Maybe, just possibly, showing up at Stark Tower at 2:19 am on a Friday wasn’t Steve Rogers’s best idea in the world, but it was an idea nonetheless. They just hoped that Tony would be up and working on something in his lab at this ungodly hour, but they were soon proved wrong, but something has to lead up to that, so let's go back!
At approximately 1:38 am in Stark Tower, Peter Parker-Stark woke up with a scream and tears running down his face. His throat felt like sandpaper whenever he took a breath. He was trapped. He was trapped. He was trapped. He was trapped. He was-
There was a hand on his shoulder and a voice far off in the distance. He could hear a heartbeat, steady and calm. There weren’t any heartbeats around when the building crushed him, so he can’t be under the building, right? This thought is what gave the boy the tug that started pulling him out of his panic attack. The hand resting on his shoulder became a rock and the voice became closer.
“That’s good, kid.” It was Tony. “Just keep breathing.”
The boy’s breath began to even out and he could see more clearly. He felt the cool tile of the floor beneath him and began to wonder when he even fell out of bed, but he didn’t dwell on it for too long.
“Thank you,” Peter croaked out with a half smile as he leaned against his dad.
The billionaire didn’t respond, just letting the boy snuggle into him and running his fingers through his son’s hair. They stayed like that for a good few minutes before Tony spoke up again.
“Do you think you’re going to be able to go back to sleep?” he asked gently.
Peter shook his head ‘no’ into his father’s shoulder. It was a small movement and there were no words spoken, but Tony knew that it had been a bad night.
“You need hot chocolate,” the genius declared, which earned him a small smile from the young vigilante. He helped the boy up, taking note that he was still shaking a bit, and started to the living room, making sure to keep his arm around the boy in a comforting manner the whole way to the room. He plopped the boy down on the couch and went to the kitchen to start making the beverage. As soon as he set the milk to heat up on the stove, he made his way back to the living room.
“I’m going to grab something from my room real quick, but I’ll be right back. I promise,” Tony told his son. He knew that, on nights like these, the boy needed reassurance to keep his anxiety from going haywire. Peter liked to know where everybody was-- he’d lost too many people already.
As fast as humanly possible, Tony ran to his room, grabbed what he needed, and came back to the room where Peter was sitting. He plopped down next to him and handed over his MIT hoodie that the boy loved to borrow. The boy gave him a huge smile as he put it on and relaxed into the warm hoodie.
As Tony stood up to go add the chocolate to the warm milk, Peter called after him, “Please add some cinnamon!”
Tony called back, “You got it!”
Soon enough, the genius walked back into the living room with two mugs of cinnamon hot chocolate. He handed one to Peter, who was now under a blanket and sat down with his own. He let his son snuggle into his side and put an arm around the boy.
“Was it about May?” Tony asked the boy, but Peter just shook his head.
“The Vulture,” the vigilante mumbled out quietly. With just those two words, Tony knew exactly what his son’s nightmare was about. Silence fell around them, but Peter knew that Tony was trying to not push him to talk about it.
“I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t get up. The rubble was too strong.”
“You guys really shouldn’t do this,” Natasha said for the thousandth time on the car ride from the compound to the tower.
“We have to,” Steve replied for the thousandth time on the car ride from the compound to the tower.
Natasha’s voice had seemed to be more urgent this time, though. Probably because they were about to pull up to the building. As they got to the parking garage, she finally got completely fed up.
“Then let me out of the car!”
The entire group turned to her in shock, but she didn’t grace them with eye contact. She simply unlocked her door and stepped out of the stopped car.
“You guys are idiots,” she muttered loud enough for them to hear her. Silence reigned over the car after the former assassin left. They glanced at each other as if someone would have an explanation.
“Traitor,” Wanda mumbled as she stared at Natasha’s retreating figure.
Once Steve got it together, he drove the car up to the little intercom at the entrance of the parking garage.
"Access Denied," FRIDAY said the moment that Steve rolled down the window.
"I haven't even said the access code!" the so-called 'man with a plan' exclaimed angrily.
"We do not have access codes anymore, Mr. Rogers," the AI informed him, "We only use security passes and facial recognition."
"But you recognize me!" the man shouted at the AI.
"I have put you in my system as 'access denied.'"
"This is ridiculous."
Steve sighed and backed out, but determination took over his face. He found a parallel parking spot and swerved into it. He got out of the car, the rest of his team following.
“We can’t get in through the doors without the code, so let’s just use the windows,” he spoke decisively.
“FRIDAY will alert someone if we break a window,” Sam replied reasonably.
“I’ll just open one with my powers,” Wanda told the man. Sam just sighed but followed the group.
As they approached the side of the tower to start getting up, they spotted Natasha. She walked in through the front doors as if there wasn’t an AI guarding the entire building, meaning she was in the system and allowed in. The team had dark looks on their faces but didn’t say anything as Wanda used her magic to start making the three float upwards. Eventually, they got to the top floor and looked inside, where they found that the window they were at was facing the back of the couch, and two figures were sitting there.
Wanda opened the window slowly, as to not make a sound, and floated the group inside, where they heard an unfamiliar person on the couch talking.
“I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t get up. The rubble was too strong.”
Muttering curses in Russian, Natasha made her way from the car full of her ex-teammates to the front doors of Stark Tower.
"Hey, FRIDAY," Natasha said exasperatedly as she stood in front of the doors.
"Welcome back, Ms. Romanoff."
“I’m so scared of closing my eyes. I always feel the building crashing around me,” Peter told his dad softly, unaware of the ex-vengers watching the two.
“But you’re here and you’re okay and everything is fine,” Tony comforted the boy.
“I’m sor-” Peter started.
“Stop blaming yourself for this,” the genius cut off the boy.
“But I was reckless,” the vigilante argued, but his voice was still shaky.
“And I took away the suit,” Tony argued back.
“Now you’re blaming yourself,” Peter laughed. “You’re being a hypocrite.”
“I’m an adult. I get to be a hypocrite.”
The boy laughed and lightly slapped Tony’s arm, but accidentally spilled some of his drink onto the couch.
“Sorry,” he apologized quietly.
“Worse things have happened to the couches here,” Tony replied with a laugh.
“Like when Dum-E spilled motor oil all over the couch,” Peter laughed, the shakiness of his voice slightly fading.
“And the milkshake fiasco of twenty seventeen,” Tony said with a chuckle.
“Or the time I let MJ do a painting in the living room and it ended with both of us covered in paint.”
“Or when you and Harley decided that having a potato-gun fight in the living room was a good idea.”
“Don’t be rude!” Peter declared with mock offense. “All of my boyfriend’s ideas are genius!”
Near the window, Steve grimaced. He was getting used to the fact that boys can date boys and girls can date girls. It still made him a bit uncomfortable, but that wasn’t the reason he was there; the group needed funding.
“Speaking of Harley,” Tony started, cutting off their laughter. “Do you want me to fly him up tomorrow? Or, uh, today I guess?” This warranted a confused look from Peter.
“But today’s school day,” the boy pointed out obviously.
“Yeah, but, after what happened tonight, I think you should stay home. You need to rest and get a chance to be happy without all this stress.”
“Can Harley stay the weekend?” Peter asked quietly after a moment of silence. “I mean, today is Friday.”
“Of course,” Tony replied and Peter leaned his head on his father’s shoulder.
“Tony!” Natasha yelled as she ran in. “The ex-vengers are on their way up the-” She cut herself off. “I guess they beat me up here.”
Mugs of cinnamon hot chocolate long forgotten, Tony and Peter jumped up from their places on the couch and turned toward the spy before turning to the group by the window. An Iron Man gauntlet formed on Tony’s lower arm and hand and Peter tapped on his bisexual flag bracelet to make the nanotech form an Iron Man-like gauntlet that Tony made him in case of emergency. They both aimed at the group. Natasha faced the group with her arms crossed.
“Tony, calm down,” Steve said with his hands in the air. “We just want to talk.”
“Yeah, you just ‘wanna talk.’” Peter mocked the man.
“Quick question,” Sam interrupted the standoff and faced Peter. “Who the fuck are you?”
“Dumb question. Let’s move on,” Peter said as he faced Steve again.
“I’m actually wondering that, too,” the captain spoke, giving the boy a condescending look.
“Well, everything you say is dumb,” Peter retorted, “so I don’t see a need to repeat myself.”
Steve was about to say something when magic began to swirl around Wanda’s fingers and she tried to push herself into Peter’s mind to find his worst fear. After about thirty seconds, the magic disappeared and she looked at the vigilante in complete shock and confusion.
“What the hell?” she said quietly.
Tony began laughing so hard that he couldn’t keep his gauntlet steady. Peter began chuckling, too, and Natasha’s lip even quirked up a bit.
“Did she see it?” Tony asked the boy through his laughter.
“I think so,” Peter replied while trying to catch his breath.
“What did you see, Wanda?” Steve asked the girl with worry.
“I looked for his greatest fear and all I saw was a short video repeating over and over again,” Wanda told him.
“What was the video?” Sam asked out of curiosity.
“Just this man holding a microphone and singing the words ‘you are my dad. You’re my dad! Boogie-woogie woogie,’ over and over again as a picture of his dad enlarged on the screen,” she told her group.
Her explanation of what she saw made even Natasha chuckle, but Wanda ignored that and asked Peter, “What was that?”
Completely deadpan, Peter turned to Wanda, who was still confused, and said, “R-Rebecca, it’s not what you think.”
After a few seconds of silence, Natasha replied, “I won’t hesitate, bitch.” Tony and Peter broke into another fit of laughter.
“I can’t believe I got you to learn vines, Auntie Nat!” Peter exclaimed with a smile.
“Auntie Nat?!” Steve exclaimed in confusion.
“Yeah, she’s an unofficial aunt,” Tony said with no humor in his voice, “and you’re breaking and entering. What do you want?”
“We need help,” Steve admitted to the man.
“You trespass, break-in, say some condescending shit, try to go into my son’s mind, and then expect me to help?” Tony asked. Well, he said more than asked.
Steve stumbled over his words for a second as Peter and Tony gave the group death glares, but he didn’t give up yet.
“Tony,” he said seriously, “we’re Avengers. We have to stick together.”
Peter gave the man a look, and that look nearly made Steve turn around and jump back out that window. The look had so much malice in it as if the boy was looking into his soul. He had an aura of knowing so much more than he was letting on, and the look scared the captain.
“We need funding,” Sam spoke up, cutting right to the chase.
“And I need a night without the rogues breaking into my tower, but I guess we don’t all get what we want,” Tony retorted.
“Stark, stop being so selfish! It’s the least you can do for us!” Wanda exclaimed with anger building up in her eyes.
“I beg to differ,” Peter shot back at her.
“Listen, we’re all tired and it’s early in the morning,” Steve announced, “so let’s just talk about this later this weekend.”
“Or we could talk about this never,” Tony piped up. Steve gave him a look, but the genius was unaffected. The ex-vengers, minus Natasha, began to head toward the elevator, but it wouldn’t open for them.
“Open the elevator, FRIDAY,” Steve commanded instead of asked.
“Sorry, Mr. Rogers, but we only let people out the way they come in,” the AI responded smugly.
“Bullshit,” Sam responded, “We’ve seen Spider-Man leave out the window several times!”
“Who’s to say that Spider-Man doesn’t come in through the window?” Peter piped up with a humorous tone.
Sighing, Steve motioned to Wanda to use her magic to float them all out the window and down to the ground again. Her magic enveloped the captain and Sam, but, once it started reaching Natasha, the woman shook her head.
“I think I’ll stay here, thank you very much,” the former assassin told the witch, who glared at her before floating herself and the two men out of the window.
“Can I stay here?” Natasha asked the genius without turning away from the window all three of them were staring at.
“Of course,” he told her, “We’ve got your room set up and everything.”
“They’re gonna come back,” Peter spoke up finally, but not without venom laced into his voice, “I just know they’re gonna come back.”
But, on that morning at 2:56 am, that wasn’t the biggest concern for the little family.