Peter had meant to keep getting a full night's sleep, but with crime in Queens spiking just to spite him, that just didn't seem to work out. Aunt May had put him on a strict curfew of eleven o' clock, but the Baby Monitor had long since been disabled, and it's not like you can easily confine a boy who could climb freaking walls into their apartment. So, Peter had kept on patrol until one-thirty and had stayed up doing homework until three.
That was four hours a day of precious rest. Four hours wasn't that bad, right?
He had started feeling drowsy, and the gray smudges under his eyes were now apparent, but he was fine, really. There were people out there to protect. He couldn't care about getting his beauty sleep when lives were on the line.
There was that one time on the bus when he and Ned were talking and he spaced out for a second and the next thing he knew Ned was asking if he was okay and shaking his shoulder-
"Yeah," he mumbled in reply. "I just was out of touch with reality for a sec there." He chuckled, enforcing the idea that he was fine, that this was a one-time thing if he just got five hours in the next day-
He got three hours.
It didn't even matter when he got busier and busier with patrol and those three-hour sessions had become more and more common, even when he started getting two, one, zero hours of sleep some days.
He didn't care when his typical headache became a migraine excessively pounding at the back of his skull, or when Ned started to take notes for him because he couldn't pay enough attention to take his own.
Ned and MJ had a talk with him that day- "You look like you've been run over by a truck," MJ stated matter-of-factly. "How long have you been out in the suit?"
"I'm guessing you haven't been getting much sleep. Sleep deprivation can harm your coordination, reaction time, and attention span, as well as-"
"I'm okay, MJ. Really. Don't worry about me."
MJ pouted. "Just... rest. Okay?"
That day was another all-nighter. Of course.
The days seemed to start blurring together after that- he remembers webbing up some bad guys, assuring to Karen that he was fine because even she was beginning to notice his ailment. Homework was a struggle and Ned had offered to help him- but he was going to keep some of his dignity if he could help it. At this point, he wasn't even sure he could fall asleep, anyway. It was a strange experience- always inches from passing out but not when he really needed to. There were people to save, though, and things to do. Even if he had a lot of trouble focusing on any of that now.
Sometime later, his spidey sense started going crazy, his mind giving him a constant sense of danger, danger even when there wasn't. That made patrolling especially difficult for him, now that he couldn't even focus on imminent danger. But it was fine- he had a couple of close calls, sure, but he had almost broken a femur or been shot in the shoulder. The almost was important here- as long as the almost remained, he was okay.
The almost didn't last forever, of course.
He was feeling especially drowsy that day, and Karen was warning him against patrolling.
"Peter, you are experiencing extreme sleep deprivation, including high blood pressure. Immediate rest is advised. Would you like me to call Mr. Stark?"
Nonononono. Tony was completely out of the loop on this, and he'd rather keep it that way.
"M'okay. Whers the baddies?"
"There appears to be a group of thugs attacking a woman on thirty-first street. The men are armed, although not very much so."
Peter managed enough time for the woman to run away, but he wasn't so lucky. He was webbing one of the guys up when he suddenly felt dizzy and lightheaded, a gray fog clouding his vision. He passed out just as a knife was stabbed into his shoulder.
Peter went back into consciousness with a dull throb in his arm and a man talking to him, scolding him, perhaps. He recognized that voice.
Oh, right. That man was Tony Stark and he had just simultaneously been stabbed and passed out. He pretended to be asleep again.
"Hey kid, I know you're awake." Tony chuckled and shifted his weight. Peter's eyes shot open and he started babbling excessively, trying to apologize.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Stark. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. When can I go-"
"You don't need to apologize. And you can go home just as soon as we discuss how you passed out from a wound that'll heal in a couple days, also while apparently getting no sleep for the last three days, and a minuscule amount for the last month."
Peter gulped. "Sorry, Mr. Stark, but there were people who needed saving so I slept less and then I couldn't sleep more and everything went downhill, basically."
Tony sighed. "Pete, just try to, let's say, not be like me? Just- don't follow any of my bad habits, that included. You're fifteen. You need your sleep, even if there is a mugging to stop."
"Okay." Peter rubbed his eyes. "Can I go home now?"
"Only if you promise to get a full seven hours a day."