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Born For This

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The city is bustling but he pays it no mind. Just like the rest of the city dwellers, he's in a hurry to get somewhere. The traffic is moving slow and the streets are congested with backed up vehicles. Horns are honking, drivers are yelling at each other; it's just another typical day.

He knows he's late and when he sneaks a quick glance at his cellphone he can't help but curse quietly to himself. There's no point in stressing over his tardiness, he's already ten minutes behind and what's another ten going to do? He replays his alibi over and over again in his head, he has to make it believable.

The traffic hasn't moved, but it doesn't bother him. It's not like he has to endure it anyway. He's up high, probably a little too high for any normal person, but he wasn't exactly normal. If anything, he was far from it. Normal was the last word he'd use to describe himself.

He moves swiftly through the skyline, swinging every which way as he tries to get home. It's his own fault, he should've stayed where he was instead of venturing off, but then how could he have stopped that mugging? He saved the day and he feels accomplished. It's just a shame he can't share it with anyone.

His mind starts to wander to home and if he could do things his way, he wouldn't be heading there. He loves the city. It has its bad moments, like all cities tend to, but he'd take the bad any day if it meant not being cooped up at home. At least out here he felt like he was doing something right.

The large facility comes into view and Peter quickly swings over to the front gate. Once his feet touch the ground, he's scurrying toward the bushes and pulls off his backpack, unzipping it and taking out a gray hoodie, blue jeans and a wrinkled white shirt. He's gotten faster at changing clothes and he peels the red and blue outfit off of his body, then he's stuffing it into his already overstuffed backpack. He smiles proudly at the outfit; he should be proud, he made it himself, then he's zipping the backpack up.

His hands roam over the white shirt to rid it of any wrinkles, but it does nothing and with a huff Peter gives up. The hoodie is the last article of clothing to be put on, then he's throwing his backpack over his shoulder and slowly makes his way out of the bushes.

He survey's the main gate for anyone that would notice him, and when he finds none, he's back in the air, swinging over the gate and toward the large building. He can spot a few agents training outside and he quickly moves along the wall, doing his best to keep from being seen. He's thankful he's fast and in no time he locates his bedroom window and slides it open.

His bedroom is the way he left it that morning: clothes covering the floor, books and papers scattered around his desk, a Star Wars Lego set still intact and untouched. Great, his sister wasn't in his room today.

Peter tosses his backpack on the twin-sized bed and opens it, reaching for the clothes and pulling them out. He places it in his secret hiding spot, the small compartment in the ceiling just above his closet, then he's making his way toward the door and opening it, peering out into the hall.

The apartment is silent and for a moment he wonders if his parents are even home. Then his dad's voice fills his ears and with a deep breath, he prepares himself to face him. He finds his dad in the kitchen, pacing the large space. He's talking to someone, and at first Peter thinks it's to himself, then he notices the ear piece.

“Of course he's not here!” His dad's voice raises and Peter flinches at the sound. “I swear to God, Happy if-” Tony is staring at him now and Peter gives his dad a small smile. With a sigh, Tony turns back to the phone call. “Never mind, he's here.”

“Hey, dad I-”

“Where the hell have you been? Happy was waiting for you.”

“Yeah, about that. I was uh-” Peter trails off and he rubs at the back of his neck. He's trying to remember his alibi. “I was staying late to work on a science project with Ned. It's a big part of our grade and is due this week so-”

“You could've called. You know that device I gave you that lets you talk and communicate? Yeah, use it! God, you almost gave me a heart attack.”

“Sorry. What is that smell? Is something burning?” Peter questions, sniffing the air. Tony curses and rushes toward the oven, opening the door and releasing a cloud of smoke. Peter can't help but find the situation amusing. "Cooking again, dad?"

“Honestly, I don't even know why I try. I'm not the one who cooks in this household," Tony says with a huff and he slams the oven door shut.

“He's not home...is he?”

Tony lets out a sigh. “No. Pete, he had to deal with this thing-”

“A mission? Dad, I know what they are.”

“Great! Then you know he probably won't be back until tomorrow. I'll just order a pizza. Sound good?”

Peter nods his head. “Sounds good. I uh have a lot of homework and better get started on that so...see ya later!”

He makes a run toward the hall and luckily his dad doesn't call out to him. He shuts the door behind him once he's in his room, and with a heavy sigh he collapses on his bed. He doesn't even bother starting on his math homework, it's not like he's in his right mind to focus on it anyway.

He gets that his parents are busy and one of them is always going on missions to save the world, and if he's being honest, he hates it. He doesn't want normal parents; he's thrilled knowing that his parents are Iron Man and Captain America, but sometimes he just wishes that they would include him. He's capable of fighting crime and if they'd give him a chance they'd see it too. But they never include him in anything they do; he's always left in the dark.

Peter doesn't understand why. He wouldn't slow them down or ruin any of their plans. He'd be a great addition to the team. Being an Avenger was something he always wanted, but for some reason his parents didn't want that for him. Was he not good enough? He shakes his head at that thought. He knows he's good enough, he's helped countless people in the city. He just wishes his parents could see what he sees.

His door creaks open quietly, and his excellent sense of hearing picks it up and his head snaps in the direction of the door. Morgan pokes her head in and smiles. Peter's not in the mood, but he can't find it in himself to kick her out. The last time he did that she cried and he felt like a dick about it.

“You can come in. I won't yell at you,” he tells her and the door opens the rest of the way.

Morgan runs into the room and plops herself down on the bed beside him. “Daddy says the pizza will be here soon.”

“Thank God. I'm starving.”

Morgan jumps up and runs over to where his Star Wars Lego set is perched and she reaches out to touch it. Peter sits up quickly and rushes over to stop her. “Hey, you can't touch that!”

She huffs and crosses her arms over her chest. “Why not? It's just a toy.”

“It's not just a toy!”

“I'm telling daddy you're not sharing!”

“Fine, I don't care.” Peter crosses his arms over his chest and Morgan huffs again before she's stomping out of his room and slamming the door hard behind her.

He rolls his eyes and collapses back on his bed.


It's late when he's jolted awake and he turns over to reach for his phone, eyes shutting quickly when the bright light of the screen blinds him. He peels his eyes open slowly and they adjust to the brightness. It's a little after two and with a groan he rolls over and shuts his eyes again. His alarm always goes off at six and he forces himself to fall back asleep.

But sleep doesn't come and he's opening his eyes when he hears his bedroom door creak open. A tall silhouette stands in the doorway and Peter props himself up on his elbows, eyes transfixed on the dark figure. He recognizes the build instantly. Peter reaches over to turn on the lamp, illuminating the room in a dim glow.

“Sorry,” Steve apologizes and he steps into the room, blue eyes darting down to make sure he doesn't trip over his son's shoes.

“You're home late.” Peter doesn't mean for his tone to sound so bitter, and he hopes his father doesn't pick up on it. He does.

With a heavy sigh, Steve makes his way over to the bed, taking the spot near the edge. “I'm sorry, Pete. I just wanted to check on you.”

Peter roll his eyes. He knows he shouldn't have an attitude and if he were to do this in front of Tony, he'd definitely get a lecture, but Steve is different. He's gentler, more understanding and if Peter is being honest, the man smothers. It's annoying.

“What was it this time? Aliens? Robots?”

Steve chuckles softly and shakes his head. “Nothing like that. Don't worry about it.”

Peter frowns. He's being left in the dark again. He wants to complain, but instead he holds back. “Are you leaving again tomorrow?”

“No. I won't be going on anymore for a while.”

“Thank God!” Peter exclaims, almost a little too enthusiastically because his father is chuckling again. “Dad can't cook and it's awful when he tries. At least you know what you're doing.”

“He's trying, Pete.”

There's more meaning behind those words. It's not a surprise that he's not as close with his dad as he used to be. He loves his parents, but for some reason his relationship with his dad had been a little distant lately. He's not entirely sure why and he's always been afraid to bring it up.

“I know. Sorry, Cap.”

Steve frowns and he lets out a sad sigh. “ I miss the days when you called me Papa.”

“Yeah when I was a kid! I'm sixteen!”

“Yeah, yeah I know. You keep reminding us.” Steve reaches out to ruffle Peter's hair, smiling when Peter squirms to get away. Steve pulls his hand away and gets up from the bed. “Go to sleep, you have school tomorrow.”

Peter rolls his eyes and with a huff falls back against the bed. “Thanks to you I won't be able to get up in the morning. I might as well just stay home.”

“Nice try, kid.” Steve sends him a wink, then he's making his way toward the door.

“If I fail my Spanish test I'm blaming you!” Peter calls out to him.

“I love you, Pete,” Steve tells him, then he's leaving the room and the door shuts quietly behind him.

“I love you too, Papa.” Peter mutters.

Peter glares up at the ceiling, wishing he had come out and told his father how he really felt. The thought of telling his parents everything comes to mind, but he quickly shakes his head of that idea. They can't know. If they ever found out who he really was, they'd make him give it up.

He can't give up being Spider-Man.

Chapter Text

The alarm is blaring and with a groan Peter rolls over to silence it. He falls back and shuts his eyes, enjoying the few minutes of silence he has before one of them pounds on his door. Ten minutes goes by and still nothing. Peter's brows scrunch up in confusion and he turns his head toward the door. Any minute now.

Still nothing.

Peter throws the blankets off in a huff and begins getting ready for school. It's not until he's dressed and heading toward the kitchen does he realize why no one bothered checking on him. They're fighting again. Peter rolls his eyes and waits in the hall, ears perked as he listens in on their conversation.

“You can't keep doing this, Steve. Every time I think you've moved past this-”

“They're still out there, Tony. I told you I wasn't going to give up.”

“I know! You tell me this every fucking time! I just wish you'd stay home, just once! We need you here, Cap.”

“And I need to keep him safe!”

“You smother him! If you would just let him-”

“No! You know why we can't do that!”

Their bickering dies down and Peter assumes they're glaring at each other; it's something they do when they don't know what to say next. He's heard enough and decides to make himself known. He enters the kitchen with a fake smile and they turn in his direction.

“Morning,” He greets and he walks over to the fridge, opening the door in search of food.

“Morning, kiddo.” Tony is the first to return the greeting. “Hey, I can make you something if you want.”

Peter cringes and shakes his head. “No thanks,” he says and he holds up the yogurt in his hand. “This is fine.”

“Oh.” Tony's face falls and Peter almost feels bad for hurting his feelings. “Hey, Happy will be here in twenty minutes so-”

Peter rolls his eyes as he peels the lid of the yogurt off. “Dad, I don't need him-”

“Are you whining?” Tony asks and Peter looks up at him, shrugging his shoulders slightly. “You're seriously going to whine about having a private driver take you to school? I swear kids are so ungrateful these days. You know some kids-”

“Why can't I just take the bus like everyone else?”

“The buses don't come over here. We've already had this discussion.”

“Then I'll just walk or swing-”

Steve's eyes dart in Peter's direction. “Swing? Pete-”

“It's not a big deal!” Peter replies quickly.

Steve and Tony share a look, then Tony exhales sharply. “Forget it. I'll drive you,” Tony says and he leaves the room in search of his keys.

Peter turns to Steve. “Please don't let him-”

“You'll be fine.” Steve gets up from his spot at the kitchen table and makes his way over to his son. He wraps his arms around him and leans down to press a kiss to the top of Peter's head, then he pulls away and rests his hands over Peter's shoulders. “This is just his way of wanting to spend more time with you. He loves you.”

Peter can't help but scoff at those words. “Yeah right. He's always in his stupid lab.”

“I know, but he really does love you, Pete. We both do.”

“Then why won't you let me help?” Steve's eyes shut briefly as he sighs and Peter quickly adds, “Please! Whatever it is you have to do on these missions I can help! If you'd just let me try.”

“I can't. You're too young-”

“I'm not a kid anymore! Just-” Peter's words are cut short when Tony is walking back into the room, keys dangling in his hands and with a huff Peter drops the conversation. “Fine,” he mutters harshly and breaks free from Steve's grip and leaves the room.

“Peter!” Steve calls out to him, but he goes unheard and he sighs.

“Is it a bad time to say I told you so?” Tony asks, swinging the keys in his hand.

“Don't.” Steve points a stern finger in his husband's direction. “I'm done with this conversation.”

“That makes two of us. Look, you take Morgan to school and I can have some one on one with Pete. I'm taking the Audi, though.” Tony holds up the keys and Steve rolls his eyes.

“Fine,” Steve says, “just don't push him.”

“I won't,” Tony promises.

The drive to school ends up being one of the most uncomfortable car rides Tony had ever been on. He tries small talk, but Peter is grumpy and keeps his head facing the passenger side window. Tony turns the radio on, hoping the classic rock would lift his son's sour mood, but it doesn't and Tony gives up. He turns the radio off.

“Kid, you can't be mad at me forever. Is this because of Happy?”

“No,” Peter finally says, turning his head to face Tony. “I mean, not really. Happy is a cool guy, but, dad I don't need a babysitter.”

“Hey, no one said Happy is a babysitter. I just think it's better if he takes you to school and picks you up. No big deal,” Tony says with a small shrug of his shoulders.

“And I thought Cap smothered me.”

“Hey!” Tony glances in his son's direction. “First of all, Cap is my nickname for him, so find your own. And second, I am not smothering you. Is it so wrong for me to want to keep you safe?”

“Why can't you and Ca-” Peter pauses and lets out a sigh. “Why can't you guys just let me be an Avenger?”

Tony slams hard on the brakes, a little too hard because Peter is lurching forward and Tony throws his arm in front of his son to keep him from hitting the dash. “Sorry, red light,” he murmurs and he turns his attention back to the light.

“Dad?”

Tony inhales and his knuckles twist over the steering wheel. He can feel Peter's eyes on him, but he's afraid to meet his son's gaze. He hates this conversation and he wishes Peter would just drop it, but he never does. He's stubborn.

“God, you're so much like me.” Tony huffs and he turns back to his son. “So an Avenger huh? Is being a teenager that boring?”

Peter frowns and crosses his arms over his chest. “I just-I want to do more. I can help.”

“I know you can, Pete. But you're just a kid and being an Avenger is a lot of work.”

“I know it is!” Peter turns in his seat to face Tony. “Dad, I can help! And I swear you won't even have to worry about me.”

“Pete, it's not that simple. Cap would kill me if I let you join us on missions.”

“But it's the family business! Didn't you say you'd love it if I took more interest in it?”

“Kid, I meant my business. Totally different here.”

“Dad, come on! Just give me a chance.”

Tony knows Peter is never going to give up and they will be having similar conversations like this until he finally cracks. He's already at his breaking point and he never wants to have this discussion again.

Steve is going to kill him.

“Look, Pete, let me talk to your father and-”

“Yes!” Peter cheers, fist pumping the air in excitement.

“Wait! I said I'd talk to him. That doesn't mean...” Tony glances at his son again, taking in the cheerful expression on Peter's face. He'd hate to be the one to cause that look to vanish. “Just let me talk to him okay? Don't push anymore!”

“Deal!”

They're nearing the school and Tony pulls up in front. Peter grabs his backpack and reaches for the handle, but Tony stops him. “Hey, have a good day, kiddo.”

Peter smiles at him. “ I will, dad.”

“Oh and one more thing. Would it kill you to call him Papa every once and awhile? He's mushy and misses that kind of shit.”

Peter nods his head and opens the door. “Yeah, I'll work on it.”

“Hell call him Popsicle.” Tony laughs, “You know because I call him Capsicle and-” he quickly waves Peter off when his son doesn't join in. “forget it. I love ya, kiddo.”

“I...I love you, too.”

Tony waits until Peter is out of sight before driving away and he lets out a heavy sigh. Steve is definitely going to kill him.



School is uneventful and most of the day passes in a blur. Peter can't focus on anything but the talk he had with his dad and the rush of excitement is still flooding through him.The moment he stepped inside the school he had wanted to tell his best friend, but just like everyone else in his life, Ned couldn't know. So instead Peter had to keep another secret and it drove him crazy.

The bell rings loudly and Peter grabs his things and rushes out of the classroom. He pushes his way through the crowd in the hall, desperately trying to get outside. A familiar black car is waiting for him, but Peter doesn't approach it. Instead, he turns and blends back in with the crowd until he's far enough to run without being noticed.

His legs carry him a few blocks and he stops running when he's sure he's in the clear. The alley is just up ahead and he ducks into the shadows. He's quick to discard his school clothes and he slips on his suit. It's not much, nothing like the ones his parents wear, but it will do for now. He smiles as he fantasizes his dad making him his own suit. Maybe he'll even get his own Friday.

He tries to rid his head of those thoughts before he continues to jump ahead of himself. His parents still need to talk.

The city for once has nothing to offer. He had already stopped a car break in and two muggings, but it wasn't enough. Peter needed more, something bigger, but the city was quiet tonight. He doesn't want to give up, but the sound of his phone captures his attention and a quick glance at the screen has him cursing.

He quickly pulls off his mask and tries to fix his messy hair before accepting the incoming facetime call. It takes a moment for the connection to go through and then his dad's face is staring at him. The look on Tony's face is enough to let Peter know that he's in serious trouble.

“Hey!” Peter greets cheerfully, but the greeting does nothing to wipe the stern look from his dad's face.

“Hey? Pete, where are you? Happy-”

Peter groans and squeezes his eyes shut. “Dad, I'm sorry! I totally forgot he was picking me up today.”

“Kid, you seriously need to work on your lying. Where are you?”

“Uh I'm um-” Peter scrambles to get off the rooftop, and he curses quietly to himself when he wishes he would have done that before accepting the call. “I'm on my way home now! I just-I uh..."

“Peter, I swear to God if you don't get your ass home then you can kiss being an Avenger goodbye.”

“Wait, I can still be an Avenger?”

It's Tony's turn to curse and he rolls his eyes. “I didn't say-” He huffs. “Just get home. I'll send Happy now.”

“No! I'm almost home! I gotta go now! Bye!”

“Pete-”

Peter swipes his finger across the screen to end the call, letting out a sigh of relief when he doesn't get a call back. He slips his phone back into his pocket and makes his way back to the alley. His stuff is right where he left it and he changes as fast as he can back into his day clothes.

The apartment is empty when he arrives home and he calls out to his parents, but he gets no response in return. He quickly hides his suit and tosses his backpack in the corner of his room, then he's leaving the apartment in search of his parents. He has an idea of where to find them.

His guess is confirmed as he gets closer to the common area, but before he can make it to the top of the stairs, he hears someone call out to him and he turns around. He smiles at his uncle Sam, but when all he gets is a stern look in return, his smile falters.

“Am I in trouble?” Peter asks.

“I don't know. Are you?” Sam raises a brow and crosses his arms over his chest.

Peter sighs in defeat. “I swear I just lost track of time.”

“Uh huh sure. I wouldn't go up there if I were you. Your dad's pissed.”

“Which one?”

“Good question.” Sam throws his arms around Peter's shoulders to steer him away, and the teenager squirms in his grasp.

“Come on, man! I just want to apologize.”

“Oh you will.”

Peter keeps up the fight and he manages to wiggle himself free, and he makes a run for the stairs. Sam is calling out to him and Peter can hear the sound of his footsteps behind him, and he keeps running until he's in the common room.

Both of his parents are there, along with his sister and Peter prays this isn't some kind of family meeting. Steve is sitting in one of the chairs and Tony standing near him. Peter's eyes travel to the sofa where his sister and aunt are sitting and he sends a smile his aunt's way; he gets one in return.

Sam finally reaches the top of the stairs, panting hard and he glares at Peter. “Damn, you're quick,” he tells him, then he turns to Steve. “I tried to catch him, man. Kid's slippery.”

Steve smiles. “It's okay. I wanted to talk to him anyway.”

“Am I in trouble?” Peter asks again and he steps further into the room.

“Define trouble,” Tony answers and Peter winces at his tone.

“Sorry. I-”

“Stop,” Steve says and gestures toward the sofa across from him. Peter doesn't think twice and he rushes over to the sofa. He opens his mouth to apologize, but Steve beats him to it. “Do you have any idea how worried we were? You're supposed to come straight home after school.”

“I know, I know. I just-I hate Happy picking me up all the time.”

“Pete, he's there for a reason.”

“What reason? You guys act like I'm in some kind of danger!” Peter cries. The room grows silent and his eyes dart back and forth between his parents. They don't respond and it only frustrates him even more. “Fine, don't tell me.”

Steve turns to Natasha. “Nat, can you give us a minute?”

Peter glances at her, silently pleading her not to leave. She sends him a sad smile, then she gets up from the couch and leaves the room with Morgan. Sam leaves with them and Peter suddenly wishes he never came home in the first place.

“Pete,” Steve begins and Peter forces himself to meet his eyes. “We just want you to be careful.”

“I am careful. I know how to take care of myself.”

“You think you do, but you're just a kid.”

“Will you stop saying that! What the hell are you so afraid of!” Peter yells.

“Steve,” Tony finally speaks up and he lays a hand over his husband's shoulder. “Just tell him.”

“Tony, stop. He's-”

“I'm what? Look whatever it is I can handle it! Just make me an Avenger and I-”

“Make you an Avenger?” Steve questions, one brow arching up. “Peter, there is no way in hell I will ever make you one. It's too dangerous.”

“But dad said-”

“I said...” Tony quickly steps in when he notices the look Steve is sending his way. “I said I'd talk to you about it.”

“Tony, the answer's no,” Steve says firmly.

“I know, but just hear the kid out. I know he's young, but he's smart and those powers-”

Steve jumps to his feet. “I will not risk putting our son in danger. God, Tony why are you agreeing to this?”

“I'm not...not entirely. Steve, he's treated like a fucking prisoner. I worry about him, too but the kid needs to live a little.”

“So making him an Avenger is what we should do?”

“No, I mean-” Tony sighs. “Honey, just calm down for a minute okay?”

Steve inhales sharply, then he's turning toward his son. The anger is still present in his eyes. “Pete, go to your room.”

“Why? I can stay. This about me anyway. Dad, tell him!” Peter begs.

Tony sighs again. “Kiddo, just do what he says.”

Peter opens his mouth to protest, but his dad is giving him a look, silently begging him to be obedient. Peter shakes his head angrily and storms out of the room. He can hear his parents arguing again.

He doesn't bother going back to the apartment. He needs to clear his mind, get everything off his chest. There's only one person who can help him do that.

Chapter Text

He keeps the swinging down to a minimum, not wanting to bring unnecessary attention to himself. The suit is still hidden in the ceiling of his bedroom and Peter knows he can't be seen swinging around the streets of New York without it. The suit is there to keep his identity hidden. He's not ready for the world or his parents to learn who he really is.

He's already been recognized for his good deeds; there's videos on the internet of him in action, but it's not the same. No one knows who's really behind the mask. He's fantasized of the day when he does reveal that he is Spider-Man. The world has already showed their interest in him and he just knows life would be easier if he didn't have to hide anymore.

School wouldn't be hell for him. He's a nobody there; just another smart kid that gets picked on for his talents. It also doesn't help that the whole school knows he's the son of the famous Iron Man and Captain America. Peter's lost count of the times when he'd be mocked for being born to a couple of superheros and not have any powers of his own. It's times like that when he wants to blurt out the truth, to tell them that he does in fact have powers, but the secret has to remain hidden. At least, that's what his parents tell him.

He hates that he has to hide who he is. His parents don't have to keep their identity hidden and he wonders why he's forced to. Morgan isn't given the same talks as he is; she's free to be herself and a part of Peter resents her for that. Sometimes he wishes he was born normal.

The familiar building finally comes into view. Peter slowly makes his way up the steps, suddenly feeling nervous about just showing up this late. He reaches out to knock, only to hesitate and he retracts his hand. He gnaws away at the inside of his cheek as he contemplates knocking. He reaches out again and his knuckles brush against the door, then he's inside. He smiles at the sensation of the teleportation; it's something he's always loved and if he could he would do it all day.

The grand staircase is the first thing his eyes land on, then they travel higher, settling on the familiar figure at the top. Peter smiles.

“Doctor Strange!” He gives a little wave, but doesn't get one in return. His smile falters instantly and for a moment he regrets the decision to visit. But he can't go home.

“Do I want to know why you're creeping around my front steps?” Strange questions, one brow arching up. He makes his way down the stairs and that's when Peter notices he's not sporting the familiar tunic and cloak. It's a little odd to see the doctor in a pair of jeans and a hoodie.

“New look?” Peter gestures toward the man's clothes and Strange rolls his eyes. “I'm sorry, it's just you're always in that other outfit and-”

Strange sighs and Peter grows quiet. “Why are you here, kid?”

“What? Is it a crime to wanna visit my favorite person in the whole world?”

“You and I both know that's not the reason. You're a terrible liar by the way.”

“So I've been told.”

Strange frowns at the way the teenager's voice sounds so broken. This hasn't been the first time Peter's randomly showed up on his doorsteps. He sighs and throws his arm around Peter's shoulder. “Come on, kid.”

“Wait.” Peter stops them from going any further. “Can we just teleport upstairs? Please?”

Strange rolls his eyes.


 

Peter frowns as he looks down at the white tea cup. He brings it up to his nose, getting a small whiff of the hot liquid and he grimaces. He doesn't want to appear rude, but tea has never been his beverage of choice, and with an apologetic smile he sets it down on the table beside him.

“Do you have something else? Like a soda or something?” Peter asks.

Strange huffs and waves his hand, then much to Peter's delight a familiar red can is heading toward him. He smiles widely and takes the can into his hands. “Better?” Strange asks and Peter nods his head. “Don't tell Wong we're stealing from his stash again.”

“Got it,” Peter says and he cracks the can open, enjoying the hiss from the released air. He chugs most of it.

“Now are you going to tell me what you're doing here or do I have to guess again?”

“It's nothing.” Peter glances down, suddenly finding the can of soda more interesting.

“I'm just going to have to guess huh? It's your parents isn't it?” Peter nods, still keeping his gaze cast down. Strange sighs and rubs at his temple. He's not surprised. “I take it they don't know you're here.”

“No. They were arguing again and...it's always about me.” Peter takes another sip of the soda, frowning when he loses the appeal for it. He diverts his attention back to the doctor. “I'm sorry. I just needed to get away.”

“I know, kid, but sneaking out-”

Peter groans and rises from the chair. “Not you too. All they do is keep trapped in that stupid place and I'm tired of them worrying about me.”

“Pete, I hate to break it to you but they're always going to worry. Do you know how many times I told your father to tone it down?”

“I just...I just want them to trust me I guess.”

“Sneaking out isn't exactly going to do that.”

Peter sighs. He knows Strange is right, he always is. “Then what do I do? I just wanna be...an Avenger.”

Strange's brows raise until they're practically touching his hairline. Out of all the conversations he's had with Peter, he's never heard those words come out of his mouth. With a heavy sigh Strange gets up from his own chair and makes his way over to where Peter is standing. “Kid-”

Peter glances up at him, brown eyes glossy with tears. “You're gonna say the same thing as them, aren't you?”

“I'm not them.”

“But you don't think I should be an Avenger.”

“Kid, it's a lot of work and I only do it every now and then. Also, you're sixteen,” Strange points out and Peter huffs.

Peter wants to argue, but he knows it's a fight he won't win. “Fine,” he says instead and he folds his arms over his chest.

Strange shakes his head and places his hand over Peter's shoulder; Peter immediately relaxes from the touch. “Go home, Pete.”

“Can I just stay here with you? You can show me more magic and-”

“Some other time. Now get out of here before your parents kill us both.”

Peter smiles when Strange reaches out to ruffle his hair. He feels better instantly, being near the doctor does that to him and there's a part of him that feels guilty for confiding in him than his own parents, but Strange is different. He's more understanding and Peter finds him easier to talk to.

“Thanks, Doctor Strange.”

“Kid, Stephen is fine.”

“Uncle Stephen?”

“Get out of here.”

Peter smiles and heads toward the door, then he quickly spins around to face the doctor. “Oh one more thing. Can you teleport me home?”

With a roll of his eyes Strange opens up a portal. Peter gives him one last look, then he's stepping through and entering the familiar space of his bedroom. He doesn't bother seeking his parents out, knowing they're still downstairs arguing. Instead he grabs his phone and earbuds, then he's crawling up to his favorite place.

Chapter Text

The arguing has become an issue. Lately it seems like it's all they do, but no one bothers to put an end to it. They're both stubborn, always have been and always will be, and though they don't see eye to eye most of the time, they still try to meet in the middle.

This just wasn't one of those times.

Their son has been the subject of their fights lately, which didn't come as a surprise; they've been fighting about him for years. But now that he's older and they're unable to supervise him twenty-four seven, it's put a strain on not only their marriage, but their relationship with their children.

It had to stop.

“Steve, come on. Look at me,” Tony says. He's always the first to say something when they get like this. Steve is shutting down again and Tony can practically feel the anger radiating off of him. He's ready to take the blame...again.

Steve finally does glance up to meet Tony's eyes and the anger slowly starts to fade from his own. He doesn't want to do this again, but he's angry and he has every right to be. Risking their son's life wasn't something he was going to do. Ever.

“Why did you tell him he could join the team?” Steve gets straight to the point. He watches as his husband sighs in defeat and shifts from the uncomfortable gaze being directed at him. Steve's patience is running thin. He wants an answer.

Finally Tony does supply one, “I never said he could join. I told him we would talk about the possibility of-”

Steve doesn't like the answer given and he quickly interjects, “Tony, there is nothing to discuss. I already told you how I feel about this. I don't want this for him!”

“Now you're yelling again. Can't we have one conversation without it turning into this? I don't know if you've noticed but we've been having the same damn fight for sixteen years and I am tired of it.”

“I'm not trying to fight.” Steve does his best to keep the anger out of his tone. He's aware of the constant bickering and the strain it's put on their marriage, and he wishes he knew how they had gotten to this point. It's his worrying. He knows it's been a long time issue, but it's not just him and his issues. Tony has his fair share. “I just want you to listen.”

“Are you listening? Our son hates us and do you know why that is? Do you even care?” The harsh tone of Tony's voice brings on a new wave of anger in Steve. The words hurt; he does care. All he's ever cared about was his family.

Steve wants to say that, but instead he finds himself making the situation worse. “Maybe if you didn't spend all your time in the lab he wouldn't be so distant with you.” Tony stiffens at those words, his hands clenching together and nostrils flaring.

“Don't you put this on me!” Tony's points a finger in Steve's direction, his voice rising.”You're not so innocent, Steve. Abandoning this family to go on those ridiculous missions!”

“I need to keep him safe!”

“Well guess what, Cap?” Tony has stepped closer, their faces just mere inches from each other. This is the closest they've been to each other in a while. “You're just pushing him away. You need to take a look at what you're doing. It's not just me.”

Steve purses his lips into a tight line, inhaling sharply through his nose. For once in his life he doesn't want to fight, not when he knows it's a fight he can't win. They're going to keep yelling until one of them gets the last word.

“Daddy?” The soft familiar voice cuts through the air, capturing both of their attention and they turn, locking eyes on their youngest child. Morgan moves closer, dark eyes wide and full of tears. Tony sighs harshly, sending Steve one last look before he's walking away from the fight to attend to his shaken daughter.

“Hey, little miss. I thought you were with your aunt.” Tony lifts Morgan into his arms, hugging her close when she sniffs and buries her face into the crook of his neck. He kisses the top of her head, whispering comforting words. Movement catches his eye and he looks up, finding Natasha standing near the small kitchen.

“Sorry,” she says and she steps closer. “She really wanted to see you guys.”

“It's fine. We're done here anyway.” Tony gives Steve one last look, then he's taking Morgan and leaves the room.

Steve can't bring himself to look at Natasha. He knows exactly what she's going to say and before she can say those words, he beats her to it, “It's my fault. I know.”

Natasha sighs and comes closer. Steve waits for her to lecture him, but instead she's wrapping her arms around him and he accepts the embrace. “It's not your fault, Steve. Stop doing this to yourself.”

“Nat, I'm not-”

“Don't.” Natasha pulls away to stare up at him. “Don't ever think you're not good enough. You're a good father. A little paranoid, but a good father nonetheless.”

“Maybe a little too paranoid.” Steve sighs.

“Maybe, but it's only because you care. Just try not to let it take over your life. If I were you, I'd try talking to him.”

“I don't think Tony wants to see me right now.”

“I wasn't talking about him.”

A heavy sigh leaves Steve's lips. He wonders if his son even wants to talk to him. Tony's words are still ringing in his ears. His son hates him.

But they need to sit down and talk. He needs to listen to his son.

“It's gonna be okay, Steve,” Natasha assures. Her soft smile brings some comfort and Steve finds himself returning the smile.

He hopes she's right.



Tony doesn't disappear to his lab like he normally does when he and Steve get into one of their daily fights. The thought of going down and tinkering into the wee hours of the morning crosses his mind, but he can still hear Steve's words in his head and he rids his mind of that thought.

He hates how distant he's been with not only his husband, but his kids. The fights are not only draining, but damaging. He and Steve have always had a rocky relationship and Tony was sure once they settled down to start a family that relationship would stabilize, but lately it seems like it only made things worse.

Tony doesn't regret marrying the bull-headed Captain or having two kids, but he does regret letting their relationship deteriorate over the years. They never used to be this bad, Tony can recall the good times they've shared and he doesn't mean to blame his husband, especially when he himself isn't so innocent.

He admits to pushing Steve's buttons, it's just something he's done for years, but back then they didn't get as worked up about it as they do now. Tony misses the day when they argued over little things, now it was always about their children-Peter more than anything.

Their son growing up to one day become an Avenger doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world, but to Steve it's a horrible nightmare, one that is starting to come to life. It doesn't surprise Tony that his son stays out late or lashes out; he did the same thing during his teen years and he didn't blame the kid for wanting to get away from the tension that's been in their household for years. Tony sometimes wishes he could disappear too.

The lab had been that place for him to disappear to, but he fights the urge. Disappearing from his family wasn't something he was going to do, not anymore. He made a promise to be a good husband and a good father.

He glances down at the glass in his hand and regrets pouring the drink. He had given up drinking years ago, no longer needing it as a coping mechanism. But there were days when he wished he could have something a little stronger to help him get through the tough times.

The alcohol burns as it travels down his throat, but the taste is off and he doesn't get the satisfaction he had been craving. With a sigh he sets the glass down on the kitchen counter.

Tony's head snaps up when the front door opens and his eyes lock with those of his husband's. Steve doesn't keep his gaze for long, and his eyes land on the glass Tony had set down a few minutes prior. “It's not what it looks like,” Tony explains when Steve sends him a disapproving look.

“I thought you gave it up.” Steve closes the door behind him and slowly makes his way into the kitchen. He leans against the counter with a heavy sigh. “What are we doing, Tony?”

“Honestly, I don't know anymore. We never used to be like this.”

“I know. I want to fix it.”

“That makes two of us.”

Their eyes meet again only for a moment and then Steve is pushing away from the counter. “I need to fix something else first.”

Tony nods his head, knowing what his husband is referring to. He had wanted to speak with his son, but he knew Peter liked to have his space when he was upset. Tony was the same way.

Steve disappears down the hall, checking on his daughter first and finding her tucked in and already fast asleep. He closes the door quietly behind him and makes his way toward the next bedroom. He knocks first, knowing his son hates it when he just barges in unannounced. There's no response and a panic begins to set in, but Steve quickly composes himself.

You're too paranoid.

“Pete?” Steve knocks again, this time a little more urgent. Silence is still the answer he receives and he reaches for the door knob, turning it quickly and throwing the door open. Just as he feared, he's greeted with an empty room and his heart pounds in his chest. “Peter?”

“What?” Steve's eyes shoot up, relief washing over him at the sight of his son. Peter is on the ceiling, lying flat on his back and phone in his hand.

“Why didn't you answer me?” Steve questions, irritation evident in his tone. His heart rate hasn't slowed down.

“I was listening to music.” Peter holds up his earbuds and he rolls his eyes.

“Get down here. We need to talk.”

Peter sighs and with another roll of his eyes drops down to the floor, landing perfectly in front of his father. “Let me guess. You guys are getting a divorce?”

“We're not getting a divorce. Your dad and I just-” Steve trails off, not really knowing what he's supposed to say. He didn't come here to talk about his failing marriage with his son. “I want to talk to you, Pete.”

“I already know what this is about. You don't want me to be an Avenger.”

“Pete, there's more to life than being an Avenger. You're a brilliant kid and have better opportunities. You need to be thinking about college. MIT is-”

“But I want to be more than just the smart kid. Why can't you just let me do this one thing?”

“You're too young. Trust me, you don't want this job. I want better for you.”

“No you don't. You don't even care! It's not fair that you get to do all these really cool things and I'm stuck here, trapped in this shitty room-”

“Hey, watch your mouth!” Steve warns, his voice taking on a more authoritative tone.

Peter rolls his eyes. He hates it when his father uses his Captain America voice to lecture him. “Well, it's true,” he mutters and he folds his arms over his chest.

“I didn't come in here to argue with you,” Steve says, his tone softening and Peter glances up at him. “I just want to talk.”

“How can we when you don't listen?”

“Pete, I'm trying here. I just...I worry. Probably more than I should.”

“Then just stop.”

Steve sighs and sits down on the twin bed, leaning forward and placing his head in his hands. The bed dips beside him and he glances up, meeting his son's eyes and he offers a small smile. He sighs again. “You know it was a lot easier when you were younger. I still worried, but now you're out there in the world and...and sometimes I feel like I can't protect you like I used to.”

“You do protect me, but no offense...it's a little much,” Peter admits and Steve chuckles softly.

“I guess I do smother you a little, huh?”

“A little? Try a lot.”

“I can't help it. You're my baby.” Steve smiles and ruffles Peter's hair, earning a groan from the teenager.

Peter reaches up to push Steve's hands away. “Papa, stop!” he whines.

Steve stops instantly, retracting his hands and dropping them to his side. Peter is still glaring at him, but all Steve can do is smile. “I missed hearing that,” he says.

Peter's lips curve into a small smile. “Yeah, well that's who you are.”

“And here I thought I was just the old man that tells you to clean your room.”

“I mean, you are a little old. You look good, though!” Peter quickly adds, throwing his hands up in defense when Steve's brow raises slightly.

Steve rises to his feet and leans down, cupping his son's face and pressing a kiss to the top of his head. Peter doesn't squirm this time. “I love you, bud.”

“I love you, too.”

“I'll work on it, okay?”

“So I can join the team?”

“Baby steps, Pete. Now get some sleep.” Steve presses one last kiss to his son's head, then he leaves the room and shuts the door behind him.

Steve enters the living room and his eyes lock with Tony's. They're staring each other down again and Tony makes the first move to end it, “Is he still upset?” he asks and Steve shakes his head.

“No. I think we're okay now,” Steve replies and with a huff he collapses down on the couch.

“He's gonna keep asking until we agree to it, you know this right?”

“I know he is.” Steve rubs a hand over his face and sighs. Peter wasn't going to give up the idea of becoming an Avenger, no matter how much Steve wished he would.

Tony joins him on the couch and he reaches for Steve's hand. “So what are we gonna do, Cap?”

“I don't know.” It's not the answer any of them want to hear and Steve knows this, but he doesn't have the correct response to give. He glances down at their connected hands, feeling that small bit of electricity shoot through him. That spark is still there. “I still love you by the way.”

“Oh good I thought it was just me. But you're still a big pain in my ass.” Tony brings their hands up, pressing his lips to Steve's knuckles.

“I'm trying, Tony.”

“To be a pain in my ass?”

Steve rolls his eyes and shoves his husband playfully. “No, I'm trying to...be better. I've just never been so scared in my entire life. If anything ever happened to them-”

“Hey, nothing will. Especially if we keep up with what we're doing. They never leave the house.” Tony jokes, trying to lighten up the mood, but it only makes Steve frown at him. “I'm kidding, Cap. But seriously, they need to get out a little. How else are they gonna learn how the real world works?”

“It's not that, Tony.”

“I know.”

“What if they come back? It's all I can think about and it's...it's driving me insane.”

“You're getting too caught up in it. Stop letting them mess with your head. They're not coming back and if they do then they're gonna have to deal with me.”

“Us. I won't let you deal with them alone.”

Tony pulls Steve into his arms, enjoying the closeness. It's felt like years since they were this close. “Cap, just don't worry. We're the Avengers. We can kick Hydra's ass.”

Steve smiles softly and lays his head on Tony's shoulder. A sad sigh escapes him. “But he's not going to be an Avenger.”

“He can kick some serious butt, though. That web stuff would come in handy.”

“Tony, please? I need you on my side just once.”

“Don't make me take sides, Cap. I'm trying to fix us and fix my relationship with Pete. He already feels like he's in the middle,” Tony says and he feels Steve's body stiffen. He threads his fingers through the blond hair, hoping it will calm his upset husband. Steve tries to pull away and Tony brings him right back.

“Why are you okay with him wanting this?” Steve asks.

“Believe me I'm not thrilled about it, but I'd rather him do it with us then go out there and try to do it himself. He's a teenager and he'll rebel against us. I'm sure you've done things your mom wasn't so proud of.”

Steve smiles, thinking back of the days when he'd come home bloody and bruised from another fight. His mother was constantly telling him to not go running into the danger, but he never listened. Peter was going to do the exact same. Steve hated it.

“Sometimes I wish he was like Morgan. She doesn't give us trouble,” Steve says and Tony chuckles.

“She's still feisty, though. But I know what you mean. What if she asks to join us? What then?” Tony asks and Steve buries his face into Tony's chest, groaning at the thought of his baby girl asking if she can have a suit and fight crime.

“I don't want to think about that.”

“It's not too late to try again. Maybe this time we'll have a kid that will listen to us.”

“You're horrible.”

Tony chuckles and leans down to kiss Steve's head. Steve shifts and cranes his neck and Tony immediately understands what he wants. He connects their lips, eyes fluttering shut at the feel of having Steve's lips pressed against his own. He's missed this.

Steve's hands come up to cup Tony's face, bringing him closer and deepening the kiss. As much as Tony wants this to continue and possibly lead to something else, he forces himself to pull away. Steve stares at him quizzically.

“Tony...”

“Stop,” Tony grips Steve's wrists and brings them down. “I think we should still try and work this out. Not just have sex and pretend everything's okay. We don't talk anymore, Cap.”

“We were talking,” Steve reminds him and he wiggles his hands free from Tony's grasp. He cups his face and leans in for another kiss, but Tony turns away. Steve huffs and moves away, leaning forward and burying his face in his hands. “You're still upset with me."

“No, I just...I want you to promise me something. Stop going on these missions. They just make you worse and every time you come back empty handed.”

“So you want me to give up? Tony-”

“I want you to take a break. Focus on other things for once. Us for instance; our family. Just leave Hydra alone.”

“Tony, they're never going to leave me alone. They're going to come back and-”

“Steve,” Tony takes the blond's hands again and their eyes meet, “Stop. They're not going to come back and I don't know how many times I told you this, but if they do show their faces, then we will take care of it. Together. Isn't that what you always say?”

“I do.” Steve nods his head, even though he doesn't believe those words as much as he used to. Being together was supposed to make them stronger, unbreakable, but that wasn't there anymore. And it was because of him.

Tony is sensing the distress from his husband. He can't imagine what Steve is going through. They've both been attacked by Hydra, but it was effecting Steve differently. Tony didn't know much about the cult, at least not like Steve did. He was the one who defeated them, or at least thought he had.

He wants to keep assuring him that they won't come back or not to worry, but he's been saying those words for years and they still haven't been enough to ease Steve's worried mind. Tony's running out of ideas and it's become a difficult task in calming down his husband, but he wasn't going to give up. Steve will get through this and Tony will be there for him every step away.

“We can do this, Steve. I won't give up on us,” Tony promises. He can feel the tension slowly begin to ebb away. Steve glances up to meet his eyes and Tony can still see the hint of doubt in the blue orbs, but he doesn't mention it. Soon that will all fade away too.

Chapter Text

Peter doesn't complain when Happy shows up to take him and his sister to school. He does however complain about his dad joining them on the morning commute. Tony assures that he's only along for the ride because he has a meeting, but Peter doesn't really buy it. He knows it's just another excuse to keep their eyes on him.

He keeps to himself, head toward the window and earbuds tucked in his ear; the sound of Led Zeppelin blocking out the noise around him. He dreads another day of school, and he's thankful he has his best friend to help him survive it. If only Ned could help him survive his home drama too.

The music is loud, probably a little too loud but Peter doesn't care. He feels a tap on his shoulder and he turns, finding his sister staring at him. She points her finger in their dad's direction and with a roll of his eyes Peter removes one earbud.

“What?” he asks, his tone showing how annoyed he was with the interruption. Morgan is giggling now and Peter is ready to roll his eyes again, then he catches the look his dad is giving him. Peter huffs and removes both earbuds, the music can still be heard playing.

“I've been talking to you for like five minutes now,” Tony says and he reaches over his youngest child to snatch the phone from his son, ignoring when Peter cries out for it. “Kid, do you wanna go deaf? This is how you go deaf.”

“You do it all the time. Whenever you're in the lab we can hear the music,” Peter points out, earning another disapproving look from his dad.

“It's my lab and I can do whatever I want. You on the other hand don't get that kind of freedom till you're eighteen.”

“Great. Now I have to suffer another two years.”

“Okay now you just raised it to thirty.”

Peter frowns and leans back in the seat, crossing his arms over his chest and huffing in annoyance. He sends a sideways glance in Tony's direction. “Can I at least have my phone back?” he asks.

“Oh now you want to use it?” Tony retorts and he inspects the phone, smirking when Peter tenses. “I won't search it unless you give me a reason to.” He hands the phone out for his son to take, then quickly retracts it.

“Dad,” Peter whines.

Tony smirks again, “This is fun. Here.”

Peter snatches the phone back, rolling his eyes when his dad laughs.

“Daddy, I want a phone too!” Morgan exclaims, turning to face Tony with wide pleading eyes.

Tony laughs again and shakes his head. “Sweetheart, you're too young. How about a pony?”

“Yeah!”

Peter rolls his eyes and slips his earbuds back in.

Morgan is dropped off first and Peter wishes he could get out of the car and walk from here. His school's not that far and he'd probably make it in five minutes if he swung fast enough. But he doesn't get to do any of that, and instead the car is moving again and he's forced to deal with the awkwardness that's made its way into the vehicle.

He pauses the current song, but keep his earbuds in. He can hear his dad and Happy talking, but it's not something he finds interesting. His finger hovers over the pause button, ready to resume the song, but then he can feel eyes on him and he glances up.

“Kiddo, we need to talk.” It's the way Tony says it that has Peter growing concerned. He braces himself for another lecture, but it never comes. “You're not in trouble,” Tony quickly adds when he notices the frown on his son's face.

“Then what do you wanna talk about?” Peter asks. He doesn't want to get his hopes up, but there's a part of him that is hoping for his dad to tell him he can finally join the team.

“I talked with your father and-no not about that,” Tony says and Peter's shoulders sag in disappointment. “He's gonna tone it down okay? You just have to understand that he freaks out a little bit when you disappear or-”

“He freaks out a lot.”

“Don't interrupt. He just...he has his reasons.”

“Is he ever gonna tell me why he's so paranoid? I swear I can handle it!”

“I know,” Tony sighs. He wants to spill the whole truth to his son, but he knows Steve should be present for that conversation. “We can talk later tonight okay? Just please come home on time. I don't wanna ground you, but you know I will.”

Peter hesitates for a moment, then he nods his head. “Sure, dad.”

“Good.” Tony seems content with that answer and he's turning back to finish his conversation with Happy.

He's been told his lying skills could use some improvement, but at this very moment he feels pretty good about them.

 


 

Peter’s mood lifts the moment he steps into the large high school and spots his best friend. He adjusts the trap of his backpack over his shoulder and approaches Ned, smiling when they greet each other in the hall.

They make their way through the crowd, doing their best to ignore the shoving as they head toward their lockers.  “When are we gonna finish building the Death Star? I’m free tonight. I can come by your place. Your parents are so cool!” Ned says when they reach their lockers.

Peter has to fight the urge to roll his eyes as he opens his locker to take out his history book. “Yeah, they’re pretty cool I guess.”

“Dude, they’re super cool! I wish mine could be like yours.”

“Honestly, it’s not as cool as you think.” Peter slams the door to his locker shut. Ned has his head cocked in confusion and brows drawn together.  “Forget it. Tonight sounds good.”

“Yes!” Ned cheers excitedly. 

Peter forces a smile and together they disappear through the crowd again. 

It's not until they're at lunch does Ned bring up his parents again and Peter wants to change the subject. He loves his family, but he starts to wonder if his best friend loves them more than he does. Ned had always been fascinated with his parents.

“I wonder what it’s like to be an Avenger.” Ned says. Peter does roll his eyes this time and he’s glad he has his gaze cast down on the lunch tray in front of him so that Ned doesn’t notice. “Hey,” Ned is tapping Peter’s shoulder now and Peter glances up. “Here she comes.”

His stomach flutters at the sight of her and his breath gets caught in his throat. There were plenty of pretty girls in school, but none of them compared to her. MJ was different; Peter loved everything about her. She was incredibly smart and though her humor was a little on the dark side, Peter still found it funny.

He was none of those things. Sure he had the brains, but that was the only thing he had going for him. He wasn't funny or good looking, at least not like some of the other guys in his grade. He was just the shy awkward kid.

“You’re doing it again,” Ned nudges him and Peter’s face heats up in embarrassment. He quickly turns back to his forgotten lunch. 

“Doing what?” He squeaks and he quickly clears his throat. “I'm not doing anything.”

“You should just talk to her.”

Peter shakes his head. “No way, man! She would never talk to me.”

“Well then why is she coming over here?”

Panic begins to set in when MJ makes her way over to their table. No one ever sat next to them, they were the rejects of the school.

“You know the staring is creepy right?” MJ sets her tray down on the table and sits down across from Peter.

“S-staring? Who's staring?” Peter stutters, his face growing hot with embarrassment. He glances down at his tray, too nervous to look her in the eye. He's screaming at himself to play it cool and not scare her off.

“I'm messing with you by the way. I stare all the time,” MJ says and Peter's head snaps up in her direction.

“Oh, right,” He laughs nervously. He starts to wonder what she meant, deep down hoping she stares at him all the time. His eyes land on her sketchbook. “I think it's really cool that you draw and stuff. My..uh, well Cap he does it all the time and-”

“You call your dad Cap?” MJ raises a questioning brow.

“No! I mean not all the time. It's a nickname and sometimes he doesn't like it but I...” He's rambling and the more he does it the more red his face begins to turn. She's smirking at him now and he wants to die.

“Cool.” She's still smirking and she opens her book to a blank page. “I'm gonna draw you. I like drawing people in distress.”

Ned smiles and nudges him and Peter glares at his friend. He doesn't want to count this as a victory. It was too embarrassing to even come close to one.


 

There's a hint of guilt flooding through him, the voice in his head telling him that he's going to blow any odds he does have of becoming an Avenger, but he ignores the voice and its scolding. He just needs something to happen. Anything.

Peter huffs, eyes scanning the area from where he's sitting perched on the roof of a skyscraper. It gives him a perfect view of the city and the sun setting just behind the large buildings. It's getting late and he can already picture his parents flipping out. They'll be calling any minute, he's sure of it.

“Come on,” he groans, the agitation quickly getting the best of him. He keeps himself focused, not wanting to miss any action if it ever does decide to present itself. He pulls out his phone, checking for any missed calls or texts, relief washing over him when he finds none.

Something catches his eye and he keeps his gaze on the bank, quickly taking notice of the three men nearing the building. There's something about them that Peter doesn't like and the way they double check for any witnesses before entering the bank makes him suspicious. “Yes!” he says a little too enthusiastically. It was go time.

Just as he suspected, the three thugs were up to no good. They were all dressed in dark clothing and black ski masks. Peter wanted to laugh at how cliché their criminal attire was.

The large one of the group was keeping watch, gun raised and head turning from side to side every now and then. The other two, though not as big, were still much bigger than Peter, but that wasn't going to be an issue. He's taken down people bigger than himself more times than he can count. Three on the other hand might be a challenge.

“Hurry up!” The one keeping watch snarls, turning his attention to the other two. They moved as fast they could, trying to get into the ATM in the middle of the space. With his head turned, he makes it easier for Peter to sneak in.

He leans casually against the door, smirking as he watches the three crooks continue to try and rob the ATM with him in the same room. They still don't notice him and he finally decides to make himself known. “I hope you remember your PIN.”

That gets their attention and they're quickly turning in his direction. Peter decides to take another jab at them. “Nice masks by the way.”

The larger one aims the gun, ready to shoot, but Peter's faster, shooting strings of web and wrapping it around the gun, pulling it from the man's grasp. The other two have given up on trying to rob the ATM and they're turning on him next, aiming their own guns. The bullets fly throughout the space and Peter moving swiftly to dodge them.

Peter jumps up, using his hands to stick to the ceiling and he swings outward, knocking back the smaller two with his feet. The larger one has regained his gun, shooting off bullets in the teenager's direction. He aims at the larger man and shoots, cheering when the sticky web covers the mans hand and keeps him glued to the wall. Over the years his aim has improved greatly. He gives credit to Doctor Strange and all the times they would practice.

“Wow that was awesome!” He says. Movement from his right captures his attention and he quickly dodges the attack. “Come on, guys can we hurry this up? I kinda need to get home.”

The two men are running toward him and Peter jumps up, scurrying across the walls to avoid them. The guns are still being fired and a bullet zooms past his head, making him yelp in surprise and he falls to the floor, groaning when his head throbs. He can taste blood in his mouth and he groans again. How is he supposed to hide this from his parents?

He quickly regains himself when one of the robbers runs toward him and he aims for the man's face, covering him in the sticky substance and he's stumbling backwards. Two down and one more to go.

The sound of his phone cuts through the noise and Peter scrambles to answer it. One look at the screen has him cursing. He throws one last punch to the remaining guy, cheering when he finally goes down with a heavy thud.

“I gotta go! Parents need me!”

Peter exits the bank right as the police arrive and he gives them a small wave, then he's swinging away from the scene and toward home.

Chapter Text

He's not home yet and it sets off a wave of panic, but Steve keeps that panic under control. Worrying now wasn't going to bring his son home any faster. Steve has to keep himself occupied before he explodes. Luckily he has his daughter to keep him company and he listens as she tells him about her day. It's just the distraction he needs.

“Daddy said I can have a pony,” Morgan say randomly. That really captures Steve's attention and he raises a questioning brow in her direction.

“A pony huh? And where is this pony going to stay?” He asks, grinning when his daughter giggles at his question.

Morgan gives a small shrug and turns back to the drawing she's been working on since they started this conversation. “There's a lot of room outside. Please, Papa?” She is looking up at him again, but this time with her best puppy-dog eyes. It must be a Stark thing; all three of them have used this look on Steve more times than he can count. He's grown immune to it over the years.

“Nice try, sweetheart.” Steve leans down to kiss her head, chuckling softly when she huffs. “Go clean up for dinner okay?”

“Okay.” Morgan nods her head and jumps up from the dining room table. She doesn't fight or argue with him, but that doesn't mean she hasn't done it in the past. She's still feisty when she wants to be.

If only his eldest could be as obedient.

Steve enters the kitchen to continue dinner, but with his distraction down the hall washing her hands, he's left to his thoughts again and he glances over at his phone. He bites down hard on his lip, fingers itching to grab it and demand where his tardy son is. But he doesn't. Peter knows where he's supposed to be.

His phone buzzes and he snatches it off the counter top, frowning slightly when the message isn't from his son. Now both his husband and son were running late. They were too much alike.

The urge to call his son grows stronger with every passing minute and he quickly reminds himself to tone it down on the paranoia. He was going to get better; he was going to fight this.

Tony isn't as late as his text had claimed and he enters the apartment, immediately getting a big hug from Morgan. Tony staggers back, a surprised gasp leaving his lips. It didn't come as a surprise when they discovered the serum had affected her. It wasn't obvious at first, they didn't realize her incredible strength until she was three and found playing with Steve's shield. She had just wanted it to go sledding. Tony found it hysterical.

Steve was just happy she didn't climb the walls.

“You're getting so big.” Tony lifts Morgan into his arms, grunting exaggeratedly and making her giggle. He kisses her cheek and carries her into the kitchen so he can greet his husband. Morgan squirms in his arms when she's squished between the two of them.

“Daddy!” Morgan whines, pushing hard against Tony's chest until he's pulling away from Steve.

“Sorry, sweetie.” Tony chuckles and gives her another kiss, then he places her down. “Why don't you go get your brother?”

“He's not here,” Steve replies.

“He's not here?” Tony repeats and Steve nods. He waits for the panic to flash in Steve's eyes and the longer he stares, he realizes that it hasn't made itself known. “And you're okay with this?”

Steve gives a small shrug in response. “You told me not to worry so...I'm not.”

The words don't sound convincing, but Tony wasn't expecting his husband's anxiety to vanish overnight. It was a work in progress and no doubt a long one at that.

“Okay, I mean if you need me to call him-”

“No,” Steve shakes his head. “He'll be here. I trust him.”

Tony is still having trouble buying what Steve is telling him, but he appreciates the trying and he forces himself to let it go. He brings Steve into his arms, pressing a kiss to his cheek, ignoring the gagging sounds coming from his daughter.

Dinner had been quiet. Well, actually it was Steve who was quiet. Morgan and Tony participated in most of the conversations, but Steve was struggling to keep his focus on anything but his missing son. The act he put on earlier was getting harder to keep up.

He clears his plate first, no longer feeling hungry. His phone is still sitting on the counter top and this time he does pick it up to call his son. There's no answer and it only makes him grow even more concerned.

Steve jumps when arms wrap around his waist and he relaxes when a pair of soft lips kiss along the nape of his neck. “He's fine,” Tony says quietly and he places another kiss to Steve's neck.

“I know. I just hate when he doesn't update us,” Steve sighs. He twists himself around to meet Tony's eyes, doing his best to keep the worry out of his own but failing.

“It's not too late to put a tracker on him.”

“Tony...”

“I'm kidding! But come on, it's not a bad idea. We can at least find out what he's doing.”

Steve shakes his head. As tempting as the idea was, he didn't want to do that and then deal with the aftermath if Peter ever found out that they bugged him. There would be no trust between them.

“I'm giving him five minutes otherwise I'm-” Steve's words are cut short when a loud thump from down the hall reaches his ears.

“Damn, I was really hoping to see what you were gonna do,” Tony chuckles, earning a glare from his husband.

Peter enters the room and Steve is ready to lecture him on his tardiness, but when he catches his son's disheveled appearance he forgets about the scolding and all he wants to do is rush toward his son.

“Pete, what happened?” Steve cups his son's face and tilts his head from side to side, inspecting the black eye and cut along his temple.

“Nothing! I was just....there was this guy. Well three of them really but-” Peter trails off. He hisses when his head is tilted toward the side again.

“What are you doing getting into fights?” Steve scolds. This scene has played out before, but it had been Steve's mother saying those same words to him.

“I'm fine, really.”

Steve isn't convinced. He's been in a similar state more times than he can count and he remembers assuring his mother that he was fine, only to be thankful when she helped clean him up and make the pain go away. She had seen right through him, just like he was now with his own son.

“Come on,” Steve takes Peter by the hand and leads him down the hall, ignoring the groans from his son.

“Papa, I swear it's okay,” Peter tries again, only to get ignored and he huffs when he realizes he's never going to convince his father.

“Bud, trust me you're not. I've been through this myself. Sit.” Steve orders, pointing a finger at the toilet and with a roll of his eyes Peter does as he's told. Steve digs through the cupboards in search of the medical kit. “Want to tell me why you're getting into fights?” he asks as he rummages through the kit.

Peter sighs. “They were just...bullies. I don't like people like them.”

“You and me both, but putting yourself in danger like that-”

“You did it too.”

Steve sighs. “I know. I didn't want this for you, though.”

“Are we still talking about the fight thing or is this about me wanting to be an Avenger?” Peter asks. He flinches when Steve cleans the cut on his face.

“Sorry,” Steve apologizes. “I mean both, Pete.”

“But being an Avenger is something I've always- ow!” Peter glares and tries to turn away when Steve applies more of the antiseptic ointment to the wound.

“I don't know why you want it so bad. You act like your dad and I have the greatest job in the world.”

“But you do!”

“Sometimes it can be rewarding but there's times when I regret it. It's a demanding job, Pete.”

“Then why do you still do it?” Peter asks.

Steve's brows scrunch together and he pulls away from his son. He sighs. “Lets just say there's something I need to finish first.”

“Does this have something to do with you freaking out over me all the time?”

“Yes.”

Peter huffs and rolls his eyes. “Then why won't you tell me! I have every right to know!”

“I don't want you seeking them out.”

“Who!”

There was no avoiding this conversation and as much as Steve would like to continue ignoring it, he knows he needs to be truthful with his son. The longer he hides the truth, the more damage he will cause to their already strained relationship.

“Let's get something for that eye and then we can talk okay?” Steve suggests.

Peter nods his head. “Okay.”

It's awkward now that they've gathered in the living room and Peter wishes they would just say something. They're both whispering among themselves, almost as if they're trying to decide who should speak first. It's driving Peter crazy.

They've had plenty of family meetings in the past, mostly consisting of topics such as doing their part around the house or bad grades, but none of them have ever been like this. It doesn't help that Morgan isn't present for this one and Peter knows this meeting is just for him.

Do they know? Do they know who I really am? Peter panics when these thoughts start to fill his head. Of course they were going to find out. They knew everything. They wouldn't brag about it all the time if they didn't.

“Peter.”

His head snaps up quickly at the sound of his name and he finds them both staring at him. “Yeah? What's up?”

Tony is handing him a bag of frozen peas and Peter cocks his head in confusion. Tony rolls his eyes. “For the eye. Jeez, kid you really don't listen do you?”

“Sorry,” Peter mutters and he places the bag over his eye, hissing from the intense cold. “What is this about?”

Steve tenses. He had been dreading this conversation for years, but it was long overdue. Tony is nodding his head, urging him to go on and he takes a deep breath.

“Hydra.” Just saying their name puts Steve on edge. He never used to fear them, but after the advances they made on his family he's never feared anything more.

His son falls silent and Steve can see the confusion in his dark eyes. “Oh,” Peter finally says, but the confusion never leaves him. He's heard that name before, mostly in the arguments between his parents. He didn't know much about them, just whatever he could find on the internet. He knows his fathers history with them but what do they have to do with him? “Okay I’m confused. What do they have to do with anything? Aren’t they all dead?”

“I thought they were,” Steve lets out a sigh and folds his arms over his chest. “Turns out I was wrong and they...they want you, Pete.”

“Me? Why?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry I kept this from you. I thought I could find them before-“

“Before they find me?” Peter asks and Steve slowly nods his head.

“Pete, I mean it. Please don’t go looking for them. I can handle it.”

“But it’s been this long already and if you need help-”

“Please?” Steve begs and the desperation in his tone silences his son. “I can’t lose you. I almost did once and I can’t...”

“I won’t,” Peter promises.

He wants to ask more questions, wants to bring up the topic of becoming an Avenger, but he bites his tongue. Now isn’t the time, not when he’s already regaining his father's trust. But he wants to prove himself and maybe now he can.

“Am I in trouble?” He finally asks.

“No.”

“Yes.”

Tony and Steve stare at each other. Tony frowns. “Cap, he's in trouble.”

“But he has a-”

“I don't care. Stop babying him.”

Steve sighs harshly and turns toward his son. “You're in trouble. Actually, you're grounded.”

“Better.” Tony nods his head in approval. “But let's add something else. You're grounded for two weeks.”

“Two weeks!” Peter cries.

“Tony, two weeks is-” Steve trails off when Tony is giving him another stern look. “Two weeks it is.”

Peter huffs and leans back against the couch. “Fine.”

“Good, now get your butt to bed,” Tony says.

“But it's the weekend!”

“Yeah and you're grounded. Keep it up and I'll add more time to your sentence. Now go.”

Peter doesn't bother protesting this time and with a heavy sigh he retreats to his room.



“That went well,” Steve says and he crawls into bed beside his husband. Tony hums but keeps his attention on his StarkPad. Steve rolls his eyes and huffs loudly. 

“Yeah that’s great, honey.

“Are you even listening?”

“Uh huh.” Tony keeps his eyes on the tablet, brows furrowing slightly.

“Tony.”

“Yeah?” Tony snaps his head up and he sighs when he takes in the frown on his husband's face. “Sorry, it's just...did you see the news?”

“No why? Is there a problem?” Steve asks.

“There was a robbery at a bank in Queens and-“ Tony trails off when a new image projects and he quickly shuts the tablet down.

“Tony.” There’s a hint of concern in Steve’s voice and Tony immediately glances up to meet his eyes. 

“It’s nothing,” he assures. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Are you going to worry about it?”

“No.” Tony leans over to press his lips against Steve's.

The kiss doesn't lead to anything, but Tony's not going to complain. His head's not even in the right place for him to initiate sex, not when it's currently filled with the video he just saw. He needs to see it again.

He gets that chance when Steve finally rolls over and goes to sleep. Tony waits a few minutes to make sure Steve's really out for the night, then he's grabbing his tablet and rushing toward the living room.

He watches the video over and over again, each time not believing what he’s seeing. He finds similar videos on the internet; there’s hundreds posted on YouTube, but Tony is only able to get through a few of them before he can’t watch anymore.

Spider-Man. Despite having videos posted on every social media platform, Tony has never heard of the guy. It strikes him as odd; he knows a lot about everybody and he has the technology to track anyone down. But this new guy has somehow avoided his radar.

He finds himself clicking on another video and he studies it closely. The guy’s fast and strong, but those qualities are not what catches Tony’s eye. It’s the web.

“Shit!”

Chapter Text

Being grounded was one of the worst things to ever happen to him. He knows how dumb that sounds since he's fighting criminals almost every night, but he was a teenager too and groundings were one of the worst things to happen to a teenager. Peter's been in trouble before and has received plenty of groundings, but none were ever as harsh as this one. Two weeks was torture.

And it's only day one.

He grumbles to himself when he gets up, quietly cursing how beautiful it was outside. Saturday's were his day to hang out with Ned or save the city, but this weekend was ruined and he couldn't imagine spending the whole day locked in his room.

Peter gets dressed quickly and pokes his head out into the hall, listening quietly for his parents' arguing, but only silence greets him. It's both odd and relieving.

Morgan is out in the living room when Peter enters and she turns away from the cartoon she's watching when she notices him. “They're not here,” she says and turns back to the TV.

“Okay. Let me guess, lab and track?” Peter asks and he joins her on the couch.

“Yep.”

“Cool.”

They fall into a silence, both now intrigued by the cartoon playing on the screen. It's been a while since they did this together and Peter was starting to miss spending time with his baby sister. It had gotten harder over the years, with him turning into an angsty teenager and her feisty attitude only getting worse.

They clashed like all siblings do, but that wasn't going to stop Peter from being her big brother. She was his first best friend and she was always going to come before anyone else.

“They're gonna find out.” Peter's head whips in his sister's direction at those words. She's still watching the show, completely unaware of the confused expression on his face.

“What?” he asks and she finally turns toward him.

“I'm not stupid. I know why you're always sneaking out.”

“How do-wait, there's no way you could possibly know the real reason.”

Morgan frowns. “You told me you're Spider-Man.”

“Shh!” Peter shushes her harshly and reaches over to cover her mouth. She squirms and tries to push him away; Peter quickly lets go. He knows how strong she can be and he doesn't want to end up in another one of their games. He still won that day, though.

“I didn't say anything!” Morgan huffs.

“I'm sorry. It's just if they ever found out-”

“I didn't say anything you dummy. You made me promise not to tell.”

“Oh.” Peter grows silent and he starts to remember that night when he told her what his plans were. He realizes now that was dumb. He is a dummy. “I can't believe you kept it all these years.”

Morgan just shrugs in response. “You didn't tell on me when I took daddy's helmet.”

“So we're even?”

Morgan nods her head, then her eyes are settling on the cut on his face and she frowns. “They're gonna find out if you keep coming home like that.”

Peter reaches up and his fingers brush against the cut; he winces and pulls away. “Yeah, yeah I know.”

“I'm always right.”

“Shut up.”

The front door opening captures their attention and they turn, eyes landing on the sweaty image of their father. “Hey,” he pants and his brows furrow. “You two are up early.”

“It's Saturday. This is when they play the best cartoons,” Peter responds.

Steve hums and nods his head. “I guess I missed that one.”

Peter rolls his eyes when Steve leaves the room and with a huff Peter pushes himself off the couch and follows him into the kitchen. With a heavy sigh Peter leans against the counter. “Hey, Papa?” he asks, only to go ignored as Steve searches the fridge for a bottled water. 

Steve holds up a finger to silence him as he chugs the water. “What’s up, bud?”

“So this whole grounded thing...you weren’t serious right? Because I was supposed to do this thing with Ned and-“

“Oh it’s serious. How is Ned by the way?”

“Still calls you Mr. America.”

Steve chuckles. “He’s a great kid.”

Peter rolls his eyes. “Yeah the best. Can we get back to me here?”

“Sorry, but you’re still grounded. You screwed up.”

“I know but this is torture! Can I at least go outside?” 

Steve shakes his head and finishes his water. “Sorry, bud.” He reaches out and ruffles his sons hair. “you’re grounded.”

Peter huffs and pushes Steve away. “Fine, but I’m staying in my room all day..” he pauses when Steve smirks. “I’m aware that’s what being grounded is and..I’m gonna go now.”

Staying locked in his room quickly becomes boring and there’s only so much of staring at the ceiling he can take. He needs to get out and do something, not wait around wasting valuable time. The itch to be in the city needs to be scratched. 

Peter jumps up from the bed and grabs his suit from its hiding place.


 

The feeling is exhilarating. Swinging through the city has always been a favorite pastime of his. He feels free being up this high and when he’s here he’s not constantly worrying about school or his parents. Up here he can just be himself. 

Like most days this one starts off slow and uneventful. A part of him wants something big and exciting to happen, but the small ache in his head reminds him that having a break every now and then isn’t such a bad thing. 

He takes that break on a rooftop, enjoying the view of the busy city beneath him. There’s nothing out of the ordinary and with an annoyed huff he contemplates if he should just return home. The last thing he wants is to add more time to his punishment. 

He saves a cat from a tree on the way home. At least he did something today. 

Peter quietly climbs through the window of his bedroom and across the ceiling, and lands perfectly on the floor. The hairs on his body stand on end and he freezes, his spidey senses alerting him of an unwanted presence . 

“Busted.”

Peter turns quickly at the familiar voice, heart stopping at the sight that greets him. Tony is sitting on the twin bed, arms crossed over his chest and one brow raised. Peter quickly takes the mask off his face and wrings it nervously in his hands. 

“This...this isn’t what it looks like. I was just-”

Tony stands and Peter immediately falls silent. Tony pulls out his phone and taps the screen, then a video is being projected and Peter recognizes the footage. 

“That’s you right?” Tony asks, glancing up to meet his sons eyes. “So, you’re the Spiderling? Crime-fighting spider? Spider-boy?”

“S-Spider-Man.” Peter mutters.

“Not in that onesie you’re not.”

“It’s not a onesie.”

Tony gives his son a look over and he smirks. “Okay sure.” He steps forward and reaches out, taking the mask from Peter’s hand and inspecting it. “Not bad. It’s cute.”

Peter sighs. “You’re not gonna tell-“

“Cap? Believe me it’s tempting. How long have you been doing this?”

“A year.”

“Seriously? God, how did I miss this?” Tony sighs harshly and rubs a hand over his face. 

“I’m really sorry, dad. I swear I wanted to tell you but then you guys are just so paranoid and-“

“No, your father is paranoid,” Tony interrupts. “Just so you know this isn’t going to help.”

“I know, I know. But if he knew he’d never let me do this. Please don’t tell him!” Peter begs.

“Kiddo, I can’t lie to him. He won’t buy it anyway.”

“Please! If he found out then he’d take it away and I can’t...dad, I need this. When I’m out there doing this I feel like I’m making a difference and...and I’m not just the smart kid or the guy with really cool parents...I’m a-”

“A hero?” Tony offers. 

Peter nods his head slowly. “Yeah.”

Tony inhales sharply and hands the mask out for his son to take. Peter carefully reaches out, brows scrunching up in confusion. Tony rolls his eyes. “Take it. You can have it back.”

Peter’s fingers wrap around the soft fabric and he glances up to meet his father's eyes. “Wait, are you letting me-what about telling him?”

“I shouldn’t be the one to tell him.”

“What? But isn't that what you're supposed to do? That's why you're here right? To bust me and then run to him and-”

“Kid, calm down. I actually busted you last night. You need to be the one tell him about this...double life. But I know you won't.”

Peter sighs and glances down at the mask in his hand. “Dad, he’ll make me...” he pauses and looks up again. “Please? I never wanted this more than anything else in my entire life.”

“Pete, you haven’t even lived your entire life. And if you keep this up you never will,” Tony says.

“If I stop then bad things are gonna happen and-”

“And that's where the Avengers come in. You're not there yet, kiddo.”

“Wait what? You mean-”

Tony rolls his eyes and gestures toward the suit. “Change out of that. I wanna show you something.”

Peter nods his head quickly and starts to undress, freezing when he realizes that he's down to his underwear and his father is still in the room. “I uh..” Peter blushes and uses the mask to cover himself up.

Tony shakes his head. “Just meet me outside.”

Peter dresses as fast as he can and grabs his suit. He smiles down at it before placing it back in its hiding space. With a heavy sigh he steps out into the hallway, the sound of his parents' voices filling his ears and he freezes. He waits for the yelling to start.

It never comes and he slowly enters the living room. Steve and Morgan are curled up on the couch with another cartoon playing in the background. Blue eyes meet brown and Peter hesitates, wondering if he knew. But then Steve smiles at him and Peter feels relieved.

“Had enough of your room?” Steve asks.

“Yeah,” Peter replies and he glances over at the front door, finding his dad waiting for him and he cocks his head slightly.

“Ready?” Tony asks him and Peter slowly nods his head.

Steve rises from the couch and crosses his arms over his chest. “Where are you going?”

“To the lab.”

“But you just got back.”

“I know, but this new thing is driving me crazy,” Tony says.

“Okay,” Steve sounds unsure and his eyes fall on Peter. “And he's going with you? He's grounded.”

“Yeah, I know. But he'll be with me so that's punishment enough.”

Steve frowns. “Fine, but you two better be back before it gets too late or I'll ground you too.”

“I'll let you, Cap,” Tony says with a wink and he opens the door.

“Gross,” Peter grimaces and he yelps when he's gently pushed out of the apartment. He stumbles and quickly catches himself. “Are we really going to the lab?” he asks, a hint of excitement in his tone.

“Yep.” Is all Tony says and he walks away. Peter scrambles to keep up.

“This is awesome! I haven't been in the lab since I was....” Peter pauses and he frowns. As a kid he loved spending time in the lab, watching his dad tinker or create something new. It was always exciting and made him want to be just like him when he grew up, but then something changed and Peter was never able to go in there again.

Tony doesn't acknowledge his words and Peter keeps quiet. He's a mixture of both confused and excited. It's been years since he's stepped foot in his dad's lab and a part of him was thrilled to do it again, but the other part was confused. Why now was he letting him?

The lab looks the same, except for new suits that Peter had never seen before, but other than that it was exactly how he remembered it. He still gets that rush of excitement.

“Are you building a new suit?” Peter asks when he notices the hologram and he steps closer to get a closer look.

“I was...or have been for a while actually,” Tony replies.

“Oh.” Peter's brows furrow as he inspects the image. It doesn't look like any of the Iron Man suits and it doesn't look like one Captain America would wear. Then he notices the black spider in the center of the suit. “Wait, is this for me?”

“Yeah. I've been wanting to make one for you since you were a kid, but with your father and...well you know how it is.”

“Is this why you started kicking me out?”

Tony sighs and leans against his workbench. “Believe me, kiddo I didn't want to, but I couldn't risk you finding out about the suit and getting ideas. You already wanted to be like us.”

“I still do,” Peter says.

“I know you do and you're never gonna stop. So if this is something you're gonna do then you're in need of a serious upgrade. That onesie is embarrassing.”

“Wait, are you saying-”

“Yeah, now are you gonna help me build this thing or what?”

Peter smiles widely and throws himself at Tony, wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug. “Thank you, dad! Thank you! You won't regret it.”

“I kind of already have, kiddo,” Tony says. Peter pulls away, that bright smile still on his face and it's enough to bring one to Tony's face. He hadn't seen his son smile like that in so long and he wasn't going to be the one to wipe it from his face. If this is what his son wanted, then he was going to support him.

Chapter Text

He had lost count of the times he had apologized. It must have been a hundred times, but even then he felt like it wasn't enough. He messed up and now his best friend was paying for it.

Peter could see that Ned was still visibly upset, and he hates that he couldn't tell his friend the real reason for bailing on him. It was killing him inside.

“I'm so sorry, man. This thing came up and-”

“What happened to your face?” Ned asks, pointing one finger at the green and yellow bruise on Peter's face. Peter brushes his fingers against the spot, wincing slightly from the tenderness that is still lingering.

“Oh uh... just from a stupid fight. It's nothing.”

Ned's eyes widen. “So this is why you blew me off?”

Peter nods his head slowly. “Yeah....and I got grounded.”

“Oh.” Ned's face falls. “For how long?”

“Two weeks.” Peter tries to keep the disappointment in his tone, but disappointed is the last thing he feels toward his punishment. He was able to spend the whole weekend in the lab with his dad, something he hadn't done in a long time, and if he was being honest he would choose to be grounded longer if it meant spending every day with his dad.

“Dude, that really sucks. So when can we build the Death Star? It's driving me crazy.”

“I bet I can talk my parents into letting you come over. I think Mr. America misses you.”

Ned gasps and he smiles widely. “He does! Really!”

Peter rolls his eyes. “Come on. Let's just get to class.”

 


 

Rushing to get home is something Peter does more times than he cares to admit, but this time he knows it won't lead to more lectures and groundings. This time he's not avoiding any phone calls or sneaking through his window. This time he does meet Happy when the bell rings.

Morgan is already in the backseat when Peter slides in beside her and he shoots her a small smile. She eyes him closely, one brow raising and Peter can't help but chuckle. He's seen that look before. “You look like dad,” he tells her and she huffs.

“At least I look better than you,” she retorts, turning her head away and folding her arms over her chest. Peter just chuckles again. She acts like him too, but he doesn't say that out loud.

“Hey, don't make me come back there,” Happy threatens and he glances through the rear view mirror.

Peter and Morgan exchange a look, both giggling to each other. It reminds Peter of the times when they were kids and getting caught by their parents. Somethings never change.

The ride home is silent. Peter keeps to himself, keeping his head toward the window and focusing on the music in his ears. He sneaks a peek at his sister, catching her doodle mindlessly in her notebook. Peter's not much of an artist; his sister and Papa are the ones gifted with that talent. When he was younger Peter envied his sister for the skill she possessed. He hated that she could have something in common with their Papa and the two of them would spend hours sketching. Peter felt left out.

It wasn't until he grew older and discovered that his skill was inventing. He was an inventor, just like his dad. It was the coolest thing in the world.

As a kid, growing up to be just like his parents was something he always wanted. Being Spider-Man not only gave him the chance to express himself and find his place in the world, but it put him one step closer to what he wanted.

Peter doesn't even bother going to the apartment after Happy drops them off. He knows his dad is waiting for him and their time is precious. The excitement floods through him the moment he steps into the lab and he drops his backpack down near the entrance.

“Are we almost done?” Peter asks and he rushes to where Tony is standing. The suit is nearing completion and the excitement is becoming harder to maintain. He can't wait until he can toss out his old one and try on the new suit.

“Almost,” Tony replies and he sends his son a sideways glance. “So building a suit is what it takes to get you home on time?”

Peter gives a small shrug in response. “I've been thinking about this all day. Ned misses you by the way.”

“I don't believe you. He probably misses Mr. America.”

“Yeah...I just didn't want to hurt your feelings.”

“They're not. Trust me. Did you tell him yet?” Peter shifts at the question and Tony rolls his eyes. “Really? Kiddo, you can't keep this from him.”

Peter sighs. “You're keeping stuff from him too. He doesn't know about all this.” Peter makes a gesture toward the suit.

“I'm easing into it. He knows about the suit.”

“He does? But-”

“Well, sort of. He knows I've been wanting to build one for you. He's going to lose his shit when he finds out I actually did it.” Tony inhales sharply and scratches at his beard. He's not ready to have that conversation with Steve.

“I'll tell him,” Peter promises.

“I don't believe you, kiddo.”

 


 

Peter had always been proud of his suit; he made it himself and it had been enough for him, but now that his new suit was finished, his old one didn't compete. The new suit was a better fit, both in the sense of keeping his identity hidden and comfortable to wear. But if Peter was being honest, the built-in tech was by far the best thing about it.

He didn't have Friday, but Karen was just as good if not better. She really understood him and Peter had already spent hours talking to her about school and life in general. Even MJ had become a topic in their conversations. Karen was easy to talk to and if Peter could, he would talk to her all the time.

Peter arrives home late, but this time around he's not worried. He let his dad know where he was and he trusted him to pass along the message, or at least parts of it. Steve had yet to be informed of his son's double life. Peter was working on telling him.

He slips through the window with ease, and quietly makes his way across the ceiling. His landing needs to be quiet and with a flip he hits the floor with a gentle thud. It's not loud enough to raise any suspicion.

A loud crash from behind has him spinning around, eyes widening at the sight that greets him. There's his best friend sitting on his bed and the loud crash had been a Lego set. The pieces are scattered around Ned's feet, but having thousands of Lego pieces around his room is the least of Peter's worries.

“No way!” Ned speaks first. His eyes are wide and his mouth is hanging open. It reminds Peter of the time he introduced his best friend to his parents.

Peter quickly removes his mask. “What are you doing here!”

“Mr. America let me in. You said we could hang out.”

“Will you stop calling him that? And I know I said we could hang out but I didn't mean just drop by!”

“Are you okay? Your voice is doing that thing where it gets higher than normal.”

Peter flushes and his ears burn from how red they're turning. He hadn't even realized his voice was changing and he quickly clears his throat. “I'm fine. It's just...” he sighs. Telling his best friend about his secret was something he had been wanting to do for a very long time, but he never thought it would be like this.

“So you're Spider-Man?” Ned asks and Peter slowly nods his head. Ned jumps from the bed, the Legos sitting in his lap falling to the floor. “This is so cool!”

“Shh!” Peter hushes harshly. He was thrilled that his friend knew, but there was still one other person that didn't and Peter intended it to stay that way. “You can't tell anyone about this! Mr. America doesn't even know.”

“You're hiding this from Captain America!” Ned's voice somehow manages to raise even louder and Peter is scrambling toward him to place his hand over Ned's mouth.

“You can't say anything. Got it?” Ned nods his head and Peter removes his hand.

“This is...I can't believe you're really him!”

“I won't be if you don't shut up.”

“Sorry,” Ned apologizes sheepishly. “Why didn't you tell me?”

Peter doesn't miss how hurt his friend sounds and he sighs. “It's not something I can just blurt out you know? This is-” Peter frowns when he catches Ned staring at the suit and he snaps his fingers, finally getting Ned's attention.

“This is so cool. Where did you get the suit?”

“My dad and I worked on it....mostly him.”

“So are you like an Avenger now?” Ned asks.

Peter smiles. “Yeah pretty much.”

“Awesome! Can I try on the suit?”

“No.”

A knock on the door reaches Peter's ears and he jumps. “Just a minute!” he calls out and quickly scrambles to get the suit off. There's another knock and then the door is opening. Peter balls the suit up and tosses it in the corner of his room.

“Hey, bud just wanted to-” Steve trails off and his eyes immediately take in the image of his partially naked son. His brows scrunch together in confusion. “Pete-”

“Hey!” Peter greets. His face grows hot again.

Steve clears his throat and directs his eyes at the ceiling. “I just wanted to let you know Ned's here but you already know.”

“Yeah, yeah thanks for letting him in. We're gonna hang out now.”

“I'd put some pants on first, bud.”

Peter chuckles nervously. “Yeah, will do.”

“You guys have fun, but not too much.” Steve winks and Peter lets out a groan.

Steve chuckles and exits the room, shutting the door quietly behind him. It takes Peter a good minute before he can look his friend in the eye again. Ned doesn't appear fazed.

“I like him,” Ned says.

Peter rolls his eyes and quickly puts on a pair of jeans and a blue t-shirt. His face still burns from the embarrassment and his heart is still beating rapidly in his chest. That had been close.

The close encounter doesn't get brought up and Peter is thankful when Ned suggests they really do hang out and build the Death Star. Peter needs something to occupy his mind, but Ned doesn't give him a chance to think of anything else.

“So where does the web come from?” Ned asks.

Peter sighs and reaches for another Lego piece. “From my wrists.”

“Cool. Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why do you have these powers?”

Peter raises a brow at the question. “I swear I told you this already.”

“I think I would remember if my best friend since forever told me he had superpowers. You never mentioned this before, dude,” Ned says.

“Oh. Not even when we were kids?”

“Nope.”

“Really? Remember when I shot Flash with web in the second grade?”

“That was you? I thought it was just a big spider.”

Peter smiles and shakes his head. They spend a majority of the night building the set and talking more about Peter's powers. It feels like a weight had been lifted and it's freeing to talk about his secret with his best friend. He doesn't have to hide from him anymore.

“So do you lay eggs?”

Peter rolls his eyes.

 


 

He's been staring at the paper in his hands for the past twenty minutes, his brows furrowed and bottom lip tucked between his teeth. It's not going to be easy to tell them, especially when one of them was paranoid and didn't allow him to stay out past six. How were they going to react to a field trip?

Peter doesn't move from his spot at the kitchen island and he rereads the permission slip over and over again. He needs to go, he needs to get away and hang out with his friends, but somehow he doesn't picture any of that happening.

“What do you got there?” The paper is snatched from his hands and Peter gasps, eyes shooting up and landing on his dad. Tony just smirks and glances down at the paper, one brow raising as he reads it over. “A field trip huh? And to D.C. How exciting.”

“Can I go, dad? Please?” Peter begs, clasping his hands together and giving Tony big puppy-dog eyes.

“That doesn't work on me, kiddo. I mastered if before you.”

“Please? All my friends are going.”

“I'm sure they are.” Tony sets the permission slip down on the counter and folds his arms over his chest. “Did you tell him?”

“Who?” Peter asks and Tony rolls his eyes. “Oh! Uh...not really.”

“Come on, kiddo you have to do it. Unless you want me to tell him?”

“No! I will do it.”

Kid, if you don't tell Cap then-”

“Tell me what?” Steve enters the kitchen, raising one brow when he catches sight of the uneasy looks on his son's face. His eyes dart between the his husband and son and he sighs when they continue to ignore his question. “Tony-”

“Kid wants to tell you something,” Tony says.

“Oh um yeah,” Peter rubs the back of his neck nervously. Both of his parents are staring at him now, making him feel even more uncomfortable than he already was. The words are right there on the tip of his tongue, but he can't get them out.

“Pete, what's going on?” Steve asks, his voice is soft and it brings Peter back to the days when that gentle tone had been used on him when he was a kid. Back then it was easier to talk and open up.

Peter bites down hard on his bottom lip. He wants to blurt out the truth and tell his Papa everything, but he holds back. He knows what will happen if he spilled his secret. He sighs, “I have a field trip coming up and I really want to go. I didn't know how to tell you because I know you worry.”

Steve's expression softens. “A field trip?” he asks and Peter nods his head and holds up the permission slip for him to take. A small crinkle forms between his brows as he reads it over. “It's in D.C.?"

“Yeah and I swear if you let me go then I won't stay out late anymore or-”

“Okay.”

Peter is taken aback by the simple response and he blinks a couple times, not fulling believing what he just heard. “Wait, I can go?” he asks. He needs to make sure he heard right.

“Yeah. I promised I'd work on the worrying thing right? And I think a little trip would be good for you,” Steve says.

Peter smiles and jumps up from the stool to hug Steve. He uses more force than he means to and he mutters an apology when his Papa stumbles back. “Thank you, Papa. Thank you so much.”

Steve hugs him back and smiles. “You're welcome, bud.”

Peter pulls away, remembering that he needs the slip signed to make it official. He runs to his room in search of a pen, scattering the papers on his desk and he looks for the black pen he had there a few nights ago.

“Gotcha,” he says when he finds it and he turns to leave the room, stopping when he bumps into someone and he glances up, eyes connecting with familiar brown ones. He sighs, “Dad, I swear-”

“You need to tell him. I mean it, Pete. If you don't-”

“I will! I promise after the trip I will tell him everything.”

“You better. Or I will,” Tony threatens.

Peter nods his head. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

He begins to second guess his decision in letting Peter go on the school trip, but that promise he made wouldn't be kept. Keeping his family safe has always been Steve's main priority and their happiness always comes before his own, but as of late Steve had become selfish. He had deprived his children of that happiness and without even realizing it. His intentions were in the right place.

Worrying about his family was something he was always going to do, but worrying about them like the way he had been was unhealthy. It was going to push everyone he cared about away and the was the last thing he wanted.

Something brushes against his thigh, ripping Steve from his thoughts and he jumps from the contact. He glances up, eyes connecting with familiar brown ones and he immediately relaxes. Tony keeps his hand on Steve's thigh, sliding it higher and Steve's breath hitches in his throat. It's been too long.

“What are you thinking, Cap?” Tony asks. He's still rubbing his hand over Steve's thigh, but never touching the place Steve wants.

“About the trip,” Steve answers. He shifts when Tony's hand trails down the inside of his thigh. The teasing is unbearable.

Tony hums. “It sounds like fun, though.”

“Yeah. Maybe I'm worrying for nothing.”

“You always worry for nothing.” Tony moves a little closer, brushing his lips against the shell of Steve's ear. Steve shivers at the touch and he tilts his head to the side, offering those soft lips access to his neck. Tony catches on quickly and he kisses along the exposed flesh, eliciting a small moan from his husband.

“Is this a good idea?” Steve asks and he gasps when Tony starts sucking against his pulse point. “I mean the trip,” he adds quickly.

“I think so,” Tony replies quickly and then he's kissing along Steve's jaw.

Steve wants to finish their conversation, he needs some reassurance, but it's obvious that Tony only wants to participate in other things. Tony's kissing him now, slow and soft. Steve doesn't kiss him back and he pulls away, ignoring the frown on the brunet's face.

“I'm sorry. I just-”

“Stop worrying, Cap. He's gonna be fine.” Tony leans in for another kiss, but Steve turns away and Tony huffs. “Are you gonna let me kiss you? I'm dying over here.”

“You did kiss me,” Steve reminds him and Tony rolls his eyes.

“I can't just kiss you once. Come on, Steve. You can't keep worrying about this kind of stuff. He's gonna go on more trips and then college.”

Steve nods and he bites down on his bottom lip. The look of happiness that flashed across his son's face when he gave him permission to go is still fresh in Steve's mind and the last thing he wants to do is wipe that look clean. He hasn't seen his son that happy in a while.

“You're right. This will be good for him,” Steve says.

Tony smiles. “I told you. Now can I kiss you?”

Steve pulls Tony forward and crashes their lips together and it's Tony who moans this time. Tony slides his tongue along Steve's bottom lip, begging for access and Steve parts his lips, moaning softly when Tony's tongue maps out his mouth. It's been too long since they've shared a kiss like this.

Tony shifts again until he's hovering over Steve and he leans down to connect their lips again. Steve wraps his arms around Tony, trying to bring him closer. “Tony, please,” Steve begs. “Touch me.”

Not being one to deny Steve anything, Tony brings his hand between them and trails it down until his hand is hovering over the place Steve is begging for him to touch. The sound that spills from Steve's lips when Tony cups him sends a wave pleasure through the brunet. He loves the noises Steve makes, he loves that he's the reason for them.

He presses down on the obvious bulge in Steve's sweats, earning another moan from his husband. Tony removes his hand and Steve whines from the loss of contact. Tony kisses him again, reassuring him that there was more to come. He loves the taste of Steve's mouth and if he could he would kiss him all the time, but right now he wanted a taste of something else.

"You're wearing too many clothes," Steve whispers and his fingers grip the hem of Tony's shirt, tugging on the material until Tony is pulling away and removing his shirt. Steve scoots back and discards his own shirt, then he's bringing Tony in for another heated kiss.

Tony presses one last kiss to Steve's lips, then he's kissing along the corners of Steve's mouth and down to his throat, trailing open mouthed kisses lower and lower.

Steve threads his fingers through Tony's hair, watching with hooded eyes as Tony's lips trail lower. His back arches and he cries out when those lips wrap themselves around his right nipple. “Oh shit.”

Tony glances up at him and sucks gently on the pink nub, then he moves on to the next one and gives it the same treatment. He traces his tongue along Steve's muscled chest and torso, getting closer to where Steve wants his mouth. His fingers grip the sides of Steve's sweatpants and he slides the article of clothing down Steve's legs, tossing them behind him.

Tony's eyes are immediately drawn to the impressive bulge Steve is sporting and he leans down, nuzzling his nose against it and inhaling the intoxicating scent that is Steve.

“Tony,” Steve begs again, raising his hips to grind them against Tony's face. The teasing is infuriating and he needs more. “Tony, please!”

Tony glances up at him, his lips curving into a playful smirk. “Please what, Cap? What do you want me to do?”

“Stop teasing and fuck me.”

“I'm not teasing.” Tony leans up to press a chaste kiss to Steve's lips. “And I will fuck you.”

“Then hurry up,” Steve orders and he pulls Tony in for another bruising kiss. There was a battle for dominance; Tony eventually coming out as the winner. The rest of their clothing is shed quickly and Steve cries out when Tony does finally touch him. “Shit. Tony, more.”

Tony's mouth is on his again, silencing the pleasured sounds escaping his lips. Steve groans into the kiss when the pace of Tony's hand quickens. Tony breaks the kiss and buries his face into the crook of Steve's neck, sucking and biting. “Shh, Cap. We don't wanna wake the kids,” he says. Steve groans again when Tony bites down on his pulse point.

“They're asleep,” Steve manages to get out and he curses quietly when Tony's hand continues to stroke him. He knows they could risk waking the kids, but all he can think about is what Tony is doing to him and keeping quiet becomes a struggle. Tony's hand leaves him and Steve opens his mouth to complain, but all that comes out is moan when warmth engulfs him. “Ah shit!”

Steve finds purchase in Tony's hair, tugging harshly on the brown locks. Tony grunts from the sting of having his hair pulled, but he doesn't stop pleasuring his husband. The taste of Steve is addicting.

Steve can't tear his eyes away from the scene and when Tony glances up at him with lust filled eyes, Steve groans and his head rolls to the side. He forgot how good Tony's mouth felt.

He's close to his first orgasm, but he's not ready for this to end yet, not when they've been deprived of this for far too long. Steve pushes gently against Tony's head and the brunet pulls away, sending a puzzled look Steve's way.

“I ordered you to fuck me, Stark.”

Tony's brow raises and he smirks. “Impatient, Captain?”

“Very.”

Tony chuckles softly and he leans up to connect their lips. The kiss ends faster than Steve would've liked and he huffs in annoyance when Tony crawls off of him. He is impatient, but he has every right to be. It's been a while since they've been this intimate.

And like Tony liked to say, their kids were major cock blockers.

The bed dips when Tony joins him again and Steve's eyes are immediately drawn to the foil packet in his husband's hand. He bites down on his lip and without thinking he reaches out and grips Tony's wrist. Tony raises one brow questioningly.

“Cap what-”

“Don't put it on.”

“You do know what happens if we're not careful, right? The results are down the hall in case you forgot.”

Steve rolls his eyes and releases the grip he has on Tony's wrist. “I know, but maybe we could-” he trails off and his teeth are digging into his lip again.

“You wanna have another baby?” Tony asks and Steve slowly nods his head in response. Tony inhales sharply and he runs a hand through his already messed up hair. “You're serious?”

“Yeah....maybe.”

“That's not convincing.”

Steve sighs and sits up. “It's just...you mentioned Pete going off to college and Morgan is getting so big and-”

“You're gonna miss them?” Tony offers and Steve nods his head. “Okay, but you seriously wanna do this all over again?”

“I do.”

“That means no more sleep-”

“I know-”

Tony gestures between them. “No more this. No more-”

“Okay, I get it. But I want to do this,” Steve says.

Tony sighs and plays with the packet that's still in his hand. “What about...” he pauses, not wanting to bring them up when Steve has improved significantly. The thought of having another baby just proves that Steve is willing to move forward and not let Hydra control his future.

Steve lays his hand over Tony's shoulder and rubs the spot gently. “I want to get better.”

“I know you do. But a baby, Steve?” Tony turns his head slightly to lock his eyes with Steve's. He tries to read him, he needs to make sure this what he really wants.

“Yeah. We're not getting any younger.”

Tony scoffs and rolls his eyes. “You still look good considering you're over a hundred by now. I keep finding gray hairs.”

Steve chuckles and leans down, peppering kisses along the nape of Tony's neck and down his shoulder. “Please?” His breath is hot against Tony's naked flesh and the brunet shudders. He turns and Steve pulls away, then their lips meet again. The packet in Tony's hand is long forgotten and it falls to the floor.

Tony pushes Steve gently until he's on his back again and Tony crawls between his spread legs. “It may not take right away,” he says, stroking his finger across Steve's face.

“I know,” Steve nods his head. “But this is the fun part, right?”

“And here I was thinking it was the 2 A.M. feedings.”

“Shut up and kiss me.”

Tony chuckles and connects their lips again. Steve wraps his arms around Tony and pulls him closer, moaning into the brunet's mouth when Tony brings his hips down and rolls them.

It's not long before the room is filled with the sounds of their love-making. Steve buries his face in the crook of Tony's neck to muffle his cries of pleasure, and Tony moves his hips faster, trying to get more sounds out of Steve. The thought of waking their kids doesn't enter their minds, all they can think about is pleasuring each other.

Steve wraps his legs around Tony, trying to bring him closer, deeper. “Ah, fuck!” Steve's back arches and his eyes roll back when Tony thrusts harder. Tony grunts above him, speeding up his movements so he can make Steve come first. He always puts Steve's needs before his own.

“You gonna come?” Tony pants and Steve can only nod his head. His eyes are clenched shut and he's gripping Tony harder, his nails digging into the soft flesh of Tony's back. It burns, but Tony loves the sting. He leans down to press his lips against Steve's, swallowing all the curses and moans that escape Steve's parted lips.

Tony's hand snakes between them and Steve cries out when calloused fingers wrap around him. Tony's thrusts become faster, and the hand he has wrapped around Steve picks up the same pace. He keeps his eyes open and on Steve's face, wanting to watch him come undone.

“Tony, I'm gonna-”

“Come for me.”

Steve screams out Tony's name and his body seizes up, the orgasm ripping through him. Tony's own release is creeping up on him and he buries his face into the crook of Steve's neck, biting down on the sensitive flesh as he erupts inside of his husband.

Tony pulls out slowly and collapses beside Steve. His hand falls to Steve's middle and he wonders if by chance this was the one that was going to take. If it doesn't, he's not going to complain. Making the baby was the fun part.

 


 

The trip was tomorrow and there was still more preparations that needed to be done. His suitcase is on his bed, filled with some of his belongings, but it's not enough for the whole trip. With a huff Peter scans the rest of his room, searching for things he might need. The trip is only a couple of days but he wants to be prepared.

Anything could happen.

His eyes land on the closet and he opens the door, the red and blue suit catching his attention. He bites down hard on his bottom lip and he reaches for the suit. A part of him wants to leave the suit behind and enjoy the trip with his friends, but the other part of him reminds him that New York isn't the only place Spider-Man needs to save.

The suit gets packed.

Peter clasps his hands together and does another scan around his room. He smiles, feeling accomplished with his packing and he zips the suitcase shut. He places it beside his door so that he won't forget it in the morning and he collapses on his bed.

It's late and he should be resting since he has to be up early, but sleep is the last thing on his mind. He's excited and giddy about the trip. He honestly never thought he would be going. His papa was always so worried about him and now he knew the reason why, but that didn't change the fact that he wanted him to tone it down. He knew how to take care of himself.

He doesn't know how long he's been staring at the ceiling and for a moment he wonders if he should just sleep up there. He shakes his head of that idea and with a huff he gets up from the bed. He opens the door and pokes his head out, eyes immediately landing on the sliver of light seeping through his parents' bedroom door.

The noises are soft, but with his sensitive hearing he's able to pick up the small groans and he grimaces, shutting the door quietly. They've been doing that a lot lately and as gross as he finds the idea of his parents' getting it on with him and his sister down the hall, it's better than them screaming at each other.

He shakes his head of that thought. He hates when they do both.

Peter gives up on sleep entirely and decides a late night swing through the city is what will calm his energized mind. He takes the suit from his suitcase and slips it on, then he's sneaking out the window and swinging into the darkness.

He doesn't spend too much time in the large city and he heads toward a familiar building. He lands perfectly on the front steps and this time he does knock. He blinks once and then he's suddenly inside.

“What did I say about lingering around my steps?” Strange comes into view and Peter peels his mask off.

“How did you know it was me?” Peter asks.

“Kid, you're the only one who likes to visit me this late. Nice suit by the way.”

“I can't tell if you're being serious or sarcastic.”

Strange rolls his eyes. “Any particular reason why you're here?”

“I was in the neighborhood. You know being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and all,” Peter says.

“Why am I not surprised that was you? Your parents know about this right?”

“What? About me being here or being Spider-Man?”

“Both I suppose.”

“My dad does and now you do oh and my best friend does. Morgan knew a long time ago and-”

“You never know when to stop talking do you?” Strange asks and he folds his arms over his chest. Peter just shrugs in response. “Listen, kid I don't mind you visiting but I think I warned you about sneaking out.”

“You did. I just needed to get away for a bit.”

“Let me guess. They're fighting again?”

“No,” Peter shakes his head. “Fonduing.”

“I'm sorry what? Did you just say fonduing? As in the melted cheese?”

“It's something my papa says when two people....you know.”

“Got it. No need to finish this conversation.”

“You asked.”

“Now I'm wishing I didn't,” Strange says and his eyes roam over the suit. “So Spider-Man huh?”

“Yeah,” Peter smiles. “It's great! I'm hoping I can finally join the team now.”

“Still hung up on that?”

“Yeah. I think I'm getting close too! I just need to do something big and then-”

“Something big?” Strange raises a brow and shakes his head. “Kid, the last thing you need to do is put yourself in danger. If your parents want you on the team then they'll allow it. Looking for trouble isn't the answer.”

“I won't go looking for trouble,” Peter says.

Strange eyes him closely, not fully believing the words coming from the teenagers mouth. He wants to tell him that there's more to life than being an Avenger, but Peter was stubborn and whenever he had his mind set on something he was going to make sure it follows through. Getting through that hard head of his was a challenge and it was far too late for that.

“Kid, go home and get some sleep. Try visiting me during the day if you plan on having these deep conversations,” Strange tells him.

“Fine. I won't sneak out anymore,” Peter promises.

“You better not. I know where you live.”

“Then maybe you should be the one doing the visiting.”

Strange rolls his eyes and Peter chuckles. He finds himself outside again and he slips on his mask, then he's swinging back home.

Chapter Text

The soft knocking on the door is what wakes him, and it's times like this when he curses his sensitive hearing. Peter groans and rolls over, blindingly searching for his phone. There's still twenty minutes left before his alarm is scheduled to go off and he groans again.

The knocking continues and then the door creaks open. “Time to get up, bud.” Steve's voice is way too cheery for Peter's liking, but then he remembers the man is up before the sun. Peter huffs in response and places the pillow over his face. He can hear Steve chuckle. “Come on, Pete. Today's the trip. Don't want to be late.”

“You couldn't have waited twenty minutes?” Peter asks, his words slightly muffled from the pillow. Barely-there footsteps reach his ears and then the pillow is being pulled off his face. “Hey!”

“Pete, you gotta get up. Breakfast is ready.”

“Did dad make it?”

Steve smiles and shakes his head. “Not this time. Now get up. If I have to tell you again-”

“Fine!” Peter says with a huff and he throws the comforter off his body. He's excited for the trip, but he's never been a morning person and last nights trip into the city was starting to become a regret.

“You all packed?” Steve's eyes are on the suitcase near the door and when he reaches for it, Peter is instantly awake. The webs go flying and before Steve can touch the suitcase, it's being pulled toward Peter.

“Yep, everything's ready to go,” Peter smiles, giving his suitcase a little pat.

Steve's brow raises. “You sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay,” Steve says slowly and he turns to leave. “I'd clean that web off if I were you,” he calls over his shoulder. Then he's gone.

Peter sighs in relief when he's alone again and he flops back on his bed. That had been close. The last thing he needs is his suit being discovered from the one person that has all the power to take it away.

He still needs to tell his papa the truth and he remembers the promise he made about doing it after the trip and he sighs again. A part of him wants to continue to hide his identity; at least then he doesn't have to worry about being grounded for life and giving up Spider-Man. But the other half argues against the idea, reminding him that keeping a secret as big as this one is only going to lead to trouble.

He'll tell him after the trip.

Peter double checks his suitcase and hides the suit under the rest of his clothing. He prays he won't have to use it, but it's better to be prepared. He doesn't want trouble and he won't go looking for it this time.

He can feel eyes on him and for a second he assumes it's his papa again, but much to his surprise he finds Morgan standing in the doorway of his room. He lets out a sigh and zips up his suitcase.

“What?” he asks and Morgan steps further into the room.

“You better behave,” she says. The seriousness in her tone makes Peter snort.

“Behave? Thanks, dad.”

Morgan frowns. “Just don't do anything dumb. Like you always do.”

“Since when do you care?” Peter asks.

“Since forever.” Morgan plops down on the edge of Peter's bed and her eyes land on his suitcase. “I know you're hiding it. I won't tell him though.”

“You're not telling anyone anything. If you do I swear-”

“I won't! How many times do I have to tell you? Jeez, you are dumb.”

“Morgan, get out. I have stuff to do.”

“Fine.” Morgan rolls her eyes and jumps off the bed. She points a finger at him. “Don't do anything dumb, big brother.”

Peter shoos his sister away and with another roll of her eyes she finally leaves the room. Peter huffs and grabs his suitcase. “I won't do anything dumb,” he mutters to himself. The suit crosses his mind and for a split second he wonders if bringing it is a mistake. He shakes his head. The suit comes with him.

The drive to school is quiet. There's soft music playing from the radio, a song Peter has heard too many times and he can't help but roll his eyes. Sometimes he wishes his papa would play music from this generation.

Peter glances over at Steve, shaking his head slightly at the sunglasses and baseball cap. “You know that's not really a disguise right?” he asks and Steve turns to face him. “Everyone knows you're Captain America.”

Steve sighs and turns his attention back to the road. “It's not a disguise...” he pauses and sends his son another look. “You sure you have everything?”

“Yes. I don't get why you have to take me.”

“You don't have a license yet, bud. And I want to take you. I won't see you for a few days and-”

“Are you gonna cry?”

Steve turns to face Peter again and his lips curve into a small smile. “You said that to me once, before kindergarten. It was hard for me to see you grow up. It's still hard.”

“You don't have to worry all the time. You're doing a good job...at the whole parent thing. You're not so bad.”

“Not so bad huh?”

Peter rolls his eyes. “No, you're the best. Just super embarrassing.”

Steve chuckles. “Okay, I'll lose the sunglasses.”

“And the music!” Peter gestures toward the radio. “I get the forties were great and all, but can you play something from this decade? Dad at least plays good music.”

“You're aware that his music isn't from this decade either, right? And his taste in music isn't bad...it's just loud.”

“Fine,” Peter sighs and he turns toward the window again. They're nearing the school. “Please don't do anything embarrassing. Just drop me off.”

“I won't do anything embarrassing. I'm just dropping you off at school, Pete,” Steve says.

“Promise? Because last night was weird and-”

“Last night? What did I do last night?”

Peter shifts in his seat and his face heats up. He was hoping he didn't have to bring up last nights events. “I heard you and dad....fonduing.”

Steve's head whips up in Peter's direction. The pink hue that spreads across his face is similar to the one on Peter's. “We weren't....wait, how do you know about fondue?”

Peter gives a small shrug. He's suddenly regretting starting this conversation. “You used it when you gave me the talk,” Peter finally says. His face is still burning.

“I did?”

“Yeah. I asked Uncle Bucky and he filled me in.”

“Buck gave you the talk?” Steve frowns and Peter nods his head slowly. “Okay, that doesn't worry me."

"It's fine, really. I learned a lot."

Steve stiffens at those words and Peter regrets bringing that up too.

The bus is already loading when they pull up to the school. Peter spots Ned and he quickly unbuckles himself, then he freezes when he hears another click. He turns and groans. “You said you were just gonna drop me off,” Peter whines.

“I can at least help with your suitcase,” Steve says and before Peter can protest, he's stepping out of the car. Peter grumbles to himself and gets out.

Just as he feared all eyes fall on him and his face heats up in embarrassment again. His suitcase is being handed to him and Peter takes it quickly. He's ready to make a run for the bus, but the hand on his shoulder stops him.

“Hey, I just want to see you off,” Steve tell hims. “That's not too embarrassing is it?”

Peter shakes his head. “No, I guess not.”

Peter waits for the hug and when it becomes apparent that there wasn't going to be one, he makes the first move. He can hear the snickering from some of his classmates-Flash no doubt, but he doesn't care. He can feel the way his papa goes lax against him and then strong arms are wrapping around him. It's a comfort Peter had missed.

“Be safe, Pete,” Steve tells him once they pull away.

“I will,” Peter says. It's a promise he intends to keep.

 


 

The suit remains tucked away in the bottom of his suitcase. There hasn't been a reason for it and Peter keeps his fingers crossed that things stay that way. If there was crime happening around him, he's failed to notice it. All he can focus on is her.

Peter tries to think of anything other than her and he reminds himself of the conversation he had with Ned on the bus, but it's difficult to not have eyes for her. She's already caught him staring a few times.

The city was new and exciting, but Peter couldn't give it his full attention. He tried to push MJ out of his mind while they took a tour of the Washington Monument, but even that proved difficult. All he could think about was her and it was then he made up his mind. He had to tell her how he felt.

It was the last night of the trip when he finally decides to tell her how he feels. He would regret it if he never did. But he's nervous, more nervous than he's ever been and he needs some reassurance.

“I have to do it, man. I have to tell her how I feel.” Peter paces the floor of the hotel room he's sharing with his best friend. Ned doesn't reply and Peter turns toward his friend, huffing in annoyance when he finds him playing on his laptop. “Ned!”

“Yeah?” Ned lifts his head up to meet Peter's eyes.

Peter sighs harshly and folds his arms over his chest. “Are you even listening?”

“Were you talking about your parents again?”

“You're thinking of last week's conversation. I was talking about MJ!” Peter exclaims and he throws his arms up.

“Oh.” Ned nods his head slowly, then his eyes are widening. “Does she know about you being Spider-Man?”

“No...wait should I tell her? If I'm gonna tell her how I feel maybe she should know everything. I can't lie to her.”

“You're lying to Cap.”

Peter huffs and makes his way over to his bed, collapsing back with a groan. “I'm gonna tell him...eventually.”

Ned is playing the game on his laptop again. “I don't know how he hasn't figured it out by now. I mean, he's Captain America.”

Peter frowns and turns his head toward his friends' direction. “You have an unhealthy obsession with my father.”

“I just think he's cool. You're cool too! You're my favorite Avenger.”

A smile spreads across Peter's face at those words. He wasn't an Avenger yet, but the fact that his best friend had already considered him one meant the world. He couldn't wait for the day when he would be fighting alongside his heroes.

“So are you gonna tell her?” Ned's voice fills Peter's ears and snaps him from his thoughts. Peter doesn't know how to reply at first. He wants to tell her more than anything, but telling her about Spider-Man would have to wait.

“I have to. I've liked her for-”

“Forever. Just do it. What's the worst thing that could happen?”

“A lot.” Peter doesn't want to think about being rejected or any awkwardness that could follow. The last thing he wants to do it jeopardize their friendship, but not telling her how he felt about her had been eating at him for years. It was risky to come out and say it, but he'd never forgive himself if he continued to keep it from her. “I'm gonna tell her.”

“About you being Spider-Man?” Ned asks and Peter has to fight the urge to roll his eyes.

“No about me...forget it. I'll be back later.” Peter jumps up from the bed and crosses the room to grab his jacket. His eyes land on the suitcase and for a split second he contemplates bringing the suit. He reminds himself that he's not going to tell her that part of him yet.

Peter leaves the room, catching a “good luck!” from Ned before closing the door. His nerves hit him like a punch to the gut and he takes a few deep breaths to calm himself, but the technique does little to ease his worried mind. He argues back and forth with himself about how this is a bad idea and he should just go back to his room and play video games with Ned, but then he's standing outside the room MJ is in and it's too late to go back.

“Come on,” he whispers to himself and he slowly reaches out to knock. The door opens before his hand can come into contact with it and he quickly pulls his hand back. MJ is just as surprised as he is and she jumps back a little. Her brows crinkle in confusion and Peter knows he needs to say something. And fast. “H-hey,” he stutters.

“Hey,” MJ says slowly, brows still knitted together. “Why are you creeping around my room?”

“Uh...” Peter's mind goes blank. This reminds him of the times he's been caught lingering around Strange's front steps, but unlike those times he can't reply back with a snarky comment. This isn't Strange. This is MJ. This is the girl he's been head over heels for since first grade. “I wasn't...I just-”

“I'm kidding.” The smile on MJ's face instantly calms Peter down. But now that's all he's focused on. He loves her smile. “So what's up?”

“Hmm?” Peter snaps out of it and he meets her eyes. “Oh! Uh I was just wondering if you...you know if you're not doing anything maybe we can do something...”

“You mean sneak out of the hotel and wander around a city we don't even know?”

“Uh...”

MJ smiles again. “I'm in. Just give me five minutes.”

The door closes and Peter lets out a breath he didn't even know he was holding. He's still nervous and afraid of what she's going to say to his confession, but he's already made it this far and it was definitely too late to run back to his room.

Those five minutes fly by and soon the door is opening again and MJ greets him. “Ready?” she asks.

All Peter can do is nod his head.


 

Just as he feared, it was awkward. They haven't said much to each other since they snuck out of the hotel, and Peter was starting to regret ever leaving in the first place. But he's quick to remind himself that he may never get a chance like this again.

“You look really nice.” Peter is the first to break the awkward silence and for a moment he fears he's made it worse, but then he catches the small smile on MJ's face. He apologizes anyway. “I'm sorry. I mean I do think you look nice and I've been wanting to tell you and-”

“Do you always ramble this much?” MJ asks, that smile still on her face. Peter's own face is heating up.

“Y-yeah kinda.” There was no point in denying it, she's already witnessed previous rambling episodes. “But I do mean it...you look nice. You always look nice.”

Peter's face is burning now and he's glad it's dark enough out to mask his blush. His hands wring together nervously, and he mentally kicks himself for making things between them even more awkward than they already were. He was better off telling her he was Spider-Man.

He tries to change the subject and he brings up school and plans for the summer, but the conversation doesn't last more than a few minutes, then they're back to the uncomfortable silence. MJ has her hands buried in her jacket pockets and she kicks mindlessly at a rock. She huffs loudly and Peter curses himself for messing everything up.

“This place is cool,” she finally says.

Peter nods his head in agreement. “Yeah. I like the...” His eyes scan around their surroundings looking for a famous landmark or interesting street sign, but he finds none. They're nearing an old looking building and it's not until they get closer does he realize it's a bank. “That place looks pretty cool.”

MJ follows his gaze and she nods. “It's abandoned.”

“Oh...that's cool.”

MJ gives a small shrug in response. “It's probably haunted or used for secret cult meetings.”

Peter doesn't know how to respond to that and he chuckles softly instead. He hadn't intended for it sound uneasy and it's when he catches MJ staring at him again does he realize he had failed. “That's...cool.”

“Let's go. I think you're freaking out.”

“I'm not freaking out. I just...” Peter can't look at her and he directs his gaze to the ground.

“So is that all you wanted to tell me?” Peter's head whips up at those words and his eyes go wide. MJ is smirking at him now. He thought for sure she would have moved on from their previous conversation.

Tell her! Peter screams at himself, but he can't form any words. His mind has gone blank. MJ has stopped walking and Peter realizes it's because he had stopped first. Finally he says something, “Uh...”

MJ's brow raises slightly. “Wow, you are awkward huh?”

“I'm sorry!” Peter blurts out. “I've been wanting to tell you for a long time now that I think you're really cool and funny and smart and I've-” His rambling cuts off abruptly when every hair on his body stands on end, and a familiar tingle shoots through him. Three men, all dressed in black are near the entrance of the bank and their presence is what set off his spidey senses. Now he regrets leaving the hotel.

MJ hasn't noticed them and Peter reaches out for her, wrapping his hand around her wrist and tugging her away. “Hey, what the hell are you doing?” MJ asks and pulls herself free.

“I'm sorry, but I just think we should really go back. It's late and I don't want us to get detention,” Peter replies quickly. He glances over at the bank, relief washing over him when he finds them gone. He doesn't want to be around when they come back.

“Okay?” MJ says slowly. “Why are you being so weird now? Or weirder than usual?”

“I just...I think we should go back. It's our last night here and I don't want us getting in trouble.”

MJ doesn't appear convinced, but she agrees to go back. Peter gives the bank one last look, then he's leading the way back to the hotel.

 


 

Ned is still up when Peter sneaks back into their shared room. “How'd it go?” he asks, a wide smile on his face. “Does she like you back?” He gasps. “Did she kiss you!”

“Stop. Nothing happened,” Peter replies and he crosses the room quickly, grabbing his suitcase and unzipping it.

“Oh. Then it went bad? You guys weren't gone very long.”

“Something happened.” Peter has the suit in his hands now and Ned's eyes widen.

“Bad guys! Can I come? I've always wanted to see Spider-Man in action.”

“No, you can't come. I just...look, I can't explain but I need to check on something.” Peter changes into his suit, ignoring the small gasps coming from his best friend. Ned rarely gets to see him in the suit and it doesn't surprise him to know his biggest fan is losing it right about now. “I'll be back later. Just cover for me.”

Peter is out the window before Ned can respond and he swings off into the darkness.

It doesn't take him long to locate the bank and he keeps himself out of sight. The rooftop of a building facing the bank provides not only a great view, but also coverage from anyone passing by. The three men from earlier haven't made their appearance yet and he doesn't have all night waiting for them to come back.

“Hey, Karen?” he says and the A.I. immediately responds.

“Good evening, Peter.”

“Hey! Hi. Listen, I need you to activate x-ray vision.”

“Activating x-ray vision.”

“Awesome.” Peter can make out the group of figures inside the building. The guns in their hands make him nervous.

The warning his senses give off are worse than they've ever been and his first thought is to call his dad, but he quickly rids his head of that idea. He needed to prove that he was ready to be an Avenger. This was his chance.

Chapter Text

Having a plan, regardless of the situation was a must. It was something he had been taught at a young age. Before every mission his parents would work together to plan and strategize, and though Peter was never allowed to hear those plans, that never stopped him from sneaking up to the ceiling and eavesdropping on their briefing.

He knew the importance of having a plan and being ready, but now that he was about to go on his own mission, he had no plan. It wasn't his brightest moment.

Sneaking into the bank had been easier than he thought it was going to be. No one had been guarding the entrance, which Peter had found strange, especially since in every movie he's ever seen there is always someone keeping watch. But he's quick to remind himself that this wasn't a move, this was real life.

The bank was also abandoned and there was no reason for there to be a guard. Peter wasn't going to complain or question it, he was just thankful he was able to get inside.

But now he needed a plan.

He racks his brain for one, thinking back about what he had heard his parents discuss, but even that doesn't spark any ideas. He starts to regret inspecting the bank and the voice in his head reminds him that his dad is just a phone call away, but he doesn't listen. He wants to do this alone. He wants to prove himself.

Peter stays in the shadows, using his wall-crawling abilities as an advantage. He has a sense of security when he's up high on the walls. No one will notice him.

His eyes adjust quickly to the darkness and he keeps himself focused, ready for anything. He still doesn't have a plan and he doesn't know what he's up against, but he's been in similar situations before. The voice is back, reminding him that stopping a car jacking and a group of unknown and armed men are totally different scenarios. He tunes the voice out again.

Muffled voices break the silence and Peter stops mid-crawl, ears perked as he tries to listen in on the conversation. He carefully moves closer, following the voices down the dark corridor until they're getting louder and a dim light greets him.

 

Peter creeps closer toward the light until he's outside of what appears to be a vault. The three men are gathered inside, and Peter's eyes immediately land on their guns. He's dealt with bad guys with guns before-three of them at once if he's counting the robbers at the ATM- but this was different. The robbers were inexperienced punks with handguns, and these guys looked like they had years of experience under their belt and the weapons they possessed were far more intimidating.

He tries to push his uneasiness away. Now wasn't the time to freak out. He was Spider-Man and as far as he was concerned, heroes didn't run away from the bad guys.

Peter drops down to the floor carefully and takes a small step forward, wanting to get a better look of the strange equipment in the vault. The familiar tingle is back and he tries to turn around, only to freeze when a gruff voice is in his ear.

“Don't move, kid.”

The tingle hasn't subsided, only growing more intense and every fiber of his being is telling him to fight, to run, but he finds himself listening to the voice when a strong hand squeezes his shoulder tightly.

A new sound fills Peter's ears and he tries to turn again, only to have the firm grasp on his shoulder tighten. The familiar click of shoes against the floor echoes down the corridor and Peter can feel the person get closer and closer.

“Let him go, Rumlow. He's on our side.” The voice is unrecognizable, but it doesn't sound threatening.

Rumlow eases his grip on Peter's shoulder and this time Peter does allow himself to turn. He's met with a face he doesn't recognize and his senses are setting off another warning. Something tells him that this man is to not be trusted, but then he remembers the words 'he's on our side' and Peter glances at the other figure. The man is older and dressed in an expensive looking suit; Peter doesn't recognize him either.

“W-who are you guys?” Peter hates how small his voice sounds and he tries to make himself appear fearless, but then Rumlow is smirking at him and he knows his facade has fallen through.

“Relax, kid,” Rumlow says, that unsettling smirk still on his face. Peter studies him for a moment before they're being drawn to the gun in the man's hand. Rumlow follows his gaze and then they're locking eyes again.

“Enough,” The older man steps closer and Peter directs his attention to him. “We need him.”

“Me?” Peter squeaks and he backs up, yelping in surprise and spinning around when he bumps into someone. The three men have now moved from the vault; two are lingering near the entrance of the vault and the larger one is pressed dangerously close to him.

“Peter,” The older man's voice is calm and Peter glances at him, brows slightly furrowed. The man smiles. “I know who you are and I'm sure you're wondering who I am.”

“Y-yeah...just a bit.”

“I'm Alexander Pierce.”

Peter can't form a response. The name doesn't sound familiar and the fact that these group of men know who he is and he doesn't know them strikes Peter as odd. The voice in his head is screaming at him to get out, but Peter can't move. His eyes flicker toward the guns again.

“It's okay,” Pierce tells him, his voice calm and soft. “We're not here to hurt you. We've been waiting for you.”

“Why me?” Peter asks and he gently peels back his mask, his eyes glancing between Pierce and Rumlow. “Who are you guys and how do you know who I am?”

“You're Peter Stark-Rogers, son of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. I know your parents, Peter. Very well, actually. I'm with SHIELD.”

That name he knows and Peter slowly relaxes at the mention of SHIELD. He knows all about those guys, but the men surrounding him still don't ring a bell. “Okay,” he says slowly, still unsure if these men can be trusted. “But what do you want with me?”

“You want to be a hero, don't you? That's why you wear the suit?” Pierce's eyes do a quick scan of the suit. “That's why you sneak out to save the city?”

Peter nods his head. “You're a little too specific,” he says. Then he realizes these men have been keeping a close eye on him. “Wait, have you been following me? How do you know all this?”

“It doesn't matter. Peter, I understand completely. I know you just want to do the right thing, and so do we. That's why we need you. Someone with your unique abilities would be a great asset to SHIELD.”

“I guess so.” Peter's still confused and slightly uneasy.

“You're afraid,” Pierce says. “You're afraid of your parents finding out.”

Peter shifts and nods his head. “My Papa doesn't really agree with what I want.”

Rumlow chuckles softly and Peter's eyes dart in his direction. “Typical, Cap. The guy's been trying to protect you since before you were born. Yeah I was there, kid. I know all about your papa. I bet he's never mentioned me.”

“No....not really.”

“We worked together, kid.”

Peter's brows draw together and he frowns. He's never heard his papa mention the man. It sets another wave of uneasiness through him. The only group of people he's ever been told about was-

“Are you with Hydra?” Peter asks quickly, his gaze landing on Rumlow when he laughs. The three men behind him join in.

“We're the good guys, Peter,” Pierce tells him, his lips curving into a smile. "We want to stop Hydra.”

“I'm just...confused. I've never heard of any of you. I know about SHIELD but you-”

“I wasn't expecting you to know about us. There's a lot your father hasn't told you, and honestly I'm not surprised, but I can assure you we're on your side. I know you want to keep being Spider-Man and I can make that happen.”

“How? My parents-”

“They don't need to know everything right now.”

Peter bites down hard on his bottom lip as he digests the words being said. Being Spider-Man was something he could never give up and SHIELD was willing to work with him, to keep that dream of his alive. Something his parents would never do.

The voice is back, arguing against the idea of teaming up a group he's just discovered and for a moment Peter finds himself listening carefully to the points the voice makes. He doesn't know these men very well and just because they are part of SHIELD doesn't mean they are trustworthy. His papa kept them hidden for a reason.

But joining them could be his chance. He thought for sure he'd be an Avenger by now, but his dad hadn't budged and Peter wasn't sure if he ever was. Now here was SHIELD offering him a position with them and it wasn't something Peter could say no to.

“What would I be doing?” Peter finally asks.

“We'll work out the details,” Pierce tells him. “I can pick you up tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow? I'm leaving tomorrow.”

“Don't worry, Peter. It won't take long.”

“Are we meeting here?” Peter glances around the space, eyes settling on the vault and the strange equipment. “What is this place?”

“Nothing that concerns you.” Pierce steps closer and Peter jumps slightly when the older man wraps his arm around Peter's shoulder and begins leading him down the corridor he came through. “We can talk more tomorrow.”

They're nearing the exit now and Peter stops. “Wait, what about my parents? They won't let me do any of this.”

“I will take care of it. I can convince them that you're abilities should not be kept from the rest of the world.”

Peter wants to protest, he's not ready for his papa to learn the truth, but keeping quiet wasn't an option anymore and it was time that not only his papa know the full truth, but the rest of the world. A small smile forms on Peter's face as he imagines everyone knowing who he really is. Life would be different, but it would be a good different. He would be an Avenger, not the geeky kid. He would actually be someone important.

Pierce's grip on him tightens, snapping Peter from his thoughts and it's then he realizes they're standing at the entrance of the bank. Peter wants to ask a million questions, but he never gets the chance to because Pierce speaks first, “Don't worry, Peter. I'll tell you everything you want to know tomorrow. For now, just keep this between us okay? I will talk to your parents.”

Peter nods. “Okay.”

He wants to thank Mr. Pierce, but he doesn't get the chance for that either and he's ushered outside by Rumlow. Peter stumbles slightly down the stairs and he spins around just in time to catch the wink Rumlow sends his way. It's not reassuring, but Peter chooses not to question it.

It's late when Peter finds himself crawling through the window of the hotel room, and he lands on the carpeted floor with a quiet thud. He slips the mask from his face and carefully makes his way over to his suitcase. The light switches on and he freezes, his hand flying up to shield his eyes. Ned sits up quickly in bed and Peter slowly removes his hand from his eyes.

“You owe me big time!” Ned says. “They were doing rounds and I said you were in the bathroom.”

“Okay? I'm sure they bought it,” Peter replies.

“I had to use that excuse like five times! I said you ate something bad.”

“Great, so tomorrow Flash will give me a hard time over that. Look, it doesn't matter.” Peter unzips his suitcase and tosses his mask inside, then he's peeling the rest of the suit off his body.

“So...” Ned pauses and Peter glances over at him.

“So what?” Peter asks and he slips a t-shirt over his head.

“Were there any bad guys? You were gone for a while.”

Peter gives a small shrug in response and continues getting dressed, then he crosses the room to his bed. “No bad guys,” he says and he crawls into bed. He can't help the small smile that appears over his face. “I think I got offered a job.”

“A job?” Ned questions, one brow raising slightly. “I thought being Spider-Man was your job?”

“It's not...I mean not really. I bumped into these guys from SHIELD and they want me on their team.”

“What about becoming an Avenger?”

“I can still be one. I think working with these guys will help me. You should've seen how thrilled they were that they found me.”

“Okay,” Ned says slowly. “But isn't a little odd that they just randomly appeared out of nowhere. Why now are they looking for you?”

Peter huffs. “I don't know. It doesn't really add up, but this is my chance, Ned! I can finally be who I wanna be!”

Ned frowns. “I guess so. Just be careful. It still sounds a little weird to me.”

Peter doesn't respond. He doesn't want to admit that on some level he agrees with his best friend. Nothing about tonight's events make sense and there's a part of Peter that wants to back out from the agreement he made, but the other half is curious and wants to find out what these guys really want.

Chapter Text

The sun is just starting to rise, sending bright rays of light through the crack in the curtains and Peter blinks his eyes open, a small groan leaving his lips as the warm light washes over his face. It's too early to be up and he rolls over, his eyes fluttering shut. They don't stay closed for long and they're shooting open.

Peter scrambles out of bed, cursing quietly when he crosses the room and trips over one of his shoes. Ned is able to sleep through it all, which doesn't come as a surprise since he wasn't much of a morning person. Peter wasn't either, but this morning was different.

He gets dressed as quickly and quietly as he can, then his eyes are landing on his suitcase. For a moment he contemplates bringing the suit, but there's hesitation. He was just meeting with Pierce, there would be no reason for it.

There's a mixture of excitement and nervousness flooding through him when he steps outside of the hotel. Sneaking out was something he has mastered, but it felt a little different to be doing it while on a school trip. He remembers the promises he made before he came on this trip, and a part of him feels guilty for disobeying, but what he's doing he wouldn't count it as dangerous. He wasn't stopping bad guys on the street, he was simply meeting with someone that could help him.

He glances around, not exactly sure what he's supposed to be looking for and he begins to wonder if it's too early; Pierce never specified a time. Peter huffs and buries his hands in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his heels as he waits. Then he sees it.

A sleek black car is parked down the street. Peter makes his way toward the vehicle, his steps becoming smaller and more hesitant the closer he gets. It's not until the back window rolls down and Pierce appears does Peter step closer.

Pierce is wearing that same warm smile and it's enough to diminish any hesitation Peter had. The driver is the next to greet him, opening the door and gesturing for Peter to get in. Peter sends the driver a small smile, then slides in beside Pierce.

The nerves return and Peter fiddles with his fingers. Pierce is watching him carefully, that smile still on his face. “You don't need to be nervous.” Pierce reaches out to gently pat Peter's hands. “We're just here to talk.”

The car begins to pull away and Peter turns in his seat, watching as they get further and further away from the hotel. He reminds himself that the meeting is harmless and he shouldn't be worried, but that little voice in his head is back, pointing out that he doesn't know this man all that well. Peter pushes that voice to the side. Pierce was one of the good guys.

Peter can feel eyes on him and he glances up, connecting his own with steel blue ones. He clears his throat. “So uh my bus leaves at nine and-”

“That's why we're meeting so early, but I'll have you back before then,” Pierce replies

Peter nods and he turns toward the window to hide his yawn. He keeps his gaze out the window, watching as the city begins to wake. It's not as crazy as New York.

“I think you’ll like it here.”

Peter’s head whips around at Pierce’s words. “Here? But I live in New York.”

Pierce chuckles. “It won’t be permanent, but my headquarters are here and I’m going to need you close by. At least until you’ve completed your training.”

“Training? Wait, hold on. I just can’t leave and move to D.C. My parents will flip out and-”

Pierce holds up a hand to end Peter’s rambling. “It won’t be permanent,” he repeats. “Just for a few weeks. I can fly you out...let’s say every weekend. At least until your summer break. It will be easier then.”

“But my parents...they won’t let me do this. I’m sorry, Mr. Pierce but I just can’t,” Peter says.

“I can handle the situation with your parents. I’m sure once I tell Captain Rogers that his son is starting an internship with SHIELD he will accept you coming here. He worked for us at one point.”

Peter’s brows furrow and he shakes his head slightly. “He won’t listen. He never does. It’s why I haven’t told him about ...you know.”

Pierce nods in understanding. “He just wants the best for you. Working for SHIELD is not the same as being an Avenger. That’s what he’s afraid of, is it not?”

Peter wants to ask how Pierce knows all of these facts, but then he remembers they had been secretly spying on him. It’s unnerving. “Yeah, something like that,” he answers.

“I’m not promising a job as an Avenger,” Pierce says and Peter’s face falls at those words. “But working under SHIELD is far more rewarding and you will still get to be a hero. You parents will understand.”

Peter scoffs and shakes his head. He can’t imagine his parents ever understanding him. He was lucky that his dad was starting to understand what he wanted, but he couldn’t say the same thing about his papa.

“I’m sorry, but he’s just...” Peter sighs and he glances up at Pierce again. “He’s afraid. He thinks Hydra is gonna hurt me or something. I mean, I don’t even know where they are and he doesn’t either. All those missions he goes on is just a waste.”

Pierce’s jaw tightens and he clears his throat before responding, “I understand where your father is coming from. Hydra has threatened him before, which I assume you know about.”

“Before the ice you mean? Yeah, I know about that.”

“He never told you about the attack they made before you were born?” Peter frowns and shakes his head. Pierce continues, “They tried to get to you, Peter. We don’t know why Hydra was interested in you.”

“He never told me that.”

Pierces reaches out to pat Peter on the shoulder. “Hydra hasn’t shown their face in years and you have no reason to fear them. I can protect you, Peter.”

Peter nods his head, then he turns his attention back toward the window. He’s confused and hurt that he had been lied to, and he tries to tell himself that his papa only means well, but it’s not enough. He wonders what else is being kept from him and he decides to ask Pierce, but the question never gets a chance to leave his lips. The car is nearing a large building and any questions Peter has suddenly disappears from his mind.

Peter always thought the Avenger facility was huge, but it’s nothing compared to the massive building in front of him. The car pulls up to the front entrance and the driver gets out to open the doors for them. Pierce is already heading inside the building and Peter has to run to catch up to him.

“Wow,” Peter breathes out once they get inside and his eyes wander around the large space. There’s a rush of excitement when he spots a few SHIELD agents. He wonders if he will get to work alongside them.

Pierce smiles. “Welcome to SHIELD.”

Peter wants to ask for a tour of the entire building, but he remembers that he’s limited on time. He makes a mental note to ask for one another time.

“This place is awesome,” Peter says once they are in the large elevator. He can see everything through the glass panels.

“I knew you’d like it here. Nothing at all like home is it?” Pierce asks.

Peter shakes his head. “No, well I mean the facility is great and all but this…”

The elevator doors open and Pierce steps out, Peter once again running after him to keep up. The office they end up in as at the very top of the building. 

“Have a seat.” Pierce gestures towards the chair in front of the large desk and Peter carefully sits down. Pierce leans back against the desk and folds his arm over his chest. “What do you think? You like it here?”

“Yes! Absolutely!” Peter cries out enthusiastically. It’s too enthusiastic and his face heats up with embarrassment. “Uh I mean yeah it’s great. But what will I be doing exactly? I don’t think I’m really cut out to be an agent of SHIELD. I’m more of a...friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

“Although I feel you would make an excellent agent,” Pierce starts and Peter smiles proudly at those words. “I don’t want to take away the title you have made for yourself.”

“So I can still be Spider-Man?”

“Of course. But I think it would be best if you worked with a team. Just until I feel you’re ready to do these missions alone.”

“Missions? Like what my parents do?” Peter asks. It’s becoming difficult to keep the excitement out of his voice. Going on missions was something he’s always wanted to do. As a kid he remembered his parents leaving for them, and back then he would’ve given anything to join them. Not that he didn’t like spending time with his uncles, but joining his parents on those assignments was what he really wanted. He wanted to be just like them.

“They’re similar,” Pierce replies and Peter’s smile grows. “Your father used to lead my Strike team. But he didn’t tell you that either, did he?”

The smile from Peter’s face is wiped clean and he sadly shakes his head. “No, he hasn’t told me about any of this stuff.”

“I won’t lie to you like he has, Peter. You can trust me.”

“What else hasn’t he told me?”

“Let’s save that for another time, hmm?”

Peter frowns, but nods his head anyway. 

The door to the office opens and Peter glances up, eyes landing on the man from last night. He tries to remember his name. Ramlaw? Rumlaw? Ru-

“Agent Rumlow.” Pierce steps away from his desk to welcome the agent, then he's turning back to Peter. “Peter, you’ve met Brock Rumlow. He’s part of the Strike team.”

“Yeah.” Peter nods his head. There’s still something about the agent that Peter doesn’t like. He blames the hesitation toward the agent on his appearance. Rumlow had a rough edge to him, it made him intimidating. Peter can’t help but let his eyes linger on the deep scars running down the side of Rumlow’s arms. Battle scars he guesses.

“You’ll be training with him,” Pierce’s voice rips through Peter’s thoughts and he sets his attention back to the director. The look on Peter’s face must be that of shock because Pierce is chuckling. “Agent Rumlow is the best. You have nothing to worry about.”

Peter glances over at the agent nervously, doing his best to force a smile. He tries to convince himself that these guys, no matter how big and scary they appear, are on his side. If he can trust Pierce, then he can trust Rumlow too.

Rumlow keeps his eyes on Peter, his lips curving into a smirk that has Peter shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He doesn’t like the way he’s being stared at. 

“Relax, kid,” Rumlow’s voice is just as rough as the rest of him. “It’s gonna be fun.”

Peter knows he has to say something. “Y-yeah,” he stutters and the smirk on Rumlow’s face widens.

“If you’re anything like your old man, we’re gonna get along great.”

Peter forces a smile this time. He still feels uncomfortable around the agent and he hopes that uneasiness eventually disappears. Especially since they will be seeing more of each other.

Peter gives the agent one last look then he’s turning back to Pierce. “Mr. Pierce, sir, I’m really excited about working with you but I’m not sure-”

“Peter,” Pierce holds his hand up to silence the teenager. “You have nothing to worry about. This is what you want, isn’t it? You want to be a hero?”

“Yeah. More than anything, but my parents…” Peter sighs. SHIELD is offering him a once in a lifetime opportunity, but he’s still hesitant. There was no way his parents would let him do this, even if Mr. Pierce talked to them.

“Everything will be fine,” Pierce says and he lays his hand over Peter’s shoulder. “I don’t want you to worry about your parents. Let me handle them.”

Peter nods his head. 

“Good,” Pierce is speaking again and he gestures for Peter to stand. “We better get you back before they notice you’re missing. We don’t need you getting into any trouble.”

Peter wants to protest. He still has so many questions that need answering, but the last thing he wants is for his teachers to notice him gone and then spending a week of detention. 

He allows Pierce and Rumlow to walk him out, then he’s getting into the black car again.

Chapter Text

Peter doesn’t say a word about his meeting with Pierce. He can tell Ned knows he snuck out that morning, but his friend doesn’t ask any questions. His teachers and the rest of his class were oblivious to his disappearance and he makes a mental note to thank Ned for covering for him again.

It’s not until they’re on the bus ride home does Ned finally ask, “Where were you this morning?” He leans in close so that only Peter can hear.

“With Mr. Pierce. It was nothing,” Peter whispers back. He’s not sure if he’s allowed to go into detail about his meeting with the director. SHIELD was a very secretive organization and the last thing he wants to do is jeopardize the opportunity he’s been given. But Ned was his best friend and he couldn’t lie to him again. Besides, Pierce didn’t tell him much.

“And?” Ned pushes for more information and Peter gives in.

“And we just talked. He told me a little bit about the internship and-” Peter pauses. He remembers what else Pierce told him, but he’s hesitant to tell Ned what he learned about Hydra and the threats they’ve made. He still doesn’t know all the details. “And I guess I’m training with this guy, Agent Rumlow. He’s...cool.”

Ned nods his head. Peter’s waiting for his friend to tell him how against he is of the idea, but it never comes. “So what about being Spider-Man?”

Peter gives a small shrug in response. “He said I can still do that but I will be in D.C. for a bit and-"

“Wait D.C.?” Ned’s voice rises slightly, catching a few curious glances from the students sitting near them.

“Shh,” Peter hisses harshly when he catches Flash watching them. He wishes they didn’t get put in the seat across from him.

“Sorry. But how can you do this internship when you don’t even live here?”

“I don’t know.”

“And, dude what about your parents! They’re gonna flip. I mean they don’t even know you’re Spider-Man!”

“Ned, keep it down,” Peter whispers and Ned sends him an apologetic smile.

“Sorry. It’s just, this is crazy! How are you gonna do it? I mean your dads are strict. Cool and amazing and probably the best dads in the world-“

Peter rolls his eyes. “Okay I get it.”

Ned huffs and leans back against the seat. “This is insane. You’re gonna be with SHIELD.” Ned is frowning now. “It’s still odd though.”

“I know, but I trust them. Mr. Pierce has been...honest I guess.” Peter hates that some man he just met last night has been more truthful with him than his own father. It hurts.

“I don’t know how you’re gonna balance both and keep this from your parents. I can’t hide anything from mine.”

“I’m not trying to hide anything. I just-“

“What are you guys whispering about?” MJ leans over the back of their seat, causing both boys to jump and turn to face her. She raises a brow. “Jumpy much?”

“Anyone’s gonna jump if you pop out at them!” Peter tells her.

“Only if they’re guilty of something. Care to tell me why you freaked out on me last night?”

Peter’s face turns red at the question. Ned is staring at them both and Peter wishes he could have this conversation with MJ in private. He wasn’t so lucky “I didn’t freak out...I just didn’t want to be out so late.” He hates his poor choice of words; he’s making himself sound very uncool.

“We weren’t even out long. If you didn’t want to hang out with me you could’ve just said so.”

“No, that’s not it! I loved hanging out with you! There was just-“

“He thinks you’re really pretty!” Ned blurts out and Peter’s eyes widen.

There’s a small hint of a smile on MJ’s lips. “You think I’m pretty?”

“No!” Peter cries out and he mentally curses to himself when MJ frowns. “I mean of course you’re pretty! You’re really pretty!”

There’s a chorus of giggles from his classmates and Peter’s face burns with embarrassment. He slumps down in his seat and wishes he could just jump out the window. He can still feel MJ lingering over him, but he can’t meet her eyes.

“Yo, dickwad.” Peter glances in Flash’s direction, suddenly wishing he hadn’t when he catches the smirk on his face. “Didn’t know losers could get girlfriends.”

“She’s not might girlfriend,” Peter mutters.

Flash laughs. “Figures. Who would date you?”

That earns another round of giggles and it’s not until Mr Harrington is telling them to quiet down does the laughter stop. MJ flips Flash off, then she’s sitting back down in her own seat. Peter wishes he could disappear.

He’s been bullied by Flash since as long as he could remember, and he never understood why. As a kid it confused the hell out of him; Peter just wanted to be friends with everyone, but Flash never reciprocated those same feelings. Peter figured they never connected because they were too different. Flash was the rich, popular kid and Peter was the quiet, geeky kid with superheroes for parents. Maybe Flash was jealous, but if that was the case, Peter never understand why. There were days when Peter would kill for normal parents. At least Flash didn’t have to worry about his parents coming home safe after a mission.

Peter never made an attempt to connect with Flash; he tried that when they were in the fourth grade and it failed. Flash was just too stubborn.

Peter manages to ignore Flash the rest of the ride home. He never gets the chance to continue discussing his new internship with Ned, but if he’s being honest, he’s glad the conversation had been interrupted. He doesn’t know how to answer all of Ned’s questions. How can he when he never got all of his answered? There’s a part of him that wants to tell his parents and demand his papa for those answers, but he knows he can’t do that. At least not until Pierce steps in.

He just hopes that’s soon


It’s only been a week since Peter’s returned from D.C. and though that might not seem like a long period of time for some, it felt too long for him. He should have heard back from Pierce by now, but there’s been no word from him. Peter tells himself that the man’s busy, but it’s not enough to ease his impatience. He wants to get started on his training and the missions. It’s all he can think about.

He doesn’t tell his parents about the meeting with Pierce. He also doesn’t tell his papa that he’s Spider-Man. That was the one thing he was supposed to tell him, but after learning about the things his papa had kept from him, he’s tempted to continue keeping his own secrets.

It’s not until he’s at the dinner table does he start getting questioned. And by his sister.

“Did you behave?” Morgan asks randomly. Peter looks up quickly from his untouched food, and he sends a glance his parents’ way. They were in the kitchen, serving their own plates and oblivious to the conversation Morgan decided to hold.

Peter glares at her. “Shut up, Morgan.”

“What?” Morgan gives a small shrug. “You never said if you did. Did you do something bad?”

“No. The trip was fine.”

Morgan is staring at him, the lingering glance making Peter shift uncomfortably in his seat. He just wants to eat and disappear to his room, but his sister loves to make his life difficult. She’s always been that way. He’s doesn’t remember much, but he’s positive she did it before she was born.

Peter doesn’t give into her gaze and directs his attention toward the kitchen, rolling his eyes when he catches his parents sneaking a kiss. He hates the PDA.

Morgan notices the grimace on her brother’s face and she turns in her seat just in time to catch the end of the kiss. “They’ve been doing that a lot,” she says and turns back around.

“Gross. Why do you know this?” Peter stabs at his broccoli. He regrets asking when Morgan decides to answer.

“Because they do it all the time. At least they’re not yelling.”

Peter has to agree with that. He was going to go insane if he had to witness another screaming match between them. But he doesn’t want to see them getting too touchy with each other either. It was bad enough he heard them fonduing.

“At least you didn’t hear them…” Peter trails off, waggling his eyebrows and chuckling when Morgan grimaces.

“Ew gross!” Morgan scrunches her nose in disgust.

“What’s gross?” Tony asks and he takes his spot at the table. “It better not be the food. I didn’t make it this time.”

“Please don’t ever make it,” Peter teases.

Tony frowns. “I’m hurt, kiddo. You used to like my cooking.”

“Uh, I was also a kid and didn’t know any better.”

“Pete,” Steve warns as he enters the dining room and finally joins them at the table.

“Sorry,” Peter mutters and glances down at his plate. He moves the food around, no longer hungry.

Steve notices. “You okay, Petey?”

Peter rolls his eyes at the nickname. “Fine,” he says.

Steve isn’t convinced. Peter looks up to catch his parents sending each other a sideways glance. He knows what that means, here come the questions.

“You sure, kiddo?” Tony is the next to ask. He takes a drink from his wine glass before continuing, “You’re quiet.”

“Just not in a talking mood.”

Steve frowns. “Pete, what’s wrong. Did something happen?”

Peter sighs in annoyance and forces himself to meet blue eyes. “Why do you always think something happened?”

“Because something did,” Morgan pipes up, earning a glare from Peter and a warning look from Steve.

“Morgan, eat. This is between your brother and I,” Steve tells his youngest, then he’s turning his attention back to his son. “Pete, what’s wrong? You can tell me anything.”

Peter grips his fork tightly. This is his chance to tell him everything, but he can’t get the words to form. Does he tell him about Spider-Man? Or just forget about that altogether and tell him about the internship? He reminds himself that Pierce is supposed to be the one to break the news, but he can’t wait around another week or two. His parents are drilling him now and he knows there’s no leaving the table until they get answers.

He decides telling them part of the truth is better than nothing.

“I have an internship.” Peter glances up, trying to read his parents’ faces. They’re sending each other another look, then settling their eyes back on him.

“An internship, huh?” Tony asks and Peter nods his head. “Where?”

“Um D.C.”

Tony’s brow raises at the response. “You didn’t tell us about any internship.”

Peter just shrugs. “I didn’t know how to tell you. It’s far away and you guys are weird about me leaving New York.”

“We never said weird,” Steve says. “It’s okay if you want to go to college out of state.”

Tony frowns at those words. “I thought we discussed MIT? You were excited about attending.”

“I am. I just..this could be fun. I really liked D.C. and it would just be a every weekend kind of thing." Peter doesn't miss the way his papa's brows scrunch together and he quickly adds, "Besides, this will look good for my college applications.”

“What’s wrong with interning with SI? I can get you one, Pete.”

“Dad, it will be weird. Everyone knows I’m your son. I just wanna do this okay?”

Tony huffs and glances at Steve, relaxing slightly when his husband reaches out to take his hand. They’re both thinking the same thing, but they don’t question how secretive their son is being. Speaking of secrets-

“Hey, Pete. You’re gonna tell him, right?” Tony asks and he doesn’t miss the way Peter tenses at the question.

“T-tell him?” Peter stutters. He sends a pleading look his dad’s way. He’s not ready to confess the real reason why he’s always coming home late.

“What’s going on?” Steve questions, eyes darting between his husband and son.

“Pete was gonna tell you something,” Tony answers, his eyes still on his son. “Right?”

“Oh you mean that? Yeah, yeah I was but then-”

“No, you’re gonna tell him now.”

“Someone tell me what’s going on,” Steve demands.

Peter lets out a sigh of defeat. “Fine. I didn’t wanna say it because I know you’re weird and protective but…” He pauses, meeting his papa’s eyes. “I like a girl at school.”

Tony’s lips tighten and Steve’s curve into a smile.

“A girl, huh?” Steve’s brow raises. “Do I know who she is?”

“It’s MJ.”

“Ah. She’s the one you tried to kiss, right?”

“Papa,” Peter groans. “I was six!”

Steve laughs. “I know. It was cute, Pete.”

“This is why I didn’t wanna tell you. You’re so embarrassing.”

“I hope she doesn’t like you back,” Morgan says and Peter glares at her.

“Shut up.”

“Are you gonna kiss her again?” Morgan continues with the teasing, this time making kissy faces. Peter’s face turns a bright red and Morgan giggles.

“Kids, that’s enough,” Steve tells them.

“She started it!” Peter points his fork in his sister’s direction.

Morgan smiles. “I’m telling her all the embarrassing stories about you. Remember that time you wet the bed?” She giggles again.

“I hate you so much.”

“Pete, if she ever comes over we won’t embarrass you. Right?” Steve makes sure he’s glancing in his daughter’s direction when he asks the question. Morgan nods her head.

“She’s never coming over here. You guys will embarrass me.”

Steve laughs this time. “I promise.”

Tony hasn’t said a word and Steve is completely unaware of the disappointed look on his husband’s face. Peter doesn’t miss it and he knows he’s going to get a talking to after dinner. There would be no Spider-Man activities tonight.

 


 

Tony scrubs harshly at the plate in his hand, well aware that he’s already washed the same dish three times, but he can’t help but take his irritation on the dishes. He should’ve known that his son was going to keep up the lying, and Tony is done giving Peter anymore chances. At this rate, Steve was never going to learn the truth.

Comforting arms wrap around Tony’s waist, snapping the brunet from his thoughts and he eases into the touch. He sighs and sets the clean plate back in the sink. “I told you I was doing the dishes tonight,” he says.

“I know,” Steve tells him. “You’ve been washing the same plate for ten minutes. And we have a dishwasher. What’s wrong, Tony?”

Tony sighs again and releases himself from Steve’s grasp. He rests his hands against the countertop and leans against it. “You know he’s lying to us, right?”

Steve frowns. “I don’t think he’s lying. He’s just-”

“Steve, he’s lying. Look how he was acting!”

“Lying about what? His crush? The internship?”

Tony tucks his bottom lip between his teeth. This was his chance to tell Steve everything. He opens his mouth, only to shut it when Steve speaks.

“He’s being a little secretive, yes, but we’ve all been that way. Don’t tell me you weren’t this way around your parents.”

“Yes but-”

“So was I. Tony, I lied on my enlistment forms. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s keeping something from us.”

“Weren’t you the same guy who worried over every little thing our kids did? Now you’re okay with him lying to us?”

“I never said I was okay with it. We’re his parents. We’re gonna figure it out.”

Tony huffs. “I’m talking to him. You can join me if you want.”

“No,” Steve shakes his head and steps beside Tony to finish the leftover dishes. “I have to finish these. You did this on purpose, Stark.”

Tony chuckles and turns to wrap his arms around Steve. One hand comes down to rest on the blond’s middle. “Anything yet?”

Steve shakes his head and places one of his hands over Tony’s. “I don’t know yet. It's still early, Tony.”

“I can’t believe you wanna do this again.” Tony can’t help the small sigh that leaves his lips. He can feel Steve’s body tense against him. “I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It’s just...we have one kid lying to us, the other is-”

“She’s sneaky too. My shield’s missing again.”

Tony laughs. “My fault. I told her we could play frisbees.”

Steve shakes his head, a small chuckle escaping him. He turns the faucet off and dries his hands on the dish towel, then he’s turning around to face his husband. He smiles. “I love you.”

“You love me? Even after I told our daughter to throw your shield around?”

“Okay maybe I don’t love you for that.”

“Ouch. You hurt me, Steve. Right here.” Tony places his hand over his heart.

“You’re too much.” Steve leans in to press their lips together for a gentle kiss, then he pulls away. “Now go talk to our son. He loves to tell you everything.”

“You have no idea.”

Tony gives Steve another kiss, then he’s exciting the kitchen and making his way down the hall toward his son’s room. He stops at Morgan’s room first, slowly pushing the door open and finding her asleep. He smiles and steps into the room. She stirs in her sleep when he adjusts the blankets and big brown eyes glance up to meet his.

“Go back to sleep, sweetheart,” he tells her.

“You’re not asleep.” Morgan sits up, a small frown forming over her face.

“I can do what I want. Go to sleep.”

Morgan huffs and collapses back down. “Can I still have a pony?”

“How about a baby sister?”

Morgan takes a moment to think it over. “Nah. I wanna pony.”

“Just go to sleep.” Tony leans down to place a gentle kiss on top of her head, then he makes his way toward the door. Something by the closet catches his eye and he turns back to his daughter. “Your papa’s looking for that by the way.”

Morgan only giggles.

Peter isn’t as cheerful when Tony enters his room and he frowns when he finds his son on the ceiling. “Knock, Knock,” Tony says, stepping into the room. He ignores the way Peter rolls his eyes.

“You’re supposed to actually knock, not just walk in,” Peter grumbles.

“Last time I checked I was the adult and I can do what I want. Can you get your butt down here, please?”

“I’m fine up here. Papa talks to me from up here.”

“Yeah well I’m not him. Get down.”

Peter huffs and crosses his arms defiantly. Tony’s patience runs thin.

“Kiddo, I’m not in the mood. Don’t make me get the suit.”

“Fine.” Peter sighs in defeat and drops down to the floor, landing perfectly in front of his dad. “Happy now?”

“Your attitude sucks. It was cute when you were five, but now it’s annoying.”

“I’m sorry. I’m just...dealing with a lot right now.”

“Oh you mean the lying thing? Yeah, must be hard.”

Peter frowns. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“No, what I don’t understand is why you think you can keep this from him.”

“You’re keeping it from him.”

Tony inhales sharply. “Only because I expected you to tell him. You said after the trip you were gonna do it. Well guess what, Pete? The trip is over and you still haven’t told him. I’m gonna have to do it.”

“No! I swear I will. Just give me another chance. I need to figure out how to break it to him.”

“One more.” Tony holds up his finger. “That’s all you get.”

Peter nods his head. “Okay. I’ll do it.”

“You better. Now one more thing, are you gonna tell me about this internship or am I gonna have to rely on social media again?”

“It’s complicated. I’m still learning more about it, but I swear you guys will find out everything.”

Tony isn’t too pleased with that answer, but he lets it go. “Okay. No more secrets, right?”

“Only if you guys stop with them.”

“What does that mean?”

“Forget it,” Peter shakes his head. “Can I go to bed now?”

“Yeah. Night, kiddo,” Tony says, then he leaves the room and shuts the door behind him.

He knows he’s not getting the full truth, but he remembers what Steve had said. They were going to figure it out.

Chapter Text

It takes another week, but Peter finally hears from Pierce. The phone call is unexpected and he can recall never giving the director his phone number, but then he remembers that these guys know everything about everyone. It still makes him nervous.

The call doesn’t last long, it’s simple and straight to the point. Peter wasn’t expecting anything less. He’s still thrilled to have heard back and even more so when he learns that plane tickets to D.C. have been emailed to him. He didn’t give that out either, but again, they know everything.

Peter can’t contain his excitement when he gets home and opens the email from Pierce and finds the tickets. He wants to call Pierce back when he realizes the email doesn’t give any instructions. He wonders if he needs to pack his suit. He decides to pack it. It’s better to be prepared.

Peter closes the email and gets to work on packing. The trip was unexpected and he’s slightly bugged that he’s learning about it last minute, but at the same time he’s looking forward to it. He wonders what kind of training he’s going to get. He’s seen the way his parents train and if it’s anything like theirs, then he knows he’s in for it. Their training techniques were intense.

The soft knock on the door rips through his thoughts and Peter stills his packing. He already knows who’s behind his door. There’s only one person that has the decency to knock before they enter. He can’t say the same about his dad and sister. They must get off on bursting through his door whenever they feel like it.

“Come in!” Peter calls out and he crosses his room to grab another pair of socks from his dresser. The door opens right as he has the socks in his hand. Steve stays in the doorway, eyebrows scrunched together in confusion.

“What are you doing, bud?” he questions.

“Packing. D.C. remember?”

“Yeah. I guess I wasn’t expecting you to leave so soon. What is the internship for again?”

Peter freezes, mentally cursing himself for not having a story prepared. He could easily lie again, but he doesn’t want to have a different story from what Pierce has. “Oh you know...stuff.”

“Stuff?” Steve repeats, not fully buying the lie. “Can you be more specific?”

“I don’t know much. I’m still learning about this...stuff.” It’s not a complete lie and Peter doesn’t feel so guilty anymore.

“Uh huh.” Steve folds his arms over his chest. “So why should I let you continue with this internship if I don’t even know what it’s for?”

“Because you love me and want the best for me?”

“You’re damn right I do.”

“Great! I kinda need to pack so-”

Steve shakes his head and steps into the room. Peter huffs. “Hey, stop. I just wanna talk.”

“You’re not gonna let me go, are you? You don’t have to worry. These guys are really cool and I actually feel like someone important.”

“Pete, you are important. We tell you this all the time.”

You don’t show it Peter wants to say, but he decides to keep his mouth shut. One wrong word and he can say goodbye to SHIELD.

“You have to let me go. Please?” Peter begs, this time using the famous Stark puppy-dog eyes. He knows it’s irresistible.

“Nice try. Those don’t work on me anymore,” Steve says and Peter frowns.

“Papa, I’m serious. I have to do this!”

“And you will. Once I find out exactly what you’re doing.”

“The director is supposed to call you. He said he would tell you everything.”

 Steve sighs in defeat. “Fine, but if I don’t hear anything I will bring you home myself.”

Peter doesn’t doubt him for a second. It wouldn’t be the first time. He still remembers the time when he was invited to his first house party and how he had called his papa to tell him about the alcohol that was being served. Long story short, everyone was surprised to find Captain America bursting through the front door. Peter wouldn’t have made the call if he would have known that his father was on a mission.

It was one of the most embarrassing nights of his life, and he wasn’t able to live it down for months.

“Just don’t embarrass me like last time,” Peter says.

Steve smiles, knowing exactly what his son is referring to. “I apologized for that. Are you ever going to forgive me?”

“I mean I could if you would lay off every once and a while and let me do this internship.”

“I think that’s fair. Just please be careful. I’m glad everything worked out the first time but-”

 "I will,” Peter promises.

“Good,” Steve smiles and turns to leave, then he’s turning back around. “And you know you can tell me anything, right?”

“Anything?”

“Anything.”

Peter bites down hard on his bottom lip. He wonders where he should begin. That voice in his head urges him to bring up Spider-Man, but Peter doesn’t listen. There’s someone else he wants to know about. “Papa, who’s Rumlow?”

He wasn’t expecting the question to hit his papa as hard as it did. He doesn’t miss the way all of the color drains from his face and the way his hands tighten into fists. It confuses the hell out of Peter.

“Where did you hear that name?” Steve asks.

“I uh..” Peter pauses. He doesn’t want to say that he’s the agent he will be training with, especially after the way his papa reacted to just the guy’s name.

“Pete, tell me.” Steve steps closer, his tone urgent and it confuses Peter even more.

“I just...read it somewhere.”

Steve visibly relaxes, his shoulders slowly falling, but his fists remain clenched. “I used to know him. Pete, whatever you hear or read about-just please don’t.”

“Don’t what? Who is he?”

“Let’s just say he’s...not one of the good ones. I knew him a long time ago, before you were born. Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine now.”

Peter is still confused. But he’s also frustrated. His papa wasn’t being completely honest with him. He will just have to ask Pierce when he sees him. He will at least get the full story.

“Yeah, okay.” Peter nods his head. He waits, just in case there’s more that needs to be said, but when it becomes apparent that the conversation is over, Peter continues his packing. He can feel his papa’s eyes lingering on him and he glances up to meet his gaze.

“Pete,” Steve starts. Whatever it is that he wants to say, he’s struggling to get the words out. Peter has never seen him this nervous. Steve sighs. “Be careful alright?”

Peter nods again. Steve sends him a small smile, then he’s turning and leaving the room. Peter waits until the door closes before he throws the pair of socks  in his hand at the door.

He’s angry and hurt that the lies don’t stop. He doesn’t understand why he’s being kept in the dark. The only thing he knows is that Hydra had been a threat and wanted him at one point. But no one has cared to explain why he was a target.

If he can’t rely on his parents to be honest with him, then he will have to rely on Pierce. He knows he can trust him.



Being back at the SHIELD headquarters is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time. He feels so out of place when he’s here and it’s hard to ignore the questioning stares the other agents send his way. To them he’s just an inexperienced kid, but he’s ready to show them he’s more than that.

This time around Peter had been expecting a tour of the facility and a little more insight on the assignments he’s supposed to complete, but much to his surprise there is no tour or briefing session. He didn’t meet up with Pierce in the large office on the top floor. Instead, he’s thrown straight into training.

And it was not at all like he had hoped it would be.

He’s tired and every muscle in his body aches from the intense strain the training had put on them. Rumlow didn’t go easy on him. Peter wasn’t sure why he thought the agent would have.

He can’t find the energy to lift himself off the training mat. His breathing is still labored and his body is screaming at him for a break. It’s not until the sound of Rumlow’s amused laughter fills Peter’s ears does he finally peel his eyes open.

Rumlow is smirking down at him. “Tired already, kid?”

“Tired isn’t really the word I would use,” Peter replies.

Rumlow chuckles and stretches out his hand for Peter take. Peter accepts the outstretched hand, groaning softly when he’s pulled up. “Is it time for a break?” he asks.

“We just started. Gotta get you ready for what’s out there.”

“And what exactly is out there?”

“You’ll see, kid.”

Peter frowns. “I’m really tired of people lying to me.”

“Not lying. I don’t even know what the assignment is. Your old man giving you a hard time again?”

“Something like that,” Peter mutters.

“Doesn’t surprise me. Cap was always a little closed off,” Rumlow says, reaching up to wipe the sweat from his brow.

“I mean he’s...fine.” Peter gives a small shrug. “I don’t know. He just worries about everything. He’s always freaking out over me. Sometimes I wish he would be that way toward my sister.”

Rumlow’s brow raises slightly. “You gotta sister?” he asks and Peter nods his head. Maybe SHIELD doesn’t know everything. Rumlow laughs. “Cap’s been busy. That explains why we haven’t seen him around. Guess he finally decided to retire.”

“He’s not retired.”

“Well he should be. He’s getting up there.”

For the first time since meeting the agent, Peter is able to crack a smile. He still finds the man intimidating and slightly terrifying and he’s not sure if he’s warming up to him because they’ve been training all morning, but he feels different around him now. That uneasy feeling he had felt before is slowly starting to diminish.

“How come you guys don’t work together anymore?” Peter asks. When Rumlow doesn’t reply, he starts to regret asking the question. It has obviously made the agent uncomfortable. “I’m sorry! It’s just I mentioned you to him and he flipped out and-”

“He flipped out?” Rumlow questions, then he’s smirking again. “He just hates my guts, kid. Don’t ask me why because I don’t have the answer.”

“But why would he hate you? Pierce said you guys worked together all the time.”

“Yeah and that was also a long time ago. Can we get back to the training?”

Rumlow doesn’t give a proper warning and he throws the first punch; Peter is quick to dodge the oncoming attack. That familiar smirk appears on Rumlow’s face and he lunges forward, this time managing to hit Peter in the face. Peter cries out and reaches up to grasp his throbbing nose.

“Ow, man what the hell!” Peter pulls his hands away to inspect for blood, relief washing over him when there’s none. He glares up at the agent when the chuckling starts back up again.

“You weren’t paying attention,” Rumlow says with a small shrug of his shoulders.

“I was too!”

“If you were you would’ve dodged that attack. Come on, kid focus. Pierce won’t send you out there if you’re not ready.”

Peter is still glaring. The throbbing in his nose hasn’t subsided, but for a moment he pushes the ache aside to sneak in a punch of his own. Rumlow is faster, his right hand coming up to grip Peter’s fist. That smug look is back, but unlike ignoring it like Peter’s done before, he uses it to fuel himself. He wants to wipe that look off the agent’s face.

His incredible strength was something he always struggled with growing up. It was something he had a difficult time learning to control. He can still picture the look of terror his fifth grade teacher wore when he lifted the school bus after one of Ned’s favorite toys had fallen underneath it. The lecture he got at home was upsetting, he didn’t see the problem with his abilities and it wasn’t like he was harming anyone with them, but they had to be contained. Peter hated that he had to hide himself.

He had been doing that now. He could have easily avoided Rumlow’s attack if he wasn’t concealing what he’s capable of.

That smug look he had made a goal of erasing becomes accomplished. Rumlow’s own hand is still wrapped around his fist, squeezing tightly as he tries to regain control. Peter keeps his ground, a smug look of his own appearing when Rumlow visibly struggles to free himself. Peter had control now.

The surprise cry that escapes Rumlow when his arm is painfully twisted back is oddly satisfying. Peter keeps his grip on the agent’s arm firm, only letting up when Rumlow begs to be set free.

“Damn, kid.” Rumlow uses his other hand to rub along the arm that had been twisted.

“I’m sorry!” Peter blurts out, suddenly feeling guilty for the pain he had inflicted. Maybe he should have kept his strength hidden.

“Don’t be. It’s only fair right?” Rumlow makes a quick gesture at Peter’s nose. It’s no longer throbbing, but still visibly irritated from the punch. “Nice block by the way.”

“Oh, thanks.” A small smile appears over Peter’s face. He’s not used to compliments, especially when they were toward his abilities. It felt good.

“You ready for another round?”

Another round turns into two more, and this time around Peter doesn’t hold back. When it comes to throwing the punches, Rumlow excels in that department, throwing a few good ones and managing to hit Peter in the ribs. Peter doesn’t quit though, determined to take the agent down.

He finally gets the chance when Rumlow starts bragging. With the agent distracted, Peter gets his opportunity. Peter does a back flip over the man, aims for his legs and the webs shoot out. Rumlow falls to the floor with a thud.

Rumlow glances down at his legs, a mixture of surprise and disgust flashing across his face. “What the hell, kid?”

It’s Peter’s turn to wear that smug look. “You should have paid attention.”

Rumlow smiles. "I like you kid. You're gonna come in handy."

Peter's not sure what the agent means by that, but it brings a smile to his face anyway.


The training, just like he had predicted, kicked his ass. It was easy to hide the small limp he had, but the bruises and busted lip were another story. He looked and felt like shit, but if he was being honest, he'd have to say it went surprisingly well.

His parents wouldn’t think so, hence why he had to lie again. The lies kept piling, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell them the truth. At least not yet anyway. Once Pierce got involved everything would be fine.

He can’t look his parents in the eye. They had already lectured and drilled him about his current appearance.

“Pete, talk to us.” His papa’s voice is calming, but there’s a hint of firmness behind it as well. Peter is afraid to look at him the most. “Peter.”

He finally does look up, regretting it the moment he catches the disappointed look plastered on his papa’s face. His dad isn’t showing the same emotion; he’s angry and Peter knows he royally screwed up.

“Please don’t take it away,” he says quietly. His parents exchange a quick glance and his dad holds his hands up, almost as if he’s volunteering not to be the one to do it.

“Pete, you need to tell us what happened? And I want the truth,” Steve says, this time a little firmer.

“It was just a stupid fight.” It’s not a complete lie.

Steve sighs harshly and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Pete, you can’t keep doing this.”

“I swear it won’t happen again!” Peter cries. He makes a mental note to tell Rumlow to avoid the face the next time they decide to train. God, he hopes there’s a next time.

Tony scoffs. “What’s gotten into you? You never used to get into fights.”

Steve nods his head in agreement. “This is your second one,” he points out. That disappointed look is still on his face. “Pete, whatever it is you can talk to us.”

It’s Peter’s turn to scoff. He quickly regrets it.

“What the hell does that mean?” Tony demands and Peter flinches at the tone. “God, your attitude needs a serious makeover. This stops now!”

“Tony,” Steve lays a hand over his husband’s shoulder, his voice quiet and calm, “Stop. This isn’t helping.”

Tony shrugs Steve off of him. “Your way isn’t working either, Cap. I’ll let you deal with him from now on, how about that?”

Steve calls out to him when Tony walks away, only to go ignored. The front door slams and Steve lets out a sigh, then he’s turning back to his son. “Go clean up.”

“Papa, I swear I’m sorry. The guy just came out of nowhere. What was I supposed to do?”

“Pete, that’s enough.”

Peter doesn’t bother protesting and he carefully pulls himself off the couch, trying to hide the wince on his face when his sore muscles flare up. He passes his sister in the hall and he offers her a small smile; she returns it.

It’s late when Peter hears the soft knocking on his door. He makes an attempt to get up from his bed, but then the door is opening and he sits back down.

“Hey,” Steve says, his voice is calm again. “How are you feeling?”

Peter gives a small shrug in response. The movement causes the pain to flare up and he doesn’t hide his discomfort. “I guess not so good. I’m really sorry.”

Steve shakes his head and steps into the room. “Don’t be.” He sits down near the edge of the bed. “I think I know why you’re acting this way.”

“Y-you do?” Peter stutters. He should’ve known that his dad was going to spill his secret. So much for that second chance.

“I do. Your dad and I…” Steve pauses, almost as if it’s too difficult to say. “We’re not doing too good, and I’m sorry you kids have to see it.”

“Oh. But Morgan said you guys have been all lovey-dovey with each other.”

Steve chuckles. “She’s not wrong. We’re working it out, Pete. We’re actually-”

“Divorcing?”

“No! No, nothing like that. We’re...gonna be fine. Just please stop acting out because of it. I know it’s not easy seeing us fight all the time, but we’re gonna get better. I promise.”

“Yeah.” Peter nods. He can breathe now that he knows his secret is still hidden. This could be his chance to admit who he really is, but he can’t bring himself to do it.

“Good,” Steve leans forward to press a kiss to Peter’s forehead, then he’s getting up from the bed. “I haven’t heard from this director of yours. Should I call him instead?”

“No! Um I mean he will. He’s been...busy.”

Steve sighs. “I know I say this a lot, but be careful. If something ever happened to you I don’t know what I would do.”

“You don’t have to worry. I’m fine,” Peter says. He wants to add that he’s more than fine, that he’s working in one of the most secure places in the world, but that goes unsaid.

“Good. I love you, Pete.”

“I love you, too.”

Peter’s left alone again. He falls back against his bed, this time groaning from both his battered body and the fact that he can’t stop the lies that keep spilling from his mouth. It’s going to get ugly once he does finally come clean. And it’s all his fault.

He needs to get out of this while he still can. The lying wasn't worth it anymore.


He’s back at SHIELD again and he’s honestly not sure how his parents let him come back. He doesn’t want to question it, though. He’s just thankful they didn’t ground him.

It’s not like he wants to be at home anyway, not when they were fighting again. He blames himself for their arguments. For years he’s been the topic of their fights and recently it’s only gotten worse. They claim a divorce isn’t happening, but Peter knows if they ever do, he would be the reason behind it.

He needs for them to learn the truth. Maybe then his family wouldn’t be so broken.

Getting to Pierce’s office was easier than he thought it was going to be. There was no one to escort him this time, but that wasn’t something Peter was going to complain about. Being alone gave him more freedom and a part of him was itching to take that tour he had been dying to take, but the other half argues against it. He’s just here to meet with Pierce and that’s it.

Then he’s going home.

Peter nears the office and he raises his hand to knock, only to freeze when two muffled voices fill his ears. He needs to think fast and he glances up, finding a secure place to hide. Pierce and Rumlow are making their way down the corridor, then they’re stopping outside of the large office. Peter sighs in relief at the sight of them and he makes an attempt to drop down from his spot on the ceiling, only to freeze when he hears them mention his name. It’s times like this when he loves his sensitive hearing.

“You told me to get close to the kid and I did. Now you want me to be his buddy?” Rumlow hisses.

“He needs to trust you like he trusts me,” Pierce fires back. “If this is going to work-”

“It will work. Cap won’t see it coming.”

“It better. Don’t screw it up like last time. I sacrificed a lot to clear your name!”

“This won’t be like last time.”

Peter holds his breath and it’s not until Rumlow storms off and Pierce disappears into his office does he finally release that breath. He makes sure it’s clear before dropping down to the floor. He’s hesitant to see Pierce now, but he needs to tell him.

He knocks and once he gets permission to enter, he slowly pushes the door open and steps inside the large space. Pierce is standing near his desk, that warm smile appearing over his face at the sight of the teeanger. Peter’s not sure how he feels about it now.

“Peter, come in. I was waiting for you.”

Peter forces a small smile. “Y-yeah. Hey, Mr. Pierce there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

“Have a seat.” Pierce gestures for Peter to sit down, then he’s leaning against his desk. “You look worried. Family issues again?”

“No, nothing like that.” Peter fiddles nervously with his fingers. He curses to himself for not going over what he was about to say. “Mr. Pierce, I hate to do this and believe me I’ve thought it over and everything but...I don’t think this is for me. I’m Spider-Man, not-” Peter waves his hand around the room. “This.”

Pierce’s lips form into a tight line and the way his fingers grip the edge of the desk is an obvious sign that he’s not pleased with Peter’s confession. “You’re sure you’ve thought this over? I don’t understand, you wanted to be a hero.”

“Sir, I do but not like this. I’m hiding my entire life from my family and I just ...Mr. Pierce, I’m sorry.”

With nothing else to say, Peter rises from his seat. He reaches the door, only to turn back around when Pierce calls out to him.

“Peter, you’re making a big mistake. I’m giving you something your father can’t.”

“Sir, with all due respect, I think my father can give me more. I’m sorry.”

Peter closes the door on his way out, resting against it to catch his breath. His heart is pounding wildly in his chest. That voice in his head is back, but this time it’s not arguing against any of his ideas. It praises him and this time he listens.

The decision to leave SHIELD was a hard one, but it was one that needed to be made. He ignores what Pierce had said about him making a mistake. Walking away wasn’t the mistake, joining them had been the mistake, and it’s one he won’t make twice.

Chapter Text

Tony hates that he’s doing it again. He promised that he would shorten his time down in his workshop, but then again, a lot of his family members had made promises and those weren’t being kept.

Steve was fine. There was no doubt that he was trying and the improvement he made in just a few weeks said a lot. It’s more than he’s done in years, and Tony is all for it.

He’s thrilled that his marriage might have a shot; that his husband is starting to resemble himself again. But the reason for his broken promise for once isn’t because of another fight with Steve. His son was the issue now.

Tony misses the days when life with his son had been simpler. Not that he wasn’t expecting Peter to deal with the typical teenage angst; he himself dealt with it at that age and he could relate with his son, but the lying and sneaking out was becoming an issue.

He did those things too and again he wasn’t expecting his son to be immune to those things, but he had wanted his son to be better. From day one he wanted Peter to be better, to be nothing like him.

Tony’s aware of the fact that he’s improved over the years, and he has his family to thank for it. He’s not the same person he used to be. Getting together with Steve and having a family changed him. It wasn't just about him anymore, his family came first. Putting a suit of armor around the world had been something he had wanted to do. And he finally did, around his world.

But right now that armor was cracking.

His son was out there doing God knows what and it terrified Tony. There’s a part of him that wishes he never permitted his son to carry on being Spider-Man. But the other half argues that his son would have continued to do it anyway, with or without his permission. He should have done things differently. He should have made stricter rules. He should have just made him a damn Avenger. At least that way the whole team could keep an eye on him.

Tony shakes his head of that last thought. His son was no where close to earning that title.

With a heavy sigh Tony tosses the wrench in his hand on the workbench, and he leans back in his chair, one hand coming up to rub along his face.

Despite the growth he’s made, right now he’s starting to feel like a selfish asshole. He’s hiding in his lab when this is the last place he should be. He should be with his family.

He sighs again and finds himself reaching for the wrench, only to stop and direct his attention to the entrance of his lab when he hears the passcode being entered. Only one person knows that code. Or at least Tony thought it had just been the one.

Morgan pokes her head in, a bright smile forming over her face and she runs over to Tony. He welcomes her with open arms, pressing a gentle kiss to the top of her head once she’s situated in his lap.

“How did you get down here, Little Miss?” Tony’s not sure if he even wants to know the answer. His daughter was sneaky. Great, both of his kids were.

Morgan just gives a small shrug in response. She turns in Tony’s lap until she’s facing the workbench, face lighting up again at the array of tools and Iron Man parts. She reaches for his helmet and giggles.

“Hey careful with that, sweetheart.” Tony gently takes the helmet from her and places it back down, further away from sticky fingers.

“You didn’t get mad when I took it last time.”

Tony’s raises his brow, an amused smile forming over his lips. “I figured that was you. What’s with the fascination in taking all of our stuff?”

Morgan shrugs again. “I wanna take Uncle Thor’s hammer.”

Tony laughs. “Good luck with that, sweetheart. But I think you should ask us before you decide to take anything. Sound good?”

“Yeah,” Morgan smiles. She turns her body to kiss Tony’s cheek, then she rests her head on his shoulder. “Are you and papa mad at each other?”

Tony sighs at the question. There’s no point in lying to her, she was there the night he stormed out of the apartment and then again when he continued to ignore Steve and disappear to the lab. He hated himself for doing it.

“I’m not mad at him anymore. I love him, just like I love you and your brother. But sometimes families don’t get along.”

“Like when Peter and I fight?”

“Yeah and you two always make up, right?” Morgan nods and Tony continues, “that’s how your papa and I are. We fight and then we make up. I’m sorry you have to see it.”

“It’s okay.” Morgan glances up at him, smiling softly and Tony can’t help but smile back. She had one of those smiles that was infectious. She got that from Steve.

“It’s not, though. Listen, let’s get out of here and go talk to papa. I’m sure he’s wondering where you are.”

Morgan jumps up from his lap and runs toward the exit of the lab, stopping when Tony calls out to her. He holds out his hand and she huffs before placing his work goggles in his palm.

“Nice try, Squirt.” Tony tosses the goggles back on his workbench then he’s swooping Morgan into his arms, smiling when she squeals in delight. “We gotta work on your sticky fingers.”

Morgan giggles.


It doesn’t come as a surprise when Steve sits Tony down to talk. Morgan fled from the room when she saw they were going to have an adult conversation, but not before sending Tony a thumbs up.

They sit in silence.

“She’s sneaky,” Tony says, wanting to break the tension. The very mention of their kids always puts a smile on Steve’s face and eases the tension between them. “Tried taking my goggles. We gotta keep an eye on her.”

Steve gives a small nod, then a small smile breaks across his face. “Maybe I’ve been watching out for the wrong kid.”

Tony sighs and leans back against the couch. “Maybe. Or maybe both of our kids are just a pain in the ass. Speaking of kids-“ Tony trails off, gesturing toward Steve’s middle. “Please tell me we have another kid to look forward to. We won’t screw it up this time.”

Steve chuckles and shakes his head. “I don’t know,” he says. The smile fades from his face and he lets out a sad sigh. “Tony, I don’t know what to do.”

“With?”

“With everything.” Steve rises to his feet, one hand running through his hair in frustration. “With Peter, with us. I just-“ Steve sighs again. “I don’t know where I went wrong.”

“Can I be honest?” Tony asks and Steve nods his head. “Don’t get upset when I say this but we...or you haven’t been honest with him. I said don’t get upset,” Tony adds quickly when he catches the frown on Steve’s face.

“Fine, it’s me. It’s my fault our son is acting out and hiding things from us. That’s what you meant right?”

Tony quickly takes notice of the way Steve’s tone turns defensive. With a heavy sigh Tony stands, arms stretching out so he can place his hands over Steve’s shoulders. He can feel his husband relax under his touch. “Hey, stop,” Tony makes sure to keep his tone light. They were supposed to be working things out. “It’s not just you. I’m not so innocent either.”

“I’m pushing him away. And you.”

Tony smiles softly, “You’re not pushing me away, Cap. So we have issues. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t expecting our relationship to change.”

Steve frowns. “That’s not reassuring.”

“Steve, come on. We’ve always been like this. Even before the kids. But that doesn’t mean I want what we have to end. You mean the world to me, and I’d rather have you like this than not have you at all.”

The frown starts to fade away from Steve’s face, a small smile taking its place. Tony loves that smile.

“Come here.” Tony pulls Steve close. They don’t say anything for a moment, just enjoying being wrapped around each other.

“I have to talk to him,” Steve finally says, “I need to tell him everything and maybe then he’ll understand. I need to be honest.”

Tony nods his head in agreement. Being honest with their son was something they should have done a long time ago. Being honest with his husband is something Tony needs to do now. He hates to have to be the one to tell Steve why Peter sneaks out, but it had become clear that Peter was never going to confess.

Steve deserved to know.

“Steve,” Tony starts, pulling back to glance into the blue eyes he loved so much. God, it was going to be hard to see them filled with hurt and betrayal. He’s seen those emotions in them before. “There’s something you should know.”

The blue orbs are full of confusion. “Tony, what’s wrong?” Steve is frowning now, his tone taking on a more urgent tone.

Tony takes a deep breath to prepare himself and he opens his mouth to respond, but he never gets the chance to get the words out.

The front door is opening.

Peter stands awkwardly in the doorway, one hand still resting on the door knob and the other on his suitcase. “H-hey,” he greets, his voice quiet and unsure.

“Hey, kiddo,” Tony is the first to return the greeting. His brows scrunch up in confusion. “You’re home early.”

“Yeah,” Peter still sounds nervous. He shuts the door behind him and steps further into the apartment. “It wasn’t working out.”

“You want to talk about it?” Steve asks and when Peter nods, he gestures for him to take a seat on the couch. Peter doesn’t meet his eyes and it sets off a fresh wave of worry through Steve. “Pete, you call talk to us.”

“I know.” Peter keeps his head down, fingers twiddling nervously. He finally lifts his head to meet Steve’s eyes. “Promise you won’t get mad?”

“I promise.”

Peter bites down hard on his bottom lip. The words are right there on the tip of his tongue, but it’s a struggle to get them out. He’s been hiding this secret for so long. The voice in his head is urging him to just come out and say it. He opens his mouth, only to shut it when Friday’s voice interrupts their conversation.

“Boss, you have a visitor.” A screen pops up, displaying an image of the front gate and the black SUV parked outside.

Tony lets out a sigh of annoyance. He knew exactly what Peter was about to tell them. It would have to wait. “Friday, who is that?” He asks, eyes scanning over the screen. The vehicle looks familiar.

“Nick Fury,” The A.I. replies.

That captures Peter’s interest. “Why is he here? Are you guys going on another mission? Can I come!” He cries and jumps up from the couch.

“Pete, you’re not coming,” Steve tells him. “Just go to your room and we will finish this conversation later.”

“But I can help!”

“Kiddo, stop,” Tony reaches out to place his hand over his son’s shoulder and Peter instantly grows quiet. “Trust me, you don’t want to deal with this. I sure as hell don’t.”

Peter huffs. “Fine.”

Tony leans closer so that only Peter can hear. “You’re gonna tell him right? Because I almost did.”

Peter gives a jerky nod. “Yeah...you’ll have my back right? In case he...you know.”

“Don’t worry. Now go.”

Peter take his suitcase and makes his way down the hall, giving his parents one last look before he disappears to his room.

“What was that about?” Steve asks Tony on their way out of the apartment.

“Don’t worry about it,” Tony answers. “You’ll hear about it.”


It was never good when Nick Fury drops by for a visit; Tony and Steve knew this from past experiences. He wasn’t the type of man to drop by randomly because they fell out of touch and needed to reunite; his visits were unsettlingly and always came with bad news attached to them. Receiving bad news was not something Tony needed. His family was already put under enough stress and the last thing Tony wants is for Fury to add more.

They gather in the common room. It’s uncomfortable and the silence only adds to the awkwardness. Tony can’t take it anymore.

“Okay, you’re here for a reason and I gotta tell you, it makes me nervous.”

“Do you know where your son is right now?”

Tony frowns and he opens his mouth to respond to the question, but Steve beats him to it. “He’s home from his internship. Why?”

“An internship?” Fury repeats and he shakes his head. He leans forward in his seat, hands clasping together. “Did he mention to you that this ‘internship’ was at the SHIELD headquarters in D.C.?”

Steve’s body tenses instantly. Tony reaches for his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Steve doesn’t acknowledge the calming gesture.

“No,” Steve says, his brows drawing together in a deep frown. Tony doesn’t miss the way his eyes flash with confusion and concern. “He’s not-no.”

“He is. How do you think I felt when I returned to find out that your son is working under a good friend of mine: Alexander Pierce?”

“Mr. Secretary?” Tony asks and Fury’s eyes land on him. A quiet laugh escapes him and he almost regrets it when Fury’s eyes darken.

“Something funny about that, Stark?”

“It’s not. It’s just...I can’t see my son working for SHIELD. Have you met Peter? The kid can barely get up in the morning.”

“Nick, he wouldn’t do that,” Steve says, “he would have told us.”

“Would he, Captain? Deny it all you want but your son is working with SHIELD, and I’m going to find out why,” Fury says.

“Wait, hold on,” Tony shifts in his seat and holds out his hand. “You don’t know why he’s employed with your organization? If that’s not complete bullshit than I don’t know what is.”

“I wanted to let you two dumbasses know what your son was doing before I started digging. Surely, I deserve some thanks for that.”

Steve exhales sharply and leans forward, hands coming up to cradle his head. His mind can’t comprehend Fury’s words. He doesn’t want to believe that his son has been hiding something as serious as this from him. But it would explain Peter’s recent behavior. Steve should have seen this coming.

He raises his head to connect his eyes with Fury’s. “You’re sure you don’t know anything else?”

“No,” Fury sighs. “But I’m heading there tonight. Have you talked to him?”

“Do you think if I did we would be having this conversation?”

Tony reaches for Steve’s hand again. “Cap, relax.”

Steve yanks himself free from Tony’s grasp and rises to his feet. He turns to leave.

“Captain,” Fury stands and Steve forces himself around to face him. “We’re not done here.”

“I think we are. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to speak with my son.”


In all of his life, Peter has never been more nervous and relieved. He’s relieved because he can finally come clean to his parents, but that’s also the same reason behind his nervousness. Telling them the truth was going to change their relationship; any ounce of trust it had left would be gone and it would be his fault.

He doesn’t bother hiding the suit; he’s going to have to bring it out and show it to them anyway. Just thinking about it makes his stomach churn.

“He’s gonna hate me,” Peter mutters to himself.

“No he won’t.” The familiar voice of his sister fills his ears and he glances up, finding her standing in the doorway of his room. He wants to scold her for just barging in, but he can’t bring himself to do it. He’s actually happy to see her. Morgan steps further into the room, plopping down on the twin bed.

“He will hate me,” Peter tells her. “Thanks, though.”

“He won’t. He’s just gonna be really mad.”

“Not helping,” Peter sighs. He reaches out and takes the mask in his hand, fingers gripping the material tightly. “You’re lucky you don’t have to deal with this. I’m pretty sure you’re the favorite.”

Morgan gives a small shrug in response. “I’m just better at being sneaky....or I'm just cuter.”

A smile breaks across Peter’s face. “Then maybe you should be Spider-Man.”

“Nah. I wanna be like daddy. No offense, but his suit is the best.”

Peter chuckles and glances back down at his own suit. His smile falters when he imagines his papa telling him to hang it up. There’s a part of him that is hoping that he doesn’t have to.

His ears perk up at the sound of the front door and his brows scrunch together in confusion. They were back earlier than he expected. He takes a breath to calm himself, then he’s slipping the mask in his back pocket.

“Don’t worry,” Morgan tells him and she jumps up from the bed and reaches out for his hand; Peter gladly accepts it. “I’m on your side.”

Peter smiles. Even though he and his sister didn’t always get along, and she teased him more times than he can count, they would still always be there for each other. That’s how it’s always been and how it will continue to be.

The nerves are back, hitting him harder than ever when he steps back into the living room to face his parents. He reminds himself that he can tell them anything; it was something his papa had reminded him of countless times.

Peter offers them a small smile, hoping to get one in return, but when he doesn’t he knows something’s wrong. He frowns. “What did Fury say? Was it bad?”

“You lied to me.” Steve’s voice is firm and Peter winces at the tone. Peter sends a glance his dad’s way, only to turn back quickly when Steve speaks again. “Don’t look at him; we’re talking.”

“O-okay,” Peter stammers, keeping his eyes locked with piercing blue ones. He’s never seen his papa this angry, at least not at him. He wonders if they know. They have to.

“Why did you lie about SHIELD? Did you think we weren’t going to find out?”

"No...I mean, kinda. You didn’t really notice-”

“Enough. Why? Why did you think this was something you could hide from us?”

“Because I knew you would-never mind.”

“Because I’d what? Tell me.”

Peter sighs and glances down. He can’t meet his papa’s eyes anymore. “Because I knew you wouldn’t let me do it. You’re afraid and always worrying. You never let me do anything.”

“I worry because I care, Pete!” Steve’s aware of the way his voice is rising, but he can’t bring himself to lower it. He’s angry and hurt that his son would lie to him. “I told you we had an open door policy and yet you still kept things from me!”

“Because you act like this!” Peter cries. “And don’t act like you’re so innocent when you’re not!”

“Kiddo,” Tony finally decides to intervene and he sends his son a warning look. “Don’t. Just listen.”

“No! He needs to listen! All he cares about is himself! He doesn’t care about me or the things I want! You tell me I can talk to you, but I can’t. I can’t do anything!”

“That’s enough,” Steve warns.

Peter shakes his head. Tears are beginning to burn at the corner of his eyes, and he tries to keep them from falling. “You don’t care. You say that you do, but you don’t. You never cared about what I wanted. I just wanted to be like you.”

“You’re never going to be like me. You’re never going to be an Avenger so just stop!”

“You stop! Stop trying to control everything! Stop lying to me! All you’ve ever done is lie and keep things from me. You’re not innocent.”

Steve’s expression softens when he catches sight of the tears rolling down his son’s face. He steps forward, only to stop in his tracks when Peter shakes his head and backs away. “Pete, stop. I’m sorry.”

“No, you’re not. You don’t care,” Peter says. The tears continue to fall, leaving behind wet streaks down his face. “I hate you.”

“Pete, come on. You don’t mean that.”

“Leave me alone.” Peter runs from the room, ignoring the way his papa calls out for him. He pushes past Morgan when he passes her in the hall; her calls go ignored too.

He rushes into his bedroom, slamming and locking the door behind him. Now that he’s alone, he lets the sobs escape him. It should feel good to release all that pent up resentment he had toward his papa, but it’s actually one of the worst feelings he’s ever felt.

You’re never going to be an Avenger

Those words play over and over again in his head, bringing with them fresh tears. For as long as he can remember, being just like his papa was something he had always wanted. Or at least that’s what he thought he had wanted. Now he wants nothing to do with him.

Peter wipes angrily at the tears and he pulls himself off the floor. The mask weighs heavily in his back pocket and he reaches for it, giving it a look over before slipping it over his head. He gets the rest of his suit on, then he’s opening his bedroom window and swinging out into the darkness.

Chapter Text

Steve hasn’t said a word. His head is bowed, eyes trained to the floor and arms folded tightly over his chest. He tucks his bottom lip between his teeth, biting down harder than he means to and filling his mouth with an iron taste.

He’s had plenty of arguments, whether that was with his husband or teammates, but none had ever left him feeling like the way he was now. Peter’s words were affecting him differently, cutting deeper than any hurtful words that had been thrown at him in the past.

His heart ached.

“Steve.” The comforting voice of his husband isn’t enough to get Steve’s attention and it isn’t until Tony calls out his name again does Steve finally acknowledge him. “It’s okay.”

Steve wants to scoff at those words, to tell Tony that nothing was okay. This was his fault. “I screwed up,” he finally says.

Tony sighs deeply. “You both did.”

“I tell him all the time to be honest with me...and he finally was.”

“Cap, this was gonna happen sooner or later. The kid’s-well, you know how teenagers are. They feel like the whole world is against them.”

“I don’t want him to feel that way. I was just trying to protect him and when I found out about SHIELD…” Steve pauses, a sigh leaving his lips. “I got scared.”

“Honey, they’re the good guys. Be thankful he was with them and not-“

“Tony, not all of them are good. Rumlow-“

“Is no longer in the picture. He’s not part of them anymore.”

“I didn’t want this for him!” Steve cries. “God, Tony I just wanted him to be a kid; a normal kid.”

“Cap, he’s far from normal and I hate to break it to you but so is his life. He was never going to live that normal life you wanted for him,” Tony says.

“I thought I had wanted that simple life, but turns out I wanted it for him. For both of them.” With a heavy sigh Steve takes a seat on the sofa, body leaning forward and hands clasping together. Tony doesn’t join him.

They fall into silence, both not knowing what to say next. Steve prefers it this way; he doesn’t think he can take anymore of Tony pointing the blame at him. He knows all of this has been his fault.

For years it had been him forcing an unwanted life on his son; Tony never did that. If anything, he always wanted to encourage it. From the beginning it had been him wanting to build Peter a suit, to somehow find a way for their son to one day be a part of their team.

It finally dawns on Steve just how damaging his own words had been. The Avengers were like his family and now he told his son he would never be one.

He doesn’t realize the tears at first, not until a drop of wetness landed on his hand. His eyes dart down, watching as more and more drops continued to fall.

It took a lot to make him cry; that’s just how he was. At a young age he learned to keep his emotions to himself, especially when around bullies. There had been times when he came dangerously close, but he would always catch himself and put on a straight face. His mother’s funeral had been different. A few tears had slipped then, but it wasn’t until Bucky walked him home and Steve found himself alone did he allow those built up tears to escape.

It was years later when he cried again. Losing Bucky had been the hardest thing he ever had to go through, and going on without his best friend by his side became near impossible.

Now he was crying again. This time for his son.

Seeing Steve cry was one of the things Tony couldn’t stand the sight of. He had only witnessed a small handful of occasions when Steve let his guard down. When he first saw Steve break down, it had been startling. Captain America wasn’t supposed to cry; he was America’s superhero and superheroes had to remain strong. But that night Tony wasn’t witnessing his childhood hero cracking, it was Steve Rogers.

“Hey.” Tony keeps his voice soft and Steve glances up, eyes shiny and bright with tears. Tony takes the empty spot beside his husband and reaches for his hand, smiling softly when Steve finally accepts his touch. “It’s gonna be okay,” he says, regretting those words the moment they leave his mouth. He didn’t know if that was true. Their family had been far from okay for years. This was its breaking point.

“He hates me,” Steve says, brows furrowed and tears continuing to leak from his eyes. “I don’t know what I’m going to do to change that.”

“Cap, he doesn’t hate you. He’s just as hurt as you are. He’s probably pissed with me too.”

Steve scoffs and shakes his head. “I’ve never heard him scream at you like he just did with me.”

“Remember the time I told him he couldn’t have Ned over? Kid screamed at me for an hour.”

“Tony, he was six. He’s sixteen now.”

“Exactly! His attitude is worse. It’s not just you, so stop blaming yourself.”

“Yeah.” Steve nods and he gets up. “I should talk to him. Apologize and do it right this time.”

“No, let me. I can calm him down, remember?” Tony rises to his feet and gestures for Steve to sit back down. “Don’t worry. I’ll call you in when he’s ready.”

Steve nods. “Good luck.”

Tony leans down to connect their lips, then he’s pulling away and heading toward the hallway. The door to his daughter’s bedroom is wide open and Tony peeks his head in, catching sight of his daughter curled up on her bed with the plush figures of himself and Steve.

With a sigh Tony enters the room. Morgan glances up at him, brown eyes full of tears and she hugs the plush toys closer to her chest.

“You heard all that, didn’t you?” Tony sighs again when Morgan slowly nods her head. He sits down beside her. His eyes were immediately drawn to the familiar plush toys. “You know those used to belong to your brother.”

Morgan squeezes them closer. “He said I could have them. He said they help when you guys fight.”

“Sweetheart, everything’s okay. Your brother is just upset right now.”

“He didn’t mean it. He just wants to be Spider-Man.”

Tony inhales sharply, then he’s smiling. “Of course you would know before us. I should’ve came to you first.”

“I wouldn’t have told you. It’s not my secret to tell,” Morgan says.

Tony chuckles. “I get that. Kinda wishing I did tell though. Maybe then all of this could have been avoided.” Morgan frowns, tilting her head in confusion and Tony waves her off. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Are they gonna hate each other forever?”

“They don’t hate each other. Just don’t worry about it okay? Let the adults handle it.”

Morgan frowns. “Obviously you don’t know how to handle it.”

Tony sighs. “Maybe you’re right.” He leans forward to press a kiss to her head, then he’s pulling away. Morgan’s hand flies out to stop him and she gives him the Captain America plush.

“Give him this one. It’s his favorite.”

Tony smiles and takes the toy. “Okay. Go to sleep or I’m taking the other one.”

Morgan huffs and hugs her Iron Man plush against her chest. “Go easy on him. He’s kind of a dummy.”

Tony chuckles. “I will.”

He gives Morgan another kiss, then he’s leaving the room to comfort his other child.

The plush Captain America is still in his hand when he reaches Peter’s room. He uses his free hand to knock, something he rarely does but knows he should do more often. It doesn’t come as a surprise when there’s no answer. He tries again.

“Pete, it’s me. Open up.” Tony knocks again, a little firmer this time and he huffs when he continues to go ignored. He’s not in the mood for this. “Friday,” he speaks to his AI instead, “unlock the door please.”

“Unlocking,” comes Friday’s reply and the lock on the door clicks.

Tony thanks her, then he’s twisting the doorknob and opening the door. He glances around the empty room, brows furrowing with concern. His eyes shoot up, expecting to find his son in his usual spot. Peter’s not there either.

“Fuck.”


 

Peter keeps swinging, putting as much distance as he could between himself and his parents. He contemplates going to visit his Uncle Stephen, but he quickly rids his head of that thought. He hates putting the sorcerer in the middle of his family drama. It wasn’t fair to Strange, not when he had his own drama to deal with. Peter would take battling unearthly beings any day than dealing with his dysfunctional family.

With no particular destination in mind, Peter keeps swinging, for once not enjoying the thrill of being over the vast city. He just wants to get as far away as he can.

He doesn’t stop to catch a break on his usual rooftop. He doesn’t want to risk anyone finding him. Being up high was his escape and that was always the first place anyone checked when looking for him.

The park is quiet and there’s a slight eeriness to it during the night, but Peter’s not afraid. If there are muggers, it wouldn’t be the first time he dealt with them. He can take care of himself. Even if his papa didn’t agree.

Just the thought of him brings a new wave of emotion and Peter can’t stop the fresh tears that gather in his eyes. He plops down on the nearest bench, shaky hands coming up to peel his mask away. He grips the material tightly, a blurry image of red filling his vision.

He tosses it to the ground.

Being Spider-Man was a longtime dream of his; the idea of following in his parents’ footsteps and being someone important was all he ever wanted. He knew what he wanted was challenging and came with its own set of risks, but those were risks he was willing to take. If his parents could do it, then so could he.

But they didn’t think he could. Or at least that’s what his papa thought. His papa didn’t think he could be an Avenger. The one person Peter grew up admiring didn’t think he was capable of doing the one thing he wanted most.

It crushed him.

“Hey, kid.”

Peter’s head snaps up at the voice, eyes landing on the familiar figure of Brock Rumlow. Peter quickly blinks back his tears to clear his vision. His eyes must be playing tricks on him.

“Wait, this isn’t real. You’re not really here.” Peter rubs at his eyes, then he’s settling them back on the figure. It’s really Rumlow. “Holy shit!” Peter jumps up from the bench.

“Relax, kid.” Rumlow is wearing his signature smirk. He comes closer. “You ready to go?”

“Wait what? G-go?” Peter stammers, jumping slightly when the back of his legs bump into the bench. Rumlow steps closer. Peter’s heart pounds rapidly in his chest. He’s trapped between the bench and the agent. “Wait!” Peter holds out his hand to stop Rumlow from coming any closer. “I’m confused. You’re not even supposed to be here.”

“And neither are you. You said you wanted to be part of SHIELD right?”

“Well yeah but I left. Why would you even want me back?”

“You’re special, kid. We could use someone like you on the team. It’s not like your old man is letting you on his.”

Peter frowns. There was no denying that the words Rumlow said were true. Peter was not welcomed on his father’s team, and here was SHIELD ready to recruit him, to make him feel like he was worth something. He was starting to regret leaving them.

“But my-" Peter trails off. He doesn’t care about what his parents think anymore. They couldn’t care less about him and what he wanted.

Peter makes up his mind.

“Come on, kid.”

Peter is ready to follow the agent, but something flying near them catches his eye. Rumlow must notice it too, because he’s reaching for the gun in his holster. The figure in the sky finally lands, the red and gold suit all too familiar to them both.

Rumlow aims his gun.

“Whoa whoa wait!” Peter cries when he notices the gun aimed at his dad and he places his hand over Rumlow’s. “It’s just my dad. He’s fine.”

 Rumlow doesn’t budge.

“Oh I’m more than fine, kiddo.” Tony steps closer. He doesn’t even flinch when the gun in Rumlow’s hand cocks. “Get away from my son,” Tony snarls. The agent chuckles darkly.

“He’s coming with me, Stark,” Rumlow says.

“Yeah that’s not gonna happen.” Tony raises his hand, the repulsors charging up. “Let him go.”

 It happens so fast.

Rumlow’s arm comes around Peter’s neck, keeping the teenager in a locked-tight grip. Peter squirms, desperately trying to break himself free. Something cold nudges the side of his head and Peter freezes, blood running cold when realization hits.

Rumlow keeps his grip tight, gun pointed at the teenagers’ head. “Do it, Stark,” Rumlow says, “shoot me.”

Peter squirms again, his eyes wide and pleading. “Dad, please!”

Rumlow’s grasp tightens and he presses the gun harder into Peter’s temple. He growls in Peter’s ear, “Shut up, kid.”

Tony keeps his hand raised. Just one shot and the agent would be taken out, but he can’t bring himself to fire the blast, not when there’s a chance he could hurt his son in the process.

In defeat he lowers his hand. His eyes lock with terrified brown ones. “It’s gonna be okay, Pete.”

“Dad-" The gun pushes harder against his head and Peter flinches, a small whimper leaving his trembling lips. The tears are flowing again, this time out of fear.

Rumlow begins backing away, Peter still held tightly in his grasp. “Don’t,” He demands when Tony takes a step forward.

“Just let my kid go and I won’t kill you. Sounds fair to me.” Tony takes another step forward, ignoring the agent when he growls at him to back off. “Fine, I guess we’re doing this the hard way.” He raises his hand again, charging the repulsor and this time he fires the beam.

Rumlow dodges the attack. He fires his gun, the bullets ricocheting off the red and gold suit. With the agent distracted, Peter scurries away from the scene.

“Pete, go!” He can hear his dad yelling out to him, followed by another blast from his repulsor. Peter moves quickly to avoid the flying bullets. He wants to stay and fight; he’s taken Rumlow down before, but then his dad is calling out to him again. “Pete, get-"

There’s another blast, but it’s not one Peter recognizes. In horror, he watches as his dad is thrown back toward the trees. Five more men have now entered the clearing, one wielding a weapon Peter has never seen before. It sets off another powerful blast, this time at his direction and Peter quickly swerves out of the way.

He rushes toward Tony’s limp body, dropping down beside him. The suit is covered in dents from the bullets and there’s a large hole in the center where the blast had struck him.

“Dad! Dad, come on get up!” Peter shakes him as hard as he can, but Tony remains still. “Dad, please get up! Please-

Shots are being fired again. Peter ducks his head low when they zip past him. He tries again to revive his dad, but then he’s being pulled back.

“Gotcha.” A gruff voice is in his ear and Peter squirms in the tight grasp.

Peter fights and struggles to get free. He slams his head back, connecting his hard skull with the man’s nose. There’s a crack, followed by a scream of agony. Peter slips free and scrambles away from the man.

With his attacker down, Peter makes a run for it, eyes focused on the beaten down form of his dad. He can hear the guns going off. Then there’s nothing but pain.

Peter falls to the ground, crying out when his arm erupts with the fiery pain. He rolls over into his back with a groan, eyes struggling to stay open. The crunching of boots against the grass fill his ear and Peter forces his eyes open, instantly locking with familiar dark ones.

“I didn’t wanna do it, kid,” Rumlow’s tone doesn’t match the sincerity of his words. “But you gave me no choice.”

“L-let me go,” Peter begs. The pain is getting worse.

“Sorry. Hydra’s orders.”

Peter cries out when he’s forcefully pulled from the ground. He’s thrown toward another guy-Peter recognizes him from the bank- and secured tightly. “We got him,” Rumlow says into his communicator, then he’s turning toward the guy holding Peter. “Take him out of here.”

In that moment Peter forgets about the pain in his left arm and he fights to break free. “No! Let me go! Let me go!”

Then he hears it. A repulsor charging.

Two guys go down. Rumlow and the others fire their guns rapidly. The one still holding Peter begins to drag him away from the scene.

“No! Let me go! Dad!” Peter screams, struggling to free himself.

There’s another blast and Peter falls to the ground. He waits for the pain to take over, but when the only pain that surrounds him is the throb in his arm, he realizes that he hasn’t been hit. The body of his captor lies beside him.

Peter crawls backward quickly. He yelps when his body collides with another, then he’s being pulled up. “No, stop! Don’t!”

“Kiddo, relax. It’s me.” Tony retracts his helmet and Peter throws his arms around him. Tony holds him tightly. “Hey, it’s okay now.”

“Dad, I’m sorry!” Peter pulls away. “I didn’t mean for this. I’m so sorry. I’m so-look out!”

Tony spins around, activating his shield to block the attack. The impact is strong enough to force Tony back. He hits the ground hard, groaning when his unprotected head hits a rock. Warm blood trickles down his neck.

Peter is at his side, begging him to get up. But he can’t. “P-Pete,” Tony slurs. His eyes struggle to focus on the blurry image of his son’s face. Peter is screaming again, fingers clinging to the suit. Tony reaches out for him, but someone is pulling him away.

Peter holds onto Tony tighter. “Dad, please! I don’t wanna go! I don’t wanna go!”

Something pricks his neck and Peter falls limp. He groans, eyelids suddenly feeling heavy. His vision fades in and out, the image of his dad’s lifeless form the last thing he sees before a darkness surrounds him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

That fear is back, its hold on him tighter than it’s ever been. He knows something is wrong, despite how much Tony had assured him before he left. Steve now wishes he would have gone with him.

It should be him out there looking for their son; he was the one who upset Peter, but Tony had insisted. He was the one who knew how to get through to their son.

Steve and Peter never used to have a rocky relationship. At one point in time, it had been Steve being the one able to calm their son. Peter was clingy, only wanting Steve when the world became too much for him to handle. But over time that changed and Peter distanced himself as much as he could from Steve.

Steve blamed himself.

He struggles to keep himself calm, but calm was something he hasn’t been in years. All of this was his fault.

“Papa?”

The soft voice of his daughter rips Steve from his thoughts and he turns to find her lingering in the hall. Her eyes are shiny and full of fear, the Iron Man plushie in her hands held tightly against her chest. Steve sighs sadly and gestures for her to come closer and she runs toward him, arms wrapping around his waist. Steve lifts her up and holds her close.

“You’re supposed to be asleep,” he tells her. She pulls back enough for their eyes to meet.

“Where’s daddy?” She asks.

Steve doesn’t know how to answer the question when he himself doesn’t know the answer. He could lie to her, but she was a smart kid and there was no doubt that she already knew what was going on. She had been present when the argument broke out.

“He’s okay,” Steve finally says and he’s not sure if those words are for himself or his daughter. He hugs Morgan close when he catches more tears roll down her face.

“Captain.” Friday’s voice breaks through the silence and out of habit Steve glances up at the ceiling. He doesn’t like the way her voice sounds.

“Friday.” He acknowledges her. His stomach churns violently.

“You need to come quickly.”


Morgan is struggling, trying to break free from the firm grasp Steve has on her. She whines and drags her feet, crying out in frustration when Steve continues to pull her along with him. He knows if she really wanted to she could force herself free; she’s done it before.

“Papa, what’s going on! Where’s daddy?” She asks.

Steve can’t answer her, his throat feels too tight to speak. He doesn’t mean to worry her. “Daddy’s okay, sweetheart,” he repeats. He hates that’s the only thing he can tell her.

“Then where are we going?”

Steve doesn’t answer this time.

He pounds on the door, cursing quietly when there’s no response. “Nat, it’s me! Nat!”

“Papa, why are we here? I wanna go home,” Morgan whines. Steve finally releases the firm grip he has on his daughter's hand.

“Nat!” Steve knocks harder.

The door finally opens, revealing a confused and groggy Bruce. He adjusts his glasses, brows furrowed. “Steve, what’s wrong?”

“Something happened. Tony-"

“Tony? What happened to Tony?”

“I don’t know. I don’t mean to do this but Morgan-"

“No, no it’s okay.” Bruce opens the door wider and gestures for Morgan to enter. She shakes her head and wraps herself around Steve.

“What’s going on?” Natasha comes to the door, hands coming up to wrap around herself. She looks just as confused as Bruce.

“I don’t know.” Steve swallows the lump in his throat. “Can you take her? I’m sorry but I need to go.”

“Yeah, of course.” Natasha nods and reaches a hand out for Morgan to take. She smiles. “Come on, sweetie. We’re gonna have a sleepover.”

Morgan is still hesitant and it isn’t until Steve gently urges her forward does she finally take her auntie’s hand. Morgan turns around quickly, letting go of Natasha’s hand and throwing her arms around Steve’s waist.

“I wanna go with you! Please, papa I wanna come. Daddy needs us!” She cries, tears streaming down her face.

“Sweetheart, this is something I have to do. Everything’s going to be okay,” Steve promises. Morgan pulls away and he reaches out to brush the tears from her face. He gives her a kiss on the forehead.

Natasha takes Morgan’s hand again and gently leads her into the apartment.

“Do you need me to come with you?” Bruce asks.

“No,” Steve shakes his head. “You stay here. The last thing I need is for something to happen to you. Nat would kill me.”

Bruce chuckles at those words. “She might. But I think the green guy can handle it.”

“I know he can, but I’ll be okay.”

“Take someone, Steve. This situation, whatever it may be, might require backup.”

Steve gives a small nod in response. There’s only two people he’d bring with him.


The park is pitch black, the brightness from the moon the only source of light. Steve’s eyes take a moment to adjust, and when they do, he’s greeted with a horrific sight. Bodies litter the ground, the strong stench of blood lingers in the air.

“What the hell happened?” Bucky asks, the gun in his hand still raised. He approaches one of the bodies and gives it a gentle nudge with his foot for good measure.

“I don’t know,” Steve replies. There’s an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. “But I don’t think these were SHIELD’s men.”

He hopes he’s wrong. Hydra had been off their radar for some time; the missions he had gone on had been a bust, and it was after that when he decided to do what Tony said and focus on his family. Now’s he’s wishing he gave more attention to his enemy.

“Sam,” Steve speaks into his comm. “Do you see anything?”

“Nothing yet,” comes Sam’s reply. “It’s a mess from up here.”

“Down here isn’t any better. Keep me posted.”

“Copy that.”

Steve takes a couple steps forward, eyes scanning the area for his husband and son. They had been here; evidence of a fight was present. Steve recognizes the damage caused from Tony’s repulsors. But that’s not what makes the scene so unsettling. There’s no sign of his husband or son.

 “I don’t understand,” Steve says and Bucky glances over at him. “Friday’s coordinates were for this exact location.”

“Don’t worry,” Bucky tells him, sensing Steve’s distress. “We’re not giving up. We’ll find them.”

Steve struggles to find faith in those words. There’s a part of him that believes that somehow his family got out alive, but the other half isn’t convinced that’s how this fight ended. If they were somewhere safe, Tony would have let him know. He hasn’t heard anything and he can’t help but fear the worst.

“Cap, I have a visual,” Sam’s voice comes through the comm. Steve’s heart races at those words. He and Bucky share a look, then they take off running.

Sam is coming toward them, a familiar figure wrapped around him. Steve runs over to assist in carrying Tony. A soft groan leaves Tony’s lips when he’s carefully adjusted under Steve’s arms. His head rolls to the side, giving Steve a clear image of the bruises and cuts down his face. The fresh blood trailing down his neck is what worries Steve the most.

“S-Steve?” Tony slurs, eyes struggling to stay open. He sways and Steve is quick to recover him and place his arm back over his shoulder.

“Take it easy.” Steve lays his other hand over Tony’s chest to steady him. His fingers brush against the deep marks scattering his husband’s suit. “Tony, what happened?”

Metal fingers wrap around Steve’s wrist and Steve glances up, eyes connecting with Tony’s. “I couldn’t stop them,” he says, wincing from the ache in his head.

“It’s okay.”

Tony stops walking, hand coming up to grip the material of Steve’s suit. His eyes are full of defeat and Steve doesn’t miss the way they shine with fresh tears. “I lost the kid.”

Steve’s heart stops at those words. “Tony, where is he? Who took him?”

“Steve, I tried. Rumlow...” Is all Tony says before he falls limp in Steve’s arms.

“Tony!”

There’s no response and Steve shoots Sam a look. “Let’s get him on the jet,” Sam says, “He’s gonna be okay, Cap.”



His worst fear was coming true. For years he had been trying to keep his family safe from Hydra. Protecting his children had always been his main priority; it was a duty as a parent to keep his children safe from harm's way, but he had failed.

Steve leans forward in his seat, hands coming up to cradle his head. His eyes flicker up to the closed door across from him, wishing he could barge into the room and demand answers to his questions, but Tony was in no condition to give them.

Steve’s grateful that Tony’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, but seeing Tony battered and bruised still worried him. It takes a lot to take Iron Man down and he can’t imagine what happened in the park.

“How is he?” Steve glances up at the familiar voice, eyes connecting with Sam’s. He sighs.“That bad huh?” Sam asks and takes the empty chair beside Steve.

“He’s better. Bruce is finishing up the stitches,” Steve replies and he leans back in his chair, one hand coming up to rub along his face.

“How are you holding up?”

“Not good, Sam.”

Sam places his hand over Steve’s shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze. “He’s gonna be okay. He’s a smart kid.”

“This is my fault.” Steve struggles to keep the tears that have gathered in his eyes from spilling. The hand on his shoulder squeezes harder and Steve looks up into Sam’s face.

“It’s not, Steve. Don’t go beating yourself up. We’re gonna get him back,” Sam assures.

Steve nods. “I know we will, because I don’t know what I’m going to do if we don’t.”

The door to Tony’s private room is suddenly thrown open and Steve and Sam quickly rise to their feet. Tony steps out first, followed by a very upset Bruce. “Tony! Tony, stop!”

Tony continues to fight Bruce off of him and Steve rushes over to help. With a sigh of defeat, Bruce gives up and allows Steve to take over.

“He won’t listen to me,” Bruce sighs, ignoring the way Tony rolls his eyes at him. “He needs to take it easy. The stitches-“

“I don’t give a damn about the stitches. My son needs me,” Tony says and he struggles to free himself from the firm grasp Steve has on him.

“Tony, stop.” Steve tries to calm his husband. “You need to rest.”

“How can I rest when our son is out there! He needs me, Cap.”

“I know but you’re in no condition to go looking for him.”

Tony scoffs and yanks himself free from Steve. “Oh but you are? You’re the reason he’s gone, Cap!”

“Tony-“

“No! You’re the reason he’s been sneaking behind our backs! All you’ve done is push him away!”

“Tony, stop,” Steve tries again, his hands coming to rest on Tony’s shoulders. Tony shoves him back.

“Do you wanna know what our son has been doing this whole fucking time?”

Tony grabs Steve’s hand forcefully and places something Steve doesn’t recognize in his palm. Steve glances down, brows drawing together in confusion. It takes him a moment to fully comprehend what was handed to him. He stares down at the red mask, his stomach twisting at the realization.

“No…”

“Yeah. Our son is Spider-Man. Bet you’ve heard of him, maybe saw him on the news. Oh that’s right, you don’t pay attention. All you’ve ever cared about was tracking down Hydra. Looks like you failed, Cap. They have our son.”

Steve shakes his head, fingers gripping the material in his hands. He doesn’t want to believe it. “No. Tony, no he wouldn’t-“

“Of course he would, Steve! He’s been telling us for years that this is what he wanted, but you never cared enough to listen!” Tony yells.

Steve glances up to meet Tony’s eyes. “But you obviously did. You did the one thing I told you not to do.”

“What? Encourage him to follow his dreams? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do!”

“We’re supposed to keep him safe!” Steve’s voice raises. He shakes the mask in his hand angrily in Tony’s face. “This is putting him in danger! Encouraging him to do the one thing I didn’t want-”

“What was I supposed to do, Steve! Be like you and force him into a life he doesn’t even want! I’m all for keeping our kids safe but-”

“Yeah, well you show a pretty pathetic job at doing it. Our son is gone and it’s your fault, Tony. Why didn’t you do more!”

“Why didn’t you?” Tony steps closer, their face just inches from each other. Steve can practically feel the anger radiating off his husband. He’s sure Tony can feel his. “Why didn’t you do more, Cap? Why didn’t you just listen to him?”

“I was trying to keep him safe.”

“But you didn’t.”

“You’re right, I didn’t. I was trying to keep him safe from Hydra, but it’s you I should have kept him safe from.”

Tony lunges forward and Steve waits for the punch. But it never comes. Bruce has Tony in his grasp again, trying to calm him down. “Steve, get out of here,” Bruce tells him, struggling to lead Tony back into the room. Tony continues to fight.

“Come on, Cap.” Sam has his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Let him cool off.”

Steve shrugs Sam off and walks away, the mask still held tightly in his hand. He can hear footsteps behind him and then Sam is appearing beside him. “Where are you going?” Sam asks.

“To find my son,” Steve replies.

“Not without me you’re not.”

“I can’t bring you into this, Sam."

“He might be your son, but he’s my nephew and there is no way in hell I’m gonna sit this one out.”

The last thing Steve wants is to put anymore of the people he loves in danger. He had already caused enough damage, but he knew his teammates well enough and they were not going to let him battle Hydra alone. Not again.

“It’s going to be dangerous,” Steve warns him. “You still have time to back out.”

“Not happening, Cap.” Sam stands his ground, giving Steve no choice but to give in.

"Okay," Steve nods. “Suit up.”

Chapter Text

It’s a struggle to keep his eyes open, just the slightest attempt at opening his eyelids is exhausting. The burning in his arm is still present, but it’s beginning to fade into a dull throb. His body must be healing itself.

Heavy boots are in his ears, the owner of those boots grip him harder. The throbbing in his arm intensifies and he hisses, eyes fluttering open momentarily. All he can see is the concrete floor beneath him as he dragged further down a narrow corridor. He tries to lift his head, but all that does is set off another wave of pain.

The sound of a door is the next thing his ears pick up on, then he’s being thrown; pain erupting through him when he hits the hard surface of the floor. A groan escapes him and this time his eyes slowly opened. His vision is fuzzy and it’s hard to focus on his surroundings.

A black, blurry shape is coming near him, sending a wave of panic through Peter. He scrambles backwards, trying to get away but he’s not quick enough and strong arms are pulling him off the floor. He yelps, putting up a struggle to break free.

“Knock it off, kid.”

He knows that voice. He glances up at the blurry figure and it slowly starts to sharpen, revealing the familiar face of Rumlow. Peter’s eyes widen and he yells, “Get away! Don’t touch me! Don’t-"

Pain flares up in his face and it only takes a second to realize that Rumlow had hit him. The impact of the punch was strong and Peter finds himself on the floor again. He uses one hand to inspect the damage, fingers brushing over his cheek and wincing from the tenderness. Rumlow steps closer and Peter scrambles to get to his feet. He’s lifted off the floor and pushed against the wall. A warm hand wraps around his neck, keeping him in place.

“I told you to knock it off,” Rumlow growls. He’s close enough that their noses were nearly touching. Peter can’t stand to look in the agent’s eyes anymore and he shifts his gaze down. The fingers around his neck tighten.

A strangled gasp leaves Peter’s lips and his hands fly up to wrap around Rumlow’s wrist. He squirms, trying to break free from the tight grasp. He’s gotten loose from Rumlow before but right now his super strength was failing.

“P-please!” He gasps, eyes widening when the fingers squeeze harder. Peter digs his nails into the flesh of Rumlow’s wrist, but the agent refuses to let him go. His vision is going blurry again.

“Agent Rumlow.”

Peter knows that voice too. A sense of relief washes over him. He’s going to be saved. At the mention of his name, the agent finally eases his grip and Peter falls to the floor with a choked gasp. Peter wraps a hand around his throat, breaths coming out in heavy pants as he tries to get air back into his lungs.

Rumlow backs away, letting Pierce take his place. Pierce kneels down in front of Peter, one hand coming out and grabbing his face, turning it toward the side to view the purple bruise forming over his cheek. Pierce purses his lips at the sight, then his eyes are traveling down to the wound on Peter’s arm. His eyes grow dark with anger and he quickly stands.

“I told you not to harm him!” He yells at a Rumlow. The agent doesn’t even flinch at the harsh tone.

“I did what I had to do. You wanted the kid and here he is.”

“And his parents?”

“Took out Stark.”

“And what about Rogers?”

“I’ll take him out too.”

Peter watches the conversation silently. A mixture of fear and confusion floods through him. He didn’t understand why this was happening. SHIELD was supposed to be the good guys.

“M-Mr. Pierce?” Peter’s soft and timid voice cuts through the conversation and all eyes fall on him. Peter swallows hard, suddenly regretting the interruption.

Pierce comes closer, kneeling back down in front of Peter. He’s wearing that smile, the one that is supposed to be warm and inviting. But it doesn’t feel that way now. “Didn’t I tell you you were making a mistake?”

“I’m sorry! I just wanna go home. Please, sir I-“

“You can’t go home, Peter. We’re not done yet. Hydra has great plans for you.”

“But you said-you’re supposed to be one of the good guys! You lied to me.”

Pierce raises his hand to strike Peter across the face, the loud smack filling the room. Peter whimpers and rubs at his cheek. Pierce’s expression softens. “We didn’t lie to you. How could I tell you who we really were when your father has been feeding you lies about us?”

“Why do you want me?” Peter asks.

“Because you’re special. You have the same serum running through your veins as your father. For years we have been trying to recreate it. You might just be the key to our success.”

“And if I’m not? Are you gonna kill me?”

Pierce laughs. “We won’t kill you. You’d still prove useful to us. Hydra needs a new weapon. You’re going to help us shape this world.”

Peter shakes his head and scoots back, trying to get away from the two men in front of him. He collides with the wall, leaving him trapped. “Please?” He begs again. “Let me go.”

Pierce ignores him and rises to his feet, dusting the dirt from his gray slacks. He gestures for Rumlow and then the agent is coming after Peter again.

“No! No, please!” Peter flails his arms when Rumlow takes a hold of him. Two more men enter the room, one is holding a syringe. Peter continues to fight, one hand breaking free and connecting with Rumlow’s jaw. Rumlow cries out and Peter isn’t sure if it’s because of pain or anger. Maybe it’s both.

Rumlow is quick to recover from the blow and his fingers wrap around Peter’s throat again, nails digging into the soft flesh. Peter squirms to get away and the hands around him tighten. He can hear Rumlow yelling orders at the other men, then the one with the syringe is coming closer.

Peter grips Rumlow by the wrists, using the bit of strength he had to force the agent off. Rumlow stumbles back, his eyes darkening with anger, then he’s grabbing Peter again. The sound his head makes against the wall echoes in his ears.

“Give it to me!” Rumlow orders, one hand still on Peter and the other outstretched for what Peter can only assume is the syringe.

It’s hard to put up a fight with the heavy pounding in his head. “Please.” Peter’s voice is small and he wonders if he had even been heard. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

The sting only lasts for a second and then it’s over. Peter slumps against the wall, his body too heavy to keep upright and he slides down to the floor. His vision fades in and out before he’s surrounded by nothing but darkness.

He hangs on to the small bit of consciousness that he has left, his thoughts drifting to his parents. He wonders if they will swoop in and save him like they have always done in the past.


Tony hisses and shifts on the bed, sending a glare Bruce’s way from the discomfort he was being put through. Bruce doesn’t even bother to apologize and Tony huffs. “I get it, you’re pissed at me,” Tony tells him.

“Just hold still. It’s your fault,” Bruce says.

“Are we still talking about the stitches or what happened with Steve? Because that is not my fault. He’s the one who- ow! Easy there, big guy!”

Bruce huffs in annoyance and pulls his hand away from Tony’s head. “Can I say something without you getting upset?”

Tony rolls his eyes. “Just warning you now that whatever it is you’re gonna say will probably upset me. I mean why else would you ask that?”

“You were wrong,” Bruce says, folding his arms over his chest. “But so was Steve,” he adds when he catches the glare Tony is giving him.

“Yeah, well he was more wrong than me.” Tony reaches up, fingers brushing over the raised flesh on the back of his head. He hisses. “Fuck, those assholes got me good.”

“Leave them alone, Tony.”

“You better be talking about the damn stitches this time.”

“I am, but I mean Hydra as well.”

“No,” Tony shakes his head. He winces from the throbbing brought on from the movement. “I’m not going to just sit here and do nothing. They have my son, Bruce!”

“Yeah, they do. But you have us. We can bring Peter back,” Bruce says.

“And I’m sure you guys will do a great job kicking ass, but that’s my son. I promised I would have his back and ...and I screwed up. I have to be there for him this time.”

“What about your daughter?”

“She’s a strong kid. She can-wait, where is she? With Steve?”

“She’s with Nat. Steve dropped her off before going to look for you.” Bruce adjusts his glasses and with a sigh places his hand over Tony’s shoulder. “Tony, go home. You need to take it easy and be there for Morgan.”

“It’s a little hard to do that when my son is probably thousands of miles away.” That thought alone is enough to get Tony’s stomach churning. He can’t imagine what his son must be going through. He needs to find him. “I have to go,” Tony says and pushes himself off the bed with a grunt. He’s still sore, but it’s not enough to slow him down.

“You’re going to take it easy right?” Bruce raises a brow.

“Come on, Brucie. Surely you already know the answer to that question.

Bruce sighs and hangs his head, shaking it slowly. He glances up again. “I know you’re not. Tony, let Steve handle this.”

Tony scoffs at those words. “Did you not hear a word I just said? It has to be me. I’m not letting Steve go out there, not when there’s a possibility that he could be...forget it. I have to go. Thank you, Brucie!” Tony turns to leave, giving a little wave on his way out.

“Just don’t touch the stitches!” Bruce calls out to him. The door slams shut and Bruce lets out a sigh and pinches the bridge of his nose. “He’s so stubborn.”


The last thing Tony was expecting when he walked into his apartment was to find Barnes and Wilson lounging on his sofa clad in their Avenger gear. With a huff he closes the door. “Do I wanna know what this is?” He makes a quick gesture with his hand.

“I’m sure you already know,” Sam replies with a small shrug of his shoulders.

“Kinda wishing I didn’t. Where’s the Captain?”

Bucky points down the hall.

Tony follows the noise, eventually finding his husband in their daughter's room. Steve is dressed in his Captain America suit, but there’s something missing. Tony knows what it is.

“By the closet,” he says, the sound of his voice startling Steve.

Steve glances over at Tony then shifting his gaze toward the closet. “Thanks,” he mutters and crosses the room to retrieve his shield.

“You’re not doing this,” Tony tells him.

“It’s not up to you,” Steve shoots back. With one gloved hand he wipes the purple glitter scattered around the front of his shield, then he places it over his back. He glances up at Tony. “I need to bring him back.”

“No you need to stay here.” Tony steps further into the room. “Cap, I need to do this.”

“You can’t. Bruce said-“

“Oh so you’re gonna tell me to sit this one out? Aren’t you the same person that went on a mission when you weren’t supposed to?”

“That was different.”

“Was it? No, it was worse. You were an idiot then and you’re an idiot now.”

Steve’s jaw tightens and his eyes darken with anger. He huffs. “I’m not doing this. I have to go.” He pushes past Tony, stopping when a hand comes out to stop him.

“Stop.” Tony keeps his grip on Steve’s arm tight. “Let me handle this. It’s my fault.”

“I thought it was mine. That’s what you said.”

“Come on don’t do this. Not when there’s a chance something could go wrong. What about the baby?”

“My baby needs me.” Steve says and he breaks himself free from Tony’s grasp and leaves the room.

Tony sighs and rushes after him. “You don't even know where he is.”

Steve ignores him and heads for the front door; Sam and Bucky quickly rise to their feet to follow him.

“Steve!” Tony calls out and Steve finally acknowledges him and he turns around. “I know how to find him.”

“Tony-“

“I get it,” Tony cuts in quickly, stepping closer to his husband. “You wanna be the hero and that’s great, but I’m the only one that can find him.”

“Then send me the coordinates,” Steve says and he’s gestures for Sam and Bucky to follow him. Tony rushes to stop him. “Don’t,” Steve warns. “I need to do this.”

“Steve, stop. We’re supposed to be a team. You told me we’d do this together.”

“We were until you went behind my back.”

“Steve, I was going to tell you. Peter was going to tell you but-”

“Yeah, but you didn’t.” Steve has the door open and he allows his teammates to exit first. He gives Tony one last look then he’s gone, slamming the door behind him.

Tony curses, one hand coming up to run through his hair. He tugs too harshly, wincing when he irritates the stitches. He ignores the throbbing.

There is no point in chasing after his husband, not when Steve was already set on completing the rescue mission on his own. But Tony wasn’t about to let him do that. They were both to blame for the way they handled the situation with their son, though Tony felt he should carry most of it. He was the one who failed to keep Peter out of Hydra’s hands. He should have done more.

Going alone on this mission was tempting but risky. He did that once and was now paying for it. If Steve was going with a team, then Tony could do the same.

 


 

It’s been years since he’s found himself in the home of Doctor Strange. Stopping by to visit the doctor wasn’t something Tony normally had on his agenda, but now he was wishing he would have done it more often. Judging by the look Strange was currently giving him, it was going to take more than an apology to convince him to assist in the rescue mission.

The silence between them goes on longer than Tony would have liked. He blames himself for another awkward encounter with Strange. Tony never knew what to say to him. All that ever came out of his mouth was a snarky comment.

“Never took you for a t-shirt guy,” Tony says, giving the doctor a quick look over, “You’re always in that silly outfit.”

Strange’s eyes narrow. “Why are you here, Stark?”

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re apologizing for what exactly? Mocking me or-” Strange trails off.

Tony rolls his eyes. “Forget it. Just forget the apology. I need your help.”

“I figured that’s what you wanted. It must be a Stark thing, showing up here uninvited in the middle of the night to vent.”

“I’m not really sure I know what that means. When have I ever done that?”

“Well, now actually.”

“Okay enough. Look, I need your help. Peter was taken and-”

“Taken?” Strange’s tone is more urgent now, brows slightly furrowed. “What are you talking about?”

“Hydra,” Tony replies. “They’re back and they got what they wanted. I really need your help in bringing him back.”

The way Strange sighs has Tony regretting the visit.Tony’s not expecting the help, not when their relationship has always been rocky. It’s improved, or at least he’d like to think that it has. The snarkiness between them was one of the things Tony loved about their friendship.

Ever since Strange joined the team, Tony found a new sense of respect for the man. He finally understood what Steve had seen in him. Strange would sacrifice anything and everything to protect the people he cared about; it was something Tony had in common with him. Especially, when it came to Peter.

“He needs you,” Tony says and Strange glances up to meet his eyes. “And I need you. Help me bring him back.”

“You know I will. I’d do anything for that kid,” Strange says.

“Good. At least we can agree on something for once.”

Tony hears a swish and he jumps out of the way when a familiar red cloak flies by him. It settles itself on Strange’s shoulders. The casual attire he was dressed in is replaced by his usual tunic.

“That’s better,” Tony says, “I like this look.”

Strange ignores him. “Do you know where he is or what we’re up against?”

“It’s Hydra. Piece of cake.”

“Uh huh. Yet you’re here begging me for help.”

“First of all I’m not begging. I just figured it would be nice to have a friend.”

“Oh so we are friends? I wasn’t sure since the last time we spoke was what, three months ago?”

“I’m sorry!” Tony exclaims. “Geez, I knew this was gonna come back to bite me in the ass. Can we just focus on my son here?”

“Just waiting for you to shut up. I see where Pete gets it,” Strange smirks.

Tony rolls his eyes. He’s suddenly having second thoughts about bringing Strange along, but he is quick to remind himself that the doctor would be useful. The last thing Hydra is going to expect is the Sorcerer Supreme.

Chapter Text

The mission could not fail. Bringing his son back safe was priority number one. Defeating Hydra was second. This time wouldn’t be like his first encounter with them; Steve was going to make sure he took them down for good.

The sound of their footsteps against the concrete floor echo throughout the dimly lit corridor. The compound is exactly like he’d expect it to be, but unlike the few he’s stepped in before, this one wasn’t abandoned. It’s appearance was deceiving. Despite the obvious effect time had had on the compound, it wasn’t enough of a disguise to hide the fact that Hydra was residing inside and concocting another scheme to control the world.

Getting inside had been easy. Too easy for Steve’s liking and it puts him on edge. He’s not the only one, Bucky and Sam are just as suspicious of the simplicity it took to get inside the compound. It keeps them on high alert.

He hasn’t fully convinced himself that this mission was going to run smoothly. It had already started off rough when he decided to leave home without his husband and the rest of the team. Having the rest of the Avengers would surely benefit him; Hydra would be no match against the full team, but Steve had made the decision to come without them. A decision he was starting to regret.

They manage to clear the upper level, moving fast to avoid triggering any alarms. They still have the element of surprise and Steve intends on keeping it that way.

Steve makes the decision for them to split up. With his team only consisting of just three, splitting up makes the most sense. They would cover more ground that way. There was no telling how much time they had left.

With Sam covering the rest of the upper level, that left Steve and Bucky to take the lower level. They find an elevator and a couple of guards around it. They take them out.

The elevator descends slowly, too slowly for Steve. He’s anxious, more than he’s ever been in his life. Leading a mission was familiar to him, it was something he’s done his whole life. But he never thought that he would be leading one to rescue his son. All of his biggest fears were becoming reality.

He can feel eyes on him and he glances up, meeting Bucky’s gaze. “I know what you’re going to say,” Steve tells him. “But I had to do this.”

“I know you did, but doing it without the rest of the team is kinda stupid.” There’s no smirk on Bucky’s face like there normally is when he teases.

“We’re going to be fine, Buck. Trust me on this.”

“Hey, I always trust you. Till the end of the line, right?”

Steve gives a nod, his lips curving into a small smile. “Till the end of the line.”

The elevator gives a rough jolt, the gears of the car squeaking loudly as it slowly comes to a stop. A look is shared between the two friends and they get into position, ready to face whatever is out there when the metal doors open.

A small group of Hydra’s men are waiting for them, guns drawn and ready to fire. It’s a scene Steve has seen many times before. And it plays out the same way it always does.

The men don’t have time to start firing their guns. With one strong toss of his shield, Steve is able to take down two and they fall to the ground. Gunshots ring out and it only takes a second for Steve to realize it was Bucky who had fired.

With their cover blown, there was no point in keeping quiet. The sounds his shield make when they smash against bodies and the firing of Bucky’s gun echo throughout the corridor.

“So much for keeping quiet,” Steve pants and he places his shield over his shoulders.

Bucky just gives a small shrug in response. “Yeah, well it was gonna happen sooner or later.”

There’s a small groan near his feet and Bucky glances down, using the butt of his gun to hit the man in the head. The groaning stops, leaving them both in silence again.

“I hate these assholes,” Bucky grumbles.

“Me too, pal.” Steve gives Bucky a small pat on the shoulder, then with a quick tilt of his head he gestures for them to keep going.

 


 

 

The darkness slowly begins to ebb away and brown eyes flutter open. The light above him swings lightly, painting his surrounding in a dim glow. He’s in a room he doesn’t recognize. His head rolls to the side, a small groan leaving his lips when it sets off another rush of pain. His eyes wander around the room; it’s not the one he had been thrown in. The walls are gray, evidence of once having color to them now stripping away from years long passed. The floors show the same wear and tear; long cracks and unidentifiable stains cover the old concrete. One red stain in particular catches Peter’s eye and he gulps.

He directs his attention elsewhere, settling his eyes on the steel bed he finds himself in.There’s a tightness around his lower half and his eyes flicker down, and that’s when he notices the metal cuffs around his wrists and legs. He wiggles, trying to break himself free, but the effects of whatever it is they injected him with are still present.

His mind is groggy and his body aches from the beating he received. He tries to move his hands again only to stop and cry out from the friction brought on from the cuffs rubbing against his wrists. He huffs and throws his head back, groaning when it bangs against the bed.

“What the hell?” He says to himself, wiggling his body in another attempt to break free. He grunts, eyes squeezing shut from the strain. The cuffs groan in protest with each attempt. He just needs a little more strength.

Peter stills his movements, eyes shifting to the heavy door across from him when it unlocks. He already knows who’s behind it and he braces himself for another beating.

But it’s not Rumlow and Peter’s not sure if he should be relieved or terrified. Pierce wasn’t someone he wanted to see either, there was no trust between them anymore. Peter hates himself for being so naive and allowing himself to put his guard down. His father always told him to be cautious, but he never listened. Now he’s wishing he should have.

Pierce is the first to enter the room, followed by three men Peter doesn’t recognize. One stands near the door, gun drawn while the other two stand on each side of the bed. Peter’s eyes shift between Pierce and the men with guns.

“You’re awake,” Pierce notes, a small hint of a smile appearing over his features. He walks around the bed until he’s standing beside Peter, one hand raising and Peter flinches, waiting for the strike. But it never comes. Pierce places his hand over Peter’s shoulder, fingers gently brushing where the wound was beginning to close. “Amazing, isn’t it?” Pierce asks, eyes flickering up briefly to connect with Peter’s terrified ones, then he’s glancing at the irritated flesh again. “The speed in which your body heals itself is incredible.”

Peter understands what Pierce is getting at.

Growing up Peter loved the fact that his body was able to heal in a small amount of time. Scrapes and any other injuries he sustained from playing too rough never lasted more than a couple hours, depending on the severity of the injury. It came in handy more times than Peter could count.

But now that ability was becoming useful for someone else. Of course Pierce would find his healing capabilities fascinating. Hydra wanted a new weapon, a soldier. With healing powers like the ones Peter possess, he would be unstoppable against Hydra’s enemies.

Hydra’s enemies were the last thing Peter wanted to defeat. Their enemies were his family. Peter wanted no part of it.

All his life he wanted to be more, to prove that he could be a hero. Fighting alongside Hydra was not something he envisioned for himself. He wanted to be an Avenger, not one of their enemies.

Pierce steps back when someone new enters the room and Peter shifts his gaze to the man in the white coat. He appears harmless, but Peter knows better than to trust him. He already learned the hard way with Pierce and Rumlow.

The small cart the man pushes is the next thing to capture Peter’s attention. The various tools layered upon the top of the cart puts him on edge and he makes another attempt to free himself.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Pierce tells him. “It will hurt more.”

Those words set off another wave of panic. His inner voice is screaming at him to follow orders and Peter forces himself to listen. He stills his movements, eyes wide with fear when the man in the coat reaches for something on the table and comes around the bed.

“No! Stop, please! Stop!” Peter cries out, body thrashing on the bed when he realizes the item in the man’s hand is a knife. The struggle Peter puts up isn’t enough to stop the man from coming any closer; the cuffs are doing their job in keeping Peter contained and if they were to fail, the three armed men would step it and do their part.

The knife slices through his suit, cutting down the sleeve and exposing the flesh of his arm. Peter waits for the knife to plunge into him, but it never comes and instead the man is placing the knife back down and reaching for something else. The sting burns and Peter’s eyes squeeze shut from the intensity. He should be used to it, having been injected twice already, but this time around is different. He’s not being injected.

The sting slowly begins to fade and Peter peels his eyes open, watching as the vial fills up with his blood. It’s over just as quickly as it started.

“Take that to the lab,” Pierce intructs and the man gives a curt nod before disappearing from the room with the vial. Pierce has his eyes on Peter again, an obvious glint in the stormy blue eyes. “You should be proud, Peter. You’re a gift to Hydra, to the world.”

Peter doesn’t give a response. He never wanted to be a gift to the world, at least not like this.

He needs to fight. If there was even a small chance of him getting out alive, then he was going to work hard for it. He’s not sure if his parents are coming to his rescue, he wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t. It was his fault that he was in this predicament. He was the selfish one.

Peter squirms again, biting back the whimper of pain that wants to escape when the cuffs rub against him. The guns being pointed at him cock and the sound of gunshots fill his ears.

His eyes squeeze shut, body seizing up as he waits for the pain to engulf him. But it never comes. He slowly opens his eyes, finding the three men still beside him, guns drawn but no longer aimed at him. They all have the same confused look on their faces.

Then he hears it again. The bullets ring out, and it’s then he realizes how far away they sound. Someone else was in the Hydra base. His parents.

The door is thrown open and Peter jolts slightly from the loud bang the heavy metal makes when it collided with the wall. Rumlow steps inside, his own gun held securely in his hands.

“It’s Rogers,” Rumlow announces. The familiar name sends a wave of relief through Peter.

“Dammit!” Pierce growls. “And Stark?”

“Negative. He brought Barnes and Wilson.”

Yes! Peter thinks to himself. His uncles were here too. He was definitely getting out of here alive. But where was his dad? They always worked together.

“He’s a fool,” Pierce’s voice cuts through Peter’s thoughts and he glances over at the angered man. “He doesn’t stand a chance.”

Without thinking, Peter fires back, “Yes he does! He's Captain America!”

All eyes fall on him, but this time Peter doesn’t cower in fear. He had no reason to fear these men anymore. Not when his papa was here.

Pierce’s eyes flash with anger and he storms over to the bed, hand coming out to slap Peter across face. The impact of the slap rings in Peter’s ears and he winces from the stinging left behind after Pierce’s hand leaves his face.

“Kill them,” Pierce orders.

“What about Rogers?” Rumlow asks.

“Don’t need him anymore. We have everything we need right here.” His eyes flicker in Peter’s direction, then he’s directing his attention back to the agent. “Kill them,” he repeats.

With his orders given, Rumlow leaves the room.

“You're with me,” Pierce instructs the other two men. The third one is left to guard Peter. “Don’t let him out of your sight. Don’t shoot him either. We need him.”

The guard nods. Peter watches as Pierce disappears from the room. He can’t hear the sounds of gunfire anymore and he wonders if Rumlow had gotten to his father.

He tries to wiggle free again, freezing when the man beside him keeps his gun pointed at him. Peter knows he won’t shoot, not after the orders he was given, but Peter doesn’t trust the man to use the gun in other ways to hurt him.

The commotion is back, this time the noise growing closer and closer. The guard turns, gun aimed at the door. With the man distracted, Peter takes the opportunity to break free from his restraints. He grunts softly when they don’t budge.

Guns are being fired, orders are being yelled out; Peter can only imagine what the outside of the room looks like. If it really is his papa and uncles out there, then he already knows the damage their inflicting is brutal.

The sounds of the attack died down, leaving Peter to rely on his imagination. His mind immediately thinking the worst, but he’s quick to remind himself that Captain America is out there.

The heavy door is thrown up, flying off its hinges like it never weighed a thing. Then there he is. And Peter has never felt so relieved to see him.

The guard is obviously showing different emotions toward the Avenger and he raises his gun and begins firing. The bullets ricochet off the shield, sending them flying around the room. All it takes is one hard hit with the shield to take the guard down.

“Peter!” Steve runs toward him, brows drawing together in concern when he takes in the sight of his bloodied and bruised son. “It’s okay. I’m going to get you out of here.”

“Papa, I’m so sorry! I screwed up and this is all my fault and I wish I never-” Peter’s rambling is cut short when the cuffs around his wrists finally break free. Steve moves to the ones around his ankles and with a small grunt breaks those off too. “I loosened those for you,” Peter mutters.

Steve helps Peter sit up, frowning when Peter groans. “It’s okay,” Steve says again, one hand coming up to cup his son’s face.

Peter shakes his head. “No. I messed up and I’m so sorry!” Peter throws his arms around Steve, causing the captain to stumble back slightly, then strong arms wrap around Peter. “I’m so sorry, papa.”

Steve pulls away, keeping his hands on Peter’s shoulders. “I know. I’m sorry, Pete. I’m sorry for everything.”

“Not to be total buzz kill, but can we save this for later? I can still hear them out there.”

“Then we better move. Can you walk?” Steve asks and he helps Peter off the bed. Peter gives a small nod in response.

“Where’s Uncle Bucky and Sam?” Peter questions. He was sure he heard Rumlow mention their names.

“Probably making all the noise.” Steve steps over the lifeless body of the Hydra man, turning slightly to hold his hand out for Peter to take. With Peter’s hand in his own, he carefully leads his son toward the exit.

Peter’s eyes land on the body of the fallen Hydra guard, thankful he doesn’t have to worry about him anymore. But there were more of Hydra’s men waiting for them outside of the room, including Pierce and Rumlow.

“Wait!” Peter stops abruptly and his hand slips from Steve’s. “What about Mr. Pierce and Agent Rumlow?”

“Pierce? As in Alexander Pierce?” Steve questions. Peter nods and he sighs. “Looks like this was the SHIELD internship.”

“Y-yeah.”

Steve huffs and takes a peek out into the corridor, then he turns back to his son. “We’ll talk about this later. We have a lot of talking to do.”

 With his shield out in front of him to block any attacks, he leads Peter out of the room. The narrow hallway is scattered with the men he took down on his search for his son. The sound of distant gunshots fill their ears and Steve’s mind instantly shifts to his friends.

“Buck? Sam?” He asks into his comm, “everything okay?”

It takes a moment for a response then Sam’s voice is in his ear. “Peachy. You got the kid?”

“I got the kid.” Steve can’t help the smile that appears over his face. He had his son back. The mission had been a success. “We’re heading towards you now.”

“Careful, Cap. I don’t think we’re the only ones here.”

“Can you find out who it is?”

“Will do.”

“I’ll take Peter to the jet and-”

“No!” Peter interrupts. “I wanna help! I can help!”

Steve gives his son a look over. Even if he could fight, there was no way in hell Steve was going to let him. The bruise on his face was the first thing Steve had noticed, but now he was starting to notice the wound on his shoulder. It made Steve see red. Hydra had already laid their dirty hands on him and the last thing Steve was going to do was put his son through more harm.

It was his fault Peter ended up in Hydra’s base.

“No,” he says firmly. “You’re staying in the jet until I’m finished.”

“But, papa I can-“

“Pete, just stop! I can’t let them hurt you anymore.”

Peter grows silent. This right here was exactly what his papa had been trying to keep him safe from. He should have just listened. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for him.

He doesn’t get another chance to apologize. The tight hold his papa has on him snaps him from his thoughts and he’s quickly reminded that they weren’t out of harm's way yet.

Steve keeps one firm grip on his shield and the other on his son’s hand. He doesn’t want to lose him again. His first priority upon entering the base was getting his son back safely and leaving was going to be no different.

They’re nearing the elevator and there’s a sense of relief knowing that no guards are waiting for them. Steve thinks back to what his son had said and he wonders where Pierce and Rumlow are. He wasn’t leaving the base until they were both taken care of.

The doors open and Steve quickly ushers his son into the car. The elevator jolts and Peter immediately wraps a hand around the rusty handrail to steady himself. He hasn’t fully recovered from the drugs that were injected into him.

He glances up, eyes meeting his papa’s and he shifts until he’s standing upright. He keeps one hand on the rail. “I can help,” he says, “I know you think I can’t but I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.” Steve’s eyes land on the ugly bruises and cuts painting his son’s face. “As soon as these doors open, I need you to run.”

“But-”

“Pete, just do it. I’ll be right behind you.”

The elevator gives another rough lurch when it reaches its destination and the steel doors screech as they slowly open. Steve steps in front of Peter, shield raised and ready for whatever threat is waiting for them behind the doors.

The sight of Brock Rumlow gives mixed emotions. Peter has now come to fear the face and he can’t help but gasp in surprise and cower behind his father. Steve is just as surprised to find the ex-SHIELD agent, but he knows to keep that emotion hidden. He doesn’t bother hiding the other emotion that floods through him. Staring into the eyes of the man that has been terrorizing him for years fuels his anger.

“Cap.” Rumlow addresses, his lips curving into his signature smirk.

“Rumlow.” Steve’s tone drips with the hatred his has toward the man.

Steve keeps his eyes on the agent, only breaking contact when he notices the small group of men assisting Rumlow. The grip he has on his shield tightens and his other arm comes out to push his son back. “Stay behind me,” he orders his son.

“So much for running, huh?” Peter does as he’s told, stepping further into the car until his back collides with the wall. The weight of his father pushes against him and he cranes his neck to find the men stepping into the car with them. “P-papa?” Peter grips his father’s arm tightly. They were trapped.

The men are crowding around them. Steve doesn’t back down and he keeps his shield raised, ready to strike. His eyes dart down when he notices the weapon in Rumlow’s hand. The crackling of blue sparks around the front of it gets Steve’s heart pounding.

The two thugs on Steve’s right attack first, then the ones on his left follow after. Peter yelps in surprise when one guy gets close enough to grab him, but his papa is faster and has the man down in seconds.

“Pete, move!” Steve yells out among the chaos. Another man is coming at him, holding the same weapon Rumlow possess and moves to strike; Steve uses his shield to block the attack and shove the man back. “Go now!”

Peter hurries toward the doors, but the exit is blocked. The two men blocking the doors rush toward him, both welding the same shock sticks. Peter screams when the tip of the stick presses against his side, sending painful waves of electricity through him.

The other man raises his hand to administer another shock, but Peter is faster and he dodges the attack by jumping up and finding leverage on the wall. The Hyda men weren’t expecting that and they draw their guns. Peter’s arm extends out and the webs go flying, the durable strings wrapping around the men’s hands and with a strong yank, they’re pulled forward and crashing into the wall.

“Yes!” Peter gives a small cheer when they don’t get up. His head snaps up when he hears his father cry out.

Steve struggles to break free from the tight grasp the men have on him. One is reaching for his shield and Steve turns to shove him off, but the sudden wave of pain that shoots through him rips a scream from his throat and he directs his attention the man jabbing the shock stick into his side. With his shield gone, it becomes harder to dodge the attacks.

With his legs free, he gives a strong kick to the man on his left, foot coming down hard on his kneecap. The man cries out and with a hard jab to his ribs, the man crumbles down. Steve prepares himself to take down the other guy, but there’s a flash of red and then the man is being kicked back. Peter flips and lands perfectly in front of him.

“See! I told you I could-”

Steve pushes his son back quickly and Peter hits the wall with a groan. The car of the elevator is littered with fallen men, all but one.

“Whoa, big guy,” Rumlow slowly approaches, one hand coming out in front of him. The other holds the shock stick.“I just want you to know, Cap this isn’t personal.” Rumlow lunges forward, one arm raised and Steve’s flies up to hold him back.

Rumlow’s fast and his other hand grips the weapon, pressing the stick painfully into Steve’s belly. The sparks crackle and Steve grunts from the intense pain shoots through him. The hand he has holding Rumlow pulls back and collides with Rumlow’s jaw. Rumlow doubles over and Steve grips him tightly and throws him up. Rumlow hits the ceiling of the elevator and falls to the floor with a thud.

“When you come after my family, it kind of feels personal,” Steve pants. He locates his shield near his feet and retrieves it.

“Whoa!” Peter cries out, bringing the attention back to himself. “That was so cool!”

“I guess I was wrong. You do know how to fight,” Steve says and he places the shield over his shoulders. “Where did you learn that?”

“Oh uh…” Peter’s face heats up. “Doctor Strange...and sneaking into your trainings.”

“I shouldn’t be surprised. Come on. More are probably on the way.”

Peter gives a quick nod and follows his father out of the elevator, not wanting to stick around to find out if more men are really on their way. He shoots the car one last look, a sense of relief washing over him now that Rumlow isn’t a threat anymore. But there was still one person that needed to be dealt with.

They move quickly through the base, trying to reach the safety of the jet before anymore of Hydra’s men appear. Peter doesn’t want to hide out in the jet while his father fights off the rest of the bad guys. He wants to help. He’s done it once and he can do it again.

His senses are going crazy and Peter stops, eyes scanning the area for more of Hydra’s men. He expects them to have been the ones to set off his spidey senses, but when he can’t locate a single guard, he grows confused and concerned.

A loud boom fills the compound and the whole building shakes. Steve rushes toward his son to protect him, but then he’s flying back and he hits the ground with a groan. It’s a struggle to keep his eyes open and his vision begins to fade. There’s a sharp pain in his head that even his helmet couldn’t protect him from.

The room is hot and the air around him feels thick. He fights the urge to keep his eyes closed and he immediately regrets it when they begin to burn. He gulps a large intake of air, harsh coughs escaping him when his lungs fill with the smoke.

He forces himself up, eyes scanning the clouded area for his son. “Peter!” he calls out. He coughs again and wheezes when the ability to breathe becomes difficult.

Steve stumbles forward, eyes squeezing shut from the intense burning. Then he hears it and his eyes shoot open. The cries sound distant and he wonders how far back his son had been thrown.

“Help me! Somebody help!”

Steve follows his son’s cries. With each step they grow louder and louder until finally Steve is able to locate him. The rubble around him is the first thing Steve notices and he rushes over.

“I’m stuck!” Peter cries out, grunting when he tries to free himself. The concrete is pushing down on him and he gasps. “Papa, help!”

“I got you, bud,” Steve assures and he reaches down to lift the heavy particles off his son. He grits his teeth and grunts with each lift of his arms. The rubble shakes with each attempt Steve makes to move it.

He doesn’t hear the heavy footsteps coming toward him and by the time he notices the other person, it’s too late. Steve falls to the ground and it takes him a second to realize that he had been hit. His jaw throbs from where the fist collided with his face.

“There you are you son of a bitch.” Rumlow grips Steve tightly by the collar of his suit and lifts him up, then he’s pushing him into the wall. Steve groans from the pain that shoots through his head. Rumlow only smirks. “I’m not done with you, Cap.”

Peter watches the fight in horror, wishing he could help. He pushes back against the concrete, grunting when it refuses to budge. He was stronger than this. He could do this.

“Come on,” he tells himself and he pushes harder against the rubble. “Come on Spider-man.”

He can feel himself slipping free. The sound of the fight echoes in his ears and knowing that he can save his father gives him the strength to keep pushing.

The punches keep coming, filling Steve’s battered mouth with blood. Rumlow raises his fist to issue another punch and Steve reaches up to stop him. He brings his other hand around and crashes his own fist into the side of Rumlow’s cheek. Rumlow stumbles back from the blow, then he’s lunging forward for another attack.

Steve blocks each one and it isn’t until he hears his son calling out for him does he let his guard down. The punches and kicks let up, only to be replaced by a white hot pain. Steve grunts and his eyes dart down, landing on the blade that Rumlow has lodged into his middle.

Steve reaches out, fingers wrapping around the wrist that holds the knife. He tries to pull Rumlow off, but the agent doesn’t budge and he keeps the knife in place. Steve’s hand falls on Rumlow’s shoulder, gripping the fabric of his shirt and his eyes lock with cold ones.

“You failed, Cap. We have your son.” Rumlow pushes the blade in deeper, emitting a pained gasp from the captain. “And we’ll take your daughter too.”

Steve screams at himself to keep fighting, but all he can focus on is the burning pain in his middle. The knife is pulled from his body and he cries out, one hand flying down to press against the wound. Rumlow raises his hand to hit him again, but the blow never comes.

“Hey!” The familiar voice rings out, capturing both Steve and Rumlow’s attention. There’s his son, free from the rubble and Steve wants to yell at him to run. But he can’t form any words.

Rumlow makes a move toward Peter and Steve quickly reaches out, fingers wrapping around the agent’s shirt and pulling him back. Rumlow spins around and crashes his fist against Steve’s cheek. He smiles smugly when the Avenger finally goes down.

Peter panics when Rumlow comes toward him and he quickly steps back. Every fiber of his being is telling him to run, but he was tired of running. He was tired of fearing these men.

Rumlow lunges forward, his hand coming out and wrapping around Peter’s neck. Peter gasps, body squirming to break free. This is all too familiar to him, but this time he wasn’t going to let Rumlow win. The fingers around his neck squeeze and Peter kicks, his leg connecting with Rumlow’s gut and the agent loosens his grip.

He’s quick to recover and he rushes toward Peter again, but Peter is faster and he dodges the attack. He thinks back to his training and it sparks an idea. He’s taken Rumlow down before and he could do it again.

Rumlow’s fist is just inches from Peter’s face and Peter’s own hand flies up to block him. He grips Rumlow’s clenched hand tightly. Rumlow’s other hand is coming up and Peter flips out of the way, landing behind the agent. He aims for Rumlow’s feet and shoots as much of his web as he can, then with a powerful tug, he brings the agent down. Rumlow immediately reaches for his legs, crying out in frustration when he can’t break himself free.

“Try getting out of that,” Peter tells him, his own smug look appearing over his face.

Another boom fills the space and the rest of the building begins falling. Peter steps back quickly when large particles of the ceiling fall beside him. He can hear Rumlow struggling to get free and for a moment he thinks he should help him, but there’s someone else that needs his help.

He moves as fast as he can, ducking as more of the building begins to cave in on itself. The cloud of smoke grows larger, making it nearly impossible to see what is in front of him. He keeps pushing forward.

A familiar figure comes into view and Peter moves faster. He falls to his knees beside him, eyes drawn to the spot his father is clutching. The dark red stain on his uniform worries him.“Papa?”

“P-Pete,” Steve slurs. He keeps his hand pressed against the wound and his other comes up to cup his son’s face. “It’s okay.”

“You gotta get up. We have to go.” Peter tugs at Steve’s arm, only to pull away when it emits a cry of pain from his father.

“I can’t, Pete.”

“Yes you can. Come on, you’ve done it before.”

Steve makes an attempt to push himself up, but the movement brings a flare of pain with it and Steve slumps back against the wall. He applies more pressure to the wound and a gush of blood flows out, coating his exposed fingers in the warm liquid. The serum should heal him, but he’s lost too much blood and relying on the serum wasn’t an option anymore.

He doesn’t want to die here, not like this. Not in front of his son.

“Pete, you need to go. Get to the jet.”

Peter shakes his head. “No, no I can’t. You gotta come with me. You're gonna be right behind me, remember?”

The tears running down his face has Steve reaching out to brush them away, something he’s always done when his son cried. “It’s okay.” His voice is soft and comforting. “Pete, go.”

“No. Dad will show up like he always does and you’ll be okay. Just please get up. You always get up after a fight.”

Steve winces when the burning intensifies. He clutches his middle tightly and his head falls back against the wall, eyes fluttering. It won’t be long now.

More of the building falls beside them. There’s not much time left. One of them was getting out of this alive and it had to be Peter.

“Pete, go. Get out of here.”

“No!” Peter cries, shaking his head. “No, not without you!”

Steve’s heard those words before, but unlike the first time they were first exchanged, he had the strength to get up and follow Bucky. This time wasn’t like that, he didn’t have the strength to get up and keep fighting.

Chapter Text

The dread that surrounds him is overwhelming. It’s a feeling Tony’s familiar with, he can’t remember a time in his life when he didn’t have an encounter with the feeling.

Over the years that feeling didn’t come as often as it used to and if it did, it didn’t stay very long. Life was good, maybe almost perfect, but there was no such thing as perfection. At one point he thought his family fit that description, but they were far from it. They were broken.

No family is perfect. Growing up his family had its fair share of flaws and it only made sense that the little family and life he created with Steve would be no different.

The day he learned of his son’s existence, his whole world changed. From day one he wanted his little boy to be better, to be more. The last thing Tony wanted was for Peter to follow in his footsteps, but he wasn’t so lucky. That’s all his son wanted, what he always dreamed of and Tony had meant to support that dream, but he screwed up. He did the one thing he promised he would never do.

Steve wasn’t innocent and that was the root of their problems. As much as Tony wanted to take the blame for it all, he knows both his husband and son played a role. The wedge between them could have easily been avoided if they listened to each other.

But if there was one thing that Tony would gladly take the blame for, it was not being there for his son when he needed him most. If he wouldn’t have kept his guard down, Peter would be safe and he wouldn’t be wandering around an old Hydra base with the Wizard in search of him.

So that feeling of dread, the one Tony thought he wouldn’t have to experience again, was back and this time with a vengeance. It was suffocating him.

All he could think about was his son and what kind of torture Hydra was putting him through. That was the one thing Tony never thought would happen. Keeping his kids safe was always a high priority and he had failed.

He’s thankful he has the suit to keep himself hidden. The last thing he needed was Strange to notice. Working with the guy had become tolerable over the years and Tony would even consider them friends at this point, but when it came to talking about his feelings, Strange didn't get that privilege. It had taken years for him to finally open up to Steve, and maybe in another five to ten years he’d feel comfortable opening up to Strange. Maybe.

They haven’t said much to each other, but it wasn’t something Tony was about to complain over. Get in and get out. That was the plan. A shitty plan no doubt, but he didn’t have Steve with him like previous assignments. Steve was the boss and without him Tony felt helpless. He knows he shouldn't. He's gotten out of sticky situations before, but going on missions with the same guy for years made him more dependable on Steve. He was the Captain for a reason.

The base puts him on edge. The last time he went scoping out a Hydra compound landed him in medical and missing the most important day of his life. It was after that he left Steve to doing the scoping, something he came to regret. Letting Steve go only filled his husband’s obsession.

But now Tony gets it. He hates these assholes just as much as Steve. First they torment his husband for years and now they think they can hurt his son. Tony wasn’t going to stand for it. This time they would pay for the pain and suffering they have caused his family.

That dreadful feeling never leaves. He’s still worried about what he’s going to find the deeper he delves into the compound, but he pushes that feeling aside and focuses on bringing his son home safe.

The bodies are the first thing he notices. It wouldn’t surprise him if Steve had gone on some revenge rampage. As much as Steve claimed his objective was to bring their son home, Tony knew there was more to it.

“So either Cap was here or someone pissed Barnes off again.” Tony tries to shed some light on the situation the only way he knows how. It doesn’t amuse the Doctor, not that Tony was expecting it to to. Getting Strange to crack a smile at any of his jokes was near impossible. Tony could count on one hand just how many times he’s witnessed the man smile. Once it had been him but the other times had been all of Peter’s doing.

“Do you ever take anything seriously?” Strange’s question shouldn’t bother Tony as much as it should; he’s used to the snarky comments the Doctor normally gives him, but this time it can’t help but piss Tony off.

“Really, you’re doing this now? Just once I’d like you to lay off. Just once.”

Strange frowns. “And just once I’d like for you to take the situation seriously.”

“I am taking this seriously.” The red and gold faceplate retracts, revealing Tony’s angered expression to the Doctor. “I take everything seriously, in case you didn’t notice.”

“I somehow doubt that, given the fact that I know you don’t take anything seriously.”

“Oh because you can see everything I do?”

“Because your son loves to talk.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Tony questions, his anger flaring.

Strange rolls his eyes. “Come on, Stark, you’re supposed to be a genius right? Put it together.”

“And you’re supposed to be this powerful wizard. Why don’t you just poof me up the answer?”

“Now you’re just being an asshole. Maybe this is why your son prefers to talk with me.”

“What did you say? My son prefers-no, there is no way in hell he’d run to you first.”

“He already has. Are we really going to do this now?”

“Yeah, I guess we are. What are you telling him? Are you casting spells to turn him against me?”

“Wow. You’re aware that I don’t do that right? And let me ask you something, why would I turn him against you? Clearly, you’ve already done that without my help.”

Tony raises his hand, repulsor charging up and aimed for the Doctor. Strange raises his own, sparks of energy igniting between his fingers. They stay like that for a moment, eyes locked in a powerful gaze and their weapons of choice aimed at each other.

“Do it,” Tony urges.

“You first,” Strange shoots back, the fiery energy in his hand growing bigger and brighter.

He had a clean shot; just one blast from the repulsor would hurt the Doctor, but Tony can’t bring himself to fire the weapon. Hurting Strange wasn’t going to help the situation with his family, with his son. Just a moment ago he considered Strange a friend. He still did.

Tony lowers his hand, a heavy sigh leaving his lips. Strange doesn’t change position and Tony rolls his eyes. “I’m not gonna kill you. You can put that away now.”

Strange narrows his eyes, almost as if he’s unsure to let his guard down, then he’s relaxing and the ball of energy diminishes.

“I’m sorry,” The words leave a sour taste on his tongue. Apologizing to Strange is torture; it puts a damp in his pride and he’s forced to take in the smug look that crosses the Doctor’s face.

There is no smugness or snark coming from the Doctor and for a moment Tony wonders if his pisspoor attempt at an apology went unheared. Strange doesn’t give him the chance to finish and Tony quickly has his repulsors charging when he notices the magic forming from the Doctor’s fingertips.

“Hey I said I was-” The magic explodes from Strange’s fingers, cutting Tony off and flying past him. A loud thud from behind fills Tony’s ears and he turns, finding the crumpled bodies of Hydra men lying lifeless on the floor.

“You were saying?” Strange’s brow arches and then there it is, the smug look Tony was dreading. “You’re welcome by the way.”

Tony huffs. “I’m not gonna say it. You don’t listen to me anyway.”

“I was saving your ass. Again, might I add.”

Tony grumbles under his breath when he pushes past the Doctor and the red cloak reaches out for him. “Don’t you start too,” he threatens and the cloak pulls back.

They move deeper into the compound, the tension that surrounds them slowly diminishing. Little words are still unspoken, but Tony prefers it this way. The last thing they need is another fight to break out between them. They were supposed to be working together. Strange was on his team, whether he liked it or not.

The bodies that layer the corridors are evidence that Steve and his own team had swept through the compound. The remaining men that are still lingering around the base are quickly taken out. Tony wonders where his husband is; they have yet to cross paths and it brings on another wave of uneasiness. He doesn’t want to believe that something had gone wrong and he’s quick to remind himself that Steve knows how to get himself and his team out safely. This time would be no different.

The room they stumble upon does little to ease his anxiety. The steel bed in the center of the room is the first thing that captures Tony’s attention, and his eyes scanned over the torn off restraints. He steps forward to investigate further, stopping when he notices the body of a fallen Hydra agent near their feet. Steve had definitely been here. But where was he now?

“At least we know Steve has him.” Strange’s voice is in his ears and Tony glances up to meet the Doctor’s eyes. Those words should bring him comfort, but instead they seem to do the exact opposite. The objective of the mission had been to rescue his son, but now Tony was realizing Peter might not be the only one needing rescuing.

Tony doesn’t want to believe that something could have gone wrong. Steve knew what he was doing, but any plan could go south at any second. It’s happened to them before, more times than Tony would like to count.

He pushes any negative thoughts he has aside, focusing on bringing his family home safe. He wasn’t leaving the compound until he had them back.

The rapid sound of gunfire breaks through the silence; it only takes a second for Tony and Strange to get into position. They share a quick glance, then Tony is leading them back out into the corridor, repulsors charging.

He holds back the fire, hand lowering when he catches sight of the red and silver drone.

Strange keeps his shields up for protection. “One of yours I presume?”

“It won’t hurt you, Doc. He’ll let you pet him.”

“I think I’ll pass.”

RedWing zooms closer, stopping a few feet away to do a quick scan, no doubt reporting its findings back to Wilson. Sam rounds the corner, speaking into his comm, then he falls silent and curses. “Shit. No offense, Stark but you’re not the guy I was looking for.”

The faceplate of the Iron Man suit shoots ups and Tony smirks. “Believe me, the feeling is mutual. You’re not my type. I’m into tall blondes. Haven’t seen one have you?”

“He’s not answering on comms and I’ve been through this whole level looking for him. Last I heard he found the kid.”

“Dammit,” Tony curses. His anxiety levels are rising again. “Have you checked in with Barnes? He’s always one step behind Steve.”

“You don’t think I know that?” Sam snaps. “He’s not with him.”

“Find Barnes. The Wizard and I will look for Cap.”

“You better find him, Stark.”

“That’s the plan.”

Sam mutters something Tony doesn’t quite catch, then he’s going back the way he came with RedWing leading the way. Strange and Tony push forward, determined now more than ever to bring back both Peter and their Captain.

They should have crossed paths with Steve by now, but it seemed the deeper they went, the further Tony felt he was getting from his husband.

The amount of Hydra men they encounter isn’t much and it strikes Tony as odd that they have yet to bump into Rumlow. Just the thought of him ignites a burning anger inside Tony. He hopes to bump into him again and make him pay for the years of torture he brought upon his family.

The sound of hurried footsteps filled their ears and they both stop, ears straining to listen. Tony quickly realizes the footsteps don’t belong to the people he’s looking for and he gets into position. Strange follows his lead and begins conjuring up what Tony hopes is a strong enough spell to blast these guys into another dimension.

Tony doesn’t recognize the two men, but the guy in the middle is a face he’s seen before. The last he saw of the guy was after the battle of New York, and during that time Alexander Pierce was presumed to be one of the good guys.

That is no longer the case. SHIELD was with Hydra.

The two mercenaries beside Pierce aim their guns, only to lower their weapons when Pierce orders them to stand down. His steel blue eyes dart between Tony and Strange, then he’s slowly raising his arms. “You’re too late, Stark. He belongs to Hydra now.”

“Yeah I don’t think so.” Tony doesn’t back down, instead keeping his palm raised and ready to fire the repulsors.

“You messed with the wrong kid.” Strange raises his own hands to strike.

“That’s my line, you know because he’s my son...I’ll stop. Wizard, do your thing.”

The blast of light that shoots from Strange’s hands hits the guy on the left, leaving the one on the right for Tony to take care of; the fire from the repulsor sends the soldier flying back. Pierce has his own gun out in seconds.

Strange doesn’t give him a chance to fire and he conjures up fiery lines. They wrap around Pierce’s wrists and ankles, binding him tightly.

“You got him?” Tony sends Strange a quick glance then he’s approaching the struggling man. The bands keep Pierce in place and his struggle dies down when he realizes he’s no match against the magic. “Good luck getting out of that,” Tony tells him, not bothering to keep the smugness out of his tone.

“It doesn’t matter.” Pierce makes another attempt to free himself, grunting in pain when the bands around his wrists tightened.

“Yeah, wait until SHIELD knows about this. You’re toast, buddy.”

The smile that crosses Pierce’s face brings that wave of dread Tony was all too familiar with. The loud boom overhead shakes the building, particles from the ceiling falling around them. The next boom is louder, more powerful and the compound’s ceiling gives in.

Strange breaks the bands around Pierce, conjuring up shields to protect him and Tony from the falling concrete. The compound shakes and a large piece of the ceiling caves in, the heavy block landing between Tony and Strange. They both hit the ground, Tony groaning when his head throbs and something warm trickles down his neck.

“Bruce is gonna kill me,” he groans quietly and with a grunt he forces himself up. The dust clears, giving him a glance of Pierce running toward the opposite direction. Tony raises his hand, charging up the repulsor.

Then gunshots ring out and Tony looks for the source. RedWing enters his line of vision and the drone fires more bullets sending Pierce to the ground.

Sam and Bucky come into view and Tony is torn between thanking them and cursing them for taking the shot that belonged to him.

He doesn’t get a chance to do either one because the base shakes again and more of the walls collapse around them. They’re running out of time.

Strange is urging him out and Tony tries to protest. He’s not leaving without his family.

 


 

For as long as he could remember, Peter had never seen Captain America like he was now. There has been similar instances when his father would come home after a mission covered in blood and bruises, but he was always standing. This time was different. Peter had never seen him so broken.

His body is still, the harsh pants that leave his lips the only indication that he was still alive. Peter crawls closer to him, wincing from the injuries he had sustained. His injuries are nothing major, and he wishes he could say the same for his father.

“Papa?” His voice is quiet and for a moment he wonders if he had gone unheard, and then blue eyes are meeting his own. They were dull, the light that normally filled them slowly going out. Peter's eyes travel lower until they're settling on the large wound, watching helplessly as the blood continues to pour from it.“You're gonna be okay, papa. Just hold on.”

He doesn’t get a response, not that he was expecting one but it would be relieving to hear his papa say something, anything. They’re running out of time and it becomes apparent that Iron Man wasn’t coming to their rescue. Peter had to be the hero now. 

That’s all he ever wanted, but now he wasn’t sure if he could do it. Saving his parents was the last thing he envisioned himself doing. They were the real heroes. They were the ones coming to his rescue when he had needed them. He always argued that he didn’t need them anymore, that he wasn’t a kid anymore, but he was wrong. He needed them more than ever. 

“Please?” Peter’s not sure what he’s asking for. He’s begging for his papa to get up. He’s begging for him to help like he always does, to tell him what to do.

 Peter falls back, tears flooding his eyes and a choked sob escapes him. His eyes burned and he’s not sure if it’s because of the thick smoke surrounding him or the fact that he’s losing the person he can’t live without. 

His inner voice is screaming at him to pull himself together and be the hero he was meant to be. They were running out of time and if there was even a small ounce of it left, he wasn’t going to waste it. 

“Come on,” Peter urges. “You gotta get up. We have to go.”

There’s no response and for a moment he thinks that the clock has finally run out. Then he gets a response. Though quiet, his sensitive ears pick it up. “I can’t.”

Peter shakes his head. That wasn’t an option. He wasn’t leaving without him. “No, you can’t give up. You’re Captain America.”

Those words should have been enough to get Steve off the ground, but when he doesn’t budge, Peter knows it’s going to take a lot more to get him up. 

The blood is still spilling from the wound and Peter quickly reaches out to apply more pressure, but a firm hand stops him and he glances up to meet dull blue eyes. “Don’t,” Steve rasps. His fingers loosen around Peter’s wrist and his arm falls limply against his side. “Get...get out of here.”

Peter wants to protest, but he knows his father is right. The base continues to crumble around them and if he didn’t leave now, they would both be trapped under the rubble. He could get out, he was fast enough, but he wasn’t leaving without his father. He was taught to never leave one of your own behind.

“Not without you.” 

The fear holding him back leaves him, determination taking its place. Mustering up as much strength as he could, he slowly pulls his father to his feet. It’s a struggle to take on the added weight but despite the difficulty, he wasn’t going to give up. They were both getting out alive.

Peter grunts, teeth clenched tightly as he carefully carries his father toward the exit. The smoke stings and his eyes water, but he keeps pushing forward. He doesn’t know how far he is from the exit or if he’s even going the right direction. He was drugged when they brought him here, but that wasn’t enough to stop him from trying. 

The air is hot and thick, making the simple task of breathing now difficult. His lungs beg for fresh air and his body aches from his own injuries, and the deadweight around him only brings more discomfort. 

A gut wrenching scream fills his ears. He knows who it belongs to, and there’s a part of him that wishes he could help. Just because Rumlow was one of the bad ones didn’t mean Peter had to be, but deep down he knew he could only save one. The obvious choice was hanging around his shoulders.

He tries to block out the screams and pleas for help, tries to tell himself that it’s not his fault and that Rumlow deserves it for everything he did. But Peter still feels guilty. 

More of the structure collapses, silencing the screams. The walls of the compound that are still standing shake, reminding Peter that he needs to move quickly before those too give away.

The arm around him begins to slip and Peter quickly tries to adjust the hold he has on his father. He grunts when the added weight starts to bring him down and his legs shake from the struggle to keep them both up. “Hold on,” he says through clenched teeth.

“Pete.” Steve’s feet give out beneath him and he can’t keep the arm he has wrapped around his son from slipping. There’s a flash of pain when he’s being pulled, but it’s nothing compared to the burning in his middle.

“No!” Peter cries in defeat when he loses the grip he has around his father. He grunts as he tries to pull him back up, “No, please!”

His efforts fail and he’s forced to lower his father down to the floor. Steve’s eyes are closed and it sets off another wave of panic in Peter. Knowing he was running out of time, Peter quickly scrambled to his feet and rushes to grip the blue suit, dragging his father’s limp body through the deteriorating building.

“Oh shit!” Peter moves faster when the rest of the compound crumbles around him. Through gritted teeth he grunts and tugs harshly on the suit. He glances behind his shoulder, relief washing over him when he catches sight of the outside. Just a little more.

He trips over the rubble and hits the ground with a groan. He gets up quickly and wraps his fingers around his father’s suit and with one last forceful tug, he has them both outside. He keeps moving, trying to put some distance between them and the building.

His strength weakens and the firm grasp he has on the blue material loosens. He collapses beside his father, gasping for breath and filling his lungs with fresh air.

“Pete.”

The sound of his name is soft, but it brings him a relief he desperately needed. He connects his eyes with blue and though they’re dim, he’s just thankful he gets to gaze into them again. Peter pushes himself up, wincing when the sudden movement sets off another flare of pain. He pushes his own discomfort aside and his eyes land on the red spot just above Steve’s belt. It’s grown since the last time he saw it. 

“Hey, you’re gonna be okay. Just please hold on.” Peter lays his hand over the wound, regretting it when it emits a hiss of pain from his father. “Sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Steve’s hand rests over Peter’s, the other coming up to cup his son’s cheek. Peter leans into the comforting touch, eyes squeezing shut when more tears threaten to fall. “I’m sorry,” Peter whispers. 

“Don’t be. I’m...I’m sorry, Pete.” Steve’s own eyes are shiny with tears. Seeing his son so broken only adds to the guilt he’s been carrying around for years. He doesn’t blame his son for the way their relationship changed or for him wanting to follow in his footsteps. He had done similar things when he was young; joining the army when he was young to prove that he was more than just the skinny guy. Peter was just trying to do the same thing. 

He catches sight of the tears running down his son’s face and he carefully brushes them away. He can feel himself slipping, the darkness that clings to him offering relief from the pain, but he’s not ready to give in. Not when there’s so much he needs his son to know. 

Steve glides his hand over to his belt, fingers shaking as they wrap around a familiar material. He takes Peter’s hand, gently placing the retrieved item into his palm. Peter stares down at the red mask, then his eyes are darting up to connect with blue ones. The light in them continues to dim. 

“You are... an Avenger…” It’s a struggle to get the words out, the pain radiating through his lower half makes speaking near impossible, but he knows these are the words his son needs to hear. They were long overdue. “More of one than I am,” Steve continues, “I’m sorry...I’m sorry it took this long for me to..to realize that.”

Those were the words Peter had been wanting to hear his whole life. He just never imagined this would be the way to finally hear them. 

Peter tries to hold back the sob that wants to escape, but his attempts fail and it rips from his throat. “You gotta hold on. Till the end of the line, remember?”

“Pete..” Steve inhales sharply, breaths coming out shaky and labored. It’s a struggle to keep his eyes open and they flutter. 

A panic expression cuts across Peter’s face. “No,” Peter shakes his head, more tears escaping and creating tracks down his face, “Please don’t...I need you. Please!”

There’s no response and Peter crawls closer, clinging tightly to Steve and laying his head against the star in the middle. A strong arm is wrapping around him, one that’s comforted him many times in the past.

The soft rise and fall of Steve’s chest used to be something that soothed Peter when he was younger; the gentle thumps of his heartbeat like a lullaby. It brings a comfort to him now and he allows himself to block everything around him out, focusing only on the soft beating. It’s getting softer.

A new sound fills his ears and for a moment Peter wonders if he’s imagining the familiar voice. It sounds distant and he convinces himself that it’s just his mind playing tricks on him. But then the voice is getting louder, closer. The ground shakes around him and Peter clings to Steve tighter, waiting for the blast. 

It never comes. 

Heavy footsteps are coming near him and Peter glances up, eyes landing on metallic red boots. His eyes travel higher, red and gold filling his vision until finally his gaze connects with deep brown eyes. “D-dad?” Peter chokes out another sob. 

Tony steps out of the suit, eyes traveling between his son and the lifeless figure on the ground. His son’s soft voice is in his ears again, but he doesn’t acknowledge him; it’s difficult to focus on anything but Steve. 

“Steve?” When he doesn’t get a response, the panic sets in and he falls to his knees beside his husband, one hand grasping Steve’s limp one. The fingers around his own squeeze and his eyes meet blue.

“Tony…” Steve’s fingers are squeezing Tony’s again. His face contorted in pain, shaky breaths slipping past his bloodied lips. He struggles to form anymore words and Tony quickly comforts him. 

“Hey, it’s okay.” But it’s not okay and he knows Steve is aware of how bad the situation is. Tony’s eyes shift from his husband’s bruised face to the dark spot spreading across the front of the suit. It’s bad; really bad.

“Come on, Cap.” Tony urges. His eyes burn with unshed tears and he blinks to keep them from falling. He needs to be strong, but he feels weak and defeated. He was losing the most important person in his life. He was nothing without Steve. 

There was no way in hell he was going to let him die and he slides his arm under Steve’s back, ready to lift him up and carry him to the jet, but then Steve’s wrapping his fingers around his wrist. 

“Don’t...it’s okay.”

Tony shakes his head. “No. Come on, don’t give up. I’ll carry you. Just don’t give up.”

“It’s okay,” Steve repeats and Tony can see the defeat in his blue orbs. Tony shakes his head again. 

“Steve, you have to fight.”

“I...can’t…”

“You have to. Fight for them, Cap. You gotta keep fighting for them. They need you; I need you.” The tears Tony was desperately trying to hold back can’t be contained any longer and they fall from his eyes. He holds onto Steve’s hand tightly, breaths shaky as the sobs build in his chest. 

 “Dad?”

Tony can’t meet his son’s gaze. For a moment he had forgotten that his son was still there. 

“Dad?” Peter tries again, his voice breaking into a sob. This time Tony acknowledges him. “I’m sorry.”

As much as he wants to point the finger at someone, he doesn’t blame his son for this. He doesn’t blame Steve; he blames himself. He should have kept Steve safe. He should have kept his family safe. 

He can feel the rest of the team approaching and he glances up, meeting the sad eyes of his friends; of Steve’s friends. Their Captain was dying. 

“Dad, I’m sorry. Dad…”

Tony wishes his son wasn’t here and it was like Strange could read his mind because he’s coming closer, one hand resting over Peter’s shoulder. “Come here, kid.”

Peter stands on wobbly legs, turning his body until he’s burying his face in the Doctor's chest. Both Strange and the cloak wrap themselves around Peter’s trembling form. 

“T-Tony…” The pained gasp that escapes Steve’s lips has Tony focusing on him again. Tony gives his hand another reassuring squeeze. 

“It’s okay, Cap.”

An orange glow flashes across Tony’s face and he glances up, eyes landing on the bright ring Strange has conjured. On the other side he can barely make out the inside of the facility. 

“Hurry,” Strange orders.

Tony pulls Steve into his arms, teeth clenching when his body struggles to support Steve’s limp one. But he’s not going to give up and with a small grunt he’s lifting Steve off the ground. 

“Hold on, Cap,” Tony tells him when he catches the way Steve’s eyes flutter, “hold on.”

Chapter Text

Tony’s not sure how long he’s been waiting, but it feels like too much time has passed and it makes his anxiety worse. His stomach twists into uncomfortable knots and his eyes burn from the amount of tears they’ve produced since he first realized he was losing the most important person in his life.

Life without Steve wasn’t a life Tony wanted to live. Despite the disagreements and the hardships they have faced over the years, he loved Steve more than anything. Steve was more than just his childhood hero, or the captain of their team; he was his best friend, the love of his life. Steve knew how to keep him grounded and was there for him when he needed someone the most. Steve had brought joy into his life. Without him, Tony would have nothing. Their children would have nothing.

His mind shifts to them and his eyes well up with fresh tears. Morgan was still upstairs with her aunt, completely unaware of the situation and Tony wishes he could see her, to hold her close. But he can’t imagine having to tell her that there was a chance her papa might not pull through.

Tony leans forward in his seat, hands coming up to cradle his head, body shaking from the sobs that escape him. The thought of raising his children without Steve by his side brings on pain Tony never knew existed. His family was already broken, barely hanging on, and if Steve didn’t make it, they could never be mended.

The soft sound of footsteps reach Tony’s ears and he glances up, hoping that Strange has good news. He’s greeted with the broken image of his son. It’s the first time he’s really looked at him. The bruises on his face is the first thing Tony notices, then his eyes are traveling lower, taking in the suits battered appearance. He doesn’t care about any of that though. Suits can be replaced. His son can’t.

“D-dad?” Peter sounds just as broken as he looks. The redness around his eyes is proof he’s been crying just as much as Tony has. He moves slowly, almost as if he’s afraid to come any closer.

Tony rises from his seat and closes the distance between them, arms coming out to wrap around his son. Peter clings to him, body trembling as the sobs wrack through him.

“I’m sorry. Dad, I’m so sorry.”

“Hey, calm down, kiddo.” Tony’s fingers thread through the messy brown locks on Peter’s head, trying to bring him comfort. The hold Peter has on him tightens.

“It’s my fault,” Peter sobs, his tears leaving behind wet spots along Tony’s shirt.

“It’s not.” Tony pulls back, hands resting gently over Peter’s shoulders.“It’s not your fault.”

“I messed up. I messed up so bad and I’m sorry. Dad, I’m so sorry. If he dies-”

“Hey, don’t.” Tony’s tone is firm. He pulls Peter back into his arms, hugging him tight. His own eyes fill with tears and he blinks them back, not wanting his son to see how broken he really is. He needs to be strong.

“It’s all my fault.” Peter buries his face in Tony’s chest, fingers gripping the soft material of the t-shirt. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Tony just brings his son closer. He’s not Steve, he doesn’t know how to comfort their children like his husband does, but he’s trying. He’s trying to be both the strong parent and the soothing one. He hopes he doesn’t have to continue playing both roles.

Steve was a fighter, always has been and always will be. Tony has faith that Steve still has that fight in him and he’s going to pull through. But he still can’t get the images of Steve struggling to keep up that fight out of his head.

He can feel Peter pulling away and it’s then he realizes that they’re not alone. Strange’s presence should put his worried mind to rest, but it seems to do the exact opposite and instead Tony is overwhelmed with dread.

“Doc, please tell me you have good news,” Tony says. That’s all he’s been praying for. He needs to know that Steve is going to be okay.

“He’s going to be fine.”

Strange’s words relieve the pain that had been tormenting Tony. Steve was going to be okay, he kept fighting. But it wasn’t just his fighting spirit giving Tony more time with him. Strange deserved just as much, if not more, of the credit.

For the first time since he welcomed the Doctor into his life, he found himself wrapping Strange in an embrace. It was similar to ones he’s given to Rhodey or Happy; it was one only reserved for his best friends, and after everything he and Strange have been through, after everything Strange has done for his family, the friendly gesture had been long overdue. Strange meant something to him, just like all of his friends did.

The Doctor doesn’t accept the embrace at first and Tony figures it’s just caught him off guard. The only physical interactions they’ve had over the years has been gentle pats on the shoulder or a handshake, a hug between them never seemed possible.

Strange finally returns the gesture. There’s some awkwardness at first, but that begins to fade until all that’s left is a friendly, sincere hug.

Tony ends it first. “I don’t know how to thank you. You’ve been…”

Strange raises his brow, his lips curving into a small smirk. “You’re trying to be nice to me.”

“I’m trying to say something nice. You know if you’d let me.”

“By all means go ahead. I’m intrigued.”

Tony rolls his eyes. “You’re a pain in my ass, Strange.”

“Stephen. After a hug like that I feel we should be on a first name basis. It’s been what, sixteen years since I’ve known you?”

“Longer. Glad to know only one of us pays attention to those things.”

“So you guys are facial hair bros?” Peter asks quietly, face heating up when all eyes fall on him. “You know because of the...never mind.”

Tony wants to roll his eyes at his son’s words, but he’s not against them. Stephen on the other hand doesn’t appear amused by the nickname, another reason for Tony to love it even more.

“Listen, I’d love to stay and chat but I gotta see him.” Being away from Steve longer than he needs to sets off Tony’s anxiety. He’s already been forced to wait and he can’t imagine doing another second of it.

“He’s resting, but you’re free to see him,” Stephen says. Tony gives a quick nod and is ready to burst through the door Stephen had come out of, but the soft sound of his son’s voice stops him in his tracks.

“Can I see him too?” Peter looks unsure, almost as if he had just asked the wrong question.

“Yeah,” Tony offers a small smile to comfort his son. “I’m sure you’re the first person he wants to see and I should probably check on your sister anyway.” It was true, he hadn’t checked in with Natasha and he was sure both her and Morgan were worried.

Peter gives a small nod and he steps toward the door, only to turn and throw his arms around Stephen. It catches the Doctor off guard, then he’s accepting the hug and wrapping his arms around Peter’s smaller frame.

“Thank you for saving him, Doctor Strange,” Peter says.

“Kid, Uncle Stephen is fine.” Peter pulls away, eyes bright and a smile forming over his face. Stephen reaches up to ruffle his hair. “Go see him.”

Peter nods and rushes toward the room. With Peter gone, Tony turns back to Stephen. He’s afraid to ask the question that’s been eating him alive, but not knowing will surely drive him insane. There’s a part of him that doesn’t want to know the answer.

“Was he-” Tony swallows the lump in his throat, eyes squeezing shut to hold back the tears that began to gather. He opens his eyes again to lock them with Stephen’s. “Doc, please tell me Steve’s not the only one who survived.”

Stephen frowns. “I’m not following.”

“We were trying again. I just need to know if the baby-”

“Tony, he wasn’t pregnant.”

Those words should bring a sense of relief, but all Tony can feel is disappointment. They had wanted there to be a baby more than anything. Tony hates that their constant trying failed, but he’s quick to remind himself that it’s better this way. He couldn’t imagine finding out that the baby they were hoping for was lost. That would hurt a lot more.

“Oh. That’s good.” Tony doesn’t know what else he’s supposed to say. The silence between them becomes uncomfortable and Tony remembers that his youngest is in need of his attention. “I better check on Morgan. Thank you again.”

“That’s it? I guess I was expecting more.”

“I’ll send you a gift basket.”


The first thing he notices is the absence of pain. There’s no burning or any form of indication that he had been stabbed. There’s no feeling of fear, only a sense of calmness has surrounded him.

Death had been clinging onto him, its grip tightening until he had no choice but to give in. He didn’t want to give in so easily, not when he had a family that needed him. For a moment he believes that he did give in and death finally took him, but it’s not until he inhales and a familiar smell floods through his nose does he realize where he is.

He’d never forget the smell of a clean, sterile room. It was a scent he knew too well, having been in the hospital more times than he can count. It made him both uneasy and relieved.

The soft beeping from a machine is the next thing he notices and his eyes fluttered open. There’s no bright light that immediately blinds him and he’s able to glance around the room. The figure sitting in the chair beside him is the next thing he notices.

“On your left.” His voice is hoarse and quiet, but he doesn’t go unheard.

Peter’s head snaps up quickly, his eyes shining with unshed tears and his face tracked with the ones that did manage to escape. Steve grunts softly when his son throws himself on top of him, but he accepts the warm embrace.

“I thought you were gone forever.” Peter keeps his face buried in his father’s chest, fingers clutching the thin material of the hospital gown.

“I’m not going anywhere, Pete.” Steve runs his fingers through his son’s messy hair and he leans down to press a kiss to his head.

“I’m so sorry.” Peter pulls away. “I messed up and almost got you killed and it’s all my fault and-”

“Pete, stop. If anyone’s to blame it’s me. I should have been honest with you.” Steve shifts on the bed, a small groan leaving his lips when a dull throb radiates through his bottom half. His hand falls to his middle, over the spot where the blade had pierced him, and his brows furrow.

“I’m sorry,” Peter says again and Steve snaps his head up in his direction. “I shouldn’t have lied and snuck out and went behind your back and I-”

Peter lets out a choked sob, tears gathering in his eyes and he sniffs. Steve can see the guilt flooding through him, tormenting him, and all he wants to do is comfort his son. Peter shouldn’t be the only one carrying the heavy weight of guilt. Steve was just as guilty, if not more.

Steve brings his son close again. He can’t remember the last time they had been this close. “It’s okay,” Steve soothes, one hand coming to rest along Peter’s back to rub small circles. Peter's body relaxes instantly, just like he would when he was younger.

Steve's not sure how long they stay like this and it’s not until the sound of the door breaks through the silence do they finally part. Two figures linger in the doorway and the sight of them brings a smile to Steve’s face.

“Papa!” Morgan cries and she runs toward the bed. She throws her arms around Steve and hugs him tight. She pulls away, eyes landing on the bruises covering his face. “Are you okay?”

“I am now.” Steve offers her a small smile and he pulls her back for another hug.

“My turn,” Tony says and he gently picks Morgan up. He sets her down, chuckling when she crosses her arms and huffed. “I want to see papa too.”

“Come here, sweetie.” Steve pats the bed and Morgan’s face lights up. She rushes toward the other side of the bed, cuddling up beside Steve and laying her head on his shoulder.

Tony’s careful not to apply too much of his weight when he leans down to press a kiss to Steve’s lips. They’re chapped, the bottom lip split and a scab beginning to form, but Tony doesn’t care. For a moment he was afraid he would never get to kiss these lips again.

“You scared me, Cap.” Tony smiles fondly at the face he can’t live without, fingers gently threading through blond hair. Their lips meet again and Tony’s eyes flooded with tears from the contact. Steve’s arms wrap around Tony’s neck, bringing him closer. Tony breaks the kiss and buries his face in the crook of Steve’s neck. “Don’t ever do that again.”

“I won’t,” Steve promises.

Tony slips a hand between them, resting it against Steve’s belly. Steve’s body tenses and he pulls away so that their eyes can meet. He doesn’t miss the way Steve’s eyes filled with worry.

“Tony, I’m sorry. The baby-”

“It’s okay,” Tony assures, “you weren’t...it’s okay.”

“Oh.” Steve’s brows furrow and he tucks his bottom lip between his teeth. He hisses when he bites too hard and the strong taste of blood fills his mouth. He lays his hand against Tony’s, giving it a gentle squeeze. “I’m sorry.”

“We can try again,” Tony offers and he leans in for another kiss.

“Wait,” Peter interrupts and all eyes fall on him. “You guys are having another baby?”

Morgan gasps in surprise, brown eyes widening with excitement. “A baby sister!”

“No no.” Tony shakes his head and he shoots Steve a look. He wishes they told their children their plan to add another family member. “Not yet. We’re still-”

“How about a dog?” Peter suggests. It’s Morgan’s turn to shake her head.

“I want an alpaca!” She cries.

“Alpaca?” Tony raises a questioning brow at her. “What happened to the pony?”

Morgan gives a small shrug, then she turns to Steve, eyes wide and pleading. “Please, papa? Can we have an alpaca?”

“If we’re getting pets I want a dog.” Peter rises from his seat, having felt left out from where he was sitting. “It can be a super dog! You know going on missions with us and-”

“You zip it,” Tony points a finger at his son, then he’s pointing one in Morgan’s direction when she giggles at her brother’s scolding. “You too, Little Miss. I don’t want to hear it. No dogs, no alpacas. Understood?”

Both kids nod their heads sadly.

“Good, now scram. Your papa needs to rest.” Tony sets his eyes back on Peter. “And you need to see Strange. Oh, speaking of the wizard, how long have you been sneaking out to his place?”

Peter freezes, eyes widening. “Oh uh...you know just a few...years.”

Tony inhales sharply and shakes his head. He regrets it when the movement causes a flare up of pain. He still needs to get his own injuries looked over.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Steve says and he gives Tony’s hand another reassuring squeeze.

“Damn right we will.” Tony shoots his son another look. “So what are you his apprentice or something?”

“No, nothing like that,” Peter says quickly. “We actually just-wait, that’s totally awesome! Why didn’t I think of that!”

“Don’t get any ideas. We had you first. You’re an Avenger, kiddo.”

Peter gasps at the words, eyes widening and face lighting up. “Wait, really? I’m a-”

“We’ll talk later,” Tony tells him and he points a finger at the door. “Now go.”

Peter nods and heads toward the door, the large smile still on his face. Morgan shakes her head and jumps off the bed.

“You really want to make him an Avenger?” She questions.

“Go.”

Morgan lets out a sigh and follows her brother out of the room.

“God,” Tony groans and rubs at his head. “I think I just accidently made our son an Avenger.”

Steve smiles. “I think you should blame me. I told him he was one.”

“Telling him he’s one and making him one are two different things.” Tony gently lowers himself down on the bed near Steve’s feet and reaches for Steve’s hand. “You know what we have to do, right?”

“Yeah. Maybe we should just get the dog.”

Tony chuckles. “Maybe.”

Chapter Text

It’s awkward being back, the stares and whispers he receives quickly become overwhelming. In the past his fellow classmates wouldn’t even bat in eye when he showed up to school sporting a new bruise, but it was hard to ignore the ones currently painting his face. The one on his cheek has faded into an ugly green, but it was still noticeable to lingering eyes.

His teachers stare, some offering sympathetic looks and others shaking their heads disapprovingly. Peter ignores both, something he’s also done in the past. No one questions him, having witnessed the countless fights Peter has gotten into.

Flash jokes and points, but Peter ignores him too. But there’s one person he can’t ignore and he waits for the lecture when they meet up at his locker.

Ned’s eyes are transfixed on the larger bruise and he shakes his head. There’s still no lecture until..

“I told you so,” Ned tells him. Peter wants to roll his eyes, but his friend was right. Ned had warned him from the beginning. He wishes he would have listened. “Did Spider-Man kick their butts?” Ned asks, making sure to whisper this time.

Peter smiles and turns to grab a book from his locker. “Kinda,” he replies. He didn’t get a chance to tell his friend the story of how it went down with Hydra and he knew Ned was dying to know the details. “Let’s just say the Avengers won again.”

“Whoa! So you’re an Avenger now!”

“Shh!” Peter shushes him quickly when unwanted stares shoot their way. Just because the whole school knew his parents were Avengers didn’t mean they need to know he was too. Or at least one step closer to becoming one. His dad still hasn’t confirmed it yet.

“So what happened with SHIELD?” Ned asks.

Peter shuts his locker and adjusts the strap of his backpack around his shoulder. They start walking down the hall toward their first class.

“It was Hydra actually,” he finally replies and Ned gasps in surprise. “Yeah, I know. They took my blood and were trying to recreate the serum and make me one of their brainwashed soldiers. It’s fine now. Pretty sure it was lost in the explosion.”

“Whoa! What if they had won!”

Peter shudders at the thought of Hydra succeeding and turning him into another one of their weapons. He pushes that image out of his head, instead focusing on the fact that he was safe now and his dream of joining the team becoming a reality. He smiles.“I’m pretty sure I’m an Avenger now. I saved Captain America.”

“Wow!” Ned is growing excited again, eyes practically bulging out of his head. “What happened!” He grips onto Peter’s shoulder, shaking him lightly.

“Dude, it was intense. The building was coming down and I had to drag him out of the fire. He almost died.”

“You really are a hero. Can you imagine if your parents did die?”

Peter frowns at that thought. He couldn’t imagine losing his parents. He almost did and it was one of the most terrifying days of his life.

“I think we’re getting an alpaca.” Peter tries to steer the conversation in a different direction. He’s sure Ned will ask more questions about how he saved the day, but right now it’s not the time or place to answer them and those questions are better left answered during lunch.

“Why?” Ned asks.

“Morgan wants one. It’s either that or a little sister.”

Ned and Peter share a look. “Alpaca.” They both agree.

 


 

Just as Peter expected, when lunchtime rolled around and they were seated at their usual table, Ned went off asking questions. Peter could only answer so much; Ned was throwing them at him faster than Peter could keep up.

He stops answering questions when he spots MJ across the room. A goofy grin spreads across his face at the sight of her and there’s the sudden urge to talk to her. He’s nervous, mentally reminding himself that talking to her never works out and he’s left embarrassing himself.

Their eyes meet and he panics, quickly shifting his gaze down toward his untouched lunch. His inner voice is urging him to talk to her, but he doesn’t want to listen and it becomes an internal battle with himself.

Ned is nudging him, probably a little harder than he means to but it works and Peter’s head is snapping up. MJ is at their table, a tray of food in her hands and a playful smirk across her face. She takes a seat across from Peter, eyes never leaving his.

“What happened to you?” She asks, using one of her fries to gesture toward the bruise on Peter’s face before bringing it to her mouth.

“Uh...you know…” Peter’s face burns with embarrassment. He needs to say something, but he’s quick to remind himself that telling her the truth wasn’t an option. No one besides Ned and his family knew who he really was.

“He saved his parents in a mission!” Ned blurts out and Peter head snaps in his directions, eyes blown wide.

“Cool.” MJ doesn’t seem phased about the outburst and continues munching on her fries. “Must’ve been a pretty nasty fight. You won, right?”

“Y-Yeah totally. It was...nothing.” Peter gives a small shrug.

“Awesome.” MJ nods and her lips curve into a smile. The smile disappears quickly and she’s frowning. “Except for the bruise. That looks painful.”

“Yeah. Um…” Peter clears his throat awkwardly and glances back down at the tray in front of him, no longer finding lunch appeasing. His stomach is twisting violently with nerves, his face flushed with embarrassment. He’s sure she notices and it makes him feel worse.

The silence they fall into is awkward, just like they always do. Ned doesn’t even help him out. It’s not until two other students hanging a banner catches Peter’s eye does he find a new topic for conversation.

“Are you going to the dance?” He asks, making a quick to gesture toward the banner.

“I don’t know maybe,” Ned answers and then he catches the look Peter sends his way and he quickly adds,“Oh you meant MJ!”

Peter internally groans. There was never going to be a decent moment between them and he should give up before he makes an even bigger idiot of himself.

MJ laughs and it’s a sound that makes Peter’s heart skip a beat. He could listen to her laugh all the time. MJ glances over at the banner and she shrugs. “I don’t know. Why?”

“Uh…” Peter’s mind has gone blank. He can’t remember the reason why he brought up the dance in the first place. Was it just another friendly conversation starter, or did he plan on asking her to be his date? Just that thought alone is enough to bring on another wave of nervousness. There was no way she would go with him. Right?

He pushes that thought aside and tries to come up with something else for them to talk about.

 


 

The rest of the day passed in a blur and when the bell signals the end of another school day, Peter is out of his seat and rushing toward his locker to grab what he needs for the night. He catches up with Ned and together they walk out of the school.

“I feel really bad about messing up your chance to ask MJ to the dance,” Ned tells him.

“W-What?” Peter chuckles nervously. “I wasn’t going to-” There was no point in denying it and he sighs. “Okay, yeah it may have crossed my mind.”

“You should do it. I’m sure once she finds out you’re Spider-“

“Shh!” Peter hushes and clasps his hand over Ned’s mouth. “Dude, you gotta stop doing that.”

Ned mumbles something unintelligible against Peter’s hand and with a roll of his eyes Peter removes his hand from Ned’s mouth. “I’m sorry! It’s just an awesome secret and it’s hard to keep it to myself! This is your chance to be popular!”

“Maybe I don’t want to be…not yet. No one can know. No one.”

With a sad sigh Ned nods his head. He turns away, then he’s nudging Peter. “Your ride’s here.”

Peter follows Ned’s gaze, eyes landing on the familiar black car. With a huff, Peter says his goodbyes and makes his way toward the vehicle. Happy is waiting for him, reaching for the door and opening it for Peter.

“You don’t have to do this,” Peter mutters and he climbs into the backseat.

“You dad says I do, kid,” Happy replies and he closes the door.

Morgan is already inside, sketching in her book and she glances up to greet him. “Hi,” she smiles and holds up her book for Peter to see. He rolls his eyes at the sight of her drawing.

“We’re not getting an alpaca,” he tells her and she frowns.

Morgan sticks her tongue out at him and turns back to her drawing. “Daddy said I can. His name is Gerald.”

“Gerald? What kind of name is that? We’re getting a dog. A super dog.”

“Those don’t exist, dummy.”

“Still better than an alpaca named Gerald.”

“Do I need to tell your dad about the bickering?” Happy peers through the rearview mirror, his threatening tone instantly quieting the kids in the backseat.

Peter slumps back in his seat and mutters, “No.”

He was already dealing with the aftermath of sneaking out, keeping secrets and putting himself in danger. Another lecture is the last thing he needs. It doesn’t stop him and Morgan from sending each other quirky looks. They bicker like most siblings, but they also know how to have fun with each other.

The last thing Peter was expecting when he steps through the front door of the apartment is to find his papa home. Steve is lounging on the sofa, sketchbook resting on his lap and a pencil in his hand. He smiles at the sight of his children and opens his arms wide when Morgan runs in for a hug. His sketchbook falls to the floor with a soft thud, but it quickly goes forgotten when Morgan tells Steve about her own drawing.

“I wanna name him Gerald,” Morgan says, eyes bright and full of excitement at the thought of her future pet.

Her excitement is infectious and Steve can’t help but smile. “We’ll see, sweetheart. We don’t exactly have the space for an alpaca.”

Morgan gives a small huff and frowns, then her eyes are lighting up again and her smile is back. “At the cabin! There’s so much room for him there!”

Steve chuckles. “Let me talk to dad okay?”

“Okay!” Morgan throws her arms around Steve and pecks him on the cheek, then she’s running off toward her room.

“How was school, bud?” Steve asks his oldest and he reaches for his fallen sketchbook, placing it on the coffee table.

Peter gives a small shrug in response. “Fine. Hey why are you home? I thought you were going with dad to D.C. to work out the SHIELD stuff.”

“I was, but your dad is making me stay to rest. He’s a little over-protective.”

Peter can’t help but smirk. “Now you know how it feels.”

Steve chuckles and rises from the couch. “Yeah, I guess I do. I mentioned how sorry I was for that, right?”

“Only all the time.”

“I do mean it, though,” Steve says and he makes his way over to his son, gently resting his hands over Peter’s shoulders. “I really screwed up and I’m sorry.”

“Papa, stop. I already forgave you. Speaking of forgiveness...I’m forgiven right?”

Steve removes his hands from Peter’s shoulders and folds them over his chest, his lips curving into a smirk. “Is this your way of saying you want to go back out there being-what is it? The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man?”

“Yes?” It comes out more of a question. “Wait, did dad-"

“He may have mentioned it.”

“So is that a yes?”

Stave shakes his head, chuckling when Peter huffs and frowns. “Sorry, bud. Your dad and I still have a lot of talking to do.”

“Fine. But you two better be out there since I can’t. There’s a cat that always gets stuck up in a tree.”

“Cat in a tree. Got it.”

“And please tell me we’re not getting an alpaca.”

“There’s always the option for a baby brother,” Steve says and Peter groans. “Hey, you always wanted one. Remember?”

“Yeah and instead you had Morgan. Just get a dog like a normal person. I was thinking we name him Dodger. Way better than Gerald. And we can take him with us everywhere, you know like on missions or-” Peter cuts his rambling short when the only response he gets is another laugh from his father.

“I’ll think about it. Go do your homework.”

“Fine. I still want a dog!” Peter calls over his shoulder as he makes his way down the hall.

Steve shakes his head. The idea of a dog begins to sound like a good idea.


It’s weeks later when Peter finally convinces himself to ask MJ to the school dance. He remembers her response when he had originally brought it up and it makes him second guess the idea, but that inner voice is urging him to take the plunge and ask her. There is the possibility of her accepting his invitation and the only way to find out was to muster up enough courage to talk to her.

He finally gets his chance one afternoon. Peter makes his way through the crowded hallway, ignoring the shoves and jabs of elbows as he maneuvers through. His locker comes into view and he can’t help but frown when he doesn’t spot Ned waiting for him.

He goes through his usual routine of grabbing what he needs for the night and begins placing his books in his backpack. His fingers brush over the soft material of his suit and he sighs. Being withdrawn from his Spider-Man duties is one of the worst punishments his parents have come up with and he hates every second of it. He stills brings the suit with him just in case.

There’s a tap on his shoulder and Peter turns, expecting to find Ned, but when he’s met with the sight of MJ, his heart skips and his face heats up. Her eyes dart down toward his opened backpack, then she’s furrowing her brows and glancing back up at him. It only takes a second for Peter to realize that his suit was on display and he quickly zips up his backpack.

“H-hey, what’s up?” He asks, trying to be as casual as possible.

MJ has one brow raised questioningly and Peter panics. She shrugs and says, “Not much. What’s up with you?”

Tell her Peter screams at himself. This was his chance to ask her. “Actually, I was wondering if you know if you weren’t doing anything that maybe you could…”

“You’re rambling again.”

Peter’s face heats up with embarrassment at those words and he chuckles nervously. “Y-yeah, I’m just...do you want to go to the dance with...me?” The last word comes out more as a pathetic squeak, but he’s just thankful he finally got the words out, regardless of what they sound like.

“The dance, huh?” MJ raises her brow and Peter panics again. Then she’s smiling. “Yeah, sounds good.”

“Wait, you’re serious?”

“Yeah...weren’t you?”

“Yeah! Yeah, totally! I totally want to go to the dance with you!”

MJ laughs. “Okay, dork. I’ll see you later.”

Peter nods, too enthusiastically than he knows he should, but at the moment he doesn’t care. She said yes.

 


 

Being the victim of embarrassing situations was something Peter was used to. Some of the time he found himself in those situations while at school, but the remaining instances always involved his parents. They knew exactly how to embarrass him, even if it wasn’t their intention. Peter would argue against that, though. His papa didn’t mean it, his dad on the other hand was constantly searching for new ways to embarrass him.

This happened to be one of those times. And to make matters worse, his younger sister was getting involved.

Peter gives himself another glance in the mirror, fingers coming up to adjust his tie and the messy curls atop his head. No amount of gel could tame them and he didn’t bother wasting a second of his time trying to apply any. She would be here any minute.

Peter had offered to pick MJ up at her place, but she insisted she come to his. He tried to protest the idea, but she argued that she had never been to his house and being in the home of the famous Avengers was on her list of things to do before she turned thirty. Peter couldn’t argue with that. Not that he had a list, but if he was in her shoes he would have opted to be in the home of the Avengers. He was also a huge nerd, so there’s that.

With a huff, Peter gives up on trying to reason with his hair and deems himself presentable. He’s nervous, more nervous than he’s ever felt, and all he can do is tell himself that it’s just a dance. But that inner voice is quick to remind him that it’s not just another school dance and he’s not just going with anybody. He can’t screw this up.

To say he was surprised to find MJ in his living room would be the understatement of the year. Peter wasn’t expecting her to arrive so soon, let alone invited into his home without his knowledge. There goes his chance at preparing her for his family. He shudders at the thought of her being alone for too long with his parents and sister.

Morgan is giggling when she catches sight of her brother and Peter already knows that he was the topic of their conversation.

“What are you guys talking about?” Peter asks, even though he already knows the answer.

“I didn’t know you still wet the bed when you were ten.” MJ can’t hold back her laughter and Morgan is quick to jump in.

Peter’s face burns and he can already picture it turning the same shade as his dad’s suit. He groans and shoots his dad a look. “Dad!” He pleads. Just once he’d like his dad to have his back, but he’s not so lucky and Tony is only adding to the embarrassment.

“Relax, kiddo. If she’s the one then she needs to know this stuff. We’re just trying to prepare her.”

“Yeah!” Morgan adds. “But I’m sure after tonight she will never want to go to another dance with you again. He doesn’t know how to dance very well. He always gets stuck to the wall when he tries.”

“Huh that explains a lot. He got stuck to his locker one time. It was the funniest thing.” MJ laughs again as she recalls the memory.

Peter knows exactly what she’s referring to and it only makes him feel worse. He didn’t mean for his webbing to stick to the door of his locker.

He can’t take the torture anymore and he turns to his papa for help. He was normally the one to put an end to Morgan’s teasing. Steve catches his son’s eye and gives him a reassuring nod. “Morgan, that’s enough. MJ doesn’t want to hear anymore.”

“Oh I think I do,” MJ laughs.

“Yay!” Morgan cheers and she’s rushing to take MJ by the hand. “You should hang out with me. I can tell you stories for hours! He likes you a lot by the way and I’m pretty sure I can hear him kissing his pillow at night and pretending it’s you.”

Peter’s eyes widen at those words and he’s just about ready to throw himself out the window. His parents don’t interfere this time and instead his dad bursts out laughing.

“Okay, enough,” Steve steps in. “Both of you.”

Both Stark’s are quiet, expressions pouty from the scolding. “Sorry,” both father and daughter say.

With them controlled, Peter rushes toward MJ, ready to lead her out of the apartment. “Let’s go. I’m sure Happy is-”

“I’m driving you, Pete,” Tony informs him, making sure to send a playful wink his son’s way.

Peter is ready to protest, knowing how embarrassing his dad can be when they’re in the car. It’s happened more times than Peter can count, and though all of those instances were with Ned, that didn’t make them any less embarrassing. But now he was going to be in a car with his embarrassing dad and the girl he was crazy about. It was a recipe for disaster.

Morgan has captured MJ’s attention again and the two are laughing and joking. Peter's ready to forget about the dance and lock himself up in his room.

“Relax, bud.” Peter jumps at the familiar voice. He hadn’t realized his papa had approached him. Steve smiled apologetically. “Relax,” he repeats. “MJ will still like you.”

Peter scoffs at those words. “She knows I used to wet the bed and that I’m sticky.”

Steve chuckles and gives a small shrug. “You’ve always been sticky. At least we didn’t tell her about you crawling the walls.”

“She can’t know.”

“Maybe one day she might. She’s a great girl, Pete. Now ignore your sister and have fun.”

“But I can’t dance.” Peter frowns, suddenly wishing he had practiced more.

“It’s okay. It’s all about finding the right partner. I think you found yours.”

Peter nods and his lips curve into a small smile. “Me too.”

Morgan is still sharing stories and Peter steps in to take MJ away before the stories get worse. He leads her toward the door, freezing when his dad calls out to him.

“Not so fast, kiddo. I want pictures.”

Peter rolls his eyes, but decides to go along with it, knowing that pictures was their ticket to the dance. He feels awkward being so close to MJ and he struggles to find a safe place to rest his hand. After a few pictures are taken, Peter is leading MJ out of the apartment, not caring if he’s left his dad behind. He needs to get away from his family.

Tony is still chuckling from his son’s behavior and a part of him wanted to feel bad for embarrassing Peter, but he’s quick to remind himself that was one of the jobs as a parent. He grabs his keys off the counter and is ready to follow his son out, only to stop in his tracks when he spots his husband emerging from the hall and he frowns.

“There you are. You missed the pictures,” Tony says.

“Sorry,” Steve apologies. “I just had to do something.”

“They came out good. They make a cute couple.”

“Yeah, they do.”

“Are you good?” Tony asks.

“Yeah,” Steve smiles, one hand coming to rest on his belly. “I’m more than good.”

Chapter Text

Peter has had his fair share of dances and maybe one party, but he doesn’t count the party. That had been a disaster and resulted in weeks of humiliation and bullying. After that, Peter made sure to steer clear of any more parties and dances. It wasn’t like he would be invited back anyway.

The thought of stepping into another school dance makes Peter feel uneasy, but he’s quick to remind himself that this wasn’t going to be like previous dances. He had the girl of his dreams on his arm.

How MJ had agreed to be his date was beyond him, but he knew better than to question it. But then again, he was curious. He hoped she only agreed to go with him because she had feelings for him. She must be aware of how he feels, he's made it pretty obvious.

He’s getting distracted and he’s quick to snap himself back to the now. MJ still has her arm hooked around his and he glances down at where they’re joined, facing heating up when he realizes they have never been this close before. He’s never touched her like this. He panics.

“I’m sorry,” he apologizes quickly and slips his arm free. MJ frowns at him and Peter knows he’s already blowing it. “Is this weird? If it’s weird then I am so sorry and-"

“I didn’t think it was weird.” MJ takes Peter by the hand and leads him toward the center of the gym.

His face is burning now when heads turn their way and he’s thankful his blush can’t be seen in the dimly lit room. He spots Ned with Betty Brant and he wants to question when their relationship happened, but right now all he can think about is MJ’s hand in his.

She slips her hand free sooner than Peter would’ve liked, but then he realizes that she wants to dance. This is the part Peter has been dreading; he didn’t do dancing, he wasn’t very good at it. Then he remembers that it was all about the right partner.

The first attempt is awkward and he finds himself thinking too much about what he’s doing with his body. MJ giggles and it should make him feel embarrassed, but instead he finds himself laughing along with her. He knows he probably looks like a dork, but MJ doesn't seem to care so why should he?

They dance to a couple more songs, one with Ned and his date, then the DJ is slowing things down and that’s when Peter begins to panic. He can’t do slow songs. That involves a lot of touching, of his hand on her waist and oh God he can’t breathe. He can’t do this.

But then MJ is stepping closer and her arms wrap around his neck. He stares at her in disbelief, wondering if this is really happening. They’ve never done this before and his heart began to beat rapidly, his breath hitching in his throat. One of her perfect brows raises slightly and he knows that look. He’s doing something dumb.

“You’re supposed to put your hands on my waist,” MJ says.

Peter glances down at the spot where she is telling him to place his hands and he swallows hard. “Y-Yeah, right. I knew that.”

She chuckles softly and Peter’s skin suddenly feels hot. He knows he’s blushing like crazy and he knows she can see it. With shaky hands he gently puts his hands on her waist, his fingers brushing against the soft material of her dress. He never did get the chance to tell her how beautiful she looked.

“You look really...beautiful.” The last word comes out more as a whisper but she must have caught it, because her smile widens and her eyes sparkle. She’s never looked more beautiful.

“Thanks. You look..” Her eyes roam over him and Peter blushes again. “You look good...really good.”

“T-thanks,” Peter stutters out a reply. He keeps his hold on her light, not wanting to scare her off. She doesn’t appear uncomfortable, but Peter’s not taking any chances. He can’t blow it.

They sway softly to the music and he glances down at his feet way more than he knows he should, and he stumbles a few times. He mutters an apology. The voice in his head is screaming at him to relax, but he can’t focus on what it’s saying.

MJ stops moving and removes her arms from his neck. Peter panics. He blew it. “I’m sorry! I’m screwing up and-"

She takes his hand and Peter glances down quickly, then his eye are shooting up to lock with hers. She smiles. “Come on.”

Peter doesn’t get a chance to respond and he finds himself being dragged off the dance floor and away from the dance. Heads are turning in their direction and Peter knows they’re making assumptions. He’s seen it before, students leaving dances and other school events to disappear to an empty classrooms. He just never thought he’d be one of them.

They don’t end up in the hall or a classroom, instead MJ leads him out into the courtyard. They’re alone and Peter’s not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. At least back inside he was surrounded by other people and Ned. Now he was alone with MJ.

“Why are we...out here?” Peter decides to ask, but he’s not sure if he wants to know the answer. Was she breaking up with him? He shakes his head of that thought. They weren’t even together. Even though he’d like to be.

“I figured you would want some air. You were getting a little...awkward.”

He blew it. There goes the chances of ever being more with her. Their friendship was probably over too.

“I’m sorry! I just wanted this night to be perfect because you’re so perfect and I really really like you and I didn’t mean to screw everything up and-"

MJ’s lips are on his in an instant, silencing his rambling. He squeaks in surprise, eyes growing wide. She pulls away, lips curving into a smirk. “I knew I could find a way to get you to stop talking.”

“That was…” Peter presses a finger against his lips, the tingle from feeling hers there still present. “you kissed me…”

“I guess I did.”

“Can you...can we do it again?” He doesn’t get an immediate response and he panics. “Oh God! I swear I’m not those kind of guys. I just really-"

“Like me?” MJ finishes and Peter nods his head.

“I’ve been meaning to tell you that-"

“You’re Spider-Man?”

Peter’s eyes widen. “Wh-What? How did you...of course I’m not...that guy.”

“It’s pretty obvious. You’re always disappearing and I saw your suit sticking out of your backpack.”

“Oh.”

MJ smiles. “It’s cool. It kinda makes sense. Your parents are superheroes and I figured you would be too.”

“Wait, you think I’m a superhero?” Peter can feel the blush spreading across his face and this time he knows she can see it too.

“I think you’re a dork. But a cute one.”

She’s stepping closer now and Peter’s breath gets caught in his throat. They’re just inches from each other now and then she’s leaning in; his eyes flutter shut and then there’s fireworks. The sparks he felt when they first touched was nothing in comparison to the electricity flowing between them now. It was like Thor had shot bolts of lightning through him. Not that he would know. He doesn’t remember the full story or the details regarding that incident.

But this. Kissing MJ was something he was going to remember for the rest of his life. Her lips were soft and smooth, exactly how he imagined they would feel.

The kiss ends sooner than Peter would have liked, but it leaves him breathless and craving more. “Wow..that was..” He’s at a loss for words. He had been waiting for that kiss.

“You’re not a bad kisser." MJ smiles and then she's pressing her lips against his again.

They don't go back inside and Peter wonders if Ned is looking for him, but all he can think about is MJ kissing him. Peter hated dances, but MJ had managed to change his mind. This was one of the best nights of his life.


Tony’s lab has always been his favorite place. It was a place where his creations were created, where he could be himself and focus on the things he loved and cared for the most. He could hide there for hours, get away from his chaotic life.

Over the years his workshop was still most of those things; it was still the place he tinkered and created, but it wasn’t just his space anymore. He shared it with his family every now and then. Steve used to be a constant visitor, staying late to keep Tony company or to make sure Tony was taking care of himself. Everyone knew how neglectful Tony could be when he was working.

It wasn’t just Steve visiting him anymore. After the kids, it was difficult for Steve to come down. Peter knew better than to interrupt Tony while he was working, but Morgan ignored the rules and snuck down every chance she got.

Now while Tony tinkered, his kids were right there with him. Morgan was sitting in his lap while he let Peter take the reins on their newest project. Spider-Man was in need of a new suit and it only made sense that Peter be the one to create it.

“Can mine be purple?” Morgan bounces excitedly in Tony’s lap. Tony smiles and wraps an arm around her waist to keep her from falling.

“Purple, huh?” He asks and she nods. “Purple it is.”

“Yay!” Morgan cheers and watches with bright eyes as Tony pulls up images of her future suit on the large screen.

“Your Papa might not like this.”

Morgan huffs, bottom lip jutting out when she pouts. “Peter gets one.”

At the mention of his name, Peter glances up from his own project. “I’m older than you and an Avenger.”

“Not yet, kiddo,” Tony reminds him. Now both of his kids are pouting. “You’re still in trouble.”

“But it’s been a week!”

“Yeah and keep it up and I’ll make it three. We only let you go to the dance because that was your first real date. And kiss, right?”

“Dad,” Peter groans and Tony chuckles.

“I know, I know. I’m working on the embarrassing thing.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Yeah I’m not.”

“Are you gonna do this with my boyfriends?” Morgan asks.

Tony gasps and cranes his neck to the side to look at her. “Your boyfriends? There is no way you’re getting any boyfriends. Not until you’re thirty.”

Morgan giggles. She reaches for his gauntlet and Tony already knows it will go missing and end up in his daughter’s room a week later.

The sound of the passcode being entered fills Tony’s ears and he turns his chair toward the door, smiling when he caught sight of his husband. Steve smiles back.

“I knew I’d find you three down here.”

“Papa!” Morgan jumps out of Tony’s lap and rushes toward Steve, making him stumble back slightly. She looks up at him with bright eyes. “Daddy and I are making suits!”

“Suits?” Steve questions, eyes darting in Tony’s direction. His husband only gives a small shrug in response.

“Look!” Morgan takes Steve’s hand and leads him over to the desk and points at the screen. “Mine is purple!”

“She didn’t like red or blue,” Tony says.

“It looks good.” Those words had never been said before. Steve had always hated the idea of his children having their own suits and one day fighting alongside him and Tony. But things had changed, he had changed.

“Whoa, wait.” Tony says and he rises from the chair. “You're not upset?”

“No but-”

“There it is.”

“I think you need another suit.”

“Another suit? Why do we need another-” Tony takes in the bright smile on Steve’s face and the way he gently pats his belly. “Oh my God. Are we...are we having a baby?”

Steve nods, his smile growing wider. “We’re having a baby.”

“Holy shit!” Tony collapses back in his chair, one hand coming up to cover his mouth. His mind is racing and his heart thumps rapidly in his chest. “We’re having a baby,” he breathes out.

Tony’s face lights up, his lips curving into a smile and his eyes become shiny. He jumps out of his seat and pulls Steve close, his hand falling to Steve’s middle. There was no proof yet of the new life, but in just a few months that would change and they would be welcoming the newest member of their family.

Steve doesn’t have to say anything for Tony to know that he is overjoyed with the news, the smile on his face says more than words ever could. This new baby was more than just an addition to their family, they were the start of a new beginning.

“I’m getting a baby sister!” Morgan exclaims, a huge smile spreading across her face. “And an alpaca!”

“Wait, what about a dog or a brother?” Peter comes over, his interest now in the current conversation.

“I want a sister! There’s too many boys.”

“If you’re getting an alpaca then I want a brother. It’s only fair!”

Tony sighs harshly when the bickering between his children continues. He turns to Steve and rubs at his head. “I can’t believe we’re doing this a third time.”

Steve chuckles softly and leans in to press a kiss to Tony’s cheek, but Morgan squeezes her way between them and Steve pulls back, his soft blue gaze settling on her. She gently reaches out for him, small hands exploring his belly.

“My baby sister is in there?” She asks and Steve smiles down at her. Though it was too early for them to find out the gender of their newest addition, it didn’t stop Steve from hoping for another girl. He knew how much a little sister would mean to Morgan. She wouldn’t be the only girl anymore.

“It could be or a baby brother,” Steve tells her, fingers gently threading through her dark hair. Morgan frowns at Steve’s belly.

“You better be a sister,” She threatens.

Steve can’t help but laugh. Natasha had made similar threats for his first two pregnancies and now it was his daughter making those threats. It was no surprise that Morgan got her snarky attitude from Tony, but Steve would be lying if he didn’t think some of Natasha’s own snarkiness rubbed off on his daughter.

“So uh-” Peter starts, arms folded over his chest and he rocks back and forth on the balls of his feet. “You’re really having another baby?”

“Yeah,” Steve nods. “You okay?”

Peter smiles. “Yeah, maybe this time I’ll get that little brother I always wanted and I can teach him everything there is to be an Avenger.”

“Speaking of Avenger stuff-” Tony starts and Peter’s face lights up. “No, not that. You’re still in trouble.”

Peter’s face falls instantly and he sighs. “I guess that’s fair. I really messed up.”

“You did,” Steve agrees, “but I’m going to be out for a few months and I think Spider-Man would be perfect to fill that empty spot.”

“Wait, I get to be...you’re not just….I really…”

“Okay calm down, kiddo.” Tony steps in to calm his son before Peter passes out. “You’re not an official Avenger yet. Think of this more as...an internship. Sound good?”

“Yes! That’s so...wow,” Peter breathes out. It’s starting to hit him, leaving him at a loss for words. Though he wasn’t fully initiated, he was one step closer. Closer than he’s ever been before. Peter throws his arms around Tony. “Thank you, dad.”

Tony accepts the embrace, one hand gently patting his son across the back and he smiles. He pulls away, expression growing serious and places both hands over Peter’s shoulders. “You might be on the team, but don’t think you get to do whatever you want. You listen to me and only me-”

“What about Auntie Nat?”

“No, I’m the boss. Well, your Papa is but when he’s out it’s my team. So you listen to me, understood?”

Peter nods his head.

“Good. And I added the Training Wheels Protocol to your suit. That’s what you get for sneaking around.”

“Okay,” Peter says slowly as he comprehends the information and he frowns when he realizes that a lot of the functions he used to have with the suit were now gone. “I really liked Karen.”

“Don’t screw up and you’ll have her back.” Tony gives a small shrug. “If you don’t like the rules then-”

“No! Dad, they’re perfect! I promise I won’t mess this up. This is all just...”

“A little much?” Steve offers and Peter nods his head. Steve smiles. “You got this, bud. You were born for this.”

“You mean it?” Peter asks and Steve nods. “Wow...I’ve been...you don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for you to say that.”

The smile that appears over Peter’s face is one Steve hasn’t seen in a while. His dark eyes have never been so bright, and Steve wishes it didn’t take this long for that happiness to make itself known.

That’s all he wanted for his family. They deserved to be happy.

 


 

He could do this. He had to do this.

Peter takes a deep breath to calm himself, but the calming technique does little to ease his nerves. His stomach twists into uncomfortable knots from the jitters and his heart thumps roughly against his chest. Any minute now his dad will come in to get him and Peter didn’t feel ready. Making announcements were not one of his strengths, but he’s quick to remind himself that it wasn’t him making the announcement, it was Spider-Man.

This is what he’s been waiting for and yet the nerves were making this moment difficult for him to enjoy. The world was finally going to know who he was. Well, at least part of him. He still wasn’t ready to take off the mask and reveal his true identity. Maybe one day.

His fingers grip the mask in his hands tightly. All he had to do was pull it on and step out to greet the crowd of people, but that was easier said than done.

“I can do this,” he tells himself. He had to do this. His dad and Pepper worked hard to get the press conference together and not stepping out there would only disappoint them. He was putting so much time and effort into his new internship and this was just the next step.

“You can do this.” A familiar voice fills Peter’s ears and he’s spinning around. The sight of his Papa is enough to ease some of his nerves. “Don’t be nervous,” Steve tells him, laying one comforting hand over Peter’s shoulder.

“I’m just…it’s a lot and I don’t know how they’re going to react or how the rest of the world is going to react and I-”

“Pete, breathe. Don’t worry about the rest of the world. When I came out of the ice, I was scared too. I didn’t know how I was going to fit in.”

“But you’re Captain America. Everyone loves you. I’m just...Spider-Man.”

“I think I prefer Spider-Man, and I know for a fact that I’m not going to be the only one.”

Peter smiles. “Thanks, Papa.”

The door is opening and Tony steps out with Pepper behind him. Just the sight of them brings on a new wave of nerves.

“You ready, kiddo?” Tony questions. He doesn’t get a response and he frowns, turning to Steve for answers.

“A little nervous,” Steve says, “he just needs a minute.”

“I can distract them,” Pepper offers, “I don’t know for how long. They’re getting impatient.”

“Okay,” Tony nods and he turns to his son. “If you don’t want to do this-”

“Tony, we promised an announcement.” Pepper appears just as antsy as Peter feels and he knows he’s the reason for it. He had been keeping them waiting.

“Hey if Pete doesn’t want to do this, then Steve and I can share our good news.”

“No,” Steve quickly shuts that idea down. “This isn’t about us.”

“Oh my God,” Pepper’s eyes go wide. “You’re having another baby?”

“Yes, but that’s not important,” Tony tells her, then he’s directing his attention back to Peter. “You good? You wanna do this?”

“Yeah, of course. I just didn’t think I’d have to give a speech and...I’m kinda freaking out,” Peter admits. His stomach clenches at the thought of having to speak in front of a room full of people and with cameras in his face. His dad was the smooth talker, not him.

“Pete, it’s fine,” Tony assures and he throws an arm around his son’s shoulder and leads him toward the door. “You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. Maybe do one of your flips, they’ll love that.”

Peter glances behind his shoulder, eyes connecting with bright blue ones and that’s enough. He's not afraid anymore. This was what he wanted all along, to be more than just the smart kid. He was meant for more. He was meant to be a hero.

The doors are opening again and with a deep breath he prepares himself to step through them. He smiles when he remembers what his Papa told him.

He was born for this. He was Spider-Man.