It was a simple plan. No one expected that it would degenerate in any way and yet it turned out to be completely catastrophic, and Peter blamed himself.
Happy picked up Peter after school. Morgan had insisted that she would go with her uncle, so he wasn't surprised to find a five-year-old girl sitting in a black Audi on the back seat. Happy brought them home, where Peter and Morgan got out of the car and May got in because she and Happy went somewhere for a week's vacation.
"Last chance. Are you sure about that?" May asked as she stopped at the open car door.
"Yes, you deserve a vacation. Besides, I won't be alone. Just enjoy your spring break wherever Happy takes you, and I'll enjoy mine at the lake house," he said with a smile.
"Okay, I larb you."
"I larb you too," he said, hugging her.
"Enjoy your holiday, Aunt May. And don't worry, I'll take care of Petey," said Morgan, who stood beside Peter holding his hand.
"I feel much better now," May laughed, and kissed her cheek before finally getting into the car. They waved at each other, and when Happy rode the road, Peter and Morgan entered the building.
He just had to pack up for his week with Starks. Morgan studied his lego collection as he had promised her. Then they planned to go to Stark Tower, of course, with a stop for cake, where they would go with Tony and Pepper to a lake house.
It was a really simple plan.
Peter just packed up his suit, on which they want to work with Tony during the week when something seemed strange to him. Then his senses began to yell at him, and he frowned. That didn't happen too much at his home. He looked beside him, where Morgan was still looking at Lego with interest and his heart tightened.
"I need you to listen to me now, Mo," he blurted and went to the window to open it quickly.
"What's happening?" she asked as he took her into his arms and released her only when she was on the fire stairs.
"I don't know, munchkin, but I'll figure it out. I need you to press the emergency button on your watch and go to hide on the roof, okay? Don't come back here in any case, someone will come for you, okay?"
She nodded and he closed the window. He watched her go to the roof for a few seconds, but then his senses were practically unbearable, so he turned and went to the living room to turn on the TV. He needed it to look like he didn't know they were coming. Most importantly, he needed it to look like he was home alone.
The next thing he needed was a plan. But before he could even think, two men held him and another searched the apartment. And then there was the man wearing the suit and tie.
"Cozy," he said, and Peter frowned. He knew he knew the man, but he couldn't remember who he was. "A little miss won't join our party?" he asked when one of his minions stopped searching the apartment.
"She's not here, sir," the man replied.
"Well, that's a shame. Hit him."
The man who had searched the apartment before had hit him in the stomach, but Peter didn't give a voice. He was used to much worse.
"She's not here," he said in a calm voice. He could get out of this. But he didn't know what they knew, and he didn't want to tell them more than was needed.
"Somehow I can't believe it because I saw you both come in," the man in the suit said. Peter finally remembered. Stark's expo 2010. The man in front of him was none other than Justin Hammer.
"She's not here," he repeated.
"I really don't want to do this," he sighed, nodding at the man who had given him another punch to his stomach. Peter took a deep breath and wanted to send him to hell, but at that moment another man entered the apartment.
"I found her going to the roof, sir."
"Well, well! She'll join our party after all," Justin said contentedly, and Peter wanted to hurt him. Morgan looked brave, but he knew very well that she was terrified. He would have died for her, but he was very shocked to find that he would kill for her too.
"It'll be all right, Mo," he said, trying to figure out how to get them out of it. She hadn't worn her watch now, and it had been too long since he'd sent it to the roof, so she couldn't press the emergency button before the man get her and no one would come to save them.
"Isn't that touching? Take her and make sure the kid won't be a problem," Justin ordered, and Peter panicked.
"No!" he shouted. "Take me!"
"Why on earth would I do that? I need some motivation for Daddy and Mommy," he said scornfully.
"He's my brother, you big meanie," Morgan said angrily.
"Don't say," Justin laughed, giving Peter a look.
Morgan always told him he was her brother, but Peter didn't think Tony was taking him as a son. After the blip, their relationship had changed quite a bit, but that didn't mean he saw him the same as he saw his daughter. And he was a Spider-man, he could get out of this situation in his own way. But Justin didn't have to know that.
"Fine, but we'll take her too. Hopefully, you're right, I don't want to hurt a little princess. But I'll do it if I have to."
"Touch her and you're dead," Peter said through his teeth.
He wasn't happy about this situation, but at least Morgan would be under his supervision.
"Ready to go home?" Tony asked as he entered his wife's office.
"Like never before! I plan lasagna for dinner because I know how much Peter likes them," Pepper replied, and Tony smiled. He was so lucky he had her. Which other wives would accept a strange child brought home by her husband?
"Speaking of children, where are they?"
"What do you mean? Aren't they with you?" Pepper asked, frowning slightly.
"No, I came back from the meeting now. Happy last wrote to me when he brought them to Queens. But that was three hours ago."
"Maybe they just lost track of the time they stopped at the candy store," Pepper suggested. She knew that Tony was panicking, but she wasn't going to make hasty conclusions. "Friday, call Peter."
"Peter, where are you? We are ready to go home," Tony said as soon as someone answered the call.
"Nah, I'm sorry, but Peter can't be on the phone right now," came a voice from the other side and their blood stiffened in their veins.
"I thought you were in prison," snapped Tony, who recognized the voice from the other side of the call.
"I was. But we will not delay from petty things. You have something I want. And I have something you want. Fairtrade. I will send everything to you by email and do not try to trip me. I hate to hurt children," Justin said, ending the call.
"What do you think he wants?" Pepper said, trying to catch her breath.
"I have no idea. Friday, did you locate him?"
"Unfortunately not, sir."
"It's going to be okay. Peter is with Morgan. He'll take care of her."
"And that's what I'm afraid of," Tony sighed, and Pepper gave him a confused look.
"What do you mean?"
"Pep, you know him..."
Tony knew him well enough to know that to protect Morgan, Peter would have gone to the very end. And that was something he didn't even want to think about.
"I don't like what you're implying," she murmured and went to the computer to check the email.
And it was there.
She clicked directly on the file that was in the attachment, her heart clenching as a photo popped up on her screen.
"Call Rhodey, we have to get them back before Peter does something stupid," she said, taking a deep breath. She couldn't panic now. Their children need them.
Peter had to admit that if he could choose a kidnapper, it would be Justin Hammer. The room in which they held them was not in a damp and dirty cellar, as you might expect. No, it was a rather ordinary but comfortable room. He had no windows, but that was to be expected. With this room and the fact that Justin had kept his promise so far and hadn't paid any attention to Morgan, a five-year-old girl was not as frightened as one would expect. And Peter was really glad about it.
For what he was not so much glad was the state he was in. He didn't know what Justin wanted from Tony and Pepper, but he obviously decided that if Peter wasn't their child, it will require a big motivation. His head ached enormously, and he felt slightly disoriented. He was sure his ribs were bruised because every breath he breathed brought him incredible pain.
But that was all right. Because Morgan was untouched and that was the point. That was always the point.
"Petey!" Morgan gasped as Peter's torturers shoved him back to the room and he lost his balance and fell to the floor.
"I'm okay," he murmured, rising to sit on the bed.
Morgan sat down beside him and snuggled up to him, sending him another sharp pain. Now he was sure he had something wrong with his ribs, but he wasn't going to mention anything. She needed his comfort, and he would give it to her.
Then there was the voice that told him it was probably the last time he saw her. Because he couldn't stop her kidnapping, and which parent would leave his child near a man who couldn't protect them?
"Are you tired, Mo?" There was no window in the room, but when he was dragged here, he noticed that it was dark outside.
"I'm not," she replied but Peter could see her eyelids were heavy. He was exhausted, but he wouldn't close his eyes until Morgan was safe back with her parents.
"I'm sorry," he said, but Morgan did not respond. Instead, she sat upright beside him, so she could see him now.
"Petey, why is your eye still purple?" she asked worriedly. It was a really good question because he earned a punch to his face back in Queens when he shouted one guy to kindly treat Morgan politely. It wasn't even that hard hit. He should definitely not have a monocle by now.
"I don't know, Mo. But you shouldn't worry about it," he said, extending his hands into which she immediately slipped. He held her in a hug, until she fell asleep, and long afterward.
Another thing he knows is that he woke up because of some outside noise. And immediately he panics. He fell asleep! He looked down where Morgan was still asleep in his embrace and he calmed down a little. The noise from outside was getting louder and Peter was getting more anxious. His whole body hurt so much. He couldn't get them out of here, but he had to protect the five-year-old girl in his embrace at all costs.
"Petey?" Morgan mumbled sleepily.
"I'm here, munchkin, I'm here," he whispered, holding his breath as the noise continued to approach their room.
The door opened. And Peter stopped focusing.
He let Morgan go to his father and let out any breath he didn't even know he was holding.
It was over.
It was all over, and Peter could finally without worries close his eyes. He heard someone calling his name, but he didn't care. He just wanted the pain to go away. He just wanted to rest.
And he did so.
Morgan got a nice warm bath, clean pajamas and Pepper basically carried her asleep to her room in her arms. She was really glad they still had a penthouse in the Tower. She put Morgan in her bed, and that was when the five-year-old girl fully awoke.
"What are you doing, mommy?" she asked, frowning, and Pepper gave her a puzzled look.
"You need to sleep, baby," she said gently.
"I don't want to sleep. I want to go to Petey!"
"And you can, but when you get some sleep."
"But I want to go now!" she yelped, and the first tears appeared in her eyes.
"Honey, I know you want, but Pete is asleep anyway," Pepper explained.
"I don't care! I want to see him!" shouted Morgan, who was now completely crying.
"You have to calm down, Morgan. When you get some sleep, Peter will be waiting for you," Pepper said cautiously, handing handkerchief to her daughter.
"You don't know for sure," she sniffed and blew her nose.
"Of course I know," Pepper said misunderstood.
"No, you don't. He could be gone again," she whispered, and Pepper's heart broke at the sight of her little girl.
"Oh my God! He won't be gone, I promise. I promise you, baby. But you're right. We should all be with him and not just your dad," she said, taking her in her arms.
When Peter woke up, his body still hurt, but he felt much better. His head was no longer spinning and he felt that he had regained some strength again. His gaze slid to his left side, where Morgan lay curled up with her favorite stuffed toy.
She was fine. And he was relieved.
Then he met two pairs of eyes and swallowed hard.
"You absolute idiot!" Tony snapped.
"Tony!" Pepper yelled, outraged.
"What? It's true. He should know that we were sick with worry."
"I am so sorry!" he said with tears in his eyes. He knew this was coming.
"I need you to promise us that this will never happen again."
"I understand," he murmured.
"All right," Tony sighed. He didn't want to scream, but he was so upset that the boy almost got himself killed.
"Where's May?" he asked, glancing back at Morgan, which was still sleeping.
"She stayed on holiday with Happy. We assured her that you were okay, but if you want her to come back, you can call her," Pepper explained.
"No, she deserves a vacation," he whispered. He can be home alone for a week.
"You had a lack of nutrients, so your healing slowed down. I suppose you ate lunch at school for the last time, and then Hammer surprised you with his visit. Too little food for your fast metabolism. But now you should be like new, so we can go home," Tony said, and Peter took a deep breath. He can cry at home when he is alone.
"Do you think you'd give me a ride to Queens?" he asked in a cracked voice.
"We've stopped for your stuff already," Pepper said with a small smile, and Peter frowned.
"Why?" he asked, confused.
"What do you mean, why?" asked Tony, equally confused now.
"Well, you just said I can't see Morgan anymore, and I understand that," he said, and Pepper and Tony exchanged glances.
"Petey! You're awake!" Morgan shouted joyfully, trapping him in her embrace.
"I am," he said with a small smile and hugged her back.
"I was so worried about you."
"And I was worried about you, munchkin," he said and kissed her cheek. Morgan settled in her favorite place beside him and snuggled up to him.
"Peter, please look at us," Tony said worriedly, and Peter obeyed.
"Sweetheart, when we said it will never happen again, we didn't mean you couldn't see Morgan anymore," said Pepper, who now also had tears in her eyes.
"We meant not to be a self-sacrificing idiot," Tony explained. "We want both of you to be safe."
"But she is your daughter. And I would do anything for her."
"We know that, Pete, but we want you to think of yourself too," Pepper said.
"We love you both," Tony said with a smile.
"But she's your daughter."
"And you're her brother, if I'm not mistaken," Pepper smiled.
"I love you, guys."
He would never question his place in their family again.
It does not change the fact that her safety is his highest priority. If he had to, he would die for her.