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Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

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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.

Chapter Text

Harley Keener woke up to a call from Tony Stark at 4:29 am on a Friday morning and he had never wanted to punch somebody more.  The teen had been up until 4:00 am in order to finish the ridiculous amount of homework he had been given, as always, and had just gotten to bed at 4:12, meaning he had drifted off for 17 minutes before being rudely woken up.  Still, he answered the call just in case, despite how much he wanted to send Tony to voicemail.

 

“What the fuck do you want?” Harley snapped once he answered, not giving the genius a chance to speak.

 

“I wanted to talk to you about coming up to New York today.”

 

This caught the young mechanic’s attention.

 

“Not that I don’t wanna come up there, but why now?  Is there a problem?” he questioned the man worriedly.

 

“No end of the world type shit,” Tony reassured him, “but Peter had a really rough night and I’m letting him stay home today. I figured you’d like to come up and see him.”

 

“Yes!” the teen exclaimed before remembering that his mom and sister were asleep and lowering his voice. “What time are you picking me up?”

 

“Does seven sound okay?”

 

“Sounds perfect.”

 

Harley was too excited to go to sleep.

 

***

 

As promised, a chauffeur picked Harley up at 7 am sharp and drove him to the airport to get on a private jet.  The boy had fun annoying the driver but wasn’t fully there. He was more focused on how his boyfriend was doing.  The plane ride felt like days despite the fact it was only two hours and Harley was fidgeting the whole time. He was extremely happy to get off and get into the car with Happy.

 

“What’s up?” he asked the driver as he climbed into the back seat of the car.  Happy grunted in response, but you could see that there was a bit of worry etched onto his face.  It unnerved Harley and he didn’t know what to say, so he stayed silent and let his thoughts run rampant.

 

“Is Peter doing okay?” he finally spoke up halfway through the ride.  Happy sighed and tried to stay focused on the road.

 

“I haven’t gotten to talk to him, but from what Tony told me, he’s not in great shape,” the man admitted. “Apparently, he had a really bad nightmare and the rogues broke in while Tony was calming him down in the living room.”

 

Harley let out an exasperated sigh and threw his head back with an annoyed face.

 

“What did they want?”

 

“Funding.”

 

“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.”

 

They fell into silence again, both caught up in their own thoughts.  Harley pulled out his phone and began to work on a list of things he could do to cheer up his boyfriend, which was something Peter always did for him. 

 

‘God,’ he thought, ‘what did I do to deserve a boy like him?’


HARLEY KEENER’S FOOLPROOF PLAN TO CHEER UP PETER PARKER:

-Drawing

-Baking

-Listening to musical soundtracks

-Vine compilations

-Blowing shit up in the lab

-Cuddles

-Calling Shuri

-Inviting Ned and MJ over (after school)


Once Harley was satisfied with his list, he turned off his phone and slid it back into the pocket on the side of his satchel.  Looking out of the window, he recognized where he was and knew he was only about two minutes away from the tower, and two minutes away from the boy he was in love with.

 

***

 

Peter Parker was exhausted, but he was not tired.  His emotions had worn him out, but he didn’t feel like he could ever fall asleep.  He decided that it was the worst feeling ever. He tried to ignore it, though, and focus on where he was now.  That was a trick Aunt May had taught him before she had . . .

 

Peter focused on the episode of ‘Nailed It!’ playing on the TV.

 

Peter focused on Tony’s hand running through his hair as he laid his head on his father’s lap.

 

Peter focused on the elevator doors opening to reveal Harley Keener.

 

‘Wait,’ his mind said as he froze for a second.  Then, he jumped up and ran over to his boyfriend, more than happy to see him.  The boy from Tennessee wrapped his arms around the New York boy and put his chin on top of his head, right in the middle of his messy brown curls.  The vigilante wrapped his arms around Harley’s waist, his head on the other boy’s chest, but he was careful not to accidentally crush his glasses.

 

The mechanic opened his eyes and looked over to Tony, who had stood up and paused the episode.  Gratefulness shone in the genius’s eyes as he gave the teen a sad smile. Harley returned the smile with his own plus his own look of gratefulness. 

 

Once Peter pulled away from him, Harley pulled out his phone from his bag and opened it up to his notes.

 

“We’ve got a shit ton of things to do that are on ‘Harley Keener’s Foolproof Plan to Cheer Up Peter Parker,’ so let’s get to it!” he announced with a large smile.  He could see the shorter boy’s eyes shining.

 

“That’s a terrible name,” Peter told him with a teasing smile.

 

“Aw fuck! I can’t believe you’ve done this!” he shouted in fake offense as he put a hand over his heart.  Peter started laughing and Harley couldn’t help but join in. When he looked up, Tony gave him a smile and gestured, as if to say ‘I think you’ve got it from here’ and left the room.  Harley, though, knew he’d be checking up on them every ten minutes using FRIDAY’s live security footage.

 

“Okay, so I was thinking we could attempt to make art,” Harley told his boyfriend as he looked down at the list.  A giant smile spread across Peter’s face.

 

“Hell yea!”

 

Harley Keener could not draw for the life of him, and never let it be said that he could draw even a simple flower.  Everyone who hung out with Peter for more than two days would know that he could draw like he was, well, actually, Harley didn’t know the names of any artists, so he just accepted that Peter was probably just as amazing as any of them.

 

The two were drawing portraits of each other with references from pictures on their phones.  They sat on opposite sides of the couch, having already decided that the other couldn’t peak at each other’s art.  Peter was focused on his sketchbook, tongue slightly poking out in concentration. Harley, on the other hand, tried to stay focused but kept looking up at his boyfriend, his heart fluttering at how cute he looked every time he glanced at him.  Yeah, he was in love with this boy.

 

When the two flipped their pages around for the other to see, Harley stared at Peter’s sketch with awe and Peter burst into laughter.  Despite the short amount of time, Peter’s was realistic and captured the moment from the photo in a perfect recreation. Harley’s piece looked more like something a five-year-old would make, with awkwardly short legs and hands that were just circles with lines poking out of them.  Peter insisted on keeping the drawing anyways, and they swapped papers.

 

“Well,” Harley muttered jokingly, “that was a disaster on my end.”

 

“But it was cute!” Peter argued.  Harley rolled his eyes but didn’t debate him on, instead electing to grab his phone from the coffee table.

 

“Let’s move onto the next thing on ‘Harley Keener’s Foolproof Plan to Cheer Up Peter Parker,’ because I promise it’s great!”

 

“It’s still a terrible name.”

 

The southerner ignored the comment and pulled up the list.  He looked to the next two items and then shut his phone off, throwing it onto the chair next to the couch.  He jumped up before turning to Peter and holding his hands out to help the boy up.

 

“We’re gonna bake!” Harley announced as Peter grabbed his hands and he hauled him up from the couch.  The two looked at each other for a moment before starting off to the kitchen, throwing out ideas about what to make along the way.

 

“Chocolate chip cookies!” Harley exclaimed.

 

“Banana bread!” Peter replied.

 

“Red velvet cake!”

 

“Blackberry pie squares!”

 

“Lemon bread!”

 

“Chocolate cupcakes!”

 

“Yes!”

 

Once they reached the kitchen, Peter walked over to the counter and tapped on the farthest edge of it.  A hologram came up and he quickly typed in what they wanted to make. Harley came up behind the boy and wrapped his arms around his waist, Peter’s back to his front, as he buried his head in his boyfriend’s shoulders.

 

“We could make them with vanilla frosting,” Peter told him, “but that seems kinda boring.”

 

“What about peanut butter frosting?” Harley suggested, lifting his head up.  Peter smiled and quickly searched up the dessert and found a good recipe for it.  Satisfied with his results, he turned around, making Harley release his grip on him.  Without having to say a word, they both went off in search of the necessary ingredients, looking back to the instructions to see what they needed.  It worked perfectly, almost as if it were a practiced routine. Just as they got all the ingredients on the counter, Harley spoke up.

 

“FRIDAY, can you play our Broadway playlist?”

 

Instead of an answer, the AI just shuffled the playlist.  The two sang along to ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘The Producers’ and danced around the high-tech kitchen as they put everything together.  Peter worked on the wet ingredients while Harley mixed the dry ones, and they were just about ready to mix them together when Peter felt something light hit him on the side of his face.  He looked up and saw his boyfriend holding the bag of flour, having just thrown a handful at Peter.

 

“Oh, it’s so on.”

 

Peter ran to the pantry and pulled out a bag of rice flour, opening it up and grabbing a handful.  He threw it at the approaching Harley, covering his shirt in flour. The war had begun.

 

***

 

When Steve Rogers used to walk down the street, people would stop to talk to him and ask for autographs or photos.  Now, as he walked down the street with Sam and Wanda in tow, all he received were dirty looks from passersby. He attempted to keep his head up high as he walked, but the glares were starting to get to him.  The moment he thought he might snap from all of the nasty glances, the group arrived at Stark Tower. Knowing they couldn’t get through the front doors, they turned into an alleyway right next to the tower.

 

“Why are we doing this again?” Sam asked as he watched Steve pulling the cover off of a vent way up high.  Wanda was holding him up high as he pulled it off.

 

“Because Stark refuses to talk to us,” Steve replied, “and we need to work as a team.”

 

“But doesn’t this feel a bit . . . like an invasion of privacy?”

 

“He doesn’t have a right to privacy after everything he did to us!” Wanda shouted at him, eyes glowing red.  Sam just put his hands up to show that he surrendered and didn’t say anything more.

 

Once the vent shaft popped off, clattering to the concrete below with loud echoes of metal against the ground, Wanda’s glowing magic encompassed both her and Sam along with Steve.  She lifted them up, just like she had done to get to the window the night before, and let Steve climb into the shaft first. He knew the tower like the back of his hand, easily knowing how to navigate through the vents to get to the penthouse level.

 

***

“FRIDAY,” Peter said, suddenly stopping the flour fight between him and Harley, “is something going on?”

 

Harley gave him a worried look and Peter simply mouthed ‘Spidey Senses’ to him as the AI replied.

 

“It seems the rogues have broken into the vents and are on their way toward the kitchen.  Would you like me to inform boss?”

 

Before Peter could even open his mouth to respond, Harley chimed in.

 

“Don’t alert him.”

 

“Very well,” FRIDAY said before going quiet.

 

“I know that face,” Peter announced, accusation laced in his voice and evident on his face, “and that face means you’re about to do something stupid.”

 

“Me? Why I’d never!” Harley replied with an offended voice.  Peter rolled his eyes as Harley grabbed his wrist with the hand that wasn’t holding a bag of flour and pulled him to the middle of the kitchen.  Show tunes were still lightly serenading them in the background.

 

“Let’s act like we don’t know they’re here,” Harley explained to his boyfriend with a mischievous smile, “and then pelt them with flour when they drop from the vents.”

 

“That’s not a half-bad idea,” Peter admitted.  Harley gave him a smile, which was quickly wiped off his face as Peter threw a handful of flour at him and bolted to the other side of the kitchen.  His boyfriend chased after him, scooping flour out of his bag to pelt the vigilante with. They threw the ingredient at each other for a few more minutes until Peter slipped on the copious amounts of flour coating the floor.  Harley, still holding his bag, pulled his boyfriend up. They stood there for a couple of seconds, looking into each other’s eyes before Peter gave him a quick peck on the lips and then threw more flour at him.

 

***

 

Steve Rogers didn’t have any expectations for what he would see when they reached the kitchen, but this was the last thing he would’ve guessed would be here.  He saw the boy from last night, who Steve genuinely thought didn’t exist until the morning came and the group talked about him, meaning that it wasn’t a weird fever dream.

 

There was another boy there too, though.  The Rogues watched as the two threw flour at each other, laughing and smiling as music they didn’t recognize played in the background.  The three gave each other looks as they questioned the scene in front of them. Their attention was drawn back down to the kitchen as a thud was heard, only to see the boy from last night on the ground.  The new kid picked him up and Steve sucked in a sharp breath as he observed them kiss before continuing their fight.

 

Steve looked up at Sam and Wanda, who were both already looking at him, and held up three fingers.  He counted down to one and then ripped the vent cover off, the three jumping down into the kitchen. They landed in perfect formation, only for it to be ruined by the two teens each throwing the entire contents of a bag of flour at the three.

 

Silence reigned in the kitchen as the two groups stared at each other, both daring the other to move.  Finally, the two boys started dying on laughter, the new boy leaning on one of the counters for support.  Wanda, steam practically coming out from her ears, started forming magic, directing it at the boy from last night.  The laughter stopped as he dropped to his knees, eyes closed and breath coming out in heavy pants. He inhaled with gasps as if he couldn’t get enough oxygen into his lungs.

 

Wanda didn’t let up, even as the new boy quickly rushed over and kneeled beside his friend boyfriend.

 

Wanda didn’t let up, even as tears streamed down his cheeks and he tried to scream, nothing coming out of his mouth.

 

Wanda didn’t let up, even as Steve tried to talk her down from what she was doing.

 

“Wanda!” he exclaimed. “Wanda, you gotta stop. He can’t breath!”

 

Harley was sitting beside the boy, unsure of what to do because, if this was like one of his panic attacks, he wouldn’t react well to touch.  Tears gathered in his eyes along with the helpless feeling in his chest.

 

“Stop doing this to him,” Sam demanded more sternly than Steve did.  “He’s just a kid!”

 

Sam looked worriedly to the boy, who now had his arms wrapped around himself in a type of subconscious defense mechanism.

 

“Now isn’t the time for th-”

 

Steve was abruptly cut off as he heard something charge up behind him.  Wanda, distracted by the noise, dropped the spell. The three Rogues whipped around and were met face to face with Tony Stark, a gauntlet covering one hand as he pointed it at the flour-covered superheroes.  Peter’s eyes fluttered open again as he attempted to catch his breath. He was close to falling to the side with how unstable he was on his knees, but Harley caught him and repositioned him so his back was against the counters.  He closed his eyes, leaning his head back on the counters too.

 

Tony and the Rogues were in a standoff, neither moving.  Nobody said a word until Harley shot up from the floor into a standing position.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” the teen exclaimed.  Everyone looked to him and Tony pushed his way past the rogues so he was standing beside the southern boy and in front of Peter, just in case Wanda tried something again.  Just as Steve opened his mouth to speak, a knife whizzed by his head, barely missing him and sticking into the wall behind him. Natasha walked forward and stood on the other side of Harley, giving her infamous death glare to the three intruders.  Tony took a deep breath and lowered the gauntlet the tiniest bit.

 

“We need to talk.”