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nothing will clean your filthy conscience

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The tower is the quietest it has been in several months. With most of its occupants no longer within its walls, Stark tower wasn’t what it once was. Only the Starks, Tony and Peter, remained. Steve Rogers was off hiding from the repercussions of the accords debacle alongside the team that supported him. Vision was on a “trip of self-discovery” after losing Wanda, Happy was off with Pepper somewhere along the west coast and Rhodey just couldn’t find the time to visit Tony and Peter as much as he used to.

It added to the paralyzing loneliness that the pair of Starks felt. Tony and Peter had been seemingly abandoned by their husband and father respectively. And while the younger claimed he hated Rogers and would never forgive the man, Tony knew her son was grieving. She knew because she was grieving too. She had loved Steve and given her whole life to the man, second to their son. Despite what should have been destiny to hate Captain Rogers based on her upbringing, she couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Having the love of your life betray you, for the benefit of a third party hurts enough. But adding the fact that Steve didn’t back down, for his wife’s sake or even for their son’s sake is what Tony and Peter felt the most.

Tony always knew Steve loved Peter, he’d be a fool not to. When they met, Peter was only two years old and glued to his mommy’s hip. He had been wary of Steve, mainly because he was a stranger, but also because he felt his own mother’s indifference to the man. If his mommy couldn’t trust something, then neither could he. But that never stopped Steve from trying. He tried charming his way into the two Starks’ tight circle and faster than anyone could have possibly imagined, he did just that.

In retrospect, Tony figures if Peter hadn't been a baby then Steve would have had a much harder time. But Peter was still carefree and loving to almost anyone he came across, almost dangerously trusting after his mother’s own doubt started to fade. Once Tony started to unravel and loosen herself around Steve, Peter couldn’t help but stick to the man like glue.

And that’s what did it. Seeing the man she hated throughout her childhood be so kind and loving to her son did something to her. She saw Steve Rogers for who he actually was instead of what her father told her who Captain America was. And with that, she fell faster and harder than she ever meant to.

They soon got married, because Tony and Steve both have great experience with the passage of time and know that not a moment should be wasted. Because Peter was so young, it was easy for him to accept that Steve was now a permanent force in his life. A permanent addition that would love, protect, and nurture him in ways unique but similar to the way his mommy had. It was easy to accept he had a daddy now, too.

Their family had its ups and downs, because what family doesn’t? But they loved each other, and that’s all that mattered. They always stuck together and Peter was taken care of. Tony knew that her husband loved her son, it would be impossible to deny it. She even selfishly depended on Steve’s love for Peter during their media-dubbed ‘Civil War.’ But it wasn’t enough. Steve was too far out for his cause to come back to his family. He refused to turn his back on his friend for his wife and their son. He left. That was probably her own fault too, now that Tony thinks back.

-

Peter stood at the breakfast bar with his palms flat upon the surface. He leaned forward, shifting his weight from the balls of his feet to the palms of his hands and the tips of his toes. He closed his eyes as he let out a sigh. Tony looked up at him and offered him a sad smile. Tony knew Peter wouldn’t be happy with the guests arriving at Stark tower; even furious when he’d learn that they were going to be staying for an extended period. Because of this, Tony relished in the moments that Peter wasn’t kicking and screaming. Tony knew her son’s reaction would be explosive and would affect her relationship with him, even if only for a moment before Peter would inevitably cool down.

“Alright, pumpkin?” Tony beamed at her son as she walked towards him. Peter’s face shifted into a small smile, finding comfort in the pet name.

“I’ll be fine,” Peter nodded, looking up at the older Stark, “We’ll be fine.”

“Just peachy,” Tony assured him, leaving a gentle kiss in the boy’s hair.

“Promise?” Peter asked, his voice small and on the verge of breaking as he looked up at his mother.

“Promise,” Tony replied, pulling Peter into her chest for a tight hug.

“Now,” The older began, “Eat something.”

Peter nodded and made his way to the food cupboard. Tony swallowed hard as she knew the time of her guests’ arrival quickly approached them.

It had taken Peter a long time to feel safe enough to even rest his eyes for longer than a few moments; only doing so if Tony was right by his side. Even now, Peter never slept for more than a couple hours at a time before waking Tony with his nightmares. Tony’s heart felt like it was being chipped at with each restless night her baby endured and almost broke entirely when she found herself accidentally waking Peter with nightmares of her own.

Tony was brought out of her thoughts when Peter emerged from the snack cupboard with a box Pop Tarts in his hands. Tony gave her son a disapproving glare as the boy took some. Peter smiled and tore into the foil wrapper before digging into his “breakfast.”

“We’re going out for a real lunch, then,” Tony wagered to which Peter nodded and took another bite. Peter stayed quiet, trying to keep down the pastry that was too sweet for him as Tony’s phone buzzed in her pocket. Upon inspection, Tony noticed it was FRIDAY silently notifying her of their guests’ arrival.

Tony froze at the message, watching as the popped notification faded from the lock screen. Tony slid her phone back into her pocket and decided to capitalize on the mere seconds she had before chaos.

“C’mere,” Tony said to the boy, who was dusting crumbs off the breakfast bar for the Roomba beneath them to collect. Peter silently buried his face into his mom’s chest and wrapped his arms around her midsection.

“I love you more than anything in this world,” Tony breathed into the boy’s hair, “And I’ll always protect you. I won’t let a damn thing happen you, alright?”

Peter nodded, his face still flush to the center Tony’s chest. The teen had yet to grow out of his ache for affection from his parents, particularly from Tony in the last few years. It was something even Steve had been indifferent to, accusing Tony of coddling the boy for way too long. The ‘overly-affectionate’ mother and son duo would just scowl at the man, insisting that a boy needs his mother’s love and that no one would take that from Peter.

Steve wasn’t the only one. Many people questioned Tony’s parenting style ever since she adopted Peter when he was just a few weeks old. The biggest issue was always the babying. But Tony didn’t care. Peter was her baby, he’d always be her baby. Peter was her heart walking outside of her body, the one person that taught her what love actually was. She’d happily hug and snuggle and kiss her boy even when he was old and grey, if she could. No matter how old he got, she’d never stop loving him. And after Tony’s childhood that lies on the opposite side of that parental affection spectrum, she’d never deny her son his need for physical touch.

“Boss,” FRIDAY interrupted, “They’re on their way up.”

Peter could sense the tone in FRIDAY’s voice. He pulled away from his mother’s grasp and looked up at her with confusion.

“Who?” Peter asked, noting that FRIDAY sounded like she’s never sounded before.

“About that,” Tony replied, looking away from Peter and towards the elevator, “I meant to tell you about this, but you’ve been so distressed lately.”

Peter still didn’t understand. His mom wasn’t making sense, and FRIDAY sounded… Well, if Peter didn’t know any better he’d say she almost sounded scared. Before Peter could ask anymore questions, the light on the elevator flashed, indicating the car’s arrival.

He turned to face the door of the elevators as they slowly slid open. The doors opened to reveal two faces he hadn’t seen in months; faces he had tried to forget. The faces made the teen’s blood boil within his veins; his fists bunched together tightly, his knuckles going white.

“Welcome back, Master Steve and Miss Maximoff,” FRIDAY rang.

“Hey Fri,” Wanda replied. Wanda’s hair was longer now, her bangs curling and falling over his eyes. Peter figured she must’ve tried changing up her look, she was a fugitive after all. She released the handle on her suitcase and let it sit on the ground beside her before looking up at Peter, the look of disgust was subtle but evident. Peter felt his heart swell and crawl into his throat.

“What’re you-” the boy breathed, “What the HELL are you two doing here?”

“Peter,” Steve said softly, setting his suitcase down, “Just breathe, bud.”

Peter looked at his father as if he were insane then quickly turned to look at his mom. Tony stood there, her eyes not leaving Wanda.

Tony had some regrets, but none really stuck like the ones she had towards how she treated Wanda. She convinced herself that she had done everything she had with good intentions and with Wanda’s best interest in mind. She never meant to hurt the younger woman, had even started seeing her as a younger sister or even daughter figure after she and Peter had started getting along so well. The two teenagers quickly became inseparable after meeting not long ago. Tony hadn’t seen Wanda in almost an entire year, the time in which her husband and his friends have been in hiding. Emotions that she could not decipher brewed in her gut as she continued to watch Wanda not pay her any mind.

“Mom,” Peter squawked, his voice getting lost in his throat. Peter’s heart was pounding in his throat, and it wasn’t until he became lightheaded did he realize what his father had told him before.

Taking a few deep breaths, he blocked Tony’s attempt to get a few steps closer to Wanda.

“No,” Peter said, sending a cold hard stare at his psuedo-sister.

“Peter,” Tony whispered, putting a hand on her son’s back, “It’s alright, baby.”

“No,” Peter repeated, putting his arm in front of his mom.

“Peter, no one’s going to hurt your mother,” Steve assured the younger Stark.

“Go to hell,” he spat, his breaths became erratic as he tried to greedily gasp for the air he felt wasn’t filling his lungs.

“Peter,” both of his parents gasped, clearly perturbed by the youngest’s behavior.

“You,” Peter began, looking between Wanda and Steve, “You two stay the hell away from us.”

Steve’s eyes softened as he saw his son before him, shaking with fear and hatred for him in his eyes. Peter’s wide brown eyes glistened with emotion and his voice shook as he continued,

“We don’t want you here,” Peter finished as he sniffled, holding his protective stance in front of Tony.

“Perfect,” Wanda exhaled, grabbing her suitcase as she turned to Steve, “Then can we get the hell out of here?”

“We’re staying at the tower with Peter and Tony,” Steve told Wanda sternly, “We talked about this.”

“The baby clearly doesn’t want us here, and I don’t want to be here either,” Wanda shrugged, “Sounds pretty simple to me.”

Tony looked away from Wanda and turned to Peter who was still trying to regulate his breathing.

“You’re alright, Pete,” Tony assured, putting a firm hand on Peter’s back, “Just breathe, bug.”

“No,” Peter straggles out almost as a whine as tears slipped from his eyes.

“No,” Peter shook his head, turning to Tony, “They can’t just come back here after what they did to us.”

“What WE did to YOU?” Wanda scoffed, dropping her bag and taking a firm step towards the younger boy, “You really believe you were the good guys, don’t you?”

“We weren’t defending a war criminal,” Peter spat, not backing away from Wanda’s advance, “We didn’t try to kill you.”

“Peter,” Tony warned, rubbing comforting circles onto her son’s back.

“You both had it coming,” Wanda spat, the words leaving a bad taste in her mouth.

“Okay,” Steve stood between them, giving them both a gentle push backwards and away from each other, “That’s enough.”

“Don’t you fucking touch me,” Peter shoved his father’s hand away, “You stay away from us.”

“Peter Benjamin Stark!” Steve gasped, “You watch how you talk to me. I am your father and I will not tolerate this—“

“You are NOT my father,” Peter wiped a stray tear from his cheek and shook his head with a scoff, “MY father never would’ve hurt us, betray us, leave us.”

“Peter,” Tony cooed, wrapping her hand on the boy’s bicep in an attempt to pull him away from the brewing confrontation, “Let’s go lie down, baby. You need to relax.”

“I will not relax,” Peter gasped, “I cannot relax when these homicidal traitors are in this tower. I can’t.”

“Petey, remember what I said,” Tony began with a soothing hand running up and down the shaking teen’s back, “I won’t let anything happen to you, right? I’d never let a single thing happen to you.”

“It’s not me they wanted dead,” Peter exhaled, his voice tight, “I don’t want them anywhere near you, momma.”

“Momma,” Wanda scoffed mockingly, “Grow up.”

“Steve,” Tony seethed, refusing to look her husband in the eye, “I will not tolerate my son being bullied in his own home. You either rein Wanda in, or you’ll need to go somewhere else.”

“Of course,” Steve sighed and turned to the young witch, “Wanda, Peter is my son. You may feel indifferent to my family, but I demand they be respected. You know he can be sensitive and—”

Wanda scoffs once more, shaking her head at Steve and turning to glare at the young Stark.

“Sensitive is surely an understatement. He’s 15, he needs to act like it.”

Unwilling to argue with that, Steve sighs once again and looks down at the floor.

“Unbelievable,” Tony shakes her head in disbelief at her husband, “For one second, I’d like to be able to depend on you, Steve.”

“Tony, I—” Steve looks up at his wife with an apologetic look, “Peter— he,”

“No,” Tony snaps, “He is my son. MY baby. I let you into his life to love him and to protect him, but I can’t even count on you to do that.”

“Now, hold on a second.” Steve began to argue, “I love our son just as much as you do, Tony. Don’t get that mistaken.”

“No, you don’t,” Peter spat, “You don’t love me even a fraction as much as mom does.”

“Peter,” Steve replied warningly, “Just because your mom and I aren’t at a good spot in our marriage doesn’t mean I love you any less. What’s happening between your mother and I will be mended and it doesn’t have anything to do with—”

“To do with me?” Peter scoffed, “You involved me when you turned your back on us. The both of us. You and mom aren’t going to mend shit. You left us. You cared more about your friends than you did your own family. You chose them over us. You chose Bucky over us.

Mom wouldn’t do that; not to you, and sure as hell not to me. Because she actually loves me. And sure, she loved you too. But you broke her heart. You lied to her. You betrayed her. You beat her to a pulp and left her in a dead suit to die…” Peter’s voice wavered as he took a step closer to Steve, who never broke eye contact from the teen.

“All alone,” Peter’s bottom lip began to lightly tremble at the thought, “In the cold, with no help. I had no idea where she was, where you ran off to. All I knew was that when I saw her again, she had her arc reactor split in half and your shield embedded into it.”

Peter began to walk even closer, causing Steve to step backwards in sync, wanting to leave a safe distance between himself and the furious boy.

“You tried to kill my mother. You left. You wanted me to be alone forever. That’s not love. I didn’t feel love from that. All I felt was regret. Regret for ever trusting you around her. Regret for thinking I could trust you to keep us safe. Regret for ever loving you. Because what you did,” Peter couldn’t keep the tears from spilling down his cheeks as he closed in on the man towering above him, finally letting go of how the whole situation made him feel.

Tony caught up to her son’s side, ready to intervene if the confrontation got too heated for her own comfort as Peter continued, “Honestly, it felt like you hated me. You took the avengers from me. You took the feeling of security I had from me. You took everything from me. And yet, you weren’t satisfied. You tried to take my mommy from me, too.”

“Baby,” Tony whispered, attempting to soothe the boy, “It’s okay. I’m here.”

Peter shook his head, tears continuously running down his cheeks.

“You took so much,” Peter forced out, feeling like the air was being pulled from his lungs way faster than he could replenish it, “I hate you.”

Steve’s look of concern quickly melted into a look of sadness and hurt at the boy’s mentions of hate; both as Steve’s feelings for Peter and vice versa. As emotional as Peter tended to be over the years, Peter had never said he hated anyone, especially neither of his parents. Hate was something that Tony and Steve tried to keep far away from Peter, far enough for the boy to never experience. Hate was ugly and corrosive, and it was far too dark for their boy to feel or to see, so hate wasn’t something the family took lightly. Peter understood that, he was a Stark-level genius after all. Peter also understood that everything he understood about hate was the closest thing he could think of to describe the way Steve’s actions made him feel.

“Peter,” Steve choked out, failing to keep his own emotions in check. It pained him so deeply to see how much his son was hurting. He never imagined that doing what he thought was the right thing, would mess with his family so much. “Pete, you know I could never hate you. That’s impossible. You’re my son and I love you and your mother very much.”

Peter said nothing, just looking up at his father with wide, angry eyes. The boy took another couple of steps closer, the two were so close that their chests briefly touched. Peter was fuming as he turned his head up to glare at the man as he bit out,

“Fuck. You.”

Steve was shocked, stood still with his mouth agape. He tried to think of something to say, anything. He tried to think of reprimanding the boy for his language, for the blatant disrespect. He tried to think of comforting his son who was so clearly hurting and scared, not only for his own feelings but for his own mother’s safety and well being. But, Steve couldn’t think of anything to say. He’d messed up. He’d messed up very badly. And if he had hurt the two people he loved this much, he deserved the boy’s wrath. If he had made his own son feel that his father hated him, that Steve wanted his own wife dead and for his son to be left an orphan, then he deserved every ounce of Peter’s fury.

“You both stay away from my mom,” Peter backed down, returning to his mother’s side and interlocking his hand with hers, “Or I swear to god, I’ll deal with you myself.”

Chapter Text

Attempting to catch his breath, Peter quickly scurried away to the elevator to take them up to the hallway in which their bedrooms reside. He hadn’t let go of his mother’s hand and was subsequently dragging her behind him.

 

“Peter,” Tony urged, “Just calm down, honey.”

 

Tony’s heart was swollen in her throat. She wasn’t sure what she expected, but she certainly didn’t want to cause her son this much pain. She strained to keep her voice from wavering and the tears from slipping.

 

“Baby, I —” Tony continued, “Peter, I’m so sorry.”

 

Peter didn’t stop until they were in his mother’s bedroom, he quickly slammed the door and locked it, “Friday, keep them off of our floor.”

 

“Certainly, Peter,” Friday replied, “Captain Rogers and Miss Maximoff do not have clearance to leave their designated floor.”

 

“Good,” Peter said, desperately looking around the room to think of what to do,

 

“Peter,” Tony sighed, looking at her son with a sad stare, “Peter, I—”

 

“Why,” Peter asked, finally looking at his mother, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“I,” Tony cried as the emotions become overbearing, causing her to choke on her breath as she breathed out a sob, “I don’t know. I’m so sorry.”

 

“Mom,” Peter whispered, his eyes softening at the sight of her, “Mom, please.”

 

“I didn’t want—” Tony took in a deep breath, trying to calm herself down, “I didn’t want to let them in here, you have to believe me. The last thing I wanted was to bring them back while you were still healing. I swear, I—”

 

“Mom,” Peter urged, putting a hand on his mother’s shoulder, “Take a breath.”

 

“I—” Tony whipped her head to turn away from Peter, unable to meet her son’s gaze.

 

“Momma,” Peter whined, desperate for his mother to calm down. He was angry at her, but now he was getting scared. He wanted to be angry at her but he knew that his mom never would hurt him intentionally. He loved his mother, but he knew she wasn’t perfect. He knew she wasn’t above making the odd mistake every now and then. Tony had always taught him to not treat people based on their mistakes, that everyone makes them and that mistakes are what makes people human. Peter knew it wouldn’t be fair to blame his mom on the argument that blew up in the common area, that she must’ve been just as frightened and hurt as he was.

 

“Mom,” Peter grabbed Tony’s shoulders and forced her to face him, “Please, it’s okay.”

 

Tony couldn’t even think about what she had done. She wanted to warn Peter, but she had almost no time to. She had found out they were coming just before Peter had woken up that morning. Relishing in seeing him sleep, his eyes not pinched in stress or fear like they so often are during the night. Silent tears fell from her eyes as she just laid beside her slumbering boy, gently brushing his curls out of his face. In that moment, she would rather die than allow Wanda and Steve return to the tower and intrude on Peter’s recovery from a life-changing event. But Fury hadn’t given her a choice, or even any time to make it easier on her son or herself.

 

“Stark,” Fury repeated, “I understand this may be difficult, but we need to keep them here. We’re bringing the team back in. Rogers and Maximoff need to remain hidden until we deal with Ross.”

 

“Why does that involve me?” Tony bit out, looking at her son curl up tighter in the blanket draped over him as he snuggles deeper into his mother’s pillows, “I don’t want them anywhere near Peter. As long as we’re here, you keep them far away from this tower.”

 

“Now,” Fury clicked his tongue, “You know this has to happen. The Earth needs to be protected and for that to happen, the Avengers must return. If you want to keep your family safe, this is what needs to be done.”

 

“All the family I have is Peter,” Tony snapped, not wanting to raise her voice and wake up the boy from the doorway.

 

Tony’s eyes met Peter’s, tears spilling down her cheeks. She gently reached up to cup his cheek, her thumb gently wiping the drying tear tracks under the boy’s eyes. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Tony sobbed, “I’m sorry, baby. I wish I could take all the pain away. I really do.”

 

“Momma,” Peter exhaled, tears continuing to slip from his eyes as he placed his own hand over his mother’s on his cheek, “It’s okay. We’re okay.”

 

Tony nodded, using her other hand to quickly wipe her own tears, “That’s right, Petey. We’re going to be fine. Let’s go.”

 

Tony unlatched herself from her son and turned to her wardrobe.

 

“Go?” Peter asked, “Go where?”

 

“Away from here,” Tony replied, “I couldn’t stop them from coming, that you have to believe. But they’ll stay here, you and I will go wherever you want, Peter. Just you and me.”

 

Peter stood silently, watching his mother pull out a suitcase from her closet. Tony quickly filled it with clothes, some from Peter’s long-abandoned bedroom and some of her own.

 

“We could go to the beach in California, or to Europe. Anywhere you want, we’ll go.”

 

Peter walked towards his mother, silently grabbing her wrist to stop her from continuing.

 

“Mom,” he whispered, “If we leave, we let them win. This is our home.”

 

“Peter,” Tony sighed, looking up at her son, “They have to stay here. You’re in no condition to be around them. What happened in there was terrible and I would rather die than see it happen again.”

 

“It’s not going to happen,” Peter replied, “Friday will keep them away from us. You and me will have each other.”

 

“Peter—” Tony sighed once more.

 

“This tower,” Peter began, “is OUR home. Yours. Mine. I’m not going to leave it because of them. There’s nowhere safer for us to be than here.”

 

“Honey, it’s not safe when they’re here.” Tony tried to level with the boy, “You won’t feel safe with them here; you won’t be comfortable. You just started sleeping better, baby. I don’t want them to ruin our progress.”

 

Peter was silent as he thought for a while. On one hand, he didn’t want to give Wanda and Steve the satisfaction of running him out of his mother’s tower. Alternatively, he also didn’t want to have to see them or have them be any type of threat to him or Tony.

 

As the man of the house, he felt it was his responsibility to protect the tower. But above all, he needed to protect his mom. 

 

Peter sighed and nodded, “Okay.”

 

Tony gave her son a sad smile and a quick tender kiss on his cheek, “Help me get our stuff together and we’ll get call Happy to get a jet ready.”

 

“Okay,” Peter nodded again, turning to gather more necessities.

 

“Can we go to Italy?” Peter asked, folding his mom’s old MIT Robotics team hoodie, “I want gelato.”

 

Tony chuckled as she gathered shoes in a separate suitcase, “Whatever you want, kiddo.”

 

Peter smiled and the two continued to pack.

 

“Friday, let Happy know we need a jet and a pilot to take us to Italy. Alert the staff at our villa and let them know we’ll be in by the end of the night.”

 

“Certainly, Boss,” Friday chirped.

 

“Are we gonna see nonna Lina?” Peter bounced with excitement.

 

Tony smiled at her boy and nodded, “yeah, I don’t see why not.”

 

Lina was a kind Russian woman that worked for Maria Stark back in the ’80s and '90s. She was in her late teens and was Tony’s nanny whenever the Stark’s found themselves at their Italian estate. Lina cared for Tony as if she were her own daughter, much more loving than Tony ever could have expected from a teenager that had no choice but to live-in full time for a snobby rich family that dumped their kid off with a nanny 4-6 months out of the year. 

 

Come Maria and Howard’s deaths, Lina had long been removed from their life as Tony had been able to look after herself, mostly, for many years. The two still kept in touch and Tony personally invited the kind blonde to her own high school graduation. With Lina still living in Italy, the two weren’t able to see each other very often; only when Tony desperately needed a pick-me-up and spent time at her mother’s old villa.

 

When Peter became an addition to her family, Tony couldn’t think of a better person to share the news with than dear Lina. As much as she loved her real mother, Tony couldn’t help but see Lina as the woman who kept her strong, who made her feel loved, and eventually helped her become the kind of mother she is today. Peter took kindly to Lina immediately, as the woman couldn’t help but shower the boy with affection not unlike she had done with Tony all those years before. Before Peter was old enough to fly to Italy (to Tony’s standards), Tony often brough Lina to them, allowing her to stay with the two for periods of time. Especially when Peter was still a newborn, Tony depended on Lina greatly. There wasn’t anyone outside of the obvious circle of Rhodey and Happy (and often Pepper), that Tony trusted around her child. But above all, Lina was the only one she trusted to truly take care of Peter the way Tony wanted her son to be raised.

 

Lina knew better than anyone else how deeply her childhood had affected her, how her upbringing had damaged her. It was Lina that held Tony as she screamed in agony after Howard had gotten particularly rough with her. It was Lina that coddled her after Tony was certain she’d have no choice but to cry herself to sleep because she missed Maria. It was Lina who helped her feel loved and protected in a world that tried its damndest to make Tony feel the opposite. It was also Lina that would rather die than see the little girl she loved as her own raise her son the same way she had been raised. So for that, Lina, once again, became a permanent addition to the Stark family. Not so much as a nanny.  Tony never wanted Peter to feel like she wasn’t there for him or didn’t want him. No matter how great Lina was, she wasn’t his mother and Peter needed his mother. 

 

So, for as long as Peter could remember, Lina was his nonna. The woman that raised his mother. The woman that loved him unconditionally, even though she hadn’t had any real reason to. To an outsider, she was just his mom’s old nanny from a lifetime ago. She wasn’t a Stark, not even friendly with Howard. She was just Lina. But that was more than enough for Tony and Peter. 

 

Peter always urged his mother to visit Lina, to fly her to New York, for them to meet her on a tropical island somewhere. Peter loved his nonna and missed her deeply whenever she wasn’t with them. They usually visited Lina for her birthday and Mother's day, some years for Christmas and New Year’s, and whenever Peter seemingly pestered his parents about it. It’s become more and more insistent since Lina’s parents died a few years back, Peter extremely saddened and uncomfortable at the thought of his nonna being alone with no one to take care of her the way she had selflessly done for the two Stark’s for so many years.

 

“We should’ve visited her sooner,” Tony sighed, the guilt rising in her gut, “She would’ve helped so much.”

 

Peter nodded sadly, zipping the final suitcase. “But it’s good that we’re going now. It’s not too late.”

 

“That’s right,” Tony smiled, pulling her son against her.

 

Peter closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, melting into the comfort of his mom’s embrace as he wrapped his arms around her neck and buried his face into her shoulder. Tony ran a comforting hand up and down Peter’s back, peppering light kisses to the crown of his head and down to his eyes.

 

Peter giggled at the sensation, pulling away from her tickling lips.

 

“Boss, I’d hate to interrupt,” Friday chimed in, “But you have a phone call coming in.”

 

“Ignore it, Fri,” Tony replied, confused as to why Friday would even mention a phone call when Tony clearly hasn’t been in the mood to speak to anyone in months.

 

“I’m afraid I won’t be able to for long,” Friday replied.

 

“What do you mean?” Tony squinted her eyes in confusion, looking up at Friday’s sensors in the ceiling.

 

“I’m afraid—” Friday began, but was cut off by static and then a dial tone.

 

“Stark,” The voice boomed, “What’s this I hear about you leaving the country.”

 

Tony sighed and scrubbed a hand over her tired face. This can’t be happening, she thought.

 

“I don’t recall telling you anything,” Tony snapped, silently attempting to usher Peter out of the room. But, the boy stood his ground, wanting to know who was speaking, and how they knew that he and his mother were leaving, and why it mattered to this person.

 

“You don’t have to tell me for me to find out,” The man replied, unimpressed, “We have high monitoring on your tower.”

 

“You—” Tony shook her head, continuing to try and guide Peter out of the room, “You are invading my privacy, I have the right mind to call the proper auth-”

 

“Authorities? You sure you want to do that?” The man said threateningly.

 

“Is that—” Peter began, “Fury?”

 

“Oh, the prodigal son speaks,” Fury replied.

 

“Fury, you leave us alone. I did everything you wanted. I let them back in, I held up my end of the deal. You promised to leave us be.” Tony seethed.

 

“Your end of the deal was to house them until this whole thing blows over, leaving them unattended isn’t exactly what we discussed when making our deal now was it?” 

 

“I’m not going to babysit Steve and Wanda. I don’t even want them here, forcing me to be around them is beyond what we talked about.”

 

“No, it isn’t,” Fury replied matter-of-factly, “I said the only place they were safe was with you, not at your tower. You were put on this assignment, not your staff. Rogers and Maximoff are under YOUR care and—”

 

“No,” Tony snapped, “The only one under my care is my son. Those two are adults that made their own decisions and should face the consequences. I will NOT have MY child suffer because THEY were careless.”

 

Peter latched onto his mother, both of his hands grasping for her’s.

 

“You can’t leave, Stark. It’s your assignment. If you want to make your own decision to forfeit your assignment, then you should be ready to face the consequences.”

 

Angry tears welled up in Tony’s eyes, her head shaking in disbelief at the entire situation.

 

“Why,” Tony choked on a sob, “Why are you doing this to my family?”

 

Fury sighed, either in annoyance or in sympathy, neither Stark could be sure.

 

“This is a difficult time for all of us. We all have to make sacrifices here.”

 

“Go to hell,” Tony scoffed, gesturing for Friday to end the call.

 

“Mom,” Peter said softly as his mother plopped down on her bed and held her head in her hands, her body shaking in anger and fear.

 

“I’m sorry,” Tony exhaled, her voice muffled, “I didn’t think— I didn’t think he would do this to us.”

 

“What deal was he talking about?” Peter asked, taking a step closer to his mom and resting a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to seize her shaking. 

 

Tony sighed, removing her face from her hands and looking up at Peter.

 

“He—” Tony sighed again, rubbing her tired eyes, “He made me agree to let Dad and Wanda back in exchange for… protection.”

 

“Protection?” Peter asked, swallowing the lump in his throat.

 

“Yeah,” Tony replied, running a comforting hand along his arm  that rested on her own shoulder, “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to keep you safe.”

 

“I know,” Peter nodded, his voice small, “Me too. I’ll always protect you, momma.”

 

“Oh, baby,” Tony sighed once more, reaching up to cup Peter’s cheek and rub her thumb across his cheekbone, “It’s not your job to protect me. You’re MY responsibility, not the other way around.”

 

“No,” Peter shook his head and plopped down on the bed beside her as tears rushed to his eyes, “I’m not losing you. I refuse.”

 

“Pete,” Tony smiled sadly at her hurting son, her hand still cupping his face, “I’m not going anywhere, lovebug. Wherever you go, I’ll always follow. You and me, the two of us, we’ll be fine… as long as we have each other. Okay?”

 

Peter nodded, wiping the tears from his eyes, “Yeah.”

 

“Come here,” Tony said softly, her hand gently cradling the back of Peter’s head and guiding him into a hug.

 

Peter, as always, jumped at the notion of affection and melted into his mother’s embrace. He buried his nose into the crook of her neck and breathed in her perfume. He was practically purring as Tony carded her fingers through the curls at the nape of his neck, lightly scratching up and down his scalp.

 

The two stayed like that for a while.

Chapter Text

I have almost no motivation to continue this story. It's clearly not done well if it's causing this much confusion, so it's almost pointless to even spell out the reveals I had planned. Me using the little free time I have on writing would probably be better off with the other works in this series, or the new one I have in it's early stages of planning. I hate to be that guy but posting this was already a gamble, to begin with since i'm such a rusty writer. 

 

I wanted the first criticisms to be motivating and for them to want me to improve my communication skills since it's something i struggle with greatly (although I'm sure you were well aware with that.

 

I shouldn't have even poked this as I did, I'm not even a mcu fan, just spider-man. If you're reading this now, then that means the work hasn't been deleted yet. If there's a chapter following this note, then that means I've gotten over it and continued the story.

 

Either is likely, one more than the other.

 

thanks for the support i did get. I wanted to continue just for that, but it's getting harder. 

 

if you think i'm overreacting, you're probably right. But it's my right as an author to choose whether or not I want to share my work with the world.

 

later

-punyparker