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twenty-one: laced drink

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Peter didn’t particularly like the galas - not that there was anything wrong with with them, per say, but he just didn’t like mingling with adults. 

 

It also didn’t help that he was dressed in a suit that cost more than their rent, and he was in the weekend between AP testing and finals. 

 

“Can I get you anything?” 

 

Peter looked up at the bartender - someone in their late twenties with short, electric blue hair and multiple piercings. 

 

“Just a Coke,” Peter said, forcing a smile on his face. 

 

“Good choice,” they said, smiling at Peter. 

 

Peter glanced behind his shoulder to see Tony, who was talking with some guest, looking perfectly at ease in his situation. 

 

Peter sighed. 

 

He just wasn’t cut from the same cloth as Tony, and as someone with social anxiety, the galas were never a truly fun experience, to say the least. 

 

“You look a little young to be a businessperson.”

 

Peter turned to see a man smiling at him, his teeth unnervingly white and straight, suit crisp and brown hair slicked back. 

 

Peter laughed awkwardly. 

 

“I’m - I’m not a businessperson,” Peter said, taking a sip of his Coke to try and deter the man. But he raised an eyebrow, prompting Peter to explain. 

 

Peter sighed, setting his glass down. 

 

“I’m Mr. Stark’s intern,” he said flatly. 

 

“Didn’t know he hired interns.” 

 

Peter gave a sideways glance at the man, clearing his throat and moving to stand up. 

 

“Oh, wait, where are you going?” 

 

The man gripped Peter’s hand, and Peter stiffened, looking back at him. 

 

“Will you please let go of my arm,” Peter said tightly. 

 

The man nodded, folding his hand into his lap. 

 

“I apologize. I overstepped.” 

 

Peter closed his eyes for a second, and then gave the man a tight-lipped smile. 

 

“I’m going to go find Mr. Stark - I’m feeling a bit tired.” 

 

He was two steps away when there was a tap on his shoulder. 

 

“You forgot your drink,” the man said, smiling that unnerving smile at Peter. 

 

Peter took it and hurried away as fast as he could, looking for Tony’s familiarity. 

 

“Kid, you doing okay?” 

 

Peter gasped as Tony turned him around to face him, closing his eyes for a moment. 

 

“Yeah,” Peter whispered. “Sorry - I just - he kinda creeped me out, and I’m tired.”

 

Tony’s brow furrowed. 

 

“Who?”

 

Peter shrugged, raising the glass to his lips and chugging it, just to give himself something to do. 

 

“I think - I think I’m gonna go to sleep,” Peter said softly, moving to head back to the bar and return the glass. 

 

Tony’s hand fell off Peter’s shoulder, and he watched the boy walk away, worry slowly filling him. 

 

The man was still seated at the bar when Peter reached it, but he was talking to some other person, and Peter set the glass down, pausing for a moment and resting against the counter. 

 

He felt fatigued, unnaturally so, and his vision was slightly blurred. 

 

Peter took in a short breath, realizing with a sudden burst of panic that he was extremely nauseated, and he turned and walked as fast as he could to the elevator, mumbling out apologies as he bumped into a few people.

 

He desperately pushed the button, stumbling inside as soon as the doors opened. 

 

But then, the man slipped in just as the doors were closing, and Peter was left with him. 

 

“Are you feeling okay?”

 

The man was so far away, and Peter felt like his head was underwater, and he was sweating and his vision was blurring. 

 

And then, his knees buckled beneath him, and he collapsed, breathing heavily, and the man’s hands were on him - and Peter could recognize, even through whatever haze he was in, that his touch was not a friendly one. 

 

Memories of Skip started rushing back, and Peter tried to push away, but the man’s hands were on his waist, and his shirt had come out of pants, and Peter was panicking , hands scrabbling weakly at the man, tears pooling in his eyes as he slowly lost his grip, breaths coming in short and quick gasps. 

 

And then the hands were inching up underneath his shirt, and Peter was suffocating, and Skip was on top of him, and he couldn’t breathe , couldn’t escape, and he was pinned. 

 

“Stop,” he gasped. “Please, please .”

 

But he was so lightheaded, and the man’s grip was too strong, and Peter couldn’t defend himself, he was trapped, and Tony wasn’t there .

 

And Peter was losing his grasp on reality, and his head was so fuzzy, sounds muffled and vision blurry. Peter tried one last time to push away, but it was a feeble attempt, and Peter’s head fell back against the floor, the impact small but sending a fresh wave of dizziness through him. 

 

Peter gasped, the man’s hands leaving burning trails of fire over his body, and he wanted him gone , wanted Tony, and wanted to escape. But he couldn’t, couldn’t get away, and the man was using him, taking advantage of Peter’s helplessness. 

 

And Peter finally slipped away. 

 

~~~

 

“If you’ll excuse me,” Tony said, smiling apologetically at the couple he was speaking to before slipping off to the side and answering his phone. 

 

“What’s up?” he asked.

 

“Get your ass here now. It’s Peter. My floor.”

 

Tony felt a flash of panic, and he pushed to the elevator, pushing the button rapidly and whispering for FRIDAY to rush the elevator.

 

He stumbled out at Natasha’s floor, face paling. 

 

Peter was lying on Natasha’s bed, shirt unbuttoned, revealing the finger-shaped bruises on his hips, and his pants were unbuttoned, partly pulled down. 

 

And then - the man, there was a man lying unconscious on the floor, Natasha placing handcuffs on him. 

 

She glanced up at Tony, a grim look on her face. 

 

“What happened?” Tony gasped, rushing over to Peter, brushing back his hair. 

 

“I found this… this piece of shit with Peter - who’s been drugged - over him, Peter unconscious and… Jesus .”

 

Tony’s fingers lingered over the bruises, desperate eyes looking back at Natasha.

 

“Please don’t tell me he… Nat .”

 

She shook her head once, and relied filled Tony. Things hadn’t gotten that far. 

 

“He was close,” Natasha whispered, coming over and trying to slip Peter’s shoes off - her hands were shaky, and Tony pulled her into a tight hug, the two of them tucking themselves into each other, hearts both erratically beating. 

 

“Did - did Peter ever tell you about Skip?” Tony asked quietly, the realization that Peter probably experienced one of the worst panic attacks of his life sinking in. 

 

Natasha shook her head, and Tony exhaled slowly, glancing down at Peter. 

 

“He - Peter - Skip was his babysitter,” Tony whispered. Realization first dawned across Natasha’s face, and then anger as her gaze landed on the man lying on her floor. 

 

“Can I kill him?” she asked evenly, fists tightening. 

 

“As much as I want to say yes,” Tony started, “I don’t need you being charged with manslaughter.”

 

“Pity,” Natasha said, no sympathy in her voice. “I’ll - I’ll grab a hoodie and sweats - he’s about my size, they should fit - and then we should get Bruce here - figure out if he needs meds or anything.” 

 

Tony nodded, his eyes glued to the bruises on Peter’s side, cursing himself for not sticking with Peter. 

 

“Buddy, I’m so sorry,” Tony whispered, his hand running through Peter’s hair. 

 

The thought that that man could have… Tony didn’t want to think about what could’ve happened. He felt sick to his stomach, and his hands were shaking, panic starting to make its way around his heart. 

 

Natasha came back over with clothes, and wordlessly helped Tony to change Peter, pulling the covers up over him, Tony pressing a kiss to Peter’s forehead before turning back to Natasha. 

 

“Thank you,” Tony whispered. “If you - he -” Tony took in a shaky breath. “I’m so glad you were there,” he finally said. 

 

Natasha nodded once. 

 

“Shall we get rid of this scum?” Natasha asked, and Tony nodded, sending one kick to the man’s crotch before Natasha dragged him inside the elevator, sending it down. 

 

“I called Coulson earlier,” she said finally, as the two of them stared at the closed elevator doors. “Told him to come by, we had a present for him.”

 

Tony nodded. 

 

“Nat - again, thank you-”

 

“You don’t have to thank me,” she said softly. “I’m glad that I was there, and that -” she took in a steadying breath. “I’m glad that things weren’t further along, you know? Peter just… he’s so sweet, and I can’t imagine - and Skip? God. He doesn’t deserve any of the shit life’s thrown at him.”

 

“Yeah,” Tony whispered. 

 

“But I think that you were one of the best things to happen to him,” Natasha said, nudging Tony’s shoulder. 

 

A smile ghosted over Tony’s face, and he shook his head. 

 

“Thanks, Nat.”

 

“Anytime.”