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A Study of Spidey Habits

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He woke up slowly. It felt too slow to be honest. Were his eyes even open? He could tell it was dark, but the blurry figure in the distance did nothing to ground him. His wrists were numb and he couldn’t move anything without pain worse than fire coursing through him.

 

There were clanging noises coming from what he presumed to be metal tools in the distance. He didn’t know what they were . Odd, he could usually tell a spanner from a wrench just by the noise. That scared him. A lot.   

 

He tried moving his head, but his head throbbed with the movement.. Where am I?

 

He could hear footsteps approaching. The noise was soft and fuzzy, as if he was swimming in an ocean and was falling to the bottom of the seabed. It just felt wrong, so wrong. The blurry figure didn’t become any clearer as it got closer. Now all he could see was a mix of dull colours instead of dull dots. His wrist was picked up harshly, pulling against the metal restraints painfully. How hadn’t noticed that before? The cuffs felt strong and firm and he couldn't help but let out a yell as something pierced his skin.  The life drained out of him in an instant along with something else, though he couldn’t tell what. He was crying out to anyone that could hear him. He was in pain; He just wanted to go home.

Is this home now?

 

He didn't know anymore.

 

There was a faint buzzing in his ear as something was being injected this time rather than taken.  He felt drowsy and he needed to throw up as soon as possible.

But he couldn’t.

 

He tried to cry but his mouth could not open, what was the point of opening his mouth when he could sleep...just sleep.

As he was on the verge of falling asleep, he got jerked awake by an increase in heart rate or something.

 

The thing that had injected fluid into his arm put an object on his face now. Gas consumed his senses before he could register what was happening. The figure was muttering phrases he couldn't understand. Everything felt fuzzy and out of place.

 

As he lost unconsciousness, he tried to remember.

 

Chapter Text

“I. Am. Iron  Man.”

 

There was a blinding flash of light, and then dust. Lots and lots of dust. Tony sank to the ground as he watched Thanos and his army turned to nothing in the same way he had watched his teammates leave five years ago.

 

In the same way as he felt the kid leave five years ago.

 

He had to admit that this was satisfying. Seeing the person who had destroyed everyone he and his friends loved being destroyed by the same thing. He could hear the cheers from Clint and Steve, and a joyful yell of “I am Groot!” in celebration. Strange had floated over to see the beautiful wreck that was the battlefield in silent approval.

 

It truly was beautiful, wasn't it?

 

But mostly, he just felt tired . The snap had taken so much out of him; he didn’t have the ability to do anything but smile as his wife approached him with pride shining in her eyes.

 

“We won, Tony.” She smiled.

“Yeah… We did didn’t we?”

 

He looked up. He was surrounded by his fellow Avengers, and wow there were a lot of them now. They clapped him on his shoulder, ,telling him “Well done Tony” “Congratulations asshole”

 

He managed to reply with “Thanks guys, and Shut the fuck up Steve” with smirks playing on his face, because if there ever was a chance to snark at the old man you know Tony was going to take it, no matter their predicament.

 

“Okay, time to stop being sappy for a second, let’s have a headcount. Did everyone make it?” Clint spoke up over the rest of them as he looked around, naming and counting each Avenger. “Raccoon, green lady, Nebula, Thor, Tasha, space coat, Steve, magic hands, Bucky, Sam, T'Challa…” And so on. He seemed satisfied with the headcount until Tony spoke up:

 

“Where’s Underoos?”

 

“Underoos?”

 

“Peter.”

 

“I’m right here you tin can!” called Quill.

 

“No not you Quill, I mean Peter Parker. The kid.”

 

Clint and Quill shared an “ohhhh” in recognition as Tony spotted a small, frail Peter Parker facing away from them, looking down at something. Tony let out a breath of relief he didn’t know he was holding in before trying to get up.

 

“Kid…” He began weakly, but a hand pushed him back down. “No Tony, don’t move. Stay here and I’ll get him.” Natasha urged.

 

She walked over to Peter and put a hand on his shoulder to get his attention, her face turning to confusion when he looked at her. Something was off with him, but Tony was too relieved to see Peter to question it. They could worry about that later, right now all that mattered was that Peter was here. Natasha brought Peter to where Tony was laying.

 

“Hey kid. Nice to see you’re okay”

 

“I’m fine Stark” Came a monotone voice from the kid.

 

“You sure? Not hurt or anything? Nothing you wanna tell me about?” That kid better know he doesn’t have to keep his issues in.

 

Peter gave him a sharp look. “I told you I was fine.” Seeing Tony’s confusion his face changed to something softer. “I’m just a little overwhelmed.”

 

Tony nodded in agreement. “I feel ya kid.” Murmurs of agreement surrounded him. It was hard to disagree that this had been emotionally and physically draining for all of them.

 

“We need to get you to a medic bay” Strange spoke to Tony. No he didn’t matter right now, he had to make sure that everyone was okay and he didn’t really feel like moving.

 

“Tony…” Came Peppers voice.

 

“I know, I know” Tony sighed, and reached out for Peters hand who immediately drew himself away and frowned. “Alright then…”

 

T’challa and Shuri came over with an object that looked like a stretcher with a few medics behind them. Bruce smiled down at Tony as they maneuvered him onto it. Tony was glad that Peter had looked away. The poor kid shouldn’t have to see him in pain. Broken. He’s already gone through too much for that.

 

The movement of the stretcher lulled Tony to a sense of security, as he and the other Avengers went through Strange’s portal to Wakanda. Back and forth, back and forth . Just before he closed his eyes the portal closed, the faint outline of Peter's small figure on the other side. He would be safer at home. Safe with May, Ned and MJ. Tony tried reassured himself as the medic bay came into view.


 

“....Run some tests on him to make sure that nothing else is wrong”

 

Wait, was someone talking?

 

“...Vitals are low so we need to get the medication.”

 

Who was talking? They were talking about him right? Was he really zoning out that much? Surely his condition was better than… “Critical.”

 

Maybe not then.

 

The bustling around him was too much for his senses to bear. IV drips were being attached and an oxygen mask was being put over his mouth . Keeping him alive. Alive alive alive. Alive to see the kid again. Alive to see Pepper, to see Morgan. And that’s all that mattered right now.

 

“Tony we need you to keep breathing okay?”

 

Breathe. He could do that right? Easy enough. Inhale, exhale. Don’t panic and breathe. “You’re in good hands Tony.” He told himself.

 

As he felt more things being attached and pumped and injected, he allowed himself to rest, knowing that he just saved the Avengers.

He had just saved his family.


 

Tony woke with a start, a bright light beaming down at him, blinding him. Loud beeping rang out next to him. Where am I? All he could see was white.

 

“Oh God Tony! You’re awake!” A voice broke through the haze.

 

“Pepper?” Tony turned his head enough to see her blurry figure smiling next to his bed. “Pepper,” he breathed a sigh of relief. Thank god. Pepper’s figure slowly came into focus as his eyes adjusted to the light. She leaned over him, adjusting his blanket, brushing the hair from his face, the entire time he just wanted to kiss her cheek and tell her “I’m okay.”

 

“I can see. I know. You almost flatlined Tony. God you’re an actual idiot,” Despite Pepper’s obvious hysteria, she said the last line with old familiarity after years of married-couple bantering, even before they were married. Damn, he was lucky.

 

“Hey how much of an ‘actual idiot’ can I be, I did save everyone,” He remarked.

 

She laughed, the glittering laugh that Tony loved. “Yes, yes you did.”

 

Tony smiled as she planted a soft kiss on his head and a small child ran into view, Morgan, her excitement making up for her small form. Tony used his strength to push himself so he was sitting up and opened his arms for her to fall into. He had missed her tiny hugs and adorable giggles so much that he just couldn’t help but smile. Despite being surrounded by family, Tony still felt a heaviness in his chest. Peter .

 

Where was Peter?

 

Tony then remembered the past days’ events. Right, Peter was home and safe and okay and Pepper and Morgan were here. Peter was fine . He needed to remind himself that there was no need to panic, that Peter was okay, even if he wasn’t here. He couldn’t wait to introduce him to Morgan, he’s going to love her.  

 

Pepper seemed to sense his solemn mood. “He’s alright, Tony. We all are.”

 

Tony looked down at Morgan in his arms, and replied: “I know.”

 

Chapter Text

Two days later, Tony was finally allowed to go home with strict orders to “rest” and “don’t overwork yourself” which he was obviously not going to follow. By the time he had arrived back at the compound it was around 2pm, so Tony was surprised to find Peter sat at the kitchen table eating pizza with Bucky Barnes.

 

“Hey kid, shouldn’t you be in school?” Tony inquired.

 

The kid shrugged, “I didn’t feel great today so I decided to take the day off.”

 

Bucky spoke up, saying: “I sent the school a note for the kid. I’m sure they understand because of the snap and all” he finished by taking a large bite out of the pizza slice. Tony nodded in agreement. 

 

“Yeah. Of course. Hey kid, did you wanna come work on a new project with me?”

 

“Maybe. I’ll finish this pizza first”

 

“Alright, you know where to find me when you’re ready Underoos” Tony grinned and messed up Peters hair, who he could have sworn shot him a scornful glance before batting away Tony’s hand. Nah, it was just his imagination. 

 

He made his way to the lab, chatting to FRIDAY as he walked. He was updated on new renovations the others had put into the compound while he was away. It was mostly just replacing fallen bricks and tiles and upgrading the fridge and appliances. Apparently Steve had left him a message to upgrade the security when he gets the chance, then Natasha replied to it telling him not to worry because she had already done it and that “Steve was being a dumb bitch.” 

 

Morgan and Pepper had came home last night to catch up on some well deserved rest and were currently in their rooms. Tony let them sleep because he didn’t want to disturb them any more than he already had. It was a miracle that he was up and walking after the snap, never mind running around after a little girl and his wife. He chuckled at the thought, setting up his equipment along with Peter’s usual stuff for when he joined Tony. It took a moment for Tony to remember that the kid was here and alive. The last time he had done this he was alone, working on a way to get him back. “Whatever it takes” he muttered to himself, smiling.

 

A few moments later, the door slid open and Peter walked into the lab and sat down, getting to work immediately without talking. This scared Tony. Usually he was talking from the moment he entered, to the moment he left. Did Peter even know what they were working on?

 

“Hey spiderling, want a briefing on what to do?”

 

“No thanks, I kinda wanna work on my own stuff for today.”

 

“Oh… Okay then.” Tony paused for a second, looking over at Peter who seemed to be concentrating on anything but him.

 

“Hey… Pete are you okay? You know you can talk to me if something’s wrong.” He approached the subject carefully, as if he were trying to tame an ocelot. 

 

“I’m fine” came the short and snappy reply.

 

“Are you sure? If it’s anything to do with what happened maybe talking about it could…” 

 

Peter cut Tony off abruptly: “I said I’m fine. Can… Can we please leave it at that Stark?”

 

“Oh so we dropped the ‘Mister’ now?”

 

He watched Peter freeze and his facial expression turned to one of panic.

 

“I uh… I’m… I’m sorry Mr Stark”

 

“It’s okay kid.”

 

Tony frowned. It was obvious that Peter wasn’t as fine as he claimed to be, but then he couldn’t really do anything unless the kid opened up to him. He knew from his own experiences that pressuring someone to talk was a definite way to make sure they didn’t talk. Maybe he could talk to Bucky or Cap about it and see what advice they would give. The kid was surely traumatised about everything. Tony would have been more worried if he wasn’t. 

 

Why wouldn’t the kid talk to him?

 

“You’re staring”

 

“Am I? Sorry.”

 

Was it something he had done?

 

Tony waved the thought away as quick as it had came. Surely Peter wasn't mad at him. After all, Tony had been the one to save him.

 

He’s mad at you for taking five years.

 

Five years was too long even for Tony. He knew that Peter had felt like he had been asleep for most of it, but he didn’t know anything more than that. Maybe Peter was in pain. Maybe it hurt him to know that Tony took so long to rescue him when he had trusted Tony with his life.

 

Maybe Tony wasn’t good enough.

 

He looked back at the kid, making sure a frown wasn’t visible on his face. He seemed fine. A little on the irritated side, but fine. He wouldn’t be here if he was mad at Tony would he?

 

“You looking forward to seeing your buddies again?”

 

“Hm.”

 

“Come on Pete, you gotta work with me here. Usually you’re talking up and down the wall”

 

At that, Peter just frowned and shook his head, and Tony opened his arms, inviting a warm yet awkward hug. Peter was very stiff, as if he was reluctant to hug back, probably shaken from the reminder of the last one. He placed a hand on the back of Peters head comfortingly,  reassuring himself more than the kid that he was here. 

 

“It’ll be okay Pete. I promise.”

 

“I know it will be. It’s just… Hard”

 

“I know.” Tony smiled sadly and let go, watching as Peter started packing up his things, putting whatever he had just made into his backpack.

 

“I don’t think I’ll go to school for the rest of this week Mr Stark…”

 

“That’s okay kid. The school’s aware that this has been hard for you. Did you wanna stay here tonight?””

 

“Yeah. I’m just gonna go out and get some fresh air first”

 

“Alright, be careful Pete” God he was turning into such a parent.

 

After Peter had left, Tony started packing away his own stuff. He had come here to do work a few times while they were trying to figure out the whole time travelling thing. Endless days and nights he had sat on this desk wanting nothing more than to just have everything return to the way it was. He recalled Steve coming into the room every now and again, checking up on him and asking him to sleep, which he wouldn’t. He had everyone back now though, so why was there a lump in his throat still? He looked at Peters desk and frowned,

 

“I don’t wanna go Mr Stark…”

 

Tony swallowed the lump as he felt his breathing increase. No, this couldn’t be happening. He could control this… this fear. He was alive. The kid…

 

“I don’t feel so good Mr Stark”

 

“I got you Peter”

 

He leaned against the desk and slid down to the floor, bringing his knees up to his chest and throwing his head back as he wished for the tears to stop. He was in enough pain as it was without his chest begging for air.

 

He caught Peter in his arms and the kid felt so light. Too light. Had he been eating and drinking enough? What was going to happen? Tony couldn’t lose him too. He had lost too many of his friends today. Strange had turned into dust before his eyes. Now Peter was clinging onto him, wishing for Tony to help him and Tony could do absolutely nothing which hurt. It hurt so bad and his heart felt tight and his jaw hurt as he was biting so hard pleading for whatever God was left not to let the kid leave. Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid Don’t take the kid.

 

Tony laid Peter down on his back, watching as tears fell from his eyes and not being able to do anything to help him out. Tony felt powerless and he hated it and he just wanted to take him back to the compound and cradle him until all the hatred in the world turned to dust instead. He was just 16! He still had his whole life to live!

 

“I don’t wanna go Mr Stark”

 

The look on his face was absolutely painful. Tony watched, not being able to help as Peter disappeared in his arms. He tried to grasp what he could before he faded away completely.

 

“Tony”

 

Tony screamed out, cried and screamed some more. Peter didn’t deserve this fate. This shouldn’t have happened. He was just a kid. Tony screamed and kicked and yelled as he felt like he was being held down by the weight of the world. His throat burned and his muscles cried for him to stop but he wasn’t just going to sit there and watch.

 

“Tony!”

 

He needed… He needed to…

 

“Tony open your eyes! It’s okay!”

 

Who was calling out to him?

 

“There we go. Breathe. You’re okay. Queens is okay. Everyone’s okay.”

 

Tony opened his eyes to see Steve, Bucky and Pepper kneeling around him, wearing matching worried looks. Steve was holding his hands up showing that he wasn’t going to touch Tony unless he said so. His throat truly did feel like fire and everything ached and he felt so so tired. He closed his eyes as he wished for the haunting images to leave him alone. 

 

“Everything's okay Tony. Why don’t you go get some rest? You look ready to keel over.” A smile played on Steves lips as Tony tried to return one.

 

“Everything would be okay if only Peter would talk to me” he thought.

 

Despite himself, Tony nodded, knowing that no matter what he did he wasn’t going to forget those events anytime soon. Steve and Bucky helped him stand up, taking his weight a few times before he managed to stand without getting dizzy. He took Peppers hand  gratefully and they all silently agreed to never talk about this again.

 

When they got to the room, Pepper got into bed, curling up to Tony while he stared at the ceiling. A million things rushing through his head. He just wanted to sleep.

 

“What’s wrong Tone?”

 

“It’s…” He was about to say nothing, but it would be a bit hypocritical for arguing that Peter should speak up without him speaking up himself. God he was worried about that kid. He knows that he’s been through a lot, and he knows that the kid is probably fine, but he couldn't get rid of this gut feeling that something isn’t right. Where is the peter who started talking to Steve after taking the shield, the one who used pop culture to fight, who talked his mouth off at any given moment? I hope he’s back soon . Tony took a breath. 

 

“It’s the kid. I’m really worried about him. He’s been acting… off.” 

 

“Off how?” 

 

“He hasn’t been talking much and he’s been very… monotone? Would you say?” 

 

“I’m sure it’s nothing. He’s going through a lot right now, give him time to recuperate.”

 

Tony sighed. “Yeah, I'm sure you’re right….”

 

“I love you Tony” She smiled and kissed her husband on the cheek

 

“Yeah? Well Morgan loves me 3000” he smirked.

 

“3000? Damn. I could never beat that”

 

“Damn right you couldn’t” He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer, kissing the top of her head. “G’night Pepper”

 

“Night Tony”

Chapter Text

“So… The weirdest thing happened right! You know when we were in space and then we turned to dust and then it felt really bad right? But then I woke up and Doctor Strange was there doing his magic thing and he was like “It’s been five years we gotta go save the world!” and…”

 

Tony Stark wrapped his arms around Peter Parker, who reciprocated the hug by holding Tony back.

 

“Mr Stark?”

 

“I’m right here kid.”

 

“Oh… This is nice.”

 

The two stayed like that for a while, as the war raged on in the background. The peace didn’t last long though as yells and cries interrupted their moment. Peter ran to his teammates while Tony did the same. They fought and bled and Peter had gotten separated from Tony, so all that was running through his head was “Where is he?” “Is he okay?” And Tony was thinking the same. While their other teammates yelled at them through the comms, they were too focused on each other.

 

“Don’t die” they thought.

 


 

May Parker woke with a start, feeling the emptiness of the room around her. Peter hadn’t been home to occupy the space, to fill it with his laughter with Ned or to comment on whatever TV show they were watching at the time. She was still processing the fact that five years had passed without her. Five years the world had turned and left her behind. She was lucky enough to come back though. She knew that much.

 

Getting out of bed, she trudged to the kitchen and marked off another day on the calendar. “Day five” she sighed. No one was here to run and grab their breakfast now. She only had her voice to hear, and she heard it shake. 

 

“Five days without Peter.” 

 

Even just saying that made her want to break down. She had been planning the funeral ever since she realised he wasn’t coming back, he deserved to be commemorated, and today she was finishing sending out the invites. She looked down at the piece of paper in front of her, the most daunting of them all.

 

Dear Tony Stark

 

I hope you are well.

As you may have realised, Peter is no longer with us. I have been trying to contact you as I have been completing the plans for his funeral. As you can understand this has been very hard for me and I would appreciate it as Peters mentor that you would attend his funeral along with anyone else in your group that he knew well. 

 

Please find the details listed on the back of this letter.

 

Kind regards, 

M.Parker.

 

She sighed as she folded it into the envelope sat on the table in front of her and sealed it. The address and name clearly written on the front, ready to be delivered. She hoped that by sending a formal letter Tony would be forced to respond, or at least whoever read his letters would be forced to tell him. He had not been answering any of her calls lately, and if it wasn’t for the news reports she would have believed that he had died too. 

 

She sighed, “Better get on with it.”

 


 

 

Ned walked the halls with his head hung low. He couldn’t stand to see the locker that had “We miss you Parker” notes stuck all over it. 

 

Yeah right he thought. No one ever cared about Peter this much. Even Flash, for all his claims of mourning still had the tendency to call him “Penis Parker.”

 

Nothing was really the same without Peter. After everyone came back from the Snap Ned had gone into school hoping to find his best friend. He had gone into class and prayed that the empty seat would soon be filled, or that Peter would text him that he was off with the Avengers knowing that Ned always loved hearing Peters exciting reenactments of his various battles.

 

Then the announcement came and Neds world broke.

 

He looked over to MJ who shared his look of disbelief.

 

“After everyone returned from the snap, it has been confirmed that Peter Parker is no longer with us.”

 

And Ned was the only one who would understand the real reason why.

 

Now Ned had to walk the halls of hell without the one person that always kept him grounded. Despite the fact that MJ walked with him, they barely talked. They had nothing to talk about.

 

“So… about the snap…”

 

“It was strange”

 

“I miss Peter”

 

“Me too I guess”

 

And that was the end of that.

 

They had gotten a text from May earlier in the week asking them to help her plan the funeral. The poor woman had a hard time on her own so they often checked up on her, made sure she was taking care of herself and staying if she wanted to talk. She had been like a second mom to Ned, and it was only right to be there for her when she was without her son. MJ said that it shouldn't be their job to comfort a grieving aunt, that she could get help herself, but Ned knew that it was much more than that. He knew that May knew that Peter had died saving them, and she couldn’t discuss that with anyone. Instead he just said that she needs someone who knew Peter, and left it at that.

 

“Oh my God Ned I’m so sorry for your loss” some girl had said in Chemistry. Had she ever spoken to him?

 

“Yeah, me too” he had replied, getting sick of hearing all these people who never even batted an eyelid at Peter talk about him as if he was the most well known person in school.

 

MJ gotten into a fight about it once, asking some guys why they were writing “we miss you” on Peters locker when they didn’t even know him. Telling them that if they had even tried to talk to Peter, they would have known what a true ‘hero’ he was.

 

She didn’t know the half of it.

 


 

“Hello Mrs Parker” MJ spoke as May opened the door. Her and Ned were visiting to help her with last minute prep before the funeral. May said hello back and let the two in, asking if they wanted anything to eat or drink to which MJ politely declined and Ned not so politely (shock) agreed to. As MJ looked around she saw a few empty boxes, May clearly not bringing herself to be able to throw his stuff out.

 

She had to admit it was weird how everyone had come back EXCEPT for Parker. How could he just not return when everyone else did?

 

“I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out… He was such a smart kid” 

 

MJ looked as May held the certificates from Stark Industries and the Decathlon team. She was showing Ned and MJ pretty much everything Parker had won. It made her feel bad for not getting to know him more, despite how much she actually liked him.

 

She found herself floating to Peters bedroom. It looked empty and ridiculously clean. There was one full box on the floor labelled “Photos.” Prying was a bad idea, but she couldn’t help but notice them.

 

A photo with Tony Stark holding an upside down certificate- the one May had just shown them.

One with the decathlon team that they took before Washington.

One with May in a diner.

One with Bruce Banner, working on some science fair thing he had made that had even briefly impressed Flash.

 

If only Flash knew how many Avengers Parker actually knew, all he had to do was whip out a few photos; probably didn’t even occur to the idiot. 

 

God, she missed him. A lot.

 

“The cars here guys…”

 

MJ put the photo of the decathlon team in her pocket before standing up and making her way to the door where Ned and May were waiting. She smiled reassuringly to them before climbing into the black chauffeur. The ride was bumpy and silent. May could be heard sniffing every now and again and MJ would shoot Ned a supportive smile who tried to return one and ultimately failed. The scenery wasn’t all that pleasant either. Some buildings, trees and more buildings until they came to the Church and graveyard. Stones, then.

 

She watched as May got out of the car and greeted the guests with forced smiles and overdone hugs that meant nothing in the long run. MJ wasn’t surprised to hear that Stark hadn’t arrived. Why would he? But May seemed upset about it so her and Ned tried their best to comfort her.

 

“You know I really thought he cared about that kid, guess not so much” May sighed.

 

“I… I’m sure he’s just busy” Ned replied, looking at MJ for help who just shrugged, unsure of what to say. It’s not like she knew the guy.

 

“Stark could put aside whatever he was doing for this. Didn’t he understand how much Peter looked up to him?” May said through gritted teeth. “Peter adored that man, he would have done anything to make him proud. Guess none of that matters if your Tony Stark.” Tears shone in her eyes. Poor Peter, maybe Flash was right, and he didn’t know Stark as well as he claimed. Well at least he isn’t here to find out.

 

Ned stepped in front of May before she could continue her rant, attempting to prevent May from going to track down Tony Stark and give him a solid dressing down at that moment. “I’m sure he just…” 

 

“You know what?” May snapped. “Forget it. We don’t need him here anyway.” 

 

MJ nodded before mumbling to Ned about how it really isn’t that important if Tony was just Peter's mentor.  Ned grimaced and said “I guess we don’t understand the extent of it” before walking to their allocated seats.

 

The funeral was a typical, low budget one. A Priest talked a bunch of bullshit about how “Well loved” Peter was by his friends and family. MJ snorted a little. The only ‘friends and family’ Peter had sat right here. A row at the front for three. May got up and did a small speech about how much Peter had gone through and that it was heartbreaking to her. Ned had cried with her, but MJ just couldn’t bring herself to do anything besides sit and watch. Hymns were sang, (Why? Peter wasn’t in any way religious. He would have preferred some MGMT or Semisonic song) Prayers were said, and the empty, overpriced coffin was put to rest along with Peter. 

 

“Suppose you won’t be helping out the decathlon team anymore” MJ smirked slightly, trying to make it as lighthearted as possible. “Thank you, Peter.”

 

And that was that.

 

Chapter Text

May paced back and forth in her room, contemplating whether to go to Stark's compound or not.

 

“The man needs to learn some decency” she mumbled. Her loud footsteps creating echoes. She was still furious about him not showing up to her nephews funeral and was dying to show him a piece of her mind.

 

“How dare he” she growled.

 

After more pacing, she eventually grabbed her keys and locked up. She was doing this more for Peter than for herself. Didn't Tony know how much the kid cared about him? Looked up to him? Did Tony even care? The weather outside was dreary, a fitting scene for her. As May got in her car, the radio was playing a song that May really didn’t need to hear:

 

“Shadows settle on the place that you left.”

 

Peter’s small face staring up at her from his crib. His innocent eyes showing no signs of the horror in his young life. As she reached down to wipe some drool from his cheek, he giggled and held her finger between his hands.

 

“Our minds are troubled by the emptiness.”

 

Peter pulled her along, almost tripping twice in his excitement.

“Look May! Look! I made my own Iron Man!” 

May looked over at the small contraption that seemed to be a perfect replica of a mini Iron Man. Peter’s eyes shone as he showed her,  his grin about to split his face in two. And May couldn’t help but smile back

“It’s perfect, honey.” 

 

“We are the reckless we are the wild youth” 

 

May washed the blood off Peter’s shoulder, silence surrounding the two of them. That kid could have died, if the spear had just been a little deeper, a little further to the left, then that would be it despite whatever healing powers he claimed to have.

“I’m fine, May, Mr. Stark made sure my wound was stitched up, the guy never stood a chance! Mr. Stark is always gonna catch the bad guy.”

But what about Peter, who cares about a criminal with an electricity obsession? what about Peter?

 

“Chasing visions of our futures”

 

May watched as Stark’s chauffeur snapped a photo of Peter and Stark holding Peter’s internship certificate. He had it upside down and laughed as Tony pointed it out to him and asked to keep the photo anyway. She watched with pride as Tony ruffled his hair, smiling down at him. She was glad that Peter had another father figure in his life.

 

“And my eyes are damp from the words you left”

 

May looked at Peter smiling as he ran around the house, packing last minute items for his school trip. He hated the things but was always dragged along by Ned. He was complaining that “School trips should be banned” and worrying about stupid stuff such as the bus.

“Ready kiddo?”

“As I’ll ever be”

“Have fun okay? I love you”

“Love you too May”

 

"To distract our hearts from ever missing them”

 

“After much research it has been confirmed that Queens resident, Peter Parker has not returned with the rest of the Decimations victims. The cause of this is currently unknown…” 

May’s breath hitched as she watched the news. When Peter did not show up within the day, she assumed he was off with the Avengers. Her lip trembled. Peter- her baby. The innocent little child she had taken in so many years ago- was gone. What was she going to do without him? Alone?

 

HONK   

 

A car horn blared from behind her, and she snapped out of her trance. Crap, the light was green! She put her foot down maybe a bit too harshly, trying to concentrate on the road in front of her while wiping away fresh tears. No matter how hard she tried, remembering Peter was not going to bring him back.

 

Starks compound came into view as she turned the last corner and she hoped that Tony was there so that she wouldn’t have to speak to some other billionaire that occupied the buildings many floors. She parked up, taking one last moment to make sure she was ready before exiting the car.

 

“But I’m forever missing him.”

 


 

May entered the building, storming up to the front desk in a confident rage. “I’m here to see Tony Stark”

 

The short woman at the front desk just rolled her eyes. “You can leave the get well wishes in the lobby. What’s your name please?” 

 

“May Parker.”

 

The woman's eyes widened in recognition. “My-- my apologies Mrs. Parker I didn’t realize it was you. I’ll have notified him of your arrival right away. Someone will escort you upstairs.” 

 

May gave a brisk nod, and walked to the little waiting space in the lobby. I guess Stark had her on the receptionists VIP list, strange, I always thought he would want me away after what he pulled with Peter.  

 

Another woman, not that much older than the last came over and brought her to the elevator to a familiar sitting room. The compound had changed a lot since she was last here, picking up Peter after a missed curfew. The couch had somehow gotten longer and she was sure that the kitchen counter used to be marble. Stark came out to greet her. “May! What brings you here? It’s good to see you.”

 

“Quit the chat, Tony. Why haven’t you been responding to my texts? My emails? The letters?”

 

“Uhhhhh,” a look of confusion spread across the billionaire’s face, “what texts and emails, and does anyone even write letters anymore, besides old man America?”

 

He was actually trying to play dumb was he? May wasn’t having that. At all.

 

“I have been trying to contact you for five days now. You never showed up to Peters funeral! Who the hell do you think you are? You do realise he-”

 

Tony raised his hands up in a calming gesture. “Woah, hold on May. Peters funeral? Why are you holding a funeral for someone who’s alive? He literally told me he’d messaged you last night to say he’s staying here. Surely he didn’t die overnight, he’s not that reckless?”

  

May felt her blood boil. Was he insane? Peter had been declared dead after everyone came back and now Stark was here claiming that he has been with him? And morbid jokes about the death of the best kid she had never known, did he really want to try and pull that now!

 

“Listen Iron Man, I don’t know what sort of denial you’re going through, but Peters been declared dead for a few days now. I would have known. And if he was with you, you should have replied to me. But you didn’t because you are delusional Tony Stark”

 

“That’s some pretty bold claims from someone who hasn’t even messaged me. FRIDAY check for any missed contact from May Parker.” He folded his arms, and May felt his glare burn through her as FRIDAY replied saying there was nothing from her.

 

“You deleted it”

 

“And why would I do that, you’re really stopping that low Mayday.”

 

“Not as low as you!” God, What was Stark’s problem! “Claiming that you cared for Peter when all you are is a playboy wannabe with a bit of metal in his chest. I’ll never know why he looked up to someone like you”

 

“Ouch May. Honestly, if you want me to I’ll-”

 

“I’m not done Stark. Or should I say selfish son of a bitch. All you have is your money, and your suit, and you are nothing without that damn suit.” Tony’s eyes widened and a small look of hurt spread across his features. He had never seen May so… Aggressive. 

 

At that Tony took a step back, shame clouded his eyes. Ha, gotcha. May thought. 

 

Tony put his hands up in a symbol of surrender, pleading her to stop. “I’ll.. I’ll just call him. Look. PETER!” When he got no response he tried again.

 

“Peter?”

 

“Kid?”

 

“Underoos?”

 

No reply came.

 

Tony laughed it off, May watching with raised eyebrows.

 

“He’s probably just asleep or patrolling without telling me you know…”

 

She looked up at him, cold now. Nothing but ice in her glare.

 

“Peter loved you and you let him down. How could you? Do you actually understand how much Peter loved and looked up to you? He thought of you as his father. He constantly worked and worked to make you happy and yet all you care about is your own Goddamn self! He came home every night telling me how wonderful you were today or how much you had done. He praised you to no end Tony. And yet you couldn’t even take an hour out of your day to acknowledge him. You never deserved him.”

 

Tony froze, dumbfounded. His lip quivering ever so slightly and May saw his hands become shaker. She knew she took it too far, but it was for Peter. It was all for Peter. And if Tony claimed that Peter was alive when he wasn't, well, he had another thing coming. Tony looked away now, unable to catch her eye as he spoke. His words so quiet she could barely hear him.

 

"Mrs. Parker I think it's best that you leave"

 

May nodded and left without another word, feeling the impact of her words hanging heavy over them. Enough had been said.

 


 

Tony listened to the soft click of the door as May Parker left, confused and hurt. If it wasn't for the fact that he had seen the others talking to the kid he would have considered May to be correct. He certainly felt crazy. He wanted to check on Peter but leant against the table, trying to regain his breath and putting a hand over his mouth to catch any noises he may make. He didn't understand. What just happened? 

 

His mind flashed back to an earlier discussion with Peter: “If your nothing without this suit you shouldn't have it.” May had essentially told him the same thing, and God it hurt. It reminded him too much of that fateful day on the helicarrier when the Avengers had first “assembled.” He remembered the hurt that had been passed around that day; no one deserved to be treated like that, but that's exactly what he had done to Peter. He had been treating the kid terribly, locking him away in the compound, trying to keep him to himself, but putting him down at every turn. Peter deserves a loving family, not a broken base full of out of control superheroes. Peter deserved a normal life where he could go to homecoming without having to worry about his girlfriend's father wanting to kill him, or forcing himself to try to get approval from his mentor. Damn, he really did continue the cycle of shame. Peter should be able to hangout with Ned without worrying about if Thanos would snap him away again. 

 

It took a while, but eventually he managed to get a hold of himself again. He stood up, making his way to Peter's room before knocking.

 

"Spiderling? You in there?"

 

A soft hum came as confirmation. "You can come in you know"

 

Tony opened the door to see Peter sat on his desk, bits of paper that Tony assumed was Biology and Chemistry homework strewn about. Tony took a deep breath and composed himself. He is here. How does May not know? Where should he even start?

 

“Kid do you have some time to… Talk?”

 

Peter nodded and gestured to his bed for Tony to sit down. “Sure… What’s up?”

 

Tony took a deep breath, hands shaking. “Your Aunt May came round earlier.”

 

Peter did not seemed fazed by this statement. “Oh?”

 

Oh? Wasn’t the kid the tiniest bit concerned? Tony frowned, usually Peter would be panicking over the fact that he had worried her. He knew how May could be when she got angry or worried.

 

She…kid have you actually gone home at all since you...” he made a vague gesture, “you know?”

 

Peter was silent and looked down, something in his hands seemingly more interesting than Tony’s face now. He sighed and leaned forward, eyebrows furrowed and a frown evident.

 

“I’m really worried about you Peter…”

 

“I… You have no reason to be S…Mr. Stark.”

 

“May thinks your dead.”

 

Peter didn’t really say anything. He just continued staring at his hands and the floor.

 

Tony frowned. Something seemed off. Mays messages weren’t being sent to Tony and Peters messages weren’t being sent to May. Maybe someone hijacked their communication?

 

“Please… Go home Pete. I love having you here but… She needs you.”

 

It took him a minute, but Peter nodded and stood up, gathering his stuff. Tony smiled sadly at him and put a hand on his back as he guided him out of the room. “I know you’ll probably wanna swing home, but Happy is downstairs if you want to be driven home. Please, take care of yourself Underoos.”

 

Peter nodded. “I will. I promise… Goodbye…”

 

“Bye kid…”

 

Tony waved him off and stood staring at the door for a while after it closed. His fingers tingled and his head felt like he was underwater yet his chest felt strangely numb and empty. He didn’t know what to do now. So he went to his lab, and played Queen as loud as he possibly could to drown out what he was thinking.

 

After debating with himself, he picked up his phone to get Natashas advice on the situation. He wanted someone's opinion who could maybe understand what Peter was going through. He would ask Pepper, but she already had enough to deal with with Morgan and himself as it was.

 

“Hey Natasha.”

 

“What’s up Tony?”

 

“I need your advice.”

 

“Oh yes, I’m the great pretender

Pretend that I’m doing well

My need is such, I pretend too much.

I’m lonely but no one can tell”

Chapter Text

Iron Man snapped and the world became a blur for a second. Thanos’ army was dying and turning to dust left, right and centre. The avengers watched and remembered the way they had done the same five years ago. Especially Spider-Man, who looked at his hands and couldn’t help but feel himself disappear again. He shook his head, running to find Iron Man, to congratulate him on their win.

 

When he did, he felt his heart fall out of his chest. Iron Man was slumped up against some debris, looking at the world around him through dazed vision. The arachnid hero fell to his knees, resting his hands on Tony’s shoulders.

“Mr. Stark it’s me! Peter! Can you hear me?”

When Iron Man’s only response was a glance in his direction, he became more and more frantic.

“We won Mr Stark! We won…”

 

He tried to deny what was happening. It wasn’t possible. Tony Stark wasn’t meant to leave him yet. But he could hear his mentors heart beating tout. A countdown to the inevitable, if you will. It was haunting to Peter. Everything else turned silent as Tony’s heart beat. And beat. And then…

 

Before long, he felt someone trying to pull him away from Tony. he couldn't go. It wasn’t fair.

Pepper Potts knelt beside the war hero, and smiled sadly.

 

“Hey… Tony… Look at me Tony. We’re gonna be okay.”

“Mr Stark…”

“You can rest now Tony”

 

He couldn’t breathe. Iron Man’s heart just… stopped. There was no flatline. No indication. Just… nothing.

 

His heart should be beating.

 

The team watched as Spider-Man fell to his knees.

 

“MR STARK! No… No.. Don’t.. Don’t leave me...”

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

“I will. I promise… Goodbye…”

 

“Bye kid…”

 

Peter flew into the night, feeling the rush of wind hit his face. The stars were out tonight, helping the moon illuminate the city from above. It was a particularly animated part of city, where even on a Thursday he could see people wining and dining below him. He smirked to himself, swinging in the opposite direction of his “home.”

 

God this is easier than I thought it would be. Stark really is pathetic. He thought.

 

The exclamations of wonder from the crowd below only added to his enjoyment. Such gullible people.

 

Admittedly, it was very enjoyable to be up here during this time of day. He spotted an empty alleyway, and headed for it. When his feet touched the floor, he shook off the small jacket he was wearing and leaned against the wall. His figure breaking down until where Peter had stood, there was now a 6 foot, brown haired adult man wearing a casual button up shirt and jeans. He huffed as he adjusted the cuffs of his shirt and picked up the discarded jacket, slinging it over his shoulder after stretching and cracking his neck. 

 

That kid is so fucking small He let out a snarl of distaste before stepping out into the crowd of people. 

 

The beautiful thing about Mysterio was that without the getup, He was just him. He could be whoever the hell he wanted to be. 

 

Most of the time lately, he was Peter Parker.

 

Idiotic Avengers. 

 

“I’m fine Mr. Stark” He mocked in fake earnest and grinned with the feeling of power. Power to be able to mess with any Avenger and bend them at his will. All because they loved a certain little insect boy too much. He had to give Tony Stark credit for knowing the kids mannerisms well, the Stark slip up almost gave him away. If it wasn’t for the footage he had stolen from FRIDAY to teach himself about Peter then he might have been caught already.

 

Nah, he was too good for that.

 

See, the thing about being able to act is that you can walk down the street with the confidence of an A list celebrity and receive the same attention as one. People at you and grin and yell “Hey bro! Let’s grab a beer!” without knowing that your day job is using some advanced technology to make billionaires believe you’re a teenage boy.

 

From down here, somehow the night looked brighter than before. There was a bounce in his step that made him feel good. A local bar was blasting ‘Mr Brightside’ by The Killers. Mysterio hummed along and swayed. If it wasn’t for the fact that he had stuff to do, he would have considered staying, dancing and drinking his good mood into the early hours.

 

Do you think Stark would appreciate his kid coming back with a hangover?

 

“Destiny is calling me” He grinned. One day the world will know what a great illusionist he was. Someone will give him his chance. There was no ‘if’s’ about it. He wanted to be famous, to be known by thousands and not have to stand in someone else’s shadow. And he knew exactly how to get there.

 

What could he say? He was a people person.

 

He brushed past crowds of people who couldn’t give more of a care about where they were going. Some didn’t even see him and fell on the stairs next to him. Did New Yorkers EVER look at where they’re going? And there went his good spirits. 

 

The closer he got to his destination, the quieter things became. Both the place he walked through and his mood darkened. He didn’t mind so much, though. 

 

Mysterio inserted a key into a lock and opened a door. He stepped inside a room, turning on the lights and throwing the jacket to the side before locking the door behind him. A whimper came from a body across the other side of the room, making him turn to look at the metal bed. He smiled sadistically at the sight of the beloved Spider-Man that lay before him, now powerless. And it was all because of him.

 

He strolled over to him, punching Peter in the arm.

 

“Good evening, insect”

 

Peter gasped, eyes flying open, in a futile attempt to gage his surroundings, despite the fact that he could not see anything other than whatever his world had conjured up for him. He watched as the spiderling tried to sit up and gasped at the pain from the restraints holding him in place. Trapping him there. Mysterio nodded in satisfaction. Just as he thought, the drug was weakening Peter. Pulling out another needle from a drawer next to the bed, Mysterio filled it with that same drug and injected it into Peter's arm to make sure it wouldn’t be wearing off anytime soon.

 

He had made the drugs and chemicals himself. In school he was known for being the theatre kid and the science kid. Best of both worlds. If only his teachers could see him now. He would make them proud of what he created. He would make everybody proud.

 

Peter twitched, as the drugs and Mysterios illusions sent him into a new vision. He had placed drones around the bed, just in case the kid somehow managed to fight off the chemicals. He watched as Peters face contorted into a look of anguish, as his eyes watered. 

 

“Mr. Stark, no, no please! Don’t leave me!”

 

Mysterio rolled his eyes, groaning out of irritation. “Shut up, brat.” Whatever the kid was dreaming up was definitely not pleasant. He had made sure of that.

 

“No… No Please… Mr Star… You.. You can’t go PLEASE TONY!” The tears came at a quick pace, falling like rain.

 

“I said, '' Shut. Up.” And his fist collided with the spider’s face. Peters childish wailing got on his nerves on a good day and made Mysterio monstrous on a bad one. Luckily they kid’s cries turned to a slow whimper (still annoying, but bearable). Mysterio was now the only one talking. He reached for another needle to take some of Peter's blood.

 

“No one’s coming for you Parker. No one cares about you or your mindless chatter." He muttered. Despite his altered reality Peters subconscious was still active. If he could destroy the boy’s foolish hope, maybe Peter would stop thrashing about and making things messy for Mysterio. He had gone through too many needles that Peter had broken or wouldn't sit still long enough to get in him. He tried giving the kid gas to control this, but his superpowers made it hard to control the dosage. He didn't want to kill Peter.

 

Yet.

 

When he finished everything he needed to, Mysterio walked over to a desk and pulled out the object he had made in Tony’s lab the other day and toyed around with his new objects as Peter slipped back into unconsciousness behind him.

 

“Idiotic Avengers.” He thought out loud.

Chapter Text

The next day, Tony woke up to a pain his stomach as Morgan jumped on top of him. Apparently, Mommy bought her a new toy and that Tony HAD to see RIGHT NOW. He smiled and rubbed the sleep from his eyes he must have dozed off while working on a project last night. In fact there was still the faint noise of some Black Sabbath song playing in the background. 

 

“New toy huh? And when did she get you this?” 

 

“She surprised me with it this morning!” 

 

Tony grinned and ruffled his kids hair before picking her up and holding her close as he walked. Immediately any anxiety he had seemed to drown in Morgans giggles. How did he get so lucky?

 

They walked to the main room and Morgan started ‘showing’ Tony her toy (Which really meant her playing with it and Tony watching). He enjoyed these little domestic moments. It reminded him about what he was working towards and what he stood for. Pepper strolled in, her face lighting up the room with the smile that Tony loved. 

 

“How are you feeling?” She hummed, kissing his cheek.

 

“Sore” Tony laughed and kissed her properly. “The little one made sure to leave a mark.” He shuffled over on the sofa and put an arm around her pulling her close as she sat down. Morgan was oblivious to her lovey dovey parents behind them.

 

“I can still hear your Black Sabbath music. Care to change it for your daughter's sake?” 

 

“FRIDAY, play Morgans playlist.” 

 

“Playing Hakuna Matata from Disney's “The Lion King”

 

Tony and Pepper shared amused grins as Morgan perked up and started singing along. Before they knew it, they were all up and dancing. Pepper singing Timones part, Tony singing Pumbaa's and Morgan of course being Simba. Tony couldn’t remember a time before them where he just let himself go. These two really changed his life.

 

After Hakuna Matata, there was Almost There from Princess and the Frog, Fabulous from High School Musical (Which Tony obviously stole the show with much to the delight of Morgan) and then Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book, to which Tony took a backseat and watched as the love of his life and the tiny love of his life sang their hearts out to each other. He made sure to capture the moment before FRIDAY spoke up:

 

“Boss, Peter Parker is requesting to come in. Should I let him in?” 

 

“Go ahead FRIDAY”

 

Why was Peter here and not at home?

 

He watched as Peter walked in, his shoulders tense, and his skin pale, as he put his backpack down. He seemed to be unable to raise his head and his lip quivered ever so slightly.

 

Pepper looked up at the door, stopping what she was doing as Morgan ran to Peter excitedly.

 

“Are you Peter?”

 

Peter looked stunned at the tiny human in front of him, before kneeling down to her height and showing what seemed to be a forced smile.

 

“Yes I am”

 

Morgans smile widened as she took his hand and lead him to the centre of the room where her toy cars were.

 

“Dad’s talked about you a lot”

 

“He has huh?” Peter looked at Tony who shot him a smirk and rolled his eyes.

 

“Mhm! Lots!” She grinned, unable to sense Peter’s unhappiness.

 

Tony watched as he stood up and ruffled her hair asking Tony if he could get a drink before making his way to the kitchen. Pepper gave Tony a frown before nodding to him to follow Peter. As he did, he saw Peter muttering to himself. His hand was clenched tightly around the can of diet coke he was holding and his body seemed stiff and on guard. Tony frowned and sat opposite him on the table.

 

“Everything okay kid?”

 

“Yeah. Yeah just peachy”

 

“Wanna talk about it?”

 

“Not really, me and May had a fight.”

 

Tony didn’t mention how he thought that it was understandable that May was mad at Peter. He didn’t ask whether May felt bad for yelling at Tony or not. He just nodded and looked around the room as an awkward silence settled between the two. When Tony did speak, Peter didn’t reply. At all. Tony sighed and got up, telling him that he was in the main room if Peter needed anything or that he could go to the lab if he wanted. Again, Peter ignored him. Tony had almost froze, wanting to tell him that he should be opening up and that he really wasn’t acting like himself and if he needs help just to ask because God knows this was driving Tony absolutely insane.

 

But he didn’t. 

 

Instead, he went back to Pepper and Morgan who were still laughing with each other. 

 

Tony wished his mood hadn’t darkened so quickly. 

 

After a while, he heard a few of the other Avengers walking in so he got up to greet them. 

 

“Hey Steve.” he said. He was too out of it for nicknames.

 

“Hey Tony Stank” Steve greeted with the effortless grin only he possessed, as Bucky folded his arms smirking at the two. The appearance of Steve’s reassuring smile managed to coax some of Tony’s good mood back. And he found himself smiling right back. 

 

“I still can’t believe Rhodey told you about that, he’s supposed to be on my side.” Tony fake complained.

 

Natasha walked in close behind, stuffing her face with a ham sandwich and handing one to Rocket who accepted gratefully. 

 

“Nat, Racoon”

 

“The name’s Rocket!”

 

“Whatever you say furball.” Tony laughed, yeah there was that good mood back. 

 

“Where’s the kid?” Natasha asked, mouth full of bread.

 

“Morgans over there with Pepper.” His smile slightly faded, slightly. “Peter’s most likely in the lab.” 

 

Natasha seemed to take note of the way Tony’s tone had changed (nothing gets passed a master assassin) and nodded. They had been speaking for the past few days about what had happened. He didn’t want to bother Pepper with it so he decided that Natasha would be a good second choice. He watched as she gulped down the last of her sandwich and walked past him, making direct eye contact, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. 

 

“I’ll go check on him”

 

Tony gave her a grateful smile. “Thanks, Nat”

 

And with that, she left.

 

“What’s wrong with our spider boy?” Clint asked

 

“Ah nothing much. You know how teenagers are” Tony lied.

 

The Avengers made themselves comfortable and ordered in too many pizzas, easy conversation flowing amongst them. Loki had conveniently shown up when they did this, resulting in an argument between him and Thor because apparently the trickster had “Taken too much of the pepperoni” to which Loki replied with “Suck my dick” and proceeded to steal more pizza.

 

They just kind of accepted him as one of them now.

 

Around him, the Avengers laughed and joked and he had tried to join in. He honestly had. But Tony couldn’t help but feel something hollow in his chest. With the reminder of his situation with Peter, Tony felt disconnected from everyone. He had messaged Nat to say that pizza is here and that her and Peter are welcome to join them and he just got an ominous message back saying:

 

“We need to talk.”

 

He had waited for her to come back upstairs and was having a hard time trying to ignore the fact that Peter had trusted her with something that he didn’t trust Tony with.

 

Why doesn’t he trust me?

 

The chatter around him seemed to quieten as he got lost in his thoughts.

 

I’m not good enough for the kid.

 

He’s annoyed with me.

 

He doesn't want any pizza, that's strange by itself

 

He’s hurt.

 

He got hurt because of me.

 

He got turned to dust Because. Of. Me.

 

He hates…

    

“Tony? Nat wants you” Clints voice broke out over the mess of his brain. He felt his legs threaten to give out beneath him as he stood up and walked over to her. He could have sworn everyone was looking at him, judging him.

 

You’re a bad father.

 

You let Peter down.

 

You’re nothing without your money and the suit.

 

If you’re nothing without the suit you shouldn’t have it.

 

Tony internally winced at that phrase. He had been such a bad father figure to Peter.

 

He HAD let him down. Even if there was no funeral to attend. 

 

“Tony. Get out of your head and listen to me” When did Natasha get here. “Everyone else clear out, go, go!” Tony heard footsteps leave, but they sounded blurry, could footsteps sound blurry?  “Tony listen to me, when I talked to Peter. He was quiet, reserved.”

 

“That's just because of the snap he-” 

 

"No, Tony.” Natasha sighed. “You’re not listening to me. This kind of thing isn’t just because of trauma, there’s something else. He’s hiding something.”

 

“He’s a teenager they always hide something.” Tony scoffed. This wasn’t a break through in psychoanalyzation. All the parent help books he had read told him that teenagers tend to play things close to the chest, nothing to worry about. “I’m more worried about his mental state then the secret stash of porn he’s hiding his computer.”

 

Natasha just sighed once more, rolling her eyes at his apparent idiocy. “You’re still not getting it. This is about his mental state. Peter’s hiding something, something serious. You can tell by talking to him, this is eating him up.”

 

Peter, what are you doing to yourself. 

 

“Tony Peter really needs help right now.”

 

When he was a teenager he just drank his problems away. He didn’t understand how to… emotionally comfort a kid. Tony’s concerns must have shown on his face because Natasha gave him a sympathetic look.

 

“Sit down Tones, I’ll grab us a coffee. You look like you need it.”

 

“Thanks.” He sighed. “So...What did Pete say all together?”

 

Nat handed Tony his drink before sitting beside him. She hesitated before talking.

 

“He… Not much, really, as I said, hiding something. I tried to coax it out of him. Told him that we’re all concerned about him. Especially you. He shouldn’t be told that he’s mentally hurting others but he needs to learn that it’s better out than in. Kid just shook his head and practically ignored everything that I said to him, so I had to just… Give up” 

 

Tony moved to speak, but Natasha put her hand up, apparently having already anticipated his protest. “Before you start, I never give up on anything. You know this. Do not take it as me giving up on him. I physically cannot do anything if he is unwilling to cooperate.”

 

Tony nodded in agreement. “Yeah… I get that.” He paused. “This isn’t like him at all…He’s been known to keep secrets, but it never causes him to retreat into himself. I…I just don’t know what to do” Tony downed the last of his coffee and spied the vodka bottle on the end of the counter. Tony reached toward it but felt Natasha’s hand clasp around his wrist.

 

“Tony. Stop.” Natasha eyes held a warning. “The worst thing you could do right now is touch that bottle.”

 

Tony pulled his hand back in shame. He stared at the abandoned bottle, feeling his heart breaking little by little. How can you be there for Peter, you can’t even handle yourself. Warm tears began to fall down his face, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.

 

“I just want to help him, but I don’t know how I can.”

 

Natasha put an arm around him and rubbed his back comfortingly.

 

“You can.”

 

Chapter Text

Peter would never be able to forget the day that everyone had showed up to the lake dressed in black. How this guy named Harley patted him on the back and told him he was brave for being here, and that he was close to Tony the same way. Peter gave a small smile and didn’t make eye contact. At least he had someone who knew what he was going through. They but didn't say much after that. They didn't have to.

Peter had sat next to Pepper as she made the beautiful arrangement of leaves around Mr Starks heart. Neither of them spoke but she had pulled him into a hug and kissed him on the head before May called Peter.

Doctor Strange gave him a nod of acknowledgement. Thor knelt down to his level and hugged him tightly. Even Happy showed more emotion than he ever had.

What was he to do now?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tony stayed with Natasha for a while after their conversation. He didn't feel like going back to the group right now. Everything felt…overwhelming. They shared a full tub of ice cream as they sat in silence. Tony had to admit, it was nice.

Steve had come into the kitchen once, to throw out whatever trash the others accumulated. He gave the two a sad smile before returning. The familiar Star Wars theme playing in the background.

"What if I modified Peter's suit a bit more? I could include an emotion tracker, emergency call button… Wait he already has that…" Tony sighed, unsure of himself.

Looked thoughtful as she asked: "Have you actually asked FRIDAY about his patrol routes? Anything like that?"

“Uhhhhh,” Tony looked around in mild distress. "...I didn't think to do that."

Natasha laughed. "For a smart guy you really can be dumb.” She smiled fondly at him, one of her rare real smiles, before turning her attention to Tony’s AI. “FRIDAY, can you give me any information about Peter's patrols lately?" There was silence for a second as FRIDAY ran the data.

“Patrol data hasn’t been recorded in over 2 weeks.” FRIDAY said. “Last recorded data is on planet Titan.”

Natasha’s face contorted into one of confusion. “No data since Titan?” She wondered. She glanced at Tony, who’s eyes widened, sharing her confusion. How could there be no data?

Tony’s voice shook as he looked to the AI. “FRIDAY, has Peter been in the suit since then?” Urgency plagued Tony’s mind as he awaited the response.

“Unknown, sir.” Came her response, clear and concise, with no hint of the terror such a statement would bring.

Tony was stunned. “U—Unknown. But...but Peter’s always in his suit.”

This is all your fault

“He always loved the thing”

But guess who made it, guess who let him down at every turn.

“He would sleep in it if he could”

Not anymore—your fault, your fault, all your fault…

“Tony—” A voice broke through. “Tony look at me.”

Natasha.

“Tony look at me.” She stood over him, her long red hair framing a face full of worry. “Relax, calm yourself. This is not your fault.” She soothed.

Tony let Natasha’s words wash over him as he calmed himself down; her presence saving him from a panic attack. “Peter probably just doesn’t want to use the suit the suit right now. He’s got some serious trauma associated with it.” Natasha said, confident in her assertion.

Tony nodded along with her. “Right. Yeah. Probably hard for him to… Yeah.”

“He probably feels ashamed that he can’t use the suit.” Natasha continued. “Peter’s got a lot to live up to in terms of hero.” Natasha gestured towards him. “He doesn’t want to let anyone down by refusing to do hero work.” That made sense, didn't it? Peter didn’t want to go out on patrol because it hasn’t been that long since the snap for him and he’s only young and so it’ll be hard for him. Turning to dust couldn’t have been a pleasant experience.

Tony looked up at her. “So, he’s not hiding some dark secret, that’s gonna put him in danger.” But still, he’s keeping this secret because of me.

Natasha shook her head. “Just a bad case of trauma, and a worse case wanting to please the mentor.” She reassured. Then, seeing the look on Tony’s face she continued: “Tony none of this is your fault. Peter just wants to be the best he can be, and feels ashamed when he can’t. Even if he wasn’t worried about pleasing you, he still would feel shame about this.”

‘She’s right’ Tony thought, trying to ignore the nagging voice in his head that asked ‘It’s your fault he feels this way.`` Natasha was always right about these things, years of profiling lead her to be pretty good at reading people.

Nat looked at him sympathetically. “Tony if you want to help Peter the best thing you can do for him is to reassure him that he doesn’t need to hide things like this. If you get him to realize he doesn’t need to feel ashamed about his trauma then maybe he’ll open up about everything else.”

‘She’s right, she always is.’ Tony thought.

Natasha sat with him for a little bit longer. Then they walked to the room where everyone else was watching a movie. Tony sat down next to Pepper, Morgan fast asleep in her lap. He kissed his daughter’s head before wrapping an arm around Pepper and pulling her close, a warmth filling his chest as she rested her head on his shoulder. He couldn’t shake the reminder of Peter’s absence. The chatter around him and the noise of the movie (They had already seen it too many times to count, they didn’t need to pay attention) kept him grounded enough to not think too much about what Peter was doing, and Natasha was probably right.

Beside him, Loki had turned himself into Mjolnir and scared Thor into thinking that every single one of them were worthy, resulting in a stunned God. This of course turned to an angry God, once Loki changed back. The look of utter betrayal on Thor’s face (which said something considering how often he was betrayed) sent laughter throughout the group, including Tony himself. Loki stood in front of them, laughing his head off while Thor chased him around the living room, almost knocking over numerous expensive items, but Tony was too busy laughing to care..

He wished Peter could see this.

“Honey, I think we should put Morgan in her room” Pepper whispered to Tony who jumped a mile

“Oh. Oh yeah. I’ll do that now” He got up and smiled as he gently picked up Morgan and walked to her room ignoring the light-hearted comments of “Aww daddy Tony” and “Playboy Tones has become S O F T.”

He softly put Morgan down on her bed and tucked the blanket around her, kneeling down and kissing her head. He’d have to wake her up in an hour or so otherwise she wouldn’t sleep through the night. But for now she could do what Tony couldn’t seem to: Rest.

While he was away from everyone, he decided to go chat to Peter. Talk about what Nat had said and offer him help. No time like the present to start. When the door to the lab opened, he saw Peter glance at him briefly before going back to whatever he was working on.

What, no hello?

“Hey kid, what ya working on?” Tony said in an attempt to coax a reaction out of him. But the kid remained silent. “O-kay then.” Wow, Natasha was more than right. Peter is not open to conversation. “Do…you need any help?”

Tony frowned when there was no response again. This goes more than Peter feeling ashamed. He’s not even speaking. Why wasn’t Peter talking?

“Why haven’t you been patrolling lately?” Tony questioned. Apparently, that seemed to work as Peter looked at him properly.

“I haven’t really felt like it.” Peter replied plainly. There was no emotion in his sentence, and it was short. It seemed like Peter felt he would rather be doing anything than having this conversation.

Tony grimaced. “Kid, we’re all extremely worried about you. You haven’t been patrolling, you won’t come upstairs for food, you won’t talk to me or Natasha… This really isn’t like you”

“I.. I’m sorry, I-” Peter looked worried as he frantically apologized..

Tony sighed, this is going to be harder than he thought. Natasha was right about the shame thing, this runs deep. “No, kid. You’re not understanding. Just… What’s wrong? You can tell me anything, I’m never going to hold anything against you.”

Peters face dropped and looked down. “I’m just… I’m just finding it hard right now.” There you go Peter, let it out.

"I get that kid I just… You haven't been yourself. If you want I can get you someone to talk to?"

"No, it's fine. I'm fine." No, Come on Tony get him to open up.

Tony took another step closer to Peter, doing his best to radiate an energy of openness."Kid I-"

Peter put a hand up to stop him, his eyes were cold, warning Tony not to continue. "Just… Stop. Please"

Tony sighed and went to talk again, but then Peter spoke up. “I don’t think I want the suit anymore Stark.”

Tony froze.

What the fuck?

“In fact I’ve actually started dismantling it.” Peter continued, apparently unaware of the ramifications of the massive fucking bomb he has just dropped. “See, this part could be used for—”

Tony could just manage to bring himself to speak. “Sorry kid, I’m not sure I heard you right… You.. You don’t want the suit? You’re… D… Dis…”

Tony's voice wavered and he couldn’t seem to swallow the ever growing lump forming in his throat. He felt his body beginning to shake and his brain clouded with self deprecating thoughts.

“You heard me correctly”

“W.. Why’s that?”

“I’m just not really into it anymore. I’m tired of it”

Tony nodded and excused himself, not being able to form a coherent word any more. He ran somewhere quiet and leaned against the wall. His breaths came fast and hard and his chest felt like it was falling apart. How was Peter tired of the suit? He always loved the thing. Always upgraded it and cared for it more than he cared for himself. Tony looked down at his hands and noticed through blurry vision that he was shaking. Badly.

He needed a drink.

He tried taking some deep breaths which resulted in him coughing violently. He tried to stand up and after many attempts he managed to stumble to the kitchen where he opened the vodka bottle and started to down it. The drink burned the back of his throat harshly and he focused on that rather than his thoughts. The more he downed the more it burned and the better he felt. Despite this, his breathing did not become any easier. His legs still felt weak and tired and he could sense himself becoming more and more worn out as his body tried to give way.

Peter doesn’t want the suit. You made the suit—it’s your connection to him.

He leaned against the kitchen counter behind him, trembling and panting as he stopped drinking to take a break. He must have looked a right mess but Tony couldn't bring himself to care right now.

Peter doesn’t want to see you. He doesn’t care about you.

He could still hear Peter's voice calling out to him, saying that he doesn't want to go. Tony's breathing sped up and he took another large gulp of vodka.

He doesn’t think you care about him.

Maybe if he had told the kid that he loved him back then, Peter wouldn't be so mad at Tony now.

Because it was all his fault.

It was always his fault.

There was no other explanation for it. Tony always seemed to mess up. He couldn't do anything right. May was correct in saying that he had let Peter down. He always let Peter down. Even when he tried not to he did.

"If you actually cared you would be here"

"I just wanna be a normal kid"

"Mr Stark, please, help. I don't wanna go"

A whimper escaped Tony's lips and he cried out, feeling a waterfall of tears on his face. His whole body was in pain and he just wanted to get rid of the feeling. May was right, he was good for absolutely nothing. All he wanted was to be enough for his child and his wife and to just be okay again. Instead, he was sat here telling himself that he is worthless and dumb and idiotic and any other word you can think of.

As he sank to his knees he heard something crash and break and he didn’t care enough to check what it could have been. He just picked at shattered glass and brushed it away.

What he didn’t notice was the broken frame laying next to him, or the picture of him and Peter with the internship certificate floating across the floor.

---

Tony could hear someone vaguely calling his name and the bottle was pried from his hands. He must have blacked out at some point because he was on the floor and he could see the sideways figure of Pepper as he cried out and tried to reach to take the bottle back weakly. He just wanted to forget all of this.

He just wanted his Peter back.

Tony felt her sitting him up and rubbing his arms soothingly. He fell into her open arms and just hugged her like there was no tomorrow, feeling so incredibly drained and exhausted. He just wanted to sleep right there. He felt like a failure. You let your emotions get the better of you. Now everyone is going to see you for the weakling you are. He had gotten so good at keeping his emotions under wraps making his good ole dad proud “Stark men don’t show weakness.”

But not anymore.

Not when it involved Peter.

He HAD become soft.

Tony looked over at the sad mess he had made of the room. Suddenly, he spotted the picture of him in Peter lying on the floor. Broken. His eyes grew wide and he felt himself shake more if that was possible. Not only had he torn apart his relationship with Peter but he had destroyed the photo frame with them in as well. An inhuman noise escaped his lips as he reached out for the photo and felt his wife’s gentle hands pull him back and hold him close.

He didn’t deserve her.

Pepper slowly rocked him back and forth. “Shh… I’m right here.” She breathed, stroking his hair. “We can fix it. We can get a new frame. It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. I promise.”

Despite her reposeful voice, Tony couldn’t help himself from worrying. “B.. But it’s…”

Pepper stopped him before he could work himself up again. “Just breathe, Tony”

The gentleness in her voice lulled Tony into a sense of security, and Tony was too exhausted to protest any further. Pepper was good at making things okay. Years of Tony burdening her with his issues had made her a pro.

He sat in her arms for a while, both of them leaning against the counter. His head throbbed from emotional strain. The memory of dancing with Pepper and Morgan this morning appeared in his brain all of a sudden. It felt so far away now. So out of reach. Panic attacks always managed to consume every ounce of energy he had.

Once she felt like he was ready, Pepper gently pulled away and offered her hand. He begrudgingly took it and put an arm around her as he swayed too dizzy to hold himself upright. She held him for as long as he needed before guiding him to their bedroom. When they saw Bruce walk past on their way, Pepper just asked him to get Tony a glass of water and left it at that. No questions asked.

"You know I love you right?" Pepper asked as She guided Tony underneath the covers

The answer was, of course, obvious. Where was she going with this? "Of course I do." Even his voice sounded fatigued.

She nodded, but her expression gave away her concern. “Just… Come to me if you need anything okay?"

Tony settled back into the bed "I don't want to bother you."

Pepper sighed, disappointed but not surprised. She knew him so well. "Then how about we get you someone to talk to? A professional." She looked at him expectedly, awaiting an answer.

Tony’s brow furrowed, What could a therapist do for me? “I offered that to Peter earlier, he said no, and he needs it more than me." He argued.

"But you're not Peter.” Pepper reminded him. “Set an example for him and talk to someone. Please." She pleaded.

"...Alright." Tony reluctantly agreed. “For Peter.”

She kissed the top of his head. "Thank you. I'll call them in the morning"

"Okay"

"It'll all be okay Tony"

A hum was all she received as Tony began to fall asleep. He felt her arms pulling him close and her lips planting a soft kiss on his as his mind wandered into unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Once he was sure that Tony was out of the way, Mysterio packed up his things and left through a window in the bathroom. FRIDAY had no access there so it made it easy for him not to be picked up on too many cameras. He hadn’t been lying about getting rid of the suit. In fact he had already done it. He didn't need the thing ratting his every movement out to Stark, and plus, when you have illusions you can do whatever you want to do.

He kept the web shooters though.

He had to admit, they were pretty fun to use.

He hopped from building to building, ignoring calls of Spider-Man's name, and any pathetic cries for help. If he could shock the theatre world with his new skills, and ruin Peter's reputation in the process he was most definitely going to do so.

Like before, he found an abandoned alley, changed back into his normal appearance and went to his hidden headquarters. Only this time he didn’t feel so chipper.

When entering the base, he slammed the door behind him, securely locking it before heading over to his desk and gathering supplies. He could hear Peter muttering about something to do with the Avengers behind him. God that kid was so fucking pathetic. If Mysterio could just grab him by the neck and force him to shut up. The joy Mysterio would receive watching the life drain from that stupid spider’s eyes as he choked to death would be beyond compare.

But he wouldn't do that. Yet.

The vermin was too useful to kill right now.

Peter seemed to be thrashing around a lot more today. It made Mysterio's blood boil at the mere sight of it.

"M… May… I… I.. Miss Mr Stark…" The kid croaked, tears threatening to from his eyes.

Mysterio rolled his eyes and slapped Peter across the face, causing him to whimper. "I… I'm sorry May I won't talk about him again…"

So the boy thought he was his Aunt. He could have fun with this.

He pulled Peter's head back by his hair as hard as he could, listening to the kid cry out. "You were such a disappointment to Tony." he snarled.

Peter cowered in disgust, his eyes were shut tightly, trying to block out the insults. "M..May… P… Please." He was close to sobbing now.

"Be quiet you rodent!" He yelled, punching Peter in the gut and grinning. Oh this was too amusing. What a way to get out his anger. When the kid was silent, he spoke up again.

"Mr Stark doesn't miss you."

A whimper escaped Peter's lips and Mysterio grinned. "See, I find it funny how you think Tony cares about you Peter. All he really loved you for was your powers. That's all you're good to anyone for. I'm sure Aunt May would discard of you quicker than you could swing from a web if she had the choice to."

"B..B...But.." Peter pulled against the restraints so much that they began to dig into his skin. The copper smell of blood filled the area.

Mysterio smirked, getting right up in Peter’s face, as he went in for the kill."No one loves you kid. No one ever loved you. Why do you think Happy never returns your calls huh? Or why Stark sends empty suits while he's partying somewhere? Because you are not important." He screamed,

Peter shrank away, whimpering as he did so, but did not say another word. Mysterio smiled, knowing he won.

"That's a good little rodent"

Mysterio made his way over to his desk and fixed up a few things. The last needle had broken thanks to Peters constant thrashing, and the tank that he stored the gas in had a leak that he needed to fix immediately. He had stolen some supplies from Tony’s lab, so he gathered up his hammer and wrench and got to work. It was an easy job, he had done it a million times before. Broken needles were nothing new while dealing with the kid. Leaks barely occured anymore, but he had dealt with so many, thanks to Peter (this was before he had perfected the gas), that it just didn’t bother him anymore. The only issue was Peter.

Speak of the spider devil, behind him, Peter had started to open his eyes, becoming aware of reality for the first time in so long as the drugs started to wear off. Mysterio noticed this and groaned, running a hand through his hair as he hastily made his way over. He knew that Peter wouldn’t be able to see too much, and that his pain tolerance would be a lot lower than normal, but he still needed to get this under control. He got out his needles and went through with his standard procedures. He couldn’t have the rodent waking up and trying to escape. He needed to be here. Mysterio needed him. Besides, Peter needed to learn what it was like to not be cared about. To be alone — like Mysterio had been for so many years.

Stupid insect boy.

As Mysterio pumped more gas into Peter’s mask. He realised the dosage of the drug that he gave Peter may have been a little too high. He always had to overcompensate because of the child's powers, but…

Was it an overdose? Most definitely.

Did he care?

Nah.

If anything it was his subconscious deciding to do him a little favor.

He felt the bug squirm and cry and whimper next to him as the effects of the drugs kicked in again. ‘Yep definitely a favor.`` He thought.

"H.. Hurts… Can't b… Breathe… H… Help…" Peter cried.

Mysterio just rolled his eyes. "No one cares Peter!" God if this kid would just shut up.

Peter seemed unable to learn anything because he continued his persistent whining."M...Mr Stark a...always…"

Mysterio rounded on him, turning away from the gas tank to face the bed. "MISTER STARK ISN'T HERE! Okay? So why don't you shut the fuck up and let it go?" God, why won’t this kid fucking learn. How could anyone ever put up with such an annoying brat?

Peter breathed heavily. "I… I'm sorry." He just barely managed to get the words out through tears.

"Whatever."

Mysterio packed away his things and chugged down some scotch before grabbing his keys to head out. By now, Peter had become completely sedated, and despite his erratic breathing and wheezing, he was silent. He looked up to the pin board in front of him. On there were chemical formulas, lists and more. There were a few letters on there though, that were different to the others. There were two with the signature logo of The Warner Bros studio, one with the Disney Studios logo, and one with the Paramount logo. Each of them reading with the same message:

We have seen the same act before.
Stick to special effects editing.
You’re too much trouble.
You are not good enough.
Too ordinary.
Too plain.
Too normal.
Too boring.

Mysterio gritted his teeth and punched the board, feeling some of the pins fall off and one of the papers tearing. He didn’t care. He would show them. He would prove them wrong. He had to. And Spider-Man was the key to doing so. He took a step back and composed himself. People say you can be anything you want to be. “You can make it!” They cheer.

He had actually started to believe that in his childhood.

What people don’t tell you is the amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into achieving what you want. When you’re a child in middle school, you are not warned against being normal. You are taught TO be normal. To conform. That you are nothing if you don’t fit society's vision of ‘normal’ and ‘perfect.’

Mysterio wanted to be more than that. The fact that these companies had the audacity to relate him to normal commoners was the worst slander of all. He was better and he knew it. And thanks to Peter they would know it too.

The kids blood held amazing chemical properties that no mere subgenius could understand. His properties granted superhuman reflexes, aerobic abilities, and extraordinary senses. The boy had been a fool in his guests to use these gifts to help people who don’t even care about anyone but themselves. In Mysterio’s mind, gifts were given to benefit oneself, to hell with anyone else. Mysterio used his stolen gifts to gain what Peter was too small minded to dream off, fame. Peter never let himself use his gifted talents to get anywhere, but with those gifts in Mysterio’s hands he wowed director after director with his extraordinary sunt work. No one would ever call him ordinary again. He wouldn’t be stuck in the background anymore. He could be front and centre and everyone would know him.

He clenched and unclenched his fists and cracked his neck before getting back to work. There was more drugs to be made, more chemicals to burn through. He didn’t have the time to stand there and watch letters on a board sit there and mock him.

A bit later into the night, mysterio got an email through on his laptop. He sighed and checked it, expecting it to be a random spam or from one of the labs he got supplies from. Instead it was from Metro Goldwyn Myer. He read the email and froze.

“You have been accepted to join our new production shooting in New York”

His hands shook as he continued.

“Rehearsals start in 2 days”

A grin worked his way onto Mysterio’s face from ear to ear — the only genuine grin he had worn in a long time.

He was going to make it thanks to insect boy over there.

He was getting somewhere.

He knew all of this had been for something.

He was not throwing away his shot.

Chapter Text

Going back to school was harder than expected for the young hero. He was alone on the bus, and when he saw Ned, he knew that Ned knew and they shared a hug. The taunts around them disappeared as quiet sobs could be heard from the spider-boy.

All of the classrooms had memoirs of Tony in some way, shape or form. Peter found himself zoning out in most classes. When he got out of school, the lack of appearance from Happy only plagued him more.

He decided to walk instead of taking the bus. He would usually have his suit with him, but one look at the thing broke him.

Tony made that suit.

His breathing became heavy as he walked. There were murals on the sidewalk. Lit candles and cards from admirers.

Spiderman couldn’t deal with this. He couldn’t. He couldn’t do this.

Any passerby would have seen a kid collapse to their knees and sob their young heart out. But this was New York. No one was coming to rescue him.

“Mr Stark would have” the boy thought sadly.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The rain fell against the window of Tony and Peppers room as they lead in bed together. Tony’s arm was effortlessly draped over Peppers waist while she scrolled through her phone. After their agreement last night, Pepper had been looking up therapists for Tony and came across one located in the New York area.

“What about this guy? He seems pretty good.” She showed him the image displayed on her screen.

Tony glanced at his bio before shaking his head. “Never heard of him. Look, I can just get one of my team members to—”

“No, Tony.” Pepper interrupted. “People on your team are trained in superhero stuff. You need someone who can help you with normal life stuff.”

“Pepper…”

She looked at him, forcing his eyes to meet hers, they shone with love. “Tony, Please. Let me do this for you.”

Tony stared back at her before giving in. “Fine. Whatever. Your choice.” He never could say no to her.

They settled into a silence as Pepper got the contact information for this therapist guy. Tony knew that Pepper didn’t trust him to handle this. To be honest, he didn’t even trust himself. He just felt drained.

The bed shifted as Pepper got up and left the room to call the therapist. He knew why she didn’t do it in front of him: He couldn’t make it seem like things were better than reality. Pepper would say it as it is, not as Tony wished it was. He huffed and curled up in bed, wishing for the sheets to swallow him whole. What was the point in even getting up today?

“Do it for Peter”

“Peter loves you”

“You let him down.”

He groaned and pulled the blanket up higher. Maybe if he hid underneath it for long enough his thoughts would leave him alone?

He’d had too much experience with this to know that that was NOT going to happen anytime soon.

So he did the only thing he could.

He clumsily rolled out of bed and made his way to the kitchen to grab some coffee. And some pills. Now that he was up, he noticed the killer headache that he had, and the fact that everything swayed with the movement. Hangovers hurt like hell.

To the bathroom first, then.

Once he had finished emptying his system of whatever it had left, he THEN decided to go and get coffee and painkillers. The world was blurry today, as if a camera lens was severely out of focus. He had to stop every now and again to keep his legs from giving way. His heart pounded and he realised the anxiety from last night hadn’t really vanished. Then again, it never does nowadays does it?

It was only then that he remembered that there had been other people in the compound other than him and Pepper yesterday. The Avengers were watching a movie together while the one missing Avenger separated himself from the rest of them. Tony vaguely recalled the conversation that they had that started his spiral.

Don’t go there Tony.

He focused on the heat of the coffee, and the way the pills felt as they slid down his throat. He focused on the quiet voice of Pepper from another room and the feel of the leather seat beneath him. Everything was going to be okay.

Right?

Pepper walked back in, handing him a piece of paper that told him the time of his appointment. Apparently, Pepper had managed to get him a session today.

Great.

“So I need to go and check on our little girl. Do you know if Peter stayed over last night? I’ll talk to him if he did.”

“I…” Did he stay over?

“I’ll check. Just get loads of rest until your appointment okay Tones?” She smiled, ruffling his hair and kissing him on the cheek. To which Tony caught her in a proper kiss, and stood up to hold her close to him.

“Tony. I need to go see Mor-” She giggled as she got cut off by another soft kiss to the lips

“I love you Pepper” Tony smiled and leaned his forehead against hers.

“I love you too, you dumb idiot.”

“I love you… 3000.”

“Only Morgans allowed to say that.” Pepper grinned as she started to walk away.

“I didn’t think that was the rules!”

“Down your caffeine metal man!” She snarked back over` her shoulder.

Tony watched her leave and sat down, grinning, at peace for the first time since this whole mess started.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As the day wore on, more Avengers started to filter into the compound. Today they got Shawarma and decided to crowd the kitchen as they watched Thor practically devour anything he could find. As food spewed out across the kitchen, and crumbs tumbled from Thor’s mouth Tony couldn’t find it within himself to rant about them wasting his food and making a mess of things. He just stared at his uneaten Shawarma, unable to shake the feeling he might throw up if he did.

Their jokes faded into the background, as his soup moved into focus. He could’ve walked out for all they seemed to care. However, they were a good distraction from his upcoming appointment with the therapist Pepper contacted.

Who even was that guy anyway?

Tony had heard of all the top therapists in New York City. Heck, he personally knew most of them. But the guy that Pepper had chosen hadn’t even been mentioned in passing. Maybe she wanted to get one Tony didn’t know on purpose? She worries too much.

“Hey, Tony, you not gonna eat?” Natasha’s voice brought him back to reality

“Huh? Oh, no thanks. Not hungry.” he lied.

Natasha looked at him with concern blatant on her face. “That’s not like you.” How far she had come from the stoic woman, who’s only expressions were one’s made to evoke fear.

Tony just sighed. “What is lately?”

“You can’t keep letting the kids behaviour affect you like this. You need to look after yourself too Tony.”

He sank back into his chair. “I know.” Sometimes her character development backfired, now Tony had another person hounding him about his mental health. “Peppers booked me with some… Guy? In like two hours.” Tony showed her the email.

Natasha’s brow knitted together as she stared at the phone. “I literally have no idea who that is.” Well shit, the intellectual russian spy doesn’t know him, that’s great.

“Yeah, me neither.”

They each shared a look, when an arrow flew past their heads into an apple over Bruce’s head.

“Save your arrows for the good stuff Clintf” Steven mocked and took the apple with the arrow in down.

“Oh look, it’s the Strange guy!” Rocket spoke up as the other Stephen walked into the room. His glare looked exactly how Tony felt. He couldn’t help but believe that if Peter was here he’d be jumping around asking Strange to do something cool.

“I didn’t really have anything to do so... “ The wizard looked around briefly. “Where’s the kid?”

At the question, everyone shot Tony a look and he immediately felt cornered. Did Strange want to talk to him too?

“He’s uh.. He’s at home with his aunt.”

Strange nodded and grabbed some Shawarma, not bothering to speak after that.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eventually the dreaded time came. Tony looked around the waiting room distastefully. It was so painfully boring. Blue walls and a sofa next to a potted plant.

It was so...normal.

He hadn’t told the others he had a therapy appointment, and he had made Nat and Pepper swear not to tell them either. They didn’t need to know. He didn’t need more people surrounding and questioning Peter, either.

“Mr. Tony Stark?” A tall, black haired man called politely. Tony nodded and followed him into another ordinary room. The man shook his hand and introduced himself as “Quentin Beck.” Tony couldn’t help but become relaxed by the man's welcoming smile. He sat in the surprisingly comfy chair as Quentin prepared his computer.

“So what brings you to therapy Mr Stark?”

Oh boy. This was going to be long.

“Well… I… Uh… So you know the whole… Snap thing?”

God he must sound crazy.

“Well… I kinda lost one of my kids during that time, my teenager. He… I watched him turn to dust. Not fun.”

Quentin gave him a sad smile and urged him to continue.

“Well… I got him back and now he’s acting really strange. Like… He won’t really talk to anyone anymore. He’s snappy and doesn’t eat as much as he used to and he just seems… Depressed. He’s so different from before the snap and it’s worrying me a lot you know?”

Quentin finished typing up Tony’s problems and turned to him.

“Have you tried giving him a bit of space?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, you’re probably questioning him a lot and checking up on him right?” This earned a nod from Tony. “While you think you’re being a good parent and trying to do what’s best for him, he may just need a little space and time, to cope with everything.”

“But Peter always comes to me. For even the smallest of things like if he’s nervous about a test or something.”

Crap. Tony told him the kids name. So much for keeping an identity hidden. At least therapists have a privacy policy.

“He’s probably traumatised, Tony. You can’t just force that out of someone. Surely you of all people should know that?”

“I just want to help the kid.” God, Tony’s voice sounded so broken.

“I understand that, but maybe just try leaving him to figure things out by himself?”

Tony froze. What was he meant to do or say? He couldn’t just leave Peter to his own devices! He’d go out as Spider-man and get himself hurt or…

Right.

He doesn’t want the suit anymore.

“I’m not sure that’d be a great idea, Mr Beck.”

“Why not?”

“Just… It’s just the way he is okay?”

“Listen Tony, you are used to him being there often right? You like having him around in the same way you believe he likes having you around constantly. You’re used to him being there for you whenever you want him to be, but now he’s keeping himself to himself for a while, taking time to recuperate. All teenagers need their space to process things on their own, and they start to separate from their parents. It happens with every family, and each time the parents work themselves up, and they pressure their teens, pushing them away. If you continue like this you might actually lose him completely. You have to step back a bit and let Peter, did you say his name was? Be independent. all teenagers need it.”

Tony stared at the man in front of him. What the hell? His hands started shaking again, and he didn’t know whether that was out of fear or anger at this point. How dare he tell Tony how to live his life?

But he was right, wasn’t he?

It practically is his fault.

It’s his fault Peter has shut down. He’s getting hurt over something he caused and he doesn’t know how to handle it.

His voice came out quieter and more shattered than ever.

“So how do I get my kid back?”

“You leave him be. Let him do what he wants for a while. Still tell him you’re here for him, but let him breathe. You don’t have to be in his face all the time.”

“...Alright.”

“Same time tomorrow Mr Stark?”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Opening the doors to the compound, Tony somehow felt worse than he did when he left. He didn’t know what to do now. Quentin Beck had told him everything he didn’t want to hear. But somehow, deep down he knew he needed to hear. The compound was a lot quieter than when he left, and he noticed that the Avengers were all doing their own things. Training, working out, playing videogames, and more. He decided to go and find the kid, if he was here. He would calmly tell him that he is here for him, and that Tony would be giving him space.

That sounded okay didn’t it?

He clenched his fist and unclenched it. He held himself high and took a deep breath.

You need to do this.

Walking to Peter's room, he knocked lightly on the door.

“Hey Pete?”

No reply. Did he really expect one?

“Pete… Can we talk quickly? I promise I’ll leave you be afterwards.

He heard some footsteps before the door opened to a very annoyed Peter.

“What is it?”

Tony stuttered for a second before asking permission to come in. Permission was granted and they both sat down. Tony smiled at him to put him at ease despite his own hands fidgeting in his lap. He wanted to reach out and just hold Peter so he couldn’t dust away again. But he didn’t.

God this was hard.

Why was this so hard?

“Okay Pete…. So I’ve been thinking and…”

“You went to a therapist today?”

Tony was absolutely stunned. “H..How did you..?”

Peter at least had the self-awareness to look sheepish. “I…I heard you and Pepper talking.” Damn super-hearing.

“Ah… Right…” Tony nodded “So.. I was thinking maybe of giving you space? Like I’m still here for you.. But maybe…”

Peter’s head shot, his “Y..You want to get rid of me?”

Tony shot up. “NO! No… Nothing like that! I just… I just thought maybe you would-”

“I… I see. You can’t fix me… You… You’re too annoyed by having me here because things aren’t your way anymore” The cold look in Peters eyes reminded Tony of May. It shook him to the core. “And… Because it’s not YOUR way now… You want me to… Go! You’re so used to having me around and now…”

“Peter I…”

“I guess I’ll say goodbye then, Tony.”

Did he just say ‘Tony?’

What the fuck?

Chapter Text

What the fuck?

 

Tony watched Peter storm out of the room and ran after him, tears threatening to spill.

 

He fucked up again didn’t he? 

 

But something was wrong. Something was very wrong. As Tony went after the kid, he ran through some stuff in his head.

 

Peter called him Tony. Come to think of it, he had been dropping the “Mister” lately too. He had been irritable and barely talked or ate, extra strange because he needed to eat more that the average teen thanks to his jacked-up metabolism. May hadn’t said anything to Tony since calling him out the other day, and surely if she knew her kid was here she’d be okay?

 

Something was off. This wasn’t right. And Tony was going to find out what it was.

 

“PETER!”

 

The kid looked at him, but something glitched. Peter momentarily fading away before he took off running again. Usually Tony would have left this up to his imagination. Left it to him being drunk and freaking out again.

 

No.

 

Not this time. 

 

He tried to catch up with the kid, but he was too quick for Tony and managed to leave. He huffed in annoyance and yelled “FRIDAY! Replay that footage. Tell me what happened and why. NOW!

 

It took her a moment, but the footage of the moment appeared in front of Tony. He watched it through once then slowed it down, pausing on the exact moment it glitched. That definitely wasn’t human. It looked like a… Robot. A hologram.

 

“FRIDAY, What is that?”

 

“That is an old version of the Stark Industries drone. The ones you lost a while back”

 

Tony’s heartbeat quickened, his hands started to sweat. What the fuck. What happened to Peter? “Trace these back to who got them. Now.”

 

FRIDAY’s all too calm voice rang out through the room. “They seem to be in the hands of a guy named Quentin Beck. He is using the device to project holograms of Mr. Parker throughout the house.”

 

And all of a sudden everything all came crashing down. Tony found himself unable to speak. I trusted that guy, how could I trust that man. Peter’s in danger and its my fault . “If this is Quentin… Then…” He didn’t even want to think about it. Breathing deep Tony managed to put together a sentence. For Peter. “FRIDAY run a diagnostic figure out how long this has been going on.” Tony breathed.

 

“I’m sorry boss, but by my data Peter hasn’t stepped foot in this building since 2018.”

 

Peter hasn’t even been here since before the snap…He might not even be alive…Tony tembled. He should have figured it out a while ago. He should have known…He knew the kid well enough. He had enough tech.

 

He should have known. 

 

Tony dropped to his knees, unable to stay standing knowing his kid was gone. Tears prickled his eyes and began to fall, but Tony couldn’t bring himself to care. Peter wasn’t here. Tony’s face melted, as he sat crying.

 

“Tony!” Pepper. She was here. Of course she was here FRIDAY probably contacted her. God that robot knew him well. 

 

Pepper wrapped an arm around him, holding him tight to her “Fuck… Pepper, I should have known… I should have…” He fell into his wife’s arms, burying his head into her shoulder as she held him for the god-knows-what time this week.

 

“Shh…” Pepper stroked his hair, rocking him back and forth. “There was nothing you could have done. FRIDAY, do you know where the true Peter is?”

 

“I do not. All tracking devices seem to be removed.”

 

Tony shook. “That's why he.. He didn’t.. The suit he…”

 

“FRIDAY, can you trace where this guy is? Maybe we can go question him?”

 

“Right now he is in an untraceable location. However, tomorrow he is due to rehearse for an upcoming film with MGM Studios in the South.”

 

“FRIDAY keep an eye on his location. If there’s anything you can get on the guy or Peter, let us know.”

 

“Will do Mrs. Stark.”

 

Tony looked up, pure rage and fear clouding his eyes. “We can’t just leave it until tomorrow! My Peter is trapped somewhere! He might even be dead for all I know!”

 

“There’s nothing we can do right now Tony. We can alert the others and get a plan into action, but for the rest of today we just need to prepare, okay?”

 

“If he died tonight, I’m blaming you.”

 

“I know you will.” 

 

The two walked to the main room. Tony kept himself tense and on guard, looking around the room as if some magical solution would appear before him. He felt disconnected from everything. 

 

“I should probably notify Nat…” He mumbled.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because she knew something was up… It’s only fair.”

 

“I’ll go call her” Pepper nodded, knowing that Tony wouldn’t be able to say it without breaking. The man nodded, leaving her to it. 

 

He sat down on the sofa, running through plans on how to get their kid back despite knowing there’s nothing they can do yet. 

 

“Hey FRIDAY?”

 

“Yes boss?”

 

“How long have you known?”

 

“Only since today.”

 

“Okay.” Tony sighed, buying his head in his hands.

 

“Do you know if my kid’s alright?” He was well aware that he said ‘my kid’ and couldn’t be bothered to hide that. Peter HAD become his kid. He cared too much about him.

 

“All I can tell you is that he’s most likely alive, sir.”

 

And that’s all Tony needed to know right now. Peter is alive so  therefore Tony can still save him.

 

But what if this guy knows you know and kills him tonight?

 

Tony shook his head. He couldn’t think of that right now. 

 

“The others are on their way. They all wanna help you, Tony.” Peper smiled, kneeling in front of him.

 

“We’re helping the kid, not me.”

 

“Of course, but this still involves you.” Tony nodded, and Pepper spoke up again: “He mustn't be too far away from the base if this Mysterio guy can get from him to here in a short amount of time.”

 

“But if he has some way of teleporting or travelling or…””

 

“I highly doubt that, Tony. He’s most likely stolen something from you or Peter. So let's assume that he travels at the same speed you guys do. He couldn’t have gone out of New York.”

 

“What if he’s not the one with Peter?”

 

“Then we’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it. But we should do some research on him before we assume that.”

 

Tony got up and walked to the lab with Pepper. They opened up article after article, with little to no results. There seemed to be absolutely nothing on the guy. All that was coming up was Facebook profiles for some old highschool professors or something from the ‘Eagle Academy,’ whatever that was. This continued for a while until they found an IMDB page for a small, Hollywood film. The special effects was credited to a “Quentin Beck.”

 

“You think that’s our guy?” Pepper questioned.

 

“He’s using some kind of special effects to impersonate Peter… So maybe?” Tony clicked on the IMDB page which was pretty much blank. However, it did have a short description:

 

“Quentin Beck is a former Hollywood Special Effects artist. He worked on 3 films over the course of his career before he got kicked out for misconduct. He is known to be a troublemaker in hollywood and often tried to get on camera by performing stunts.”

 

“Performing stunts?” Tony questioned. “What kind of a party trick is that?”

 

“Tony…” Peppers voice sounded dangerous.

 

“What? What is it?”

 

“He’s using Peter's powers to get back into Hollywood” Clints voice spoke up behind them, causing Tony to whip around in his chair.

 

“He’s WHAT?”

 

Steve walked forward, looking through a bit more. “That seems to be a likely explanation. We all know the kids athletic as fuck, and he can perform stunts better than most of us here. This Quentin is probably using him for that.”

 

Tony paled. “Oh God…”

 

“What?”

 

“I let him access my lab… I let him use my stuff I…” He got up running around and checking the supplies before moving back and rubbing his temples. “He’s using my stuff to hurt Peter”

 

“Tony that’s not your fault!” Natasha spoke up. 

 

“What if Peter thinks I want to hurt him too? What if he thinks I’m helping this monster out?”

 

“Peter’s a smart kid Tony, he knows you wouldn’t hurt him.”

 

“But he’s so insecure as it is!”

 

“Then we find him as soon as possible.” Bucky broke through.

 

“I agree.” Steve nodded.

 

Tony didn’t have the energy to argue. He just sat down while Pepper rubbed his shoulders as they all came up with a plan of attack for tomorrow.

Chapter Text

The spider child barely slept anymore. In his dreams were repeats of the battles fought on Titan, mixed with memories of buildings falling on him and that one time he got thrown from a plane. He was currently sat on the top of an unmoving train at 4am. His AI played soft music as he looked over the city. The city that his dead mentor always used to save.

 

Things were a lot quieter nowadays.

 

“Come back Mr Stark… Please…``he whispered.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Did you say he’s rehearsing in the south?” Nat questioned. 

 

“That’s what FRIDAY said.”

 

They had been at this all night, trying to plan a way to attack the problem at hand. As soon as they heard, everyone immediately asked to be a part of the plan. 

This kid is so loved. Tony thought.

 

Steve spoke up, looking at the maps and papers they had in front of them. “From the looks of this, he’s rehearsing in a theatre, so what we could do is firstly block all the exits. If he has no way to escape, we can get Peters location out of him one way or another.” 

 

“I’ll go to the stage. There’s no way I’m letting him get away with this.” Tony replied. No one dared to say no to that.

 

“I’ll back you up from behind the stage” Said Pepper.

 

“Loki, Thor and Bruce will take left wing”

 

“Wanda and Strange get front of house”

 

After a while they had a complete plan of attack. Tony was roaring and ready to go before everyone else. While they were suiting up, he was stretching by the door, ready to YEET himself out of there and to the theatre. Nat was the first one next to him, followed closely by Steve and Pepper. When they were all ready, they nodded at each other and left the compound. Tony had never had so many people on a rescue mission before. It warmed his heart to see everyone coming together for a kid from Queens. They may have defeated Thanos just over a week ago, but right now Peter's life was at stake, and no one wanted to see what would happen if Tony lost him again.

 

“Target is in place, boss.” FRIDAY declared.

 

“Thanks FRIDAY.” Tony relayed this information back to the team. It was now or never, and they weren’t backing down.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Quentin, you’re on the right! Not left!” 

Mysterio moved to where the director pointed, rolling his eyes. When he found out he was going to be in a production, he expected some main character, not an extra in a street scene.

 

He could still wow them and change their minds.

 

“Okay so, Sophie you're slowly falling in love with Rhyan! Show that more okay? And ACTION!”

 

He started out doing what the director asked him to, quietly chat with other extras. But that got boring very quickly. He asked them if they wanted to see a trick and when they said yes, he climbed the back wall, grinning down on them before jumping off and hovering in mid-air. 

 

“Now how’s THAT for a trick?”

 

“CUT! Quentin, get down, NOW!”

 

He begrudgingly fell back to the floor and the director looked livid.

 

“If you don’t stop showing off I’m  going to have to ask you to leave and not return. I understand now why no one else hired you… You freak.”

 

Mysterio felt his blood boil. He did not harness Peters powers to be called a freak.

 

“Understandable.” He started. “However, I feel as if this scene is too boring. Too bland. Hasn’t the movie world seen this happen a thousand times over? They need something new! Something fresh!”

 

“And what do you have in mind Mr Beck? This is how the script is written.” 

 

“Yes but what if... “ He moved over to Sophie and Rhyan, pushing Rhyan out of the way. “When he confesses his love for her, it’s an intimate spectacle. He takes her by the waist…” He demonstrated what he was saying. “Climbs up to the rooftop… And shows her the stars.” He escalated some of the staging and pointed. “You know what the brightest star in the sky is called?”

 

“Sirius?”

 

“No, Sophie.” He smiled at her and she smiled back. He helped her down and looked at the director, smirking with folded arms. “And THAT’S how it should be done.”

 

“No.”

 

“What? But did you even-” He got cut off by the sound of thrusters entering the hall.

 

“Quentin Beck, what a lovely performance, unfortunately, we’re going to have to remove you from this production.” 

 

The other actors whispered between them things like “Oh my god it’s Iron Man!” and “Why is he here?” The man in question revealed his face, showing it to be filled with nothing but cold-blooded anger at the man in front of him. He strolled up to Beck, purpose filling every move.

 

“Are we going to do this the easy way or the hard way?”

 

“ I uh…  have no idea what you are talking about Mr Stark.” Quentin Mysterio glanced at the others around him briefly. How had he allowed himself to be caught here of all places?

 

“Of course you do. Tell me where Peter is, or... “ He charged up the thrusters. “We’re gonna have to do this the hard way.”

 

“Peter? As in the guy you were telling me about in therapy?” Behind him there were murmurs of “Tony Stark takes therapy?”

 

“You know exactly who, Mysterio. Give me back my son or I’ll have to take the… Other route.”

 

Mysterio was having none of this. Did he think he could just get back his ‘son’ that easily? Nope. Mysterio darted backstage, only to be greeted by Pepper and Bruce. He stumbled backwards and attached himself onto the wall instead. “You wanna catch me? Why don’t you blow up this entire theatre!”

 

“Pepper,  get the civilians to safety!” Pepper nodded and rounded them up, showing them to the back entrance while Tony fought with Mysterio. He watched as Mysterio climbed higher and higher, eventually hovering just underneath the ceiling. Tony shot a beam at him which was counteracted by a green one of Mysterios own. After seeing his abilites, Loki came out from the wing and started using his illusions to combat him. This would have been effective if Mysterio didn’t already know how it worked. He shot webs at the real Loki, which only confirmed Clint’s suspicions. 

 

“So he is using Peter's abilities!” Tony cried. He shot his thrusters at the ceiling only for Mysterio to doge them. He dropped to the floor on top of the debris just as Black Widow joined the fight. She attacked him from the back and got him into a headlock just in time for Thor to knock out the ground beneath him with his hammer, leaving him suspended in her arms, reliant on her not letting go.

 

“WHERE’S PETER?” She yelled.

 

“Subway…” 

 

“Subway?” Sher hauled him back onto the ground leaving him spluttering and coughing. Thor placed his hammer on his chest to make sure he didn’t move. Tony walked over, wanting to do nothing other than make sure the guy never saw the light of day again.

 

“You take us to Peter. Now. Otherwise we kill you, got it?” It was an empty threat of course. They wouldn’t exactly kill him.  What he would endure would make him want to be dead, though.

 

No one messes with their kid.

 

Eventually, Mysterio agreed and they travelled to an abandoned Subway station, not far from  central. Only Pepper, Nat and Tony went into the small cart hidden down there. The rest stayed and took care of the criminal.

 

Tony busted down the door with his thrusters and Pepper turned on the light. The cart smelled like gas and chemicals and it felt small and cramped, especially with Tony’s suit. It was pretty much metal all the way around giving it a cold, harsh feeling. On the far left, there was a small bed with a fragile figure lead on top of it.

 

“Guys…” Nat breathed.

 

“Oh my God…”

 

“Peter!” Tony cried, stepping out of the suit and running over to him. The boy was paler than he had ever been. He had been practically reduced to skin and bones and looked extremely similar to a corpse. He held two fingers to his neck and listened for breaths. When Tony was sure that Peter was alive, he nodded to Pepper and Nat who gently undone the restraints and wires holding Peter down as he let out a small whimper. Something inside Tony broke and the tears came flowing again. He picked up the kid and held him to his chest carefully, as if he was a fragile China doll. He felt Peter move slightly in his arms and his eyes fluttered. 

 

“Come on kid, wake up for me. You’re safe now. I got you.”

 

Peters brown eyes stared up into Tony’s and for a second the latter thought that Peter wasn’t seeing anything at all. That was until his broken, whispy voice broke through.

 

“M...Mr Stark?”

 

Tony let out a choked sob and sat down, holding the kid as protectively as he could.

 

“I’m here Peter, I’m right here.”

 

The kid seemed to curl up into him more, using his remaining strength to hold on to Tony. 

 

“M..r St..ark… You’re… Alive” He coughed.

 

“What? Of course I am Pete!”

 

“Yo... You…” Peters eyes slid shut again, his head falling back slightly.

 

“Nonono Peter come on buddy, stay awake, You gotta stay awake for me okay?”

 

When no response came he looked up at the others.

 

“We need to get him back to the compound”

 

Pepper took Peter from Tonys arms as he got back into the suit. Once he was in, he made sure he held Peter securely, exiting the place and flying off as quickly and as safely as possible. 

 

“I got you, kid”

 

Chapter Text

“Oh my god…” 

 

Tony paced back and forth in the med wing, watching as Bruce and Strange worked on the kid. The beeping from the heart monitor didn’t fill him with much hope as every now and again it would be too painfully slow or nothing at all and all that would run through Tony’s head is

 

We’re gonna lose him.

 

He couldn’t seem to stand still. He wanted to help but didn’t know what to do. He felt useless.

 

“I should have noticed”

 

“Tony there was nothing you could have done” Bruce

 

“Oh don’t give me that crap capsicle, you and I both know I should have noticed. I should have done something sooner. I should have-”

 

“Tony, he’s right.” Nat cut in. “This is not your fault.”

 

“Peters gonna be fine Tony. I promise.”

 

Nat put a hand on his shoulder in an effort to console him but instead he shrugged it o0ff. “I’m going to find pepper…”

 

“Peppers with Morgan, and Morgan definitely DOES NOT need to see this. Leave her be Tony.”

 

Tony sighed and looked back over to the bed. The kid looked like he could shatter at any point. His pale skin now had a ghost-like effect. This coupled with the messy hair, dark circles around the eyes, skinny frame… He looked dead. If it wasn’t for the painful rise and fall of his small chest then Tony would have been convinced he was. 

 

“I’m so sorry Peter” He whispered.

 

Strange stepped away from the bed after a while. The IV and Blood lines were now in Peter, keeping him alive. The wizard walked over to the computer while relaying medical information Tony didn’t understand back and forth.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“-Yes the scan shows that it’s possible that-”

 

“Is he going to be okay?”

 

“-Well what we could do is-”

 

“Guys?”

 

“Tony, please. We’re trying our best.” Bruce gave him a sad smile before taking a needle to Peters arm and extracting some blood, Peter let out a small, barely audible whimper as he did. “He’s got unknown chemicals in him. We’re just trying to figure out what it is and how to combat it. He’ll be alright just… Let us work okay?”

 

Tony felt himself being gently pushed into a chair next to Peters bed. He took the kids hand in his own and held it, head hurting with the pressure of anxiety.

 

“Please let him be okay”

 

Strange, obviously annoyed with Tony’s constant need to cut in, turned around to him, eyes cold. “In Layman's terms Stark, he has lost too much blood, he hasn’t had proper food in at least a week and he is dehydrated. He’s been injected with things we have never seen before .We’re trying what we can, now please, be quiet.”

 

Tony stared at strange, chest shuddering with every breath. How dare he speak to Tony like that?

 

Suddenly, the heart monitor began to speed up. Bruce whipped around in his chair and strange got up, putting a hand to Peters wrist. 

 

“Somethings wrong”

 

“You think?”

 

Peters eyes shot open, looking dazed and confused. He tried to sit up but both Strange and Tony pushed him back down. 

 

“It’s too dangerous for him to move like that.” Strange muttered.

 

“Stephen, look at this!” Bruce called, and the man in question left Tony to deal with a squirming Peter.

 

“Hey… Look at me. It’s okay. You’re safe. You’re in the compound.”

 

“Mr S..Stark?” Peter asked for the third time that day. He relaxed under Tony’s grip. Tony took his hands off of the boys chest and ran one through his hair. 

 

“I’m right here Pete. I got you”

 

“Mr Stark What’s happening? I.. I feel weird…”

 

“It’s okay, we’re trying to find out what this guy has given you so we can combat it. You’re safe though, Pete. I promise.”

 

“I.. Is this real? Mr… Mr Stark… You died.. I.. You’re dead… Aunt May.. And.. I couldn’t.. Mr Stark… Please.. I can’t do this please help me”

 

Tony bit his lip at the painful words coming out of the kids mouth. So he had been given a hallucinogenic then. He could hear the others behind him whispering, and Strange and Bruce looked panicked and muttered between themselves.

 

“Hey hey Pete look at me. You’re okay. I’m okay. I’m alive and I’m right here with you. Aunt May is at her apartment… We’re helping you the best we can I promise.”

 

Peter let out a choked sob followed bly a few slow tears. The poor kid wasn’t even hydrated enough to cry. Luckily, Natasha handed over a bottle of water with a straw to which the kid gratefully accepted. Tony sat on the edge of the bed and held him while he drank, gently rubbing his back and taking the bottle from him when he was done. 

 

“See Pete? We’re right here for you.”

 

The kid fell against him, feeling very clearly drained but wanting to do nothing more than stay awake. Tony talked to him about useless things, and even Thor came in to check on him and started talking to him about how much of an idiot Loki has been lately. Peter even managed to let out a few smiles as Tony's arms wrapped protectively around him. But that had to come to an end because of Strange, as he said:

 

“Tony, we’re gonna have to sedate him again.”

 

“WHAT?” He felt Peter whimper and curl up in his arms, to which he just held on more. “You do realise he’s been sedated for the past week right? We don’t want to traumatise him even more.”

 

Even Natasha felt the urge to cut in. “Surely there’s something else we can do?”

 

Bruce shook his head. “Sorry guys but Stephen’s right. Our Spidey here lost too much blood to be up and talking right now. Even with his super healing abilities.

 

Tony frowned and looked down at the kid who’s innocent eyes shone back up at him.

 

“Mr Stark?”

 

“It’s okay kid. It’s okay.”

 

Bruce came over with the sedative and Tony got up. “Can someone else hold him? I don’t… I can’t…”

 

“It got it.” Steve walked over and held Peter. It made sense as they are of equal strength. Peter wouldn’t accidentally hurt Steve and Steve wouldn’t accidentally hurt Peter. The kid thrashed around and cried a lot, seemingly haunted by what Mysterio put him through. Tony turned away and covered his ears, not being able to witness this. 

 

When the kid was knocked out though, he took his place in the chair next to his bed and refused to leave. The blood and oxygen and other supplements were slowly being supplied into Peter. As Bruce came over and added another Chemical to the IV line. 

 

“So we worked out what he had been given. It was a chemical Mysterio must have made to combat Peters powers that also had hallucinatory effects too, Quite terrifying when you think it was made to pretty much paralyze a 16 year old.”

 

“Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually want to think about that Bruce.”

 

“He’ll be okay Tony.” Came Stranges voice.

 

Tony nodded and ran a hand through Peters hair. 

 

“You’re gonna be alright,  kid.”

 

Chapter Text

Peter opened his eyes and was immediately blinded by the light of the med wing. He groaned and instinctively brought a hand to cover it, becoming stunned momentarily by the fact that it was no longer strapped down.

 

Maybe everything that happened wasn't just a dream, then. 

 

He looked around to see a sleeping Tony Stark on a chair next to his bed. Peter smiled as much as he could. He felt protected here. But he was still confused as to how Tony was alive.

 

He could recall what happened yesterday vaguely, and remembered thinking that it was a dream. For all he knew, it could have been.

 

Bruce chose that moment to walk into the room. He muttered to himself about chemicals that Peter had never even heard of before. working with the avengers had given him a wider knowledge of science and what each thing does and how, but there was still a lot he didn't know. 

 

"Mr Banner?" He asked quietly.

 

"Hm?" the man turned around and smiled when he saw the kid awake. "Ah Peter! Nice to see you awake! How do you feel?"

 

Now that he thought about it, Peter felt pretty numb. It wasn't the good kind of numb either, it was more the 'I got extremely hurt and I'm drugged up' numb. He wasn't complaining though. It just made him wonder what actually happened to make him need this amount of attention. 

 

"...Tired." He slurred, confused by his own voice.

 

"I bet. You woke up a lot sooner than we expected you to initially. You've been missing for over a week, kid."

 

"Don't overload him with information." Came a familiar female voice from the door, though the kid couldn’t quite pin it down.

 

"Ah yes of course. My apologies, Peter. Everyone's been very worried about you." Bruce nodded firmly.

 

"Bruce!" the other voice yelled.

 

"Sorry."

 

"How long was I out? Peter enquired. 

 

"We kept you sedated for a good two days just to make sure your body healed properly. After that though, when you started fighting off the medication we knew you were getting back to your usual self. It's been a day since we took you off of the drip and blood, and Tony's been here ever since."

 

Peter looked at Tony, who was currently asleep slumped in the chair. His eyes were home to two dark circles and he looked extremely pale. Peter took a shaky breath, looking once more before he tried to sit himself up. It was a struggle, but he got there eventually with Bruce’s help.

 

"Has Mr Stark been okay?"

 

"He's been worried sick. He blames himself a lot... But physically... He's alright."

 

Peter frowned more and looked at the hand that he had obviously dropped when he woke up. He picked it up again. "I'm so sorry Mr Stark..."  his voice was quiet, unsure.

 

"Pete, to be honest he’s just glad you’re alive” Bruce sighed “It’s not okay, but then again it isn’t actually your fault is it?”

 

"I know but..."

 

"No buts. Here, you must be dying for a drink and some food." the doctor smiled, carrying a tray towards him. Peters eyes widened at the mere sight of it and had adjusted the table next to him so he could reach it easier. 

 

"Thank you Mr Dr Banner!" He smiled a little before eating like there was no tomorrow. Bruce laughed, but warned him about eating and drinking too quickly. Peter felt more full than he had in a long time. Despite his stomach being completely weary of the food.  

 

Was it poisoned? Would he die from this?

 

He didn’t really mind.

 

Often his abilities meant that he needed to eat a lot more than most, but right now he just felt weak. He looked sadly at the remaining food on the plate and forced himself to pick up the fork again.

 

"Don't force yourself to eat." Tony's groggy voice came.

 

"Mr Stark!"

 

"Hey kid" Tony smiled. Genuinely smiled. Peter guessed that he had been here a while and offered him an orange.

 

"No thank you Pete, I ate earlier" Peter nodded and put it back down before taking a sip from his water.

 

"We need to talk, Pete. Don't look at me like that, cause you're not getting out of this. You... You really scared me... Us, kid. I mean... I've been up for days and I..."

 

"Mr Stark..."

 

"I don't know what I would have done if I had lost you! That would have been on me and especially after Thanos and the snap and..."

 

"Mr Stark"

 

"You can't keep giving me panic attacks like this kid! It's not healthy!”

 

“You have grey hair”

 

“He’s been going grey for a while, trust me.” the female voice made it’s appearance again, and this time walked up to the bed, making itself known as Natasha Romanoff. He smiled up at her, but his face held all the guilt in the world as he laid back down. What he didn’t expect was a soft kiss on the forehead “Worry us like that again and I’ll give you something to worry about” she smirked, looking between him and Tony.

 

“Should I get your wife Stark?”

 

“God yes. Morgans been dying- wait, Pete. Do you feel up to having more people here?”

 

Peter thought but nodded, despite feeling exhausted. He knew better than to reject the entry of Pepper Potts. And whoever this ‘Morgan’ was.

 

“Go ahead then” Tony nodded to Natsha, who then swiftly left. Bruce also somehow found an excuse to leave too, meaning Tony and Peter were alone. There was a moment of silence before

 

“Kid?”

 

Peter hummed, not wanting to waste energy on talking

 

“What happened?”

 

Peter just shook his head, too drained and not wanting to tell him yet

 

“Alright…” Tony sighed, obviously fustrated as he ran a hand through his hair. The door opened a few seconds after and a tiny girl came running in with a bright smile on her face.

 

“Daddy!”

 

“Hey Cherub” Tony smiled, picking the girl up and kissing her temple. He sat her on his lap and Peter looked over, extremely confused as Pepper walked in, kissing Tony on the cheek and ruffling Peters hair

 

“Hey kid. It’s really good to see you. You had him worried sick”

 

“Who’s this?”

 

Tony beamed proudly “Peter this is Morgan, my daughter. Morgan, this is your older brother Peter”

 

Morgans eyes shifted to meet Peters and she held a happy yet curious expression “Are you Spider-man? Daddy’s told me about you”

 

Peter blinked, taking a minute to let everything sink in. Tony had a daughter, like a biological daughter. Which meant Pepper had been pregnant at one point. Peter and May missed it. He had missed 5 years of this girls life that he should’ve been there for. Moreover, Tony had called Peter Morgan’s brother. Morgan’s brother! That meant Tony thought of him as a son and had told Morgan about him and-

 

“Hey Pete? You with us?” Tony asked, waving his hand in front of Peter’s face. He nodded, stuttering out an apology and smiling at Morgan “Hey Morgan, it’s nice to meet you”

 

She just grinned more and launched herself at Peter, enveloping him in a tiny hug. Despite Pepper warning her to be careful and gentle, The boy relaxed into the hug, letting out a breath and holding her, silently apologising for the time they lost.

 

“Oh, kid, I’ve also called May. We have a lot to talk about, but I won’t overload you yet. She’s on her way over” Pepper smiled softly

 

“May!” he gasped, sitting up straighter “Is she okay?” 

 

“Worried sick and stressed to all heavens. But I dare you to find someone who hasn’t been since you left”

 

His expression was nothing but guilty, but every time he went to apologise, they cut him off and hugged him more. Silent tears fell down his face as he leaned into Tony and Peppers embrace. He felt the former run her hand through his hair gently and he could hear Morgan chatting happily. He tried to reply but found himself becoming sleepy. Tony just kissed his head very lightly, so light he thought he imagined it.

 

“Get some proper rest, kid. I’ll wake you up when May’s here”

 

And he did, feeling the most loved he had for as long as he could remember.