Peter knew he was starving.
He hadn't eaten for a couple of days, and the hunger pains he felt the last night were the worst ones yet. The pain seemed to be clawing through his stomach at all times, his brain reminding him to eat, and yet he couldn't. He cried, the pain so bad who wanted to get up and eat anything, but he knew May was tight on money and he had to make sure she had everything she needed.
Of course May couldn't hear his sniffles and cries in the middle of the night, but he had to stay quiet. Or else he would come.
May has a new boyfriend. His name is Todd, and he seemed like a nice guy at first. He seemed to remind Peter of those big biker guys who had a soft heart, because he hadn't seen May so happy in years.
Todd Davis stands at six feet seven inches, witch a tall stature and bulky arms, making Peter and his aunt look like ants next to him.
Yet, May loves him, so he would have to deal.
The thing is, after a while of Todd coming around every night and practically living in their home, he actually stayed. He now lives with them in their apartment, sleeping in May's room when she's on a shift at the hospital. When he's not in May's room...
Peter's thoughts get interrupted by a loud clanging in the kitchen where May was cooking supper moments ago. She had spilled a hot pan of tomato sauce, and Peter hurried to help her clean it up, knowing what the consequences were if he didn't.
"Thank you, Peter." She smiles, and he feels a small smile tug at his lips too as he helps them up. "Supper will be-"
"What happened in here?" Todd says, voice booming as he throws his keys on the counter, Peter flinching as his spider sense picked up his voice a little too loudly. The bulky man's eyes lock on Peter and a shiver runs down his spine. He feels light headed and his spider sense seems to be going haywire. But that always happens with Todd.
"I-It was an accident." Peter squeaks, wanting to melt into the ground along with the sauce now embedded in the rug.
"Yes... well, I'm just glad no one burnt themselves." Todd snaps from his gaze and looks to May, and Peter takes note of how fondly he cares for her. But how can he be so caring for May and still be so terrible to Peter?
Later that night Peter closes the door to his room, sighing as he finally has some peace to himself. He has this huge Biology test...
"Peter, open up." Todd's deep voice commands him from the other side of the door. Peter's shaky hands slowly turn the knob, and Todd is in and slamming the door behind him within seconds, with Peter stumbling backwards in fear.
"What the fuck did you mess up this time kid?"
"Your aunt May was tryna make you a nice dinner and you fuck it up? What kind of kid does that?"
Venom spits from Todd's mouth in undecipherable words, most of which Peter would never dare say out loud. Punch after punch he takes blows to the stomach, to his face once and a while, and then to finish it off the big man kicks him hard in the stomach one last time.
Peter's blood from his nose, mouth, and lip seep into the hard floors as Todd heads out to kiss May goodnight with a little chuckle.
Peter doesn't understand.
How can somebody as cruel as him still love and appreciate someone so much better than himself?
The boy can barely move, and he is somewhat scared to move. He knows he probably has some bruised ribs, maybe even worse. And he can't even imagine what his face looks like... all he knows is that he needs help, and he doesn't know where to go.
Peter moves his hands and cover his ears as the silent buzz of his phone is that of an earthquake to him. He crawls painfully a few feet and picks up, having a vague sense of who it could be.
"Hey, dumbass, I've been trying to call for the past fifteen minutes, but guess who finally picked up." Harley retorts, practically scoffing as he wheels to another project he's working on in Stark's shop.
"Haha, very funny, Keener." Peter barely makes out the teenage boy's last name when he groans in pain, clutching his stomach. Though he can almost feel the healing working, he knows it will be a long time before he will be able to do much. He's simply malnourished at this point and maybe even dehydrated.
"Pete? What's wrong?" Harley says, kicking his feet off the desk and sitting up straighter. Sure, the boys bicker like there's no tomorrow, but when it actually comes down to it, Harley worries about him being Spider-man just as much as Tony does.
"Bullshit." Harley calls it.
"Fine, just... some patrol scuffle. Look, can you pick me up?"
"Jesus Christ, Parker, what happened?" Harley rushes to Peter's side ten minutes after their call, angry and concerned at the same time. How could this dumbass get himself this hurt when he knew he could fight back?
The whole ride to the compound, Harley stays silent, waiting for Peter to say something, anything. But Harley somehow knows that this is different. Normally, the boy would be bragging about this kind of fight, but he's not saying a word.
They walk inside and Harley pulls him into the bathroom so Tony won't know he's here, closing the door and folding his arms. Harley looks at him expectantly, once again waiting for an answer from the unusually quiet boy. Peter only looks down, silent tears sliding down his cheeks because it hurts so bad.
Harley expression softens, and his hands sway down at his sides. "Look, I'll only help you if you explain what happened, ok?" Peter shakes his head. "Peter." Harley says more seriously, realizing he's starting to sound like their dad.
"Please, Harley, promise you won't tell anyone." Peter lowers himself down and leans his back against the bathtub behind him while almost doubling over in pain. Harley sits down next to him, feeling even more concerned. This boy better spill his guts soon or else he won't be able to keep his promise.
"Ok, I promise." They do a small handshake and then Peter lowers his shaky hand.
"I haven't eaten in days." Peter mumbles. "Tonight May was making supper and she dropped the pan, right? So I went out and helped her, and her boyfriend came home. He- He blamed it on me and..." Peter's voice trembles, and he wishes he was alone with his demons rather than spilling them to Harley.
"He hurt me, Harley. And I let him because I would rather have him hurt me than let him get away with hurting May."