Actions

Work Header

Whumptober 2019

Chapter Text


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.

 

Whoops.

 

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.

 

“Hello?”

 

“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.”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“You're a good kid, Peter. Everything’s going to work out-”

 

“Peter!”

 

They both jumped when May screamed.

 

“Maybe.”

 

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!”

 

Oh, crap.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Pete? You there?” Mr. Stark asked as he snapped his fingers in front of the kid’s face.

 

The teen flinched back and blinked several times. “Hmm?”

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Peter had been having a hard time focusing all day. Am I okay? Where am I? “Uh- Mr. Stark?”

 

“Yeah, kid?” he answered, concern evident in his voice.

 

Ever since the fire an hour ago, everything had been fuzzy. It was clear that something was wrong, but he was so confused. Why am I at S.I.? How did I get here? “How did I get here?” he asked.

 

“You swung over like the Spiderling you are. Don’t you remember?”

 

“N-no, I-” He felt the world tip onto its side just before bile rose in his throat. His eyes widened, and he turned to the nearest garbage can, almost not making it when he suddenly threw up his lunch.

 

“Woah, kid! Geez, uh, you okay?” the man asked awkwardly.

 

Ugh, gross, the teen thought as he spit into the can to try to get rid of the taste. “I-I think I’m okay,” he responded.

 

“Are you sure? Cause that's not normal.”

 

Normal? I’m not normal. Is anyone normal? Average. Ordinary. No, I’m Spider-Man! I’m abnormal! Extraordinary, even! Peter giggled to himself. “Ex’raor’inary!” he shouted before giggling again.

 

Tony’s eyes widened. What the heck is going on?! “Peter, hey, Peter. Look at me.” He knelt in front of his intern and placed his hands on either side of his face. “Peter?”

 

“Hey, i’s Iron Man! Yur my hero!”

 

“F.R.I.D.A.Y., what’s wrong with him?”

 

“It appears that Peter has an elevated level of carbon monoxide in his blood. Dizziness, vomiting, and confusion are common symptoms of CO poisoning.”

 

How the heck did he get CO poisoning? “Okay, tell Cho that we’re on our way to her.”

 

“Of course, Boss.”

 

“Hey, buddy. We’re going to head to the med bay and see if we can’t get you feeling better.”

 

The teen squeezed his eyes shut and moaned. “No…”

 

“Come on, kid. I got you.” Tony grabbed the teen under his arms and started to haul him to his feet.

 

“No!” Peter shouted before he shoved the man away. The billionaire stumbled back and sprawled across the floor. The teen’s breathing was coming in harsh pants, and he brought his hands up to his temples. He was muttering under his breath as he backed himself into the nearest corner. He slid down the wall, brought his knees to his chest, and burst into tears.

 

Tony had managed to stand and was slowly approaching his intern. “Peter?” he whispered.

 

“S-sorry, I didn’- coul’n’ s’op ‘im. Don’ touch me. No!” he screamed the last word when the billionaire reached out to him.

 

“What the hell is happening, Fri?! What’s wrong with him?!”

 

“The concentration of CO may be causing delirium. Symptoms include poor memory, disorientation, difficulty speaking, rambling or nonsense speech, and agitation or combative behavior. I suggest getting him to the med bay as soon as possible.”

 

“Yeah, well, it’s going to be kind of hard to get a delirious, combative super kid to the med bay!”

 

“I’ve alerted Dr. Cho to the situation. She is on her way with Captain Rogers.”

 

The man nodded and carefully crawled closer to his kid. “Hey, Pete, it’s Mr. Stark. I know you’re confused, but I’m gonna help you feel better. You just have to let me help you.” He placed a hand on the teen’s shoulder and cringed when Peter flinched away. He didn’t move for a few seconds, and when Peter didn’t pull away, he slowly pulled the kid toward him. The brunette clung to his mentor as he cried. “Okay, you’re okay now. Just breathe.” He rubbed a hand up and down Peter’s back as he tried to comfort him.

 

Tony looked up when Cho and Steve rushed in. He signaled for them to be quiet, and they stopped a few feet away. Steve stared down at Peter with worry evident in his eyes. Ever since he had found out that Peter was Spider-Man, he had been fiercely protective of the kid. It was startling to see him like this.

 

“We need to get him to the med bay.”

 

Tony nodded and whispered in Peter’s ear. “Hey, buddy. We need to move, do you think you can walk or do you need Cap to carry you?”

 

“Don’ wanna go,” he mumbled before burrowing further into his mentor.

 

“Peter, you’re sick. We have to get you better, or your aunt will never let me see you again.” He hoped that the thought of never coming back to the tower would be enough to get the kid moving.

 

“K,” the teen whispered. He pulled away and stood on shaky legs. Tony stood and wrapped an arm around the kid’s waist to support him. They stumbled down the hall with Cho and Steve hot on their tail. When they finally made it to the med bay, Peter was giggling again. The billionaire lowered his intern onto the bed and turned to the doctor.

 

“How do we fix him?”

 

“We need to treat the carbon monoxide poisoning.” She handed him an oxygen mask. “Put this on him.”

 

The man took it and nodded before he turned back to Peter. “Okay, kid. I’m going to put this on, and it’s going to help clear-” He was cut off when the teen suddenly threw himself off of the bed and toward Steve.

 

“Cap’ain ‘Meri’a!” he shouted as he stumbled into the man’s waiting arms.

 

“Hey, buddy. Let’s get you back on the bed.” He lifted the kid up bridal style, and Peter squealed before Steve laid him on the bed. He took the mask from Tony and placed it over the teen’s face.

 

“What is that?” the billionaire asked.

 

“Pure oxygen. It should replace the CO in his blood quickly. Hopefully, he’ll be back to normal in a few hours. Make sure he doesn’t take it off. Come get me if you need anything.” She turned and walked out, leaving the two heroes with a loopy Spider-Kid.

 

“So, what caused the poisoning?” Steve asked.

 

“I don’t know, but he does smell like smoke. Maybe he stopped at a fire on the way over?” They both looked at Peter. He was giggling and waving his hands around. “Hey Fri?”

 

“Yes, Boss?”

 

“Can you go over Karen’s footage from today?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“We’ll know soon enough.” Tony sighed and shook his head. “We just talked about him asking for help a few weeks ago. He’s supposed to ask for help.”

 

“I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose.”

 

“That’s the thing; he always thinks he can handle it. He doesn’t want to bug me if he doesn’t have to.”

 

“Maybe you need to have a different kind of talk with him,” Steve said before he clapped a hand on his friend’s shoulder. He smiled and left the two alone.

 

Tony sat with Peter through his mood swings. One minute he was giggling, and the next, he was bawling his eyes out. He even started cursing at his mentor at one point. Eventually, the outbursts slowed to a stop, and he fell asleep. The billionaire sighed in relief. “Hey, Fri, did you go over the footage?”

 

“Yes. There was a fire in an apartment building at 3:26. Peter stopped and helped several people escape before he came to the tower.”

 

“Well, that explains the CO poisoning,” the man muttered.

 

An hour later, Peter woke to a tickle under his nose. He scrunched his face up and lifted a hand to remove whatever it was that was interrupting his much-needed sleep.

 

“Don’t touch that, Pete,” Tony said softly as he intercepted the kid’s hand. “It’s helping you.”

 

Peter groaned and opened his eyes. What happened? “Are we in the med bay?”

 

“Yup. You thought that you could handle something that you couldn’t. Again.”

 

The teen looked over at his mentor with guilty eyes. “I didn’t-”

 

“I know. You didn’t mean to. That’s the thing, kid; you always think that you can handle it on your own. You think that I don’t want you to bug me.”

 

“I-”

 

“Don’t interrupt me, Peter,” Tony said sternly. “Why can’t you just tell me when you’re hurt?”

 

The brunette looked away as he considered his answer. “I don’t want to be a burden,” he finally whispered.

 

The billionaire reached out an took one of his intern’s hands. “You’re not a burden, Peter. I want you to tell me these things. When you started throwing up and freaking out earlier, I couldn’t help but think that I should have known. I knew you were acting off when you got here, but I didn’t say anything.”

 

“You didn’t know; I should have told you. I’m sorry.”

 

“See, this time, you’re here to tell me that. What happens next time? You could have died, and I-” He could feel his eyes burn with tear and he had had to stop and take a breath before he could continue. “I care about you, Peter. I can’t lose another person that I love.”

 

It was quiet for a moment before Peter spoke. “I promise that I’ll try not to hide an injury from you again. I didn’t know that I had CO poisoning, I swear.”

 

“Well, you breathed in a lot of smoke in that fire.”

 

“How did you know about that?”

 

“F.R.I.D.A.Y. told me.”

 

“Ugh, I hate the Baby Monitor Protocol!”

 

“If you trusted me enough to tell me that you ran into a burning building, then I wouldn’t have to spy on you.”

 

Peter huff in annoyance but didn’t disagree. “I really am sorry.”

 

“I know, kid. I know.”

Chapter Text

 

Peter walked through the door of his favorite deli with a smile. He stopped in almost every day before he went on patrol. With his metabolism, he had to eat something before he swung around the city. “Hey, Mr. Delmar,” Peter greeted.

 

“Mr. Parker! The usual?”

 

“Yeah, with-”

 

“With pickles and you want it squished down real flat,” the man said before he rolled his eyes. “You’d think I knew that by now.”

 

The teen was about to respond when the back of his neck tingled. He looked around for anything that could be a threat. There was a mother with a toddler in one aisle, a guy that looked a little older than him, and two guys in their thirties in the back.

 

“You okay?”

 

Peter snapped his eyes back to the deli owner. “Uh, yeah, yeah, I’m good.”

 

The man looked a little skeptical. His eyes darted around to all of the customers as he tried to determine what had spooked the kid.

 

The looked around again; the feeling of danger had increased, and Peter had to wipe his sweaty hand on his pants before he fished out $5.00.

 

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

 

“Y-yeah, just…”

 

“Just what?”

 

Peter was about to answer when he sensed someone walk up behind him. He knew something bad was about to happen, and it took everything in him to hold back his fight instinct. I’m not Spider-Man right now! Before he could move, the person grabbed his arm and pulled him back a couple of steps. The teen stumbled into someone’s chest and yelped when an arm wrapped around his throat.

 

“Hey!” Mr. Delmar shouted as he moved to walk around the counter. Peter brought his hands up to pull at the limb, but he froze when he felt something cold press into his right temple. His eyes widened, and the deli owner stopped in his tracks. The teen heard the door open, but he didn’t dare move. Instead, he watched Mr. Delmar’s eye flick toward the entrance before they flew back to Peter’s. The brunette’s breathing sped up at the fear in the man’s eyes. Oh, God, he thought just as someone screamed. The mother and her toddler he had noticed earlier flashed through his mind. Please don’t hurt anyone.

 

“Shut up!” a man yelled. “Everyone except the owner, move to the back!”

 

He heard people scrambling to obey, and he watched Mr. Delmar for any signs of distress as the man stood frozen, his eyes trained on the gun. 

 

“What do you want?” he asked in a shaky voice.

 

“Money, of course,” the man with the gun stated. Peter could hear a smile in his voice and gave an involuntary shiver. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to think of a way to keep everyone safe. I can’t let anyone get hurt.

 

“I’ll give you the money, just let the kid go,” Mr. Delmar countered.

 

The man cocked the gun, and Peter’s breath hitched. His eyes snapped open and found his friend’s eyes. “Okay! I’ll give you the money, please, don’t hurt him!”

 

“Get to it then!” the man shouted.

 

Mr. Delmar rushed to the register and started emptying the money into a paper bag.

 

The gunman shifted, and Peter flinched when the arm around his neck tightened enough for it to be uncomfortable. The teen squirmed a little, and the arm pressed against his throat some more, pulling a quiet gasp from the brunette’s lips. Mr. Delmar looked up when he heard the noise before he looked back down and stuffed the last few bills into the bag. He walked over and placed it on the counter, looking Peter over before he spoke to the man.

 

“Here’s the money,” he said firmly.

 

“Go to the back with the others,” the gunman demanded.

 

The deli owner looked into Peter’s eyes before he looked back at the robber. “Let the kid go.”

 

The arm around the teen’s throat tightened fast, and Peter let out a choked off gasp as he struggled for breath. I can’t reveal my powers! He struggled to keep himself in check as he pulled against the arm.

 

“I’m going! Stop, I’m going!” he said as he quickly made his way to the back of the store. Once he was lined up with the others, Peter’s vision was going black around the edges. He started squirming and twisting in the grip in an attempt to free himself. After a few more long seconds, the arm fell away, and the teen collapsed to his hands and knees. He brought a hand to his throat, sucked in a breath, and started coughing before he sat back on his heels.

 

Just as the second man was turning toward his partner, they heard sirens. The gunman growled and turned toward Mr. Delmar, bringing the gun up before he shouted, “You called them!”

 

The man brought his hands up. “No! I don’t have a panic button! I didn’t do it!”

 

Peter saw the man’s muscled arm shift, and he knew that he had to do something before anyone got shot. “No!” he shouted before he jumped to his feet and grabbed the man’s arm. A shot went off, everyone screamed, and Peter fell to the floor, his hand wrapped his arm as blood flowed between his fingers. He gasped through clenched teeth as his arm burned with agony. The room was chaos, but all the brunette could focus on was the pain.

 

Another shot went off before the man shouted, “Everyone, shut up!” Silence fell over the store, and Peter felt eyes on him. He looked up into the anger-filled eyes of the gunman, and a thrill of fear flashed through him. Peter squeezed his eyes shut and tried to focus on something other than the fire in his arm. He flinched back when his sixth sense flared, but he wasn’t fast enough, and the gunman grabbed his arm and yanked him to his feet. The teen cried out in pain when the movement pulled at his injury.

 

“Back door!” he yelled at Mr. Delmar. The man pointed the way, a look of fear and regret written across his face.

 

The gunman dragged Peter along by the arm, and the teen stumbled as he tried to keep up. He gasped and closed his eyes when they burst through a door and into the bright sunlight. He lost his footing and fell to the ground, yanking his arm out of the harsh grip on the way down. He landed on his knees, shot to his feet and tried to run the opposite direction of the robbers.

 

“Freeze!” a police officer shouted as he brought his gun up to aim at the teen. Peter stopped in his tracks, his breath stuttering in fear. “I said freeze!” the man shouted again just as Peter’s sixth sense flared. He tried to jump to the side, but an arm wrapped around his throat and pulled him back. A gun pressed to his head for the second time as he twisted and flailed in the hold. “No! Let go!” he shouted before he cried out in pain when the gun came down hard on his temple. His knees buckled, and the arm around his throat was the only thing keeping him up. He choked on a breath before a shot rang out and he fell to the ground, catching himself on his good arm before he could faceplant.

 

Peter stumbled to his feet and lurched toward where the officer had been. His vision was blurry and black at the edges, and when someone approached him, he flinched back, bringing his arm up to protect himself. His step faltered, and he fell back, landing hard on the asphalt with a cry of pain.

 

“It’s okay, kid! I won’t hurt you; it’s okay.” Peter looked up, and relief flooded his thoughts when he realized that it was the officer that had saved him. He looked over and saw the gunman on the ground clutching his shoulder as another officer ran up to him. The other man was already cuffed and being led away.

 

“Just let me help you up, an ambulance is on the way.”

 

The teen wrapped his hand around his injury before he was led around to the front of the building. An ambulance pulled up, and two paramedics rushed out and over to Peter and the officer. They helped him to the waiting gurney and started to treat his injuries. They told him it was a through and through and that he wouldn’t need surgery to have the bullet removed. The man cleaned up most of the blood and then wrapped the wound. He inspected the gash on the brunette’s temple, stating that he wouldn’t need stitches before he wiped away the blood and applied a few butterfly bandages.

 

The teen looked up when someone called his name. Mr. Delmar ran over with a look of relief on his face.

 

“Oh, kid. I’m so glad that you’re okay. You saved my life! I don’t… I don’t know what to say.”

 

“I couldn’t stand by and let him shoot you. Where would I get my sandwiches?”

 

“No one makes ‘em like me,” the man responded with a smile.

 

“Peter!” May screeched as she threw herself into the ambulance. “I saw it on the news! I was worried when you didn’t answer my texts. I called Tony, and he said he hadn’t seen or heard from you. I was so worried!” She looked at his wrapped arm and bandaged head. “Oh, honey.”


“It wasn’t my fault this time,” he said meekly.

 

Her eyes flicked to his, and she smiled. “I know, baby. You’re a trouble magnet. I just don’t know how I’m going to pay for this,” she said, her smile falling as worry replaced her relief.

 

Peter looked away, feeling guilty at making his aunt worry.

 

“I’ll take care of it,” Tony said from the ambulance door. Both of their heads turned toward the billionaire. “Got to make sure our kid is in good health, right May?”

 

The woman stuttered for a moment before she nodded. “Right.” A grateful smile lit her face before she looked back at her nephew. “We want you to be good as new before you get into any more trouble. I might have to lock him in the house for a few days, just to make sure he heals before my next heart-attack.”

 

“May!” the teen protested. He looked to his mentor for help, but he put his hands up in surrender and shook his head. “You’re on your own on this one, kid.”

 

The teen rolled his eyes and smiled. Like you could keep me locked in the house. “Fine. But we’re having a movie night every day that I’m under house arrest.”

 

“Deal,” May agreed before she placed a kiss on his forehead. “Don’t scare me like that.”

 

“I’ll try.”

 

“Good,” she responded with a smile. “I love you, Peter.”

 

“Love you too. May.”

Chapter Text

It happened on a Thursday. Peter had to stay late at school to work on a project with Ned; his dad was supposed to pick him up in front of the school. He had sent his dad a text saying that he was done and needed a ride. Normally, Happy would pick him up, but his dad had sent him on a much-needed vacation. He had been more grumpy than usual, and Tony had gotten tired of his attitude.

 

So, here he was, a half-hour after his dad had said that he’d be there in ten minutes. Peter was starting to get worried. Was there an accident blocking his way? No, he would have called. Was he in an accident? He grabbed his phone and dialed his dad’s number. It went straight to voicemail. Something has to be wrong, right? He has a charger in the car, so why is his phone dead? This would usually be when the teen called Happy, but he was out of town. He dialed his uncle’s number and hoped that he would pick up.

 

“Hey, Pete. What’s up?”

 

“Have you talked to my dad today?”

 

“No, it’s been a few days since we’ve talked.”

 

Peter could hear the question in his voice. “I had to stay at school late to work on a project, and he was supposed to pick me up twenty minutes ago. I called him, but his phone is off.”

 

“Okay, I can head over now and then we can figure out what’s going on. I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.”

 

“Thanks, Uncle Rhodey.”

 

“No problem, buddy.”

 

Peter hung up and tried his dad’s number again. It went straight to voicemail. Again. Where are you, Dad?

 

He was about to try one more time when his dad’s Audi came around the corner. He smiled and called Rhodey back to tell him not to come.

 

“I’m almost there, Peter.”

 

“You don’t have to come. He just got here.”

 

Are you serious? I need to talk to him about his communication skills.”

 

The teen laughed. “Okay, hold on.” The car pulled up, and the man driving was not his father. Peter checked the license plate to make sure it was his dad’s car, and a thrill of fear made him stand and back away a few steps. “Rhodey, it’s not dad.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“It’s his car, but there’s a stranger dri-” Peter cut off with a yelp when someone came up behind him. He almost dropped the phone when an arm wrapped around his waist. “No!” he screamed as he tried to squirm out of the hold. “Let me go!” He brought his head back and smashed it into his assailant's nose. He felt it crunch under the force, and he barely caught himself when he was dropped. He scrambled to his feet and turned to run, but he only made it two steps when the man that had been driving his dad’s car punched him in the face. Peter went down hard; the air was knocked from his lungs, and the phone skittered across the sidewalk.

 

The teen rolled onto his back as he tried to catch his breath, blinking against the spots in his vision. He coughed and sat up, scrambling back when he saw the driver crouched next to him. Peter flinched away when the man’s hand shot out and grabbed his wrist. He kicked a leg out and caught the man in the shin before he shot to his feet to run. He ran toward the road in hopes of being noticed by a passerby. He thought he was saved when a van pulled up to the curb, but he realized his mistake when the door slid open, and another man stepped out.

 

Peter turned to run down the alley when he felt a sharp pain in his back. He gasped as his vision blurred, and he felt dizzy. He stumbled and fell to his knees, his eyes drooping as he started to sway toward the ground. He saw the men walking toward him before his eyes closed, and the ground rushed up to meet him.

 

-----

 

Peter woke with a groan. Ugh, my head. It felt like someone was attacking his skull with a pickaxe.

 

“Peter?”

 

Dad? What’s going on?

 

“Can you open your eyes for me?” Tony whispered. The teen groaned and cracked his eyes open. He was propped up against his father’s chest. His head was resting against his shoulder, and there was a hand in his hair. He looked around; they were sitting in the corner away from the door in a room that was completely empty except for them. They were tucked into one of the back corners with a clear view of the door.

 

Peter looked up and was met with a tight smile. “There you are. How do you feel?”

 

The teen squeezed his eye shut when a particularly sharp pain stabbed the back of his eyes. “My head hurts,” he whispered.

 

“You’ve got a spectacular black eye, kid. You didn’t go without a fight, did you?” Tony asked, pride evident in his voice.

 

Peter gasped and looked around as everything came flooding back.

 

“Peter? What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

 

“They had your car. Those men- and I thought-” The teen sat up and looked around the room before he found his dad’s eyes. He leaned in close and whispered, “I was on the phone with Uncle Rhodey when they took me.”

 

His father’s eyes widened. “That’s good. That means he’ll be looking for us.”

 

“Do you know where we are? Or what they want?” Peter asked.

 

“I don’t know where we are, and as far as why we’re here, I have a few guesses.” When his son gave him an expectant look, he continued, “They might want me to build something. Or maybe they want information.”

 

Peter looked away as fear flashed through him. I’m here as leverage.

 

“I won’t let them hurt you.”

 

“What if they want you to build a bomb? Or an Iron Man suit?” the teen whispered hurriedly.

 

Fear flashed in the man’s eyes, but he stamped it down quickly. He had to stay strong for his son. “We’ll think of something,” he promised. He looked like he was going to say something else, but the door to their room flew open and banged against the wall.

 

Three men walked in, and Peter recognized them immediately. The first man was the one that had been driving his dad’s car, the second man was the one that had been in the van, and the third one was the one that had attacked him. He had two black eyes, and his nose was swollen and crooked. When he met Peter’s eyes, he glared daggers at him. The teen shivered and looked away, shifting closer to his father as he turned his head to rest it on Tony’s shoulder.

 

The first man clapped his hands together loudly before he smiled down at his captives. “Well, hello, Mr. Stark! And Stark Jr.! I hope the accommodations are up to your standards. We wouldn’t want you to have anything less than the best.” Peter watched the man out of the corner of his eye, cringing at the glee in the man’s eyes.

 

“What do you want,” Tony snapped.

 

“I’d watch my tone if I were you, Stark,” the man snarled. Peter flinched and fisted a hand in his father’s shirt. “I want you to give me all of the information on your fellow Avengers.”

 

Peter started to tremble as he felt his dad stiffen, his arms tightening just a fraction before he answered. “Why?”

 

“That’s for me to know,” he said with a smile. “So, what do you say?”

 

Tony hesitated, and Peter knew that he was considering his options. The teen sat up and looked into his father’s eyes. “You can’t do it, dad,” he whispered. The fear in the man’s eyes mirrored his son’s emotions. They both looked up when the man spoke.

 

“I can see that you’re indecisive, but let’s speed this along, shall we?” He moved aside, and his companions moved forward. Tony’s arms tightened as he shifted his son away from their captors.

 

Broken Nose shot forward and grabbed Peter’s arm in a vice-like grip. He yanked, and the teen fell back with a yelp of fear. “No! Don’t touch him!” his father shouted as he wrapped an arm around Peter’s waist.

 

The second man ran over and kicked Tony in the chest, causing the man to gasp in pain, but his hold only tightened. Peter was trying the rip the hand’s off of him as he screamed, “Let go!” over and over. The second man kicked Tony again and again, finally managing to loosen his hold on the teen enough for Broken Nose to pull Peter from his father’s arms. The brunette screamed and flailed, scratching and biting in an attempt to escape. The first man went over to hold Tony down when he nearly bashed the second man’s head against the wall.

 

“Don’t you touch him! Let him go!”

 

Peter fought with everything he had, but he couldn’t get free of the man’s grip. Broken Nose stood and dragged the teen up with him, wrapping an arm around his throat as he dragged his captive toward the door.

 

“No! Peter! Get off of him!” Tony shouted in desperation. “If you hurt him, I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!”

 

“Dad!” the brunette choked out as he was dragged through the door and into a hallway. “No! Dad!” he sobbed when he saw the first man punch his father in the face. “No! Let me go!” he shouted. The arm around his throat tightened until the teen couldn’t breathe. His hands pulled and scratched at the obstruction as his need for oxygen grew with each passing second.

 

Just when he thought he was going to pass out, he was thrown to the floor. He managed to throw a hand out to catch himself as he coughed and gasped for breath. He yelped when the man grabbed him again, and he tried to fight his way out of the hold. He was terrified and growing desperate. When he saw the box, he panicked. He screamed and flailed as tears burned his eyes. He was wrestled toward the metal box, and the tears slipped free. “Please don’t! D-don’t put me in there! No!” As he was lifted, he brought a fist up, punching the man in his already broken nose. His captor screamed in agony and dropped the teen, bringing his hands to his face.

 

Peter gasped when he collided with the floor, and the air was knocked from his lungs. He tried to catch his breath as he forced himself onto shaky limbs. After a few seconds, when he managed to suck in some air, he stood on weak legs and dashed for the door. He made it all of three steps when his arm was yanked back. He turned and was punched in the face before he fell to the ground with a cry of pain. He grunted when the man kicked him in the stomach. He tried to curl up to protect himself, but he could only cover so much as the blows rained down.

 

He screamed when he felt something in his chest snap. The kicking stopped, and Peter laid on the floor, whimpering and moaning in pain. He was half-conscious and too weak to fight when he was lifted and placed in the box. The man forced him into the too-small space, not caring that he was hurting the teen.

 

The last thing Peter heard before he fell into darkness was the lid shutting and locking.

 

-----

 

Peter woke in darkness. He wheezed in a breath and whimpered when it sent lightning bolts of pain through his chest. His muscles were cramping, and he tried to shift to ease the pain. He started panicking when he realized that he couldn’t move. His back, knees, and shoulders were pressed up against four walls; his head was bent forward with the lid pressed into the back of it. He gasped in painful breaths as tears trailed down his cheeks. “Let me out. Please, let me out. Please!” He sobbed as he weakly banged his fists against the walls.

 

He cried and shouted for release, pushed and pounded against the walls in desperation. When the lid flew open, his hands shot up, and he braced them against the lid.

 

“Peter! Oh, baby. I’m here. It’s okay.” Tony carefully pulled the terrified teen from the box and against his chest. “I got you. You’re safe now,” the man soothed as his son cried into his chest.

 

“D-dad, da-addy,” he sobbed as he clung to his father.

 

“I’m here. You’re safe now. I’ve got you,” the man assured as he held his son close.

 

He looked up at his best friend and nodded in thanks as he ran a hand through Peter’s hair. After a few minutes, Tony stood, lifting the teen and carrying him bridal style. He followed Rhodey out of the building and to the waiting car.

 

-----

 

They got back to the tower in record time. Peter hadn’t let go of his dad the whole time, and when they finally made it to the med bay, he whined when he was placed on a bed. He grabbed onto Tony’s shirt and wouldn’t let go. The man shifted the grip to his hand and stayed by his side while they were looked over.

 

Tony had a black eye and a sprained wrist. Peter had two black eyes, a split lip, a concussion,  one broken, and two bruised ribs. His knuckles were bruised, and his nails torn and bloody from trying to escape the box.

 

Peter hadn’t stopped trembling the whole time; the shaking was aggravating his injuries. A small sigh of relief escaped the brunette’s lip when his chest was wrapped. The constant pressure helped keep his broken and bruised ribs from shifting with his shaking.

 

Once they were both patched up, Tony carried Peter to his room. He pulled back the covers, and laid his kid down, hushing him when he protested the separation. He removed the teen’s shoes and jeans before he helped him into sweatpants. He crawled into bed with his son and pulled the covers up. He laid on his back, and Peter moved over to rest his head on his dad’s chest. Tony placed a kiss on his head and wrapped his hand around Peter’s.

 

He closed his eyes and willed the tears away. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t protect you, Bambi.

 

“It’s not your fault, dad. You did everything you could.”

 

“I should have done more.”

 

“You got me out. We’re safe now.”

 

“That was all Rhodey.”

 

“Yeah, cause you just stood ad watched Uncle Rhodey take out the bad guys,” Peter said with a smile.

 

“Okay, I helped a little.”

 

“Happy’s never going to go on vacation again when he hears about this.”

 

“Oh, God. I’m never going to live this down. He’s gone two days, and I get us kidnapped. Let’s not tell him.”

 

Peter snorted. “Yeah, that’s totally going to work.”

 

“You’re right. I’m pretty sure he can read minds.”

 

They fell into silence for a while. Tony’s eyes had just drifted shut when Peter spoke.

 

“I love you, dad,” the teen mumbled sleepily.

 

The man smiled. “I love you too, Pete,” he responded. He waited for his son’s breaths even out before he closed his eyes, falling into a peaceful sleep in minutes.

Chapter Text

"H-hey, Mr. Stark. It's Peter. Again. Uh, I think I need help." The teen swallowed and peeked over the edge of the roof. The man he had been following was still there. Good. "I don't think I can wait much longer. I think he kidnapped someone." He sighed, squeezing his eyes shut in uncertainty. "I have to do something," he whispered before he hung up.

 

He looked down at the man again to find that he was gone. "Crap." He looked around for any sign of him, but he came up empty. "Where'd he go, Karen?"

 

"There are two heat signatures in one of the apartments on the second floor."

 

"Okay, let's do this."

 

He put his phone in his bag, put it on, and jumped onto the roof of the neighboring building. It was an abandoned, run-down apartment building. Perfect for committing a crime , he thought bitterly. He left his bag near an air conditioner and scaled down the side of the building until he found the right apartment. He peeked into the room and saw the guy sitting on a broken bed. He was in an apartment on the second floor. He was just sitting there, staring at the wall. He had curly blond hair that came to his shoulders, bright green eyes, and a crooked nose. He looked like an average dude, nothing about him screamed bad guy.

 

"Where's the other person?"

 

Before Karen could answer, something thumped against the wall. Peter focused his hearing as he tried to find the source. He could hear a rapid heartbeat and fast, muffled breathing. "Shut up!" the man shouted. The thump came again, louder this time, and Goldie Locks stormed over the closet. He yanked the door open, and Peter caught a glimpse of a small figure.

 

Oh, God, it's a kid! He crashed through the window and ran for the man just as he was bringing his hand back to strike. He shot out a web and pulled Goldie Locks back before pushing him to the side and webbing him to the wall. He screamed and kicked as he tried to free himself.

 

"You're not getting out, Goldie Locks, trust me." The man shouted curses, and the teen shot a web to cover his mouth. "You've got a potty mouth, dude. Don't make me break out the swear jar; young ears are listening."

 

Peter turned back to the closet. The was a little girl inside. Her hands were tied with a rope, and there was a piece of duct tape over her mouth. She couldn't have been much older than ten. He knelt in front of her, and she looked up with hopeful, teary eyes. "I'm going to get you out of here, okay?" She nodded, and he smiled, not that she could tell with his mask on. "I'm going to take off the tape first, and then I'll untie your hands."

 

He reached out and removed the tape. She grimaced but managed a weak smile once her mouth was free.

 

"Mr. Stark is calling, should I answer?"

 

Peter was about to say yes when the girl's eyes flicked to something behind him. His sixth sense screamed before she shouted, "Watch out!" 

 

Peter moved to the side, but he wasn't fast enough. He cried out when he felt a sharp burst of pain in his right arm. He twisted to the left and kicked out, sweeping the attacker off of his feet. The man fell to the floor with a gasp, and Peter webbed him down.

 

"You have sustained a stab wound."

 

"Yeah, pretty sure I felt that one, Karen," he whispered under his breath. He squeezed his eyes shut and grasped at the wound. He moved his hand and sprayed a thick layer of web over it to stem the bleeding.

 

"I've alerted Mr. Stark."

 

"Are you okay?" the girl whispered.

 

He looked up and nodded. "I'll be fine. I heal fast," he assured before he reached over to untie her. Once her hands were free, she smiled up at him, a real smile this time. "Okay, um, let's get out of here," he said just as he heard the Iron Man suit approaching.

 

"Mr. Stark is calling-"

 

"Answer," he said before she could ask. The second man chose that moment to start shouting. Peter turned and webbed his mouth shut, He spun back around when the girl gasped. She looked up at him with questioning eyes.

 

"Karen said you got stabbed, are you okay?"

 

"I'm fine, I could use your help, though," he said just as the suit flew in the broken window. It opened, and Tony stepped out. He eyed the teen and the incapacitated men before he saw the little girl. He smiled and walked over, kneeling in front of her.

 

"Hi there, sweetheart. What's your name?"

 

"Maddie," she whispered.

 

"Well, Maddie, how about we get you out of here and back to your parents?"

 

She smiled and nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah, I miss my mom and dad."

 

"Good, I called the police, so they're on their way. Can you do me a big favor?" When she nodded, he continued, "Can you sit on the bed so I can make sure my friend is okay?"

 

She smiled and ran over to the bed. Tony stood, and his smile dropped into a frown as he looked at the teen. "Are you okay?" he asked as he examined the web covered stab wound. He looked around and found the knife on the floor. He picked it up, closed it, and put it in his pocket. "We don't want the testing it for D.N.A."

 

Peter looked around and found a few drops on the floor by the closet. He went over and wiped it away before he stood and turned to his mentor.

 

"Why didn't you wait for me?"

 

Peter huffed in disbelief. "I called you four times! He was going to hurt her, I had to do something! How was I supposed to know that you were even going to show up?" the teen whisper yelled.

 

The man looked away guiltily before he crossed his arms. "I was in a meeting, and my phone was off. I didn't know anything was wrong until I got an alert about your elevated heart rate."

 

"I did what I was supposed to do. I called for help. I can't wait around for you to show up when people are in danger. I don't regret my decision."

 

They heard sirens approaching, and Tony sighed. "Let's talk about this later."

 

Convenient interruption , Peter thought as he turned to help Maddie.

 

 "You go to the roof. We don't need the cops questioning you."

 

Peter clenched his teeth. "Fine," he gritted out before he turned and climbed out of the window. He climbed up to the roof to wait. About ten minutes later, Tony flew up, landed, and stepped out of the suit. Peter crossed his arms and pouted.

 

"Look, I understand that you did what I asked. I'm sorry I didn't answer. I'll work on something that will alert me no matter where I am, okay?"

 

The teen took his mask off and looked over. "Okay," he whispered.

 

"How's your arm?"

 

"I'm fine,"

 

"Right, well, I want you to come to the tower and let Cho look at it anyway. Just to be sure."

 

Peter nodded. Luckily, they were only a few blocks away, so the teen could swing over using his good arm. Cho examined the wound and told him that he wouldn't need stitches since the wound had nearly closed already. She cleaned it out and took some blood to make sure there hadn't been anything on the blade.

 

Tony took the suit to repair the hole in it. Once Peter was cleared, he made his way down to the lab. He found his mentor muttering under his breath as he typed furiously.

 

"What are you doing?" the teen asked.

 

"Adding and alert protocol to your suit. All you have to do is tell Karen that you need help, and she'll tell F.R.I.D.A.Y. She'll find me, wherever I am, and tell me to get my ass in gear."

 

Peter smiled. "Thanks, Mr. Stark."

 

The man looked up and smiled back. "I expect you to wait for me next time."

 

"I make no promises."

 

"Kid," the man warned.

 

"Fine, I promise to wait for you next time. Unless I can't," he responded.

 

The man took a breath. "Just try not to get stabbed again."

 

"I've never tried to get stabbed. It just happens."

 

"You are such a trouble magnet, kid."

 

"It's not my fault."

 

"Maybe not. We could always wrap you in bubble wrap and lock you in an empty room."

 

"I don't think it will work. Besides, I heal fast."

 

"Good thing, cause your aunt might strangle you when she gets here."

 

Peter gaped at his mentor. "You called May?!"

 

"No, she called me."

 

"You didn't have to tell her!"

 

"Yeah, 'cause it's so easy to lie to that woman," Tony said with a snort.

 

Peter groaned and dropped his head into his hands. This day just keeps getting better.

Chapter Text

"Let me down!" Peter shouted into the darkness. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?! Why does this keep happening to me? He pulled against the shackles that had him stretched onto his toes. He almost couldn't touch the floor, and every time he slipped, it took him a few seconds to find his balance again.

 

He didn't know how long he had been there. A couple of hours? A day? His wrists were bloody and cut up from the strain of holding himself up. He had been kidnapped on patrol, and, so far, his mask was still intact. He shuddered to think of what they wanted from him.

 

He had tried to rip the shackles from the ceiling, but they had been prepared for him, and no matter how much strength he used, he couldn't get free. He had to stop when he felt blood trailing down his arms.

 

He was about to yell again, but the door opened, and a piercing light burned his eyes. He squeezed them shut, cracking them open a little at a time to let them adjust. Once he was able to focus, he saw a woman in front of him. He looked around and saw a man standing in the corner, his muscled arms crossed over his chest.

 

"Hello, Spider-Man. My name is Naomi Strauss. I need you to give me some information on Tony Stark."

 

"Yeah, right, lady. I don't even know Tony Stark," he replied.

 

"I know for a fact that you know him well. Peter Parker."

 

How does she know who I am? "I don't know what you're talking about." He knew the tremble in his voice gave him away, but he couldn't give this woman anything.

 

She didn't say anything for a moment. The silence was unnerving, and Peter could feel himself sweating. "Fine. Clyde, make him talk." The man, Clyde, nodded and walked forward. Peter watched the woman walk out before he realized that Clyde was behind him. He tried to twist around to see what was happening, but he could barely move without losing his footing.

 

When the man came back around to face him, he had a long, thin cane in his hand. Peter blanched, swallowing nervously as he looked Clyde in the eyes. "H-hey, man, why don't we just talk about this."

 

"You're ready to talk now, are you?" he asked with a smirk.

 

"Well, I mean, you could just let me go, and no one would have to know what happened."

 

The man threw his head back and laughed. It was worth a shot, Peter thought glumly. Clyde straightened and wiped at his eyes, still chuckling lightly. "Why would I let you go when I'm about to have so much fun?"

 

The teen shuddered at the man's words. He was about to make a snarky remark when his mask was yanked from his head.

 

"Hey! That is so not cool, man!" he shouted before a blaze of burning pain flashed across his side. He wasn't able to hold back his yelp at the unexpected blow. He glared at Clyde and braced for whatever was coming his way. The cane came down over and over, all over his body. His legs, arms, chest, stomach, back; he was unable to hold back his cries when the man started targeting places he had already hit.

 

Peter didn't know how long it had gone on for, but he was grateful when it ended. He hung, chin resting against his chest and panting for breath.

 

"Are you ready to talk?"

 

"N-no," he stuttered through clenched teeth. He yelped when Clyde hit him over his ribs.

 

"Are you sure?"

 

"I said, 'no.' W-what word did you not understand?"

 

The man snarled and stomped off, coming back with a set of brass knuckles. He punched Peter in the stomach several times, drawing gasps of pain from the teen each time. He stopped and took a breath. "You will talk. Even if I have to break you in half first."

 

And then it started again. The blows rained down, and Peter tried to keep his cries of pain in. Until his shoulder slid from its socket with a pop. Then he screamed.

 

After a few seconds, it was too much, and his eyes rolled back, his body going limp as he passed out.

 

-----

 

Peter woke with a gasp when the ice-cold water hit his skin. He immediately started to shiver as the cold soaked in. His whole body pulsed with pain, but his shoulder was the worst. He tried to shift his weight to his left arm to relieve some pressure.

 

"I didn't say we were done," Clyde growled as he dropped the now empty bucked to the floor. He pulled a switchblade out of his pocket and flicked the blade out. "Are you ready to talk?"

 

Peter looked him in the eyes. "No," he said firmly. I won't tell you anything. No matter what you do to me.

 

The man growled and stepped forward. He took the knife and cut a deep line down Peter's side. The teen bit his lip to hold in the scream that begged to be released. Clyde had started on the second cut when the door banged open. Before he could even turn, there was a blast of light, and he was flung across the room, falling into an unmoving, boneless heap against the wall.

 

Peter looked up, and a sob of relief broke free. Tony stepped out of the Iron Man suit and ran over to the teen.

 

"Hey, kid. You're okay now. I'm here." He turned and shouted over his shoulder. "Cap! I found him!"

 

"Didn't s-say anything," Peter whispered.

 

"I don't care about that, Peter."

 

"I'm here…" Steve trailed off at the state of the teen.

 

"Hold him up. I'm going to get him down."

 

"Yeah," the blond agreed as he stepped forward to help.

 

Peter couldn't hold in a gasp of pain when his shoulder moved. He squeezed his eyes shut and panted through the pain. When he was sitting on the floor, propped up against Steve for support, Tony removed the shackles. He couldn't hold in his cry of pain when his arm was lowered.

 

Tony froze. "What's wrong? Did I hurt you?"

 

"M-my right shoulder. I th-think it's dislocated," he gasped out between clenched teeth.

 

"Okay, okay. We need to get him to Cho," the billionaire said.

 

"Yeah, I'll carry him," Steve offered.

 

"Thanks, Cap."

 

"Ready, Peter?" the blond asked.

 

"No, but let's do it anyway."

 

Both men nodded, and Tony tried to hold the injured arm still as Steve sifted his hold. Peter was lifted, he cried out quietly when his arm was shifted to his lap, and the blond tried to walk down the hall as smoothly as possible.

 

When they finally made it to the tower, Peter had fallen into a restless sleep. Cho looked him over, fixed his shoulder, and stitched up the cuts on his side. He fell asleep again, and the doctor stepped out into the hall to talk to the heroes.

 

"His shoulder was dislocated; he'll need to use it as little as possible for a few days. He had two pretty deep cuts on his side that required stitches, but they should heal quickly. Most of his body is badly bruised, especially his stomach. I did an ultrasound, and he has a small tear in his liver, but it's small enough not to need surgery with his accelerated healing. His wrists are pretty torn up, but I don't think they'll scar. Most of his injuries should heal in a few days. He'll need a week or two for his shoulder, and I want to keep a close eye on his liver. No strenuous activity for at least ten days."

 

"Thank, God," Tony whispered. "Can we see him?"

 

"Yes. He's asleep, so try not to wake him up."

 

They both nodded and quietly entered the room. They sat on either side of Peter's bed. He had a black eye, and his arms were covered in long, thin bruises. He looked pale and small on the bed. "How do you always get into these situations, kid?"

 

"I'm flypaper for freaks," the teen whispered.

 

Both men chuckled. "You've got that right." Tony shook his head. "How do you feel?"

 

"Sore."

 

"I'll bet." There was a tense silence for a few seconds before Tony spoke again. "What did they want?"

 

"They wanted to know stuff about you. I don't what specifically, but I told her that I wouldn't tell her anything. Then Clyde… and then you showed up."

 

"I'm sorry."

 

"It's not your fault, Mr. Stark."

 

"Maybe."

 

"It's not, Tony," Steve interrupted. "You shouldn't have to worry about the people close to you getting hurt just because you're you. All of the blame falls on the psychos that did this."

 

"Did you get them?" Peter asked.

 

"Well, the guy that tortured you didn't make it and the woman… got away," Steve answered.

 

Peter looked away. "She knew my name," he whispered.

 

"We'll figure out who she is and how much she knows."

 

"What if she tells people who I am?"

 

"She hasn't done it yet and who knows how long she knew before they took you. I don't think she wants the world to know," Tony reasoned. He could tell that it didn't help put the teen at ease, though, so he added, "No matter what happens, I'll be here for you and your aunt if you ever need help. I'll protect you."

 

"Me too, Peter," Steve chimed. "I'm sure the other will help if you need it."

 

"Thank you so much," Peter whispered through teary eyes. "I don't know what I'd do without you guys."

 

"We'll never have to find out because we will always be here for you."

 

"That's good because I don't think my trouble magnet is going to lose strength any time soon."

 

"We'll definitely have to work on that. Hopefully, you'll demagnetize soon. I'm not sure how many more heart attacks I can take."

 

"How did you find me?"

 

"Karen sent out a distress signal when you lost consciousness, but we lost the signal when you went underground. F.R.I.D.A.Y. had to sort through all of the video surveillance we could find. I'll have to work on the signal strength for your tracker."

 

"I'm glad you got there when you did."

 

"We should have been faster."

 

"You got me out. That's enough for me. It's not your fault that they had me in a dead zone. I know you did everything you could. Thank you, both of you. You too, Fri, Thanks for saving me."

 

Both men smiled, and F.R.I.D.A.Y. said, "You're welcome, Peter."

 

"You have to take two weeks off of being Spider-Man. Hopefully, that will keep you out of trouble."

 

"Two weeks? That so long!"

 

"If you go back sooner, it will set you back even more. Besides, I'll bet May will keep a close eye on you."

 

"Ugh! Why do you always have to bring her into this?"

 

"She's scary! If she finds out that I tried to keep something from her, she'll kill me! Then who's going to be your mentor?!"

 

"I think Bruice is available," Steve said with a smile.

 

"Dude!" Tony shouted as he placed a hand over his heart in mock hurt.

 

Peter laughed, clutching at his chest as he tried to stop. "Don't make me laugh!" he said between giggles.

 

"Sorry, kid. But Cap just threw me under the bus! We're supposed to be a team!"

 

"I like the kid more than I like you."

 

"Gee, thanks, Cap," Tony muttered.

 

"You're still my favorite, Mr. Stark," Peter assured.

 

"Thanks, kid. You're my favorite too. Now, about May-"

 

"Great! We're back to this?"

 

"-she's on her way."


Peter groaned. I’ll never leave the apartment again.

Chapter Text

Peter sat on the fire escape with one leg dangling over the edge. The other was tucked up against his chest supporting his elbow while his cheek rested against his fist.

 

It had almost been a month since May had died. Peter hadn't been able to save her; he wasn't fast enough.

 

Just like Ben.

 

Now he was alone, so, so alone. He had held his aunt in his arm as she bled to death. He could still feel the sticky warmth of her blood, could still smell the tangy copper as it coated his hands. Sometimes he could still see it on his hands. The way it had become thick like syrup and then dry and flaky. He could never seem to get it off.

 

The day after the accident, he had been placed with a foster father. Everyone kept telling him how lucky he was; that most kids his age would end up in a group home. He was fortunate because this guy had just been certified as a foster parent the week before, and he was willing to take in a 15-year-old. His name was Steven Westcott. "Call me Skip," the man had told him when they first met. 

 

Peter ran away the first week after Skip had tried to force himself on the teen. Peter had panicked and used a little more strength than he had meant too. Skip ended up across the room, blood dripping from his temple as he laid unconscious.

 

Peter had packed his bag quickly and ran. He ran and didn't look back. He had made it four blocks before he had collapsed in an alley and broke down crying. He cursed his Parker luck. First my parents, then Ben and May, and then they gave me to a monster and told me I was lucky. Some luck I've got.

 

He cried until his tears dried up. Then he put on his homemade suit and swung around Queens. He stopped a mugging, a bike theft, and two purse-snatchers. He stayed out all night and well into the morning before he collapsed on the roof of he and May's- his old apartment building. He curled up in a corner and fell asleep.

 

Now, here he was. Observing. Waiting.

 

It had been a while since he had had a decent meal. It had been even longer since he'd had a shower or a roof over his head. He stayed in shelters sometimes, but people got suspicious when they saw a 15-year-old all alone. He could stay in one a day or two a week. Always a random day and at a random shelter. The last thing he needed was a social worker to catch wind of him frequenting a specific shelter. He wouldn't go back, not ever. He could take care of himself just fine.

 

His stomach cramped in protest, and he winced. I can take care of myself most of the time.

 

He stood and stretched before he made his way down the fire escape. I'll head over to the deli and see if Mr. Delmar will trade work for a sandwich. He pulled his hood up to cover his face and peeked out of the alley. There weren't many people walking, despite it only being seven on a Tuesday evening.

 

He was crossing a street a few blocks from the deli when his neck prickled. His head shot up just as a scream broke the peace of the night. It wasn't a fear-filled scream that usually caught his attention. No, this one was filled with anger, rage even. He looked around, trying to pinpoint where it had come from when a figure shot passed him. 

 

Without thinking, his hand shot out and latched onto the man's coat. In his mind, if you ran, you were guilty. He pulled the man back, and he stumbled and sprawled across the sidewalk. A pair of sunglasses fell from his hand and skittered to a stop at Peter's feet.

 

That's weird, he thought as he bent down to pick them up. He looked up when the man shot to his feet and ran like his hair was on fire. His head whipped around when he heard that same anger-filled shout. He saw none other than Tony Stark running toward him. "Give them back!" He ran toward the teen at full speed, raising a hand to snatch the glasses back. Peter's body flooded with adrenaline when he thought he was about to be attacked by his favorite Avenger. He yelped, dropped the glasses, and backed away until he hit a wall.

 

"I didn't take them!" he shouted in his defense. "That guy did!" He pointed to the rapidly retreating figure. He dropped his hand quickly when he felt it shaking.

 

The billionaire looked him up and down before his expression softened. "Sorry, kid. I didn't mean to rip your head off."

 

"Tony!" Peter looked over the man's shoulder to see a slightly overweight man jogging toward them. He stopped a few feet away, braced his hands on his knees, and panted for breath.

 

Tony rolled his eyes before he turned around. "I'm fine, Hap. The kid got them back, thank God."

 

"Good, now let's… get out of… here," the man gasped out as he straightened and looked at Peter.

 

"Take a picture, it lasts longer," Peter huffed out before he turned to finish his journey to the deli.

 

"Hey, kid! Wait!" Tony called after him. The teen pretended that he hadn't heard anything and shoved his cold hands into his pockets. The tingle in the back of his neck alerted him to danger a split second before he felt a hand grab his arm. He gasped and flinched away. "Don't touch me!" he shouted as he backed away several steps.

 

"Woah, sorry, kid. I won't," Tony said as he raised his hands in surrender. "I just want to talk."

 

"Find someone that cares,' Peter mumbled, but he didn't dare take his eyes off of the man.

 

"I just couldn't help but notice that you look-"

 

"What? That I look like I belong in the trash? Well, I'm sorry that I forgot to break out my designer suit just for you," he snarled.

 

"Hungry. I was going to say hungry," he said gently.

 

Peter dropped his eyes and cursed himself for acting like this toward his favorite Avenger. "Sorry, I… I've had a rough month."

 

"I could get you something to eat. Maybe a shower and a bed to sleep in?"

 

Peter looked up and gaped at the man. I can trust him, right? I'm stronger than him. I can protect myself if I need to. "You, uh… I- yeah, okay," he stuttered out.

 

Tony smiled. "Great. My car's over there."

 

Peter nodded and followed Tony Stark to his waiting car and hoped that he wouldn't regret his decision to trust the man.

 

-----

 

He could feel the hands; they were everywhere. They wouldn't stop. Make them stop.

 

"It's okay, Einstein, it will be fun. I promise."

 

"No, get off! I don't want to!" He grabbed the man's wrist and pulled it away from his chest. He was starting to panic, and he was afraid that he would hurt his attacker if he fought back. "Please, stop," he pleaded just before he was slapped across the face. He gasped when a hand wrapped around his throat and squeezed.

 

"Don't move," Skip growled. Peter closed his eyes as tears slid down his temples.

 

"Please don't," he whispered. He choked on a sob when his arms were pinned over his head, and the man started kissing his neck. When he felt a hand fumbling with his jeans, he screamed.

 

-----

 

After Tony brought the kid back to the tower, he sent him off to take a shower. He gave him some clean clothes and showed him to the bathroom before he left to get some food. He didn't miss Peter's mistrust toward him; he was skittish and didn't like to be touched. Tony wondered what could have happened to cause his aversion toward human contact.

 

When Peter had emerged from his shower, the billionaire tried to hide his surprise at how skinny the kid was. He smiled and handed a heaping plater of chicken alfredo over. He almost laughed at the baffled look on Peter's face, but he managed to hold himself back. Laughing at him wouldn't help gain his trust.

 

"Thank you," Peter whispered. He looked up at the man before his eyes dropped, and he dug in. He ate like he was afraid the food would be taken away at any moment. He practically inhaled the food, and when Tony asked if he wanted more, he ignored the small shake of the teen's head and dished another heaping plate.

 

Peter looked at it skeptically but started eating almost immediately. He ate much slower, but he finished the plate in record time. After that, he led the kid to one of the guest rooms and left him to sleep.

 

-----

 

Peter had been at the tower for almost a week. Tony had looked him up when the teen hadn’t said anything about his family or situation. He had stopped reading after he had learned that every one of his relatives had died. He didn’t want to pry more than that; the whole reason he had looked was because he had wanted to know if someone was missing him. Clearly, there wasn’t If his aunt had died a month ago, he hadn’t been in foster care for long. Judging by how skinny he was, he may have never been in a foster home.

 

Tony hadn’t asked him to leave and Peter hadn’t said anything about leaving. They had spent a little time together and Tony could tell that he was smart. So very smart. And that he was lonely. He never talked about anyone that he cared about. Everyone he has ever loved has died, why would he want to have someone else to care about.

 

Now, Tony was in the lab. He was working on a few upgrades for his suit when F.R.I.D.A.Y. interrupted him.

 

"Boss, it appears that Peter is having a nightmare."

 

He froze, unsure of how he should proceed. "Uh- okay." He stood and made his way to the guest room. He opened the door and immediately felt the distress rolling of the trembling figure.

 

"No, get off. I don' want to," he whimpered. "Please, stop… Please, don'." He was panting for breath as he writhed on the bed.

 

Tony thought he was going to be sick. Please tell me he's not dreaming about what I think he is. "Hey," he whispered. He walked over and stood at the head of the bed. "Peter? It's okay, kid. You're safe." He didn't want to touch him, but he didn't know what else to do. So, he placed a gentle hand on Peter's shoulder. He snatched it back when the kid flinched away and screamed. Adrenaline flooded Tony's veins when Peter shot up and scrambled away. I shouldn't have touched him.

 

Peter stopped on the edge of the bed and gasped for breath as his eyes flew around the room. His tear-stained face was pale, and his whole body was trembling.

 

Tony held his hands up in surrender. "Hey, kid. It's okay; I won't hurt you. Are you okay?" Peter shook his head before he dropped his eyes. "Do you want to talk about it?"

 

"No," he whispered. He brought his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them.

 

"Okay, do you want to watch a movie? I usually can't get back to sleep after a nightmare." Peter looked up, a confused look in his eyes before he slowly nodded. "Great! What do you want to watch?"

 

"Do you have Wall-E?" he asked timidly as he uncurled and stood on the far side of the bed.

 

"Yeah, kid. I've got everything," he said as he turned to lead Peter to the living room. Tony sat on the couch and looked up at the teen. Peter fidgeted for a moment before he sat on the other end of the couch.

 

"Play Wall-E, Fri."

 

Tony didn't really watch the movie. He mostly focused on the kid out of the corner of his eye. He had his knees pulled up to his chest again. He sat like that for the first half-hour of the movie. After about 45 minutes, once billionaire lost himself in the film, Peter spoke.

 

"My aunt died a month ago," he whispered. Tony didn't dare move as the teen started to open up. "My parents died when I was little, and my aunt and uncle took me in. Ben died last year. After M- after she… died, I was put in the system. When I was placed, everyone kept telling me how lucky I was to not end up in a group home." He shuddered and wiped at his eyes. "He was nice at first. I thought that maybe I would be okay. I didn't really think anything of it at first. He would bump into me a lot, stand too close when he talked to me. Then one night, he-" He stopped and took a breath.

 

Tony was seething, but he managed to hold it in. He hadn't missed the way Peter flinched from touch, and the things he was saying in his sleep left little room for imagination.

 

"He came into my room in the middle of the night. When I woke up, he w-was on top of me. He kept saying that it would be fun that he would make it good." He sobbed out a laugh. "I told him to stop, but he wouldn't. He just kept touching me. When he tried to take off my pants, I freaked out and pushed him off of me. He hit his head and passed out. I just packed a bag and ran." He finally broke down. He dropped his head into his hands and started to sob quietly. "I should have done more," he choked out between sobs.

 

Tony wanted to pull him into a hug, but he knew that any unwanted touch would scare him. He moved closer and tried to catch the kid's eye. "You didn't do anything wrong. That monster hurt you, and you defended yourself."

 

"I never reported him. I've been watching him, but I can't always be there. What if he hurts someone else?"

 

"What's his name?"

 

Peter looked up. "What can you do now? It's been weeks; they won't believe me after so much time."

 

"All it takes is one report of possible sexual abuse to start an investigation. Even if he's cleared, he probably won't ever be a foster parent again. Not that he will be. I'll make sure he pays for what he's done."

 

"What about me? They'll put me in another home. What if it happens again?"

 

"You can stay here. I'll protect you."

 

Peter gawked at Tony. The man that had already given him so much was offering his home to a random homeless kid. "R-really? Why?"

 

The man smiled. "It seems to me that you've had a massive streak of bad luck. I think it's time for something good to happen."

 

"I don't know what to say," Peter whispered through tears of relief.

 

"You don't have to say anything."

 

"Thank you. I- thank you so much." He smiled and turned back to the movie. "I feel like this is all a dream, and I'm going to wake up and still be homeless."

 

"It's not a dream, kid. I promise."

 

"Yeah, I don't think I could dream all this. That shower felt too real, and the food tasted way too good to fake."

 

"Do you dream of showers and food often?" Tony asked, jokingly.

 

"You'd be surprised what you dream about when you sleep in a cardboard box on the roof of your old apartment building."

 

Tony's smile fell a little at the thought. "You don't have to worry about that ever again. I'm going to take care of you now."

 

Peter looked up at him for a moment before he smiled. "I know."

Chapter Text

Peter Parker had a lot of scars. More than someone his age should have. Being Spider-Man wasn’t an easy job. He got hurt more often than not. He healed fast; the pain was only temporary. Sometimes the scars even disappeared if the wound wasn’t too bad. Some didn’t. The ones that never quite blended back in were reminders.

 

He had a small burn on the back of his left hand from when he was seven. He had been helping May with dinner one night. They made pancakes and eggs and bacon. Peter had grabbed the pan of bacon and accidentally spilled some of the grease onto the back of his hand. He had screamed and dropped the pan, startling May enough for a half-cooked pancake to join it on the floor. He had ended up with a second-degree burn and a scar that never faded.

 

He had a long, thin scar across his right bicep. He had swooped in as Spider-Man and saved a woman from being mugged. It was when he had first started being a vigilante, and he hadn’t been very good at controlling his powers yet. He managed to take the mugger down, but not before he got a good slash in. Peter had sewn his suit up later that night. Luckily the cut wasn’t bad enough to need stitches, but it ached for days afterward.

 

He had a thick, horizontal scar on his ribs. He had been patrolling shortly after he had been given his upgraded suit. There had been a drive-by shooting. The target had been a 14-year-old girl whose brother had refused to join a local gang. In retaliation, they had tried to kill his little sister. Peter had tackled her to the ground and shielded her with his body. He had only just managed to keep a cry of pain in, not wanting to scare the girl, when her brother had run up and thanked him profusely for saving her life. He explained what had happened and promised to report the people responsible.

 

He had jagged scars across his chest and shoulder from when he fought Vulture. Considering that he had been in a plane crash and walked through fire, he had been lucky to walk away mostly okay. His old suit had been torn to shreds. He hadn’t been able to save it. Luckily, Tony had given him back his suit.

 

Those scars didn’t bother him so much. They hurt for a while, but they faded, and he usually forgot about them until he caught a glimpse in the mirror. There were other scars, though — ones that never healed, ones that no one could see. When his parents had died, Peter had been devastated. He had cried for days, but May and Ben had been there for him. They had filled the emptiness with love and, eventually, the hole in his heart had scarred over. He still thought about his parents from time to time, but it wasn’t unbearable anymore. He had two people in his life that helped him move forward without them.

 

Then Ben died. His whole world had tilted on its side. The guilt had nearly crushed him. He had been right there, and he didn’t save the most important man in his life. He held him as the life left his eyes. He couldn’t look at May for a long time after that. He had a brand new gaping hole in his heart. He didn’t know how to move forward when it had been his fault that Ben had died. If he hadn’t been so selfish, his uncle would still be alive. If he had just been a little faster, then Ben wouldn’t have died.

 

He eventually came to realize that it wasn’t entirely his fault. He wasn’t the one that pulled the trigger. He had started his hunt for the man that killed his uncle. He searched for months, but he never found the killer. He had come to realize that revenge might not be the answer. He wondered what Ben would have thought about him hunting down the man that had killed him. He would be disappointed. With great power comes great responsibility. Revenge wasn’t what he needed to use his powers for. He was meant to protect, to save those that couldn’t save themselves. So, he vowed never to let harm come to an innocent person so long as he could stop it.

 

He still felt the hole in his chest; it never seemed to shrink; it never scabbed over. He refused to give up, though. He would keep fighting; it was what Ben would have wanted.

 

Then Tony Stark came into his life. He asked for his help and gave him a suit. He cared about Peter even if he wouldn’t openly admit it. After he stopped Vulture, they started to grow closer. The gaping hole in his heart wasn’t so painful anymore. It began to scab over. He stopped feeling guilty for laughing, for being happy, for not thinking about the man he loved with all his heart every second. He learned that moving forward was okay, even if he hadn’t been able to save his uncle.

 

Tony had helped him heal. He had filled a hole in his life, a hole that Peter thought would never be filled. He showed Peter that he could have a man in his life that loved and cared for him without replacing what Ben had been. Tony could never change the things that Ben had taught him, but he could teach him new things that mattered. He couldn't change the man that Ben had raised him to be. He missed his uncle every day, but Tony helped fill the emptiness that his death had left behind.

 

Then Thanos happened. Peter had been snapped out of existence for five years. When he came back, he helped save the world. He finally got the hug he had always wanted. Then he watched the most important man in his life die. Again. He couldn’t save his hero. He watched the life leave him, and all he could do was watch.

 

Peter didn’t know if he would be able to survive another death. There wasn’t much room in his heart for any more loss. It was riddled with half-healed holes and ugly scar tissue. He couldn’t fathom how he could possibly begin to heal.

 

And then he had met Morgan Stark. In the years that he had been gone, his hero, mentor, and father figure had had a daughter. She was almost the same age he had been when his parents died. She was smart and caring and beautiful. She was so much like Tony.

 

That’s when he promised the man that had saved his life in so many ways that he would look after her. He would teach her everything he knew. He would tell her stories about her father. He would protect her from anything and everything that tried to bring her harm. He would do for her what Ben and Tony had done for him. He would help the hole in her heart heal. He would do it for Ben and Tony and himself.

 

And if the holes in his heart healed in the process, then he would smile and thank the universe for the lifeline it had thrown him when he thought he would drown in a sea of loss.

Chapter Text

“I could use some help over here!” Clint shouted through the earpiece. Peter winced and dodged another bullet. He jumped behind an overturned truck and tried to catch his breath.

 

“I’m pinned down!” he answered.

 

“I’m a little busy!” Natasha replied.

 

“I’m coming! Just hold on!” Tony said before Peter saw him fly over toward where he last saw Clint.

 

“Come out!” the man with the gun shouted.

 

“Yeah, right,” Peter whispered under his breath. He crawled to the other end of the vehicle and peeked around the bumper. He spotted the guy that had been shooting at him and noticed a second man that he hadn’t seen earlier. He sat back, took a breath, and jumped out of his hiding place. He webbed the gun out of bad guy number one’s hand before he turned to do the same to the second man. Once they were both weapon-free, he webbed them to the nearest object big enough to hold them. They were both screaming at him, but he just huffed and rolled his eyes. Why do bad guys have to be so vulgar? He webbed their mouths and looked around for the next threat.

 

Steve was holding his own against two goons, Natasha was beating the crap out of another, and Tony had taken out four that had gone after Clint.

 

When Tony had called him at school and asked if he would go on a mission, Peter had almost jumped for joy. He agreed and waited in front of the school for Happy to show up. They went straight to the airport. He had gaped at the others when he walked onto the jet. Clint and Natasha sat toward the back, and Steve was sitting next to Tony.

 

“So this is a big mission,” he had muttered under his breath. Steve had looked up and nodded gravely.

 

“I told him to leave you out of this,” he said with a pointed look at Tony.

 

“It’s not like I had a lot of other options. Everyone else is unavailable. Besides, there are only fifteen of them at most.”

 

“Who?” Peter asked.

 

“We found a HYDRA safe house. Fury’s been monitoring it for days. He called us to bring them in. It should be an easy in and out mission. Three of them to one of us. Easy peasy.”

 

“I want you to make sure you can see one of us at all times,” Steve demanded.

 

Peter shrugged. “I can do that.”

 

“Good.”

 

And now they were here. They had stormed the building and grabbed two of the guys right off the bat. The rest had run out the back and into the woods. Peter just took down two, Nat had also knocked out two others, Steve had three at his feet, four were by Clint, and Tony had taken one out.

 

“I think Fury counted wrong,” Nat commented.

 

Peter started to chuckle before his hair stood on end. He turned to see the fifteenth man aim in a gun at Steve. He moved before he could think, knocking the Captain to the ground just as a shot echoed off of the trees. Peter gasped in pain as they fell to the ground. He looked down and watched blood well up and drip off of his arm and onto the ground.

 

Nat rushed over and jumped up, wrapping her legs around the man’s neck before she spun him to the ground. His head cracked against a rock, and he laid still.

 

Peter sat up and wrapped a hand around his forearm, gritting his teeth as he applied pressure.

 

“Peter!” Tony shouted as he practically fell out of the suit. He scrambled over and kneeled in front of the teen.

 

“I’m okay. It’s just a graze,” he assured. He winced as he moved his hand to show that the bleeding was already slowing. “See? I’m okay. I won’t even need stitches.” He looked up at his mentor and smiled. He yelped when he was pulled into a fierce hug.

 

“Don’t scare me like that,” he whispered into Peter’s hair.

 

“I’ll try.” Peter looked over at Steve and smiled reassuringly at the pained look on his face. “I’m fine, Cap.”

 

The man nodded and stood. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he scolded.

 

“He was aiming at your head. I didn’t know what else to do.” Everyone could hear the irritation in his voice, and Steve gave him a sympathetic look.

 

“Thanks, Peter. Just don’t make it a habit.”

 

The teen rolled his eyes but nodded.

 

“I’m fine, by the way. Just in case anyone was wondering,” Clint muttered. Natasha huffed and punched him in the arm. “Ow! Man down!” he shouted as he rubbed his arm. “Geeze, Tash, that hurt.”

 

“Good,” she said with a smirk. “I’ll call it in.” She turned and walked back toward the house.

 

Tony helped Peter to his feet. “Let’s get back to the jet. I want to clean that.” He nodded to Peter’s wound and started to guide him toward the jet.

 

“We’ll stay here,” Steve offered.

 

“Speak for yourself,” Clint pouted.

 

Steve shook his head and started to drag the men into one area.

 

Peter and Tony passed Nat on the way to the jet. She told them that the clean-up crew would be there in ten minutes, and once they showed up, they could leave. Once they made it back, Tony sat Peter down and started cleaning his wound.

 

“Do I have to tell May if it heals before we get back?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Aw, come on!”

 

“It won’t be healed by then.”

 

“It might be,” Peter mumbled.

 

“You shouldn’t hide things from May.”

 

“She doesn’t even know that I’m here!”

 

Tony looked up with disappointment in his eyes. Peter deflated a little. “I called her first. I’m disappointed that you didn’t talk to her. Maybe you weren’t ready to come on this mission.” Peter looked away as his cheeks heated with shame. “I think You, me, and May need to sit down and have a conversation about responsibilities.”

 

Peter nodded. “Okay,” he whispered. “I’m sorry.”

 

“I’m not the one you should be apologizing to.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Alright. It looks good. Try not to move around too much, and keep it elevated.”


A few minutes later, the others came back, and Nat started up the jet. Peter strapped in and tried to think of anything other than the conversation he was going to have when he got home. At least he didn’t take my suit;  he thought just before the sound of the engines lulled him to sleep.

Chapter Text

Peter groaned. His head was pounding; it felt like someone was attacking him with a bat. He groaned again when someone's hand brushed against his face. "Mmm," he mumbled as he lifted a hand to swat the person away. He grimaced when a bolt of pain shot through his wrist.

 

"Peter? Can you hear me? Try not to move."

 

Dad?

 

"Open your eyes, Buddy."

 

"Dad?" He cracked his eyes open and looked up into the blurry face of his father. "What's going on?" He shivered when he realized that he was soaking wet. He coughed before he looked around. He couldn't see much from his position, but he could hear water. "Dad?"

 

"Just take it slow. Does anything hurt?"

 

Peter mentally cataloged his injuries. "My head hurts. And my wrist kinda hurts. Everything feels bruised; I feel like I was trampled."

 

Tony took Peter's right arm and examined the already swollen limb. He rotated it slowly and apologized when Peter winced. "I don't think it's broken, but it's probably sprained."

 

Peter nodded. He sat up with his dad's help and looked around. He gasped. He thought that they were in the street, but it was hard to tell. There was water flooding the road, and debris was scattered everywhere. They were on top of a firetruck with a few other people. That's when he remembered. They had been on the pier when a tsunami hit. He must have been knocked out, and his dad had saved him. He looked at his dad and tried to find any injuries.

 

"I'm okay, kiddo. Just bruised."

 

"Where are we?" he asked as he looked around for a street sign.

 

"I have no idea. I think we're on Colorado Avenue, but otherwise, I have no clue."

 

He watched his dad look over his shoulder before his face went pale. He turned back around and pulled Peter into a tight hug. He turned his head the other way and squeezed him tight.

 

"Dad?" Peter asked, worry and fear evident in his voice."

 

"It's okay. Just don't look. Everything is going to be fine."

 

Peter closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around his dad's neck. After about a minute, Tony pulled back and took a shaky breath. "We're going to be fine. We'll wait for the rescue crew, and then we can go home and never set foot in California again."

 

Peter laughed. "The last significant tsunami to hit California was in the '60s, Dad. The possibility of us being caught in another one is pretty slim."

 

"I don't care. We are never coming back."

 

Peter laughed again and nodded in agreement. He cut off when one of the other people started talking loudly. The truck shifted, and Tony stood to look over the edge. "The water's receding!" he stated excitedly.

 

Peter stood to look over when something collided with the side of the truck, sending him over the side and into the water. He panicked and sucked in a mouthful of water before he surfaced. He coughed and choked before he was pulled under again. He screamed when he collided with something. It sent a burning pain through his side, and he sucked in more water. He kicked and clawed toward what he hoped was the surface and coughed on air before he felt a hand grab him and pull him out of the water.

 

He coughed up water while someone pounded on his back. Once he could finally breathe again, he looked up into the face of his savior. He had short brown hair and green eyes. He looked about 25.

 

"You okay, kid?" he asked.

 

"Yeah, I think I'm okay," he responded before he looked around for his dad. He couldn't see a firetruck anywhere. He stood to try and get a better view. "I was on a firetruck with my dad. When the water pulled back, something hit the side, and I fell off." He could feel his breathing speeding up, and he wrapped his arms around himself when his side twitched.

 

"Hey, it's okay. I'm sure your dad's fine," he assured. "What's your name?"

 

"Peter."

 

"I'm Jake." He must have noticed the pained look o the teen's face because he asked, "Are you hurt?" Before he took a closer look. Peter moved his hand, and when he looked down, his shirt and hand were red with blood. "Ow."

 

"Let me see," Jake said as he gently pulled the shirt up. There was a gash about halfway up his torso that was bleeding sluggishly. "Crap," the man whispered before he pulled off his shirt. He started tearing it into strips before he wrapped them around Peter's torso and tied them off. "Hopefully, that will stop the bleeding. Once the water recedes enough, we can go to the nearest triage area and get you some proper help."

 

"I think I should just wait here."

 

"We need to move as soon as we can; another wave could come in."

 

"How do you know all of this?"

 

"I'm a firefighter," he answered. "Where were you when the wave hit?"

 

"We were on the pier."

 

"Me too. I guess that makes us lucky."

 

"Maybe," Peter whispered. He kept his eyes trained down the road (if you could even call it that anymore) for any sign of his dad.

 

"Look. The water's pretty shallow now. We should move while we can."

 

Peter really didn't want to move, but Jake knew what he was doing. "Okay," he whispered before he slid off of the overturned bus they had been on. He wrapped a protective hand around his wound and trudged after Jake.

 

They started walking inland, picking up a few people on the way. Peter asked each new person if they had seen his dad. Everyone said no, but Peter didn't stop asking.

 

They had been walking for about twenty minutes when he heard someone call his name.

 

"Peter!" He stopped and spun around to find his dad running toward him. He smiled and ran into his father's arms. "Oh, Peter! I thought I lost you. Try to stay with me this time."

 

"It's not like I fell over on purpose," he mumbled.

 

"I know."

 

Peter looked up and saw Jake walking toward them with a smile on his face. "Oh! Dad, this is Jake! He saved me. Jake, this is my dad Tony."

 

They shook hands, and Tony thanked him for saving his son. "If there's ever anything I can do to repay-"

 

"You don't have to do that. I'm a firefighter; it's my job to help people."

 

"I'm serious. If I could, I'd give you my card, but I'm fresh out."

 

Jake chuckled before he turned to continue leading everyone to safety.

 

When they finally made it to a triage area, Peter got nine stitches for the gash in his side, and a brace for his wrist. They gave him a bed and told him to get some sleep.

 

When Peter woke, he couldn't see his dad anywhere. He looked around and started to panic when the woman next to him sat up. "He said that he'd be right back." Peter nodded and thanked her before he laid back down.

 

His eyes flew open when he felt someone grab his hand. "Dad!"

 

"Hey, kid. Sorry. I wanted to get some information on Jake. I wanted to make sure his captain knew what he did and that if he ever needed anything to give me a call."

 

Peter rolled his eyes and smiled at his dad. "You saved me, too, dad."

 

"Yeah, well, I'm your dad; it's kind of my job."

 

They smiled at each other and fell into silence. Peter's eyes slipped closed and fell into a light sleep. Tony ran a hand through his son's hair and thanked every God he could think of for letting him find him again. "I love you, kiddo," he said before he closed his eyes and drifted into a peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

Muffled Screams and Asphyxiation

“Peter! I need to go!” May yelled down the hall.

 

She was going out of town for a week with some friends from the hospital. Tony had offered to look after Peter while she was gone. Happy was going to pick him up from school and take him to the tower. Peter was glad that he had everything he would need at the tower already; he really didn’t want to have to haul his stuff to school.

 

“I’m coming!” he yelled back before he grabbed his backpack. He jogged to the living room and hugged May goodbye.

 

“Don’t give Tony any trouble. Call me anytime.” She turned to leave before she stopped and turned back. “Try to stay out of trouble,” she added before she pulled him into another hug.

 

“I will, May, I promise.”

 

She pulled back and wiped her eyes. “Okay, okay. I love you.”

 

“I love you too, May,” he responded before he walked her to the cab. She had gone to a work conference once, and they had said goodbye outside. May had burst into tears because it was the first time she had left Peter since Ben had died. After that, they said their goodbyes in the privacy of their apartment.

 

He carried her bags and handed them over to the cab driver before May pulled him in for another hug. She kissed him on the cheek and slid into the car. They waved as it pulled away from the curb, and Peter started toward the train station.

 

-----

 

“Hey, Pete! Ready for a week of strippers, booze, and sleep deprivation?” Tony asked when Peter walked into the lab.

 

“Uh…”

 

“I’m joking, kid. There will be no sleep deprivation.”

 

“Right, I think I’m going to give May a call…”

 

“No! Please don’t sick your scary aunt on me! I’m totally joking!” he said fearfully. “This week will be filled with documentaries, homework, and lots of sleep.”

 

It was quiet for about two seconds before they both cracked up. Peter had to wipe tears from his eyes before he looked up and saw his mentor bent double from the laughter.

 

“What’s so funny? Rhodey asked as he walked in the door.

 

“It’s nothing. Mr. Stark just thinks he’s a comedian,” Peter answered through gasps.

 

Rhodey smiled as he looked between the two. “It seems to me like you think he’s pretty funny.”

 

“Yeah, well. I have a secret. If I laugh along with his jokes and pretend that he’s awesome, then he let’s blow things up in the lab.”

 

“Hey! Pretend that I’m awesome? I am awesome!”

 

“Sure you are,” Rhodey deadpanned.

 

Peter started laughing at the look on his mentor’s face. “Aw, man, that’s great!” he gasped.

 

“I feel attacked!” He placed a hand over his heart and started staggering around before he collapsed to the ground in a fit of laughter. Even Rhodey was laughing now. After about five minutes, when everyone had calmed down, Tony suggested that they get something to eat. Rhodey declined, saying that he had some stuff to do.

 

Peter, who was always hungry, agreed enthusiastically. They decided to go out to Tony’s favorite shwarma place. Peter rolled his eyes when it was suggested, but he didn’t argue.

 

Tony decided to drive his Audi so that he didn’t have to listen to Happy’s grumblings.

 

They made it two blocks from their destination before peter’s Spidey Sense went off. He tensed up, not knowing what to expect before he grabbed the steering wheel and yanked it to the right. A truck slammed into the rear of the car, and the front end of the Audi swung around, colliding with the bed of the truck.

 

Both vehicles skidded to a stop, and Peter and Tony sat breathing heavily. “Are you okay, Peter?” Tony asked.

 

Peter took a few breaths as he tried to determine if he had any injuries. “I think so,” he answered. “Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine. Thanks to you,” he said as he reached to unfasten his seatbelt.

 

“Wait,” Peter said as he grabbed his mentor’s hand.

 

“What?”

 

“I don’t know. Just wait.” Peter looked around for the threat that set his hair on end. He couldn’t see much with the truck obscuring most of the view. Then he spotted a man running toward their car.

 

“Him?” Tony asked.

 

Peter hesitated for a moment before he shook his head. “No… It’s something else.”

 

The words had bearly left his lips when his window shattered. He screamed and covered his head while Tony tried to pull him away from the broken glass. They looked up, and Peter tried to block an incoming fist, but it was difficult in the small space. He gasped when he felt a hand in his hair, and he brought his hands up to latch on to the limb.

 

The assailant slammed his head into the dash, and Tony started screaming obscenities as he tried to yank the hand from Peter’s hair. A noise between a sob and a scream burst from Peter as his face was slammed down again. This time he felt his nose break under the pressure. He coughed on blood as it slid down his throat.

 

He flung his elbow out in an attempt to dislodge the hand, but he hit the edge of the door, and his head hit the dash again. His world went black, and his eyes slid shut as he fell into unconsciousness.

 

-----

 

Peter groaned when he woke. His head and nose were throbbing. He opened his eyes to pitch darkness. He lifted a hand to examine the injury, but before he could lift it to his face, it bumped into something. His breathing picked up as he felt around himself. When he realized that he was in a box that was bearly big enough to fit him, he panicked. He kicked out with his feet, pounded on the walls, and screamed for help. Nothing happened. No one came, and the box didn’t open. He didn’t know if anyone could hear him. His screams were probably muffled, and, depending on where he was, there might not be anyone around to hear even those.

 

Eventually, he tired himself out and laid there crying. Small spaces hadn’t been his friend ever since Vulture had dropped a building on him. He was scared, hurt, and he didn’t know where he was. He wanted May.

 

He tried to think of anything that could help him. All he remembered was the crash, and then someone broke the window and bashed his face against the dash until he passed out. He hoped that Tony was okay.

 

He could feel the air getting thinner. It was getting harder to breathe, and he felt light-headed. He could feel himself fading; he knew that if he fell asleep, he may never wake again. He tried to keep himself awake, to will more oxygen to flow into his tiny prison.

 

He wondered how May would find out. Would they ever find his body? He remembered her laugh, the way her eyes would light up every time. He remembered the fond looks Tony sent his way when he thought he wouldn’t get caught. He remembered his parents and Ben and was glad that he would get to see them again.

 

He closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.

 

-----

 

“Peter! Please, Peter! You can’t do this to me! You can’t do this to May!”

 

Peter’s chest hurt. Someone was pounding on it.

 

“Breathe, Peter! Come on! I know you can do it!”

 

He felt something press over his mouth and force air into his lungs. He coughed as he sucked in cool, fresh air.

 

“Oh, thank God!” someone shouted as he was pulled against something warm.

 

He continued coughing as awareness slowly flooded back. He could feel his whole body trembling. He blinked his eyes open and looked into the tear-streaked face of his mentor. “Mr. Stark?”

 

“Yeah, kid. It’s me. You’re okay now,” he assured. He pulled Peter tight against his chest and rocked back and forth. “You weren’t breathing. I thought I had lost you.”

 

“What happened?”

 

“They wanted some information. They thought they could use you against me to get it.”

 

“Did it work?”

 

The man snorted. “When we crashed, F.R.I.D.A.Y. received a distress signal and alerted Happy. He told Rhodey, and they busted me out. Then we made them tell us where you were, and now I’m here.”

 

Peter hugged Tony back. “Thank you for finding me,” he whispered through tears.

 

“I’ll always find you, Peter. No matter what.”

Chapter Text

Peter knew it had been a bad idea. He told Ned that he didn’t want to go. Flash hated them, why should they go to his party? But then Ned wouldn’t stop asking. He finally agreed to so that he didn’t have to listen to him anymore.

 

Now Peter was standing in the corner while he watched Ned play Beast Slayer with a few of the other kids. He had almost left, but he couldn’t leave Ned there alone. Not after what happened last time.

 

So, he stood in the corner, arms crossed as he tried not to draw attention to himself.

 

After about twenty minutes, he couldn’t stand still anymore. He decided to get a drink and find somewhere quiet until Ned was ready to leave.

 

He made his way to the kitchen, and someone handed him a plastic cup filled with punch. He examined it, looked around for whoever gave it to him, shrugged, and took a swig. It was actually pretty good, so he sucked the rest down before he threw the cup away.

 

He made his way toward the back door; he had almost made it when he was shoved from behind. He stumbled and flung his hands out to stop himself from falling. He was met with empty air, lost his balance, and fell down a set of stairs. He yelped on the way down before he sprawled on the floor. He looked up toward the light to see Flash smirking down at him before the door slammed shut. He was plunged into darkness; the only light was a sliver coming from under the door.

 

“Jerk.”

 

He closed his eyes and groaned. He laid on the floor for a minute while he caught his breath before he sat up and rubbed a sore spot on his hip. He stood and started to make his way up the stairs when he heard someone say his name.

 

“Peter…”

 

It was quiet at the end; he almost couldn’t hear it. “Hello?” he whispered into the darkness. He strained to hear the voice again. After a few seconds, he shook his head and turned to go back upstairs. He took one step, looked up, and screamed. He fell back down the three stairs he had managed to climb, landing on his tailbone with a painful thump. His breath was coming in harsh pants as he looked into the eyes of his dead uncle.

 

“Ben?” he asked.

 

“Hey, Peter,” he said warmly.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“I needed to tell you something.”

 

“What are you talking about? You’re- you died,” he whispered the last part as tears welled in his eyes.

 

“Yes, I remember,” he responded. “You killed me.”

 

Peter sucked in a sharp breath as tears trailed down his cheeks. “N-no. I tried to save you. I-I tried-”

 

“You didn’t try hard enough!” Ben stood as he shouted down at his nephew. He took several steps forward while Peter took several steps back.

 

“I know! I’m s-so sorry, Ben. I’m sorry.”

 

“It should have been you! Then I would be at home with my wife! We would have been happy without you!”

 

“No! No,” Peter sobbed as he collapsed to his knees.

 

“Yes,” Ben responded. Peter looked up, and all he could see was his uncle’s cold, dead eyes. He gasped when blood dripped onto the floor. “This is what you did to me. If you hadn’t been so selfish, I would still be alive right now! I wish you had died with your parents!”

 

Peter’s eyes snapped up. “No. No, this is all wrong,” he whispered to himself. “You’re not him! You’re not real!” he shouted as he launched to his feet. “Who are you? Why are you doing this?”

 

“I am real. I’m the man you killed.”

 

“No! You’re lying! You’re not Ben!”

 

Not Ben seemed to shrink back. He appeared startled; he took a step back.

 

“He would never say those things to me! You’re a liar!”

 

Ben fell to his knees and dropped his head. His body shook with silent sobs, and Peter almost felt bad. Until Not Ben looked up, and it was him instead.

 

“No! Stop it! This isn’t real!” Peter closed his eyes and clamped his hands over his ears. He could feel hot tears on his face; he could smell the salt in them. He could feel his breath whooshing in and out of his chest; it was coming so fast that it burned. His eyes burned, and his hip hurt, and the house thumped with the music. He just wanted it all to stop!

 

“Just stop! Please, stop!”

 

“Peter?”

 

-----

 

Tony groaned when his phone rang for the fourth time. “Can’t I just have a moment of peace? Is that too much to ask?” he muttered under his breath. He searched for his phone, but it was buried under a mountain of blueprints and tools. He finally threw his hands in the air, grumbling in defeat before it stopped ringing. He held his breath for all of five seconds before it started up again. “Gah! Who keeps calling me, F.R.I.?” he asked.

 

“Ned Leeds, Boss.”

 

“Ned? He only calls when…” he trailed off as realization hit him. “Answer!”

 

The was a click before a shaky voice came on. “Mr. Stark?”

 

“Hey, Ned, what’s up?” He tried to remain calm, but he could feel his hands shaking.

 

“Um, I’m sorry to bother you, but I was at a party and-”

 

“Skip the boring stuff, kid.”

 

“Right, sorry. Peter and I went to a party, and now I can’t find him. He promised he wouldn’t leave.”

 

“Okay, just a second.” He hit mute before he asked F.R.I.D.A.YF.R.I.D.A.Y. to track Peter’s phone. She pulled a map and pinpointed Peter’s phone. He unmuted the call before he said, “I tracked his phone. It says he’s standing right next to you.”

 

“What? Where? I can’t see him!”

 

“He could be on a different level of the house.”

 

“Okay, I’ll look upstairs.”

 

Tony waited in painful impatience as Ned checked the whole house.

 

“I can’t find him or his phone anywhere.”

 

Tony scrubbed a hand over his face before he made up his mind. “Okay, Ned, I’m on my way. Just hold tight.” He hung up and raced to the garage. He would deny it if anyone asked, but he was really worried. He drove faster than was safe and made it to Flash’s house in less than twenty minutes.

 

Ned was waiting on the front lawn when he pulled up. He rushed over and started talking a mile a minute. Tony tuned him out and walked in the front door. He saw clear evidence of alcohol, and an idea struck him. He snatched Ned’s phone out of his hands. He grabbed Ned’s arm and pushed him into a corner. “I’m gonna call the cop!” he shouted over the music. Everyone froze for a split second before the room erupted in chaos. People were screaming and running for the nearest exit. Tony laughed when he watched a kid jump out of the window. After about two minutes, the house was clear, minus a guy in a speedo passed out on the counter and a very angry looking D.J.

 

‘What the hell, man?! You just ruined my party!” Flash screamed.

 

“Yeah, well, it wasn’t that great to start with,” Tony responded. He turned to Ned. “You check upstairs.”

 

“What if he left with everyone else?”

 

“This is Peter we’re talking about. He would have stayed behind to make sure everyone was okay.”

 

Ned nodded and ran upstairs.

 

Tony turned back to the D.J. “Is this your house?” When he got a nod in response, he continued, “Is there a basement?”

 

“Yeah, it’s over-” He cut off when they heard shouting. “-there…” He pointed to a door down a hallway, and Tony quickly made his way toward it.

 

He yanked the door open and saw Peter at the bottom of the stairs, tears running down his face. His hands were covering his ears, and his eyes were squeezed shut as he cried. He sucked in a breath and shouted, “Just stop! Please, stop!”

 

“Peter?” Tony asked as he made his way down the stairs. He stopped a couple of feet from the teen and looked into his wide, scared eyes.

 

“It’s not real. You’re not real,” he whispered under his breath.

 

“I’m real, Peter. I’m here.” Tony slowly reached out and placed a hand on Peter’s shoulder. “See? I’m real.”

 

Peter looked at him for a moment before a sob bubbled out. He threw himself into his mentor’s arms and cried into his chest. “Make it stop.”

 

“What buddy?” he asked as he wrapped his arms around his kid.

 

“They won’t leave me alone!”

 

“Okay. Let’s get out of the creepy basement and back to the tower, and I’ll figure it out.”

 

“Okay,” Peter whispered.

 

“Great. Let’s go.”

 

He led Peter upstairs to his car and buckled him in. He turned to Ned and asked him if he had a ride. Ned nodded, and Tony went around to the driver’s side and slid in. He raced back to the tower while Peter twitched and muttered under his breath. Sometimes he would start screaming and thrashing around, telling some non-existent being to stop lying.

 

When they finally arrived, Tony had to half carry half drag the teen to the med bay. Cho took some blood, and Tony sat with Peter for three and a half hours while he floated between lucidity and screaming at nothing. He tried to comfort him, but half the time, Peter thought he wasn’t real.

 

Cho had come back after an hour and told Tony that he had L.S.D.L.S.D. in his blood and that there wasn’t much they could do other than wait it out. They hoped that it wouldn’t last too long with hi metabolism since the symptoms manifested so fast.

 

Tony sighed in relief when Peter was finally lucid enough to recognize that he was real. He helped him get comfortable on the bed. He helped him drink some water before Cho took some more blood.

 

Peter was exhausted, and he laid on his side as his eyelids grew heavy. Tony ran a hand through his hair and was silently grateful that Peter was okay.

 

“Is Ned okay?” Peter whispered.

 

Tony laughed. “Ned’s fine, kid.”

 

“That’s good.”

 

“Yeah.” He sighed. “We’re going to have to do something about your Parker Luck.”

 

“Let me know if you find the cure,” Peter mumbled before he drifted off.

 

Tony smiled and continued to comb his fingers through the teen’s curly locks. “I will, kid.”

Chapter Text

It had been three weeks since May had kicked him out. When he told her that he was Spider-Man, she had been shocked. Then he told her that he had been bitten a month before Ben had died. She snapped. She started screaming at him about how he could have saved her husband. He had been right there, and Peter didn’t stop it. She threw things at him, cried, yelled, threw more things at him. Peter had just taken it. He knew that it was his fault. Knew that he could have stopped it; he should have done more. It was his fault Ben was dead.

 

She told him to get out. When he started heading toward his room, she had stopped him. She stomped into his room, grabbed his homemade spider suit, and threw it at him. She threw it at him and told him to get out. I never want to see your face again!

 

He played her last words over and over; he couldn’t stop thinking about it. She hates me. I can never go back. It’s all my fault. I should have died in his place .

 

When he had left that night, he had no idea what to do. He had put on his suit, found an abandoned apartment building, and had been sleeping there ever since. Finding shelter was easy; food was a whole other story. He hadn’t had a decent meal since he’d been on his own. He’d been so hungry that he’d resorted to dumpster diving.

 

One night, he had been patrolling, and he had come across a restaurant that threw out tons of good food every night. He had to be careful of being caught; the third time he’d been there, the owner had seen him and chased him off with a bat. Peter had been cautious ever since.

 

Now, he was trying to stop a mugging. The man had a man, not much older than twenty-two, at knifepoint. The guy had a green ski mask on. Why green? He wondered. Maybe he’s new to the whole criminals-wear-black thing. He shot a web at Newbie’s knife hand and yanked it away from his victim.

 

“Hey, man, why don’t you just get a job?” he asked when the man turned to him. “I mean, you find some unlucky pedestrian and take the twenty bucks they have. That lasts what? A day?” He shot a web at the wallet and pulled it out of his hand. “I know of seven places that are hiring within three blocks of here. You know what? Nevermind. I don’t think they hire criminals.”

 

Both of them stared at him in shock for a moment before Twenty-something turned and punched Newbie in the face. The man sputtered and brought a hand to his bloody nose. “Wow,” Peter said before he threw Twenty-something his wallet; he nodded his thanks before he turned and ran.

 

Newbie shouted and came after Peter with the knife. He dodged to the side and turned to grab the knife. His Spidey Sense went off, and he caught an empty hand.

 

Peter cried out when he felt a sharp pain in his side. He looked down at the knife that was now in the man’s left hand and buried deep in his flesh.

 

Peter gasped, grabbed the knife and shoved Newbie away. The blade jerked to the side but stayed in place. Peter yelped and webbed the guy to the wall before he shot a web to the building and launched to the roof. He landed on his feet but stumbled and ended up on his knees.

 

Peter groaned and wrapped a hand around the hilt of the knife. He knew he couldn’t pul it out yet. He needed supplies first. He thought about spraying a layer of web around it to help slow the bleeding, but he knew he would need to take it out soon, and that would make it more difficult. He really wished that he could go to May. She was a nurse; she would know what to do. But he knew that she wouldn’t help him.

 

He had supplies in the apartment building that he had been staying in, so he started to make his way there. He had to stop after just a few minutes. It hurt too much, and he couldn’t walk back, it was way too far. He looked around for a possible solution and spotted a rundown looking house. It looked like someone lived there, but there wasn’t a car in the driveway. There wasn’t a garage, so he hoped that no one was home.

 

He went around and found a side door. He looked around to make sure no one was watching and tried the knob. It was locked, so he just forced the door open. He cringed when it creaked loudly and quickly shut it. He tried to listen for occupants, but all he could hear was the blood rushing in his ears and his harsh panting.

 

He crept forward and turned down the hall. He found the bathroom and turned on the light when he noticed that there wasn’t a window. He opened cupboards and finally found a pretty impressive first aid kit under the sink. He set it on the counter and opened it. He smiled and grabbed a suture kit and some gauze; he set it out on the counter and took off his mask and gloves before he grabbed the rubbing alcohol and poured it over his hands. He took a deep breath and poured some over the knife, groaning at the burn. He was going to pull the knife out, stitch the wound shut, and wrap it with gauze. He hoped that his pitiful intake of food didn’t slow his healing too much.

 

He closed his eyes and tried to prepare himself. He gripped the knife and pulled it straight out. He couldn’t hold in a whimper when the pain ignited again. He dropped the knife into the sink and realized that he had tears streaming down his face. He wiped his sleeve across his face and reached for the suture kit.

 

He turned when his sixth sense went off and immediately hunched forward, wrapping his hands over his injury. He gasped and backed away when he saw a hand shoot toward him.

 

“Wait!” he pleaded as he backed against a wall. “I’m sorry I broke in, I-I just n-needed some supplies. I-I can pay you a-and fix your d-door…” He trailed off when he looked up and saw none other than Captain America. “Oh, God,” Peter whispered. Of all the houses I could have broken into. He wanted to say more, but he could feel blood oozing between his fingers. Black spots danced in his vision, and he was suddenly dizzy. He could feel himself shivering and sweating at the same time.

 

“-d! Hey, kid!”

 

He looked up and realized that he had slid to the floor. He saw hands reaching toward him, but he didn’t possess the energy to flinch away or fight back. Why is it so cold? He fell forward into the waiting arms and was grateful that they were there to stop him from faceplanting.

 

“Shit! Kid! Come on; you need to stay awake!”

 

“Nnnn.” He wasn’t sure what he was trying to say, but that definitely wasn’t it.

 

He felt himself being lifted, and he cried out when it jostled his wound.

 

“Sorry! Just hold on.”

 

He felt something soft beneath him; it was the nicest thing he’d felt since- for a while. There was a ripping sound and then cool air against his skin. He shivered and tried to protest, but he could only manage weak moans. Then agony flared through his body, and he screamed.

 

“I’m so sorry! I have to slow the bleeding and then I’m going to call an ambulance-”

 

A surge of energy flashed through his veins, and his hand shot out to knock the phone away. “You c-can’t. Please.”

 

“I…”

 

Peter pried his eyes open and looked the man in the eye. “Please,” he pleaded. No one can know about my powers. Who knows what they’ll do with an enhanced homeless kid. I’ll probably never see the light of day again.

 

The hero must have seen his fear because he slowly nodded. “Okay, but you’re bleeding out. There could be more damage than I can see. You could die.” There was a pleading look in his eyes as he spoke.

 

Peter didn’t want to die on his couch, but he was terrified of being found out. There’s no one left to care if I die anyway. “No, h-hospital,” he choked out before the world was swallowed by darkness.

 

-----

 

When Peter opened his eyes, he was met with the worried face of Captain America. He blinked several times as the blond came into focus.

 

“Hey, kid. I’m so glad you’re awake. I was worried you weren’t going to make it.” Peter groaned and placed a hand over his now bandaged injury. “I had to cauterize it. The bleeding wasn’t slowing down, and I didn’t know what else to do. You were pretty adamant about not going to the hospital.”

 

“Thank you,” Peter rasped.

 

“Here, let me help you sit up, and then you can have some water and food.”

 

After some painful maneuvering, Peter was propped up on some pillows. He drank the water in greedy gulps before he eyed the plate of french toast and eggs. Steve handed them over, and Peter started inhaling the food. He was told to slow down several times, but he couldn’t deny his body the fuel it desperately needed. He asked for a second and third plate before he was satisfied.

 

“You eat like I do.” Steve chuckled as he took the dishes to the sink. He came back and sat down; a serious look crossed his face, and Peter looked away. “I need you to tell me what happened. I know that you’re Spider-Man-” Peter’s breathing sped up, and the blond quickly added, “I won’t tell anyone, but I need to know what happened.”

 

Peter thought about whether or not he should trust this man. He hasn’t hurt me; he actually saved my life. He didn’t take me to the hospital. He’s a good guy… “I stopped a mugging, and the bad guy got a good shot in.”

 

“You almost died.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Where’s home?”

 

Peter laughed. It was dark and void of any joy. “Nowhere, anywhere.” He shrugged.

 

“You’re homeless? What about your family?”

 

“My parents died a long time ago. My uncle died a couple of months ago. When my aunt found out who I was, she kicked me out.”

 

“Because you have powers?”

 

“No. Because I killed my uncle.”

 

“You- what? That can’t be right.”

 

“Shows what you know,” Peter muttered.

 

“I don’t believe you.”

 

So Peter told him what happened. How Ben wouldn’t have been out if Peter hadn’t run away. How he could have stopped the gunman. “It was my fault. I-”

 

“Stop,” Steve barked.

 

This is it. Now he knows that I’m a killer; he’ll hate me just as much as she does. Peter buried his head in his hands and cried. I don’t deserve kindness.

 

“There is no way it was your fault. You didn’t pull the trigger. You stayed and held him and tried to save him; he didn’t die alone because of you. He was with the person he loved most in the end. Your aunt is wrong to think that there was any way a fourteen-year-old kid with newly acquired powers could have stopped it. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I am not going to sit here and listen to you blame yourself for something that you had no control over.”

 

Peter stared at him in shock as tears rolled down his cheeks. He closed his eyes as a sob tore its way out of his throat. He was pulled against Steve’s warm chest, and he gripped the man’s shirt in his fists. He cried for his parents, for Ben, for every person that he couldn’t save. He cried for his aunt. I never want to see your face again! He cried for the forgiveness he needed, from May and from himself.

 

After a few minutes, he pulled back and wiped his eyes. “Thank you,” he whispered.

 

“No problem, buddy.”

 

“My name’s Peter.”

 

“It’s nice to meet you, Peter. I’m Steve.”

 

“I know,” Peter said with a laugh.

 

“How about you stay here for a while. I have an extra room. You could teach me how to navigate the twenty-first century. I still haven’t gotten the hang of it.”


Peter smiled. “Okay,” he whispered. Maybe one person will care if I die.

Chapter Text

Peter is Tony’s son and is home alone when someone breaks in. Use the B&E about Jamie as a template.

 

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay on your own?” Tony asked.

 

Peter smiled and rolled his eyes. “I’m fifteen, dad. I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay on my own for two days.”

 

“You’re right; I’m just a little worried.”

 

“I’ll be fine. You can call me when you land.”

 

“Yeah. Okay, I have to go. Call me anytime. I put Rhodey’s number on the fridge and the number to my hotel, just in case.”

 

“You’re going to miss your plane, dad.”

 

“It’s my plane; they won’t leave me.”

 

Peter hugged his dad and watched him drive away. He wouldn’t admit it, but he was a little nervous about being left alone. His dad had been on hundreds of business trips in the past fifteen years, but this was the first time he wouldn’t have a babysitter.

 

It was Saturday morning, so he didn’t have to worry about school. His dad would be home on Sunday night. He had some homework and chores to do, but he didn’t have any other responsibilities. He wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or have anyone over. He wasn’t allowed in the lab either. He figured he could do his homework and chores by lunch and then have the rest of the time to do whatever.

 

His dad called just after 11:00 saying that he had landed and that he’d check back in when he got up in the morning.

 

Peter’s homework took a little longer then he thought, so he ate lunch before he did the dishes, vacuumed, and put away the laundry. Once he was done, he decided to take a shower.

 

Peter dressed in sweats and a t-shirt before he combed his hair. He went downstairs to watch a movie. He made popcorn, put the movie in, and was about to sit down when he realized that his watch was up in his room. He sighed and put his snack down before he stood and headed toward the stairs. That’s when he heard glass break. He froze in place until he heard hushed voices. He thought about making a run for his room; there was a panic button on his watch. His dad insisted on him wearing it at all times for this reason. He didn’t think he’d make it undetected. Even if he did, it would take time for someone to get there.

 

Making his decision, he crept up the stairs and into the linen closet. His dad had designed the house, and he had insisted on several hidden rooms. Peter opened the hatch near the floor and climbed in. He closed the hatch and crawled into the secret room. It was six feet by six feet, just big enough to lay down in. There wasn’t much in it, just a few of Peter’s old stuffed animals and toys. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had been there.

 

He heard at least two sets of footsteps come up the stairs and walk down the hall. Peter held his breath and hoped they didn’t find him. A few minutes later, the people came back and went down the stairs. He waited ten minutes before he slowly made his way out of the room. He really needed to get to his watch.

 

Peter peeked his head out to see if the way was clear. When he didn’t see or hear anyone, he quietly left the closet and headed toward his room. When he was passing his dad’s room, he froze. There was a masked man inside; his back was turned toward the door. Peter took a step back and turned to go back to his hiding place.

 

Another man was standing at the top of the stairs. Peter’s breathing sped up; he didn’t know what to do. The man took a step forward, and Peter turned and ran to his room.

 

“Stop!” the man shouted.

 

Peter ran faster. He made it to his room and went straight for the watch. His fingers had just reached toward it when he was tackled to the ground. He yelped when he was pinned to the ground by a man much larger than he was. He kicked out, twisted, punched as he tried to escape the hold.

 

“Stop!” the man yelled.

 

“Get off!”

 

Peter’s head snapped to the side when he was punched in the face. “I said, stop!”

 

Peter’s only response was to thrash harder. “Get off! Let me go!”

 

“Stupid punk!” the man growled before he managed to grab both of Peter’s hands.

 

“No!” Peter yelled as the man pinned his hands under his knees; he could feel tears gather as he watched his assailant’s fist fly toward his face. The teen yelped as his head snapped to the side. He felt his tears slip free after the second hit.

 

“Are you done fighting?” Peter took a breath and nodded. “Good. Now, here’s the deal. I’m going to bring you downstairs, and then you are going to answer some questions. If you try anything, I’ll make you regret it. Do you understand?” Peter nodded again, and the man stood, yanking Peter up with him. When Peter looked up, he saw two other men standing in the doorway. He stumbled when he was pushed forward.

 

The other two men led the way, and once they were in the living room, Peter was shoved into a chair. One of the men stood behind him, one stood off to the right, and the man that had attacked him stood directly in front of him.

 

“We’ll start easy. What’s your name?”

 

He thought about lying, but they might already know. They had a pretty impressive security system, so these guys probably knew who owned the house. “Peter.”

 

“You Stark’s kid?” Peter nodded. “Where is dear old dad?”

 

“He’s in Florida,” he whispered.

 

“Good.”

 

“What do you want?”

 

“I used to work at SI. Stark fired me for no reason. I’m here to get what’s mine.”

 

Peter looked at the others before his eyes went back to Psycho’s brown eyes. “What are you looking for?”

 

“I designed something that he stole and passed off as his idea. I’m here for the plans, which is where you come in. I need the code to the lab.”

 

Peter’s swallowed nervously. “I don’t have the code.”

 

Psycho’s face darkened; he shot forward and wrapped a hand around the teen’s neck. “I think you’re lying to me,” he growled.

 

“No! I’m n-not!” He cried out when he was thrown to the floor. He crawled backward until he hit a wall. He looked up and felt fresh tears escape his eyes. “I’m not allowed in the lab when my dad isn’t here. My code won’t work!” He flinched when Psycho pulled his fist back.

 

“What’s the code!”

 

“Mine won’t work!” He yelped when he was kicked in the side. “178629!” He took a shaky breath. Even if it didn’t work, the code would send a notification to his dad. Tony would know that something was wrong right away.

 

Psycho turned to one of the men. “Go try it.” The man nodded and headed for the basement. Less than a minute later, he came back.

 

“It’s his code, but it didn’t work.”

 

“Alright, get it open,” Psycho demanded. The man nodded and left.

 

Peter startled when a hand wrapped around his arm and yanked him to his feet. He was shoved into the chair again.

 

“Too bad daddy didn’t give you an emergency code, huh?”

 

Peter’s breath hitched, and he hoped no one noticed. If he had to, he could scan his handprint and enter an emergency code to get in. His dad had set it up after he had fallen asleep in the lab. When Peter came down, he couldn’t wake him right away and thought he had died. When Tony had woken, he found his son hunched over his knees, bawling his eyes out. He decided then that Peter was old enough to have a way in.

 

Psycho must have noticed his nervousness. “There is one, isn’t there?” Peter’s head shot up as his breathing increased.

 

“N-no,” he insisted.

 

“Liar.” He backhanded Peter so hard he fell to the floor. He kicked the teen in the ribs several times before he reached down and twisted his left arm up behind his back. “What’s the code?”

 

Peter let out a sob and shook his head. “There is-isn’t one.” He screamed when his shoulder popped out of the socket.

 

“Tell me the code!” he screamed before he dropped the teen’s arm.

 

Peter rolled onto his side and cradled his arm to his chest. He cried quietly as he watched the man stomp into the kitchen. He could hear him rummaging through drawers and cupboards. He didn’t want to know what he was looking for. A minute later, he knew. The man walked back in with a knife in one hand and a roll of duct tape in the other. Peter closed his eyes and sobbed into the carpet. Unless his dad called the cops, no one would get there in time to help him.

 

Psycho walked over and grabbed Peter’s left arm, tearing another scream from his lips before he pushed him onto his stomach. He grabbed his other wrist and wrapped the duct tape around then several times before he flipped the teen onto his back. Peter gasped at the pain that shot down his arm at the pressure it put on his shoulder. The man straddled him and rested the knife on Peter’s chest.

 

“You have five seconds to tell me the code before I hurt you.”

 

Peter closed his eyes and cried harder. He gasped when the knife bit into his flesh. He felt blood well and spill down his side as the knife was dragged down. Peter choked on a scream as he jerked away from the pain.

 

“Ready to talk?”

 

Peter took a breath. How long would it be before someone came? Was he holding out for nothing? His dad wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. Just as the knife was coming down again, he opened his mouth. “You need m-my handprint and a-another code,” he whispered.

 

“What’s the code?”

 

“926871.”

 

The man chuckled and shook his head. “ Alright, let’s go.” He stood and pulled Peter to his feet. He gasped when his vision spun. He fell against Psycho as a dizzy spell hit him full force. He didn’t have time to recover before he was being dragged toward the basement. He stumbled down the stairs and into the wall. The tape was cut from his wrists. He managed to get his hand to the nearly invisible scanner before he punched in the code. A green light blinked up at him as the door hissed open.

 

Peter cried out when he was pushed aside. He watched the three men walk into the lab and look around in curiosity. Peter took the opportunity to punch in a new code. The door shut, and the lock engaged. The men all turned toward him in shock. Peter turned to make his way up the stairs. He had just made it to the top when the front door flew open. Peter sobbed in relief when his dad ran in. He collapsed to his knees just as Tony reached him.

 

“I’m sorry, dad. They’re in the lab.”

 

“It’s okay. I’m here.”

 

Tony called the police, and the men were arrested. Peter was taken to the hospital and fixed up before he was cleared to go home. His dad helped him into bed before he asked,” How are you doing?”

 

Peter shrugged. “I thought you were in Florida.”

 

Tony gave him a look that said they weren’t done with that conversation. “Yeah, about that. I never left the city. I was… On a date.”

 

“What?”

 

“Remember the new personal assistant that I hired?”

 

“Pepper?”

 

“Yeah, turns out she’s hot, and my big mouth made sure she knew it. She asked me out.”

 

“Was this the first date?”

 

“No… It’s been going on for a few weeks. I didn’t want to tell you until I knew if it was going anywhere.”

 

“Is it?”

 

“I think so.”

 

“She’s nice.”

 

“Yes, she is.”

 

They lapsed into silence. Tony thought Peter had fallen asleep before he spoke.

 

“I was really scared. I’m sorry I gave them the code. I didn’t know if anyone was going to come.”

 

“I’m glad you did. I wish you had sooner.”

 

“I love you, dad.”

 

“I love you too, Peter.” He kissed his son’s hair and waited for him to fall asleep. He vowed to upgrade his security. No one would ever hurt his son again.

Chapter Text

Two days after the incident at Flash’s house, Peter found a note in his locker. It said, ‘I heard you had a bad trip.’ Peter looked around, but he couldn’t see who could have put it there. He shrugged and threw the note in the garbage; he figured it was Flash trying to be funny.

 

The next day, he found a second note. This one read, ‘I know who you are.’ He felt his hair stand on end. What the heck? Could they mean they know I’m Spider-Man? He looked around, hoping he could spot the creeper that was tormenting him. It’s just Flash being a bully. He threw the note away and moved on.

 

Three days later, Peter had a nightmare. He was back in Flash’s basement, and Ben was telling him that everything was his fault. You killed me! It’s your fault! He shot out of bed with a scream trapped in his throat. May ran in and pulled him into a hug; she stroked his hair as he cried until he fell back to sleep.

 

It had been a week since the party, and Peter still hadn’t gotten over what happened. He was having a hard time sleeping, and someone was putting notes in his locker. He knew the first two were just the beginning, but he hoped that it was just Flash being a jerk.

 

He managed to make it through school without too much trouble. Flash called him names, but that was normal. He grabbed a sandwich from Delmar’s and found an alley to change in. He hid his bag in a fire escape and swung around the city. It was his favorite time of day. He talked to Karen, helped people, and got to fly between the buildings at the end of his webs. It was the greatest feeling in the world.

 

After a few hours of patrolling, Peter made his way home. He was supposed to have dinner with May before she had to work a double shift. He walked in the door just as she was setting the table. They talked about school and work before Peter washed the dishes. May left, telling him to do his homework and stay out of trouble.

 

Peter went to his room to do as she asked. He opened his bag and put his suit away. He pulled out a textbook and set it on his desk before he grabbed a notebook and a pencil. He froze when he saw a piece of paper at the bottom of his bag. His hair stood on end as he reached in and took it out.

 

‘I’m coming for you.’

 

Peter was jumpy the next day. He couldn’t concentrate in class; he practically ran from the building as soon as the bell rang. He stopped two blocks away and rummaged through his bag for a note that he hoped wasn’t there. He almost cried when he found one.

 

‘I know who you are, Spider-Man. Unless you want me to tell the world your identity, I suggest that you meet with me tonight.’ At the bottom, there was an address and a time. Peter took a shaky breath.

 

He skipped patrol and went straight home. He tried to distract himself until 11:45. Time seemed to crawl at a snail’s pace, and he thought he would die of anticipation. At 11:37, he couldn’t wait anymore. He put his suit on and swung to the address as fast as he could.

 

“Hey, Karen?”

 

“Yes, Peter?”

 

“If anything happens, send a distress signal to Mr. Stark.”

 

“Of course, Peter.”

 

He nodded and stared down at the rundown parking garage. He waited ten minutes before he swung onto the top level. He looked around for whoever he was supposed to be meeting with. He made his way down through the levels and was beginning to think no one was going to show when his muscles seized up, and a scream echoed through the concrete structure. He collapsed to his hands and knees as he panted for breath.

 

A figure walked around him and stopped directly in front of Peter.

 

“I didn’t know if you were going to show.”

 

Peter looked up and gasped. “It’s you. But- I thought-”

 

“Shut up,” the man barked. Peter stopped talking and pushed himself back onto his knees. He could see the contraption connected to the man’s hand. He heard the electricity crackling and had to suppress a shudder. “I’ve been following you for a while. I couldn’t believe it when Toomes told me you were Spider-Man.”

 

“It was you. You roofied me at the party.”

 

“ Yeah, I followed you there. Some of the kids were getting high. I paid one of them to slip you the drink I spiked. I hoped you’d overdose, and that would be that. Turns out, I should have made it stronger.”

 

Peter stood and balled his hands into fists. He dodged the device and jumped up to cling to the ceiling. “Karen!” He was met with silence before he tried to shoot a web. When nothing happened, the man laughed.

 

“Nice try, kid. I modified it to act like an EMP to anything it comes into contact with.”

 

Peter was starting to panic. How do I fight him when I can’t even use my webs?! He jumped back when is Spidey Sense went off. He felt his skin prickle when electricity arched toward him. He let go of the ceiling and ran toward the nearest exit. I need a weapon!

 

“Where are you going? The fight’s over here!”

 

Peter ran outside and looked around for anything he could use as a weapon. He managed to find a piece of rebar that was about two feet long. It will have to do. He hid behind a pillar and waited for Herman to get close enough. Just as he was walking past, Peter jumped out and swung the rebar down on his back. The man screamed and collapsed to the ground in a heap before he went still.

 

Peter brought the metal up to strike again if he needed to. He prodded the man with his toe to make sure he was out. He’s down; I just need to get the shocky thing away from him. He dropped the rebar and knelt to grab the man’s wrist. He fell back with a scream when white-hot fire coursed through his veins.

 

He laid on the ground as he tried to catch his breath. He saw the man move out of the corner of his eye and tried to sit up. He didn’t make it far before his discarded weapon came down on his arm. He cried out when he heard something snap as he sprawled back across the ground.

 

He cradled his limb to his chest as the man loomed over him. “I thought you’d have more fight in you. Oh, well.” He shrugged and brought the metal up for another blow. Peter took a breath and kicked the man in the chest with as much strength as he could muster. He flew back and fell to the ground; the rebar fell from his grasp, and he laid still.

 

Peter grunted and stood; he walked over and removed the shocking device. He climbed the fence and dropped down on the other side to grab his bag. He pulled out his phone and called the police. He waited until they arrived before he called Tony.

 

“This better be good. I was in the middle of something.”

 

“H-hey, Mr. Stark. Could you… Can you come get me?”

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“You could say I’ve had a really bad week.”

 

“I’m on my way, kid. Just hang tight.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Peter changed into jeans and a hoodie while he waited for his mentor. Tony pulled up to the curb twenty minutes later.

 

“What happened?” he asked when he saw cuts and bruises on Peter’s face.

 

“I got into a fight. Do you think Dr. Cho can look at my arm?”

 

“What’s wrong with it?”

 

“I think it’s broken.”

 

Tony pulled out into the road. “What happened?”

 

“A man that used to work for Toomes has been harassing me for a week. He’s the one that put LSD in my drink. He’s been putting notes in my locker and backpack. The last one said that he knew I was Spider-Man, and if I didn’t meet him, he’d tell the world who I was.”

 

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“I told Karen to send out a distress signal if anything happened, but he shut my suit down before she could.”

 

“I’m glad you’re okay, kid. I’ll look into everyone that has a connection to Toomes and make sure they can’t get to you.”

 

“Thanks, Mr. Stark.”

 

Tony smiled. “No problem, kid.”

Chapter Text

Peter couldn’t believe what had just happened. The ferry was cut in half. It was sinking, and he couldn’t save it. Iron Man had flown in and saved all of the people Peter couldn’t. If he hadn’t shown up…

He was fairly certain that he had a few bruised ribs from being hit by the car Vulture threw at him. And then he had hit his head after he’d bounced off. His ears were still ringing. He reached up and ran his fingers through his hair, hissing when they brushed up against a nasty bump just behind his right temple. He had been running on adrenaline at the time, so he didn’t acknowledge it at the time. But right now, it was all he could think about. The pain throbbed through his body with every beat of his heart.

 

He tensed when he heard the suit’s repulsers. He’s not even here. It’s just another one of his stupid remote control robots.

 

“Previously on Peter Screws the Pooch, I tell you to stay away from this. Instead, you hacked a multi-million dollar suit so you could sneak around behind my back doing the one thing I told you not to do.”

 

“Is everyone okay?”

 

“No thanks to you.”

 

Peter flinched at that one. “No thanks to me?” Peter asked as he turned and jumped down from the edge he winced at the pain that shot through his body, but he had too much on his mind to pay any attention to it. “Those weapons were out there, and I tried to tell you about them, but you didn’t listen! None of this would have happened if you had just listened to me! If you even cared, you’d actually be here.” Peter took a step back when the Iron Man faceplate opened to reveal Tony. He took several more steps back as the man extracted himself from the suit.

 

Tony stepped forward as Peter retreated. “I did listen, kid. Who do you think called the FBI, huh? Do you know that I was the only one who believed in you? Everyone else said I was crazy to recruit a fourteen-year-old kid.” He was slowly walking forward as he spoke, pushing Peter back toward the wall.

 

He doesn’t even know how old I am. “I’m fifteen,” Peter interrupted.

 

“No! This is where you zip it! Alright? The adult is talking.” Peter snapped his mouth shut at the tone of his voice. “What if somebody had died tonight? Different story, right? Cause that’s on you. And if you died, I feel like that’s on me. I don’t need that on my conscience.”

 

“Yes, sir, I-”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Sorry doesn’t cut it,” Tony whispered.

 

“I-I understand. I just wanted to be like you.”

 

“And I wanted you to be better,” he deadpanned. “Okay, it’s not working out. I’m gonna need the suit back.”

 

A wave of shock rolled through Peter’s body. “For how long?”

 

“Forever.”

 

Shock turned to panic. He couldn’t feel anything through the numbness that was consuming him. His whole body tingled with disbelief. Forever? “No-”

 

“Yeah, that’s how it works.”

 

“No, no, no. Please, please, please, please-”

 

“Let’s have it.”

 

“-you don’t understand. This is all I have. I’m nothing without this suit!”

 

Tony paused before he took a step forward. “If you’re nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it. Okay? God, I sound like my dad.”

 

I’m nothing. I’ve messed up so bad that Mr. Stark doesn’t even think the suit can make me better. Peter looked away. He couldn’t argue with Tony. “I don’t have any other clothes,” he whispered.

 

“Okay, we’ll sort that out.”

 

Tony managed to find a pair of Hello Kitty pajama pants, a tourist t-shit that said I survived my trip to NYC, and some flip flops. He called Happy to drive Peter home.

 

“You okay?” Happy asked.

 

“No,” Peter whispered before he got out of the car. He watched Happy drive away. He looked up at the apartment building and tried to work up the courage to walk inside. What am I going to tell May? She’s probably really worried. He wrapped an arm around his aching ribs, sighed, and took a step. Then another. He didn’t know where he was going, but he couldn’t face anyone right now. So, he started walking.

 

Tony’s words echoed in his head. If you’re nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it. He could feel his eyes sting and managed to duck into an alley before they fell. He pressed his back against the side of a building and slid down until he was sitting on the asphalt. He brought his knees to his chest, wrapped his arms around them, and cried. Was he agreeing with me? Does he think I’m nothing without the suit? Why do people keep abandoning me? He sniffed and wiped his eyes. I wish you were here to tell me what to do. I miss you so much, Ben.

 

His head snapped up when he heard a muffled grunt. He focused his hearing to pinpoint where it had come from. It happened again, and he stood to look further into the alley. He winced and wrapped an arm over his ribs. A man was pinning a kid to the wall. One hand was over the kid’s mouth, and the other was wrapped around his throat. He was whispering something, but Peter was too far away to make it out. I need to help him. He started walking forward only the come to a halt. I don’t have my suit! The kid saw the movement and looked around the man with pleading eyes. He was clearly terrified.

 

I have to do something. He wished that he had his phone on him; he would call the police before he ran in. But he didn’t. He was on his own. “Hey!” he shouted as he walked around piles of garbage. The man turned, a startled look on his face. It melted into relief as he scanned Peter up and down.

 

“This is a private matter.”

 

“Yeah, well, it looks like you’re attacking a kid in an alleyway.”

 

“It’s none of your business.”

 

Peter locked eyes with the kid. He could almost feel the hope pouring off of him. “I think you should pick on someone your own size.” Peter came to a stop about ten feet away. He realized the kid was closer to his age then he looked. He was maybe 13 or 14. The man growled and released his grip on his victim. He turned to face Peter, who almost took a step back. The guy was huge. This is so much different without a mask.

 

“Someone like you?”

 

“Uh…” Crap. I can’t use my powers. The man’s hand shot out and struck Peter to the ground with a yelp of pain. He gasped for breath when his chest spasmed in protest of the sudden movement. He looked up and scrambled back as the man drew his foot back. Not the ribs! He gasped when his back hit a wall. The man looked around and grabbed a long 2x4. Peter’s breath was coming in harsh pants as he tried to come up with a plan. He tried to stand, but he fell back when he was hit in the shoulder with the piece of wood. He cried out and looked into the eyes of his attacker. They were full of anger and- and then they rolled into the back of his head as he collapsed to the ground.

 

Peter looked up, mouth agape, and saw the kid standing over the unconscious body, a 2x4 in his hands. He was panting and had tears in his eyes. He dropped his weapon and looked up. “Thank you.”

 

“Are you okay?” Peter asked as he stood.

 

“I’m okay,” he whispered. “Are you?”

 

Peter nodded. “What happened? What did he want?”

 

“He’s my dad’s drug dealer. Dad couldn’t pay, so Daniel, that’s him.” He pointed to the man on the ground. “He decided to see if my dad would pay after he beat me up.”

 

“Wow. That- that sucks. Do you, uh, do you have a place to go? I mean, somewhere other than back to your dad’s?”

 

“Yeah, my grandma lives in Brooklyn. I’m Jason, by the way.”

 

“Peter. Thanks for saving me.”

 

“You saved me first,” he said with a smirk.

 

“Yeah, I guess I did. Hey, do you have a phone?”

 

“No, sorry.”

 

“Don’t worry about it.”

 

“I’m gonna go grab some stuff and call my grandma.”

 

“Okay, Jason. It was nice to meet you.”

 

“You too, Peter.” Jason smiled and waved as he turned and ran down the alley.


Peter looked down at Daniel. I hope he doesn’t wake up before the police get here. He turned to find the nearest payphone.

 

Tony was right. You don’t need a mask or superpowers to be a hero.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t supposed to happen. Not while Peter was there. Tony could have taken it if Peter hadn’t been with him. Why did he have to be there?

 

-----

 

“Hey, Mr. Stark!”

 

“Hey, Pete. Are you ready to go?”

 

“Yup! I was born ready!”

 

“Great. Let’s go,” Tony said with a smile. He was taking Peter to a science convention that he had been asked to speak at. The kid was acting like they were going out to pick his first car. He watched Peter practically skip to the limo. He was adorable in his new tux, couple that with the giant grin on his face, and Tony couldn’t help the warm feeling in his chest.

 

Happy dropped them off, and Peter couldn’t contain his excitement as they walked past numerous famous scientists. Tony had to hold him back a few times when they passed someone he particularly admired.

 

“Chill, kid. You’ll have a chance to talk their ears off later.”

 

“Right, sorry.” Tony felt bad when Peter deflated a little, but he smiled at the light in his eyes. He ushered him into the private back room that he had requested. They watched the speakers on the screen Tony asked for. There was no way he was letting his- the kid out of his sight, not when May had threatened life and limb if he lost Peter. When it was his turn, Peter gave him a thumbs up and said, “Knock ‘em dead, Mr. Stark!” Tony smiled at him and returned the gesture before he closed the door.

 

Hours later, after the speeches and food and mingling, Tony and Peter were waiting for Happy to call. Peter was ready for ben; he was leaned up against Tony as they sat on the couch. “You’re still my favorite, Mr. Stark,” Peter whispered sleepily.

 

“Of course I am, kid. I’m way cooler than all of those bozos put together.”

 

“That’s not very nice. I think they’re all pretty cool. Well, maybe not Simon Cutters, he was really weird.”

 

“Yeah, he’s, uh, yeah…” They both laughed.

 

Tony’s phone rang, and he pulled it from his pocket. “Come on, kid, Happy’s here. Let’s get you home so you can go to bed.”

 

“Okay.” Peter stretched and stood to follow his mentor. “Hey, Mr. Stark?”

 

“Yeah, kiddo?”

 

“Did Happy call?”

 

“No, he sent a text.” He opened the door a split second before he realized what Peter was trying to say. He heard Peter gasp and tried to pull the door shut, but someone grabbed it and yanked it open. He turned and shoved his kid back. “Run, Peter!” He took a step to follow only to be pulled back and thrown to the ground outside. He heard the click of a gun and froze.

 

“Stop!” the man shouted.

 

Tony looked up and saw the gun aimed at his head before he locked eyes with Peter. He was a few feet down the hall, frozen in place. His eyes were filled with fear as he stared at the gun.

 

“Come here.”

 

“No, don’t! Run!” Tony grunted when he was kicked in the side by another person he hadn’t seen before.

 

“Don’t hurt him!” Peter shouted as he made his way forward. He yelped when the man with the gun grabbed his arm and dragged him toward a van. The other man did the same with Tony, and soon they were shoved into the back, watching the door slam shut. Peter’s hand found Tony’s, and his mentor gave a gentle squeeze.

 

“It’s going to be okay. I’ll get us out of this.” He knew he couldn’t promise that, but he had to say something.

 

“Do you think Happy’s okay?” Peter asked.

 

“We would have heard a gunshot. Hopefully, they just knocked him out, and he’ll be fine.”

 

“Shut up!”

 

They both jumped when the man shouted. He could feel Peter trembling and pulled him closer. He vowed to do anything to keep him safe.

 

-----

 

It had been two days. They took Tony for a ransom; they didn’t even want Peter. When they had been moved from the van, Tony had fought back. He managed to knock one guy out and was about to turn and help Peter with the second one when he heard a gunshot. Peter cried out, and Tony rushed forward to help when a second shot rang out. He froze and looked up at two more men. One had a gun aimed right at Peter, who was on his knees, one hand wrapped around his arm as blood oozed between his fingers.

 

“No! I’m sorry! Please don’t hurt him!”

 

The man that Peter had been fighting with, stood and punched Peter in the face.

 

“No!” Tony shouted as he lunged at the man. He tackled him the ground and was trying to get a hit in when he heard Peter’s cry of pain. The man shoved him off and stood, bringing his foot back to kick Tony before the man with the gun shouted for him to stop.

 

Now, two days later, they were tied to chairs in, what Tony guessed was, a basement. Peter’s arm had been bandaged, but Tony could see that the flesh around the bandage was turning an angry red. They had sent a video of demands yesterday, but they had yet to hear any news.

 

He was glad they hadn’t been gagged. He would talk to Peter when they were awake; he’d tell him stories about college and the Avengers, and Peter would tell him about Ben and his friends. 

 

“Mr. Stark?”

 

Tony started when Peter spoke; he didn’t realize he was awake. “Yeah, buddy?”

 

“I don’t feel good.”

 

Tony looked closer and could see how pale he was. He had bags under his eyes, and there was sweat on his face despite his light shivering. The skin around the bandage was swollen and red. They hadn’t been given any food, and he knew it was taking its toll on Peter. He needed a lot more food than an average person, especially if he was hurt.

 

“I think it’s infected. I can feel it trying to heal, but I’m so tired.”

 

“I need you to hold on. We’re going to get out, and then we’ll get you fixed up. You can eat as much as you want and sleep in an actual bed.”

 

He was trying to think of a way to escape when the door opened. Two men came down, and Tony immediately saw the smile on their faces. “What’s going on?”

 

“They are going to pay your ransom. You’ll get to go home in two days.”

 

Peter didn’t have two days. “You need to let the kid go.”

 

The men laughed. “That’s not going to happen.”

 

“Please. He’s sick; he won’t last two more days. You can keep me; I won’t try to escape. Just let him go.”

 

The second man walked over and examined Peter. “He’s right; the kid doesn’t look good.”

 

“You should have thought about that before you attacked us. You can go home in two days.” He turned and stomped up the stairs. The second man looked at Peter again before he followed.

 

“Pete?” Tony watched the even rise and fall of his chest. He sighed and hoped that everything would be okay.

 

-----

 

Tony startled awake when he heard shouting. He smiled when he heard a repulser charge. “Peter. Hey, Pete, wake up, buddy.” Peter groaned and peeled his eyes open. “Hey, kiddo. Rhodey’s here. Everything’s going to be fine.”

 

“That’s good ‘cause I’m starving.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll bet you are.” They both cringed when they heard screaming. There was a thud, and the scream cut off before heavy footsteps moved toward the basement. The door opened, and Tony saw Peter flinch out of the corner of his eye. “It’s okay; it’s Rhodey. We’re okay now.”

 

“Tony?”

 

“Here! We’re down here!” Rhodey came down the stairs and went straight for his friend. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you,” Tony said as he watched James cut his binds. He stood and ran over to Peter. “Hey. Peter, Open your eyes for me.”

 

“Mr. Stark?”

 

“I’m here. We’re going home now, okay?”

 

“M’kay,” he mumbled as tony untied him. Peter fell forward and buried his head into his mentor’s chest. “Missed you.”

 

Tony wrapped his arms around his kid and smiled. “I missed you too. Do you think you can stand?”

 

“Yeah, I think so.” He stood, and his knees buckled, Tony was there to catch him, and he took Peter’s uninjured arm and pulled it over his shoulder. “Sorry,” he whispered.

 

“It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

 

They managed to get Peter outside and to the waiting car. He smiled when he saw Happy. “I’m glad you’re okay. I was worried about you.”

 

“Worried about me? I’m fine, Peter. I was worried about you .”

 

“What about me?”

 

“Naw. I like the kid way more.”

 

“I’m hurt! You’re not my favorite driver anymore!”

 

“I’m your only driver,” Happy deadpanned.

 

“It’s okay, Mr. Stark. You’re still my favorite.”

 

“Thanks, kid. You’re my favorite too.”

Chapter Text

Peter Parker has made a lot of mistakes in his life. His biggest mistake was telling May about Spider-Man.

 

-----

 

"Peter!"

 

The teen jumped when May shouted his name. He scrambled off his bed, down the hall, and into the living room as fast as his legs would carry him. "M-May?" he asked timidly.

 

"Mark will be home an hour early. He wants dinner ready when he gets back." She wouldn't look at him when she spoke. She hardly ever looked at him anymore. She usually tried to pretend that he didn't exist.

 

Peter looked at the clock. Mark would be home in less than an hour. He felt his eyes sting as he went to the kitchen.

 

He pulled a pot from the cupboard, filled it with water, and set it on the stove to boil. Next, he grabbed a package of angel hair and a jar of marinara. He took the meatballs out of the freezer and preheated the oven.

 

He hoped that he would be able to get everything ready in time. He really didn't want Mark to get mad again.

 

He poured the sauce into a pan and put a lid on it so it didn't splatter. When the oven was at the right temperature, he dumped some meatballs onto a cookie sheet and put them in. He was careful to measure the right amount of pasta before he dropped it into the boiling water.

 

He was only ever allowed to eat what he was given. If he made too much food, he would be punished for wasting it.

 

He retrieved everything he needed to make the salad. He chopped the vegetables and tossed them with some dressing. He strained the pasta and removed the meatballs before he grabbed the garlic bread and placed it in the oven to warm.

 

He made sure to wash the dishes as he went; Mark hated it when Peter left a mess.

 

He poured the angel hair into a bowl, mixed the marinara and meatballs into another bowl, and set the table. He was just pulling the bread out of the oven when he heard the door open. He quickly started cutting the bread with trembling hands. He managed to cut half of it and set it on the table before Mark and May walked in.

 

He stood in front of the stove as they sat down. "Do we get anything to drink with dinner?" Mark asked.

 

Peter's trembling increased when he realized his mistake. "Y-yes! Of course. I'm sorry, I'll get it now." He took two glasses from the cupboard and placed them on the table before he went to the fridge for the wine. He poured some into each glass and set the bottle on the table.

 

"Thank you, Peter. You may go now."

 

"Thank you, sir," Peter whispered before he left the kitchen and went to his room. He shut the door and sank onto his bed, wrapping his arms around himself. He wondered why Mark came home early. It had to be part of the reason he was in a good mood.

 

Peter looked around his room. A couple of months after he told May about Spider-Man, she started dating Mark. May had barely spoken to him in months; she hadn't smiled once. Peter hated that he was the reason. When she started bringing Mark home, Peter had hoped that life would get better.

 

He had been so wrong. Mark hit Peter for the first time after just two weeks. He made sure that May didn't know about it. Then, two months later, Mark backhanded Peter in front of May. Everyone froze. May looked between them with a confused expression before she turned and walked away. She never said anything. After that, Mark hit him all the time.

 

Three months later, they moved out of the apartment and into the man's home. It was a two-story, four-bedroom, two and a half bathroom house. Peter was given the tiny room in the back corner of the house. It didn't have a window, so it wasn't technically a bedroom. He had a mattress in one corner and a shelf in the other. He had two shirts, one hoodie, two pairs of pants, four pairs of socks and underwear, and one pair of shoes. He also had three books that he had read cover to cover more times then he could count. That was it; he wasn’t allowed to have anything else.

 

Peter had been kicked out of Midtown a month before school ended his sophomore year. His grades had dropped, and he lost the scholarship that paid his tuition. That's when Mark told him that he wouldn't be going back to school. Peter had cried himself to sleep for days. School was the one place he felt safe. He had Ned, and no one tried to hurt him or yell at him. Flash still bullied him, but it was usually just name-calling, that he could deal with.

 

Now he had no escape. He was allowed to leave the house to go grocery shopping, and that was it. Sometimes he wondered what would happen when he turned eighteen. Would they kick him out? Would they keep him here? He didn't have the willpower to fight back anymore. It had been beaten out of him a long time ago.

 

His stomach growled, and he hoped that there would be some food left when they finished. He wasn't allowed much food; it had taken its toll on his body. He was so skinny that he could see all of his ribs when he looked in the mirror.

 

It had been over a year since that day. He could still stick to things, but his strength and healing had diminished about a month after May found out. She took his suit, and he never saw it again. Sometimes he wondered what people thought about Spider-Man's disappearance. Did they think he died? Or worse, did they think he gave up? Maybe he did. He could have taken his suit and run, but he couldn't leave May. What would Ben think?

 

"Peter!"

 

Mark was in a really good mood. He didn't usually call Peter by his name; he usually called him boy. He stood and quickly made his way to the kitchen. "Yes, sir?"

 

"We're done."

 

"Yes, sir." He watched them leave before he went straight for the food. The pasta was gone, but there was still a little sauce left. He grabbed the two remaining pieces of bread and used them to scoop it out. There were also a few bites of salad leftover. Once he had eaten every last drop of food, he went about cleaning up. He put the bread he didn’t cut away before he did the dishes and wiped down the surfaces. He drank as much water as he could straight from the faucet; he didn't want to dirty a cup.

 

He went back to his room and hoped tomorrow would be a good day.

 

-----

 

It had been a week since Peter's 'good day'. The days had been okay enough, but last night, Mark came home early, without warning this time. Peter didn't have dinner ready, and he was furious.

 

Peter had been sent to his room till after dinner. He paced for a while before he curled up in the corner. He jumped to his feet and pressed himself into the corner when he heard footsteps approach his room.

 

Mark threw the door open, and Peter flinched when it bounced off the wall. He couldn't hold back a whimper of fear when he saw the belt in the man's hand. Mark stormed over and threw him to the floor, ripping one of his two shirts before he started to beat Peter.

 

He pulled himself from the memory as he neared the grocery store. Usually, he would bring his backpack with him to carry some of the heavier food in, but that wasn't an option today. Not with his sore back. He was glad that he hadn't bled. He only had one shirt now, and he didn't want to ruin it.

 

He walked through the doors and grabbed a cart before he took out his list. He walked up and down the aisles to collect everything he needed and then checked out and paid. He had made it halfway across the parking lot when someone opened their car door and bashed him in the side. He yelped and dropped several bags as he fell to his knees. He looked on in horror as the jug of milk broke and flooded the ground and the eggs cracked and oozed to mix with the milk.

 

"Oh, shit! I totally didn't see you, kid!"

 

Peter could hear the words, but they didn't register. He was too busy panicking to focus. All he could think about was how angry Mark would be when he found out. Last night's punishment would be a walk in the park compared to what he would do for this. He could feel tears on his cheeks as he tried to get his breathing under control.

 

He yelped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He brought his hands up to cover his head and cowered in fear.

 

"Woah! It's okay, kid. I'm not going to hurt you. That was 100% my fault." Peter looked up and gaped. The man standing over him was none other than Tony Stark. He had been his favorite superhero since forever. And he was cowering on the ground as he cried like a baby.

 

In front of Iron Man.

 

A puzzled look crossed the man's face before it morphed into anger. "Who did that to you?"

 

Peter gasped and pulled his hoodie down to cover the welts and bruises on his back. "N-no one," he whispered before he turned to gather his remaining groceries. He was trying to find a bag that wasn't torn or covered in milk.

 

"Stop." Peter froze. "Who did that to you?" he asked again, more forcefully this time. He placed a gentle hand on Peter's arm and carefully helped him up.

 

"No one."

 

"Okay, well, I could give you a ride and explain why half of your groceries are missing to your parents.

 

"Uh- no, no, you can't- I mean- they're-"

 

"Slow down, kid. I could just call someone then."

 

"No! Please don't. I'll be fine," Peter insisted.

 

"Okay, suit yourself." Tony patted him on the shoulder and helped him gather his bags before he turned and walked into the building.

 

Peter took a breath turned toward the bus stop. He hoped that the eggs and milk they had would last the week.

 

-----

 

Tony couldn't stop thinking about the kid. He had been pretty freaked out, and when he mentioned talking to his parents, he could see the fear in his eyes. Not to mention how skinny he was and the welts on his back. 

 

He didn’t want to interrogate him in the parking lot. He could see the growing panic and had decided to back off on the questioning.

 

He had forgotten what he had stopped for, but he didn’t care. He was going to figure out what was going on with that kid.

 

He talked to some of the employees about him. He found out that his name was Peter and that he came to the store every Wednesday. Several of the employees had noticed that way he flinched at noises and shied away from touch. Some of them had even see scars or bruises. They tried to offer help, but Peter always insisted that he was fine. No one wanted to report him because they knew how terrible the foster system could be. They thought he might already be in the system, and no one wanted to make it worse.

 

When he went back out to his car, he was glad that he had slipped his watch into one of the bags. He followed the tracker to a house a few blocks away and parked across the street. He decided to do some research before he knocked on the door. He wanted to know who he was dealing with.

 

-----

 

Peter was in his room; an expensive Stark watch rested in his hand. He couldn't believe he had found it in one of the bags. He didn't know what to do with it; would Mr. Stark report it stolen? He couldn't let anyone see it. Maybe he could mail it to him?

 

He shoved it under his pillow when he heard the front door open. He heard May and Mark laughing, and he hoped that they wouldn't notice the missing groceries.

 

Peter didn't cook on Wednesdays; Mark always ordered food. Peter rarely ever got any, so he would probably have to wait until tomorrow to eat again. The last thing he had eaten was May's leftover eggs from breakfast. He had grown used to the gnawing emptiness in his stomach a long time ago, but it still hurt. He had little energy most of the time; he slept a lot. He knew it was getting worse. He could barely get to the store and back anymore.

 

About an hour later, Peter heard the fridge slam shut and Mark's raised voice. His breathing sped up, and he backed into the corner. He tried to keep the tears at bay, but when he heard Mark storming through the house, he couldn't stop them. His door banged open, and he yelped at the noise. He had to choke back a whimper when a hand tangled in his hair.

 

"Where's the milk and eggs you bought today?"

 

"I-it was an ac-accident. Someone r-ran in-into me-"

 

"I don't want to hear excuses!"

 

"I'm sorry!"

 

"That's not good enough!" he screamed before he punched Peter in the stomach. He released his grip on Peter's hair, and the teen fell to the floor. He laid breathless for a few seconds before he felt Mark's boot crash into his side. Peter gasped and tried to curl into a ball to protect himself. He received a few more kicks before Mark stomped out of the room.

 

Peter cried into his knees as he gasped for breath. At the man's returning footsteps, he could hold back the sobs that racked his body. He screamed when he felt the familiar bite of leather against his back.

 

"Stay quiet!" Mark yelled before he swung again. Peter clamped a hand over his mouth as the blows continued.

 

"Mark!" May called from the doorway. The man stopped and looked up. "There's someone at the door."

 

Mark dropped the belt and left. Peter tried to breathe through the pain; he could feel blood trickling down his back. He heard shouting and pressed his hands into his ears to block it out.

 

He yelped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, kid. It's okay now. No one's going to hurt you."

 

Peter looked into Tony Stark's eyes. "M-Mr. Stark?" Peter whispered.

 

"Yeah."

 

Peter was so confused as to why the man was there. "Are you here for your watch?"

 

"No, kiddo. I'm here for you."

 

"Oh."

 

Peter flinched when he heard more yelling. "It's okay. I called the police. Do you think you can stand?"

 

Peter nodded and stood with Tony's help. "Where are we going?"

 

"My place," the man said with a smirk.

 

"Why?"

 

"Well, it seems to me that you need a place to stay."

 

"What?"

 

"I spent the last three hours researching you. I know you're a smart kid. I saw your test scores and some of your school projects. I think you could benefit from my genius."

 

Peter didn't really know what to say to that, so he just nodded. Who was he to question Tony Stark? He was led to the man's car, and they drove to Avengers Tower. He was checked over in the med bay before they went to the kitchen. Mr. Stark made him dinner, and he ate until he couldn't fit another bite. Then, they moved to the living room, and Tony let him pick a movie; he couldn't remember the last time he had sat down and watched a movie.

 

Halfway through the film, Peter was leaned on Tony's shoulder, the man's arm gently draped over Peter. He felt safe for the first time in a long time. He smiled and closed his eyes. He knew that tomorrow would be a good day.