If it was one thing Peter hated the most, it would be the stupid suit his Dad forced him into.
He is sitting in the limo, the window cool against his forehead as he leans against it. His breath fogs up the glass, the artificial light outside spreading out like a small sun as Happy starts the car, his Godfather’s grumbles of annoyance audible over the rumble of the engine.
“I don’t understand why Tony doesn’t have a nice, family dinner inside? I mean, we have 5 Star Chiefs just lined up to come cook!”
Peter snickers, reaching up to tug at his black tie as he lifts his head, cracking his neck from the uncomfortable position.
“Well, it’s my ‘big Straight A Party’ and you know how he gets with the celebrations and stuff.” Peter responds, watching as Happy rolls his eyes, the door leading into the garage opening just as the Driver flips the A.C on.
Peter watches as his Dad makes his way over to the car, careful to step over the small puddles laying around or risk ruining his expensive black shoes. Opening the door with a whoosh, the elder stark climbs in beside his son, his dress pants squeaking against the leather. Reaching over once fully seated, Tony grabs the door handle and pulls it closed, his silver watch reflecting the lights above. Turning to face Peter once Happy starts to drive out, the genius frowns.
“What did I tell you about messing with your tie?” Reaching out, Tony gently straightens out the black cloth, sighing when Peter tries to bat his hands away. “Stop that and let me fix it. If you had just left it alone, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
The 14 year old lets out a huff of frustration, slouching down further in his seat and pouts, resisting the urge to itch his neck as his father tightens the tie once more. The headlights of passing cars reflect in the windows, spears of golden, rain misted light illuminating the dark interior as Happy turns onto the main road.
Eyeing his child with narrowed eyes, Tony smooths out the tussled brown locks as they come to a slow stop, the light mist of the rain becoming a moderate downpour in a matter of seconds. Peter closes his eyes, subconsciously leaning into his Dad’s touch as he listens to the splatter of liquid echoing around them, the blaring red of the traffic light a dull orange behind his eyelids. A sudden jolt has him blinking once more, and the spiderling watches as they start to move again, his Godfather’s muffled curses of frustration becoming louder as a mini van almost cuts them off.
“So, where are we going?” Peter asks after a few minutes, turning away from the window and facing his Dad once more.
Tony just smirks, clicking his phone off with a small snap and setting it in his pocket. “It’s a surprise, kiddo! But something tells me you are gonna like it, so be patient!”
“Just tell the kid already Tony!” Happy says suddenly, voice warm with humor as he winks at his nephew.
Tony turns toward his honorary brother, sitting up further in his seat to better see the man as they turn a corner, the tires squeaking against the wet road.
“Shut up Hap!” He snaps, his tone teasing. “Just keep your eyes on the road and try not to hit anymore soccer moms!”
Peter groans as Tony leans back again, flopping down and raising a hand dramatically to his forehead, being sure to make his eyes as wide as humanly possible. Puppy Dog Level Intensifying.
“Please Dad?” He asks, cheering internally when he can see the Billionaire start to cave. “Just one little hint please. . .?”
Shaking his head suddenly, Tony mimics zipping his lips and throwing away the key, his dark eyes shining in mirth and his mouth twitching away a smile. Peter just huffs, fighting his own grin down when he sees Happy rolling his eyes in the mirror.
The rest of the ride is spent in relative silence, the pop music filtering in from the speaker getting hummed under Peter’s breath as the teenage relaxes back, his Dad’s weight comforting against his own. Tony just pulls his child closer, pressing a quick kiss to his temple as they zoom along the wet road.
Something Peter can never get used to, no matter how many years go by, is the staring his father’s presence seems to attract.
When they had gotten to the restaurant, the sky dark and drenching, there wasn’t a single person in the whole parking lot that hadn’t stopped what they were doing and stared at them. His father had scowled at a particular invasive man, lifting his lips up in a snarl when the creeper just continued to look, Peter clutching Tony’s coat sleeve in trembling fingers as his senses tingled.
Happy had suddenly stepped between them, grabbing his nephew gently by the arm, the dark fabric of his jacket seeming to bleed into the shadows around them as he pulled Peter along. Tony followed shortly after, wrapping his arm protectively around his son’s shoulders and opening the door to the building with his other.
The warm air was a relief from the wet cold outside, and Peter could almost put aside the uncomfortable feeling of being watched as they step into the lobby. Tony had frowned, ushering Peter toward the check-in booth with Happy not far behind, the Driver glancing wearily around as people continue to gasp.
“Table for three please.” Tony asked, voice cool and collected, his dark eyes narrowed.
The young man behind the booth had paled, hurrying to fix his black polo shirt and name tag as Tony looked down on him. Finally he straightened, holding up three menus with trembling fingers and began to lead all three members toward a low lite back room, the sound of talking becoming increasingly muffled with each step.
Peter keeps close to his Dad, making sure to not trip over his feet as they make their way down a short hallway, the marble floor reflecting the dim lights. The smell of warm bread and savory pasta floats past as they finally make it to their table and the young spiderling has to snap his mouth shut to avoid drooling.
After being seated and ordering various soda products from the chirpy blond waitress assigned to their table, Tony had immediately jumped into a conversation, not holding back the praises for Peter’s straight A’s. Happy groans, mentioning over the enthusiastic Billionaire that he already knew all of this thank you very much.
Still, his Godfather pats him on the shoulder, the young Stark trying hard to fight down the blush he can feel burning his face. The conversation dies down a bit when the waitress brings them their food, the noodles and sauces steaming and the savory garlic bread placed immaculately along the side. Peter immediately digs into his when it is placed on the table, ignoring the way the spaghetti burns his tongue.
“What?” He asks, freezing with his fork halfway to his mouth when he notices the amused looks both adults are shooting him. “I told you I was hungry.”
Tony and Happy share a glance, both coughing to cover the laughter threatening to escape. Shrugging, Peter goes back to stuffing his face, straightening up in the leather covered seat when his Dad frowns at him. After swallowing yet another mouthful of the wonderful pasta, the spiderling takes a sip of his Root Beer, the carbonation becoming fuzzy in his mouth and slightly stings his throat.
Listening halfheartedly to the conversation going on around him, the young Stark picks up his garlic bread, the butter staining his fingers and the warmth making his mouth water. Dipping the bread into the red sauce, Peter brings it up to his mouth and bites, the crust crackling and the spreading lighting up his taste buds.
It’s after a few bites that the teenager begins to feel weird.
It starts with the heat. Sweat, sticky and dampening, accumulates on his brow, rolling down the side of his face and settling into the dip of his shoulder. Giving a shudder, Peter sets down his fork with more force then necessary, the metal hitting the wood and ringing. His Dad and Happy turn toward him, both looking startled by the sudden sharp noise.
“Pete, are you okay?” His Godfather asks, frowning in concern.
Tony leans across the table and lifts his hand, cupping the side of his child’s cheek and narrowing his eyes at the heat radiating off.
Peter tries in vain to respond, his head starting to swim and his eyes welling with tears and residue. He shifts closer to his Dad, the motion making the dizziness worse and causing him to almost topple out of his chair. With a sharp cry of alarm, Tony is suddenly at his side, pushing the teen’s damp hair away from his eyes and steadying him in his seat.
“Peter, do you feel sick? Can you talk to me kiddie?” The man asks quietly, the deep rumble of his voice seeming to echo through the spiderling’s frazzled mind.
Opening his mouth, Peter sucks in air, getting ready to reassure his Dad that no he is fine, just had a little too much to eat is all but gets cut off with a wheeze, the tightness of his throat making it impossible to breathe.
Oh God, he can’t fucking breathe.
No sooner has the panic laced thought flashes through the young Stark’s mind does his father’s eyes widen, his grip on his son becoming impossibly firm. Looking over his shoulder quickly, Tony seems to say something to Happy, his Godfather’s response getting lost in the roar filling Peter’s ears.
“Okay Peter, okay you’re okay honey, just look at me, look at me and keep trying to breathe. In and out, in and out. . . Happy, have you found a doctor or anyone yet?!“
Even though Tony is trying to hide it, his own panic he must be feeling is starting to bleed through his voice, the shaking of his hands vibrating Peter’s face as his Dad cups his chin. The teenager tries to lick his suddenly dry lips, a small sliver of air making it through and easing the pain for just a second, his tongue heavy and bloated feeling in his mouth.
“Ga-ga’lic bre—“ he tries to say, to explain why the hell he started to suddenly look like a freaking chipmunk, the puffiness of his cheeks tingling his skin as he swells.
His Dad just shushes him, pulling them both down to the crumb littered ground as Peter starts to sway again and gently settling the now crying boy into his lap. Huffing out tiny gasps of pain, Peter blinks away his tears, his vision blurring and his grip on his father becoming tighter with each passing second. He is vaguely aware of movement around them, low murmurs and high gasps of questioning concern floating down to him.
“Mr. Stark, is there anything I can do?”
“Is Peter okay?”
“What’s wrong with the kid?”
“I bet the bastard poisoned him.”
“Should someone call 9-1-1?”
Throughout the chaos, Happy’s deep voice rises above the rest, the slap of his dress shoes getting closer as he forces the crowding people back. Peeking his puffy face from under his father’s chin, Peter can see multiple people holding phones up to their ears, no doubt having contacted the police and paramedics multiple times. Some are even recording, the lenses reflecting the flickering candles as they shift around, trying to get a better view of the panicking Starks. The spiderling catches one lady’s eye, her red nails bright as she holds her phone up higher, face twisted in a grin of haunted delight.
Peter ducks back down, letting out a silent sob as he feels his throat begin to close up once more. He tries to warn his Dad, practically clawing at the man as he becomes weaker, sagging against Tony’s chest and wheezing. The genius is saying something to him, something about awake and help but the teen is too tired to make sense of the words, his small gasping noises twisting from his chest. Above him, his father’s pleading eyes bore into his, the man practically shaking him as he begins to shout, his voice hoarse and begging for someone to save his child.
Blinking sluggishly, Peter weakly reaches up, trailing his fingers down the side of his Daddy’s face and frowning as much as his bloating will allow when his hand comes back wet. Tony continues to whisper pleads, rocking them back and forth and back and forth, wiping away Peter’s own tears and cupping his son’s hand.
“It’s okay baby. Daddy’s right here, just hold on for a little while longer Peter, please. . .” Tony’s voice cracks, and he shudders.
The spiderling begins to feel airy, almost like he is flying from his webs, the ground oh so far below him. The world fades in and out, static filling the spaces in between, the darkness cool and welcoming. His Dad is warm below him, the gentle hum of his voice helping to lull Peter into slumber, the continual rocking motion reminding the boy of being little and getting soothed after a nightmare.
He supposes that this is almost the same.
His grip becomes weaker, the roaring in his ears louder and the moments of sweet nothingness longer. Tony becomes more panicked, more frantic and more desperate above him, the sound of his howls of pain and pleading cries getting clearer for only a split second as the deep, penetrating blackness wraps itself around the young Stark, pulling away what little remaining air he has in his lungs.
Calm. Cold. Sleep.
No more pain. No more worry. Floating.
Please don’t leave me.
Silence. Still. Weightless.
I love you so much Peter, please. . .
. . .
Suddenly, a sharp pain in his leg has him jerking up, forcing his muscles to tighten and his bones to crack.
Blinking the blurriness from his eyes, Peter looks around, squinting in alarm when a bright light gets shined into his face.
“Awake.” A voice says, the tone muffled from a mask as the paramedic kneels down next to them, his green eyes kind. In his hand is some sort of needle, but it is gone before Peter can get a good look. “Get the stretcher ready.”
Peter feels himself get lifted, the weight of the swelling on his face making it near impossible for him to lift his head. Tony, still crying silently, has his neck cupped in his hands, the rough scratch of the man’s beard against his forehead easing some of the discomfort. In the corner of his eye, Peter watches as his Godfather makes his way over, his face pinched in an overwhelming combination of worry and relief.
“Let’s move out.” The nurse says, giving the stretcher a tiny push, wheels squeaking.
The IV, it’s contents swinging in time with each step taken, makes the spiderling feel more solid, helping to ground him to reality. Turning his head, Peter looks at his father as they move, the Billionaire never taking his eyes off of his son and his expression clouded in a kind of agony Peter thinks he is never going to be able to fully grasp. Tony’s grip, fingers trembling, is almost painfully tight, the young Stark’s hand becoming numb from the pressure.
Peter doesn’t really mind though. Not after what just happened.
The ride to the hospital is a blur, colors and sounds combing into something continuous and speeding. People touch him, lift his face and poke his cheeks, making him open his mouth as wide as he can and checking his tongue. They ask him questions, but he doesn’t remember if he answered or not, not really sure if Happy is beside him or in front.
What he does remember though, is the way his Dad’s dark eyes still continue to leak tears all the way down the road, drinking up the sight of Peter and his grip never wavering, even after they had arrived.
“—pears that the mutations in your blood caused a severe allergic reaction, most likely to the garlic bread you consumed right before the attack started.”
Bruce walks around the bed, making notes in his chart and eyeing his nephew as the teenager leans back more fully against his pillows, his I.V. stand shaking slightly. Peter blinks, sighing as the medication filters through his bloodstream, easing the pain of his sore throat. The light filtering in from the window stings his eyes, the water on the ground outside reflecting the golden glow.
“Are there any more known allergies that might affect him, something else that may be poisonous to spiders?” Tony asks off to Peter’s right, the weight of his arm across the spiderling’s waist a comforting reminder of the man’s presence. “Because I’ve done some research and studies have shone that peppermint and vinegar—“
“Yes, we might want to steer clear of those substances until we know the full effect of them on Peter.” The Doctor cuts the elder Stark off, eyeing Peter from over his glasses when the boy shifts.
Feeling the eyes on him, Peter ducks his head, picking at the thin hospital sheet draped across his lap and trying to control the shaking of his hands. His voice, when he speaks, comes out small and raspy, dragging through his throat like nails.
“But I-I’m okay right, Uncle Bruce? Like I’m not going to suddenly no-not be able to breathe again and d-die?”
Tony sucks in a sharp breath beside Peter, his grip on his child tightening as pain flashes across his face, the frown lines around his mouth deepening and his eyes becoming steely with an unspoken resolve. Peter leans into him more fully, trying to comfort and find comfort from the man as he shivers.
Bruce stops walking, his white lad coat swishing around his legs at the sudden halt. Leaning over, the man grabs his nephew’s hand, his skin warm and his grip gentle.
“No, Pete, no. The medicine I’m putting you on will make it so something like that never happens again.” He projects his voice, making sure to direct his next words to Tony as well. “You’re fine, I promise.”
Letting out a small, relieved sigh, Peter rests his head against his Dad’s chest, the rumbling of the Billionaire’s voice low against his ear as the man continues to ask questions. The spiderling doesn’t listen anymore, having gotten all the information he needed to make him feel at ease. Finally, after what felt like only seconds, the talking stops and the room is quiet again, the beeping of his machines a steady backdrop.
Lifting his head, Peter looks around, not surprised when his Uncle is no where to be seen. His Dad is quiet, just watching his son, and Peter feels suddenly guilty, like it is his fault that he almost died and put his father through all of that. He opens his mouth to apologize, his throat clicking as he swallows, but freezes when he glances up at the man.
Tony is crying.
The tears fall fast and hard, choking sobs shaking the man’s larger body as he curls around Peter, his nose tickling the teenager’s scalp as he buries his face in his hair. His tears are cool against Peter’s head and the boy has to fight down his own cries as he holds his father closer. Finally Tony straightens back up, wiping almost angrily at his face and sniffs, his red rimmed eyes finding Peter’s.
“I’m sorry.” He chokes out, voice almost as scratchy as his son’s, tinged with self-loathing and bitterness. “You’re the one that—that— and now I’m crying like a big fucking baby. . .”
Peter shakes his head, grasping his father’s hands in his own and tugging them closer to his chest.
“It’s okay, Dad! Y-you can cry if you need too, I promise. That-that was just so scary. . .” Peter trails off, his own sobs taking over as he thinks of the way he could feel his body dying.
Tony makes a small wounded noise, tugging Peter closer as both of them cry, clutching each other as tight as them can and just letting it all out.
It takes a few minutes, but gradually each of their sobs turn into sniffles, Peter leaning into his Dad’s warm hands as they cup his face. Reaching up, The young Stark rests his own hands on top of Tony’s, staring into his father’s dark eyes as they calm down.
Suddenly Peter cracks a half smile, giving a small chuckle as the wires connected to him rattle. Tony frowns slightly, confusion drawing his dark brows down.
“What?” He asks, fighting his own smiles as his son continues to giggle.
Peter’s voice is smothered with mirth, eyes shining as he reaches up to wipe at the dried tear tracks on his face.
“I’m basically a vampire now!” He gasps out, “I mean, the whole ‘no garlic or vinegar’ thing. I’m like-like a Vampider. . . Or would it be a Spidpire?”
Tony chuckles as Peter wiggles his eyebrows, flashing fake fangs and looking a thousand times better as his medication begins to take effect. His voice starts to slur, movements getting dragged and his eyes brightening. By the time Happy walks in, his arms full of various fast food and flowers for the young Stark, Peter had curled up in his Dad’s lap, his eyes dropping shut and his arms wrapped around the man.
When he sees his Godfather, he sits up so quickly he almost head butts Tony, looking at the normally grumpy man like a puppy, a smile stretching his still red and slightly puffy face. Happy, setting everything down on the side table, walks over to his nephew, ruffling the boy’s hair when he gets closer. Tony just presses an adoring kiss to his child’s temple, scooting over slightly to give his honorary Brother room to sit.
“He’s kind of doped up on painkillers.” Tony explains when he catches sight of Happy’s confused gaze, the genius own eyes holding the deep love he feels for his son.
The Driver just nods quickly, making sure to make affirmative noises each time Peter asks him a slurred question, the young Stark’s coco colored eyes slightly glazed over and shining in adoration as he looks between the two men. Suddenly he reaches over, patting his Uncle sluggishly on the arm.
“He-Hey Uncle Happy, guess wh-what?!”
Happy shares a glance with Tony, both watching in poorly hidden amusement and relief as Peter practically bounces in excitement. He is definitely going to be okay now.
“I’m a-a Vampider!”
“. . . A what?!”