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Freeze To Death

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Peter lay on his back on the sofa in Mr. Stark's living room, flinching at the pain when he tried to shift a little. His back was killing him and he knew it was almost time for another dose of pain medicine, but Mr. Stark was putting Morgan down for a nap and he didn't want to bug him. He hadn't wanted to spend his convalescence at the cabin in the first place, but Mr. Stark and Pepper had insisted, and May hadn't been able to take off work.

It had been a close thing, apparently. The spinal fracture could have easily been fatal, Helen had told him. As it was, he'd be in bed for at least two more weeks, going from a wheelchair to crutches until maybe, a month from then, he'd be able to start walking. Maybe, Helen had stressed. It could take longer. At first, Peter had been okay with this since he'd been drugged to the gills and mostly asleep. But then he'd had it all explained to him again, and he was a little less enthusiastic.

Peter was glad that he had Mr. Stark. He was grateful that the man still obviously loved him and that he was okay with having Peter around, but he also felt bad. It couldn't be fun to have an injured teen taking up permanent residence on his sofa. The man didn't seem to mind though...in fact, he seemed happy to have Peter there, spending hours on the sofa with him, or helping him into the wheelchair or, the worst, helping him to the bathroom. But he never complained or even seemed a little put out.  Instead, he almost seemed to enjoy time with Peter. No...not almost. He did. He came down to spend time with him every day, sometimes followed by Morgan who had been instructed several times to be extra careful with him, and sometimes Pepper would join them too, always looking concerned but never upset with his presence, running her fingers through his hair and asking how he was feeling. It was nice. Well, as nice as being bedridden could be, he supposed. 

The hand on Peter's hair startled him, and he jumped a little, only to find the man standing over him. "Hey, bud. You ready for some more meds?"

He nodded drowsily, knowing the pain medicine would send him right to sleep, meaning he now took naps just like Morgan. But at least when he was asleep, it didn't hurt so bad.

"Here you go." Mr. Stark put a hand behind his back and eased him up, then handed him the pills and a glass of water. Outside, Peter could see the snow piling up and wanted to ask if it was supposed to storm but he was just so sleepy.  Had the news said? The TV had been playing the weather earlier that morning but he couldn't quite remember through the haze of sleep and pain pills. "Get some rest buddy. Your body needs all the sleep it can get. And the next time you think about fighting any octopus themed villains alone, remember this."

Mr. Stark had been so scared. Peter vaguely remembered his mentor on the ground beside him, holding his head as he'd coughed up blood. "It's okay...it's okay, buddy. Just hang on. Please...please, Pete...stay with me." Mr. Stark had sat there, begging and sobbing as he'd held Peter's head in his lap, combing his fingers through his bloody hair until Helen had arrived. "Please...please, he has to be okay please…" The man had prayed aloud, hunching over Peter, their foreheads touching as Mr. Stark had cried. "Please, he has to be okay. I can't lose him. Not again."

And then, every time Peter had woken up in the hospital or, later, in his room at the lakehouse, Mr. Stark had been there, holding his hand and brushing his hair back. Promising that he was okay. That he wasn't alone. May was there too, at first, but then Peter had woken up alone for the first time in his bedroom at Mr. Stark's lake house. That had been a week ago. Mr. Stark had come in a few minutes later, explaining everything and promising that it wouldn't be so bad. That he'd be okay. And then Morgan had been allowed to come in, and she'd been placed very gently on the bed beside him with multiple warnings to be careful with her big brother.

Peter dozed off after only a few minutes, and woke only briefly to eat the dinner that Pepper brought him. She asked if he wanted to go upstairs to his room to sleep and, not wanting to keep them out of their living room, he nodded. He was mostly able to get himself into the wheelchair, despite the fact that it was killing his back to do so, and with her help, he managed to get himself into his room where he assured her that he could take care of the rest. And he could...it would hurt like hell but he could do it.

He managed to change into pajamas and use the bathroom on his own, not wanting to alert Mr. Stark. The man was, according to Karen, downstairs in his lab working on something, so he figured he could just slip into bed and let another day be over. The meds were already making him tired again, which Mr. Stark and Helen had both assured him was normal, so he got himself into bed and under the one blanket he could pull back, giving up on the rest when it just hurt his back.

When Peter woke, he wasn't sure exactly what had woken him. It was quiet in the lake house, and outside his window, everything was white. He started to sit up, forgetting for a second that his back was killing him. He froze, dropping back down on the pillow and taking a deep breath. It wasn't as bad as it had been before, but it was still bad enough to freeze him in place...speaking of freezing, Peter tugged on the blanket and tried to pull it up higher. It was so cold. "Friday?" He asked, wiping a hand over his face. "Fri?"

No answer. Sighing and pulling the blanket up a little more, he shivered in the cold. He tried to go back to sleep, but all he managed was a fitful doze before a hand touched his shoulder, shaking him out of sleep. "Huh?" he asked, eyes flying open, only to find Morgan standing by his bed. "Hey, Mo...what's wrong?"

"I'm freezing to death."

Peter couldn't hold back the snort at her solemn little face. "Yeah?" She certainly got her father's dramatics. He glanced over at his digital clock only to find it was blank. "I think the power's out."

"Can I sleep in here with you?" she asked, and he nodded.

"Sure."

As carefully as she could, Morgan climbed into the bed beside him, snuggling up to his side under the covers. "Are you still hurt?" she whispered.

"Yeah," he admitted.

"Am I hurting you?"

He shook his head, wrapping an arm around her. "Nah. You're okay. Get some sleep."

When he woke again, it was to Mr. Stark laying something over him. "Hm?"  he asked blearily, shivering a little even under the covers.

"Hey, bud. Power's out. I don't want you turning into a popsicle." He tucked the blanket around Peter's shoulders, reaching out to stroke Morgan's hair. "When did she get in here?"

"Don't know...clock doesn't work." Peter snuggled under the blankets a little more, eyelids drooping, and Tony smiled.

"The power might not come back on for a while. One of the perks of living out in the middle of nowhere." He disappeared for a second, then came with another blanket, piling it on top of the other two. "How's that?"

Peter nodded, muttering a tired 'thanks, and Mr. Stark turned to leave.  Before he could go, Peter reached out and grabbed his sleeve. Later, he'd blame his lack of a filter on how cold his room was, and maybe he pain medicine. "Stay?"

The man snorted. "There's no room, Pete."

"Is too. Stay." And, knowing exactly what he was doing, Peter opened his eyes wide, and made them sad and hopeful, tugging gently on the man's sleeve. "Please?"

It took less than five seconds for the man to give in. "Fine." He pulled the blanket back, gently easing into the bed beside Peter and laying on his side. "Better?"

"Mhm." Peter tried to scoot a little closer, and Mr. Stark maneuvered them until Peter's head was resting on his shoulder, his nose in Peter's hair.

"How are you feeling, buddy?"

"M'okay."

"Yeah? I'll get you some more pain medicine in the morning."

"Shh…" Morgan whispered from Peter's other side. "Daddy...sleeping."  Peter laughed and Tony grinned.

"Sorry, baby." Tony matched her tone, pressing a kiss to the side of Peter's head and, sandwiched between his dad and his sister, Peter dropped back into a sweet, painless sleep.