The schools decathlon team had won the latest competition which qualified them for regionals. The team were very happy and excited the whole trip to the hotel where they would be staying. They got there only to find out there was a slight mix up with the rooms meaning Peter was two floors above the others. The teachers trusted him enough to be on his own, so he'd taken his stuff up and then chilled with Ned in his room until lights out.
After showering and changing Peter crawled under the blankets and dropped off to sleep.
The next day was full of sightseeing before round one of the competition. To celebrate yet another win the team went to an arcade and spent most the night there, Peter beating everyone on the dance machines.
The teen returned to the hotel and dragged themselves to bed, falling asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows.
Peter jumped awake to a thump from the room next door. It sounded like a body had hit the floor.
The teen looked at the clock and saw it was three am and shook his head, thinking maybe he was just hearing things. He lay back down and closed his eyes, only for them to snap back open to the sound a muffled scream and what sounded like struggling. The teen shot out of bed and tired to find a hotel staff member to help him.
He found no-one and by the time he got back to his room the noises had stopped.
Peter didn’t sleep for the rest of the night.
The next day Peter couldn't focus.
He couldn’t stop thinking about the noises he heard.
What the hell had been going on next door?
Whoever was screaming had sounded terrified, and not being able to find any hotel staff? Now that Peter really thought about it, that was weird and unnerving.
“Peter?” Mj’s voice cut through.
“I’m sorry what?” The teen replied, attention snapping back to her.
“Try to focus,” she said, he nodded and did as was asked.
That night Peter bolted awake to the same noises, only this time they sounded more urgent. The teen ran over to his door intent on helping only to find his door was locked from the outside.
No, no, no.
Someone was in trouble and they needed help. Peter tried to open the door with his key, but it didn’t work. The teen even used some of his super strength, but the door didn’t budge.
Peter felt helpless as he sank to the floor and curled into a ball, unable to do anything but listen to those screams.
The last day finally arrived and Peter was exhausted. Every night he'd woken up to the muffled screaming and struggling, unable to get out of his room and help. He never went back to sleep after they stopped, he simply curled into a ball and sobbed.
He hated feeling helpless.
He was meant to be a hero dammit.
The team won the competition tat afternoon and went for a meal to celebrate. While the others went to the arcade Peter headed back to hotel, wanting to get at least some sleep. The teen showered and changed before crawling into bed, falling asleep between one breath and the next.
A shrill scream had Peter bolting upright a few hours later and running to see what was going on. He opened his door and saw a woman screaming and pointing into the room next to his. The commotion had drawn the attention of the entire floor, a man ran over to see what had gotten the woman so scared.
"Someone call the police and an ambulance now."
It was all a bit of a blur after that.
Everyone was cleared out of the hotel wondering what was going on.
Parents were called for the kids and services took people's statements.
A young male officer, who was accompanied by an older officer, took Peter’s statement as he sat in the back of an ambulance. Shock blanket around his shoulders.
"And you say you heard this every night since your second day here?” The younger male asked, wanting to clarify what Peter had just said.
"I - I tried to get help but my door was locked from the outside so I couldn’t get out. I'm sorry I tried I just I-" he cut off with a small sob.
"It's alright son," the older man soothed, hand on the teens shoulder as a form of comfort, “its alright.”
They had found the man in his room bound and gagged, sparing the public the gory details.
Peter waited for someone to pick him up and barrelled into Tony as he saw him, the man's arms wrapping around his shaking form.
"It's okay kiddo I'm here, I'm right here," he reassured, kissing the top of the teens head as he sobbed into his chest, "it's okay."
Peter wanted to believe him, he really did. But he couldn't help feeling that he could have done something if he'd tried harder to open the damn door. Tony took the teen home and stayed up with Peter as he held the shaking teen in his arms, doing his best to soothe him as he rocked them gently.
Peter could still hear that god-awful muffled scream.