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Living Nightmare

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Peter jolts awake in bed, horribly overheated and sweating. His chest rises and falls rapidly as he pants, eyes frantically searching his dark room for any sign of a threat. A loud rumble of thunder comes from outside, causing him to jump at the sound. Rain was pelting against the roof, sounding like the storm’s been at it for a while. 

Peter lets out a shuddering breath and closes his eyes as he lets himself lie back down. He can feel that his t-shirt is soaked with sweat, sticking uncomfortably to his overheated skin, and he scrunches his nose up at the feeling. It’s way too hot in his room and he already kicked his blankets away to the end of the bed at some point during the night. 

Letting out a low, frustrated groan, Peter rolls onto his stomach and smushes his face into his pillow. Another violent crackle of thunder comes from outside and he almost swears he can feel the house shake from the force of it. Or maybe that was his imagination.

He lays there for a few moments and listens to the sound of the rain outside. Aside from the thunder, it's actually quite peaceful, soothing enough to lull him back to sleep once again. 

Only it doesn’t last for long. 

…….

Laughter filled the cabin, as everyone sat around in the living room after dinner. Rhodey, Happy and May had driven down earlier in the morning and arrived shortly after noon time. They had decided to come together and celebrate it being a year since everyone blipped back, as well as defeating Thanos. 

A whole year had already passed by in the blink of an eye, and they had a lot to be thankful for. The vanished were back, safe and sound, and Tony was alive, happy and healthy now. It had been a long road to recovery, with countless surgeries and a lot of physical therapy… but he made it. They all did. Together. 

As a family. 

“No, no, no!” Rhodey laughed, standing beside Tony, a hand on his friend’s shoulder as he bent over laughing. “You skipped out on class that day because you went on that date with that blonde! I had to take all of the notes for you and we had a quiz the next day, too.” 

Tony tilted his head to the side and grins at him. “Yeah, and I’ll have you know that I aced that test.” 

“Thanks to my note taking skills.” 

Tony rolled his eyes, still grinning. “Yeah, yeah.” 

Peter smiled at them from his spot next to May, who was sitting next to Happy, very close, who had Norgan sitting on his lap. 

“Can we watch a movie later?” Morgan asks. 

“Which one?” Happy asks in his soft ‘Morgan voice,’ tilting his head to look down at her. 

“Tangled?” She hopefully asks. 

Peter smiles, knowing that was probably the last movie Happy would want to watch, but they all know that the guy was a complete softie for Morgan and she knew it too. Happy loved her to pieces. 

“I think that sounds like a great idea.” Happy smiles down at her. 

The house is warm and filled family. It couldn’t get any better than that. 

Tony and Rhodey’s laughs were cut off from a sudden loud bang, followed by the shattering of glass from one of the living room windows. 

They’re all on their feet and Peter’s ready for a fight, standing in front of Happy, May and Morgan. Happy drags May and Morgan down to the floor and are shielding them while Tony has Pepper directly behind him. 

A choked gasp rings out through the room, and Peter’s eyes fall on Rhodey, who was clutching at his chest, his bright green polo shirt stained a dark crimson where his hand is, blood dribbling down his arm. 

Tony’s eyes are wide as he’s looking at his best friend, who was still seated in the loveseat.

“Rhodey?” Tony says, voice tense as he grips the soldier’s shoulder. “Rhodey?” 

Rhodey’s eyes flicker up to Tony’s face, for just a second, before he falls back, slumping against the chair, unmoving. 

Dead.

Before any of them can do anything, there’s an explosion of glass from the atrium window by the kitchen and four large white drones swarm in the house. One of them shoots a blast at Peter, throwing him across the room against the wall. 

He fell to the floor as Pepper and May scream, the drones surrounding them. 

Peter pushes himself up, seeing the guns on the drones start spinning, orange sparks flying off at the speed. Green laser target dots are aimed at Tony, Pepper, Happy, May, and Morgan.

“Say goodbye to your family, Peter.” Beck’s voice comes through one of the drone’s speakers. 

…….

A strangled scream tears out of Peter’s throat as his eyes snap open, shooting up in bed, panic flowing through him. 

Beck was here, he was back and he was going to kill his family. 

Peter jumps up from his bed and tore his door open, hearing the doorknob creak under his hand as he stumbles out into the dark hallway. He runs for the stairs and bumps his left hip into the table by the railing, feeling a flash of pain shoot up his side. He manages to get down the stairs and skids into the dark living room… but no one’s there. 

Peter frowns, eyes squinting in the darkness as he looks around, noting that the windows were still in tact and there wasn’t any glass on the floor. He walks over to the loveseat and leans down, trying to look for any blood. There aren’t any stains. 

He stands back up and lets out a shaky breath, holding his head in his hands as he closes his eyes tightly. 

Was that all just a horrible nightmare? God, he hoped it was because if it wasn’t…

“Come find me, little spider…” Beck’s voice suddenly comes out of no where, startling him. “Or I’ll find your family first…” 

“W-What?” Peter stutters, eyes frantically searching the darkness. 

The drones. 

He could have more of them waiting outside. 

Peter runs to the front door and throws it open, hands curled into fists as he crouches low, ready for a fight as he steps out onto the porch. It’s still raining, the sound echoing through his ears as the droplets hit the ground and the roof. 

“Oh, Peter… aren’t you going to come and find me? Or do I have to kill your family first?” 

“Leave them alone, Beck!” Peter yells as he walks along the deck towards the stairs, searching through the darkness for the man, who was supposed to be dead .

He hears him laugh, sounding like he was close by. Peter walks down the steps, his bare feet touching the wet brick sidewalk he helped Tony build last week. Rain fell down on him, soaking him within mere seconds, his hair now plastered to his forehead, a strand falling into his right eye. 

“You thought that you could get rid of me but you can’t. I tricked you, again, Peter.” Beck's voice echoed above the pouring rain. “You ruined me, and my plans. The world was supposed to look up to me, not you! And for that… I’m going to make you pay.” 

A thick fog suddenly appears out of nowhere and surrounds Peter, making it even more difficult to see. Peter squints his eyes, scanning around himself. Through the fog, a few feet away from him, he sees a bright neon blue light. It must be Beck’s fishbowl helmet to his costume. 

“It would be a shame if you became an orphan again for the third time, don’t you think? And for little Morgan… to only get to live, for such a short time?” Quentin darkly says, voice growing deeper at the end. “And it’ll be all your fault.” 

Peter grits his teeth and swings his fist at him, but his hand connects with something incredibly rough and hard that’s definitely not glass. Peter yells out in pain and pulls his hand to his chest, hissing through clenched teeth as pain radiates up his whole arm. 

“You’re still gullible as ever, I see. You still haven’t learnt your lesson from the last time…” The man says, sounding like he was right next to him. 

Peter stumbles back with a gasp and swings his good hand out, meeting air. Beck breaks off into maniacal laughter that sends a chill down Peter’s spine. 

“The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout… down came the rain… and washed the spider out…” Beck darkly sang, chuckling at the end. 

His laughs echoed in Peter’s ears, sounding like he was surrounding him from all sides, the fog closing in on him. Peter was breathing heavily, almost hyperventilating. 

“Peter?” 

Peter jumps at the new voice and quickly turns around, but he can’t see anything with all of this thick fog. It was a distraction to keep him from protecting his family. If he didn’t stop Beck here and now, for good, he was going to kill them. Peter wasn’t going to let that happen. He couldn’t lose anyone else. Not again. 

“Come on out, Beck!” Peter yelled above the rain. “I’m-I’m not afraid of you!” 

“Peter!” The voice calls to him again. 

They sound so familiar… but he can’t afford to trust it. Not with his family’s lives on the line. It’s probably a trap. 

“N-No.” Peter shakes his head. “S-Stop it, Beck. You’re trying to mess with me. I’m going to- going to stop you!” Peter yelled, blinking furiously as water gets into his eyes, causing them to sting. 

“Peter!” The voice calls again, directly in front of him. 

Peter takes a few quick staggering steps backward, fear shooting through him, but his foot connects with something and he falls to the cold, wet ground. He lays there for a few seconds with his eyes squeezed shut, feeling rain hitting his face. 

“-eter? -eter? Can you hear me?” A voice was frantically speaking to him. “C’mon open your eyes.” 

Peter cracks open his eyes, only to look up and see Tony kneeling above him, soaking wet, worry plastered all over his face. But… that didn’t make any sense. 

“T-Tony? Wh-What?” Peter furiously blinks as he looks around them from the ground, only to see that all of the fog had disappeared, almost as if it had never been there at all. “W-Where’d he go?” Peter quickly asks as he struggles to sit up. 

“Hey, hey, take it easy.” Tony calmly says as he puts a hand on his back and chest, stopping him. “Where did who go?”

Peter didn’t answer him as he frantically searched the darkness around them, feeling himself shaking. 

“Peter.” Tony gently places a hand to the right of Peter’s face and turns his head so he was looking into his concerned, brown eyes. “Where did who go?” 

“M-Mysterio. B-Beck. I-I have to stop him. He-He’s going to hurt you and I have to stop him.” Peter stutters out as he begins to push himself up but Tony firmly holds on to him, keeping him there. 

“Peter, look at me,” Tony says in a serious tone, and Peter does. “Quentin Beck is dead. He’s gone. He can’t hurt you or anyone else ever again.” 

Peter quickly shakes his head. “N-No I heard him and-”

“Peter.” Tony cups the teen’s face in his cold, calloused hands, “He’s dead. I swear to you. He’s never coming back. You’re safe.” 

Peter’s brows pull together in confusion. “B-But he… he was here, Tony. I-I heard him.” 

“I know. But I promise you, he’s not. You’re sick and you have a fever.” 

That sounds familiar… and that would explain why he felt so weird, his brain feeling like it was shoved with cotton. 

“Let’s get you inside and dried off, alright? We need to get you back to bed.” 

Peter shakily nods and let’s Tony help him to his feet but Peter hisses in pain when his injured hand is jostled. That certainly wasn’t his imagination. 

“What’s wrong?” Tony worriedly asks. 

“M-My hand… it hurts. I think I…” Peter says as he looks up from his hand, his eyes landing on a nearby tree that had a decent sized fist mark on it and a good chunk of the bark was missing from it. “I think I punched a tree.” 

Tony looks at the tree too, then down at Peter’s hand as he takes his injures hand in his own, inspecting it. “It looks like a bad scrape. I’m going to have to look at it under the light when we get inside. I don’t think it’s broken but-”

“I punched a tree.” Peter tearfully repeats, guilt flooding through him at the realization. 

“The tree’s fine, don’t worry.” 

“But I hit it, Tony…” 

“Well, it forgives you. I’ll buy some special fertilizer for it at the store this weekend so you can make up for it, okay? Now let’s get you inside, alright? I don’t want you to get sicker with being out in the rain. Pepper’s going to kill me for letting you come out here.” Tony tells him as he begins to lead him back to the front porch and helps him up the steps. 

…….

After drying off and changing into some warm clothes, Tony cleaned and bandaged Peter’s hand before settling the sick teenager into his bed, once again. Turns out that his temperature had risen to 103.5 degrees, a whole two degrees since Tony last checked on him before going to bed earlier. Two degrees really did make a difference with a fever. 

Peter breathes out in relief when Tony places a cold washcloth on his too warm forehead. Tony was seated at his bedside in a chair, running a hand through Peter’s towel dried curls. 

“Go to sleep, Pete. I’ll be right here with you.” 

“Promise?” Peter mumbled as he closed his impossibly heavy eyes. 

“I promise. I’ll keep the nightmares away.” 

Peter falls asleep that night, with the peace of mind that Iron Man was watching over him, keeping him safe.