Peter glanced around the crowd of people. He had just been holding onto Happy’s suit jacket but someone had pulled him by the shoulder and now he couldn’t find Happy. Peter started to hyperventilate. HE was going to be lost forever. He wanted to go home. He wanted his dad and papa.
Peter heard the questions being shouted at him and the four year old covered his ears and started to hum a song to drown them out even as tears rolled down his cheeks. One of the reporters grabbed his hand and Peter pulled back quickly.
“Cut it out. Right now.” Peter heard his uncle Bucky who reached for him and picked him up, “You all should be ashamed of yourself. This is a child.”
Peter wrapped his arms around his uncle’s neck, “Lost you guys.”
“I know. Happy about died of a heart attack when he realized you were no longer trailing behind us.” Bucky got them away from the crowd, “Your parents would kill us if we lost you while at Target getting supplies for a school project.”
“We didn’t tell daddy and papa we were going to Target, Uncle Bucky.”
“Precisely and now they are going to know and they are also going to know we lost you.”
“We can just tell them we love them and we’re sorry.” Peter suggested.
“And what do we do if that doesn’t work, Petey?”
“We cry.” Peter said matter of factly.
“I don’t understand. This is why we have things delivered. Did you even watch the video footage of what happened? Peter was terrified. We trusted you guys to keep him safe and this is what happens!” Steve paced in front of his best friend and Happy.
“Steve—“ Tony started to interrupt having more experience with the media and how they swarmed.
“No! Don’t make this okay! That reporter put a hand on my baby! He jerked him away from his uncles! He then tried to pry his hands off his ears. NONE OF THIS IS OKAY!”
“It’s not.” Tony agreed, “But yelling at Bucky and Happy will not change this. It could have happened to you or I if we took Peter out.”
“I’m waiting. It’s weird to be the logical one rather than the one who thinks with his emotions.” Tony winked.
“Papa?” Peter peaked his head around the corner holding his favorite stuffed bear, “Are you mad at me?”
Steve visibly deflated, “No. I’m not.”
“At Uncle Happy and Uncle Bucky?” Peter frowned.
“I’m frustrated.” Steve admitted sitting down on the couch he had just been pacing in front of and pulled the four year old onto his lap for a hug, “I get frustrated that the media doesn’t let us live our lives because it worries me that we can’t always keep you safe.”
“Don’t worry, Papa. Uncle Bucky said, ‘Cut it out’ in his loud mean voice and they looked scared.” Peter explained.
“Not the loud mean voice!” Steve gasped for dramatic effect.
“They were so scared too!” Peter grinned, “Because Uncle Bucky is big and scary.”
“He is, and ugly.” Steve whispered loudly.
“That’s not kind. We don’t want to teach him that.” Tony rolled his eyes.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve this abuse.” Bucky scowled.
“We aren’t supposed to call people ugly.” Peter’s eyes watered up, “It’s not nice.”
“You’re right Petey pie. Papa made a bad joke.” Steve soothed the four year old.
“You should say sorry.”
“He’s not wrong.” Tony raised a brow.
“Fine. I’m sorry, Buck.” Steve sighed.
“He doesn’t sound sorry.” Bucky raised an eyebrow, “Does he, Pete?”
“Maybe we have to tickle him until he is!” Peter yelled. Soon all of the trauma of the day had gone out of the Super Family’s heads.
Tony picked up Peter from the couch where he had fallen asleep later that night, “It’s going to happen his whole life, you know?”
“How do we protect him from it? You saw on the news footage—He looked terrified.” Steve followed Tony to Peter’s room.
Tony laid the four year in his bed gently and covered him up, “We teach him how to handle a situation like that and remind him again and again why it’s important to stay with the adult that is with you.”
“He got pulled away from his adults.” Steve pointed out.
“We remind his adults that they have to be extra cautious then. We do our best, Steve. I think that’s all parents can do.” Tony pressed a kiss to Peter’s forehead.
Steve leaned over to do the same, “I just love him so much.”
“He makes loving him so easy.” Tony pulled Steve in for a hug, “We’ve got this. Try not to worry.”
Peter walked out of school one day and didn’t see his parents car anywhere or Happy. He started to breathe heavier and turned to go back in the school.
“Peter, what’s wrong?” Ned asked trying to adjust his heavy backpack that was as big as him.
“I don’t see my Dads and it’s not safe. I want to go back inside.” Peter didn’t know why his chest was hurting. Why couldn’t he get a good breath?
“Peter, I think they are just running late.” Ned hugged his friend, “It’s okay. I see my mom over there. Should we go by her until we see your dads or Happy?”
Peter held Ned’s hand as he nodded and they made their way over to Ned’s mom’s car.
“Mommy, Petey is scared and he doesn’t know where his dad or Papa are.” Ned explained as they both found a seat in the mini van.
“Oh honey. Let me call your dads.” Ned’s mom pulled out her phone.
Peter nodded while anxiously rubbing his fingers against each other.
A few minutes passed and Peter ignored the low volume conversation by Ned’s mom until she said, “Peter, your dad said that I can drop you at his office. He doesn’t know where your Papa is but he said he’s so sorry and they will make it up to you.”
Peter found the booster he always used when he was with Ned’s family, “Okay. Thank you.”
“Daddy!” Peter leapt out of the van and into his father’s arms.
“Peter!” Tony grinned hugging his kid close, “Thanks for dropping him off. I got in touch with Steve and he was confused on the schedule for pick up. He thought Happy was picking up.”
“No problem at all.” Ned’s mom smiled.
Tony brought Peter into his office, “I heard you got a little scared when no one was there. You want to talk about it?”
“I got scared because I was worried the people would come with their cameras and shout at me again.” Peter had his arms wrapped around his dad’s neck and his cheek resting against him.
Tony sat down not putting the four year old down because he sensed Peter needed to be close to him at that moment, “Hmm. Is this because of the scare at the store?”
“And Uncle Bucky wasn’t there to yell at them if the came.” Peter admitted.
“Makes sense. You know what you should do if they ever do come to your school?”
“Find a safe grown up or go inside.” Peter repeated what they had already worked through.
“Right, and then we press our panic button and they will have to explain themselves to some not so friendly Avengers.” Tony tickled Peter who giggled in response.
“All the Avengers are nice, Daddy.”
“You might be right.” Tony agreed, “But that could bring out Bucky’s mean and loud voice again.”
“Uncle Bucky doesn’t like people being mean to me.”
“Correct. The rest of the team doesn’t either.”
Peter got quiet after this and soon felt his eyes growing heavy as he listened to his dad type away at the computer. He was safe and no one could hurt him here.