"Hey Karen?" Peter asked, his voice quiet, despite no one being around to hear him. "Does, uh... do you know if my apartment complex allows animals?"
"I'm afraid not, Peter," Karen answered, her voice sounding somewhat sad. "But there are several shelters in the area, if you'd like me to give you a list."
"Uh... no thanks," Peter said, as he cast a look at his new English Coonhound that was clearly trying to stay off of its front right paw. In a small area in the back of his mind, he wondered what he was gonna name it, but figured that wasn't important now. "I think I've got somewhere I can bring him..."
And that's how Peter ended up sneaking the dog through the garage of the compound, constantly having to shush the dog so no one found out.
"Welcome back, Peter." The Irish AI spoke from the ceiling as he led the dog inside. "Is Stark aware of your new friend?"
"No, no, he's not, but you can't tell him, FRIDAY, please. He's hurt. And I'm just gonna make sure he's okay."
"As you wish." FRIDAY insisted, and he led the dog to his room, closing the door behind him.
He pulled the first aid kit that May insisted he started taking with him everywhere out from under his bed, and pulled out the supplies he was gonna need, placing them on a few clean paper towels.
Then he grabbed a pen light and turned it on, aimed at the dog's paw, gently taking the paw in his hand while looking through a magnifying glass. There was what looked to be a splinter of sorts in it's front right paw.
Peter put down the magnifying glass and held the pen light with his teeth as he put on a pair of gloves before gently taking the dog's paw in his hand again.
The dog whimpered, and he smiled sympathetically as he grabbed the tweezers, speaking reassuringly around the pen light.
"I know, bud. Getting stabbed sucks. But I'm gonna help you." He insisted, gently squeezing the tweezers around the splinter. "Alright, this is really gonna suck."
With that, he yanked out the splinter, causing the dog to growl and sink his teeth into the teen's exposed right wrist.
Peter bit his lip as the pain went up his arm, while still trying to bandage the dog's paw. 'So much for a new friend...'
"May, I-I'm heading to school!" Peter called out to her the next morning after making sure the dog, who he had decided with Ned to call Starburst, was okay.
"Wait!" May called out, as she met her nephew at the door on his way out, with a dishrag in her hands. Then, as she took a few minutes to brush his bangs back, she sighed and felt his forehead. "Are you sure you feel like going to school today, baby?" She asked, despite the fact that she already knew what the answer was going for be. "You feel like you're burning up."
"May!" Peter whined, a nervous but reassuring smile on his face as he took a step back. "I'm fine, okay? I promise. And I have to go to school today; Ned and I have a project we need to present."
May frowned and crossed her arms. "Peter," she said, bluntly. "You look like you're ready to crawl into a hole and die—"
'Mood,' Peter thought to himself.
"—And if you're sick, I'm sure Ned, and your teachers, will understand if you want to stay home."
"But I don't feel sick, May!" Peter protested, even though that was a complete lie. In reality, there was churning feeling in his stomach and a chill setting in deep in his bones (probably to go with the fever), but he couldn't let May know that. He was a superhero, he was supposed to be strong! And it wasn't like they had enough money for hospital visits, anyway.
Giving him a pointed look of disbelief, May sighed once more. "And you're sure?" She confirmed.
"Positive!" Peter replied. He tried his best to give her a confident smile, but it must've seemed a bit shaky, as she continued looking at him for a few minutes before she gave in.
"Fine. I hope you have a good day at school, okay, baby?" she said, as she wrapped her arms around him and gave him a quick kiss on the forehead. He still felt like he had a fever, but she decided to leave it alone for now. "I love you so much."
Peter smiled again, thought it had came out more tired than he meant it to, and waved as walked out the door. "Love you, too."
Two hours later and Peter was starting to regret going to school.
He was sitting in AP Chemistry with Ned, and he knew he should've been trying to answer the questions he was asking him, but he couldn't really focus when he was shivering every few minutes and when his vision was spinning.
"Peter?" He suddenly heard. "Pete, can you hear me?"
"Hmm?" Turning back to his best friend, Peter tried his best to give him a bright smile, though it probably came out more like a grimace or wince. "Sorry," he replied. "Spacing out. But, yeah, what's up?"
"I was asking if you were okay," Ned repeated, his eyes narrowed in suspicion and concern. "I had to call your name like, five times, and—" Suddenly Ned's eyes widened. "—Peter, you're bleeding!"
"What?!" Staring down at the sleeve of his shirt, Peter mentally cursed as he watched the crimson-coloured liquid seep through his sleeve. "Shit," he hissed.
Taking a few tissues out of his bag, Ned had planned to give them to Peter so he could stuff them up his sleeve and put pressure on the injury. But, it seemed as if Peter had beaten him to it, as he was up at the front of the room and doing it himself.
"Come on," he pleaded. "Come on, please, stop bleeding..."
"Peter?" Feeling a tap on his shoulder, the boy turned around to find his teacher staring at him with a worried expression on their face. "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, just got..." Peter had to stop. His vision was starting to get foggy, and his arm really hurt. Like a lot.
"Peter. Do you wanna go to the nurse's office?" His teacher asked gently, but instead of him answering, the entire class watched in horror as Peter stumbled back before falling backwards into the floor.
"Peter?" A voice asked, worriedly. "You awake, baby?"
That was the first thing the superhero heard as he started to wake up.
Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he had an odd memory of hitting his head and someone yelling his name, but, besides that, he didn't remember anything.
And, although he didn't really know what was happening or where he was at that moment, he knew the fact that he didn't remember anything wasn't good—as much as he wanted it to be.
"May?" The boy mumbled, as he cracked open his tired eyes and stared into her worried ones.
Sitting on the edge of the cot he was on, she was frowning nervously, but obviously trying not to show it, as she greeted him coming back to consciousness with a smile. "Wha—Wh't h'ppened?" he asked.
"Weird," May responded, as she tilted her head and mildly glared at him. "I was gonna ask you the same thing. Especially since, you know, you fainted in the middle of Chemistry and had some sort of infection on your wrist? Which you didn't tell me, when I asked if you wanted to stay home."
"W'here am I?" He croaked out. His throat was scratchy and his right arm was really starting to hurt. He also didn't have the strength to look around at his surroundings and figure it out himself.
"You're at the compound in Upstate New York. Tony Stark brought you here after they couldn't get a hold of me. You're lucky I decided to put him in as your second contact."
That's when he realized he was definitely laying down, his arm was in a sling against his chest, and May was sitting in the giant blue chair that Tony had put in his medbay room, because 'if we're sitting with you, we might as well be comfortable'.
"You've been in and out of consciousness for a couple days. They tried to lance your arm, but the infection kept coming back stronger. They found a chip of a dog's tooth deep near the muscle." May continued. "They think that you healed before you had the chance to properly clean it, and that's why it got so bad."
" 'm sorry, May." Peter managed, as a wave of pain went up his shoulder from his wrist, and that's when the door opened, and Tony walked in, ruffling Peter's hair up when he saw that he was awake before speaking.
"You missed out on your first two rabies shots, isn't that fun?" He joked before turning serious. "You can ask before bringing a dog here, Pete. I'll even help you make sure it's okay. Just don't keep stuff from us, okay? I'm not planning on losing you, and I know May," he stopped to get a nod from the teen's aunt. "Isn't planning on doing that either. Got it?"
Peter nodded, swallowing back a cry of pain, cause now his arm was throbbing, and that was not good. At all.
"Right, you probably need more pain medication. I'll send it up." Tony insisted, typing something into his tablet. "Also, the reliable one in your friend group is here."
"Ned?" Peter chocked out, and all he got in response was Tony opening the door and Ned coming in, with a mix of relief and frustration on his face as he got up to Peter.
"Don't ever scare me like that again."
"May and Mr. Stark did a pretty good job of telling me that, dude." Peter smiled, reaching for a hug with his left arm, and Ned immediately accepted the side hug.
"It's not the same as a flat screen tv, but," Ned stopped to pull out his phone. "I've got Hulu, and I know how much you wanted to rewatch Brooklyn-99."
"Sounds awesome." Peter grinned, scooting over onto the left side of the bed so his friend could sit with him as he turned on the tv show.
And if Peter fell asleep during the first episode, Ned didn't have to tell anyone that.