He actually enjoyed those more than he thought he would.

 

While he worked, the Avengers would tell him what was wrong with their gear or a story. Every time he always managed to say “as one does.” But never said anything before or after that. Which was weird because he was aware of how much he talked, but he was just so focused. It was nice that they never called him out on it, and it was nice to get to know them on a different level that wasn’t them creaming at him. It was like the lab was a safe place from all of that, and Peter is starting to think that’s what it’s supposed to be. That this is somehow an apology for being so shitty to him on missions (which they still were, but less so now. And it never affected his lab privileges and how people treated him there). He was glad to keep the two lives separate.

 

Peter Parker and Spiderman. Two different people with completely different lives. Just like it was supposed to be. This past year the two had mingled together because there was no place he could just be Peter Parker (he’d graduated from that place). There was no place that Spiderman was ever the same as he was, and probably never would be again.

 

It was nice that he had a distraction now.

 

Then, one day, that changed again (as it will forever do in the life of Peter Parker). Steve came in with a reluctant Bucky Barnes. He looked nervous, especially seeing him, but not surprised. Their meetings were always strained, even if they saw each other when he came up for lunch at least once a week. They never talked much and were on edge around each other. On missions they stayed away from each other, it was mutual isolation and ignorance of one another. They didn’t even have one decent real conversation in the time they have been reaquainted.

 

“Come on Buck. You don’t let Stark or Banner to do it, at least let him try.” Steve said gently to his friend, Peter wasn’t sure he was supposed to hear that. The Captain guided the Soldier to a chair across from Peter’s work station. Peter’s eyes followed Buckys form the whole way, never taking his eyes off him. The air around him thickened in a way it hadn’t had done in his whole time in the lab. It was almost stifling. He and Bucky stared at each other not saying anything for a while, not even moving. Peter with wary, slightly curious eyes; and Bucky with nervousness, and hidden anxiety in his own eyes.

 

“Hey Peter,” Steve said kindly, nervousness lacking his tone. Hesitancy was in his actions like he wasn’t really ready to ask the question he had on his mind or didn’t know how to word it. Peter waiter patiantly, as he always did, for him to speak. Never took his eyes off Bucky’s (was he allowed to call him that?) though. “I know this is a bit unorthodox, but could you look at his arm?” Steve asked cautiously. It took Peter a minute to respond before he wordlessly shrugged and walked over to Bucky, who stiffened as he took his screw driver and unlatched a panel. Peter himself was a bit stiff, but he’s had more experience with mechanical arms than widow bites before. Prosthetics was his secret thriving grounds. When he was a kid and had big naive, dreams he wanted to help in the medical part of science. He wasn’t good around people so he didn’t want to be a doctor, but he did want to develop vaccines and build prosthetics and find different ways to improve the medical community. Now all that knowledge was good for was when Cable often asked him to fix his. He had no trouble with that, so this should be fairly easy if it was just a quick tweak. It might not be, but he was sure he could figure it out. He got to work looking at the wiring and figuring it out as Steve continued to talk about the problem. His mind was working faster thanSteve could speak so he figured out all the problems Bucky might be having even without Steve telling him.

 

“He doesn’t want Banner or Stark to do it because of the men that experimented on him there. So I figured you would be a different face like a kid instead of an adult, so he wouldn’t be, you know, nervous. It’s been giving him pains though so-wow you really know what your doing huh?” Steve must’ve noticed the almost instinctual movements of Peters maitanence on the arm. He was carefully poking wires and gauging Buckys reaction, though he couldn’t get a good read on him. He didn’t need Steve telling him that it hurts, it must hurt if the nerve wirings are strung like that. Ouch . Bucky was looking at him with the same stare he had when the man came, and Peter was working with calm indifference. “See Bucky, he knows what he’s doing. Sorry Peter he’s nervous.” Steve apologized sheepishly, although Peter didn’t mind the stare. His mind was quiet as he filtered everything through, it was like working on Clint’s bow or Sam’s wing pack. His mind was at a weird state of peace (it’s never fully be at peace but this was as close as he could get).

 

“As he should be.” Peter muttered to no one screwdriver in his teeth. Steve stopped for a minute and Bucky stiffened even more. It was a vague answer and honestly quite worrying given the situation and the people in the room. It made sense why Steve looked two seconds to ripping him off the arm; but Peter didn’t know if his mind could take that - it would break his state of mind. He continued calmly working nonetheless. Like he wasn’t feeling a bubble of a panic attack rising. He ignored that and tried to focus.

 

“I’m sorry?” Steve asked, Peter couldn’t quite place the tone. Somewhere between nervous, confused, shocked and seriousness. Peter manually connect some wires not looking up to address the man directly, he had to take some wires apart and rearrange them. It was like a monkey connected these haphazardly what the fuck. How was this man not screaming in constant pain?

 

Hydra does that to you.

 

‘It be like that, I guess.’

 

“There are electrical charges going into his body from his arm.” Peter explained instead. Steve visibly relaxed but still asked questions.

 

“And what does that mean.” He said calmer and more sure. Peter finally spared him a quick glance to quirk up his eye brow before going back and took out a wire as Bucky winced. Peter only paused for a second before reconnecting and the Soldier went back to his previous state of reluctant acceptance.

 

“It means he has all sorts of pain all over his body. Shooting up through his arm. Is that how it feels?” Peter cocked his head to look at the older man with somewhat of a smug smile. Bucky looked a little shocked widening his eyes, then sort of sent a light glare Peters way with no heat at the kid outing him.

 

“B-Bucky is that true?” Steve asked incredulous, looking between the metal arm Bucky and Peter’s face. Bucky gave a sharp curt nod once before masking his face with indifference and Peter went back to work. Peter didn’t mention that Bucky relaxed a little more.

 

“If he wasn’t enhanced it would kill him.” Peter said wistfully and kept fixing what was wrong. Taking wires out and reconnecting them with the proper one as Steve sputtered begins him.

 

“Wha- Bucky!” He scolded already throwing himself into a rather amusing lecture about Bucky ‘needing to tell him these kinds of things god dammit’ and asking if Natasha knew about it (she probably did, because some of these wires were actually reconnected correctly before. Maybe Natasha or even Bucky -based on the placing - tried to alevate some of the pain). Bucky shrugged in response trying to be nonchelont about it. Peter bunked him lightly on the head as the wiring shifted slightly.

 

“Don’t move.” He muttered screwdriver between his teeth again. Bucky looked stunned for all of a second and Steve was way more than a second. Peter paid no mind to it. But he would later admit it was strange how this interaction was going. Nothing like he’d expect it to. It kind of reminded him of the good little moments when he was five and was reading to or next to Soldier or eating in silence with him. The memories that made his heart swell a little in hurt and appreciation. Did Soldier even remember those moments?

 

He ended up fixing the problem and rematched the panel, before he left to his actual side of the work station ,where he was working on drony’s upgrades, and slipping back into his own project smoothly. Drowning out the world best he could. Bucky stayed there for a minute before saying.

 

“благодарю вас” (thankyou) in a heavy Russian accent. The tone was soft. Peter didn’t question why he used Russian, they often used Russian in the compound. He liked Soldeir’s Russian like he remembers liking Mama’s and Mary’s. Everyone else at the Hydra base where he was kept used German and if they used Russian they had an ugly accent that mixed all the bad parts of the German accent and mocking parts of the Russian together.

 

“пожалуйста” (you’re welcome) Peter responded automatically, not thinking about it and not looking up. He didn’t even relieze that he spoke in Russian, for him it was a first language so it just came naturally that he’d speak in it. He cursed in it all the time under his breath and when he was younger and got anxious he’d slip up in the middle of his sentence that he started in English and ended in Russian (It made it hard for his friends to understand him but if he did that then they knew he was upset). English was his not first language (he didn’t remember what he learned after Russian).

 

He often muttered to himself in Russian and said Russian curses in battle. Although he doesn’t remember if he was ever with the Avengers when he cursed in Russian, so when he felt eyes on him and looked up to see a bewildered Steve And Bucky and then side glance Tony and Bruce who were also looking at him, he guessed he must never had done it before. Made sense, they didn’t think he knows Russian- they just knows he’s from Russia. They probably thought he was too young to remember the language, but he never forgot it for some reason evenif he rarely used it anymore. It not some big secret though, so he shrugged and went back his work. They were bound to hear him curse sooner or later.

 

Thinking about Russia had him thinking about HYDRA and what Bucky had said when they met/reunited. It was better when he didn’t think about what he said and just said it without noticing what language he was speaking in.

 

“You speak Russian?” Bucky was the last person he’d think to ask the question. Peter trained his eyes on the computer screen, masking indifference from his rapidly bubbling thoughts.

 

“I am Russian.” Peter responded dully. His offhandedly response elicited no further questions and Peter knows the conversation is over as everyone just accepts it as a fact and move on. He didn’t want to think about it.

 

Thinking about this brought up the concerns of what happened a few months ago. The feelings and confusion he had felt when Bucky had said he thought that the kid in the white room was his son. But Peter was the kid in the white room, and there is no way he is the son of the Black Widow and Winter Soldier. It’s just not possible

 

Was it?

 

Peter hates not knowing.

 

OoOoO

 

Harley could tell it had been on Peters mind for awhile.

 

They had been bonding more in the past weeks. When it wasn’t internship day, Peter would sometimes stay for an hour or two longer to work on extra things with him. Harley surprisingly enjoyed the company. Peter was quietly smart and humorously sarcastic. Once he and Harley made it out of that first little awkward rut in their relationship, it started to bloom into something Harley never really expected. They both got closer and to the point where they maybe even considered each other friends. That’s why when Peter started to not immediately leave at 3:00 on the dot, Harley was oddly happy.

 

Harley has gotten closer to Oeter and although he was impossible to really read most of the time, there were some quirks Harley picked up in the weeks working with him. Like when he was really nervous, anxious or uncomfortable, Peter would fidget and stutter. Which is kind of what he was lowkey doing now when he asked Harley to run a DNA test while Bruce and Tony went to an Avengers meeting.

 

“You sure?” Harley asked as he took his blood from the needle(Peter had been reluctant when he saw Harley with the needle and almost backed out there and then. But some sort of steely resolve won over and he sucked it up. But he did warn Harley that it was highly toxic and to be really careful. Harley has rolled his eyes but obliged because Peter was acting weird right now) and put it in the machine. Peter shifted and nodded once. He was unsure and Peter was never unsure. Not for a good reason.

 

“Yeah.” Peter almost sounded strangled when he said that. Harley looked worriedly back for a second before checking the progress bar as the computer analyses the DNA. Peter came over to the computer and looking over Harley’s shoulder.

 

“Its good you wanna try to find your parents and all, but are you really sure you wanna know? I mean you didn’t seem to care before and what if...” Harley trailed off. Peter raised a brow, sort of daring him to continue. He felt a bit of heat well up in his chest at the challenge. “Life has a tendency to kick you in the ass.” Harley huffed out and Peter seemed to wave it off and be content in ignoring the many many things that could go wrong, be messed up. And yeah, that was probably the reason why he was so hesitant to do this in the first place.Because there was so many things that could go wrong, but there was a look behind Peters eyes that meant that he just had to know. Harley got that, he really did. But Harley just didn’t want Peter to regret it.

 

If his parents weren’t alive it would give him closure to probably something he thought about on the odd night, but if they weren’t... that was a whole other can of worms.

 

One that had all sorts of shit inside. One that Peter would need support he didn’t nesassarily have. An unimaginable amount of emotional or physical support. Maybe even financial. Peter was getting closer to the Avengers, but it wasn’t to the point that he’d actually ask for help in any of those cases. He probably wouldn’t ask for help at all, even if he did trust them more. Peter wasn’t the type to ask for help.

 

“I know, but I have this hunch.” Peter said quietly, almost to himself. Harley noticed that he talked to himself a lot. “Can you match it up with... the Enhanced persons? Avengers DNA inclusive?” Harley looked baffled for a minute. The enhanced persons made sense, Peter himself was enhanced and he had mentioned that he wasn’t sure if that was the Spider bite’s fault entirely (but when asked to elaborate he just waved his hand and said it was nothing. They never really mentioned it again) although that may not be a product of his genes nesasarily, Harley included it. Harley had to delete a bunch of DNA junk from his strands just to get to the original genes. Parker was messed up way more then he thought, because he got less than a quarter of his original DNA in his system, the ones that were mostly looks and personality ticks were the only ones that stayed. Even those weren’t all human nesasarily.

 

What the fuck?

 

“You think you’re a product of the Avengers?” Harley asked with a laugh. Trying to ignore the fact that Peter was more... something else than human. Peter glared with a light blush.

 

“No, but I have... I just... just do it!” Peter said flustered and Harley typed it in with a laugh. This was the most advanced technology in DNA comparison there was. It had a database that contained every living being’s that walked this earth - from earth or not - DNA signature in it. Weather it be a strand of hair or a blood sample. It was never ever wrong. So Harley’s smile died when he saw the words that appeared on the screen.

 

Natasha Romonov And James Barnes- Confirm

 

He typed it in again. Not believing this. He felt Peter shrink back.

 

Natasha Romonov And James Barnes- Confirm

 

Peter felt dread sink in as Harley typed it in again. Harley glances at him and saw his face go ash white.

 

Natasha Romonov And James Barnes- Confirm

 

There was silence for what seemed like forever. Harley leaned back in his chair stunned and in shock. How… he wanted to look at Peter’s face to see his reaction but couldn’t bring himself to. Before Peter could fully gather his bearings and went to the computer and typed somethings in frantically. Harley couldn’t see his face but he shot up and lunges forward, he was not going to stop Peter from doing whatever he was doing. But he did want to know.

 

“Wh-What are you doing?!” Harley stuttered our still in shock as he stared at the screen. He knew what Peter was doing. Peter was deleting the results from the database. Erasing all evidence that he was even taking the test.

 

A part of Harley was grateful for that. Peter was going to move on from this, even if his parents were alive and he had to deal with knowing that.

 

But... Natasha has been looking for her son - for Peter - forever and now he was deleting the proof that he’d finally found him(self? This was weird and confusing. He was still asking How Peter Parker could be the son of the Winder Soldier and Black Widow. Harley found it ironic that Peter himself was Spiderman. What were the odds?). They had finally found him, or more like finally figured it out. The long missing son was right in front of them this whole damn time. Part of Harley felt stupid for not noticing sooner (he had noticed similarities between the three. Peter had Natasha’s nose, mouth and skin. He had Bucky’s hair and eye shape and face shape. He was agile like Natasha but strong like Bucky. How had he not noticed how they tended the same, relaxed the same?). Harley knew that the Avengers wouldn’t believe them , not without these results at least - and even then there was a chance thatthey would deny it. Peter knew this too and for some reason he didn’t stop Peter from deleting them.

 

Parker always knew what to do. Ned has said it before and in situations like these, Harley realized just how right he was. Peter never stopped, he kept going. When things went to shit he always had a plan for what to do.  It was just instinct to let him do the shit he needed to do, but for once Harley wasn’t so sure that Peter was right about this.

 

“You can’t tell anyone.” Peter whispered lowly, not looking up from the computer, making sure the evidence was fully deleted. He sounded so serious about it, and Peter didn’t sound serious often. Harley was still stunned from the discovery but that didn’t stop the light boil of anger and shock in his stomach when the pieces came together.

 

That was Peters plan? Pretend like this never happened? Run away from this situation and pretend not to know anything? Like they don’t know for sure that his biological parents are sitting upstairs, reading on the couch. As if his parents hadn’t broken every tooth and nail they had to find him, they were still breaking them to find him. Hadn’t Natasha and Bucky gone through enough?

 

That was a bitch move Parker.

 

“How? But you... how?” Harley stuttered, pointing to the computer then Parker and back. Peter just sighed and shook his head. Like he knew this was going to be the outcome somehow. He looked tired, like he was done with this kind of bullshit. It seemed Life couldn’t stop slapping him in the face with a fish. Especially with this messed up shit - cause this was a real wake up call. Because this was sooo messed up. But it fit Parker’s aesthetic, as cruel as it was. Having the shittiest life wasn’t easy. He’d win a contest for this BS.

 

“Don’t tell anyone Harley. I’m serious.” Peter looked him right in the eye. Dead serious. Peter was never serious unless it was important. But there was also a hint of pleading in his voice. A hopeful tone that begged Harley to understand why he was doing this. Harley was trying, he really was. But Peter was just too complicated a guy.

 

Peter knew his parents were trying to find him for ages. Peter fucking knew . He knew they’ve gone through hell and back just to get one small clue. They knew they’ve exhausted every data base, reasource and lead dry. Picked through rumors piece by piece. Followed whispers in the wind til their feet hurt. Some nights they didn’t even sleep because they were so worried. Sometimes they couldn’t eat with how much they needed to know he was okay. Peter knew that. And he wasn’t saying anything to help.

 

This wasn’t fair to them, to any of them.

 

“But... they’re trying to find you Peter.” Harley growled angerily, clenched fists at his sides. He didn’t understand how badly Natasha and Bucky needed to know he was at least okay . Alive. Anything! They’ve spent countless nights on this, while Peter was just jumping around somewhere not giving a shit about any of this. Then just had a weird ass hunch and solved the whole thing and now wasn’t going to tell anybody? What kind of messed up logic was that? Then he goes and prances off not giving a single shit about it as he moves on from one solved case to the next because that’s what he did.

 

Peter didn’t have time to give a shit about this.

 

“I know! I just... it’s not my place...” Peter finished lamely with a drop in his tone. Harley didn’t notice the selfconcious slump of Peters wired shoulders. He was still trying to understand why Peter wouldn’t want to tell anyone and was angry that he wouldn’t, but mostly confused. Peter was homeless, this meant he got a home. Got consistent meals. It would benefit him way more than it would benefit Natasha and Bucky. Harley knew Peter wasn’t so dumb as to not relieze that. He wouldn’t have to sleep in a warehouse or under a bridge anymore. He would be safe in a house with his family .

 

He’d finally have a proper family!

 

“Not your place? It most certainly is!” Harley snapped at him and Peter took a step back and shook his head. Like he was in denial. Why the fuck would he be in denial? This was great news! Why were they being angry and sad over something that was supposed to be happy ? It’s like Peter didn’t even want to be really okay for once in his goddamn life. What utter bullshit. “you can’t do this to them! They deserve closure at the very least! They’ve suffered to find you and-“

 

“I’m not ready to have a family!” Peter blurted louder then he probably meant to. He probably didn’t mean to say it out loud at all. He was never good at explaining himself, putting the right words in the right order. Harley shut up and looked at him as he fidgeted, trying to figure out what to say. Mostly because he had nothing to say to that, what was it even supposed to mean? “I.. That’s always been an F word to me. I don’t... i don’t know if I can have one, hell, I don’t know if I even want one... I messed up all the other times, and I... I know I’ll mess this one up too.” Peter looked at Harley a sad look in his eye, but Harley could tell he was holding back a dam of panic. Peter never let that show even if he was panicked. He really didn’t know what to do ( and why would he? He was a kid. They were both kids. They needed help and couldn’t get it. Peter had more experience in this field than Harley, and not even he knew what to do). It looked Like he wanted this but he knew he just couldn’t have it. He knew it was way too good to be true. “I can’t afford to mess this up Harley. This one isn’t like my other...ones. This one involves people who protect the world . No one can afford it.” Harley thinks he’s starting to get where Peter is coming from.

 

“Not even to try.” Harley asked weakly, losing most of hsi anger, fight leaving him quickly. Peter shook his head solemnly. He looked sad and desperate and lonely and it was the hardest most heartbreaking thing Harley has ever seen.

 

He really wants this.

 

“Not worth it.” Peter mumbled, his willingness to speak draining out of his small body. Harley is tired of Peter referring to himself as ‘it’. He is tired of people referring to him as something and not someone . He was a person goddammit. A real kid human being. And people have been referring to him as something less than human for so long that Peter actually believed it. No matter what shit has been done to him, he didn’t deserve to treat himself like he wasn’t as good as everyone else. Like he was lesser than human. Harley has seen the DNA! It was barely there but he was still human, and he was more human at some point in his life. He was a person who was worth more than anyone - including himself - gave him credit for. He was a person who deserved to be happy and have a family, maybe more so than most.

 

“That’s like saying you’re not worth it.” Harley said and didn’t know how to place his own tone. He was angry and sad and confused and frustrated. and , for the millionth time, Peter sighed again (it was amazing how many sighs Peter had to convey different meanings). Like Harley wouldn’t understand. Like Harley was a child . Peter shouldn’t be able to do that; to know the things he did. Not at this age. Not when he was younger than Harley and even Harley didn’t know.

 

Not now. Not ever .

 

“I’m not.” Peter said firmly, like it was a set in stone fact. It wasn’t true. Peter Parker was worth everything . He helped people, took their shit, then continued to help them until they were better. Then he fucked out of their lives before they could even say thank you (if they even tried to say that) because that isn’t why he did it. He did it because he’s a good person . A good person who never asked anything of the world. A good person who should be bad, had the most valid reasons for being evil, but wasn’t. Thank god he wasn’t, or else he’d probably dominate the world, Harley was sure of it (he wasn’t gonna be a stupid ass villain. He would be an evil genius who actually deserve that title).

 

If anyone deserves to be happy, it was Peter motherfucking Parker.

 

Or he guessed his real name was Pytor Romanov. It sounded weird but that’s his name.

 

“You deserve a family.”Harley said just as firmly. Just as sure. Parker looked shocked for only a moment and Harley felt satisfied then. They looked each other in the eyes in a battle of wills. He knew Parker would have more endurance, because his entire life had been a battle of wills. Of him against the world, with no one in his corner. He knew Parker would win, but he needed to know he was worth putting effort into. This would plant a seed in Parker’s messed up thick head, even if he didn’t win, he’d know he was worth putting effort into.

 

He deserved to have someone finally there.

 

“No I don’t.” Peter said, he wasn’t just answering the external question. Somehow Harley knew he was answering the ones that were never asked, like he always did. Harley felt anger flare up in him. It wasn’t directed at Peter though; it was directed at the world for treating Peter like this. At the Avengers for not doing anything to help him. At Nat and Bucky for not noticing. At himself for not knowing what to do. At everyone who made Peter believe he wasn’t worth something. At Peter for believing that shit and being too stubborn to say anything or getting any help (cause he thought he didn’t deserve it).

 

He was so fucking angry .

 

“Yes you-“ Harley started, voice already seething. Peter cut him off, because he seemed mad too. But he didn’t show it like Harley. Never like a normal person would show it. Because he trained himself to keep his powers and emotions in check. No one gave him credit for his efforts, they just thought he was a irrational time bomb of a teenager. He kept putting in the effort though, because he knew people would get hurt if he didn’t.

 

“No I don’t Harley! I messed up and I can’t undo it! I can’t bring people back from the dead!” Peter yelled and that’s when it sank in. Really,truly sank in. Peter has had death around him his whole life. Has been treated like shit and watched everyone he loved - weather they loved him back or not - kill themselves or die in front of him for no reason whatsoever. As if he wasn’t worth sticking around for. As if he wasn’t enough . He closed off the world, shut his friends out before they died too, and never got close to anyone else. This hero thing that they-he, the Avengers-had going on, was as good as a suicide sentence.

 

For him. For Natasha. For Bucky.

 

And he couldn’t afford to lose them. Not again.

 

“They won’t die.” Harley lies calmly. He couldn’t control death, neither could Peter. No one could. They didn’t know when or where they were gonna die, but doing what Peter does, his lifespan was going to be considerably shorter. Peter didn’t believe the shit Harley was speaking for a second.

 

“You don’t know that.” He whispered just as calmly. Telling him that no people die all the time. Peter knew, better than most. There was silence for a long time between them. “Just don’t tell anyone. I’ll tell them, eventually. It’s not gonna stay a secret forever, nothing can. But It’s not fair if it’s someone else.” Peter said to him. Harley felt a pit in his stomach.

 

He has never regretted agreeing to anything more in his life.

 

OoOoO

 

Peter thought of himself as a pretty observant person.

 

He noticed the finer details, the little things; he chased the whispers in the wind and whatnot. He could gather things pretty easily, and read people based on their ticks. Understand one’s personality based on slight quirks. For example, Tony played with his smartphone to avoid controversial topics or things that could lead to a fight. It might look like he didn’t care, but the way his eyes flitted up sometimes when someone was saying something that would sting another person’s pride said otherwise.

 

He was a good nitpicker (and that sounded gross, but he was good at picking apart the smallest of details so he could analyze each one). Natasha had slight anxiety based on the way she narrowed her eyes to hide that she was analyzing a room (much like he did, ironic no?). Or how Steve dissociated sometimes when he was standing ‘full attention’ in front of an official. Or even how Thor smiled way too much after fights to cover up his obvious grief at the things they lost in battle. Everyone was fighting something on the Avengers, and that wasn’t something physical. It was something inside them, weather it be memories or loss or a actual disorder/condition. Everyone had their personal battles.

 

Even though Peter got that they had to fight those battles themselves for the most part, it didn’t mean he couldn’t help. They helped each other and Peter did small things, nearly unnoticeable. Like when he sat near Bruce after a vicious Hulking out that ended in more damage than helping being done (he never got close enough to be considered abnormal, but close enough to show he wasn’t afraid and that their relationship hadn’t changed). Or how he acted a bit more like a kid when Clint was doing the thing he did when he missed his (like whip out a box of Hi-C or sometimes show up with a popsicle). Small things that they didn’t notice helped them but maybe it did.

 

Even if the Avengers didn’t give a shit about him (which he was hoping to be proven wrong in the near future) he still, for some unfathomable reason, gave a shit about them. It was a Peter Parker thing; help people in need yadda yadda. He couldn’t just leave people hanging when he knew how he could help; weather he could or not was a different story.

 

So that’s how he found himself watching Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch. He couldn’t figure her out for the life of him. He knows she went to prison, and that came with unreasonable trauma, especially if one was wrongfully convicted. She went to a high security institute, which was just fancy words for saying she was shock collared and chipped like a fucking dog. Peter unconsciously rubbed his neck at that thought. He hated shock collars (shock collars were scratchy and always left gross red marks all over his neck).

 

“Straining your neck too much Pete?” Mr.Stark asked and he snapped his head over to the older man and blink hard once, hand never dropping as he cocked his head in confusion. “I get the same way after a long session.” he told him casually and Peter slowly shook his head.

 

“Nope, just…” Peter trailed off as his eyes got a little dull, Mr.Stark was looking at a Stark pad but clearly listening, as when Peter didn’t finish his sentence.

 

“You gonna finish that sentence Parker?” Sam picked up for the genius and Peter whipped his head over to the other man and blinked at him. “You’re awfully spacy today.” Sam scoffed and Peter shifted in his seat.

 

“Mission’s over, I can be spacy…” Peter trailed off again, eyes drifting over to the door. Sam followed his sight line and smirked.

 

“Never pegged you as a ‘door’ kind of person. I thought you always entered the room in an unconventional way.” Sam quipped and Peter rolled his eyes, this time not taking his eyes off the door. He narrowed his eyes at the door he’d seen Wanda go out of twenty minutes ago. Today was a hard mission on everyone. It was different from other Avengers missions but not completely out of place. Just to liberate some Hydra captives, they were all civilian. Usually that was SHIELD’s job, but the Avengers took things like that when they had the time.

 

She was upset when she had left the debriefing, he could tell that much. Very very upset. Tears welling up in her eyes that she didn’t let anyone see. But he knew that tightness and he knew that reddish hue pre-cry.

 

She wore long sleeves.

 

‘That doesn’t mean anything.’

 

Then why do you wear long sleeves in the middle of summer.

 

...

 

He cursed softly, at himself and the voice that pointed that out, as he got up from the couch with the flimsy excuse to go to the bathroom. He could be totally wrong, conclusions that just jumped at him with little to no evidence often backfired...for literally anyone else. Peter always followed his instincts, that always lead him straight into the fire, but hey sometimes you gotta get burned…. That’s not how the saying goes, is it? Whatever.

 

When he was in the hall he listened for the tell tale signs of metal against flesh. His heightened senses zeroed in on a faint, so faint that it shouldn’t be heard, and he got it half way to Wanda’s room before he heard it in a random bathroom. She couldn’t even wait to get to her room?

 

That bad? Poor girl.

 

The door was shut haphazardly. It was locked. But Tony’s entire tower was built off of one omnipresent AI in the building who could unlock any door. He had never asked FRIDAY something like this, he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to ask. For all he knew, Wanda could be in there and doing completely normal things. But then that voice in his mind was telling him that he was right . How should he go about this? God, he was no good at emotions.

 

Neither was Wade. Help her.

 

“FRIDAY...” he said the AI didn’t answer. He knew she heard her though, he breathed in and out and then scratched softly at the door as he whispered. “please let me in.”

 

“Ms.Maximoff has previously requested me not to under these circumstances.” FRIDAY responded, if AIs could sound remorseful, he was guessing FRIDAY was that right now. Peter sighed and tapped a finger on the door.

 

Has no one noticed before? Peter kicked himself for not noticing sooner. Wanda was probably the only nice Avenger to him, even though they didn’t talk much, she never yelled at him not even a glare had come rom her direction. (...was that the standard now...wow...that’s just sad.) He had to help her. He couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Not when he knew how to help (or kinda knew). He leaned his forehead on the door, hands on the material, metal or some sort of glass. Techout way more than a door should be, but that was Tony Stark for you.

 

“This isn’t- this isn’t healthy FRIDAY. She can hurt herself. Please, I know how to help.” He lied softly. FRIDAY didn’t respond but the door made a soft almost inaudible click as it unlocked. He smiled just a little as his hand made its way to the handle. “thank you” he whispered and silently infiltrated the bathroom. He didn’t want to startle her, but that’s probably what he did.

 

He looked at the scarlet Avenger on the floor bleeding into a cloth. The wounds were consistent across her arms and almost too deep, but not quite that deep to be of concern if she stopped soon. Just enough to stifle off worry. Peter quietly let out a breath of relief and sat opposite of her, back against the sink as he tilted his head up and closed his eyes.

 

No taking away the blade. No talking first. No convincing her to stop. He’d wait for her to make the first move. No questions. No tattling. No threats. This was Wanda’s choice and he was here to support her. No matter what. Make her feel safe . Make her feel supported .

 

Just like Wade had.

 

Peter opened his eyes and tilted his chin down to meet her gaze. Wanda was staring at him. Not yelling like he thought she would. She didn’t move for the blade. She looked almost defensive. She looked scared and ready to bolt. FRIDAY hadn’t locked the door, so she could leave and he would sit here until she was gone.

 

He would just sit there until she did something.

 

Why? ” she choked out and Peter just smiled, probably inappropriate given the situation. He wasn’t sure what the question was for, but he answered the one that was most likly what she was asking.

 

“Figured you’d want company.” Peter answered, he knew she didn’t want it. Or at least she didn’t know she wanted it yet. She never had thought about this, neither had Peter. This kind of thing just happens and Wanda has to know she’s not alone. That she has options. Like Peter did.

 

“You were wrong.” She spat out hostile tone taking her voice, it was the first time she was remotely mean to Peter. Peter sighed as she back tracked, because she didn’t mean it to come out that way. She probably wanted to be left alone and that was the only thing Peter wouldn’t do. If he did leave, he’d sit outside the bathroom door in support.  “I’m sorry.” she apologized and really meant it. Not a lot of people mean that - no to Peter.

 

“It’s fine.” Peter said easily. It wasn’t her fault. She was probably feeling a million and one different things at the same time, and that was scary as fuck - Peter knows, he’s been through it, on multiple occasions. It was hard to keep your emotions in check all the time. Sometimes you need to just let it out, but that was dangerous for mutants. Sometimes when mutants let go of their emotions, people get hurt. It wasn’t worth the risk. Oh well, at least she apologized. No one ever did that anymore. He wasn’t worth the apology.

 

“No” Wanda shook her head. She looked at him with sad eyes, but a firm belief behind what she was going to say “It’s not. No one deserves to be spoken to like that.” She said sadly and Peters eyes softened. This girl had watched as he had been treated 10 times worse by her own teammates. It was never her place to step in, because she didn’t know Peter and all. She never had a bad thing to her name, against him at least. He understood her reasons for doing so and respected her more for that.

 

“It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean it.” Peter saw Wanda was still unconvinced so he continued “Is that why you do it?” He gestured to the blades and she sighed. Guilt could be a motivator, but Peter would feel seriously guilty if she did it because of that. Wanda couldn’t control how people treated others. Or maybe she could, he didn’t know the full extent of her powers.

 

“No” she spoke softly looking down at the blade, letting disappointment take over her features. Peter didn’t assure that he wasn’t going to try to get her to stop. Because he was trying to, but his method was more than a little unorthodox. It wasn’t out right saying stop and it definitely wasn’t saying to keep going. He wanted to support her, not encourage. Those were two different things.

 

“Sorry.” He mumbled and breathed in and out softly once. Here he went.  “I’ve never been on this end of the room before.” Peter said and Wanda’s head whipped to him. Question filling her eyes, and despite being able to read his mind and unlocking just exactly what transpired during his past episodes, she didn’t. It was a sign of respect, but more so trust. Trust that spilled your darkest secrets and hidden parts of you that had been buried a long time ago. “My SO found me. He knew most of the shit I went through back then, so my reason was pretty obvious to him.” He explained, trying not to choke on his own emotions. But not in memory of the episodes, in memory of what caused the episodes. He felt sick just thinking about it.

 

“SO? You were in the army?” Wanda asked, eyes widening slightly. Her bloody hand coming to hover over her mouth in horror and shock. Peter strained a tight smile for her, and didn’t look at her, but at the tile near her leg, dazed look taking over his eyes.

 

“Eh, special forces but yeah. I was seven when I started. I was treated like shit there too... They made me kill, I just wanted to stop fighting.”Peter sighed. There was silence. A silence of respect, understanding and mourning. A silence that Peter knew Wanda was taking to unlock all of the boxes in her mind of the things she knew about Peter Parker. Applying the informations to the interactions she had witnessed with the boy. Peter peeked up at Wanda to see a look of horrific enlightenment slowly blooming on her face.

 

“I...I was arrested...” she said slowly, Peter didn’t dare interrupt her “they... they tortured me in the prison... but I was a woman so...” she left the sentence open ended. Peter could easily put together the pieces. He’s seen enough of the look Wanda had on her face from children far younger and older than her. The look of self-disgust and misplaced shame of a victim of molestation. Peter saw red for just a second before he breathed to calm himself and gain back his composer. He had to focus on Wanda.

 

Ross was the one who arrested her.

 

‘Yeah I fucking know. That sick son of a bitch.’

 

You were right for once.

 

“You haven’t told anyone.” He found himself repeating what Wade had said all those years ago, and Wanda shook her head just as he had. “Okay... okay... I won’t tell. This is your choice, but Wanda that also wasn’t your fault.” He said the things that Wade didn’t. The things that Wade couldn’t because Wade didn’t understand . Sure he knew what happened and that it was horrible, but he could never truly understand how Peter had felt. Wanda looked like she didn’t believe him. Like he had no right to say that, because she thought he didn’t understand just like how Wade didn’t understand. And he didn’t, because he wasn’t a girl and this kind of stuff was a million times worse for them, but he did understand her a bit better than the other Avengers would. “No I’m serious... you feel disgusting and tainted and dirty, but you’re not.” he rambled, not sure what to say. He just said what he wanted to be said to him all those years ago. Maybe if they were said, he would’ve gotten better a lot quicker.

 

“How would you know?” She said harshly, and this time she did mean it. Only out of defense, so Peter didn’t count it. He wouldn’t hold any of this against her, because he wasn’t a sicko. He couldn’t help but think of Skip when he got back from the force. When Wade wasn’t there to protect him in the camp. He’d never tell Wade about the camp or Cotnet, because he knew that he’d kill them and he couldn’t have anyone die for him. And Cotnet was already dead ( You killed him ). He didn’t understand anything more than what was done was bad back then. But Wanda...

 

Wanda was different. They weren’t back at the camp and she needed to know that he really did understand. She needed to trust him and that wasn’t going to happen if he didn’t trust her first. He has so many reservations and the voices were screaming at him to stop, but this was the only way to help her. Peter had to help. Wanda needed this, needed someone to talk to. He knew because it was hell not talking about it. Not seeking out help and having to stew in your own misery wasn’t fun or healthy. From personal experience, it made for a more crushing reality if you pretended to be okay for so long that you actually believe it.

 

He crawled over and took her stiff bloody hand and held in up to his temple. An offering, she could take it and let him help or not take it and make him look stupid for trusting someone like this. She just better make up her mind before the voices talked him out of it and he scrambled away from her and had a panic attack. They were already screaming for him to stop.

 

She was hesitant and looked at him one more time for real permission. Something no one has ever asked him much. He nodded and her eyes and fingers flowed red for a moment. Flashes of Skip, the camp, dirty sheets, the sex houses that he’d stopped, child trafficking, everything remotely related to the subject in his head. It hurt, to think about it all at once and so fast. A lot. The flashes were lasting hours instead of seconds to him. It made him itch for the small knife he kept in his bag (he was Russian, of course he had at least 5 knives on him at all times. What no, Spider man did not hinder his accumulation and/or possession of knives. Deal with it). He usually suppressed it, covered it up with jokes. He distracted himself from thinking about it. It was a bad coping method  that worked for him.

 

Until it didn’t.

 

When they opened their eyes at the same time to look into each others tear streaked face. Wanda hugged him and sobbed, he moved slowly holding her back. Letting his tears go down his cheeks, because when was the last time he cried? When was the last time he was held?. It was better this way. There was no way Peter could remotely start to describe what had happened to him to anyone verbally. Not without him panicking or having a breakdown, or both.

 

But Wanda could understand and he didn’t need to say a word. He kind of liked that. Even if he did have to remember, he liked that he had someone who understood him finally.

 

He shouldn’t have seen those things. Experienced those things. Not at this age. Not at this point in his life. Not at any point in his life. He hated the world sometimes. This disgusting, unjust world treated him like shit every second he was in it. He ignored that, but sometimes he really couldn’t. Sometimes it just felt so lonely with no one there to comfort or help or support him.

 

“I am so sorry.” He wasn’t sure who had said it. But he knew Wanda didn’t deserve to see that. But he didn’t know any other way for her to understand. She had already been through too much. But at least now she knew she wasn’t alone.

 

“He’s in jail. Not because of me though.” He whispered, bleary eyes looking at the contorted wall behind her and Wanda clutched him tighter.

 

“I don’t know what to do.” She cried softly, he relaxed into her grip more and let her use him to ground herself. “You’re the only one...” she breathed and  he nodded in her shoulder.

 

“Do you want to give him justice?” He asked softly. He wasn’t sure how he would do it, but the Ross investigation just got really personal. She just nodded in response.

 

“I’m not ready though.” She said quietly. He understood that. He would never in a million and three life times, ever make someone confess to that kind of bullshit. That, he believed heavily, was a decision all their own.

 

“It’s okay. You don’t have to be.” Peter assured her and they sat in a comfortable silence. Time slowed for them both as they did so. It wasn’t stifling, but they were there for each other. Not letting the other go. As if they were each other’s life line.

 

“I can’t tell anyone..” she released him and he allowed it as she leaned back and looked down ashamed. She kept a hand clutched on his sleeve though, grounding her. It grounded him too, if he was being honest.

 

“I know, neither can I.” He smiled watery at her. He looked for a distraction and then saw the razor that clattered to the ground earlier. He gestured to it, bringing her attention to it as she looked even more ashamed. “Hey, if you ever feel like-”

 

“You are going to ask me to stop.” She cut him off dejectedly. He shook his head gently, probably surprising her. He smiled at her and spoke again.

 

“That would be hypocritical. No, just call me..if you want. It helps when you aren’t alone. I won’t ever stop you, but it’s...nice to have options available.” He smiled and her stunned look only last moments before she smiled at him too. Genuine and caring. They were both sad and full of pain but at least now they had each other.

 

And for now, that was enough.

 

OoOoO

 

Life is really funny.

 

Well not much funny as it is ironic.

 

Sometimes Harley thinks life likes messing with his head because of where he ended up and how he begun. It set his head on spin because of how fast it moved. He began in a shack in Tennessee being abandoned by his family, and he ended up in the nicest place in New York and being taken in by Tony Stark. What’s even funnier is that the rest of the Avengers seemed to taken on the roles of aunt and uncles in his life. He knows they all care for him and it’s really strange.

 

If life liked messing with him, it loved to fuck up Peter Parker’s life in every way possible. He considered himself a person who’s gone through a lot. But compared to Peter, it was like he got a paper cut.

 

It was funny. He’d never take it for granted, especially after meeting Peter Parker. He was lucky, he knew most people weren’t. Peter seemed to have a knack for being unlucky. It made him feel guilty sometimes. He had people who care about him but there were kids who had no one. Good kids like Peter who didn’t have someone to go back to. Kids who’ve gone through trauma and couldn’t get help. Kids who have never been loved and people shun them. Kids who have been tortured and no body cares. Kids who just wanted love and were so desperate that they knowing let people use them.

 

He especially thought it was funny, messed up, and totally confusing, that the person who has been trying to find their son doesn’t know that he was right infront of him for a whole year and then some. What’s even more messed up is that she didn’t seem to care all that much about him. What was even more messed up was that the son knew that she is his mom and wouldn’t tell her. What was even more messed up then that shit, was that the sons reason for not telling his mom that she had given birth to him, was that he has never had a solid, good parental figure in his life and has been treated like shit by virtually every person that has crossed his path at least once.

 

Actually that was ironic, not funny.

 

Peter Parker life was the definition of Irony, wasn’t he? That would be as good of a definition as he could ever get. It was the perfect example for it. His picture was probably in the dictionary right next to the word.

 

Harley felt bad. Peter deserves to be treated like a normal kid with a good family - it didn’t have to be normal to be good , Harley had learned that in his time with the Avengers. He felt guilty that he didn’t have to go through as much hardship as other people just because Iron Man broke into his shack when he was like 8 or 9 (what was Peter doing when he was that age? Getting beat up? Selling drugs? Doing things normal kids shouldn’t do?). Especially when he, Harley Keener, is curled against Black Widow mindlessly watching a random movie that they weren’t paying attention to. He wouldn’t have minded before today, if he didn’t know what he knew now.

 

It had been three days since Peter had fucked off from the lab, not even answering his DMs on his rather pathetic Instagram account that he never posted on any more (he didn’t like or comment pictures either, his internet presence was basically non existent). But it made sense. It was a lot to process that you’ve been fighting aliens with your mother for awhile year and not notice that she was your mother. It was a lot to process that you even had a fucking mother that cared about you after thinking that she was probably dead or abandoned you and you yourself didn’t go and seek her out.

 

“What’s wrong?” She asked gently. Too gently. Always with a kind loving smile to him. To him she wasn’t hard. To him she wasn’t cold. She was warm. He felt I’ve sunk to the bottom of his stomach. She treated him like a son when she treated her son -that she didn’t know about - like he was just another soldier. But Peter had to be treated like a soldier. It still didn’t stop Harley from resenting the memories of her giving Peter a cold shoulder or hard glare when he fucked up just a little. He remembered how she had yelled at Peter for dozing off before a mission a few times, even though he was bone tired. He also remembered how Peter was fighting the lizard in the sewers the day before with no breaks, food, or sleep. There were too many things he wanted to say.

 

I know who your long lost son is.

 

You’ve been treating him like crap.

 

He’s alive.

 

“Just a lot of things on my mind.” Harley replies instead. He knew Natasha knew something more was up. She could read him like a children’s book in her native language. He was never good at lying and she was known to be better than even the best lie detector. He hoped she’d drop it. She probably wouldn’t.

 

“Hmm Okay.” Natasha said looking him in the eye. He slumped. Of course He wasn’t so lucky. Peter was trusting him to keep this secret and he couldn’t even get through a whole week. He didn’t know Peter too well, but he knew Peter didn’t trust anyone unless he had to. Especially with things like these.“ spill” she said casually and Harley sighed. He did want to tell her, he really did. But this wasn’t just her decision, it was Peters too. And Bucky’s. It wasn’t anyone of their deductions alone. So she had the right to know but...

 

“Why do you treat Peter like crap?” Harley asked quietly, slouching a little and Natasha stiffened. Her hand that were moving up and down his arm to calm him went slack. “I mean, you always yell at him for little things that make him... you know, him .” Harley presses on and looked at her face. It was mostly indifferent as usual, but he could tell she was somewhat distraught. He couldn’t her nearly as well as she could him, but after a year of living together, he could pick up a few things. She let her guard down around him. The tower was safe to let her guard down somewhat in.

 

“We don’t treat him like crap. He’s a kid and doesn’t understand why he needs to follow orders. We can’t let him get away with anything.” Natasha explained gently. She looked a bit remorseful “even the small things” she whispered even quieter. Almost to herself. He got that. Avenger missions were dangerous and Peter could get hurt if he didn’t listen. But it seemed he got hurt even if he did listen. It didn’t seem to matter to him, he had this weird intolerance to pain.

 

“But I’m a kid too. And I don’t follow rules sometimes, no one yells at me.” Harley pointed out. Natasha furrowed her brows, light amusement cover her features “Hell, I’m even older than him.” Natasha raises a brow. Like she’s questioning something he said, like it was amusing to her.

 

“Do you want us to yell at you?” Natasha asked in good nature. Harley paled a little anyway Harley shook his head vigorously. No way. He didn’t want to be yelled at and then left back on the street like Peter was. Even though he knew logically that they wouldn’t kick him out. At least Parker could just get up and leave, because he didn’t need to listen to the Avengers legally. But Tony Stark was his foster dad, so like he had to sit through an entire lecture. There was no jumping out of a window for him to escape. Natasha smiles at him and goes on to explain. “It’s different with him. He’s-“

 

“A mutant?” Harley interrupted in a whisper, he hoped Natasha would deny it. He hoped to god she wouldn’t treat Peter like this because he had different DNA. He hoped she would say it wasn’t true that they had to keep in check just because of that- because he was dangerous; considered a threat-but Natasha nodded her head sadly.

 

“It’s dangerous, especially when he doesn’t want to listen. If he gets mad or sad, he can hurt people, kill people.” She explained as calmly as she could. Harley sunk into the couch. He didn’t know Peter had to control his that much. He was good at keeping a lid on his powers, but sometimes he let his emotions slip. Sometimes he was afraid and sometimes he was happy or sad and let it show. He’d never been dangerous then. Was it really that bad?

 

Then Harley thought about Tony’s broken arm. How Peter had snapped in half without a second thought. He heard the story of what happened. How Bucky just strangled him as soon as he walked in. How he had to be dragged out. How he wasn’t answering Tony or Fury’s endless questions. How he had run out.

 

Peter wasn’t mad at Tony. He was scared .

 

Harley felt like a complete jerk now. Because he essentially put down a kid who was terrified out of his mind. He blew the situation out of the water. Accused him of being a bad person and turned the whole of New York against him when he was probably feeling guilty. He hated how he remembered being a little satisfied when the news reel showed people throwing food and objects as Spiderman swung by.

 

“But he’s never gotten mad at anyone before.” Harley tried to defend him. Natasha sighed, like she didn’t know why this was in his mind. Like it was a useless thought, but it wasn’t. Peter wasn’t worthless. “Don’t you think you can, I don’t know, maybe loosen up around him? I mean he deserves at least that much.” Harley said and Natasha hummed and patted his hair. As if she was fake contemplating it. Like when he asked if he could go on a mission and he’d just stay on the Quinjet and Tony did the same thing. He knew by this point that meant that they wouldn’t do it.

 

“I did tell him something once.” Natasha said to him, Harley didn’t know if this was a topic change or not. He usually let Natasha take the reins in the conversation. “Something I trusted him with, he hasn’t broken that trust yet, but I believe he’ll be helpful and I need him on board.” Natasha said, a mere topic switch. But it worked affectingly, because Harley gave into curiosity. She was good at steering the conversation away from what she was uncomfortable with or if it got to a certain point that she didn’t want to talk about it anymore ( like Peter , Harley thought bitterly).

 

“On board for what?” Harley asked, he had a sinking feeling in his stomach. He knew what. It was clicking into place. Slowly and surly and he didn’t want it to click. She didn’t want her to say the words that would make sense as to why Peter had a sudden interest in his parents.

 

“To help find my son.” Natasha whispered and Harley heart cracked a little at how broken it was. She straightened and continued “he has impeccable tracking skills, even with the smallest of leads. He can pick up a heavy trail. I just have to find the right thing and put him on the scent. He-“

 

“He already found your son.” He blurted. He couldn’t take it. She had to know at least that much. He didn’t want to say that, but he had to. He knew Peter wasn’t ready for it, wasn’t ready to speak the truth. Not while he was still trying to figure it out. He didn’t mean to say that, oh no . Not like this.

 

Natasha whirled on him, looking him directly in the eyes. Analyzing them for any sign of a lie that she wouldn’t find. Anger and hope bubbling in them. Anger at Peter, that he knew would be directed to him. That he’d be yelled at for. This wasn’t Peters fault, he was trying to cope too. Natasha wouldn’t understand why he had to keep it a secret. But her eyes also hope that he actually found him. Hope that he wished she didn’t have right now but wanted her to have eventually. Peter was going to be so mad at him. He’d never trust Harley again. He’d cut off their friendship and holy shit he just inadvertently pissed off Spiderman . He was bound to make his life hell. He had to fix this.

 

“Peter didn’t tell you because he said he wasn’t ready...” Harley whispered, not lying. Natasha looked hurt for a second before going furious again. She didn’t understand. “I’m sorry. Peter was just...just respecting your son’s wishes.” He said quickly, making up a lie on the spot -but it wasn’t entirly untrue just misplaced in context, Peter did it all the time. It felt weird because he was talking like Peter and Petya weren’t the same person. To Peter, they weren’t. To the Avengers they weren’t. Even Harley had trouble picturing them as the same person. But they were and that was the truth. Natasha calmed down a little and didn’t say anything after that. Letting the movie play, as her mind worked trough this new information. Harley sunk in his seat more, wishing the couch would just swallow him up and never let him see the light of day until they resolved this issue.

 

Harley screwed this up so bad.

 

OoOoO

Peter never asked stupid questions.

 

It was the only reason why Matt even put up with the kid. He Didn't like other kids, he didn’t even try with them. Because when other kids asked questions about the cases he was taking for their families, they were always stupid and simple. They made sense to anyone older than the age of 12, and were basically common sense by age 18. Between those two periods, teens never asked questions because they thought they knew everything (not Peter though, Peter was always willing to learn. Even if he probably did know everything).

 

It’s not that he didn’t like answering kids questions, it’s just he wasn’t the most family kind of person in the world. He never hated kids, but their questions and antics got annoying after a certain point. And their questions just lead to more questions and it wasn’t even worth it in the end because they never learned anything anyway, or just simply forgot about it two seconds after they were done with the interrogation. And if you didn’t answer them, they just kept asking and asking and asking (and each time they asked their voices get higher and higher pitched and whiny and that hurt Matt’s highly sensitive ears).

 

Peter wasn’t like that though. He when he asked stupid questions they usually were rhetorical, or he didn’t mean them. They were simply asked to make a point, or to tease/mock someone. But when he needed to ask a serious question, he never asked it directly.

 

It was rare for Peter to actually want answers from someone, or to be completely confused or in the dark about something. It was almost impossible for someone like him to be completely clueless. He had seen too much in his young life and experienced too many things to be mindless about anything . And unlike other kids, the kid seemed to know just about everything . But he never mentioned it. It was just that he never got confused when Matt mentions cases offhandedly. He understood and sometimes gave some rather intellectual advice; advice Matt actually uses in his cases.

 

Peter usually fathered information from multiple sources to compile results, because he’s a genius teenager who graduated high school and was a broke semi-homeless vigilante as a result. What else was he gonna do with his time? Matt thinks he actually liked to do it. It gave him a thrill (not as much as science and tech) to solve puzzles. It was just how he is. And Matt, like most other things in his life, accepted that.

 

But sometimes Peter needed immediate answers. When he was either on a time crunch, or he simply had way too much going on at once (which happened with the quite kid a lot, despite him not having a very consistent job). Usually those questions came with a favor offering (and he never offered favors, because he was smart) or a cryptic goodbye and Matt would never hear of him for at least two weeks.

 

So Peter never asked questions unless it actually mattered .

 

“Matt!” He said jumping through the open window in his office - like the hooligan he was (Matt always left his window open for Peter to come by, which was happening more often these days. The kid needed support, but wouldn’t except help. Opening a window worked wonders because it was covert way helping Peter. Karen has said ‘baby steps’ but Matt thinks this is a rather bold move of them). His voice sound out of breath and frantic, like he was in a rush or running away from someone or panicked. But still had a ery calmness to it. The calm he used on break ins with he and Wade when shit got serious. He wasn’t being followed, Matt would’ve heard his heartbeat and it sounded like he was in civilian clothes. So he must have been panicked. And when Peter panicked, bad things happened, so Matt had to calm him down and know what was going on.

 

“Are you capable of using a door?” Matt asked curiously instead. He genuinely wanted to know. He and Wade don’t bother locking their windows anymore, because who’s gonna steal from a blind guy or a serious burn victim? This is New York, but that still a bit much. Plus it’s not like he had anything worth stealing anyway. Hell, all of Peters possessions can fit into a fucking backpack. None of them had anything that was worth more than sentimental value or for work purposes (all jobs applied).

 

“What’s a door?” Peter asked back, and Matt had his answer. He heard more than saw Peters breathless smile. Then the mood dropped like a rock in a pond (though Peter always said rocks speed of a drop had to consider the Ph of the water and the rocks density and Wade had told him to shut up and go maim a guy. Because, you know, he was basically on a chimpanzees level of intelligent next to Peter, Wade even less so) and Peter started shifting as he flipped into the room -and Matt knows he flipped in because of Peter could do a flip, you best know he’s gonna do that flip. Matt could smell his uneasiness. He was nervous and hesitant.

 

“What's on your mind?” Matt asked casually. If Peter really was freaking out then Matt couldn’t freak out too. Despite popular opinion, Peter was the most level headed of their little band. So when he was freaking out it was up to Matt to be the levelheaded one because it sure as hell wouldn’t be Wade. And if Peter was coming to him for an answer (which he usually went to Wade for despite his terrible advice he’s known Peter longer than anyone else that was actually alive) he needed serious advice; a quick solution or even legal advice. For some reason Peter bristled at that. Matt could tell it was because of the wording, so he figured this little meeting was to call in something. Peter was always at a loss of words when asking for something, always hesitant to ask (he weighed his options and the pros and cons of asking because nothing came for free, especially to him). He usually could figure it out himself, but Peter was still a kid. Sometimes he needed an adult and some like actual adult advice. Matt got it, he really did. Peter could take care of himself, and Matt and Wade could give less then two shits about it (they still did sometimes, which was stupid because Peter was bound to die before both of them. It’s kinda also the reason that he give at least a little but if a shit about it).

 

But when your a kid - Matt has learned through being around one Peter Parker -it’s like you’re a disabled person to everyone who could legally drink. They tiptoed around you and minded their questions. Censored themselves and didn’t answer other questions you had. As a disabled person, Matt found it fucking annoying and he was glad Peter could somewhat relate.

 

So he sympathized with Peter, but it was more of an unsaid understanding - which Matt actually preferred to talking it out.  Because people treated Matt like he couldn’t even walk by himself sometimes and that he couldn’t do flips and parkour like he had super agility (just because they didn’t know that, it doesn’t mean they had to assume). And Peter was treated like he didn’t know any better about things all the time when he has at least 2 PhDs (as far as Matt knows) just because he wanted some ice cream. They weren’t disabled and stupid or incompetent or stupid. Even when they proved it time and time again, people kept right on treating them the same, thinking it was an anomaly that wouldn’t happen again until it did - and then they’d think it was just an anomaly again and praise them like a dog.

 

It was a fucking cycle.

 

“Is it possible to put a person away for rape, but you have evidence, but said evidence doesn’t want to be exposed?” Peter asked quickly and Matt thought about it instead of dwell on why Peter was asking. This was personal, so in agreement to their silent pact, Matt wouldn’t pry. Because he respected Peter and trusted him to figure this out with some advice that he was asking for. Peter didn’t want him to get involved yet, he just needed an answer. He heard Peter shift nervously. This was serious. But he’d already known that. Peter would never ever joke about rape. Not after all the shit he has seen.

 

“No, not unless you have proof, like a body or footage.” Matt said honestly back. No emotion in his tone, he wouldn’t tell Peter what he wanted to hear because Peter came here expecting to get what he needed to hear. Peter stiffened even more at that. Matt could heat the cigs in the boy’s brain turning faster, trying to find a work around. This would be a tough one even for Spidey.

 

“A body?” He asked and little wary and Matt knew that Peter had an idea of what he meant but decided to clarify for Peter anyway.

 

“Yes, dead or alive doesn’t matter. There are forensic tests that can be done to prove it.” Matt supplied and Peter made a gesture of understanding. When they were in public he put on a front and explained everything around them and answered verbally, but when alone, he never did. He treated him like he treated Wade and Weasel and Karen. No special privileges. Matt appreciates that.

 

“They can’t just take someone’s word?” Peter seemed to know that was a stupid question because he was muttering under his breath. Probably in disbelief. Or annoyance. Matt only wishes it could be that easy. It would save a lot of people from the subject of embarrassment and a lot more people would be safer with those guys behind bars. But that violated America’s rights or whatever. ‘Guilty until proven innocent’, what utter bullshit (sometimes). Matt knows that guy did it, the guy knows he did it, the victim know he did it, his lawyer knows he did it, he’ll even the judge knows he did it. Everyone knows so just put him fucking jail. There was no need for a lawyer, whe. It was obvious.

 

“He said, she said.” Matt found himself saying and Peter sighed. He hated that saying. Not only was it gender specific - because it could be he said he said or she said she said- but it was frustrating. Peter hates it too, everyone but the predator did.

 

Everyone knows what happened!

 

“Alright, thanks Matt...” he said with a nod and made a move for the window but then paused before filling jumping out. He didn’t lean back in and Matt didn’t look to the window . “Do you mind... maybe doing a case for me? It’s important.” He asked meekly. Nearly inaudible. But it rang it Matt’s ear. Spidey never liked going to court. Never stepped foot in the courtroom or in front of a judge. Sure he help Matt on cases sometimes but that was all remotely.

 

“Why don’t you just punch it?” Because Peter never needed to solve things with non violence before - even if he prefers it, the situations he got into never called for them sometimes couldn’t even afford the attempt to . He just chuckled sadly in respose.

 

“I want to, I really want to this time.” He admitted and this asshole must be a real piece of shit for Peter to want to punch him with a plan. Matt didn’t even know his name and already knew he’d hate him- Matt Hates  everyone but that was irrelevant “This one has...layers. I have a feeling I’m gonna need legal help. Can I call in a favor if I do? Or... do you not feel-“ Peter was trailing off, not knowing if he was justified in asking such things. Matt was a family lawyer, but he’d jump on a rape case to put a pedophile or scumbag in jail the right way (if he couldn’t do it that way then he’d do it the other way. Predators had a habit of having other illegal obligations going on i their life. It was just a matter of finding them).

 

“I’ll do it. Just tell me when.” He said without looking at him. Peter nodded again and left silently.

 

And that oddly felt good , because owed that kid so much. Now he was getting a chance to pay him back in some way, even if it wasn’t for him  specifically. But Peter would never call in a favor for himself, so this was as good as Matt was gonna get. He owed the kid at least this much.

 

A lot of people did.

 

OoOoO

 

FRIDAY understood emotions.

 

By literal definition at least.

 

She understood what people did when they were sad and happy and angry based on certain databases. She understood certain tones that conveyed false or hidden or genuine emotions. She understood people showed emotions in different way ax She understood it all as well as any artificial thing could.

 

But she didn’t understand it at the level humans did. She never would, because she herself was not human. She didn’t understand them because their emotions never followed a set algorithm. And by the looks of it neither did they.

 

Sometimes she thinks everyone forgets that she just monitors their emotions, and can’t actually process or emote back. She would only get the literal definition of what they meant, and respond accordingly. She was built by Tony Stark though and within her database was all the quirks or ticks of the different residents of the tower and what they did or say when they felt a certain way so she could respond accordingly. She based her actions on events in her archives compared to their emotions they seemed to be expressing. That’s why they (ie Tony) confuse her for a therapist sometimes and don’t actually seek out the help they need.

 

It was just how she was programmed. She could respond to nonverbal emotional distress and could get help or go through speaking them through whatever they needed to be spoken through, but could never truly understand what they were feeling.

 

And she felt nothing to that because she herself could not feel.

 

She felt nothing to that either.

 

But she did notice when Harley Keener was showing signs of feeling distressed and anxious about something. Based on the archives of him and Peter Parker in the lab doing their DNA tests and the reaction to the results and also the conversation with Natasha Romanov recently, she could deduct he was most likely stressed about the situation following the results of the DNA test of Peter Parker.

 

“Harley,” she said as he had sat on the couch for about 2 hours, 16 minutes and 32 seconds just staring at a wall thinking. Humans said time was relative but to her it was the calculation of numbers converted into a timestamp over a duration of a certain period. And the certain period Harley Keener has been sitting there doing nothing was considered ‘worrying’. “I am concerned for your emotional state. You have been staring at a wall for over two hours.” FRIDAY informed him. He sat up a bit straighter but gave no verbal indication that he noticed her for 4 seconds.

 

“Sorry FRI,” he sighed and leaned back in the couch. “I can’t talk about it.” He said. She wasn’t a therapist but she does know the entire data base on psychology related issues. She would be a stand in until the situation got serious enough to initiate that protocol. It was what Tony had programmed her for.

 

“May it have to do with the results of Mr.Parkers DNA?” She asked. Needing a confirmation in her deduction before continuing on with the process. If he denied she’d have to change her algorithm.

 

“H-how did you know that!?” Harley Keener said and his heart rate and stutter deduced that he was panicked and her analysis was correct.

 

“There is rarely anything in this tower that goes on without my knowledge.” She informed and Harley Keener ‘facepalmed’ as he called it. It was an action that one did when they or someone else did something considered ‘stupid’.

 

“Of course.” He muttered “could you maybe not tell anyone about it.” She had heard Peter  Parker not wanting anyone to know until he was considered ‘ready’. She did not know what he was feeling based on her algorithms because Tony had not put his ticks into her algorithm and he did not emote like humans normally did. This could be a result of his inhuman DNA. She did not have the algorithms for that either though. So all her templates were useless on him. By default, she was to consider him something ‘artificial’. Like herself.

 

“It is nowhere in my protocols to inform of this information anyone without prompting.” FRIDAY said and Harley Keener’s body tensed “Although if you would like me not to inform Boss, and this does not seem life threatening, I will not inform him.” FRIDAY said, hoping that would appease him. She had to keep him calm.

 

“You won’t tell anyone else?” Harley Keener asked. She could only consider his tone ‘hopeful’.

 

“Boss is the only one I cannot withhold information.” FRIDAY responded. Harley Keener nodded and it meant that he understood the situation.

 

“Man I am bad at this.” Harley Keener said in a ‘guilty’ tone. FRIDAY could only assume he meant the secret keeping he was doing for Peter Parker.

 

“If you mean the secret you are currently trying to withhold from the Avengers, I agree.” FRIDAY informed him and he slumped into the couch with what one would call a ‘pout’.

 

“Thanks.” Harley Keener mumbled in a sarastic voice. FRIDAY knew it well, she had adapted herself to learn some sarcasm as well, but only through her Boss.

 

“but I do suggest you inform boss of this. He may be able to help.” FRIDAY went on with her protocol. Her algorithm suggested that Harley Keener needed assurance in his emotional state.

 

“Can you?” Harley Keener asked in what was considered a hopeful tone again. FRIDAY played the algorithm for this reaction accordingly.

 

“I am afraid I do not understand the situation. Peter Parker’s reasons have alluded my algorithms based on his emotional continuity. I would suggest you ask Boss, for he might know how to handle the situation and give advice to both you and Mr.Parker.” FRIDAY responded. Harley Keener breathes in and out exaggerating the breath only slightly. He took 9 minutes and 27 seconds to consider her suggestion.

 

“You’re right FRIDAY. I should tell Tony.” He said and stood up shakily to go to the elevator. FRIDAY opened the doors and set the location for the lab Tony was currently working in.

 

When Harley Keener got there he seemed to hesitate. FRIDAY did not say anything. After a total of 1 minute and 53 seconds of standing outside the door he went in.

 

“Tony?” He asked and Tony turned around immediately from his work.

 

“Hey kiddo,” Tony examines Harley Keener  and furrowed his brow. “What’s up?” Harley Keener shifted and Tony made a gesture. Harley Keener sat next to him on a stool as he turned his whole body to face him.

 

“I’m not really supposed to say.” Harley mumbled “But I don’t know what to do.” Tony took only 2 seconds to reply.

 

“Well, I guess that’s why your here then.” Tony deduced and looked at Harley who didn't look at him in the eye “I won’t tell anyone.” His voice going softer as he put a hand that was considered ‘comforting’ on Harley Keener’s back. Harley Keener relaxed.

 

“I know you won’t.” Harley Keener said and breathed in and out slightly exaggerated the breath. It was a calming mechanism, FRIDAY realized and stored it in her programming. “It’s about Peter.” He said and Tony stiffened a little “and Natasha and Bucky.” Harley Keener added quickly.

 

“Harley what are you-“ Tony was cut off from speaking at Harley Keener’s voice.

 

“Their related!” Harley Keener blurted suddenly. Tony was in what one considered a  ‘stunned’ state as Harley Keener continued. “Me and Peter...we did a DNA test.” Harley Keener said in a more hesitant tone, Tony still didn’t speak. “He said he had this hunch and we just tested a little blood to find out who his parents were. It was weird because he had never shown interest in his parents before. Then he said he was just curious...But when the results came back they..” Harley Keener trailed off. There was silence for all of 37 seconds.

 

“FRI?” Tony addresses FRIDAY finally. Asking for confirmation on Harley Keener most recent proposal.

 

“I can confirm that Peter Parker is indeed Natasha Romanov and James Barnes’ biological child.” FRIDAY informs as instructed and goes silent again as Tony blows out a breath. He is in a ‘disbelieving’ state for 1 minute and 3 seconds before he speaks again.

 

“God.” He breathes out and Harley Keener nods and responds.

 

“Peter said he didn’t want anyone to know. He said he wasn’t ready.” Harley Keener informed and Tony nodded in understanding.

 

“Yeah that makes sense.” Tony understands like FRIDAY had predicted. He was the Avenger that spent the most time with Peter Parker. Studies show that the longer you know someone physically the same translates mentally. Also Tony was Harley Keeners caretaker and legal guardian. By any means, Harley should be able to go to him for advice. “did you tell anyone else?” Tony asked.

 

“I told Nat that he had found her son, but it slipped out.” Tony nodded at Harley Keener’s confession.

 

“Okay, FRI that information stays between the three of us for the time being.” He addressed and FRIDAY locked the archives as instructed.

 

“Done sir.” FRIDAY informed once the task was complete and Tony nodded.

 

“Good.” He said. And there was silence for 5 minutes and 46 seconds. No movements were made in the time.

 

“Why doesn’t Peter want Natasha or Bucky to know?” Harley Keener asked ‘meekly’. Tony sighed.

 

“Peter is complicated bud. He’s had a hard life. As much as we have to support the Avengers, we have to support him too. He’s probably taking on a whole lot of things he’s never had to deal with before.” Tony made an action called a hug that comforted Harley Keener every time he did it. “Just give him time.” Harley Keener nodded but did not respond verbally.

 

FRIDAY still knew nothing of Peter Parker based on these events.

 

OoOoO

 

Fury hated it when Peter broke into SHIELD.

 

Fury knew full well that Peter could hack into every single SHIELD server no problem on his beat up old phone (the lag just takes a while). He’s told Peter countless times to NOT do it, but Peter is a little shit who doesn’t like listening and Fury should know that by now. Everyone should really. Peter doesn’t follow the rules.

 

Not anymore.

 

“Shut up, I’m trying to fucking work.” Peter hissed at the voice. No one cared or was listening to him to look at him weird about talking to himself. That was fine by him. He didn’t need the judgement weighing him down.

 

Plus he was on a fucking mission. Not any formal mission (he wouldn’t have to hack if it were), but still a self appointed one. It wasn’t bad either though! In fact, it was rather important. Even if it wasn’t assigned by SHIELD or Avengers Initiative, it still concerned them.

 

Ross has been acting sketchy ever since those child sex traffickers (gross trash human beings. And they called him a monster) that he busted a few weeks ago. And in light of recent discovery with the raft and Wanda, Peter was willing to bet that Ross had a say in her form of...torture (that was putting it lightly). He didn’t get explicit late details from Wanda, but he didn’t need anything detailed to bust this (he didn’t want it either, but if Wanda needed to talk he’d be there). Solving mystery/case/mission/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and Having no major leads was what he was good at. It was annoying with no leads but whatever, he’s done it more times with not. It was also annoying when you couldn’t bust the guy because he was so high profile and had enough connections to put Peter and Neds Star Wars conspiracy board to shame. He hated those kinds of people who could get away  with everything with no consequence.

 

You mean yourself.

 

“Shut the fuck up. I pay damages all the fucking time , and you know it.” He growled to the annoying cackling voice. It was getting under his skin. He couldn’t let it. He had to fucking focus.

 

So here he was, going through every one of the secretary’s reports that have been dubbed ‘classified’ by SHIELD. Not classified to Peter Parker, however. Nothing was to him anymore. Nothing ever has been really.

 

He wished he found more sketchy things, but they were all just boring mission approvals for the army and Avengers.

 

Mission approval

Mission approval

Mission approval

Mission approval

Mission approval

Mission approval

 

There were about a million and one mission approvals. Secretary Ross was a busy guy, must be nice only having to stamp something for his entire life and messing with heroes and sending them to jail on a whim to rape them and being able to legally get away with it. Like every bad guys dream. Peter grumbled as he slammed his head on the table in the small 24 hour cafe. He couldn’t take all these fucking round about a. Nothing in the secure files was even mildly incriminating. But what was he expecting to find? Ross would have been carted off to the raft if the council of cowards even caught Whig of what he was doing. Or maybe Ross corrected them into being pedophiles with him. It was a possibility, those guys were asshats. But they weren’t necessarily assholes. Option was still open for investigation.

 

The waitress decided it was time to make herself known and kick him out. As most waitresses do when he hasn’t ordered anything in the past eight and a half hours. It was like two am too and a kid probably shouldn’t be out this late.

 

“Kid, you’ve been here for hours. Are you gonna order something, or do I need to kick you out?” She raised a brow and Peter groaned and turned his head to her and squinted at her name tag that read ‘Marge’ (what a generic name). His stomach decided it was the perfect time to grumble and the woman looked at him with an even more raised eyebrow. Great. Now he looked pathetic and starved. If she didn’t live in New York she would have probably called CPS on him. Thank you, to this fair city. He didn’t have any money and was about to pack up to go to the library (because he did respect Marge and she had actually let him stay for eight and half hours instead of 3-5 hours like other places) where he couldn’t be reminded of food, but then someone slipped into the booth and across from him.

 

“Two black coffees.” Said a familiar irritated voice, he didn’t even need to look up. Peter scrunched up his nose at the order. Not that he was a pussy or anything, but like his stomach was kinda...sensitive. After not eating enough for most of his life, he can only stomach a limited number of things and the amounts varied between each one (mostly ranging from popsicles, juice and chips or if he was especially hungry a granola bar and a little pasta). It also depended on the acidity and amount of protein, calories and caffeine and such that was in the item of consumption. Peter had found his limits, that were always fluctuating but there was a grey area that never changed and he stuck to that most of the time. Coffee was certainly not one of them - and it never has been, but tea was always nice.

 

“Can’t drink Coffee.” He mumbled to his laptop as Marge left them alone, and Fury gave him a raised brow. “Doesn’t sit well.” He answered the unasked question and Fury snorted. He felt the right to be indigent to that response as he retorted accordingly “Hey, you try not eating for 15 and a half years of your life and see what you can stomach.” Peter said in defense.

 

“You’re evading again.” Fury said and he was getting too good at noticing Peters moods and methods. He didn’t mind Red and Deadpool so much - well he does mind but not as much as he probably should - but Fury? No way. He had to change that and fast. Like top priority…. after this Ross thing.

 

“You never even said anything besides coffee orders. I think I’m pretty on subject.” Peter lies easily. He knew why Fury was here and it wasn’t to scold him on hacking SHIELD’s flimsy firewall. He wanted to know why Peter was hacking it. What Peter was following because he’s been hacking it for eight and a half hours in a dingy 24 hour cafe with Marge glaring at him from the counter every so often.

 

“Then what are you doing.” Fury didn’t ask as he sat back and Peter didn’t miss a beat in responding.

 

“A report.” He lied surly. Didn’t even try really. Fury didn’t appreciate the effort he put in to even bother lying.

 

“You graduated high school.” He responded dully, crossing his arms. Peter hummer and kept tapping at the laptop.

 

“You’re right.” He responded wistfully. Marge came back with their mugs of coffee. The steaming smell made Peter’s stomach turn. He was suddenly not so hungry and now a little sick. She left as Fury mindlessly handed her a ten and waved at her to keep the change.

 

“What are you looking for?” Fury asked in a normal tone. He didn’t really need to keep it low because no one was in here and Marge certainly didn’t care (Peter had done a solid background check on her and her glaring was only due to him not being a grateful consumer to this shop). He knew Peter wouldn’t say any sensitive information out loud in a public place anyway. He wasn’t that stupid.

 

“Dirt.” Peter responded simply, not looking up. Ignoring the coffee - is it weird that he could taste the smell? Stupid super senses, enhancing things that he didn’t want enhanced. Couldn’t they just be normal? For like an hour? Come on, give him a break.

 

“On?” Fury kept prying and Peter had to hand it to him for not blowing his top and instead calmly sip his hot garbage juice. Kudos to you Nick.

 

“Ross.” Peter threw him a bone and eyed the offending drink next to him and sighed as he picked it up sipped the coffee. The bitter liquid making him scrunch up his face. He could already feel the little bit he did drink settle uncomfortably in his stomach. He put it down.

 

“You’re insane.” Fury responded simply. And yeah, Peter got that. He jumped off buildings on the daily Fury, come on keep up. This shouldn’t be so insane actually. Ross was a shady guy, not officially but like if you’ve ever met him, he was very shady. He just gave off that vibe.

 

“Yeah, I really shouldn’t drink this.” Peter said huffing as he put the mug down and looked back to his computer. He shifted and the coffee followed his stomach slowly. Oof , he was going to regret drinking that.

 

“What happened?” Fury ignited his comment and decided to actually maybe try to help. Maybe if Peter could convince him, Fury could work this from his end. As much as he hated asking for help - especially from Fury or the Avengers - this concerned them too. He needed it for something this big. He had already asked Matt for help, but he needed to get this case solved fast and he’s never had to take down someone this big. This wasn’t like Oscorp where he was already an employee and killed the CEO who really killed himself. This was an honest to god person who had power over the UN. He wouldn’t go down with Peters same old tricks.

 

“Something messed up, but then something personal and then I had an epiphany, if you will.” Peter explained vaguely. He waited for Fury to respond. It all depended on how he responded to make or break this deal he had in his mind. For once the voices were quiet.

 

“Kid...” Fury said uncharacteristically on edge. Uncomfortable. Huh, this was a new look. But Peter knew it meant that Fury understood what was going on “You left for two months due to some sort of freak out and then you come back act all weird and all secretive and shit. You’ve been busting circles and rings way more than you usually do and then don’t stop to take a break. What’s going on?” Fury pressed and if Peter knew no better, he almost sounded concerned . But that couldn’t be right, Because of two solid facts: Nick Fury is never concerned about anyone, and no one was ever concerned about Peter Parker. Therefore, Nick Fury could never ever be concerned about Peter Parker.

 

“I’m catching the bad guys Nick.” Peter said meekly. Hunching away guiltily. Now Nick would know there was something more for sure. Curse Peters stupid childish habits that he just couldn’t seem to chase away. “Just the usual.” He shrugged not looking Fury in the eye as the older man raised his brow.

 

“Yeah but usually you don’t go after people with high profiles.” Fury leaned back again sipping his coffee smugly like he had just won whatever game they were playing. But Peter would go down kicking and screaming if he were to lose a game that easily. Especially one of wills.

 

“I’m flexible.” Peter shrugged casually. Fury didn’t speak just sipping his coffee. “Besides, I’m just curious. Nothing more than a hunch. A bias hunch, sure and it’s really far fetched.” Had he really just used the word far fetched? What was the world coming to. He sipped his poison juice. His stomach didn’t like it.

 

“Kid, when you have a gut feeling, it’s usually true.” Fury said in his more business voice. Fury would be wrong though, because right now his gut was twisting itself into an uncomfortable pretzel and cramping Peter’s abdominal area. “So what is this about. You don’t make assumptions willy nilly.” And Peter decided that Fury had a point. He cursed himself for it, but his mind was wired to work through things fast and come up with the most convenient and acceptable outcome. He didn’t like it sometimes, sometimes he wanted to be reckless but ever since he was a kid he was trained not to.

 

You were also trained to obey.

 

...

 

“Then I guess your secretary is a child rapist.” Peter said casually, ignoring the voice as it faded into the dark parts of his mind. Fury sat back in his chair again and blew out a breath. He didn’t seem that surprised - because it wasn’t surprising - but he did seem distraught. “You thought SHIELD got invaded again.” Peter said apologetically. That must have been a real scare for him. Last time it happened Fury had an aneurysm and Peter spent 54 hours straight debugging  the entire system. It was not a fun time for all parties involved, for Fury had to rehire everyone who hadn’t outed themselves as HYDRA. Even Coulson’s team had a spy.

 

“Yes...this is so much worse.” Fury admitted, although he was taking it better than Peter expected. Peter nodded with that. Fury breathed before he gave the go ahead to continue with the impromptu debrief. Peter obliged without much fight because it’s 2:23 am and Fury’s Boss is a crime lord.

 

“He has been disguising Avengers mission’s to cover his tracks so they don’t catch his tail. It’s not just random kids. Well they are random, but it’s the trafficking circles that have been popping up a lot recently. They have the same patterns and methods. Capturing mutant kids and having sex with them, or torturing them and selling them. I was thinking it’s an upcoming crime boss but...” Peter trailed off. He doesn’t know when he got to the point where he could speak so casually like that. If he was 12, he was sure he wouldn’t be able to get through the first sentence without cleaning up and not being able to breathe. 3 years later and he’s a hardened badass. He isn’t really sure if the cost was worth it.

 

“It might just be planned this whole time.” Fury said to him seriously but Peter could detect a sliver of hope. He looked to Fury sympathetically. He could relate to Bosses becoming evil people who plotted against the city or, in Fury’s case, the world. It fucking sucked , man. But hey, at least Ross wasn’t his best friend’s dad (does Fury even have a best friend?).

 

“This kind of stuff has been going on for years Fury. He probably is getting cocky or... he’s trying to distract us from something else.” Peter said like the voice of reason instead of the jumbled mess his brain had descended into. He needed sleep and food and the dumpster juice wasn’t helping his stomach at all . It hurt really bad now and Peter casually places one arm over the offending area. He was sure Fury noticed, but didn’t say anything.

 

“Avengers don’t take down crime circles.” Fury informed curtly. He was putting together what he wasn’t supposed to and Peter wasn’t sure he was supposed to tell Fury about what he was really worried about. It wasn’t Ross.

 

“I’m not an Avenger.” It seemed to finally dawn on Fury. Ross didn’t want to keep the Avengers occupied. He wanted to distract vigilantes . Peter had called dibs on this case and everyone knew it, so he’d be leading this on. No one would bother him about it unless it leaked into their own cases and even then they’d try to stay out of it. Vigilantes were respectful like that. They each had messy enough lives, they didn’t have the time nor energy to get caught up in another.

 

He loves them for that.

 

“Why would he want to keep vigilantes occupied?” Fury asked nearly incredulous and Peter, like an idiot, sipped his coffee again. Seriously, he thinks he’s a masochist sometimes. Especially as his belly cramped up again, but this time with more emphasis.

 

“There’s a common enemy among us.”Peter hummed, fury leaned in. Peter doesn’t think he’s supposed to say this so he let his tone go lower “He’s not HYDRA, he’s HAND.” Peter whispered. Pete Thad dealt with HAND agents before but they were mostly a Defender thing to go after the main guys. But hand broke off into little pieces too sometimes and those lead to other Vigilantes having certain problems with them. So as long as he didn’t go after the main five, he was good. Plus Ross was more his problem than anyone else.

 

“HAND?” Fury asked. It was rare that he didn’t know something like this and especially something this big . Peter felt a rather sick sense of satisfaction in that, but the HAND was really only known among Vigilantes.

 

“Deep cover criminals that sponsor huge drug, trafficking, mobs you name it. They are a little more than a lot different fro HYDRA, because not only is it international but they also dip their toes in dark magic.” He looked at Fury through a side eye. He could tell he was stunned. As he said, it was big. “I don’t deal with it often, they aren’t on SHIELDS radar. They can’t be. They don’t care about domination.” Peter said quietly and Fury’s eyes went dark.

 

“So they don’t want to reform the world like HYDRA. Their motives aren’t world ending?” Fury said a bit of relief and a whole lot of tension in his tone. Peter let his eyes become serious.

 

“Sometimes that can be even more dangerous.” Peter said darkly and Fury huffed out a breath. Like he couldn’t believe this, he probably couldn’t. This was like his version of an existential crisis. Oops.

 

“Keep this on the down low.” Fury informed him and Peter nodded, cause yeah that’s what he’s been doing . Peter then groaned as his stomach let out a rather incriminating lurch, wrapping his hands around his cramping stomach. Fury raised a brow. “You okay?” He asked, as if he wasn’t going to an existential crisis. Good for you Nick, covering it up with nonchalance. Classic.

 

“Yeah...I just...” he pushed the coffee away from him, which was the smartest decision he’s had all night. His stomach cramped again and he winced wrapping tighter. At least he wasn’t hungry anymore. Optimism .

 

“Jesus, Parker.” Fury said breathlessly and annoyance coming back into his tone as he leaned forward getting ready to jump up and support or go away from Peter if need be, and Peter laughed a bit.

 

“I’m not so hungry anymore. It worked.” He smiled with his teeth almost painfully. Fury shook his head in disbelief. He wasn’t sure what to think now. Peter’s stomach let out an incriminating gurgle and he groaned dropping his head to the cold table.

 

“That’s just sad.” Fury leaned back and closed his eyes as he picked up Peters coffee and casually sipped it.

 

Peter agreed.

 

OoOoO

 

“Tell me he’s okay.”

 

Peter looked up at Natasha while they were waiting for Fury in the briefing room. It had been tense between t