Ever since he had fought the Vulture, Peter had been a little claustrophobic. It hadn’t been a big deal. Elevators weren’t the greatest, but he could handle it. He still had an occasional nightmare, but he could handle it. He had freaked out a little last week when Flash had shoved him into his locker, but Ned had found him after only a few minutes; he could totally handle it. He was Spider-Man; he was a hero; heroes weren’t afraid of anything.
But he was, and he knew it. Every time he was in a small space, he could feel his heart and breathing speed up. If he was there long enough, his hands started to shake.
One time, he was at S.I. with Mr. Stark in one of the elevators. They'd been talking about some upgrades Peter had thought of for his suit when the lights went out, and they stopped moving. He had already been tense, but when they'd stopped, the teen had broken out into a cold sweat. His hands started shaking, and he had balled them into fists to try to hide his fear from his mentor.
Luckily it had only lasted a few seconds before the lights came back on and they started moving again. Mr. Stark made a joke about donating F.R.I.D.A.Y. to the city college, and Peter laughed along nervously. It had taken an hour for him to calm down enough to still his shaking hands.
Now, here he was, totally not handling it. He was pinned under an I beam in a collapsed warehouse. He was going out of his mind; I’m stuck. Oh, God, I’m stuck! I can’t get out! “Help! Someone, please help!”
He'd been investigating a drug dealer. He had noticed an increased amount of drug activity at school and parties and had been worried about his friends. So, he'd decided to investigate as Spider-Man. He had had a brief thought of getting Mr. Stark involved, but he'd pushed the thought into the back of his head.
He had followed the guy that had been selling to the kids at school. He had walked into the warehouse, and Peter had waited outside for about ten minutes before he got bored. He had swung off of the roof of a nearby building and landed on the side of the warehouse. He had looked in the windows and tried to find the guy. Where the heck is he?
Finally, after waiting another ten minutes, he quietly opened a window and snuck in. He crawled around in the rafters for a while before he dropped to the floor for a closer look. What is going on? He wondered just as there was a massive explosion. It was so hot, hotter than anything he had ever felt before. It stole the breath from his lungs before his feet even left the floor. He was thrown across the room and into a support beam before he collapsed to the floor. He coughed and tried to take a breath as he wondered if anyone had been hurt in the explosion. He was pushing himself onto his hands and knees, shaking his head to try to stop the ringing in his ears as he gasped for breath when an I beam had fallen on him.
He didn’t even feel it hit him before he was unconscious.
When he woke, he could barely breathe. The air was heavy with smoke and heat, and it burned his lungs and throat on the way in. He coughed violently as he tried to push himself up. He collapsed to the ground with a scream when pain shot through his arm. He was pretty sure that it was broken. When he looked over at it, he could see the bone poking out of his suit. Oh, God, it hurts!
An average I beam was approximately nine tons. Normally, he could lift ten tons no problem, but with a broken arm, he couldn’t even attempt that much weight. “Karen?” he whispered in a rough voice before he fell into a coughing fit. “Ka-Karen? Are you th-there?” Please, Karen. I can’t breathe; please help me.
He could hear fire around him crackling as it ate through everything in its path. He could hear the parts of the warehouse that were still standing creaking and groaning. He could feel the unrelenting heat in the air. It burned his eyes, skin, throat, everything. I should have told Mr. Stark what I was doing.
He coughed again and squeezed his eyes shut against the burning smoke. He felt tears stream down his face, and he cursed himself for not paying more attention. I still have one good arm. I can get out of this. Come on Spider-Man!
He laboriously tucked his left arm against his body before he planted his right hand on the ground. He coughed again before he pushed with all of his strength. He clenched his teeth with effort and pushed harder. Come on; please move!
All of a sudden, the weight was gone, and Peter collapsed back to the floor with a weak gasp of relief. When he felt himself being lifted, his first thought was that the drug dealer had come back to finish the job. He flailed weakly as he tried to get free. “N-no…”
“It’s okay, kid. I’ve got you,” Tony said soothingly as he carried the teen to safety.
“Mis’r S’ark?” Peter slurred.
“Yeah, kid,” the man responded. Once they were outside, the billionaire took to the air. He needed to get his intern back to the med bay asap. “Fri, scan the kid.”
“Sure thing, Boss,” the A.I. responded. After a few seconds, she listed off his injuries. “Peter’s most severe injury is a Galeazzi fracture in his left arm. It will require surgery. He inhaled some smoke and will require oxygen. He has first and second-degree burns on his chest, hand, and shoulders. His other injuries, three bruised ribs, a minor concussion, and several scrapes and abrasions, are minor and should heal on their own.”
“Alright, tell Cho what’s going on and make sure she’s ready for him.”
“On it, Boss.”
Tony sighed. “How do you get yourself into these messes, kid?” He was angry, but he had to make sure his kid was okay before he could let it out. He landed the suit on the roof and placed Peter on the waiting gurney. He extracted himself from the suit and made his way to the operating theater. He had to keep an eye on the kid, had to make sure he was okay. What am I going to tell May?
Two hours later, when the teen had been moved into a room, Tony stepped out to call May.
“May, it’s Tony. Peter got himself into a little trouble-”
“Is he okay?!” she practically shouted.
“He’s going to be fine. He had a pretty badly broken arm, but Cho fixed him up. He’ll have a cast on for a while, and he might need some physical therapy, but he might not. We don’t know yet.”
“Thank God. Thank you so much, Tony. I have an hour left of my shift, and then I’ll head straight over. If he wakes up before I get there, tell him I love him, and I’m so glad that he’s okay. And then you tell him he has some explaining to do.”
The billionaire smiled. “I’ll be sure to tell him. See you soon.”
He hung up and went back into the kid’s room. He sat on the right of the bed and waited for Peter to wake up.
About twenty minutes later, the teen stirred. He scrunched his face up and groaned. “Hey, kid. You awake?”
He groaned again and turned his head toward his mentor. “Mr. Stark?”
“Yup,” he responded with a smile.
“Ugh, can you turn down the lights?”
“Fri?” The lights dimmed, and Peter sighed in relief. “I hope whatever you were up to was worth it. Your aunt is not happy.”
The teen’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “You told May?!” he screeched. “She flipped out when she found out I was Spider-Man! She told me that she didn’t want me to do anything dangerous! She won’t let me leave the apartment after this!”
"You’re overreacting, kid. What did you expect me to do? By the way, what were you doing?”
Peter looked at the ceiling. “I was following a drug dealer. I saw him selling stuff to kids at my school.”
“So you decided to investigate on your own and get blown up. You know, it’s a really good thing Karen sent out a distress signal when you passed out. You could have died, Peter. What do you think that would do to your aunt? What do you think that would do to me?”
The teen looked over at his mentor. “I thought I could handle it.”
“Well, clearly, you were wrong.”
Peter looked away and tried to keep the tears of shame from escaping. After a few seconds, he lost the battle, and they trailed down his temples and into his hair.
“Aw, kid. Look, I’m upset, but I can tell that you’re sorry. Just promise me that next time you want to investigate something more than a bike theft, you tell me.”
Peter took a breath and nodded. “I promise, Mr. Stark.”
“Good. Now that that’s out of the way, what are you going to tell May?”
“Aw, crap. I really messed up, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, kid. You kinda did. But the only reason May is mad at you is because she loves you. You just need to use your head.”
“You're a good kid, Peter. Everything’s going to work out-”
They both jumped when May screamed.
Peter snapped his eyes to Tony. “What happened to everything working out?!”
The billionaire laughed. “That was before I heard your aunt. I’m pretty sure I heard glass shatter. Good luck in life, buddy.”
“It’s not funny!” the teen protested.
The door flew open, and a furious May stood in the frame. “Peter Benjamin Parker! You have some explaining to do!”