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you don't have to do this alone

Chapter Text

 

The Avengers compound was remarkably stunning, but it was too hard not to notice the lingering tension in the air. It was hard to breathe, almost as if a single sigh was to be heard you would have your throat slit with a kitchen knife. Overall the tension and the tight-lipped smile Tony was wearing made things even more uncomfortable, along with the lingering touch on his shoulder.

 

It all made Peter want to puke all of the breakfast Tony had bought him.

 

It was overwhelming. Just three hours ago Peter had been homeless, his back hurting tremendously from the warm summer sidewalk and the previous kicks he had received from strangers walking down the street, and now he was standing in the room Tony Stark had just given him along with the title of Tony Stark's personal intern. While his curls were dripping with water and the shirt Tony handed him hung off of his shoulder, his brows were furrowed.

 

He didn't remember the last three hours very well, or how he even got the Tony Stark's attention, all he does remember is how he was being ushered into the back seat of a car with a driver in front and now he was here.

 

While he had only been homeless for a few weeks, less than a month, he endured enough of the treatment he had been receiving. Though strangers already hate teenagers to the point the fresh-into-high-school-students were confused with the shit on the bottom of a business man's shoe, there was nothing more that they hated then homeless people. Peter had managed to be both of them, being treated even worse than Marty, a crackhead who once grabbed some random woman's shoe and chucked it at another person walking by. Marty had been homeless for nearly four years, making bad decisions day after day while Peter was only in the same situation for three weeks and was more beat than a boxer after a match.

 

Peter looked at himself in the mirror, grimacing at the growing bags under his eye and the huge bruise the went across half of his forehead. His sunken cheeks and his red-rimmed eyes and pale cheeks gave it away that he had been crying in the shower, sniffling nose and all. He looked tiny, sick, exhausted and sad, but there wasn't much else he could do about it.

 

The huge black long sleeve got caught in the doorway and he stumbled over the extra large Captain America themed pajama pants that pooled at his feet. He growled in frustration and bit his lip.

 

"Boss said he would like to see you in the common room to discuss some things," a voice said.

 

Peter winced at how loud the voice was, startled. He looked up to see who was there, eyebrow furrowing out of confusion when there was nobody there. He looked up at the ceiling, is that where the voice came from?

 

"My apologies, I am FRIDAY, Tony Stark's artificial intelligence," The voice, FRIDAY, spoke again. "I am everywhere within the building, minus bathrooms. Is there anything else I can tell you Mr...?"

 

"Parker?" Peter squeaked.

 

"Mr. Parker?"

 

"U-uh no. No thank you, FRIDAY. B-but can you show me to the-can you show me how to get to the common room?"

 

"Of course Mr. Parker." FRIDAY responded, light blue arrows lit up in front of his socks. He made a noise of approval and made a move to follow the arrows before he stopped, glancing at his backpack. He rushed forward, unzipping it quickly and sighed in relief when he saw the homemade Spider-Man suit tucked away safely, not a thread out of place.

 

Peter closed the-his bedroom door, hearing it lock behind him and he followed the light blue arrows. He was almost fascinated by how they dimmed when he stepped on them, but he knew it was childish. Still he slid his sock clad feet over the blue arrows, playing a little game along the way. He didn't even realize he was inside the common room until the last blue arrow disappeared under his foot and he ran into somebody's back.

 

The collision made him flinch, looking up abruptly and met a harsh gaze. The brown eyes were clouded with irritation and they ripped the younger boy apart.

 

Now that he noticed, there was even more people in the common room. There was the Avengers, along with people he didn't know the name of, a female and two males, and they were all staring at him. Sizing him up almost with judgemental eyes but they clouded over with realization, except for the man he bumped into.

 

Their conversation was paused when Peter came in, so all of their attention was ion him. He gulped and met Tony's grimace.

 

"Tony, who's this?" Captain-freaking-America asked, nodding his head toward the small boy. Tony hesitated.

 

"My personal intern."

 

"Since when did Tony Stark have personal interns?" Natasha criticized, playing with a random, tattered teddy bear. "Does Pepper know about this?"

 

"He's my only personal intern, Natasha." Tony scoffed, eyebrow raised.

 

"Does he have a name?" The other female asked, resembling a puppy as she looked at him. Her eyes sparked with red which made him gulp.

 

Tony hesitated before realization washed over him. "I never asked... Kid what's your name?"

 

"You never asked-" The man who had been glaring holes into Peter's face finally spoke, and finally looked away from him.

 

"Barnes, you're on very thin ice buddy."

 

"Alright!" Steve shouted, exhaling out of frustration. "What's your name kid?"

 

"P-Peter. Peter P-Parker." Peter stuttered, hearing a quiet snort from one of the men who haven't spoken yet. He felt tears prick his eyes and he frowned, avoiding everybody's gaze and looked down at the floor. Having went from a nobody to being the center of attention in the middle of the Avengers common room was a big change, bugs crawled under his skin.

 

"Where did you find him Tones?" Another man spoke, sparing a glance at the teenager. Tony looked at the ceiling and muttered something incoherent.

 

"What?" Bruce questioned, though remained relatively quiet.

 

"The sidewalk in front of the dollar store down the street."

 

Everybody sputtered in horror, looking over at Peter. He gulped and quickly wiped the tears from his eyes, making eye contact with Bruce. The older man didn't look at him in disgust, only curiosity and an idea that couldn't be named, almost as if he automatically knew.

 

"-Tony he could be a murderer!"

 

Ouch. 

 

"-He looks like he's twelve!"

 

Double ouch.

 

"Give me a break!" Tony shouted, silencing everybody in the common room. Steve sighed, running his hands over his face and Tony collapsed onto the couch beside Bruce and the woman Peter didn't know the name of. The tension from earlier came back full force, a few awkward coughs jabbed at its invisible presence.

 

"Kid, where are your parents?" Steve asked, resting a hand on his shoulder.

 

Peter flinched and shrugged Steve's hand off, shaking his head. He couldn't exactly tell them that they were buried six feet deep along with his aunt and uncle, they would pity him and he doesn't want that. Apparently his non-verbal response irritated Tony, which was most likely the last thing that you wanted to do.

 

"Okay, FRIDAY pull up everything you have on Peter Parker." Tony grunted and Peter panicked when the AI agreed to do so.

 

Suddenly bold words such as "MISSING" and "ORPHANED TWICE" came to life in front of him, pictures of his parents, uncle and aunt, and Skip Westcott-Steven Westcott- illuminated the room. His birthday, age, previous grades from school, his hometown, and a whole other list of things all about the young teenager. Peter's breath hitched, reading the articles of himself and his dead relatives, how he went missing shortly after watching his aunt "get stabbed so many times you would drown in her blood".

 

There were videos. Videos, patchy and missing frames, but videos. Videos of the day Aunt May died, which happened to happen in front of a usually busy street so of course people recorded it, but it made him sick to his stomach. Glitching Snapchat stories miraculously pulled into a minute long clip, displaying the exact moments after Aunt May's screams woke up a shit ton of people from their warm, cozy bedrooms.

 

Peter drowned in Aunt May's blood that night, just like he did with Uncle Ben's. It was thick, hidden underneath his fingernails and stained his pale, bony hands. It was continuous, flowing like a river and Peter never learned how to swim. He swore that he can still smell it sometimes, like it's still hidden underneath his overgrown nails or untamed, curly hair.

 

"Jesus kid..." The other man, Rhodey was his nickname, muttered and looked at the teenager.

 

Peter could hear Bruce's heartbeat beat quicker, the older man's mouth open in shock. Natasha read the information and Clint looked sympathetic. The woman he didn't know the name of stepped forward, a red mist curling around her skinny fingers.

 

"Wanda!" Natasha hissed, her gaze hard as she stared at the other woman. Wanda ignored her and Barnes' warning, stepping in front of him. Before he knew it, she placed her hand on his forehead and everything went black.

 

He could still hear the other people in the room, he could still twitch his fingers, so he didn't pass out. He was confused for a moment before his forehead began to feel warmer, sweat dotting his hairline.

 

Suddenly old, repressed memories came back to life and played out right in front of him. Memories that he didn't want to see, like Steven Westcott or Uncle Ben's dead body or hands, hands, hands, danced in his vision and he could remember every single little detail from when Steven Westcott unzipped his pants, rubbing his large hand up Peter's tiny arm to when Uncle Ben uttered his last words, blood staining Peter's eleven-year-old hands. Even recent memories came up, Aunt May's screams and her blood splattered on the asphalt and the nice lady who had bought him a churro two weeks ago.

 

The memories were gone just like that and he gasped, stumbling back into something. His eyes snapped open to find Wanda staring at him with wide, teary eyes and shaking hands. She reached out to him and he flinched because Skip didn't stop, Skip touched him whenever he wanted to and Skip always got what he wants-

 

"Peter, I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to." Wanda seemed hysterical, tears falling down her rosy cheeks. "I just wanted to understand..."

 

Peter's only response was a broken sob before he ran out, Tony's shout falling on deaf ears as he collapsed right outside of the common room. He coughed, scratching at his throat because he couldn't breathe and the salty tears dripped onto his chapped lips. He could still make out the conversation from the common room.

 

"What did you see, Wanda." Barnes asked.

 

"I-He's been through so much-" Wanda sounded horrified.

 

"Well his parents, aunt and uncle are six feet under right now and he's only what- fourteen?" A man said, and the only response Peter heard to that was a loud smack and a muffled "Clint!"

 

Peter just sobbed the rest of the day away.

 

Chapter Text

 

When Peter regained consciousness, his mind was hazy and his eyes felt extremely crusty, the dried tears in the corners of his fully-healed bruise. He glanced around and panicked because this was not his room. The bare, literally naked walls (minus a calendar, mirror, and a small polaroid picture) stared back at him, the cream color criticizing him. Random pairs of tattered pants decorated the floor, a unused, small bottle of cologne next to a lamp on the dresser beside the bed he was laying on. The sheets that had him tucked in smelt like green tea, mint gum and men's deodorant. Glancing at the polaroid picture again, he came to a realization that this was definitely not his room.

 

It was Bruce Banner's bedroom.

 

Peter squeaked, rolling out from underneath the sheets and stumbled when his feet touched the ground. His breath was coming in short, labored gasps as he patted himself down, checking for his shirt and his pants, concluding that they were in fact still on. He sighed and closed his eyes, resting a hand on his forehead and wondered how he ended up in the older man's room.

 

It's not like Peter would ever accuse Bruce Banner of something so serious, but he just couldn't trust it. Couldn't trust him.

 

His heart clenched at the painful flashbacks, large hands running down his back and three fingers shoved in his mouth. He remembers biting down on them, blood coating his baby teeth and his bottom lip as he screamed, cried, and begged. He remembers how Skip would whisper into his ear "I just want to play a different game for once, Petey." and how the older boy's spit dripped down and soaked the hem of Peter's boxers.

 

He wondered why he was remembering the memories he took so long to bury, so long to forget until the events from earlier came back full force.

 

Wanda looked at your memories and you freaked, crying like a baby you dummy.

 

Peter coughed, bile rising up his throat because Wanda knew. Not only did she know, but she saw. She saw all of the bad things Peter wanted to forget, pretend like they had never happened. He stumbled into the bathroom and puked, the lunch Tony bought him earlier made its appearance in the toilet. He gagged, sputtered and heaved into the toilet, his stomach clenching every single time. His throat burned and tears pricked his eyes, a string of saliva falling into the toilet that was still connected with his bottom lip.

 

"You've got to be kidding me," Peter whispered, wiping his sweaty hand on the Captain America themed pajama pants he was still wearing. He gagged again, bile rising up his throat and it burned. Spitting into the toilet and flushing it, he was tempted to ask FRIDAY what time it was when a soft knock sounded at the door and he froze. The door opened and a head popped in, loose black curls with grey strands atop of the head. Bruce Banner looked out of place in his own bathroom, stammering before murmuring something.

 

"Can I come in?" Bruce had murmured.

 

Peter wanted nothing more than to say no, but this wasn't even his room. He was puking into Bruce's toilet and he hadn't even said anything to him, though he doubted the scientist wanted to talk to a teenager with bile still climbing up his throat.

 

"O-Of course," Peter coughed. "This is-it's your bathroom."

 

Bruce walked in with a small plate of food in one hand, glasses in the other. He set them down beside the toothbrush on the counter, a small smile on his face.

 

Bruce was a kind man. Awkward, but kind.

 

"I didn't expect you to be awake yet..." Bruce trailed off, occupying himself with wetting a washcloth. Peter would said something but decided against it, fiddling with the string he triple-knotted to keep his pants from falling and rested his head on the cool rim of the toilet. He shook his head silently in response and bit his lip, unsure of what to do next. Would Bruce yell at him? Would Bruce hit him?

 

No, no Bruce wouldn't do that.

 

"I want to apologize for Wanda earlier," The older man stated after a moment of silence passed by painfully. "None of us thought that she would do that, even Sam and Steve gave her a mouth full on the harm she could have done. By the way, did she hurt you? In any way?"

 

Other than unlocking those memories of a man who raped me every single day when I was nine years old and showing me my Uncle's and Aunt's death all over again, no. She hadn't done anything.

 

"N-No. She uh-she didn't." Peter stammered, looking up at Bruce. His vision was blurry with tears and he hated it so much. He hated the fact that he was crying in front of one of the smartest men in the world, but he didn't think of it much longer before he gagged again.

 

Bruce smiled sadly, probably knowing that he was lying. He wiped Peter's forehead with the wet washcloth, cleaning off the bits of puke that made it's way onto the shirt Peter was wearing. Peter hated himself for flinching too, freezing in place and clenched his eyes shut. Bruce hesitated, slight confusion washed over his face but he waited for Peter's permission which only he received with a silent nod after a few moments.

 

After Bruce cleaned up as much as he could, he left the bathroom in search for a new shirt. Peter groaned and pushed himself onto his feet, legs shaking with exhaustion. He walked out of the bathroom slowly, finding the scientist rummaging through his closet.

 

The small plate of food was left forgotten on the bathroom counter.

 

Peter was contemplating whether or not he should run for it. At least when he was homeless nobody pried for answers, in fact, nobody cared enough to ask the questions. They left him alone, and that's what he wanted. To be alone, but he couldn't do that with Tony Stark giving him the job of a personal intern. While Bruce hasn't necessarily done anything wrong yet, Peter was scared beyond belief. The last person he trusted was murdered right in front of him, her last scream dying on the tip of her tongue as her eyes glazed over and lost their light. 

 

He didn't want to stick around long enough to trust Bruce, Tony, or any of the Avengers just to watch them die.

 

"I hope this is a better fit for you, Steve's shirts are big on me too." Bruce chuckled, holding a black cotton shirt in his hand. His outstretched arm made Peter nervous, but he calmed down slightly when he realized Bruce wasn't going to touch him. He grabbed the shirt a couple seconds later with a small smile on his face but it disappeared as quickly as it came.

 

"Should-Shouldn't you be with the other Avengers?" Peter asked, rubbing the pad of his thumb over the material of the shirt. Bruce laughed softly and shook his head.

 

"Tony's in his personal lab, Vision and Wanda are watching a movie, Sam, Steve, Bucky, Nat, and Clint are sparring. Thor's most likely asleep. Oh, and Rhodey got a call from Ross so he just left." He explained.

 

Peter must have looked confused because Bruce made an "oh" sound.

 

"Vision, Sam, Wanda and Bucky are like-they're basically the new Avengers?" Bruce attempted to explain. "I'm not too sure myself, Thor and I only came home about two weeks ago and they were here. I walk in my room and find some random dude asleep in my bed."

 

Peter nodded slowly but he still didn't understand. He doesn't hate Bruce for his lack of understanding either.

 

He couldn't hate Bruce, the man was the only one here who hasn't asked an invasive question or commented something negative. Bruce was nice.

 

The teenager came to a realization that he was beginning to trust Bruce, which he couldn't possibly do. Everybody that Peter had ever trusted either ended up dead or hurting him in more ways than one and he just couldn't go through that again. What if Bruce was just like Skip? What if Bruce was murdered because of him?

 

Peter couldn't go through it again. He couldn't scream until his throat was sore, he couldn't beg for it to stop as fat tears slid down his cheeks. Spit dancing down the small of his back, grunts of pleasure muffled by his hair, crescents dug into his arms as he was pinned down. He couldn't scream for help again, watching blood squirt out of the gunshot wound in Ben's body and May pretended he didn't exist for three weeks after. He can't do it.

 

"Hey Peter, why don't we watch a movie? Or we can join Tony in his lab." Bruce offered, his voice broke Peter out of his thoughts.

 

It's a trick, Peter!

 

"Can we-can we watch a movie? Please?" Peter shut his eyes to hide his tears and rubbed his hand up his other arm. Bruce smiled and asked FRIDAY to bring up Netflix. Peter sighed, only a sliver of tension disappeared from his shoulders as he eased onto Bruce's bed. He sat on the edge, biting his lips nervously.

 

By 3 am Peter had his head on Bruce's shoulder, the older man had his arm lazily slung around Peter's shoulder. The two slept quietly, peacefully, such a rarity for the duo.

 

Just them and the moon, nothing more.

 

Chapter Text

 

The cold September morning bit at the bottom of his feet, the stars disappearing one by one as the clock inches closer to 5:30 in the morning. The slight breeze sent goosebumps racing up his arms and his bottom lip wobbled slightly as he stared, the lingering nightmare finally releasing him from its tight grasp. Dried tears were painted on his cheeks, eyes red-rimmed and blank. 

 

Peter felt numb beyond belief, the cold air and overwhelming feelings left him with nothing but a heartbeat. He swore he hasn't felt this numb in years, pink-tinted cheeks and chapped lips felt so familiar along with the dried tears and thin air. It felt too close to home, but he didn't miss it. Didn't miss it at all.

 

He had a family back then, even when it was just him and May. Now he had nobody but himself, nobody to wipe his tears and whisper "It's going to be okay," because that's what he needed, reassurance and love and hope and something good for once in his damn life.

 

The clock inched closer to to sunrise, though the September air seemed colder than ever. He didn't want to move, didn't necessarily want to face the world today. But he has to, he doesn't get a choice.

 

Being a student and Spider-Man won't let you take a break because the crime never stops and neither does learning. 

 

Bullshit really.

 

Tony enrolled Peter in school, today would be the day he starts his first year of high school. New people, new bullies, bitchy teachers. He wasn't all that excited, the last time he went to school a boy named Derek Carter slammed his head into a locker and successfully knocked him out cold for seven hours straight. Waking up with a huge knot on the side of his forehead and an angry principal wasn't exactly how he wanted his last day of eighth grade to go. But that was months ago, he shouldn't hold grudges.

 

Yet he still does. He hold grudges like a bitch, he refuses to forgive and forget. He wishes that the men who killed Uncle Ben and Aunt May would be ripped apart limb by limb, their screams echoing down the walls of the alley but nobody coming to rescue them. He wished Steven Westcott would be ripped apart and humiliated, but he couldn't wish that fate on them. If that was what was meant to happen then it would have happened already, and he knows that it wouldn't make him feel better.

 

He still held a small grudge against Wanda, but he couldn't hate her. Peter only really hated one person and that was Steven Westcott, he definitely didn't hate Wanda. She was a kid, just like him and he knew she didn't mean to intrude. She just wanted to understand.

 

That didn't stop him from avoiding the Avenger though.

 

In fact he was avoiding all of them, except Bruce and sometimes Vision. Bruce reminded him of a teddy bear which was always comforting, randomly giving the older man a hug but never often. Though the touch made him tense, he trusted Bruce enough with that. And it's not like he could just avoid Vision because the android randomly phases through the wall in Peter's bedroom, scaring the shit out of him more often than not. Vision apologized each time, but over the past week he's done it more frequently.

 

The September sun peaked through the arms of the trees that was the backyard of the compound, tinting Peter's face a pretty shade of orange. He sighed, playing with the string of his hoodie and finally got off of the roof of the compound, muscles stiff from sitting in the same spot for two hours. He walked back inside, greeting FRIDAY with a soft good morning. 

 

The elevator took him down to the kitchen that was separated from the common room by a large hallway, but as soon as he stepped out it shrunk in size. His breath hitched, being released in an almost-growl as he stared.

 

Peter had been avoiding the other Avengers for a reason, he didn't want to see any of them. Especially not after their commentary on his appearance and how Tony showed everybody in that room who he was. But nothing ever goes his way now, does it? At the end of the hallway stood Wanda, the same red mist curling through her fingers as she stared back at him with regretful eyes. Her hands twitched and she took a step forward, Peter took two steps back. His plan was to go back into the elevator and leave as quickly as possible, but the doors were glued shut thanks to Wanda's magic.

 

"Peter..." Wanda spoke softly, sounding just like May and he hated that.

 

"What?" Peter snapped, whipping around to face her. "Are you gonna tap into my memory again? Try to fish for some more?"

 

She flinched and raised her hands in defense, glancing wearily at his hands that were curled into fists. She looked scared and he hated that even more. He hated playing the bad guy because that wasn't who he was, he was better than that.

 

Maybe forgiving her wouldn't be too bad.

 

"I'm sorry." Peter apologized and Wanda furrowed her eyebrows.

 

"For what? I should be the one who's sorry." Wanda replied.

 

"So you're not sorry for what you did?" Peter questioned.

 

"At the time no. I didn't see the harm in what I did." She stated, "But I know that's it was wrong of me. I'm uh-I don't use my words often and I should've. I'm sorry Peter, I really am."

 

Peter sighed heavily and contemplated her words. He already knew that she hadn't meant to from what Bruce had told him, but he just didn't want something like this to happen again. He looked back at her and he could see how genuine she was, how regretful she was of her previous actions.

 

She's playing you, Parker.

 

"Okay. I forgive you," Peter eventually said. "But please no more of the whole tapping into my memory and finding out my darkest secrets. Okay?"

 

"Okay." Wanda smiled and he smiled too. The weight on his shoulders got a little bit lighter and he stood up straighter than he did before.

 

"Do you wanna make breakfast? For the team?" Peter offered, "I'm craving some pancakes."

 

Wanda's smile grew brighter.

 


 

 

"Wanda flip the pancake! Flip it!" Peter shrieked, pushing the girl toward the other pan. She laughed loudly and flipped the slightly burnt pancake, shrugging her shoulders when Peter scowled at her. They've made at least fifty pancakes and omelettes since they started, pancake mountains and too much pepper sprinkled on the omelettes thanks to Wanda. The girl had managed to get pancake batter in her hair and pouted when she did so, whacking him on the head with a metal spatula which he shouted in protest.

 

"Peter stop distracting me!" Wanda gasped, throwing the salt shaker at him. Peter caught it with ease and set it back down on the counter, turning off the flame as he did so. 

 

She pouted.

 

"Ah! A feast!" Sam's mocking yell echoed throughout the kitchen, scaring the young duo. Wanda smacked her head on the cabinet and set the pan full of pancake batter flying, gasping in pain. Peter attempted to catch the pan and burned his hand, a string of curse words falling past his lips when the pan hit his big toe.

 

"Langua- Oh are you two alright?" Steve asked, looking at them.

 

"Yep, just fantastic!" Peter replied sarcastically and grabbed a towel to pick up the pan. Wanda giggled in response, pointing to the mountain of pancakes. Sam, Bucky, Natasha and Bruce filed in behind Steve, stealing from the pile and filled their plates sky high with the food Peter and Wanda made.

 

"Good morning Peter." Bruce greeted him, pulling a green colored mug from the cabinet above him. Peter smiled at the older man as he made them both cups of green tea. Natasha walked into the kitchen, silent as she poured herself a cup of coffee. Her eyes were heavy with exhaustion, purple bags underneath and her shoulders were slumped as she leaned against the fridge. She glared at him slightly and he gulped, turning away from her.

 

Bruce nudged his shoulder, "Wanda finally apologized?" He smiled when Peter nodded his head. Bruce handed him a steaming mug of green tea with another warm smile then left the large kitchen.

 

"So Peter," Steve started to say after he swallowed his food, "Tony said it's your first day of high school. Are you excited?"

 

Peter grimaced, "I enjoy learning, not the people."

 

He drank the rest of his tea, hearing Sam howl with laughter. He shook his head and said goodbye to the others, earning curt nods from Natasha and Steve. He skipped toward the elevator, feeling a lot better now that he had food in his system. He twirled into his room, shutting the door behind him in one swift movement and tripped over his old converse in the process.

 

He recovered and opened the door to his closet. The smell of new clothes filled his nose, price tags still hung from sleeves and hem of the pants Tony had bought it for him. White button-up shirts and black jeans, cotton long-sleeves to black slacks. Dress shoes, Converse, Nike and many more littered the shelves in the closet. 

 

The teenager thought it was all a bit much, but Tony insisted on buying him everything.

 

"Purple or black? White or blue? Why the heck do I have to choose anyway?" Peter grumbled and ripped a light purple hoodie off of a hanger.

 

"Mr. Parker, Tony insists that you leave in a few minutes." FRIDAY's voiced and he rolled his eyes.

 

"I'm not gonna be late." He muttered, shoving his toothbrush into his mouth. "And besides, I'd rather do other things."

 

"Receiving an education is important Mr. Parker." FRIDAY replied.

 

"Do you know why Natasha seemed so tired? She's not like that from what I've seen so far." Peter said and slipped on his shoes, spitting foam into the trash can by his unmade bed.

 

"Miss Romanov was in a meeting with the Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross. Mister Stark and Colonel Rhodes accompanied her."

 

He nodded his head and grabbed his backpack, swinging it over his shoulder. He walked out of his room, closing and locking it, making his way into the elevator. 

 

Leaving the compound quickly, he saw Happy Hogan waiting for him outside. The older man grumbled and unlocked the car, swiftly ignoring the teenager. Peter shrugged and stared out the window and waited patiently in the backseat. The traffic was hideous but it didn't bother him, he didn't even want to go to school. He wanted to go out as Spider-Man, fight criminals and help drunk people walk across the street. It sounded way more exciting than school.

 

Queens had been without Spider-Man longer than expected.

 

The expectations were set high, not only for Spider-Man but for Peter too.

 

Happy parked the car and looked back at him. He mustered up a smile and thanked him, getting out of the car. He faced his new school and watched as students piled in, greeting their friends on the stairs that fed into the school. Some people looked at him, a confused eyebrow or two and he sighed.

 

Midtown School of Science and Technology stared back at him.

 

"Here goes nothing." Peter said

Chapter Text

Patrol used to be cake work for Peter. You throw a few punches, kick out a couple of legs, web them up and you’re off to find another crime taking place. But now it was so much more complicated.

 

He crawled up the wall quietly, squinting at the trio that stood beside the white van. The backdoors were open, purple and blue light illuminated the men’s faces. They looked like run down criminals with too much on their plates and too many deadly weapons.


He heard them muttering about the different kinds of weapons, trying to negotiate a deal with the black man who shook his head nervously. He looked around, almost catching Peter’s eye.

 

Then his phone rang.

 

Peter’s eyes widened as he tried to shut off his phone, soft piano filling the air between him and those dealers. Bruce’s name popped up and he cursed, frantically hitting decline.

 

”Did you set this up?” One of the men asked, pulling a gun on the black man.

 

”Hey! If you’re gonna shoot anyone, shoot me!” Peter yelled, flipping down from his hiding spot. The man turned toward him.

 

”Okay.” 

The shot rang out and hit Peter in his abdomen. He cursed loudly and ran after the man who shot him, his web hitting the open van door. He panted and lost his footing, landing on his backside. The chase went on with the first guy trying to blast Peter sixty years into the future and his gunshot wound bleeding quite a lot. Eventually they lost him, hitting a brick mailbox.

 

“Crap!” Peter shouted, pulling himself up. He coughed and groaned, beginning to walk away when a soft purple light caught his attention. He grabbed it, analyzing it and put it into his pocket.

 

He swung home, exhaustion hitting him hard. He couldn’t fall asleep though, he’s pretty sure he lost a lot of blood. Peter landed on the side of the Avengers Tower, swiftly avoiding the cameras and staying in their blind spots. His climb was slow, panting slightly when he finally reach his unlocked bedroom window. Peter climbed upside down and looked inside, seeing nothing out of the ordinary and opened it. Crawling inside was more of a task then it should’ve been, but he managed. He slid the bedroom window closed with his foot and threw off his mask, gasping deeply and groaned at the pain of the wounds from earlier. He flipped onto the floor and turned towards his bed, ready to collapse and froze.

Vision stared at him like he had five heads, standing swiftly but he made no move to attack. He simply analyzed Peter, tilting his head to the side and just stared.

 

”You’re bleeding.” Vision stated, stepping toward Peter. He poked the gunshot wound.

 

Peter gasped and cursed, slapping Vision’s hand away. He took a step back and heard a knock on his door.

 

”What was that?!” Clint’s yell caused the duo to freeze in their spots, glancing at each other nervously.

 

”Uh-I’m jacking off?” Clint scurried away.

 

”Jacking of-“

 

”Vision what are you doing in my room!” Peter could strangle Vision right now, but the Avenger just held up his hand. Uno.

 

”But apparently Spider-Man is busy?” Vision said.

 

”What? I’m not Spider-Man?” Peter said, sliding out of the suit and kicking it underneath the bed. His wound was still bleeding and Vision gaped. He went to stand by the android when his bedroom door opened.

 

”Pete-Jesus what happened?” Natasha questioned, stepping further into the room and closing the door behind her. 

Peter turned to look at her, blood dripping onto the floor as Vision dropped the Uno cards. She glanced at his wound with a raised eyebrow.

 

”What happened?”

 

”Peter is Spider-Man.”

 

Peter could really strangle Vision right now.

 

”I knew that,” Natasha waved her hand, “Why’d you get shot? Vision get me something to clean and dress his wound.”

 

Vision nodded and left quickly, probably feeling useless in this situation. Peter bit his lip and looked at her, shrugging his shoulders. “Busted a deal, this guy was going to shoot the buyer and I jumped in between them.”

 

She pulled a face. “Why would he shoot the buyer?”

 

”He thought it was um- set up because Bruce called me.” Peter mumbled and Natasha laughed.

 

The teenager got extremely light-headed and nauseous, stumbling back into his bed. Natasha stopped laughing and steadied his shoulders, eventually pushing him to lay down completely.

 

”I swear if anybody finds me touching an almost-naked kid I’ll kill you, Parker.” She joked, running her hands through his hair.

 

Just like Aunt May would’ve done.

 

”I made sure to lock the door.” Vision said, making Peter jump.

 

”Careful spiderling, you’re hurting yourself even more.” Natasha started cleaning his wound, Peter yelling in discomfort and pain. Vision ended up shoving a pillow over Peter’s face to keep him quiet, which he realized was the wrong thing to do when he passed out.

 

”Oh.” Vision said and Natasha put her head in her hands.

 


 

 

Peter moaned out, a sharp, aching pain in his abdomen. He coughed and tried to sit up, feeling a calloused hand push him back down. His eyes flew open as he pleaded no, scooting away from Tony who stood shocked at his bedside. Peter relaxed slightly.

 

”Hey bud, relax okay?” Tony said, “You got mugged on your way home, Natasha helped you out.”

 

Peter inhaled sharply, remembering what happened before he lost consciousness. He looked around and saw Natasha and Bruce sitting on the floor, blankets surrounding them.

 

”Wha-What?” Peter choked out, “Mugged?”

 

”Yup. We’re glad Nat found you, said you were sitting beside a dumpster bleeding out without your clothes. If she hadn’t gotten you back to the tower you probably wouldn’t have made it. Just in time,” Bruce explained, looking over at her. “Apparently somebody didn’t have any plans on telling us. Only reason we found out was because Vision busted into the common room saying he murdered a kid.”

 

”Yup, no school for you kid for a while.” Natasha smiled, winking when Bruce and Tony weren’t looking.

 

Peter smiled back and fell back asleep with Tony on the other side of his too large of a bed.

 

Chapter Text

Dragging his feet was like pulling a heavy luggage case behind him, scraping boots against the asphalt. He hated it with a passion but his heart was in the gutter and his mind was gushing killer thoughts, he couldn’t bring himself to care. 

Rain danced down the strands of Peter’s hair. Soft, short breaths escaped his lips, feet dragging him to wherever they please. His umbrella lay forgotten in the comfort of his bedroom, hidden in the depths of his closet. Strangers watched from inside of cozy stores as he walked past, water slipping past his clothes.

 

Peter shivered at the biting cold, pinched his skin to keep the feeling in his fingers. His eyelids drooped down, half-lidded. Abandoned newspapers were glued to the ground from the pelting rain, trashcans filled halfway with water and cigarettes. He walked in the middle of the vacant road, fingers twitched at the scraping noise his shoes made against the asphalt.

 

A soaked polaroid picture was grasped by him, the ring he wore scratched the smiling face of a woman and man. They clung to each other with warm faces, unaware of what the future held for them. Peter’s heart ached and he sniffed, but continued walking.

 

October 14, 2013 was smudged at the bottom of the polaroid, May had grasped it too early after scribbling the date on it. Her fingerprint stained black around the year. Peter giggled and Ben shook his head fondly, a soft kiss landed on May’s hairline. They hugged Peter and sent him on his way to school, bright smiles on their faces.

 

Peter coughed and pushed open the gate, polaroid picture soaked wet to the point the date slipped off. Broken and bent flowers were clenched in his left hand, droplets of water fell from their petals as his feet carried him the rest of the way. His abdomen ached and his throat felt tight, sniffles here and there. He didn’t care.

 

At the sight of his destination, Peter stopped. He fell to his knees, skin splitting open at the contact. Water and blood stained the pants that covered his knees, mud in the mix. Peter sobbed slightly and reached a shaky hand forward, dropping the dead flowers were Ben’s name was.

 

The grave mocked him all but silently.

 

His breaths were the only thing heard through the cemetery, choked sobs abused his ears. Trembling fingers reached out, wiping the painted dust off the grave. Peter sobbed and leaned forward. He clenched his hair in his fists, curling in on himself and sobbed like there was no tomorrow.

 

Boots squished in the mud by the rows of graves, a pause before the steps continued. Peter knew it was Natasha Romanov, her steps would echo throughout his ears as she slipped past Clint’s room after she finished another three a.m. mission. Nobody could slip past unnoticed like her, Clint was a runner up. Her heartbeat pounded against her ribcage, a quick stutter in the soothing sound. Her inhales were controlled, she would breathe through her mouth when she wanted to be quieter. Natasha was there for a reason.

 

”It’s movie night,” Natasha said, “Wouldn’t want to watch Insidious without a certain spider gripping my side oh-so-subtly.”

 

Her voice barely made it past the harsh whips of the storm. He heard her though and he smiled sadly, “I’d rather not have nightmares Miss Romanov.”

 

”We all have nightmares Mister Parker,” Natasha muttered, “Even your idols.”

 

Peter scoffed. “What do they have to be scared of? They’re the Avengers, you’re an Avenger.”

 

Natasha was crouched next to him, staring at Ben Parker’s grave. The dead flowers were digging into the mud and the polaroid picture was still being scratched by the ring Peter wore. She cleared her throat without looking at him.

 

”Nobody’s been the same since New York.” She said. “Stark hides away in his lab to wave off another anxiety attack, Rogers keeps looking behind him to see when another threat stabs him in the back, Barton mutters unheard apologies for something Loki did to him. We’re all messed up here Peter. We can’t help it, but the least we can do is be here for each other.”

 

Silence washed over them, tension nowhere to be found. Natasha continued to crouch beside Peter as his tears slowed, the rain drowning out each breath. 

“I was thirteen.” Peter whispered and she turned to look at him quizzically.

 

”I ran out of the apartment, angry at May because she didn’t understand. It was another bad day. Ben came and found me, trying to convince me to just come home,” His voice cracked and Natasha looked away, “Some guy just shows up, demanding, yelling at us to give him our money while waving a gun in my face. Ben was trying to diffuse the situation and I just stood there. Frozen. I had my spider powers for only two weeks at the time and every hair on my arms stood. I couldn’t move and before I know it, Ben’s on the ground. The guy ran. And I-I fell to his side and begged. I begged for him to stay and I applied pressure to the gunshot wound. It was pitiful,”

 

”He told me to take care of May. His blood stained my fingers for weeks. I couldn’t scrub it from under my nails, couldn’t scrape the image from my mind. His eyes were blank and for the first time I didn’t have a clue what to do. I couldn’t beg, breathe, call May-Just sat there while Ben died and his blood spilled on the ground. It was cruel, Miss Romanov.” Peter looked at her with a quivering lip. “Why did that have to happen? It’s not fair. If Ben never died then everything would be okay. May wouldn’t have died and I would’ve been better.”

 

She sighed and wrapped her arm around his shoulder, “This is one of those things that nobody can fix. Your uncle chose to save you, he knew you have a purpose here.. If he hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t have lived. That mugger would’ve shot you instead.”

 

”But why?!” Peter shouted. He stood up abruptly and Natasha watched him silently, “Ben shouldn’t have followed me, if he hadn’t followed me he would be alive today!”

 

”But you would’ve been dead!” Natasha bit out, “You would be lying in that grave right there.”

 

”What’s the problem with that?” Peter whispered his question, the tears slipped down his porcelain cheeks. Natasha’s face faltered, her calm demeanor slipping away. The tears fell with the rain and the silence was interrupted by the harsh whips of it. Peter shook his head with a broken sob.

 

”Let’s go home,” Natasha murmured. She grabbed Peter’s cold hand and guided the way back to the compound. The walk was silent, hair drenched with water but it was pleasant.

 

Peter had always spent his bad days alone. May never understood and pushed him past his breaking point, wondering why he spent most days in his room. Bruce would give him a soft nod and leave steaming green tea on his bedside, never coming back until Peter invited him in again. But Natasha was her guiding him home because he couldn’t see past the storm. And for that he was thankful.

 

FRIDAY greeted them as they stepped into the compound, only receiving a small hello from Natasha. Peter didn’t respond, fingers lazily tangled with hers as he stared. He was having trouble ground himself but he would squeeze her hand every now and then to let her know he wasn’t launching into another episode.

 

Water trickled down his spine and he sniffed, red-rimmed eyes glazed over. The elevator dinged and Natasha tugged softly, dragging him behind her. He still dragged his feet.

 

Natasha stopped for a moment, Bruce outside of Peter’s door. He had a mint green mug in his hand and glasses in the other, navy blue long-sleeve created sweater-paws on the man. His face fell at the sight of a disheveled Peter but Natasha just put a finger to her lips and the smile came back onto his face.

 

The trio entered Peter’s room silently. Bruce set down the mug full of green tea on Peter’s bedside, Natasha rummaging through his drawers for something warm. A soft pair of burgundy sweatpants and a black long-sleeve.  She also got a towel and started wiping off the water from his face and hair.

 

Peter sniffed and allowed Natasha to help him. He knew the trained assassin never did this, moments like these were hidden for Clint and probably Clint only, so the least he could do was just let her do her thing. She  slipped him out of his soaking wet jacket and dried him off with the towel. Peter dressed in the clothes she found and slumped onto the bed beside Bruce.

 

”Aladdin or Mulan?” Bruce questioned and Peter pointed toward Aladdin. Natasha slipped out of the room only to return a few minutes later, dressed in a purple sweatshirt and grey sweatpants. She threw herself onto the bed and startled Bruce, laughing softly.

 

Peter smiled with his head resting on Bruce’s shoulder. Natasha might be the scariest woman on Earth but she was too much like a teenager behind closed doors. She kept throwing a blanket over Peter’s face to block his eyesight to which he’d protest, even though he’s seen this movie more than eight dozen times. She’d pinch Bruce’s neck and point at Peter, stifling a laugh and mocked Princess Jasmine when she yelled at Jafar. Moments like these were weird but they’re becoming the new normal.

 

”Mister Stark asked me to check on you, Bruce.” Vision said.

 

Peter shrieked in surprise, Bruce cursed loudly. Natasha smirked at the android and gave him a cheeky wave. Bruce nodded his head when he calmed his breathing, green fading from the vein in his neck. Peter shooed Vision out of his room and sighed.

 

The trio continued on as if it never happened, only speaking when Bruce shut off the TV. It was well past dinner time at that point, the cool air from Peter’s open window spilled into the room. Bruce shivered slightly.

 

”You know we’ll always be there for you, маленький паук.” Natasha said. She glanced at Peter and made a spider motion with her hands. He smiled softly and nodded his head, giving Bruce a side hug before shoving the man out of the room.

 

Peter jumped onto his bed and rolled next to her. They lay beside each other quietly, shivers running down his spine. Finally he spoke up.

 

”You didn’t have to.” 

“That’s what family does and I’ll be dammed if I let my  маленький паук suffer anymore by himself. We’re in this together kid.” Natasha punched his shoulder lightly and he smiled.

 

Peter grabbed her hand and smiled softly. Maybe this dysfunctional family would become the new normal, bitchy remarks but kind hearts and sarcastic quips would be the new normal. Maybe they’d be his new support system and his new family, new home. Or they’d be his worst nightmare, but he was praying for the former.

 

And damn him, he’ll get that without having to ask.

Chapter Text

Red numbers glowed in the dark room, a blurry 3:06 A.M. and a cup of water sat beside it. Peter blinked and shoved his face back into his pillow. He breathed away the last lingering moments of his nightmare, coughing wetly into his pillow. 

The thin blanket never kept him warm. It was more of a remembrance of sorts, but he shrugged it off in a hurry. He sat up and ignored the pounding headache that he had. His bare feet touched the hardwood floors of his room, cold to the touch. Peter shivered and slipped into the bathroom. It’s bright lights blinded him for a few minutes, groaning when his headache got worse.

 

Sleep wasn’t something that came easily to him anymore so he splashed his face with cold water. His eyelashes clung to each other as he gazed at himself, running his fingers along his jawline. He was slowly gaining weight and he had a bit more color to his face, but it still wasn’t normal. His eyes were still dead. They weren’t a soft brown anymore, and they hadn’t been for a while. Cold and dark, and he hated it. Blinking the tears away he began to brush his teeth until his gums bled, spitting the now red foam into the porcelain sink.

 

Peter sluggishly dragged back into his room, opening his drawers for a fresh set of clothes. Sleep was a no-go, a shower was the best thing he could do as of now. 

 

”Good morning Mr. Parker, it’s currently 3:17 A.M. and you no longer seem to be in distress. Would you still like me to contact Sir?” FRIDAY was almost speaking softly, but he shook his head and muttered a no. She agreed and disappeared, leaving him with his thoughts. He sighed.

 

Clothes on the counter and the shower heating up, Peter pulled off his shirt. The gunshot wound was a fading scar-it would be gone by the afternoon. His fingers ghosted it and he pulled his hand away almost like it burned. He shook his head, overgrown curls falling over his eyes and he searched the cabinets for some shampoo and conditioner.

 

When Peter stepped into the shower he wanted to melt under the hot water. It was boiling and his skin turned red, but it was comforting. The bottles of shampoo and conditioner smelled like shea butter and peppermint, something Wanda might use. Not Pepper or May, they would use something that smelled like apples or roses or eucalyptus. Peter worked it into his roots anyway and scrubbed his body with a white washcloth, water running down his figure and into the drain. When turned the water temperature and ducked his head under the shower head to rinse his hair, the nightmare from earlier flashed in his mind.

 

It was still fuzzy, almost like it was a misplaced dream. All he could remember was the feeling of being trapped, like he couldn’t breathe and seeing his reflection in a puddle of muddy water. But it wasn’t a memory, he couldn’t remember it even if it was. His throat still felt scratchy as if he had actually inhaled all the dust floating around him, but everything after dark. Like open ground, a playing field. Choose your moves.

 

Peter thought himself into a coughing fit and shut off the shower with trembling fingers, chest aching. His hair dripped wet and he shrugged on his clothes, shivering at the cold. He sighed at his short sleeve shirt. Maybe he could go bother Wanda or Bruce? Maybe Tony was working late in his lab? But he didn’t wanna bother either of them, so he slipped back into his room. 

“Hey FRIDAY?”

 

”Yes Mr. Parker?” 

“I can access the kitchen whenever, right?” Peter glanced at the clock, 4:28 A.M. “I wanna make something.”

 

”You can access everything the Avengers can, Mr. Parker.” FRIDAY informed him.

 

”Cool.” Peter murmured. He slipped out of his room, bare feet never making a noise on the cold floor. Water droplets dripped down the bridge of his nose and onto his lips. His fingertips ran across the smooth walls of the hallway, swiftly stepping into the elevator.

 

Peter’s never been so thankful for Mr. Stark’s technology, FRIDAY bringing him up to the kitchen in silence other than a sniffle from him. He shook his head like a wet dog and stopped abruptly, holding his breath. A chair squeaked quietly and footsteps padded through the kitchen, fridge door opening. Peter poked his head through the doorway and almost stumbled in surprise. 

Bucky continued to rummage through the fridge almost silently, eyes flickering back and forth between items. He threw a packet of meat and mustard on the counter, closing the fridge after. He faltered when he saw Peter. His eyes were squinted and his hair pulled back into a sloppy bun, a tattered tank top paired with grey sweatpants. Bucky pursed his lips, “What are you doing up?”

 

Peter avoided his eyes, “I got hungry.”

 

”And decided to take a hour long shower? Not buying it kid,” Bucky pulled a loaf of white bread out of the pantry. “I could hear your thoughts from here.”

 

He bit his lip and sat down on a stool. Bucky made him a plain sandwich, sliding a plate across the marble countertop silently. “Thank you, and it’s not like I’m lying. Genuinely hungry, yknow? I am a teen-“

 

”Do you know what the hell a whisper is? You’ll wake up the whole country talking that loud.” Bucky huffed, sitting down beside him. Peter closed his mouth and poked his sandwich, slightly embarrassed that Bucky called him out like that.

 

”Jeez, can you stop with the puppy-look? You’re acting like I just kicked you,” Bucky chuckled softly to himself, “Remind me of Steve.”

 

Peter furrowed his brow, “Mr. Rogers? How? He’s so strong and I’m like... not strong at all,”

 

”Before the serum.”

 

”Oh? I heard he had terrible health before the serum in my biology class last year, it basically cured all of his problems and then he like, used it for good. With the War and the Avengers, yeah. All the girls would drool all on their worksheets over him and the boys just looked uncomfortable. It was fun.” Peter rambled.

 

Bucky blinked and took another bite of his sandwich. The two settled into silence and ate their sandwiches, Peter muttering a small thanks when he had finished. The clock in the kitchen ticked with each passing second and Bucky and Peter would make awkward eye contact every ten minutes. They sat quietly after that until the sun seeped through the windows, faces illuminated a soft orange. Peter’s hair was dry now, slightly tangled atop his head but he still sniffed as if it were wet. He wrung his hands and kept tapping on the countertop, Bucky shooting him a sharp look. They settled after.

Bucky sighed and turned to Peter, “Do you wanna get donuts?”

 

It was Peter’s turn to blink, surprise etched into the arch of his eyebrow. He nodded after a moment and Bucky sighed, pulling the rubber band out his hair with his metal arm. It looked pretty under the sunrise, the red star standing out. Bucky glared and turned, “Be ready in ten.”

 

Peter nodded grimly.

 



Leaves crunched under their shoes, Bucky’s combat boots and Peter’s white converse. They walked quietly as autumn wiped the trees of their leaves. Bucky has his hands deep in his jacket pocket, looking straight out of a teenage angsty movie dressed in all black. Peter looked like his opposite, dressed in a navy blue sweater thrown over a plaid, collared button up. It was odd watching them walk down the sidewalk and they indeed got quite a few stares from early morning joggers, the clock barely ticking past 6:00 A.M.

 

”Hey Bucky?”

 

”Yes.”

 

”What’s your favorite from the donut shop?”

 

”Glazed.” 

 

“Mine’s maple.”

 

”Okay.”

 

”Do you know what Steve’s favorite is?”

 

”Yes.”

 

”Can you tell me what it is?”

 

”No.”

 

”Okay, maybe we can get him a donut.”

 

”Okay.”

 

”Do yo-“

 

”Peter?”

 

”Yeah Bucky?”

 

”Shut up, please.”

 

”Okay.”

 

Bucky held open the door to the donut shop and they made their way inside. The line was nonexistent and the soft pink walls contrasted from their outfits, a terrible difference. Donuts decorated with crazy things like bacon or cheetos stared back at them, the weirdest thing you could possibly see. Peter shifted on his heels, rocking back and forth until a worker hopped over cheerily. A sharp pain shot up his neck and he grimaced, earning a concerned/crazy look from Bucky. He laughed nervously and grabbed at the aching pain, tangling his fingers in his hair and pulling to distract himself.

 

”Good morning sirs! Would you like to try some of our best sellers?” His name-tag has the name Ethan printed in italics, a hot pink hot on the top of his head. His smile was too tight and his gaze lingered for too long.

 

Bucky noticed the way Ethan was looking at Peter and shot him a glare. He looked at the menu briefly before answering, “Two glazed, three maples and three strawberry frosted.”

 

Ethan’s smile dropped from his face, looking Bucky up and down. He then looked at Peter, smile creeping back onto his face. “That’ll be $23.67, will that be all?”

 

”Yes, that’ll be all.” Bucky clenched his jaw and slapped the money down onto the counter that separated them. It cracked sickly under the weight of his hidden metal arm, Ethan faltering in his step before grabbing their donuts. Peter didn’t like this Ethan guy and neither did Bucky, so he wanted to book it as soon as they could. He was basically sweating through his clothes, sweat dotting his hairline as he looked at Bucky.

 

”Have a good day.” Ethan smiled, waving curtly. Bucky wrapped his arm around Peter’s shoulder and guided them out the shop, pace quicker than most. Their strides were long until they made it by a local park, Bucky finally removing his arm from his shoulder. A few more people were out and about now, taking their dogs on walks or driving to work. A bark sounded to their left and Peter sighed.

 

”Let’s avoid donut shops.” 

Peter nodded quickly. They walled through the park, a fast shortcut back to the compound where the rest of the Avengers were still sleeping, minus Steve and probably Sam. A Rottweiler ended up approaching them, tail hitting Bucky hard in his shin even though it didn’t affect him. Peter laughed brightly when the dog licked his neck, it’s movements were frantic to give him as many kisses as possible. Bucky had a faint smile on his face but it slipped off his face as quickly as it came, but he still pet the dog with his regular hand. They bid their goodbyes to the dog and it’s owner, a smile on Peter’s face. 

 

The teenager protested when Bucky refused to give him his maple doughnut, claiming that the only thing you’d be able to taste is dog hair, and Peter’s never pouted so hard in his life. Eventually the two ended up in the elevator, FRIDAY greeting them and taking them to the common room where everybody was. When the doors opened, tension filled the air and movements were stiff. For the second time that morning, Peter’s spider sense went off.

 

Bucky and Peter walked right into a heated argument, Tony’s face tinted red and Bruce nowhere to be seen. Steve looked troubled and Natasha just looked tired, though the other Avengers were arguing with a white haired man. He stood tall with two brunette bodyguards by his side, they were no more than 205 pounds. Peter’s spider sense went haywire at the sight of the white haired man who turned to look at him. His gaze was calculating.

 

”Mr. Stark, who’s this?” His voice was hard and gritty, almost as if it were sent threw a cheese grater. Everybody visibly tensed when the man gestured to Peter, Tony clearing his throat. 

“Just another intern Ross, uh Mr. Barnes could you please take him back downstairs? I have no idea how he got up here-“

 

”Exactly.” The man, Ross, quipped. “If he were another intern than how did he get up here? Your facility is supposed to be one of the most secure places in the world-“

 

”Bucky brought him up, so that’s how he got up here. Right Bucky?” Wanda spoke, brows disappearing into her hairline. A warning to them, basically.

 

”Yes.“ Bucky responded, arms pulled behind his back. Peter swallowed when Ross scoffed. The white haired man stepped closer to them and Bucky tensed like never before. 

Ross looked Peter up and down, squatting down like he was speaking to a child. The pounding at the base of Peter’s neck turned into a sickening pain, sweat dotting his hairline and down his neck. The hairs on his arm stood and he attempted to swallow down the lump in his throat. The pain was unbearable though. It hurt and this man was obviously a threat, but he couldn’t act on anything. He was just Peter Parker. Tony Stark’s personal intern. 


“What’s your name, boy.” Ross said, eyes squinted as he watched. Peter studied him and could almost immediately tell he was a shitty at reading people, his eyes flickering down to the teen’s thin lips.

 

Peter decided to lie, “Josh.”

 

Peter could hear the pounding heartbeats of the Avengers, their eyes could burn holes through his middle if it were possible. They were beyond nervous, and he didn’t blame them. Ross smiled sickly, “You must be really smart to be an intern at Stark Industries. Real young if I must mention.”

 

A bead of sweat trailed into his brow, “Yep. Start them young.”

 

”Keep up the good work, Josh.” Ross smiled and left swiftly after that, his two bodyguards stomping heavily behind the man. Nobody moved even after the elevator closed shut. Peter finally let out a breath when the pain subsided, stumbling into Bucky. His headache was terrible and now Wanda was asking questions, too many for his spinning head. His hands shook and he was too sweaty, he simply wanted out.

“маленький паук.“ Natasha spoke over everybody, her voice hard. “Let’s go.”

 

She grabbed his hand after a moment and guided him out of the common room, snapping at Tony to zip it and park it. Peter followed behind her, muttering about the lights and noise. They entered a dark room where there were random tables, a hard chair Peter was pushed into. 

The lights turned on but they were dim. Natasha kneeled in front of him, tapping the center of his forehead to get his attention. Vision phased through the wall almost immediately after, squatting beside the ex-assassin. 

 

“Talk to me, маленький паук.” 

“My spider-sense, it wouldn’t stop going off and the pain got too much. When Ross stepped closer I almost couldn’t handle it,” Peter spoke and closed his eyes tightly. 

Vision glanced at Natasha, a look of what could be mistaken for confusion or sympathy, it was hard to tell. “Your sixth sense caused you this pain?”

 

”When I ignore it, it just progressively gets worse. But it’s never been that bad before,” Peter sighed, “I think I’m okay now.”

 

”Are you sure? Anything we can get you to help?” Natasha looked like a mother hen worrying over Peter so much he could of laughed. Vision even cracked a smile but hid it when she glared at him. Peter perked up with a smile.

 

”Bucky bought donuts, can you get me the maple ones?”


Natasha chuckled, “I’ll get you your donuts.”

 

Chapter Text

After a long day of school, Peter couldn’t be more drained. His schedule got changed at random so he no longer had regular classes, they’re all AP except physical education of course. It’s not like the work was hard, it was meeting new people again. Luckily for him he met Ned and Michelle, who hung out with him at lunch. Mr. Oliver chewed him out for not having his worksheets despite the regular schedule change, and overall he just wanted to go on patrol and get rid of all of this stress.

 

Homecoming week was in two weeks, and the dance was the day before Halloween. Somebody he didn’t know had already asked him if he wanted to go, but the girl got frustrated when Peter stuttered over his words and she changed her mind.

Peter sighed heavily and walked down the stairs with the other eager students, ready to go home and take their “well deserved” naps. He dragged his feet behind him, stopping at his locker. A simple combination later he was shoving his new AP textbooks into his locker and shut it before they could fall out. Peter then readjusted his backpack and slipped out the school’s front doors.

 

The sidewalks outside of Midtown were crowded with his classmates, piling into cars or conversing with their friends. Peter weaved his way through the crowds, grimacing at the shoulder bumps and harsh glares he got. He caught Ned’s eyes while walking down the steps. Ned waved him over with a bright smile on his face, Michelle acknowledging him with a nod.

 

”Hey Peter!” Ned exclaimed, waving furiously until Peter stepped in front of him. He smiled shyly.

 

”Hi Ned, hi Michelle.” Peter replied. He clutched the strap of his backpack tighter in his hand, looking around him nervously.

 

”Any plans later?” Ned asked, “There’s a party tomorrow night at Flash’s place and the whole Academic Decathlon team is invited. Wanna come with MJ and I?”

 

Peter furrowed his brow, “But I’m not on the Academic Decathlon team? And who’s MJ?”

 

Michelle did a small salute at the nickname, sliding her notebook into her bag. “You might as well be on the Academic Decathlon team. Could replace Flash even.”

 

”Yes! Dude you should totally join Academic Decathlon! All you have to do is take a test to get in, then boom! Dude Liz would totally let you on the team, we need all the help we can get with Nationals coming up at the end of next week.” Ned said, “Would you think about it?”

 

He laughed nervously, “I don’t really know, I mean I’d have to ask my uh- parent. Yeah I’m not sure. But I’ll let you know?”

 

“Yeah okay! Wait we should exchange numbers so we can contact each other often. Become best friends, all that high school dreamy stuff.” Ned rambled, pulling his phone out of his pocket. The case was a navy blue with a red spider engraved on it’s center, which made Peter giggle. Michelle’s phone case was simple, clear. It fit her surprisingly well.

 

They exchanged phone numbers and Peter bid his goodbyes, watching them step onto the bus. He pursed his lips, glancing all around him. The stairs were vacant other than two students who sat texting their friends, cars no longer parked on the side of the road. Peter took this as his chance and ran, dodging street signs and ducked into an alley by the school. He slipped on his mask first, his hair falling slightly into his eyes but it wasn’t distracting. The web shooters felt light on his wrist like a hair band would and his toes wiggled inside the suit. Peter sighed from contentment, jumping up to scale the building beside him.

 

A bird squawked at the sight of him, flying away rapidly and he laughed. He looked down at the streets and ignored the rumble in his stomach, watching as a man cut through a bike chain. The man took off on the bike, pushing a woman over.

 

”Bingo!” Peter shouted, jumping off the roof of the building and diving. He shot out a web and landed in front of the man who skidded to a stop with a curse.

 

”Do you mind holding this for me?” He said, attaching the web to the man’s coat with a soft thwip. The man yelled, cursing him out while Peter grabbed the bike before it could fall over.

 

”Hey is this anybody’s bike? Hey hey-do you have a pen?”

 

After writing a note for the bike’s actual owner and placing it on the side of the shop, he took off again. Peter pet a few dogs and helped an old Dominican lady with her groceries, the same woman who bought him a churro almost a month ago. She bought him a churro again which he happily ate while sitting on the top of a subway train, afternoon sun warming him up in his suit.

 

He texted Ned and Michelle, confirming that it was in fact their numbers. Ned ended up spamming his phone while Michelle replied with a simple ‘Hi’. Nothing more, nothing less. Peter didn’t expect much from her, but it was still nice they actually acknowledged his existence. He then heard a loud scream to his right, startling him to the point he almost dropped his phone on the tracks. 

Peter swung over there in record speed, landing on the side of a building in silence. Five men surrounded a homeless woman who had tears streaming down her dirt caked face. Her mouth was covered by one of the men who said something disgusting to her, to which she cried out and struggled against the arm that ran up her side. Peter dropped down onto the man who held the woman, deciding to call him Creep #1, and wrapped his arms around the mans neck.

 

Creep #1 shouted in surprise, getting thrown to the ground by Peter who punched Creep #2 to the ground. He didn’t get back up. Maybe Peter wasn’t thinking straight and wasn’t pulling his punches, but the sight of Creep #1’s hand running up that woman’s side had him fuming. The first creep swung and missed, Peter effectively kicking out his legs. Creep #3 and #4 shot at him with hand guns, which he barely dodged and tumbled into Creep #1. 


Peter felt his head hit the asphalt harshly, a sickening thud that left his vision swimming. Movements blurred before him. A figure landed on top of him, punching him square in the nose one after another. Thick, hot blood dripped down his pale face and coated his teeth, metallic on his tongue. The first creep smiled sickeningly.

 

Peter couldn’t breathe.

 

Hands were wrapped tightly around his throat, hot breath hitting his face with spit dribbling down too. Although there was a mask between this all, he couldn’t help but feel trapped and out of control.

 

These guys weren’t letting him off easy, with an enhanced on their side and at least four hand guns aimed at the center of his chest or forehead, he won’t be getting out of the situation easily. His sweatsuit was torn and damp with sweat, his goggles half broken and hanging off the mask. Peter coughed into the fabric of his mask and kicked his legs as much as he could. The enhanced man squeezed his hands harder and laughed when strangled gasps were heard in response. 


The thick blood the streamed down his face stained the deep red of his mask, coughing wetly. Peter scratched at the mans hands weakly, vision swimming as the man laughed.

 

Peter could’ve swore it was the lack of oxygen or he just finally went crazy, but there it was. It was faint, barely there but it was progressively getting louder. The sound of repulsers. Heading toward them. The enhanced guy noticed too and faltered, hands loosening for a slight moment which was all Peter needed. He punched up right in his jaw. 


The man shouted and fell back, clutching his nose tightly. He gasped for air just as Iron Man touched down in the alley, a wave of shock running through the muggers bones. Peter got to his feet quickly webbing up the creeps with the guns, Iron Man blasting the enhanced into the wall where he didn’t get back up. Iron Man put his hand down after a moment, turning to face Peter just as the faceplate lifted. He was sporting a new bruise under his right eye, lips twitching every other second as he observed.

 

”There’s people who get paid to handle this, you know that right?” Tony’s voice was critical, “Preferably the one’s who don’t wear onesies, Spider-Kid.”

 

”It’s not a onesie,” Peter bit back defensively. “It might not be the good stuff but it’s my suit.”

 

Tony scoffed, “It’s a onesie kid. No denying that one, also what are you doing fighting other enhanced individuals? Like I said, there’s people who handle this type of stuff.”

 

”Who the Avengers?”

 

”No, this is a little below their pa-“

 

”Then let me handle it, Mr. Stark. I do this every day, I think can handle it.” Peter sighed.

 

Tony look defeated for a moment, looking away from Peter’s gaze. He looked like he was contemplating something, turning to look Peter up and down. “If you’re gonna do this Underoos, at least let me make you a proper suit.”

 

”What?!” Peter protested. He could not have Tony know who the man-kid-behind the mask was at all. It would not go down well, but there was a chance he already knew and could possibly humoring him for the hell of it. If Tony knew, then there would come the rules and setbacks and he just couldn’t do that. Peter could not let Tony know, it was bad enough Natasha and Vision knew.

 

”Underoos? Hey- Kid,” Tony looked displeased, “It’s for your safety. Imagine if I didn’t come save your spider-ass right now. You’d probably be locked up in a basement dismembered.”

 

Peter cringed and eventually nodded his head. He just wanted to get out of there, fix his broken nose and go back hom- to the compound. His vision swam slightly and he grimaced, leaving Tony standing in the middle of the alleyway by himself. Mid-sentence. He swung onto the roof and stumbled, scouting the area for a public bathroom he could wash off his injury as quick as possible. He could already feel it starting to heal, no doubt it was broken by how it felt. 

Hearing Tony leave quickly in the Iron Man suit left a heavy stone in his stomach labeled GUILT with big fat letters scribbled across it. Peter sighed and swung his way to a local dollar store, startling the employee that was scanning items for an older lady.

 

He smiled sheepishly asked for a bathroom to which the employee handed him a key with an open mouth. Scrambling into the bathroom, Peter ripped off his mask and chucked it at the sink with a gasp. The guilt was eating him alive, the sinking feeling never fading and his lungs constricted every second. Aunt May was really dead, his grades were down the drain and the Avengers took in a charity case. He had no friends, no family, just a friendly reminder of his trauma and failures. Tears streamed down his bloody face and he clutched the sink, hearing it crack easily under the weight of his slim fingers. Peter grunted and looked at his bloody, tear stained face.

 

Running water from a faucet never made anybody feel better, but he scrubbed viciously at his blood caked face until the porcelain sink was stained red and his face went numb. Peter looked at his red-rimmed eyes and laughed bitterly, pulling his mask back on. He could only see properly out of one eye-the other having multiple cracks blurring together. He sighed heavily. With a small limp he stumbled out of the bathroom, muttering an apology to en elderly woman he bumped into. Peter tossed the key onto the counter where the clerk was and quickly left the small store.

 

Peter swung across the city to retrieve his backpack from the alleyway. He allowed himself to get lost in his thoughts. Tony, Iron Man, had just saved his ass and insulted him all within fifteen minutes. And now he has to limp his way back home to the Avengers and come up with a lie along the way. Why was he injured? Some bullies at school, no biggie. Nobody helped you? It was after Decathlon, in the gym. Simple questions, simple lies. Of course he would end up telling Natasha the truth later on, but that was another conversation for later.

 

After shrugging on his clothes and pulling on his shoes, Peter ducked into the crowd of strangers. To anybody he blended in but barely, like coloring outside of the lines. His curls fell into his eyes and his phone buzzed. With a sigh he pulled it out of his pocket, Mr. Stark’s name printed at the top of his mobile. He considered ignoring it, slipping his phone back into his pocket and continue walking, but he clicked the green answer button instead.

 

”Parker, care to tell me why it’s almost seven at night and you’re still not home?” Tony’s voice rumbled over the phone, “You have-“

 

Peter pulled his phone away alarmed. Sure enough, 6:58 PM glared back at him. He muttered under his breath.

 

”-And tell me why you haven’t tried to come home yet? I called your school, there wasn’t any decathlon practice today. Matter of fact, you’re not even on the team?! Care to explain?” Tony’s voice was threatening over the line, choppy from the volume of his voice. Peter went to reply when the call abruptly ended, his lock-screen glowing brightly.

 

He stood in front of a cross walk with an open mouth, anger bubbling in his veins. Tony demands an explanation and then doesn’t give him the chance to reply? Peter rolled his eyes and winced at his aching throat, swallowing profusely. Suddenly, a wave of mutters erupted in the crowd around him that waited for the OK to cross the street. A car came screeching down the road, taking a sharp turn straight by them when it skidded to a stop. The back window rolled down only to reveal a seething Tony Stark. People gasped and yelled in excitement at the celebrity, some mumbling about what could’ve upset him.

 

”Get in the car. Now.” Tony spat, back doors unlocking with a simple click. People next to him stared in shock and Peter gulped down his anger, stomping to the other side of the shiny black car. With a slam of the car door, the went speeding down the streets of New York.

 

”I’ve dealt with a lot of liars, Peter.” Uh-oh. “I’ve always been able to see through them like they were nothing, yet some teenager I picked up off the streets of Queens lies to my face since the moment I met him. And I didn’t suspect a fucking thing! Not at all because I thought you were better than that. So Peter,” Double uh-oh. “Where were you? Don’t you dare say decathlon either or I will turn into your very own version of the Hulk.” Tony shouted, veins bulging on the side of his neck. He gritted his teeth and hit the seat in front of him as a warning, “Parker.”

 

”I just lost track of time!” Peter defended himself, throwing his hands up in the air. “I just wanted to find somewhere to eat, walk around Queens for a bit-“

 

”Oh bullshit!” Tony interrupted him, “You’ve been scattering across Queens like a damn pigeon, for what reason? Because you wanted to enjoy your precious little town again?”

 

Peter nearly growled.

 

”You ought to be thankful I found you before you ended up dead in an ally. I just wanna know why. Why lie to me, to the team? Why are you hiding things? Why are you so complicated?”


“Oh I’m sorry Mr. Stark!” Peter snapped, “Did you really expect me to spill every damn thing to you? Did you really?”

 

”Eventually!”

 

”I’ve been staying at your stupid compound for less than a month and you’ve barely spoken to me at all! Sorry for the lies, the secrecy, but God forbid I walk around a few hours without telling you.” Peter yelled, “I’m actually surprised that you even cared enough to drive around Queens looking for me, even talking to me! Is this where I wipe the dust off your expensive glasses and kiss your ass for the rest or your life?”

 

”I didn’t have to drive around Queens that long Peter.” Tony attempted to calm down. It was a terrible attempt but an attempt nonetheless, “And watch your language, god you’re turning into Clint.”

 

Peter scrunched his nose. He glared at Tony, “Wait, did you track me down? What the hell!”

 

Tony rolled his eyes, “Hmm I didn’t know you would have a problem with it, seems like you always want people to find you. Holing yourself up in your room, avoidi-“

 

”Tracking me, tracking me! Come on Mr. Stark! For how long? If you’ve been tracking me since you gave me this stupid phone then why didn’t you confront me before about the lies? Huh?!” Peter screamed, tears blurring his vision as his blood bubbled in anger. His nostrils flared when Tony again, rolled his brown eyes.

 

”Did you expect me to go after you blind? I just thought you needed space!”

 

”I needed somebody!” Peter’s voice cracked and the tears fell, “Somebody to be there and you didn’t step up. I idolized you for as long as I can remember, putting on that stupid red and gold mask and never taking it off unless it was to shower. Too much space can make somebody feel alone so God dammit Tony why?! Why couldn’t you step up? Why did you even take me back to that compound? You shouldn’t have ever done that!”

 

Peter’s knuckles had formed fists at the beginning of the argument, ghostly white at how tightly he was clenching them. Tony gulped and for a moment it was silent, he slid his glasses back onto his face. He avoided Peter’s eyes, gazing out the back window. His mouth opened slightly before he muttered under his breath. “You didn’t have to come. That was up to you, you can leave whenever you’d like. You know where the exits are.”

 

His heart stuttered at the words and the tears fell faster, leading him to bite his lip to prevent making a noise of protest. Crossing his arms, Peter grumbled, “Maybe I fucking will.”

 

The rest of the ride back to the compound was silent, Tony didn’t bother to reprimand Peter for his foul language. The tears were salty on his pink lips and Tony’s erratic heartbeat had him antsy to bolt. Peter could almost laugh at the situation, but he clamped his mouth shut. With a simple glance out the window, he closed his eyes and blocked out the rest of the world.

 

 

Chapter Text

Slipping into Bruce’s lab was almost too easy, narrowly avoiding the lab table. Bruce sat hunched over at the far table in the corner. A screw fell to the ground and he muttered a curse, flinching hard when he noticed a pair or white converse.

 

”Hi Pete?” Bruce said, fixing the glasses that slid down the bridge of his nose. Peter smiled sheepishly and fiddled with his sweater paws.

 

”Sorry for scaring you but uh,” Peter bit his lip, “TonysortofgroundedmeandIgotinvitedtoapartyandIwashopingyouwoulddriveme.”

 

”No,” Bruce sighed. “Last time I went against Tony’s wishes he threw away all my tea and locked me out of my own lab.”

 

Peter pouted, “Bruce please! The kids on the Academic Decathlon team are gonna be there and they really wanted me to come, like an official welcome to the team. It’ll just be us, I swear!”

 

It was slightly true, Peter passed the test and he was now officially on the team. But he was invited beforehand and Michelle said there would be just a few others, otherwise it was just the team. Flash later on confirmed this, with a cheer in the gym after class. 

Peter smiled again hopefully and Bruce shook his head furiously, curls shaking atop his head.

 

”Tony’s gonna kill me, but I’ll cover for you.” Bruce sighed as he closed the car door behind him. Turns out convincing the scientist to do something was fairly easy and while Peter felt slightly guilty about doing such a thing, he beamed at the older man.

 

”Thank you again, Bruce.” He said shyly.

 

”Oh it’s nothing. We do need to set some ground rules though,” Bruce replied as he started up the car, “No drugs, alcohol, don’t accept drinks from strangers. Uh, there’s probably something else I should add but I don’t know what. Um get home at a reasonable time? Yeah that.”

 

With a nod in confirmation, Bruce took off. The drive to the party wasn’t too far, a little under twenty minutes even with all the traffic. City lights shone brightly against the night sky, people scattering across the street in front of taxis and whatnot. As they reached closer to the destination Peter’s heart clenched. The palms of his hands felt clammy and he kept glancing around, earning a concerned look from Bruce. He smiled sheepishly and turned to look out the window, where they had stopped in the middle of the street in front of a two story house. 

 

The cement pathway leading to the front door had people littered all over it, red solo cups that were half-full spread across the mowed lawn. Purple and blue strobe lights from inside beamed from the windows and illuminated everything on the outside. A girl stumbled down the steps of the house, tumbling until she landed and laughed loudly, her dress showing Peter things he’d never wanted to see.

 

Before he could turn to Bruce and refuse to go inside, two figures popped up in front of the window. MJ and another boy shouted, smiling brightly. Bruce waved and Peter gulped. He unbuckled his seatbelt and went to open the door when a hand landed on his elbow, flinching harshly.

 

Bruce removed his hand quickly, regret painted his face but his voice dripped with an unnamed emotion, “Have fun Peter, but stay safe. Call me if you need me.”

 

”Of course.” Peter muttered softly, and despite how tense he was, he reached over to give Bruce a side hug. The older man was just as hesitant and soon he was driving off once Peter’s shoes touched the ground.

 

”Hey Peter.” MJ said curtly. Her curly hair was pulled back from her face and holy shit was she wearing makeup? Her olive green jacket was zipped up, only the hint of a soft white sweater below. Which made Peter realize just how freezing it was outside. His teeth clattered.

 

”What’s up man?! I’m Flash,” The boy standing next to her smiled brightly. His lids were dropped slightly and he smelled faintly of alcohol and... something unnamed. A flannel poked out from a navy jacket, jeans cuffed. He offered his hand which Peter shook with too much strength but it wasn’t questioned. The trio shuffled into the house, passing by all of the strangers who cursed at them for their quick entry.

 

”Leeds is on his way. I haven’t went inside yet if you’re wondering. Everybody else is already here.” MJ explained simply and Peter nodded his head. Flash walked inside with a nod of his head but they were stopped by an older dude.

 

He looked just like Flash, except his hair was a bit longer. His drunken smile made the hair on Peter’s arms stand as he whistled. His spider-sense screamed at him, the base of his school humming loudly.

 

”I haven’t seen you two yet. Rule is, take the pill to get in. It’s okay,” The man laughed at Peter’s face. “It only effects the uh, special people. Boss wants me to get rid of it.” 

Peter gulped, reaching his hand out to pluck the large pill from the man’s grip. He laughed and yanked his hand back, “Just to make sure you take it.”

 

He grabbed the teen’s jaw a bit too harshly, Peter’s mouth forming an “o” shape uncomfortably. MJ snarled and Flash quipped at his— brother?— but it didn’t matter. The large pill was plopped onto his tongue and almost immediately started sizzling on impact, a brown liquid accompanying it moments later. Peter gulped it down nervously, scrunching his face at the bitter taste as the man laughed and tipped the bottle of what was supposedly whiskey, into his mouth. He smiled with his yellow teeth before shoving the teen into Flash.

 

”I’m sorry about that man. Emmett can be a dick,” Flash apologized.

 

Peter could only shrug his shoulder as the drug and liquor—alcohol?—worked it’s way into his system. It was surprisingly fast and his mouth felt like cotton, MJ placing a firm hand on his shoulder which he flinched at.

 

She leveled him with a steady gaze, “Let’s get with the team.” Flash nodded quickly and began to lead them to a staircase. Peter gaped at all of the people there, wasn’t it only supposed to be the team? He didn’t have much time to think as the began to step downstairs, where he tripped over his feet and muttered an apology to MJ.

 

She only gripped the sleeve of his shirt tighter, holding him steady as they descended down the stairs and into a room. It was warm with laughter and card games, two red beanbags held snacks of all sorts, the coffee table pushed up against the wooden wall to his left. The team sat in a circle laughter bubbling through the air. Abe, sitting next to Betty, cheered loudly at the sight of them. 

Flash bowed jokingly and Peter cowered behind MJ at the loud burst of noise. She looked at him for a moment before gazing at her peers, not an inch of emotion clinging to her features.

 

It was intriguing. And god was she... Peter didn’t know how to describe her. But it was all positive things from his end. He smiled to himself and sat down beside her and Flash in the circle. His limbs felt heavy but he giggled at whatever was muttered, by who he couldn’t remember.

 

At one point Ned had joined them, sitting by the girl with blonde hair. Betty. Two cans of soda sat empty beside him, crumpled by his trembling fingers. But Peter laughed loudly and knocked into MJ who shoved him back with an annoyed look, but the end of her lips twisted upward. He counted it as a win.

 

Time seemed to fly by him as he wrestled with Flash who now had far too many alcoholic beverages in his system, flipping him on his back. Flash cried out jokingly, flailing his arms like a turtle on their back. Peter giggled uncontrollably until he couldn’t breathe, lying on his back next to MJ.

 

”Hey MJ?”

 

”What Parker?” MJ said, not glancing at him as she slapped a plus four card onto the deck. Ned cried out and threw his UNO cards everywhere.

 

”You’re really pretty. Even from this angle.” Peter giggled and before she could respond, he got up abruptly. He stumbled over to the staircase muttering about needing a bathroom. MJ grumbled from behind him.

 

His shoelaces were untied and he tripped at the top stop, sending him and another person sprawling over the floor. He laughed and pushed himself up, noticing the man from earlier. His spider-sense should’ve screamed at him by now, right? Like how it did earlier?

 

But it was complete radio silence. Not even the hair on his arms stood.

 

Emmett smiled.

 


 

Peter genuinely never wanted to do drugs.

 

He didn’t even think that they would work with his enhanced metabolism, but he couldn’t feel a fucking thing and his thoughts felt like thick mud in a humid rainforest. It was hot, so he shredded his long sleeve earlier. Sweat glistened under the purple strobe lights as Emmett presented three white lines to him.

 

Peter smiled. His hands still shook.

 

He didn’t know when he became shirtless. But here he was, smiling as people recorded him rapping obnoxiously to some Drake song. He didn’t necessarily know the lyrics but everybody egged him on, the females probably only did so to see his weird ab-pack—six-pack—glisten. They found it attractive apparently, at least according to the three females in the kitchen from earlier.

 

Oh, his shirt was tucked into the hem of his boxers. They were green, the same shade as MJ’s jacket from earlier. He laughed loudly, glancing at the boy next to him. He was standing on something, everybody looked little. Like ants.

 

Did Ant-Man call his army of ants? They were loud and fearless, the shouts falling on deaf ears. No, Peter was standing on a table. A girl grabbed his calf and he stumbled off the table.

 

He needed to do something. MJ grumbled at him, it was cute. Focus, Parker. Right, he needed to use the bathroom. He turned to the girl who was biting her lip.

 

Peter had meant to ask, ‘Where is the bathroom?’ but had only managed to slur out, “B’throom?”

 

She smiled seductively and grabbed his trembling fingers—his hands wouldn’t stop shaking—and dragged him in another direction. Emmett whistled at them, sending a wink, but why?

 

The phone in his pocket buzzed repeatedly as Peter tripped after the girl, his shoelaces untied. His cuffed jeans made him smile though as the girl finally let go of him and closed the door. He glanced up and watched as she approached him, biting her lips viciously.

 

”D-Doesn’t your lip h-hurt?” Peter hiccuped, bringing his hands to his chest when she pressed up against him. He giggled because it felt weird and his heart raced slightly, but his spider-sense hadn’t warned him of anything. There obviously wasn’t any danger.

 

”It can.” She said, batting her fake eyelashes. He couldn’t hiccup a response as she forcefully kissed his lips.

 

Peter’s eyes widened and even in his drugged state, he could tell he didn’t like it. But he couldn’t protest. His mouth was stuffed with cotton and his tongue was caught in his throat. He just uncomfortably watched as the girl bit down on his lip hard, pulling on it. She had broke the skin and blood spilled over, his lip recoiling like a broken rubber band.

 

As the girl kissed his neck, Peter got lost in his thoughts. What was this girl doing? He needed to do something... weren’t MJ and Ned and the team downstairs? How long had he been gone? Peter winced at the sharp pain in his neck, the girl smiling proudly at the new bite mark. His lips felt weird, covered in her cheap lipstick and his metallic blood.

 

”You’re so fine...” She had trailed off, her hand traveled down his sweaty chest. Why was he shirtless again? Her acrylics dipped under his boxers and he wanted to push her away, but his limbs were too heavy and his head lolled to the side as she moaned loudly into the crook of his neck and-

 

The door suddenly slammed open with so much force it put a hole in the wall. Peter picked up his head as the girl whipped around, her hand too far down his pants. Flash stood with MJ, Ned and another girl next to him. His jaw dropped at the sight, MJ’s face contorted into one of pure rage as did the rest of them.

 

The girl scoffed, “Can’t you see we’re busy!”

 

MJ grabbed the girls arm—why was her hand in his boxers?— and yanked her hard. It threw Peter off balance and he fell, hitting his head on the porcelain bathtub. Flash cursed and rushed toward him.

 

His mouth was moving but he couldn’t understand what Flash was saying. And why was his face warm?

 

Peter touched his cheeks, shocked to see tears on the pads of his fingers. Why was his hand shaking so much? And who was that? The girl that hadn’t said a word, but she had a jealous glint in her eye. Why?

 

”—Peter! Come on man, we gotta clean up your wound.” Flash said, a cotton ball squished between his hands. His hands were shaking too.

 

Peter smiled despite the tears running down his face. He didn’t know why he was crying but Flash looked unnerved as he pressed the cotton ball to the gash on his forehead.

 

Shouting that never met Peter’s ears went on behind Flash, MJ’s knuckles bruising as she punched the girl square in the face again. Ned looked mortified and the girl who had tagged along had been long gone.

 

Peter smiled. He quite liked the quiet, even if it came with a racing heart and trembling hands. And a phone that continuously buzzed every thirty seconds.

 

Flash swallowed the lump in his throat.

 


 

“Bruce, tell me where he is now!”

 

”He’s at a party!” Bruce gave in to Tony’s demand.

 

”When he’s grounded? You drove him to a party when he’s grounded?” Tony seethed, ignoring Wanda’s uneasy gaze.

 

”I-“

 

”We don’t know what Peter’s doing right now?! What if he’s drunk, or drugged? Tell me why would you do it, why drive him to that party,” Tony looked exhausted. His vulnerability dripped through that last sentence and Bruce looked away, ashamed.

 

Steve sighed, “Tony, at least trust Peter enough to do the right thing. He’s smart.”

 

Tony could only sigh and watch as the clock ticked past 11:45 pm.

 


 

Peter didn’t know when shrugged off his shirt again, Flash had put it on him earlier before guiding him out of the bathroom. The tear tracks were dry against his face but he didn’t care, snuggling further into the jacket MJ forced around his shoulders.

 

”’S the same c’lor as my boxers!” Peter had exclaimed, watching as Ned choked on a laugh and MJ rolled her eyes.

 

Flash gripped his upper arm tightly, supporting his weight as Ned did the same on the other side. Peter whined slightly as the drugs began to drain out of his system.

 

Slowly though.

 

”Can’t we drive?” Ned complained.

 

”Peter got us kicked out of the Uber!” Flash snapped.

 

”The t’wer! Let’s go!” Peter screeched, wrenching himself out of his friend’s grips. Ned called out after him as he not-so-soberly sprinted towards the Avengers Tower.

 

Peter ignored the pain in his feet and stumbled up the stairs to the double doors, Ned, Flash and MJ hot on his tail. The doors opened and the security looked at them as if they had five heads. Each.

 

To be fair there were two drunk teenagers, one shirtless with dried tears caking his face and the other with disheveled hair. Ned panted and MJ glowered at them. FRIDAY’s voice chipped through the silence.

 

”Mr. Parker, Boss wants you in the common room ASAP.” 

Peter whistled and dragged his friends over to the private elevator, once again tripping on his untied shoelaces. He landed on the floor of the elevator and shut his eyes, limbs heavy.

 

”Geez Parker, get a grip.” MJ said as FRIDAY brought them up to the common room.

 

Ned and Flash had visibly paled, and MJ put her head in her hands. Peter grumbled and stood on shaky legs. Why was he shaking so much? How cold was it?

 

Peter’s hands still trembled as MJ dragged him into the common room, her stride confident and unforgiving. All the original Avengers (Wanda and Sam included,) gaped at the sight of him. The hickeys the girl left were still very visible, a scratch near his hip from when her hand was forced from his boxers. Now that awareness was coming back to him, Peter shivered.

 

God he was so tired.

 

”Pete.. what happened?” Bruce’s soft voice trembled slightly as he looked the teenager over. He didn’t reply, simply flopped onto the couch beside Clint and almost immediately fell asleep.

 

“No, none of that now—is that a bite mark?” Clint shouted.

 

The more Peter thought about it, the girl, the more unsettled he became. Why was everything so blurry? All he remembered was the girl biting him and then nothing. His hip hurt, and her hands were soft when they had traveled past his boxers-

 

Just like Skip.

 

Peter coughed and gagged harshly, startling Clint. Bile made it’s appearance on the couch as he tried to rush to the bathroom, only managing to fall off the couch and puke on the floor and Clint’s shoes.

 

Everyone shouted behind him and he felt a hand on his back. Peter flinched violently, tears in his eyes and his lips wet from bile. Natasha stared at him with that same unnerved look that Flash had earlier. He understood why now.

 

Peter didn’t hear them shouting as his eyes rolled to the back of his head, his breathing erratic from the panic attack he was experiencing.

 


 

MJ watched with sharp breaths, Flash right beside her. Peter had passed out after throwing up during the middle of Tony’s lecture. She watched and replayed the moments of tonight that led to this.

 

”Take the pill to get in,”

 

”It only effects uh, special people.”

 

”You’re really pretty. Even from this angle.”

 

”Where’s Peter? It’s been over an hour,”

 

”What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

 

”Do you seriously think this is his fault Liz?”

 

”Aww you’re leaving too soon!”

 

”Fuck off Emmett!”

 

MJ replayed the first moment over and over again, the pill. It hadn’t effected her, not even Flash. Just Peter. It was only for “special” people, certainly he hadn’t meant mentally.

 

”MJ?” Flash’s voice came out barely above a whisper above all the shouting of the Avengers.

 

”That pill only effects enhanced people, MJ.” Flash gulped and MJ sucked in a breath.

 

They never thought they would be shaking out of fear for their new, unconscious, enhanced teammate. But it’s never too late for a change.