It all happened too fast.
The battle was continuing, and everyone was fighting to the best of their abilities. Tony had been blasting monsters to the left and right of him, his breath labored and heart rate accelerating. He had been too busy shooting to the left and right without a break when suddenly Tony was sent flying into the ground by a bulky monstrosity.
“Shit shit shit- “Tony muttered as he desperately tried to shoot but nothing came out.
He was at a loss for words when webbing trapped the creature’s arms and yanked him back, a larger body by the name of Ant-Man stepping on him instantly.
Tony was pulled from his daze when he heard a familiar voice.
“Hey, hey! Woah, holy cow you will not believe what’s been going on- “
The kid, right in front of him, alive and no longer an ash pile. God, Tony swallowed around the lump in his throat and the boy continued to discuss all the crazy space things going on around him. He couldn’t hold it back anymore and yanked the boy forward into a hug. The kid was startled at first before he gladly wrapped his arms around the older man.
“Oh… this is nice.” Peter mumbled into his shoulder.
Tony let out a choked laugh as he fought off the tears. That would be the last time he got that moment of peace. The next couple of hours was them all fighting the hardest they ever fought before. Things got more serious though when it finally came down to getting that dumb gauntlet. Steve, Thor, Tony, Captain Marvel; everyone kept throwing themselves, trying so desperately to just grab it. Peter had been fighting a group of monsters when he realized the others needed his help. He swung himself over and saw the events occurring below him. All of them kept getting tossed like ragdolls, even Thor with his eyes glowing blue. Peter held his breath as he watched Tony get smacked down. That was the last straw. He swung in, circling the perimeter as he appeared next to Dr. Strange.
“Mr. Strange, what are we waiting for?” Peter asked, crouching next to him.
He looked at the young boy and suddenly telling him the truth was too difficult. “We’re waiting for you.”
“For me?” Peter echoed.
“Yes,” Dr. Strange began. “You have to do something for us Spiderman. I searched and only found one way of winning; you need to snap your fingers with the gauntlet.”
Stephen licked his lips, looking over and seeing the Avengers still fighting. He didn’t have much time. “Spiderman, I can teleport you right on top of him and I’ll use some of my own magic to knock the gauntlet off his arm and then you must snap your fingers.”
Peter nodded. “Okay… will everyone be safe then? Will Mr. Stark be alright?”
Stephen felt a sudden ache in his chest at that. “Yes. We will win.”
Peter gave him a lopsided smile before he nodded his consent. Stephen summoned a portal, including a couple of copies of himself as one of them quickly, with the help of Peter’s webbing, rip it off. Thanos was shocked and began to run forward when the other Avengers stopped him. Peter stood there, panting as he looked at Captain America, Captain Marvel, Bucky, Thor, all held him as their gaze lingered on Peter’s small form. Tony stood there, ahead of him, his arm reaching out.
“Peter, please don’t do this.” He pleaded.
But he just stared at him with a smile. “Thank you, Mr. Stark. I love you too.”
Those were his last words as he snapped his finger, the explosion mixing in with Tony’s pained scream.
Tony felt numb. His body was shaking, and he couldn’t say anything as he watched Peter snap his fingers. Why was this happening? How could he have let this happen? Tony realized he had frozen in place and a brilliant white light exploded everywhere.
“No,” Tony whispered. “NO!”
He sprinted forward, jumping over debris and going as fast as he possibly could before he skidded to a stop in front of him. Peter looked impossibly small, laying in a crater with the gauntlet charred and broken, just like Peter’s body. Tony felt himself gag as more tears fell from his eyes.
“Come on, wake up. Kid, God- “Tony cut himself off again as sobs burst out of his body.
He heard the others begin to run forward, after Thanos dissolved along with his other minions. They all watched in stunned silence as Tony cradled the boy’s head and sobbed. Nobody knew what to do, but when Stephen came to join them, Tony must have heard him coming.
Tony felt an intense anger flood through his body. “How dare you come over here.”
The wizard let out a defeated sigh. “Tony, please. This was the most viable option- “
“NO. No. The most viable option involves Peter living and excuse me for saying that- “Tony stopped for a moment, his heart beating faster than he could handle. No, he can’t have a panic attack, not here. He knew that wasn’t how the attacks happened, but he could try. “You could’ve given me the gauntlet.”
Stephen nibbled his lip in concentration. “Tony I saw 14 million possibilities you think I would just give a kid the responsibility to handle this? This was the only wa- “
Stephen was caught off guard when Tony turned around and landed a punch across his face. A second and third followed with Tony’s sobs trapped in his chest, screaming to let out. That was enough for the other Avengers to step in, pulling Tony off of the wizard. His nose was bleeding and was just staring at Tony in bewilderment. Tony felt himself being held by Steve and Bruce, both of them struggling to hold him up as he began sobbing again. His knees buckled and he fell to the ground. He could hear his own heartbeat and felt an aching in his chest.
“Make it stop.” Tony choked out as he again looked over at Peter’s open gaze.
Tony wiped the tears off his face, staring at the boy. He was completely frozen on the ground. Then, Tony’s gaze drifted over to Peter’s chest. Come on. Go up and go down. And then, it happened. A subtle puff of the chest and a flutter of Peter’s eyes.
“He’s alive.” Tony croaked out, scrambling up, kicking up dirt as he did.
“Tony,” Pepper began, reaching for his arm. “Tony wait.”
But he wasn’t listening. Tony gently got on his knees next to Peter and carded a hand through his hair.
“Pete, I know it’s hard,” Okay Tony come on keep breathing don’t lose it. “But I, uh, I need you to show the others that I’m not crazy and this isn’t my grief talking.”
Tony waited in silence before Peter lazily blinked and looked over at him. He felt a hysterical laugh leave his mouth as the others came over.
“Look! Look! I told you, he’s alive, my boy is alive.” Tony called.
Bruce had an expression of sorrow as he came over and put a hand on Tony. “Tony, sometimes when people die they still have bodily movements- “
“This is different.” Tony growled protectively, his hand holding Peter’s. “You better call the medics and tell them what happened or so help me Bruce I will blast you into the deepest parts of space.”
The other science bro simply nodded with a pained expression and began contacting the appropriate people, walking off. Steve gave one last pat on Tony’s back, the other too busy fixing the younger boy’s hair.
“Stephen.” Tony called.
The doctor arched a hesitant eyebrow, the blood still covering his nose and split lip. “You gonna hit me again?”
Tony ignored him; eyes focused on the kid. “I just want you to do something useful and summon a portal so I can get Peter there right now. They gave the signal that they’re ready; I trust you can’t screw this up.”
Doctor Strange tightened his jaw and if it weren’t for Tony’s hunched over body and red eyes he would’ve said something. “Fine.”
A portal opened and Tony looked at Peter as he began to wrap his arms around him. “Alright Peter, we gotta move and it’s going to be uncomfortable, but you can trust me. I got you. I’ll always have your back.”
Pepper watched as he stood up slowly, Peter’s limp body draped over his arms. It was hard to watch as she wiped the tears off her face and followed closely behind. Pepper looked over at the other Avengers, all of them watching the situation in front of them in silence. But she couldn’t stay staring as Tony began to run down the hall, calling for help. The others couldn’t say anything more. Peter was dead. He had to be. Nobody could survive that. The second the Avengers entered the hospital, the nurses and doctors all stared in pure wonder, a majority of them covered in blood and dirt.
“Um, excuse me.” Steve spoke as he walked over to one of the doctors. “A few seconds ago, a man came in with a young boy and Dr. Bruce Banner do you know where- “
Steve was cut off when they heard commotion going on down the hall. The soldier cursed under his breath (yes haha language) and jogged down the hall, the others following shortly behind. Down the hall there was Tony, Bruce’s hand on his chest to keep him from fighting one of the workers.
“I don’t give a flying fuck; I want to be in there while you operate on my kid!” Tony screamed, trying to push Bruce’s hand off but the other scientist calmly tried to stop him.
“I got this.” Rhodey suddenly stated as he marched towards the fragile man.
“I don’t give a damn! He’s my responsibility, he’s my kid- “
“it doesn’t matter sir! They are in the middle of an emergency surgery and I cannot allow you to just barge in there.” The nurse explained, two security guards on both sides of her.
Tony opened his mouth to spoke but the rushing noise of his heart beating and the overwhelming thoughts in his head suddenly became too much. He stumbled slightly and that was when Rhodey caught him, placing an arm around his shoulders.
“We’ll be right back; ma’am is this room being used?” Rhodey called, pointing at a room a couple of doors down.
The nurse shook her head and the colonel mouthed a quiet thank you as he steered the man inside. Tony instantly ripped himself away and began breathing heavily.
“Tones don’t you dare hyperventilate on me again,” Rhodey calmly mentioned as his best friend sat down in one of the chairs, burying his head into his knees. James Rhodes, for the first time after knowing him for years, had never seen Tony so…. Broken.
“Rhodey… I can’t…. the kid… God it’s my fault, it’s all on me.” Tony whispered as he desperately tried to calm his breathing.
His friend walked over slowly, careful not to startle him. “Tony you can’t blame yourself for this one. It had to happen, that’s what Strange said- “
“Fuck him.” Tony hissed as Rhodey rubbed a soothing hand on the man’s back. “That bastard- he, he just let a kid take responsibility, a KID! Everybody thought I was crazy and now that he might have died that’s completely on me. I was supposed to watch over him, I did all of this to bring him back and now I’ve lost him again.” Tony yanked his head upwards and stared directly into Rhodey’s eyes. “Every day I walked down into the kitchen, there was a picture of him and I smiling. It was like it was taunting me; telling me that I screwed up, that I would never hear his voice again or his dumb pop culture references that somehow he never ran out of. He was my inspiration to do better, I did it all for him.” Tears were falling down his face and Tony kept angrily brushing them away. “You know, I went on that battlefield completely aware that I would be the one that had to die if it came to it. With the gauntlet, I knew I needed to put it on. I knew that I wouldn’t handle the energy, but I still did it. Even Strange knew and yet he just watched Pete- “his voice cut short by him beginning to breathe heavily through his nose and he put his head in his lap yet again. His body was physically shaking now, the rapid bouncing of his leg making a loud noise that echoed in the room.
Rhodey bit his lip as he placed a hand on the other man’s shoulder. What should he do? What should he say? That it’s okay? That it’ll work out. No. Because that would be a lie.
“Your guilt complex is the one thing I hate about you.”
That wasn’t the best way to go about it, way to go Iron Patriot. But wait, the leg bouncing stopped for a moment as Tony began to chuckle. “You got that right.”
Rhodey smiled. He knew his friend couldn’t comprehend certain sentences or words of comfort during a panic attack. His anxiety was something that was sporadic and would usually cause the man to sprint out of the room and fly off, but with Peter just rooms away, this was as private as he could get. He remembered back at the restaurant, when the memories of New York were still fresh like a wound. The kid didn’t mean anything by it, but between the crayon breaking and the mentioning of the wormhole, Tony was done. Now, it’s more personal. Now, he has to deal with the fact he may lose one of the two people he couldn’t live without.
“Listen Tony,” Rhodey began, gripping the guy’s arm and crouching so they were eye level. “I’m going to need you to just keep breathing. Anxiety attacks are horrible and right now, that’s the only way your body can react. But with Peter- no, for Peter, you got to just go out there and wait to see what the doctor says. And if you need another moment away, you tell me, and we can go together.”
Tony stared at him before swallowing thickly, clearing his throat and wiping his eyes. “Yeah yeah… for sure. Okay.”
The two got up and Rhodey looked at him before yanking him into a hug, patting his back twice and letting go. The billionaire just gave him an exhausted smile before the two left the room to join the others. At first, the Avengers were sitting in the waiting room, all spacing out ever since the battle ended. There was chaos going on over the news channels, people who once were ash were back again. Tony felt himself choking up as he watched reunions. He had that with Peter for a few seconds before even that was ripped away. He wasn’t aware his leg was bouncing again until Pepper placed a soothing hand on his leg.
“It’s alright.” Pepper soothed.
A few minutes later, a group of doctors and nurses came in and asked everyone to follow them into an examination room to ensure they were all healthy and had no injuries. They all got up except for Tony who stayed in his seat.
“Sir- “one of the nurses began but what cut off by Bruce who mumbled, “I got him don’t worry.”
Bruce lead him into a side room, despite Tony grumbling about how ‘these nurses don’t get it’ and ‘I’m fine’. “Alright, take off your armor.”
Tony arched an eyebrow sassily. “Armor? What am I, a knight?”
The other scientist narrowed his eyes. “I know that you have some bruising and last I checked you’ve been fighting a space battle for quite a long time. So, excuse me for wanting to make sure you’re not dying.”
There was hesitant gaze that Tony shot him but nonetheless began to strip down to his t-shirt and boxer briefs. His body was littered with scars and bruises; some of the cuts on his body has dried blood on it.
“Tony, I’m gonna kill you.” Bruce muttered as he took out a kit.
“Where the hell did that come from?” The tired man asked, watching his friend began to disinfect the wounds. He didn’t wince at all, staring down at the ground as his anxiety began to reappear. What is with him? Just remember what Rhodey said and it’ll be okay. “Bruce?”
He looked up at the mention of his name. “Yes?”
There was silence as Tony nibbled on his bottom lip. “Do… do you think he’ll make it?”
Bruce opened his mouth and shut it again, eyebrow furrowed. “Tony, I- “
Their conversation was interrupted by a nurse swinging the door open. Tony and Bruce froze as the nurse breathed heavily from sprinting down the hall.
“Peter… Peter Parker is awake, sir.”
That was all Tony needed to hear before he ran out the door.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Tony left the room, sprinting. He paused for two seconds to yank his jeans on before continuing at full speed down the hall. The nurses who were outside the room chatting, turned to see him. They all had looked at him with this look of pity and maneuvered themselves to reveal another person. What Tony didn’t expect, was May’s tear soaked face.
“May?” Tony gasped out, trying to control his breathing. “How? When?”
May cut him off as she wiped her eyes. “Pepper called me and explained the whole situation.” She paused as she looked directly into the man’s bloodshot gaze. “Tony, you know it’s not your fault. Peter loves you and it’s very obvious you love him back,” That comment made Tony’s eyes sting with fresh tears. “Don’t beat yourself up for this. It sounded like you all fought as best as you could and that purple jackass- sorry, that monster, made it so much harder to end it. Peter, I love him to the moon and back, but he can be so…”
“Spontaneous.” Tony almost echoed. “The kid- it wasn’t going to be him that ended this whole thing. I was going to do it. But, when the opportunity arose for him to do it, he took it. And now, he- “
His throat closed after that and he began to cough, trying to make it seem like his constant choking up wasn’t normal. May placed a gentle hand on his arm as she smiled softly at him.
Tony gave her a small smile in return before looking at the nurses. “But wait- one of you said that he’s awake.” Tony felt his heart beating rapidly against his chest.
The nurses exchanged looks and May bit her lip nervously. “Mr. Stark, he is awake, that is true, but- “
“Then what’s the problem? Why can’t I see him?!”
“Tony,” May began, her eyes brimming with tears. “It’s just...something happened when he woke up.”
That was all he needed to hear before he abruptly pushed the doctor and nurses out of his way and ran to the room, ignoring their shouts. He slammed open the door and breathed heavily, eyes landing on Peter. His body looked so small and fragile on the white hospital bed. His body was bandaged up, his arms in casts and one of his legs was propped up. Peter’s face was partially covered, his left eye and part of his mouth were the only things that made him look okay. Tony felt his heartrate pick up again and he bit his hand as he tried to not cry. He’s just a kid. He shouldn’t be dealing with this.
“H-hey, Pete.” Tony spoke, pulling up a chair next to him. There was a tube going down his mouth to keep him breathing and the steady beeping of his vitals echoed around the room. “It’s, it’s Tony. Listen, they said you’re awake and that’s awesome buddy. I just, I need to see you open your eyes or something.”
“He can’t.” A voice called behind him.
Tony spun around to see who it was and instantly his fists curled up. “Of all people, you’re the least possible person I would want to see right now.”
The doctor shook his head as he walked further in, ignoring Tony’s protective stance. “You’re going to want to understand the process behind Peter’s recovery because it’s not as simple as fixing one of your suits.”
“Oh, shut. Up.” Tony growled out.
Doctor Strange rolled his eyes. “Stark, I think you’re forgetting that I am a neurosurgeon who specializes in- “
“You could be Einstein and I still wouldn’t care what you know.”
“Listen to me you irritating dick.” Stephen suddenly growled out. “I’ve been patient with you and treating you like I’m walking on glass. I have apologized about Peter- “
“Well tough shit, Strange.” Tony barked back, standing with his back to Peter. “You can’t apologize for setting him up to die.”
Stephen rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on, Stark. I came in here to tell you what’s wrong but if you’re going to act like this- “
“I’M ACTING LIKE THIS BECAUSE PETER CAN’T!” Tony screamed.
The magician suddenly widened his eyes and cleared his throat, nodding with his head towards the bed. Tony blinked in surprise and spun around to see Peter staring directly at him.
“Kid,” Tony breathed as he stumbled forward, pulling his chair to sit down and hold the kid’s hand softly. “I’m here, Pete, I’m here. Look at you! You got your eyes open! Even being an Avenger, this is better than any battle we’ve fought in. That includes fighting Clint when he pulled those pranks on us. Remember when...”
Tony continued on with his stories as Stephen watched from behind him. Should he tell him now?
Let him have that moment. Besides, if Doctor Strange even tried to separate the two, he could only imagine a snippet of how Tony would react. He left the room, shutting the door softly as Tony’s voice became quieter.
Stephen spun around and saw May Parker. “I didn’t tell him.”
May furrowed her eyebrow and Strange held back a chuckle at how similar Peter’s scowl was to hers. “Well why not? He has to know. I don’t want Tony finding out any other way. That could damage him if he doesn’t truly understand what’s going on with Peter.”
“I could tell him.” A voice piped up. Both May and Stephen turned and saw Steve Rogers. “Tony and I have had our issues but right now I think I might be the only one to disrupt him without anyone else getting hurt.”
“You sure about that captain?” Rhodey questioned. “Tony isn’t in the best state right now and if he used Strange as a personal punching bag- “the wizard scowled at that comment. “Sorry, but at least have Bruce follow you in.”
Bruce looked up from his clipboard. “Yeah that might be the best bet.”
“Just,” Rhodey began, looking uneasy. “If he starts to bounce his leg or anything, let me know.”
Steve nodded once, his eyes showing he understood. “Don’t worry James, we’ll look after him.”
Rhodey noticeably relaxed as that and took a step back as Bruce and Steve entered the room. Steve noticed Tony’s hunched over position first. Peter’s head was poking up above the blanket, his eyes shut. Tony seemed to be quietly speaking to him, brushing his hair and holding the kid’s hand. Tony was smiling softly but it didn’t quite reach his tear filled eyes.
Bruce decided to alert Tony they were here and cleared his throat, making the other man spin around rapidly. “Hey Tony.”
Tony furrowed his eyebrows. “Bruce. Hey what’s up? Why is everyone acting as if I don’t know something?”
Steve suddenly appeared behind Bruce and Tony changed his stance. “We sent Strange to tell you but, you didn’t want to hear him.”
“Piss off, Rogers.” Tony grumbled.
“Point is,” Bruce said with a warning tone towards Steve. “When Peter did the snap, his spidey senses knew that something bad was going to happen. So, in defense, his body prepared him for it. The blast was so powerful, however, that it burnt him severely and the parts of his limbic system in his brain were damaged as well.”
“So? He opened his eyes! He’s doing great.” Tony said protectively.
“Tony,” Bruce said, trying to use a tone that wouldn’t upset him. “The limbic system has the hippocampus and thalamus and when those are damaged, those memories and emotions are all… gone.”
Tony suddenly felt sick to his stomach. “What? What are you saying, that he won’t remember what happened?”
Bruce looked over at Peter’s body, the machines being the only way to know he’s still alive. “We won’t know until he fully wakes up. It’s going to be a slow recovery. If he were anyone else he would’ve died. Thankfully, he has a healing factor and is young so he’s recovering better than anticipated. Just not yet in the brain.”
“What can I do?” Tony whispered almost to himself. “What am I supposed to do?”
Bruce frowned. “Tony, there isn’t must you can do. This is sadly a battle Peter has to do on his own. You can be there for him physically and mentally but with everything else, he’s going to have to fight.”
Tony looked over at Peter who looked to be asleep, the machines beeping and hissing. “I’ll be here for him 24/7. I won’t leave his side.”
Bruce smiled and placed a warning hand on Steve’s arm when the soldier opened his mouth. “If you need anything, let me know.”
Tony smiled softly at Bruce before the two of them left the room.
Hi everyone! I'm so glad you're all enjoying this so far. I'm going to update as frequently as possible and respond to your comments. If anyone has prompts for other stories, please DM or comment below :) thanks again!
Writing this chapter made me tear up, sorry!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
In the past 4 days, Tony never left the hospital. Pepper attempted multiple times to just get him out of that room and stop staring at Peter who only had small moments of opening his eyes, staring directly ahead, and then shutting them again. The nurses and doctors had commented that Peter was recovering better than anticipated but due to the amount of physical and emotional stress, his body reacted by going into a coma to protect the body from other harm. Bruce had said that now it’s just a waiting game of recovery. Tony had looked so distraught at the idea of Peter being in a comma, that Bruce opted to get him a plush version of Iron Man’s arm with a recorder inside so that Tony could leave messages for the kid. Bruce decided to pretend not to notice Tony whispering into the toy and placing it next to Peter’s neck. The scientist walked down the hallway, nodding at other doctors and nurses. It was great that the Avengers had their own medical wing at the compound, otherwise, Bruce had no idea if Peter would’ve been cared for the same amount.
“Morning Dr. Banner!” A nurse said cheerfully.
Bruce smiled and waved. “Morning Leigha.”
It was a great system that they had, and it was in the same place the Avengers had their own living quarters. Even Tony had one, but trying to take him away from Peter was like pulling teeth. Bruce looked up to see Pepper, staring at her iPad as she walked down the hall.
“Hey, Pepper,” Bruce called.
She looked up instantly and smiled. “Morning, Bruce. Any luck with Tony?”
Bruce shook his head. “No, he’s refusing to leave his side. Ever since the word ‘coma’ came out of my mouth, he’s somehow become even more obsessed.” He dragged a hand down his tired face. “I don’t know what else to do for Tony. Peter’s charts just keep confusing me more and more. Now, I’m beginning to think that when Peter used the gauntlet, that may have played a role in him not waking up, but I don’t know in what sense and just- “Bruce took a deep breath and let it out, looking at Pepper. “Tony is going to go crazy if we don’t get him away from the kid, just for a little bit. I can’t just sit here and watch him guard his body like he’s going to wake up any second.”
Pepper nodded. “We all appreciate what you’re doing here, Bruce. Tony is very protective of Peter to the point where when Peter dissolved, it was like something in him was missing.” She chuckled as she looked fondly down at her iPad, her background is a selfie of her, Morgan, and Tony. “I think he knew he wanted to be a father the second Peter swung into his life. And now, after losing him twice, it was like he lost a child. I’m bringing Morgan in tomorrow and see if she can brighten him up a bit.”
Bruce smiled at that. He loved the little girl, whenever she visited she would ask to ‘do science’ with him. “I think that would be great. I know Tony has a close relationship to Peter; the whole team calls him ‘Iron Dad’ behind his back whenever he began to babble about the kid, which was a lot. It was similar to losing a kid and I know that crushed him. But it’ll work out, I promise you that Pepper.”
She walked forward, wrapping him up in a hug. “Thank you, from all of us.”
The smile that stayed on Bruce’s face never left the rest of the day.
The day continued with Peter getting several checkups. They learned after the third rotation that nobody should ask Tony if he could leave the room during it. The vitals were the same, some of them changing for the better and when they redid his bandages, Tony felt bile in his mouth. His skin was an angry red, much better form the charred mess it had started at. He was healing quickly but they said there wasn’t any change in his mind. That comment made Tony look out the window to keep from letting out a scream. A few hours later, there was a slight knock at the door that made Tony put down his tinkering.
“Come in.” He called.
Pepper opened the door and smiled softly. “Hey, handsome.” She looked down at the pile of tools and pieces that were laid out on the bed. “How did you manage to get your parts for tinkering?”
“I didn’t get them from my lab.”
“I took them from the hospital break room,” He finished softly.
Pepper sighed and pulled up a chair next to him. “Okay, well first off, let’s not do that. Second, honey I really think you got to leave the compound just for a few hours.”
Tony looked over at Peter’s still form. “Pep, I would but… I don’t want to leave him. He’s my responsibility and I know you’re going to say it’s not my fault- “
“It isn’t- “
“But,” Tony continued looking at Pepper and gently grabbing her hand. “Anything that happens to him, reflects on me.”
'If you had just listened to me'
'If you even cared you’d actually be here'
Tony rubbed his eyes as that conversation reappeared in his head. Not now.
'Everyone else said that I was crazy to recruit a 14-year-old kid.'
Oh no. His heart rate is going up again. Where the hell is Rhodey when you need him?!
“Tony?” Pepper asked, stroking his hand as his body started to shake and his breathing became more rapid.
'And if you die….'
'I feel like that’s on me.'
That was it. Tony stood up abruptly, his breathing out of control and he stumbled out of the room.
“Tony?!” Pepper called as she began to chase after him. She looked down the hall and saw Rhodey leaving a room with a coffee cup in hand. “James, I need your help. Tony’s having one of his attacks again.”
Rhodey quickly handed his cup to Pepper and ran after his best friend who was currently going out the exit to the outside. He rounded the corner and saw Tony leaning against the outside wall, desperately trying to breathe.
“Hey man,” he started, placing a hand on his shoulder. “It’s me, Rhodey, Tony you gotta breathe for me man.” Tony nodded shakily as he shut his eyes and took in stuttering breaths. “You’re gonna hyperventilate if you do that, here- “Rhodey gently took one of Tony’s hands and placed it on his chest. “Come on, copy me.”
The two stood there as they breathed deeply, in and out. Tony had his eyes squeezed shut and his face was completely pale. Rhodey looked around and saw some workers staring.
“What are you looking at? Get back to work.” He shouted at them before turning back to Tony who was lightly chuckling.
“Now they’re going to think we’re side banging.” He managed to laugh out.
Rhodey rolled his eyes. “Only you would calm down by making a joke.”
Tony smirked at him before straightening up. “Thank you.”
“Tones, you gotta take a break. Peter isn’t going anywhere, go home, see your daughter, take a shower for the love of everything.”
Tony smiled at that. “Ok, rude first of all. But maybe I’ll get some shut-eye next week. I just wanna stay the rest of this week to make sure everything is going smoothly.”
That was probably the best deal he would get so Rhodey just nodded. “Alright fine… Tony, what was this one about? You looked like you were going to pass out if I hadn’t come out here.”
The billionaire stared at the ground. “I had an argument with the kid a while back and… I don’t know. It’s nothing.”
Rhodey searched his face before just shrugging. “Alright fine, but listen, I want you to text me every day and let me know how you’re feeling. If you don’t send me a text or have an attack without telling me, I’ll take your suits and test drive every one of them- “
“You wouldn’t dare- “
“And then I’d keep it because you’re being a dumbass.”
The two grinned at each other and hugged before patting each other’s backs. The next day, Tony found he had fallen asleep in the chair mid-tinkering and put it down before stretching. God, that does NOT feel good. He looked at Peter and saw his eyes open and staring at him. Tony blinked and stood, watching in pure joy that Peter was tracking him. His eyes were following him as he slowly moved across the room.
“Great job, Pete.” Tony whispered.
“Knock knock.” A voice called and he turned to see Pepper.
“Pepper look,” He called as he pulled his wife into the room. “Peter is tracking my movements everywhere I go.” Tony proceeded to move around the room and grinned as Peter followed him. “He’s doing it!”
Pepper watched Tony move slightly and felt her heartache. She opened her mouth to respond but suddenly a few nurses rushed in.
“Mr. Stark? Is everything alright?” One of them asked.
“Look,” Tony repeated as he did precisely what he showed Pepper.
One of the nurses, Rosa, walked forward and shined a light in Peter’s eyes before looking at his vitals and murmuring with the others. They all seemed to agree on something, and Rosa came forward.
“Mr. Stark, Peter is in what we call ‘vegetative state’. He can open his eyes, track movements, blink, but he is still unconscious. He still can’t do anything else on his own, but this is a good sign.” Rosa explained. “He’s recovering at a faster pace than anticipated and we’re hoping, though it is rare, that he will progress through this state and come to full consciousness. That being said, we still don’t know what to expect for when he wakes up.” The nurse smiled at Peter whose eyes had locked onto hers. “I would recommend just giving Peter some time to recover and when his body feels like he is safe again from this trauma he will wake up on his own. He could potentially still hear you though, so maybe talking to him or reading him a book might help his brain functions.”
Tony swallowed hard as he looked at the kid’s body. “Thank you, everyone.”
They all nodded and left, leaving Pepper alone with him. She placed a soothing hand on his back and kissed him on the cheek. “I brought someone who might be able to cheer you up.”
Tony looked over at her and then at the door where Morgan was standing, holding Steve’s hand as she talked to him about her most recent adventure.
“…and then, there was a monster and it attacked my friends!” Morgan exclaimed. “It was so crazy but then I put on daddy’s mask and I beat the monster!”
“That sounds great, Morgan.” Steve chuckled. “You’re so strong you might have to take my place as an Avenger.”
Morgan made a loud gasp. “Really? That would be so cool! I would have the powers to shoot out candy.”
Tony chuckled and walked over. “Hey there kiddo, what’s all this talk of powers? Have you been holding out on me?”
Morgan giggled as she ran towards him. “Daddy!”
He picked her up with ease and hugged her tightly. Yeah, this was exactly what he needed. “I’m so glad you came! I’ve been spending time with Peter over here.”
Morgan peered over her dad’s shoulder and saw Peter’s still body. “Is that my brother?”
Tony felt himself tense up as he placed Morgan to sit on the bottom part of the bed. He looked over at Pepper who was smiling with watery eyes at Morgan. “Y-yeah, this is Peter. You haven’t met him yet.”
“Is he sleeping?” Morgan asked as she poked Peter’s leg.
Tony breathed in harshly through his nose. “Yeah peanut, he’s just taking a little nap.”
“Then I’ll take a nap right next to him, so he doesn’t feel alone!” Morgan said with a smile as she crawled up, positioning herself right next to Peter.
Pepper placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder as he felt tears welling up. “Thank you, little miss, I’m sure Peter loves that very much.”
Morgan yawned as she rolled over and looked at Peter’s face. “Love you 3000 Peter!” she turned her head to look at her dad who was wiping at his eyes. “Love you 3000 too, mommy and daddy.”
Pepper cleared her throat as she smiled and went over to Morgan. “I wish you could stay and keep Peter company, but he has to do some tests later.”
The tiny Stark whined in response as she was picked up, Pepper looking over at Tony who seemed to be in a daze. “Tony, get some rest. I’m going to take Morgan home.”
Tony nodded and walked over, kissing them both on the tops of their head. “See you soon.”
They left the room, leaving Tony alone with Peter once again. He sighed and walked over to the chair placed next to him.
“That was Morgan, by the way. I would’ve done introductions but that requirements more than myself speaking.” Tony joked as he rested his elbows on the bed. “Morgan is really looking forward to meeting you. We got your picture up at the house and I think Morgan thinks we’ve been hiding you. She was so curious about everything and I told her all about you. I told her that you’re a huge nerd who communicates in memes and pop culture references. I figured if I said how brilliant you were you would get a bigger head than me and that’s just not acceptable.” He played with the blanket as he let out an exhausted sigh. “You really are a smart kid and I wish you could just tell me what to do. Being a genius drains my brain and I feel like an old iPhone after a recent update came out. But, just know you got family on this side and they really want to meet you. They need you, Pete.”
Tony looked up and stared at Peter’s face, the breathing tube making a low hissing noise. “I need you.”
Also, a comment asked about what type of amnesia Peter has. I'm not revealing it quite yet, but it is story-amnesia and any medical terms that I mention I have looked up to make sure I'm getting it right. If I'm not correct I apologize, I'm going to be playing around with medical terms for the sake of making a story and trying to keep it realistic but a healing factor makes everything a bit more complicated so I apologize in advance. I will be using a particular form of amnesia that I found when looking up but some of the details of it are going to change. Thanks again and I am loving the comments :)
A week passed and Peter had healed almost completely. The burns weren’t severe anymore and looked like he had gotten sunburned. There were scars, of course, that littered parts of his body, but they continued to put on ointment and other creams to help his skin heal. His face had healed, and the only thing left was a scar that lined the top part of his head and a split bottom lip. His skin was red but was slowly fading and now looked as though he was flushed. Tony only noticed the head detail because every day was spent just staring at the kid, making sure that when he woke up, he would see his mentor in front of him. Tony understood what it felt like to wake up alone and scared. PTSD does wonders on sleep cycles, especially the whole waking up part. It had been a rough couple of days, Peter’s eye-tracking now serving as the sole communication he had with the kid. Sure, it helped, but he wanted to hear things besides the slight moans (which scared the shit out of Tony because yes, due to lack of sleep he thought Peter had turned into a zombie). Those noises and him not having to be on a ventilator were all amazing feats, but he wanted to have his ear talked off by the excited kid he used to know. It felt as though he was staring at a husk of what used to be. Bruce tried to keep his hopes up and Rhodey came sprinting into the room out of breath the second he got word that Tony was having an attack. Pepper would show up with Morgan who continuously brought hand-drawn paintings of Tony, Pepper, Morgan, and Peter holding hands at their house on the lake. Every time she brought a new one, Tony would tape it to the walls next to Peter’s bed in order to liven it up a bit. The large window mixed with the light-colored walls made him feel suffocated and after the staff had come in to aid Peter in stretching his limbs and saw Tony beginning to plan a new painting, they allowed him to tape or construct things onto it. It was Friday and Tony had plans to meet up for dinner with the other Avengers. That meant he would have to see Stephen and that would mean playing nice. He could do that for an evening, so long as he doesn’t mention it. Otherwise Tony couldn’t make any promises. Tony had just finished cleaning Peter’s face, using an extra soft and sensitive material in case of sensory overload.
A knock on the door made Tony put the cloth down. “Come in.”
In came Dr. Cho who had been watching over Peter since the second he came in. She smiled at Peter and nodded towards Tony. “How are you today, Mr. Stark?”
“Just peachy,” Tony responded as he looked back over at the kid’s vitals. “Listen doc, I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, but I was wondering if I could look into his charts and help with the physical therapy and all that.”
There seemed to be a tenseness in the air at that comment. “Mr. Stark I could communicate with my fellow employees, but it may be better to perhaps spend some time out of the room.”
“Not gonna happen,” He quickly responded, standing up. “I’m going to do whatever is needed in order to ensure that he is being cared for. I’m not saying you’re doing a bad job, but some things got to be done by myself.”
Dr. Cho pursed her lips. “Very well. I will let you know as soon as possible whether you can assist in what you have requested.”
Tony in response put his hands in a prayer formation and bowed forward. “Thank you kindly.”
Was he being a douche? Yes. But in his defense, he had been doing hours of research to see what he could to do or what could possibly be keeping Peter asleep, but nothing came up. He rubbed his hands together as he began to put away Peter’s essentials. There wasn’t much time before he was going to meet up with everyone. Now that it was getting closer, Tony paused as he looked down at the cloth. He had left them unintended and Rhodey snuck in to get them knit with “P + T”. Tony wouldn’t admit that he hadn’t laughed that hard in a while. The billionaire just finished his shower and put on a tux, styling his har and choosing an appropriate pair of sunglasses. Half of his sass was contained in his eyes and if the dinner would go as he thought it would go he would need to not look at anyone.
“You know,” Pepper began as she entered the room softly. “Why don’t you ever get all snazzy like this when we’re home?”
“If I did you wouldn’t get any work done. This suit does wonders for my ass.”
Pepper laughed as she gave him a sweet kiss. “I’m really proud of you for leaving the room and going somewhere other than here.”
Tony nibbled at his bottom lip. “About that. Don’t be mad.” He quickly added, placing his hands on her shoulders. “They’re coming here, to that wonderful new dining room they put in. I’m telling you; this new compound gets better with every addition and why not show it off?”
“Tony you’re unbelievable.” Pepper said jokingly with a fond smile. “You honestly couldn’t leave the building.”
“Pep, I tried. I went for a walk outside and had a meltdown when I turned the corner.” Tony explained. “I just can’t deal with this right now. I want to be close by in case he needed something.”
Pepper studied him and just shook her head. “You’ve become such a good father.”
A tightness appeared in Tony’s heart when she said that. Was he really? He let one of them go into a coma and he’s got plenty of time to screw it up with Morgan. But rather than say that, he just smiled. “Thanks, hun. Well, I’m already 45 minutes late so I gotta dash. I gave FRIDAY a detailed schedule for Peter, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.”
His wife nodded. “I’ll follow it don’t worry. I don’t want you getting upset during your first time out of here.” She bit her lip and fixed a hair strand that had fallen out of place. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you? Happy actually volunteered to babysit and I’m beginning to think he actually likes kids.”
He grinned at her. “No, you stay here with the kid, he gets angry if nobody is in the room. I swear, I went to use the bathroom and the kid started moaning ‘Mr. Lonely’.” Tony commented as he picked up his suitcase, glancing over at Peter.
“He’ll be fine, Tony.” Pepper reminded him, going over and kissing him on the cheek. “You can leave him for one night and I’ll look after him. Morgan has volunteered to even read him her favorite bedtime story.”
Tony smiled at that and let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding. “Yeah… yeah, he’ll be okay. Alright, keep me updated, if I don’t get one every hour I’m coming back, and you’re not invited to our next get together.”
Pepper rolled her eyes and gently pushed him out the door at the same time Happy came in carrying Morgan. Tony walked down the hall and fiddled with his cuffs anxiously. This wasn’t a good idea. If he made a break for it now they wouldn’t notice. No, come on Tony, just act like yourself and don’t care. The dining hall was up ahead, and he heard laughter coming from inside. Opening the door abruptly, he saw the team with piles of food in front of them. Scott was telling a story, using pieces of food as characters for it. Steve and Bucky were conversing in hushed tones, but it turned into nothing serious because the next second the two were setting up an arm wrestling competition. Thor was laughing joyously while wrapping an arm around that space guy- what was it? Star Man? Star King? Eh, he’ll figure it out later. The overly muscular guy, Drax, was also laughing with Thor and Tony could honestly see why they would be friends now. That raccoon and talking tree were also sitting at the table and honestly Tony still couldn’t wrap his head around the fact they were invited. Did he invite them? Who knows. His eyes continued scanning the room, ignoring the tiny part of him that was happy to see them all. Clint was sipping on a beer and was deep in a conversation with both Rhodey and Wilson. Tony was surprised to see T’Challa there at the end of the table: he wasn’t happy with the fact that it was with Dr. Strange. Tony swallowed any comment that starting coming up his throat as he just clapped his hands, instantly getting everyone’s attention.
“Sorry I’m late, I was busy debating with the kid. Spoiler alert: I won.” Tony announced as he took a seat next to Wanda and across from Bruce.
“Glad you came Tony.” Steve greeted, tossing him a spring roll while everyone had turned to look at him all at once.
“You know, all of you turning at the same time towards me is both scaring me and making me blush. Don’t know how to feel about it-“Tony paused to pour a glass of whiskey. “That or the cast of Annie and I’m the rich and successful one.”
Wanda turned in her seat to look at him. “I am sorry to hear of Peter.”
Tony quickly waved her off. “It’s alright, rather not talk about it. Let’s discuss other exciting news, anyone wanna share? I’m feeling extra generous.”
Stephen looked down the table and Tony stared right back, sunglasses hiding the absolute hatred behind them.
“I finally found Ant-Man merch.” Scott piped up, possibly noticing the two of them. “But I think the cashier judged me.”
“If it makes you feel better, I’m judging you right now.” Tony said with a smirk.
Everyone chuckled and began to have light conversations, making fun of each other and doing impressions. They were laughing for a solid hour, Tony glancing down at his phone to see if Pepper texted. It dialed down quickly, though, when Bruce mentioned the one topic Tony was nervous about.
“I know we are all here for a nice evening,” Bruce began, gathering everyone’s attention. “But I think we should make an announcement soon. You know, talking about what occurred and… making a memorial for everyone.”
Tony looked down at his hands. “Isn’t it a bit early?”
“It’s been a few weeks.” Bruce said softly. “I just think Natasha should be remembered.”
“I think that’s a great plan, go ahead Bruce. Meanwhile,” Oh no, his voice is rising. “I’m going to be looking after a kid who was burnt to a crisp after someone decided to throw everything out the window.”
Stephen slammed a hand on the table. “He’s alive isn’t he? If you were in his position, Stark, you wouldn’t be here bitching about it every five seconds.”
“Oh, don’t you start on me about bitching!” Tony spat. “Did I ask for you to spare my life over the kid’s? No. You made that choice and now I don’t know what’s going to happen to him.”
Rhodey looked over at his friend. “Tony, come on we don’t have to talk about this here- “
“Why not?” Tony questioned, staring at his friend. “What would you rather we talk about, Colonel? How about the idea of sacrifice, huh? What if we just have a friendly debate about this about what counts and doesn’t count and when certain wizards shouldn’t meddle in particular affairs.”
Star-Lord furrowed his eyebrows. “Which wizard are you walking about? Cause I know some who are just complete a-holes.”
“Can it, Star Boy.” Tony immediately growled out.
“What if,” Stephen started, ignoring the looks of warning from everyone at the table. “We talk about people who don’t think about their actions and always want to be a hero- “
“No, no you’re not allowed to have a say in this topic, Strange,” Tony growled out. “For all I care, you would suggest using talking tree over there for kindling.”
Thor gasped and placed an arm around Groot’s chair. “You dare offend him?”
“I’m tired of this argument with you Stark.” The doctor warned. “I want to help you with Peter but you’re not even giving it thought- “
“Hey guys what if we played Parcheesi or something- “Scott attempted to interrupt but was glared at by both heroes making him just smile anxiously and lean back in his chair.
Tony shook his head as he ripped off his sunglasses. “I know you thought I was crazy for bringing in a kid to a battle, but that doesn’t excuse you from essentially blaming me for all that happened.”
There was silence for a second as Strange stared at him. “I’m not blaming you, Tony. I just want you to understand I had no other choice. I did what needed to be done and you have to accept that.”
“Tough shit, Strange,” Tony responded, jaw set, and eyes narrowed. “How about you have a kid and I’ll take him out for a little test spin.”
“You’re just upset because he wasn’t better than you.”
‘And I wanted you to be better’
“Strange, watch your mouth.” Steve intercepted. “This kid means the world to him and I get that you don’t understand that. The first thing Tony said to me after escaping Titan was that he lost him. Now he has the chance to have him back and all we ask is for a little bit of respect.” The captain looked around the room. “We all lost someone,” he paused his gaze at Clint. “And it hurts like hell, but we’ll get through it.”
Tony tensed his jaw and stood up abruptly. “Watch your goddamn mouth or I’ll repeat what I did last time.”
He left the room afterwards, slipping his sunglasses on to hide the angry tears.
“Tony!” A familiar voice called. He looked behind and saw Steve running after him. “Tony, wait.”
“What Rogers? I appreciate the TED Talk back there, but I don’t need it.”
Steve let out a deep breath. “Listen, I just stood up for what is right.”
“So American of you.”
“I get that you’re hurting,” The star-spangled man said. “Everyone does. Strange I don’t think understands- “
“Or can feel anything in general.” Tony interrupted; jaw still set.
Steve nodded. “Yeah, sure, but what I’m trying to say is you don’t have to go through this alone. I’ve said this to you before but whatever happens we do it together.”
“Not this time, Spangles,” Tony said, clearing his throat. “I deal with this by myself. Peter is my responsibility and I’m gonna make damn well sure that I do my job.” He looked down at the ground and back up. Steve was obviously trying not to show emotion but his eyes told a different story. “I was the only one who believed in him. I treated him like my kid because he didn’t have a father in his life. Dad died when he was just a baby and his uncle was murdered. But yet despite all of that, he kept his spirit. I wouldn’t ever say it to his face, but I’m terrified of screwing up. I can’t let him down.” At this point Tony sighed and took off his glasses, this time not looking at Steve. “You know briefly of my beautiful relationship with Howard and you know when I look in the mirror, sometimes it’s him staring right back at me. It got worse when Morgan was born because I didn’t know what to do. And then, I realized, I just gotta act like I did with the kid. I messed up once, wouldn’t do it again. I’m given a second chance and so far, I’m blowing it.”
“You’re kidding me, right?” Steve questioned, throwing Tony off guard.
“What? At any point did I say psyche?” He shot back.
“You’re never going to be like Howard, Tony. Anyone with eyes can see that. This whole thing, this whole battle; we had no idea what was coming.” The Avenger stated. “That’s in the past now. I know you’re pissed at Strange and you got every reason to, but you still have a chance with Peter. You haven’t left that room in weeks to make sure he wasn’t alone when he woke up. That’s dedication.” There was a pause. “That’s something that Howard never did.”
Steve moved closer and grabbed Tony into a hug. “Don’t sell yourself short Tony.”
Tony smiled softly back at Steve. “I’m too expensive to do that, but I appreciate it, Rogers. I’m, uh, I’m sor- “
The moment was cut short by the sound of shouting down the hallway and alarms ringing everywhere. Tony stared at the ceiling and down the hall where nurses were running into a certain room. He heard the dining-room door open, but he ignored it.
“The kid.” Tony gasped as he sprinted down the hall, not noticing Steve running with him.
There were nurses piling in and Tony could hear someone crying. He tried desperately to move forward when a hand grabbed his arm.
Tony spun around. “Dr. Cho, what the hell is happening? Why are there alarms going off? Is the kid okay? I need to see him, right now.”
“Tony it’s okay, he finally fully woke up and he’s just in a state of panic.”
“He’s awake?” Tony echoed before he was pushing past the nurses and into the room.
He stood there staring as a now awake Peter was sobbing and backing up against the pillows.
“G-get away!” He cried out, tears streaming down his face. “Where am I?!”
“Get out of the away!” Tony boomed out, everyone going silent and stepping back. He walked forward briskly and just stared again.
Peter stared back at him, a look of confusion and sadness. “Please I just want to know where I am.”
“Kid, you’re in the med bay. The old compound got destroyed but a shit ton of people got together to create this place. I know it’s scary but you’re awake and you’re here. You’re… awake.”
Tony stepped forward with his arms opened when Peter began to whimper and shuffle back again.
“Sir, I don’t want to be rude...” Peter spoke, his voice similar to that of a little kid.
No.... please don’t say it.....
“But, who are you?”
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Tony was numb. That was the only feeling he could come up with as he and Peter had a staring contest. But it was different this time. This time, Peter wasn’t following his every move because he was in a coma, he was following his every move because he was scared of him. What is he supposed to do now? He can’t hug him, can’t tell him how much he’s missed him, can’t ask him why he took the gauntlet.
“Kid- “Tony uttered out; his voice laced with pain. Was his chest hurting?
Pepper quickly placed a hand on his shoulder. “Tony, you gotta breathe.”
But all he could do is shake his head as he suddenly stood up, still looking at Peter who blinked at him with tears still running down his face. “I…. I, uh, I gotta.”
Tony didn’t even finish his sentence before he left the room. No no no no. This couldn’t be happening. They said he would be okay.
There was no way he forgot about him. They told him that Peter would lose some memories.
He couldn’t have forgotten him, after everything they had gone through. Tony was stopped by a hand on his shoulder before he was pulled back.
“Tony come on, we’re gonna go into this room behind you.” Rhodey said calmly.
He let himself be lead into the room as he plopped down on the bed, staring at the ground in shock. “He… he didn’t recognize me.”
“Tony,” A worried voice called as the door opened to reveal Pepper. “Honey, I’m so sorry.”
“Mr. Stark?” Dr. Cho questioned as she entered the room too.
God why are there so many people?!
“What.” Tony stated, still not moving and instead beginning to breathe heavily.
“Mr. Stark, we really weren’t sure as to what would occur when Peter woke up. He may just be confused from just waking up, but I apologize nonetheless.” Dr. Cho said, her eyes filled with sympathy.
“Tony, you gotta do your breathing exercise- “Rhodey spoke softly but was cut off by rage.
“FUCK MY BREATHING!” Tony suddenly yelled. “Fuck all of this.”
He felt himself begin to crumble and he looked at Rhodey who instantly understood. “Yo, can you both give us a moment?”
Pepper stared at Tony who in return gave her a shaky peace sign before she slowly left the room. Dr. Cho followed Pepper, opening her mouth before shutting it again and leaving. Tony gripped his hair as he just looked down at the tile.
“Rhodey he just stared at me like I was nobody. Like he had never seen me before in his life.” Tony whispered.
The colonel clicked his tongue as he walked over to the bed. “Tony I get it, alright? It hurts like Hell and you have every reason to be upset. What you can’t do, however, is run out of the room like that.” Rhodey went silent to think of how he could word this without setting his friend off. “Peter is still awake and conscious, but he isn’t himself. He’s vulnerable and scared. He doesn’t know what is going on and you suddenly getting up and not talking to him doesn’t help.” James dragged a hand down his face as he sat next to Tony. “It’s going to be rough. It’s going to hurt like hell and you’re going to have to keep reminding yourself that it is still Peter, but different. You’re just going to have to start back at square one and be there for him.”
Tony let out a choppy breath. “How am I supposed to be there for someone who doesn’t even know who I am? He’s going to get one glance at the internet and it’s going to freak him out.” He turned to look at Rhodey. “You know, he fanboys like crazy but he’s one of the few people that treats me like I’m something more than that.”
They both were silent before Rhodey stood up slowly. “Fix it, Tony. Go in there and act like this is the kid you’ve been watching over for weeks. I’m sure you’ll realize that it’s still the same Peter, even if he can’t remember.”
Tony swallowed thickly as he controlled his breathing. He was right, Peter needed him now more than ever. Poor kid probably thinks he got kidnapped or something. Tony plastered on a small smile. “You ever think about being a therapist?”
“With your pain in the ass? I’m gonna start considering it.” Rhodey responded with a grin.
Tony got up and slowly walked out the door, locking eyes with Pepper who was holding a wide eyed Morgan. The man stopped to kiss them both on the top of the head to let them know that it’s alright. He turned and walked into Peter’s room, the kid sitting up and blinking owlishly at Dr. Cho.
“… and we think that it’s best if you just take it easy for another week. You just woke up and are going to need time to process, well, everything.” Dr. Cho explained. “But you’re safe, that’s the most important thing.”
Peter looked down at the sheets that he had been clutching onto. “And my memories? When will I remember who I am? Who those people are? I don’t like that I hurt them…”
“You didn’t hurt anyone, Pete.” Tony abruptly spoke. “We just didn’t expect this to happen.”
Peter’s head snapped up and looked over. “Tony, right?”
Wow. He didn’t expect that to hurt. All those times pleading Peter to call him Tony instead of Mr. Stark now felt like a harsh slap across the face.
“Yeah, that’s me kiddo.” Tony said, walking forward and perching on the bottom of the bed. “I’m sorry I ran out of here. I just needed a minute.”
Peter studied Tony’s face as he nodded. “You… your voice. I remember your voice.”
A puzzled look appeared on his face as well as Dr. Cho’s. “My voice? How so, kid?”
“When I was sleeping- or rather in my coma, I heard a voice all the time. It was really comforting and every time I heard it I felt safe.” Peter looked at Tony with a small smile. “Now that I’m hearing it, it was yours. You were… reading to me, or telling me these stories. At one point you started debating topics with me and I would answer but no sound would come out. Problem is, I can’t remember everything you said but, I’m glad you were here. It felt like I was alive.”
Tony felt a lump in his throat as he gave him a smile in return. “That’s great to hear. I wanted to make sure you didn’t feel alone.”
“We actually had to force Tony to leave the hospital because he refused to leave this room.” Dr. Cho commented, earning a blushing glare from the man in question.
“Are you my dad?” Peter suddenly blurted.
Tony went wide eyed. “Uh, well, no I’m not, Pete. But you and I spend almost every waking hour together. That, or you’re with May.”
“May,” Peter echoed. “She’s the friendly crying one that came in and sat with me a couple minutes ago. May said she was my aunt, but I don’t understand why my parents aren’t here.”
Dr. Cho looked over at Tony who gave her a look to say that maybe she should come back later. “Peter, I’m going to let you sit with Mr. Stark and the two of you can catch up. I’ll be back later to do some tests.”
Peter nodded. “Thank you, Dr. Cho.”
Tony waited until the doctor left before he looked back at Peter. “Kid, I’m gonna tell you about my father first.”
The boy frowned in confusion at first. “Why? Have I met him?”
“Thank God, no,” Tony mumbled but corrected his voice quickly. “No, but he was tough. He didn’t ever congratulate me or really acknowledge anything I did. It was like talking to a brick wall half the time.” The corner of Peter’s mouth quirked up at that. “I did everything that he asked me too, I entered MIT at 14 and excelled after years of him ignoring me: valuing his projects over his own family.” Okay Tony, tone down the bitterness. “When I was 21… well, kid, my parents were killed. I never really processed that grief and ended up using- “
Tony froze. His grief; that was the answer. Holy shit. That was it. Maybe that could work. Maybe that 600 million dollar piece of equipment could actually do something worthwhile. Shit, how long as he been silent?
“Tony?” a quiet voice asked. “Are you okay?”
Tony’s eyes snapped up and he smiled. “Yeah, Pete, I’m alright.” A ding went off and Tony looked down at his phone to see a message from May. “Alright kid, my time is up. I gotta let Aunt Hottie- I mean, May, have a turn with you.”
Peter nodded and looked up at Tony. “Sir, will you come back?”
‘I don’t want to go’
“Of course, Peter, always.” Tony said, ruffling the kid’s hair. “We can chat all night, just don’t tell anyone I said that or I’ll get in trouble.”
The boy gave him a small smile but his forehead was creased with worry. “Okay.”
Tony opened his mouth to say something, but the door behind him opened to reveal May. “Alright Tony, stop hogging Peter all to yourself.”
The genius grinned as he patted May on the shoulder. “He’s just too fun to leave.”
May rolled her eyes as he left the room. She looked at Peter, his eyes still wet with tears. He’s hurting so much and doesn’t understand why. She has to be strong, though, for Peter.
“So, did you and Mr. Stark have a nice chat?” May asked, sitting next to Peter.
He nodded but remained silent. That was odd. The chatter box she knew would be talking all about what the two of them were up to. Every time he went to visit Tony, he would return to the apartment babbling about the cool new tech they had designed.
“And then Mr. Stark said, ‘wow Pete, that’s really smart I never thought of that’! Okay… maybe he didn’t call me smart; but he was thinking it!” Peter had said with a wide grin.
May smiled to herself and blinked away the flashback as she placed a cautious hand on his knee. “Peter I know this is overwhelming, and I know that you feel lost and want to know everything. But it’s going to take some time. If I told you every single thing about your life, it would be way too much. So, you want to make a deal with me and I can tell you five things about yourself every day?”
Peter looked up at that. “That… that sounds nice May. Do you think Tony would want to do that with me too?”
The thought of Peter asking Tony questions about his life brought a smile to her face. “I think he would love that, Peter.”
“Okay, can we start now?” Peter asked, eyes hopeful.
“I guess we can, sure,” May started. “Alright number one, you are 16 and go to a tech school called Midtown. You are incredibly smart and I’m not saying that to boost your ego. Tony chose you as his intern specifically for that.”
“His intern?” Peter echoed. “What, is he a scientist or something?”
May smirked, Tony was going to kill him for this. “Well Tony apparently once called himself a genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist. But you didn’t hear that from me.”
Peter smiled at that. “He seems really smart. I heard him talk to me about the different techs and all of this science stuff but every time I try to think of stuff like that my brain becomes all fuzzy.”
“Don’t worry, it’ll come back to you.” May soothed. “You’re able to become whatever you want to be.”
May felt herself choke up when Peter’s eyes filled with tears. “Yeah…I guess I can.”
Meanwhile, Tony was sprinting throughout the compound trying to find one Bruce Banner. Where the hell could he possibly be?! He had checked the dining room, the break rooms, even the bathrooms. As he traveled down the stairs to the lab, he saw the man in question eating a taco.
There he was, half Hulk and all, eating.
“Oh. My. God.” Tony grumbled out as he walked forward, Bruce looking up. “I have been trying to find you for almost an hour and you’ve been sitting here the whole time. I am this close to canceling you on Twitter.”
Bruce laughed at that. “Sorry Tony, I was taking a break.”
“It’s fine,” Tony mumbled. “Listen, I had a thought, about helping Peter through getting his memories back. We could potentially see what’s going on inside his head.”
Bruce frowned. “What? Like in Inside Out?”
“What?” Tony murmured. “I mean, I guess, but that’s besides the point. Point is, do you remember BARF?”
Hi everyone! Thanks again for the huge response: this chapter was more so a filler chapter before I really start diving in on Peter getting his memories back. I apologize if it was kinda awkward and all over the place but yeah, these next few chapters will be a bit more intense and I may speed up the time. Anyways if you have any ideas or comments, please share them! All the love and stay healthy my friends
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The next few days were filled with absolute insanity. That was the only way it could be described. Peter was making progress for sure. His burns and injuries had been so severe and combined with the coma he wasn’t really able to walk. Tony had volunteered to help him with this obstacle due to the fact he had been helping him with his physical therapy. They would go for slow shuffles, Peter’s hand tightly clenching onto his arm as they moved down the hall. Tony would be the one talking for a majority of it with Peter nodding or laughing softly as some of the things he said. His heart ached for the kid. Even though he didn’t remember everything from before the snap, it was obvious that Peter knew he could do more than just walk. One day it was particularly rough. Tony entered the room, a water bottle in hand and he knocked softly on the door before walking in.
“Alright Pete, you ready?” Tony questioned, his eyes landing on his form buried underneath blankets. “I’m guessing not because you’re standing horizontally.”
Peter rolled slightly to glance at Tony. “I don’t want to.”
Tony rolled his eyes and walked closer. “Come on, Peter. You know we have to do this every day considering you were asleep for weeks.”
There was silence on the other end as Peter pulled the blankets over his head. “I’m not going to today.”
Okay, something was up. The kid had been quiet the past few days and Tony couldn’t figure out why. He knew that the whole memory ordeal was upsetting him, and Tony was desperately trying to figure out a way for BARF to work. Him and Bruce were spending hours in the lab, figuring out how on Earth they could pull memories from Peter’s hippocampus. If it was actually damaged as the doctors were saying, would he be able to pull anything from that? There had to be a way. Anytime Tony was talking to the kid, he kept having to remind himself that their inside jokes and past journeys together wouldn’t mean anything to this Peter.
“Tony, I know this is hard,” Bruce had spoken as Tony sat in the workshop with his hands covering his face. “But you’re doing the best you can, and I think Peter knows that.”
Yeah. Sure. Tony was trying his best. His thoughts were really bitter lately, taking every single struggle and manifesting them into self-hatred. Deep down, he knew that it wasn’t his fault but a part of him was still holding onto that idea that it really was his fault. Any time he thought about the events that took place with the gauntlet, pure rage flooded through him and images of Strange would appear in his head. Ever since the fight in the dining room, Strange had gone back to his temple. Tony was more than okay with that and felt slightly better that he wouldn’t have to worry about getting completely pissed off the second he saw him. Now, he could just focus on Peter and his family. Morgan had been a lot of help. She wasn’t allowed to meet Peter yet since he was afraid that it would all be too much at once. He even told MJ and Ned that they couldn’t visit; not until Peter was feeling better. Peter would have days where seeing anyone just made him emotionally drained. With his heightened senses, everything was ten times more extreme and the kid didn’t even know it. The last step would be to tell him that he had powers so until then it was just a matter of solving the little things: just like what was happening now.
“Pete you’re not going to get better if you just lay in bed all day.” Tony explained, trying to keep himself calm.
A scoff left the boy’s mouth. “Oh, like getting out of bed is going to make me completely fine?”
Breathe in and out Tony, the kid isn’t trying to be like this on purpose. “Well, no, but wouldn’t you rather start to relearn everything and try to get all of this back to normal?”
“I think I’ve learned enough.” Peter’s voice suddenly snapped.
Tony frowned in confusion. “What are you talking about, kid?”
“May’s been telling me five things every day about my life,” Peter said, sitting up in bed and staring Tony down, tears in his eyes. “But everything she says feels like a story I’m being told and not my actual life. You don’t get how scary it is to find out you already lost three people. Where was I when all that happened? Uncle Ben was killed and I… I wasn’t there, Tony.” The kid wiped his eyes with his sleeve. “And you… you’ve been here with me this whole time and I don’t even know you. I don’t even know myself!”
Tony felt his chest constrict at seeing Peter looking so lost. He walked over and sat next to him on the bed, wrapping a comforting arm around his shoulders. “Kid, there was nothing you could do. They all loved you so much and your safety was their number one priority. If May hadn’t taken you in, I wouldn’t have met you and even though you use way too many pop-culture references, my life changed for the better.”
Peter sniffled and looked over at him. “It still isn’t the same. I… I don’t even know who you are, I don’t know who I am. I don’t remember anything we would do together and I just- “
The kid took in a shuttering breath to stop himself from crying and Tony swallowed thickly as he rubbed his back. “I’ll tell you what, you go for that walk down the hall with me and I’ll share five things too. But it’ll be about us and all the nonsense we got up to.”
Peter looked down at his shoes as he wiped his nose. “I-I guess that would be ok.”
Tony clapped his hands together. “Great, we’ll start with one as soon as you get your butt out of bed.”
The kid let out a small groan as he rolled over and stood up, his wide eyes looking over at Tony. “Go ahead. It’s your turn.”
The corners of Tony’s mouth quirked up at that. “Alright, one. When we first met, I was sitting in your apartment talking to your aunt and you had no idea that I knew who you were.”
“That’s kinda creepy; my aunt just let in some middle aged man?” Peter said with a smirk, walking next to Tony as they left the hospital room,
A laugh left Tony’s mouth abruptly. “Yeah, but I wasn’t just some man. And listen I’m totally in my 20’s- “
“Not with that grey hair,” Peter muttered to which Tony wrapped an arm around his shoulders and ruffled his hair.
“You better watch it; before this you wouldn’t sass me- “Tony stopped speaking abruptly at the disgruntled look on Peter’s face. “Sorry, I didn’t mean- “good job Tony. “What I was trying to say, is your aunt knew me as Tony Stark because not to toot my own horn, but also to flex a bit, everyone knows who I am. Point is, the second you walked in you just stared at me and stuttered out my name with complete confusion. You almost blew my cover.”
Peter smiled softly at that. “What were you even doing then, checking in on someone like me?”
“Someone like you?” Tony echoed. “Kid, you are amazing. You’re brilliant and I went looking for you because you’re special.”
The roll of Peter’s eyes made Tony almost laugh out loud. “I’m not that special. At least, I don’t think I was.”
“Okay, fine, number two,” Tony paused for a moment and went through his memories. He couldn’t bring up anything with Spiderman without freaking the kid out and resulting in a bunch of new emotions and an abundance of questions as well. “There was this one time, where I had scolded you for putting yourself in harm’s way. I was mad because I knew that if anything happened to you….” Tony cleared his throat. “If anything happened to you, I knew that it would be on me.” Past him and Peter began to circle around his head. Now was not the time to have a panic attack. “So, I took away something to make you think and realize that you could do anything you wanted without it. Later on, I offered it back to you and you turned me down. I was shocked…. I was really shocked… but you turned it down and you proved yourself. You showed me how strong you could be.”
Tony wasn’t aware he had stopped walking when a concerned hand squeezed his arm. “Mr. Stark?”
Oh god. He called him it. He had been calling him Tony for so long. Were his knees buckling?
“Mr. Stark! Oh my god, are you okay? You fell- Help! Somebody, help!” Peter’s terrified voice called out, his hands on his arms.
‘Mr. Stark I don’t wanna go’
“Mr. Colonel Rhodes- please, I don’t know what happened we were fine, and he just went rigid, I-I don’t know- “A sob left Peter’s throat.
“It’s alright kid,” wait is that Rhodey? Is he helping him up? “I got it, okay? Look, there’s Pepper go see her.”
Tony finally opened his eyes and saw the ceiling of the hospital first. “Wha- “
“Shut your face Tony, you had an attack.” Rhodey calmly stated as he helped him up into a seated position.
“’m fine.” Tony managed to mutter out as he blinked the haziness away. “it was just a small attack.”
“Tony you collapsed, you dipshit.” Rhodey said as he stood, pulling the other man up with him. “I haven’t seen it be this bad in a while.”
“The kid called me… Mr. Stark.” Tony said sheepishly, he looked over and saw Pepper holding Peter close, carding her fingers through his hair with tears running down his face.
A chuckle left James’ mouth. “After all this time of you wanting him to call you Tony, you have a panic attack over him calling you the opposite.”
Tony smiled and let out a laugh. “Ironic, huh? Alright, I gotta go apologize to Peter. I don’t want his first new memories to be traumatizing. I have enough trauma for the two of us.”
Rhodey smacked Tony in the back at that and smirked as he stood and watched, making sure his friend didn’t break. The older man looked at Pepper who smiled softly and calmly let go of Peter who stared at Tony with concern.
“You don’t have to stare at me like I told you Santa isn’t real.”
“He’s not?” Peter breathed out, eyes widening.
Guilt and complete dread filled Tony’s chest. “Shit, kid did you- “
“I’m kidding.” Peter said, bursting out laughing.
Tony deflated and smirked as he yanked the kid forward, giving him a soft noogie. “Don’t pull that on me, you troublemaker.”
Peter smiled back and Tony couldn’t help but return it. “I won’t… are you okay though? You really scared me.”
A sigh left Tony’s mouth. “I’ve been through a lot, I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve lost a lot. And, sometimes, it comes back. But this one I was able to bounce back quicker than normal.”
“Did I set if off?”
Peter’s voice was soft, and he could see the sadness in the kid’s eyes. “No, no, no. Peter, I just remember moments that we shared, and some moments weren’t all that good.”
There was silence between the two of them and Tony desperately searched the kid’s eyes. Peter looked up at him, a sniffle leaving him. “What if you told me about them? Would that help?”
Tony chewed on the inside of his cheek. “I can’t do that Pete. You’ll learn about it in time but if I can save you from the pain of it now, that will help.”
Hesitation was etched across Peter’s face, but he finally nodded. “Okay, as long as you promise to talk to me.”
Tony smiled. “Gosh, you have the wisdom of a monk. Now, how about we continue that walk?”
Peter smiled back. “If I recall, you were talking about me refusing something?”
“Ah, right, well let’s go to number three.” Tony said softly, wrapping his arm back around the boy’s shoulders. “This one time you were leaving my car, right? And I opened the door for you, but you thought I was going in for a hug….”
An hour flew by, Tony and Peter walking around the perimeter of the compound, their laughs echoing off the walls as he shared memories. It for sure become more than five memories, but Tony didn’t care. The kid was relaxed, and Tony kept having to remind himself of the reality at hand. Sure, they were talking and joking just like normal, but a part of him was still missing. If Tony made an inside joke, Peter would just smile softly but his eyes would dim a little. There would be moments where Tony would reference moments of Peter’s Spiderman adventures and would have to take a moment and figure out how to reword it. He felt as though he was walking on eggshells but thankfully Peter didn’t seem to catch on. They were just walking in the door when Tony heard someone running towards him. He instantly stood in front of Peter, body tense, when Bruce came running around the corner.
“Tony!” He called, his pants loud and echoing as he tried to catch his breath. “Where the Hell have you been? I figured it out- I got BARF up and running and I added some additional programming to help a damaged hippocampus.”
Tony’s eyes widened. “What? You did? That’s- holy shit!” He glanced behind and saw Peter looking up at him with eyes full of curiosity. He gave him a smile in return.
Bruce nodded. “I think it could really help; that is if Peter’s okay with it and we gotta get May’s permission. Don’t worry, I already called May and she’s on her way right now.”
Relief flooded through Tony’s chest: he had spoken barely any words to May since this whole situation and knew that something like this would be rough. “Good, uh, lemme talk to the kid, I’ll meet you downstairs.”
Bruce nodded, sending a polite smile in Peter’s direction before heading back to the lab. Tony let out the breath he was holding and turned to the kid.
“Let’s go talk in your room, alright?”
Peter nodded and followed Tony down the hall. He saw Pepper talking with one of the nurses, Morgan’s hand grasping hers. The little girl turned and saw Tony, her smile brightening as she let go of Pepper’s hand to run towards him.
“Daddy!” She cried, running into his open arms as he lifted her up. “Where have you been?”
He chuckled as he kissed her on the cheek. “Listen little lady, daddy’s been busy being a superhero!”
Morgan’s mouth dropped open. “Why couldn’t I come?” Her eyes drifted over to Peter’s, who was watching her with a fond smile. “Peter?”
Peter’s eyes widened as he looked between Tony and Morgan. “Uh… yes. H-hi, I’m Peter.”
She giggled, arms reaching out to Peter. “You finally woke up! Daddy told me he was waiting for you to wake up and I couldn’t see my brother.”
Tony looked over at Peter, whose eyes were beginning to fill with tears. “I-I’m sorry, I wish I was awake too. But, uh, I’m here now… your brother’s here.”
She let out a squeal and wiggled around as Tony looked at Pepper, her eyes watching the whole scene. She walked over and picked up Morgan as she sensed that Peter was overwhelmed.
“Say goodbye to Peter, Morgan.” Pepper said softly.
“But I wanted to cuddle.” Morgan whined, a pout forming on her face.
Suddenly, much to both Tony and Pepper’s surprise, Peter walked forward and held her hand, a tear slipping down. “We can cuddle next time, okay?”
Morgan smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Okay! I love you 3000.”
Peter stiffened but hugged her back. “I love you 3000, too.”
Pepper finally walked away with Morgan, kissing Tony on the cheek as she left. Tony had felt panic rise in his chest the moment Morgan uttered those three words and when Peter said it back… They walked silently into the room and Peter sat abruptly on the bed.
“Kid, you alright- “
“Did I know her?” Peter questioned.
Tony blinked in surprise. “Before this?”
Peter swallowed thickly and looked up, tears falling freely down his face. “Should I have remembered her?”
Pain washed through Tony’s body as he sat down next to him, cautiously putting a comforting arm around him before pulling him into a full hug.
“No, you never got a chance to meet her.” Tony quietly explained. “Things happened in the past, things that I can’t explain to you right now. Even if you woke up with all your memories, you wouldn’t have recognized her anyways.”
Tony heard a sniffle as Peter tightened his hug. He rubbed his back calmly as they sat there in silence. Eventually, they pulled back and Peter wiped his eyes.
Tony smiled. “Alright, you okay?”
Peter nodded when there was a knock on the door. They looked over and saw May, her smile brightening the room as she walked in.
“How are you doing, Peter?” May asked, going over to envelope him in a hug.
“I’ve been okay. Tony and I went for a walk and talked for a bit.” Peter mumbled into her shoulder.
She pulled back and glanced at Tony. “Hope it was all good talk. I brought you a sandwich from Delmar’s, Tony because I was feeling extra generous I got you a sub too.”
Tony smiled at that. “You’re too kind to me.”
“Mhm, you better be kind to me too.” She sat down as they all began unwrapping their food. “So, you called me in to talk about something? Bruce was not specific and said something about ‘magic glasses’. Care to explain?”
Tony snorted as he bit into the sandwich. “A-plus explanation there. Alright, so, back when I gave a speech at MIT, I used this program called BARF which means Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing.” May cocked an eyebrow and even Peter cocked his head in confusion. “Okay, basically it hijacks the hippocampus and clears traumatic memories. I used to use it to cope with my parents. Bruce and I have been experimenting on trying to figure out a way that could pull some of Peter’s memories from deep inside.”
“But how?” May questioned, taking a bite herself. “The doctors said it was damaged, that his amnesia may be anterograde or retrograde.”
“Well, Peter’s healing is different,” Tony gave May a look to ensure that she wouldn’t specify what that meant. “We might be able to aid Peter in his healing and potentially fix his amnesia by forcing into his hippocampus and pull certain memories forward. If he starts remembering small moments, it can help with the overall picture.”
“But he doesn’t remember now,” May stated. “How can we grab memories that aren’t even there?”
“Thankfully you have two brilliant and dashingly handsome scientists, that managed to bypass that whole ordeal. What if we had managed to find a way to go into his unconscious mind or even subconscious mind and pull those forward into the hippocampus? It’s confusing, I know, it’s much easier to explain in equations but this is the best way to explain it.”
May chewed on her lip as she looked at Peter. He was staring at his hands that were folded in his lap. “And what, you’re asking for my permission?”
Tony nodded. “Yes, I want yours and Peter’s.”
“Will you be disappointed?”
Tony looked at Peter, his quiet voice barely audible. “No, kid, of course not. I will never be disappointed in you. I think you should try it, yes, but I don’t want you to feel discouraged if it doesn’t work.”
Peter was silent, glancing over at May. “What do you think?”
May smiled and gently caressed his face. “I think that we could give it a shot. No matter what, we’re in this together. Because I larb you Peter.”
Peter smiled, confusion on his face. “Larb?”
Tony almost missed the look of sadness that passed quickly over May’s face. She just smiled again and kissed him on the forehead. “It’s just our little way of saying we love each other.”
“Oh, okay. Then, I larb you too May.” Peter said, a grin on his face.
Tony smiled as they both stood up and hugged each other. Peter turned in her embrace and looked at Tony. He extended an arm out and gave him a dorky little smile. Tony returned the grin and walked forward to join the hug.
“So, we doing this?”
Peter smiled and nuzzled against him. “We’re doing this.”
Thank you all again for all the support! I apologize for the delay but don't worry I'll be more frequent with the updates! Love ya all 3000
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Beep… Beep…Beep… Tony glanced over at the heart monitor as Bruce began to apply the pads on Peter’s chest. His own heart was beating rapidly as he calmly smiled at Peter. The kid kept his eyes completely on Tony’s, even as Bruce applied more and more wires.
“Is this all necessary?” Peter stuttered out.
Tony smirked as the kid wrinkled his nose, Bruce applying another PEMF device onto his body. “We gotta make sure you’re okay. I’m not gonna lie to you, kid, it’s going to emotionally drain you. We don’t know how your body is going to react whatsoever, so we need to take every precaution.”
Peter shot a glance over to Bruce who was now hooking up the wires onto the computer. “I-I guess. It’s just, what exactly is this program? What is it going to do? Am I going to be alright? Am- “
“Peter,” Tony interrupted, looking over to see his heart rate had picked up. “You’re starting to have a panic attack.”
“I have those?” Peter asked quietly, taking a shuttering breath.
A chuckle left Tony’s mouth as he walked over, crouching so he was eye level. “Everyone has them, Peter. You’re prone to them and usually it happens when you’re asleep.” A fond smile stretched on his face. “FRIDAY alerts me whenever they happen and I would rub your scalp to get you to go back to sleep.”
Peter had calmed his breathing down and was just staring at Tony, his expression unreadable. “You would?”
Tony chuckled and nodded. “You’re prone to nightmares and your anxiety spikes up. I do it every time it happens and when you’re awake and have attacks I do the same.”
“Why do you treat me so nicely?” Peter asked quietly.
Tony went silent for a moment. He seemed so… sad. Peter was just looking at him, trying to study him as best as he could. Emotions were flashing through his eyes as he took in a shuttering breath.
Tony calmly placed a hand on Peter’s knee. “You wanna tell me what’s really bothering you?”
Silence passed between them for a moment. Peter looked down at the hand on his knee. “I…I know that past me and you had a really close relationship and I feel like I took that away from you. And, if this doesn’t work, you’re just stuck with boring and confused me.” A sniffle echoed across the room and a teardrop fell down onto Tony’s hand. “I guess what’s really bothering me, is I feel like I’m living someone else’s life.”
Tony let out a low sigh. Gosh this kid was killing him. “Peter, I want you to listen to me very carefully. You are not replacing anyone, you’re just a new version of yourself. Screw the old memories, we can make new ones. You and I are just as close as before, it doesn’t matter if this works or not. Would I be happy that you gained your memories back? Of course. Will I be upset? No. I’m just happy that you’re here and you’re alive. That’s all that matters.”
The second he was done talking, Peter launched himself forward and enveloped the older man in a hug. Unfortunately, Tony had been crouched and fell backwards, letting out a chuckle. Peter squeezed him once before letting go and sitting up, untangling himself from the wires that were still attached to his body.
“Sorry Dr. Banner,” Peter called, a blush rising on his cheeks as he sat back on the chair.
Bruce just shook his head with a smile. “Don’t worry, I understand.”
Tony walked back over and looked at him. “You better?”
Peter just smiled softly. “Yeah… thank you Tony.”
The amount of times that Tony has smiled these past few weeks was making his jaw ache. “Of course.”
“Alright, you ready Peter?” Tony asked softly.
Peter nodded hesitantly, his eyes wide and hands still shaking from his past panic attack. There was a look between the two of them and as Tony turned to walk back to the computer with Bruce, a hand struck out and grabbed onto Tony’s.
“Can... can you stay?” Peter asked, voice impossibly small.
Tony smiled softly and pulled up a stool to sit next to Peter. “I’m right here.”
Peter physically relaxed, his body slumping into the chair as he let out a breath. “I can do this. I can do this… right?”
Tony smiled. “I don’t know if I can legally answer that, but I think you can.”
Peter let out a huff as Tony turned and gave a thumbs up. Bruce returned the thumbs up and began turning on switches. Tony turned back to Peter, locking eyes as he placed the glasses on the boy’s face. Peter blinked at him when the blue lighting turned on, indicating that BARF was activated and ready to go. Tony grabbed the kid’s shaking hand and squeezed it once.
“Alright, Peter, I want you to shut your eyes and count back from ten.”
Peter nodded and began mumbling the numbers under his breath. His eyes were squeezed shut and as he hit zero, his forehead creased. Tony looked behind Peter at a tv. There was darkness at first, the sound of Peter’s breathing echoing around the room. Then, there was a crackle. Tony jerked up slightly, leaning forward to look closer. There was still darkness but now it had specks of light. There was a groaning that echoed in on the screen. What was happening? Then there was panicked mutterings. Tony’s brow furrowed in confusion as he watched the screen get clearer; like something was taken off.
“O-oh god…” A voice echoed. The screen was hazy and pieces of it were still dark, but it looked as though there was rubble surrounding him.
Tony’s stomach dropped when he heard past Peter whimpering and crying. “Okay okay ready?” That was followed by a loud scream, like he was trying to lift something.
Tony looked back at Bruce who looked equally as shocked. The men were both yanked back into attention when another scream echoed. “HELLO? H- Hello! Pl- hEY! Please… I-I’m down here!”
Sobs were immersed through every word that past Peter uttered. He was terrified in this memory and was sobbing for someone to help him. God, what had happened? What did Tony not know?
“I’m stuck- I’M STUCK, please,” a harsh inhale and sob came out. “I-I can’t move!”
Tony swallowed thickly and wiped away the tears that were beginning to rise in his eyes. “Bruce- Bruce I don’t think we should continue- “
Then, there it was. The memory was clearing up and instead of darkness, there was Peter. His face was bruised and it looked like he was trapped under a building. His face was covered in dirt and his eyes were filled with tears. He was staring at his own reflection and there, in the puddle, was his old dorky Spiderman costume. Tony’s chest tightened. He never knew. He never knew that when Peter was fighting the vulture- oh my god, the kid was stuck. He was scared- terrified and stuck under a goddamn building. And Tony never knew.
“Stop it.” Tony suddenly spoke.
“Come on, Peter.” The reflection voiced as his body began to strain.
“Bruce, cut it NOW.” Tony suddenly shouted, the doctor instantly powering it down and resulting in Peter sitting up, a loud inhale echoing around the room.
The second Peter was awake he began sobbing, his body shaking as he cried. “W-what was that?! It was so dark- Tony oh my god, what the- “
Peter broke down again as Tony pulled him into a embrace, stroking his hair and shushing him. “It’s okay, Peter, come on breathe in and out…. I didn’t know…. Shit, I didn’t know.”
His small body shook as he continued to cry. “I-I felt so lost. I could feel the emotion- I could feel everything. He was so scared. He was having a panic attack and I felt it and I couldn’t control it and it hurt and- “
“Peter, it’s okay. You’re safe. You’re here. You’re not there anymore.” Tony soothed, rubbing his back.
Bruce had walked over at this point, eyes filled with worry as he began to pull off the pads on Peter’s body. But before he could, Peter pulled back with his eyes red.
“N-no, I wanna…. I wanna go again. I want to know, I can’t give up.”
Tony pinched the bridge of his nose before looking back at Peter. “Kid, I don’t know. That was a lot. That…. Even I didn’t know about that memory. We can continue tomorrow- “
“Mr. Stark,” Peter suddenly pleaded. “I want to go again. That… that was one of his memories, right?”
Tony cleared his throat, turning slightly to wipe away the tear that was threatening to fall down. “I guess so, kid, I guess so.”
“Then please, we’re so close- “
But before Peter could continue he began sobbing again, causing Tony to look at Bruce and give him a nod. Together they began taking off the wires, trying to calm Peter down every time he tried to stop them, saying they were ‘so close’. By the end of it, Tony had just picked up Peter and carried him back to the room, the kid’s hand clenching his shirt and crying into it. After Tony had put Peter down, the kid had drained himself to the point of exhaustion and fell asleep. Tony left the room and realized how badly he was shaking. His hands were basically vibrating and every part of him felt numb. How could he have not known? Why would Peter have kept that from him? If he hadn’t taken away the suit, he wouldn’t have been stuck under that damn building. He didn’t realize that he was simply standing outside the room, staring at the floor until a gentle hand touched his arm. His head flew up and he looked to see someone completely unexpected.
The captain in question just smirked and nodded. “You alright, Tony? You walked out and seemed like you saw a ghost.”
Tony nodded, too drained to come up with a comeback. “We were trying a new way to bring back Peter’s memories. I had used it in the past to help with traumatic memories and was able to fix them by wearing those glasses. I didn’t stop to think that it would bring up those moments in Peter’s mind but since he has no other memories, he didn’t know how to fix it.” A bitter laugh left Tony’s mouth. “In summary I traumatized him.”
Steve nodded in thought, eyebrows knit together. “You couldn’t have known that his first memory would be traumatic. Nobody could’ve seen that coming. I wouldn’t give up on this idea you got going. I mean, take Bucky for example. I know the two of you aren’t on good terms, but he has had his fair share of trauma. With him though, it was words that would trigger it.”
He has a point.
Tony froze and clicked his fingers before pointing at the super soldier. “That’s it. Words.”
Steve frowned. “Yeah, words.”
He shook his head. “No- Yes I understand you meant words, but what if when Peter is going through the process of recalling these memories, we use words or bring up sentences that can stir something within him.”
Steve pierced his lips. “You have a point there, but you gotta be really careful. One word could mean something completely different to him and you could potentially do more harm than good.”
Tony nodded as he stroked his goatee. “I’ll have to get a list together, but I think you have a really good idea.”
Steve chuckled. “I hope so… I really am sorry, Tony. I know how distraught you were when you first lost him and for this to happen next, it’s not easy.”
Tony stared at the fellow Avenger. This wasn’t a normal thing for them to discuss. One moment they were at each other’s throats, and the next Steve was helping him out.
“I appreciate it, I really do.”
“No problem at all.”
The two gave each other a tight smile before they both walked in opposite directions. That could really be the answer to their problems. Maybe, just maybe, that would work. He could even bring songs into the equation. Pleased by the new change, he walked down the hallway towards Peter’s room.
“Hey Peter, I got a great idea- “
The sentence was cut short as dread filled Tony’s chest because as the door swung open, all he saw was an empty bed and a piece of paper resting on top. Sprinting forward, Tony gripped the paper and read it, all the saliva drying up in his mouth. There, on the paper, were three words.
‘Who. Is. Spiderman?’
In case anyone gets confused, the reason Peter is allowed to recall that moment is that it was traumatic. If he is regaining memories, and if it is going into a very sensitive hippocampus, the mind would more likely bring up reoccurring thoughts. Tony made BARF to deal with that trauma and so if it designed specifically for that, it's going to do the same for Peter. Lmk what you all think of this chapter and the ending! Love ya all and stay healthy
“I want everybody on staff to be looking for him,” Tony shouted as he ran through the halls, employees walking out of rooms to see what the commotion was about. “I want people scattered through the entire damn building and not rest until we find him. He’s probably really scared right now so be gentle!”
God it was so hard to breathe. The second he saw Peter was missing, pure panic settled in. Now, there was a mix of anxiety and, oddly enough, hope.
“Tony!” A voice called from the side.
He stopped in his tracks and turned around to see Rhodey, his eyes filled with concern. “What’s going on?”
The man ran fingers through his hair in pure panic. “God Rhodey I screwed up. The kid- I don’t know how, but the kid found out about Spiderman and I think he panicked and went to go find out more. I should’ve told him; I’m such a screw up- “
“Hey, no, you’re not.” Rhodey interrupted firmly. “With everything going on, do you really think Peter needs to know he has superpowers?”
Tony’s eyes drifted to the floor. “No.... but I didn’t want him to find out like this.”
“I get that, look I’ll help you find him, ok? The whole staff is looking. We’ll find him.”
Tony nodded and let out a pained breath. “Y-yeah, okay, good.”
The pair ran down the hall, Tony shouting here and there about everyone being on lookout. 15 minutes passed before there was a call over the intercom.
“We have located Peter Parker. He is in Room 418. I repeat, 418.”
Tony muttered out a thank you to whatever God there was and sprinted at full force towards the room. He skidded to a stop and saw some of the employees gathered outside. Bruce was amongst them and had a worried look on his face. He looked up and his eyes widened.
“Tony,” Bruce gasped. “Hey, look- “
“Where is he? I need to talk to him.”
“He’s talking to someone.”
Tony’s brow furrowed. “Who? Who the Hell could be talking to him? May is at work and Pepper is home with Morgan.”
Bruce looked nervously at the doctors and back at Tony. “Um, look I want you to remain calm, but, uh, Dr. Strange came by for a visit and- “
That was all it took before Tony violently pushed past everyone and slammed open the door. There in front of him was Peter and Strange sitting in two chairs talking to each other. They both looked up and Tony’s chest constricted as he saw Peter’s tear stained face. His eyes wandered back to Strange and he clenched his fists.
“What part of get out don’t you ever understand?”
Strange sighed. “I wasn’t planning on coming, okay? I had to pick up some stuff- “
“Oh, and you just happened to stumble along the one person I don’t want you around?”
“Tony let’s not do this. Stop being an arrogant prick and realize I’m helping him.”
Tony let out a loud scoff. “You haven’t helped him whatsoever. Mind if I bring up the last time you made a choice for him?”
Strange bit his lip but before he spoke, Peter looked at Tony with a pained gaze.
Tony froze, blinking owlishly. “What? Kid, I’m just trying- “
“To help,” Peter finished. “And I get that. But I chose to talk to him. He was trying to avoid me, but I didn’t know what to do and felt so lost.” Peter looked at the ground and back up again at Tony, wetting his lips. “Tony you lied to me.”
Was it hard to breathe in here?
“Peter I would never lie to you if it wasn’t for a good reason.”
“It’s never okay to lie.” Peter almost whispered.
“Look you can ask me any questions okay? I just don’t want you around him.”
“Why?” Peter said, his voice raising as he stood up. “He’s the only one who seems to actually tell the truth around here.” A look of confused shock flashed across Tony’s face. “What? Were you not going to tell me who you actually were? Who I was? How I’m just a nobody that got powers and you felt bad, so you came in and put me in your little group? When were you going to tell me all of that?”
Tony licked his lips. “I was going to tell you when you were ready- “
“BULLSHIT!” Peter suddenly screamed. “It’s my life, Tony! You don’t get to decide when you tell me things. I told you- no I trusted you with how I felt about not knowing who I was. I didn’t know anything about my life, and you were just, what, gonna sugar coat everything? You had chance after chance to tell me and yet you just didn’t! You looked me in the eyes and just… said nothing. Maybe you’re the one I shouldn’t be talking to.”
There was silence in the room and Strange looked down at his feet before standing up slowly. He gripped one of Peter’s shaking shoulders as the boy began to sob.
“Peter, Tony has been worried sick.” Strange suddenly spoke up. Tony stared at him, completely speechless. “I.... I did something the last time we were all together and I’m the reason you lost your memories. I didn’t think it would happen that way, but I knew you would save the universe and I put that ahead of everything else. I didn’t stop to think about how it would affect you. Out of 14 million possibilities, you were the only chance and I- I had to take that. But for Tony, you were always his top priority from day one.” Peter’s gaze suddenly flashed to Tony as tears still steadily fell. “He had been ready to sacrifice himself. Tony was planning on taking the pain but you, you had taken his place instead. He never forgave himself for that and he has every right to blame me. Tony just wants to do what’s best for you.” Stephen cleared his throat. “With that being said, I will leave again, and Tony I promise I won’t bother any of you. You know where to find me if you ever do.”
Tony stared silently as Stephen created his famous golden circle. The doctor looked at Peter once more and gave him a sad smile before walking through the circle, the room covered in darkness once more. Both were silent, the two of them afraid to speak.
The two paused and let out a laugh.
“Peter let me go first,” Tony spoke up but was quickly interrupted.
“No, I need to,” Peter spoke calmly. “I found out about Spiderman during that flashback. You hadn’t shut it off quick enough and when I looked down at the puddle and saw my reflection, half of it was a mask. I didn’t know what it was, and I was scared. Then, past me kept saying ‘come on Spiderman’ over and over. It kept repeating itself and when you finally took it off, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t want to think you lied to me or betrayed me but that’s where I first went to. I have superpowers, Tony! That’s amazing! Why would you keep something so fantastic away from me?”
“Because it was that same thing that almost killed you.” Tony spoke quietly, causing Peter’s body to deflate. “I always wanted to protect you. Everyone said I was crazy. You were 15, Peter, 15! I put you in a suit and told you to go off and fight crime. And then I brought you to places that I never should have brought you to. That’s all on me. I couldn’t show you Spiderman because you don’t even know Peter Parker yet.”
The kid was silent at first, his eyes searching his face. “I believe you.”
Tony smiled softly at that. “Good. I would never hurt you, Peter, never. And you know, I was shocked about what Stephen said and I have been an absolute dick to him because I. Shit, kid, I almost lost you. I can’t do that. I can’t risk it.”
Peter just nodded before shuffling forward, enveloping himself into Tony’s arms for a hug. “I’m sorry I ran off and scared you. I needed time.” He pulled back partially to look up at Tony. “But promise me one thing?”
“Promise to tell me everything.”
Tony just nodded and gently kissed his forehead. “For you, kid? Anything.”
The pair ended up leaving the hospital room, Tony telling the staff that all was okay, and they could get back to work. Tony had an arm secured around Peter’s shoulders as they slowly strolled around.
“Do we have to go back to the room?” Peter asked quietly.
“No, not if you don’t want to. Where would you want to go?”
Peter chewed on the inside of his cheek as he looked shyly up at his mentor. “Well, I was.... I was wondering if we could try BARF again.”
“I really need to work on that,” Tony muttered to himself. “But, you really want to do that today? You’ve had a rough day and I just don’t know if it’s too soon.”
“I want to.” Peter spoke up. “I feel like… I feel like it’s working.”
Tony squinted at Peter. “Kid, you were fed memories to you of course you will feel like that- “
“No,” Peter said. “I’m… I’m seeing faces now. I don’t know who they are, but I feel emotions with them. A connection with them.”
Saliva built up in Tony’s mouth. He shouldn’t get his hopes up. “There’s a lot of people in your life, Pete, that you haven’t met yet and I just want you to take this as slowly as possible. I won’t hold anything back so, sure, we can try the BARF again. But you need to promise me you tell me as soon as you feel upset.”
Peter nodded. “I promise.”
Tony inhaled through his nose and let it out slowly. “Alright… alright let’s do this.”
They continued walking down the hall but now they changed directions, heading straight back to the lab. This was good, right? Everything Tony was doing was good… he was just trying to do what’s best. Serve as a father figure- god was that okay? Was he supposed to do that? Tony knew that Peter viewed him as a father. There were moments that Peter would say, “thanks dad” followed by him blushing, stuttering out his words as he ran off. Tony would tease him mercilessly about it but there was always a grin etched across his face. When Morgan came around, Tony felt prepared. He felt ready. There was that part of him that was missing, sure, with Peter… dissolving. But Peter gave him that stability and every day he looked forward to that dorky smile and floppy hair. Tony tripped slightly at the last step, Peter quickly catching him.
“Whoa, Mr. Stark, you okay?”
God how does he managed to always call him that name at the worst time?
“Yeah, I’m alright. Uh, let me go talk to Bruce and you pop a squat over there.”
Peter studied him silently but nodded and wandered off. Tony walked into the side room and saw Bruce typing at his computer. He looked up at Tony and frowned.
“Hey, how’s Peter?”
Tony looked over to see the kid playing with the wires, patting the stick pads with his fingers. “He’s doing okay. We talked it out and Stephen… well, he oddly enough apologized. So, I guess everything is okay,”
Bruce nodded. “Your panic attacks better?”
“During the day or night?” Tony said with a chuckle.
Bruce clicked his pen a couple of times. “Tony, if you need to talk- “
“Bruce,” Tony interrupted. “I appreciate it, I do, but we aren’t in some Hallmarks movie. You’re my science bro. Okay? Let Sugar Bear do that other stuff.”
“Sugar Bear?” Bruce snorted. “Does Rhodey know you call him that?”
“Only in his dreams, now let’s do this, okay?”
Bruce just rolled his eyes. “You go set him up I’ll get the program under control.”
Tony nodded and left the room, picking up the wires and beginning to attach them to Peter’s small frame. He worked in silence, aware of Peter’s steady gaze as his skilled hands found precisely where they were needed. He let out a cautious breath. He needed to figure out what to do next. If he wanted Peter to have a good memory this time, he had to choose carefully. Applying the last patch, he smiled before stepping back.
“Alright, you ready for round two?”
Peter just inhaled deeply. “Mhm.”
Tony, don’t mess this up.
“Okay, Pete, shut your eyes. I want you think about a small room. There’s a twin bed and a computer you made yourself. It’s just the two of us when we start talking. It’s the first time we ever met…”
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
It was working. Tony was honestly surprised by this but Peter was beginning to remember. It was very subtle, so subtle that anybody else would’ve called Tony crazy. But he knew, he knew that Peter was starting to realize what his past memories entailed. It was weird, hooking him up to the BARF machine over and over. He was being cautious with every attempt, Tony’s eyes glued to the screen as the memories began to appear. They were starting off slow, bringing up simple memories such as Tony and Peter working on one of the suits together, May and Peter getting Thai food, Peter with his friends at school; it all felt as though he was watching a movie. For the kid, he could only imagine the overwhelming emotion he felt with each passing reflection.
“Hey, uh, Tony?” Peter asked one day as they were putting the equipment away. “Do you… do you think I could go to school?”
Tony arched in eyebrow in surprise. Out of everything, he did not expect that. “What makes you want to do that? Any normal kid would take the chance to not go to school.”
“Well I’m not normal though,” Peter said, but there was a smirk on his face that made Tony not break down and cry at his horrible wording. “I just, I want to know those people in my head. Uh, I think his name is Ted?”
A snort left Tony’s mouth. “It’s ironic… I used to call him that just to tease Pete- you. His name is Ned and the girl is MJ.”
“Oh,” Peter said softly. “They seem, nice. I just wonder if they miss me.”
“I promised you I wouldn’t keep anything from you,” Tony started. “They have been in contact and I’ve been giving them updates. The two of them wanted to see you but I didn’t think it was time. You weren’t aware of who they were and I knew it would crush you both if that happened.”
There was silence from the younger man as he nibbled on his bottom lip, playing with the hospital sheet. “Mr. Stark, I’ve been stuck at this hospital for weeks. I want to go and try to live this life. I know I won’t know anybody but, maybe after some time I can begin to recall it. It’s like a video game.”
Anxiety began to fill Tony’s chest. There was no way he could have a panic attack now. It wasn’t that big of a deal, right? It was high school. From what he knew, Peter wasn’t being bullied. Tony knew there were kids who poked fun but he never knew of any that took it to the next level. He had good friends, was on the Academic Decathlon team, had A’s in all his courses, and was just an overall talented boy. He had to let Peter do this if he wanted to get better. But what if he got hurt? What if- No. That’s what is holding Tony back. All these “what if’s” were making him lose his mind.
“Sure.” Tony finally responded, taking in a rough breath.
Peter finally smiled. “Really? Thank you, Mr. Stark, I really appreciate it. Oh! Maybe I could move out of the hospital too!”
“Alright settle down, Pete. We’re not gonna bite off more than we can swallow or whatever that phrase is.” Tony said with a chuckle. “I can talk to May and see if you can go stay in the apartment for a bit.”
The excitement that shone in Peter’s eyes was completely worth it. At least, that’s what he thought. Peter’s first day involved with Tony being woken up by the kid excitedly shaking him.
“Mr. Stark! Today’s the day! Come on! I need a ride, and I need my schedule, and oh! Could we have breakfast and coffee?”
“You can’t handle coffee,” Tony muttered as he yawned and stood up, stretching with a groan cause he fell asleep on that damn armrest. Why is it always so comfy at first but so painful at the ending? “You can, however, be granted juice.”
Peter rolled his eyes and grabbed the apple juice from Tony. “Fine, now can we go? I really don’t want to be late.”
A sigh left Tony’s mouth; he’ll be okay. “Let me get ready.”
Within a few minutes, thanks to Peter following him everywhere he went, they got into the car on the time. Tony thanked Happy for driving as they both sat in the backseat. Peter was full of curiosity, face basically smooshed against the window. He forgot that the kid hadn’t been anywhere outside the hospital or apartment. It was like he was seeing it for the first time. Ignoring his heart hurting by watching him be so confused but so full of wonder. God, who has he become? They arrived rather quickly to the school.
“Now you have to text me every hour, okay? I want updates,” Tony continued as they pulled into the school’s parking lot. Other parents were dropping their kids off and others had driven themselves and were walking into the building. “I want to know how you’re feeling, if you’re overwhelmed, anything. If you start to have a panic attack call me.”
Peter nodded along, eyeing the students who were now beginning to do double takes to look inside the car. “I will, Tony. I’m ready for this! I think it’ll be fun.”
A fond smile formed on the older man’s face as he pulled up to the curb. “Only you would call school fun. I’m just...” He can’t say he’s worried or that’ll make him freak out. “Proud. I’m proud of you for pushing yourself to do this.”
There was a slight smile that etched across Peter’s mouth. “Thank you, Tony.”
The kid got out of the car, pulling his backpack when Tony got out of the car too, pulling him into his arms for a hug. He didn’t care about the students staring in wonder at the two of them, taking pictures to obviously post online. Peter returned the hug with eager arms, smiling into his chest.
“I gotta go but,” Peter pulled away and looked at the ground. “I love you.”
Tony’s eyes widened, he wanted to say that to him but didn’t know if Peter would find it weird yet here they were, saying it finally. “I love you too, kid.”
Peter finally walked away, looking back once to smile before entering the school. Students began walking to the car with squeals and Tony shut the door, telling Happy to leave.
*this will now be through Peter’s Pov)*
Peter walked with the rest of the students, looking around helplessly as he tried to find the office. Some kids waved in recognition and others just walked past him. Entering the office he walked over to the woman behind the desk.
“Um, hello,” Peter spoke out, the lady looking up. “My name is Peter Parker, I’m here for my school schedule.”
She nodded. “Okay, did you get a parent’s signature and a copy of your previous grades?”
“That’s what it was,” Peter mumbled to himself as he pulled out the forms that Tony threw into his backpack. “Here.”
The name tag in front of her said Ms. Davis, so Peter figured that Was her name. She glanced up at him and back to the paper.
“Mr. Parker, I asked for a parent’s signature and Tony Stark is put down.”
Peter’s throat dried in nervousness. “He has been caring for me for a while. I think he has partial guardianship, but my aunt’s is also there. Mr. Stark said you may not believe the form so his number is on the back.”
Ms. Davis just sighed and opened a drawer, “Ok here’s your schedule. I’m guessing you are one of the ones who were dusted, in any case you will be eased into your classes as best as we can. Any questions?”
Peter shook his head shyly, not quite comfortable asking for help finding where his rooms were. He left the office and desperately searched for his locker. He wanted to ask someone, anyone, but he didn’t know who knew old Peter and those who didn’t.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Penis Parker back from the dead!” A voice called out, making Peter turn around in confusion. “See, I came back with no issues because I’m superior. And then we have you, poor little confused Penis Parker.”
Peter felt a lump in his throat. “I couldn’t help it. I’m sorry.” He swallowed, throat still dry. I’m guessing we know each other.”
The man in question raised his eyebrows, more of his friends appearing behind him. “Now you’re going to pull that bullshit? We know that the universe just didn’t want you back because you’re useless. Speaking of useless, did you see your parents wherever you went?”
Tears were filling his eyes and he opened his mouth, bottom lip trembling when a hand clamped onto Peter’s shoulder.
“Flash, you were dusted for the same amount of time yet light travels faster than sound which is why you still seem bright until you speak.” A girl spoke loudly, her curly brown hair shaping her face.
The guy, Flash, just rolled his eyes. “Oh great you’re back to. You still a bitter bitch?”
Suddenly another kid came up next to Peter, his black hair what he saw first. “Flash just leave us alone.”
“Wow Ned, still trying to take the easy road. Surprised the dusting didn’t make you thinner.” Flash snarled.
After that, him and his ‘friends’ left, laughing and wandered down the hall. Peter let out a low sigh and took a step forward to see who these people were. The girl stared at him with a bored expression, but a small smile stretched on her face.
“Thank you for that, I really appreciate it,” Peter began, “My name is Peter Parker, who are you?”
Peter chest instantly tightened and he felt an ache in his heart as both of their smiles fell.
“Peter?” The guy, who Peter thinks is Ned, questioned. “You don’t remember us? I thought that was short term…”
The girl nudged him in the ribs before turning back to Peter. “We’re sorry, we didn’t know how bad it hit you. I’m MJ, that’s Ned. We’re your best friends and that douchebag was Flash, a kid whose been bullying us for years.”
MJ nodded and looked over at Ned whose eyes were tearing up. “Let’s show you where your classes are at.”
They walked down the halls, the trio obviously late to their first course but with Peter’s situation he would be excused. The day began to fly by after that. In the classes, he had a feeling that he knew exactly what to do but any time he tried, it felt as though there was a block in gaining that information. He texted Tony in between each class, expressing how he was beginning to feel less confident in himself, and how cool old Peter was. It was so nice to finally be out of the apartment, he thought. Then, lunch came around. Peter had been having this persistent headache and every one of his senses felt like they were dialed to 11. He squinted to help his eyes and saw his friends had chosen a table in the back away from everyone. Peter smiled and walked over.
“Hey!” Peter greeted, sitting down and grabbing his lunch bag.
MJ just nodded in return and went back to sketching while Ned sat there with a slight smile.
“So, do you remember me yet?” Ned asked softly causing MJ to nudge him in the ribs.
“Don’t ask him that, Ned.”
“No, it’s okay,” Peter answered, feeling bad for the two of them. “I unfortunately don’t, but the two of you were in his memories and you both seem really cool.”
Ned grinned at that. “We do make some awesome LEGO buildings.”
Peter smiled at that. “It sounds like a lot of fun.”
“Don’t feel bad,” MJ said, still looking down at her paper. “Like I said, we got your back.”
The girl pulled up the paper and showed it to Peter. She had been drawing him, his curly hair messy and smile beaming. He had a twinkle in his eyes and had a slight halo over his head. He hadn’t really paid attention to how he looked but seeing the painting it felt weird. He recognized himself but it felt as though that is the Peter before the memory loss.
Peter smiled. “It looks great, MJ! Thank you.”
She just nodded and looked away, letting Peter eat his gigantic meal. When he first opened up the bag and saw how much food there was he was almost embarrassed; he ended up eating all of it. When the ring alarmed students to go back to course, Peter stood up and threw out his trash but on his way over, he saw someone stick their leg out right in front of him, causing him to fall over. His chest hurt the ground and he couldn’t breathe, wait did they just throw a backpack on top of him? Peter could hear MJ and Ned yelling and he heard, what was his name, Flash arguing back to them. God, why can’t he move? How long has he been on the ground? Everything is so loud. He can feel his pulse against the watch, a vibration echoing back. Was someone calling him? Peter needs to think. That’s his name, he’s at high school, he has two best friends. But his brain is so foggy that is as much as he could remember. He shut his eyes to calm the explosion inside his brain, letting out a small whimper as he heard someone exclaim in the back.
“Let me through right now or I swear to God I will sue you into next week,” A man’s voice growled out.
Wait. That’s not just a man, it’s Tony. He’s here. He’ll help.
“Pete? Peter, listen I’m right here. You’re having a panic attack.” Tony said, his voice low and calming. “I just need you to open your eyes kiddo and sit up, alright?”
Peter let out a shuttering breath and opened his eyes. Tony was staring right back at him. He felt as though he was being crushed seconds ago, and now it feels like everything was lifted. He opened his mouth but nothing came out. His head really hurt too. Where are Mj and Ned? Wait. Peter’s eyes widened; he remembered their names.
Oh shit, yeah, Tony was there. Peter looked up and gave him a tired smile. “HI Mr. Stark.”
A low laugh left Tony’s mouth. “You gotta tell me when this happens. You weren’t moving for a couple of minutes and, you caught me, I was nervous about you being here. I was sat a café down the road- by the way lovely cashier, Gloria. But I got a notification from Karen that you were having a severe panic attack.”
Peter looked down at his feet. “I’m sorry I worried you. I just, I couldn’t feel like I could get up. Like something was holding me down. It was horrible.”
“I think we gotta slow down, Pete- “
“No,” Peter said firmly. “I’m not going to do that, not when I am this close. I want you to have him back.”
Him. Not this Peter.
Tony swallowed thickly and looked around to see the students still staring in wonder. “Peter, I have you back, that’s all I care about. We can talk about this later, we gotta go.”
Tony lifted him up and looked around at the kids. “I’m going to say this once. I don’t know what happened here, I think I know who was behind this, so take this as your warning. If you ever do this to my kid again, I swear to God you can kiss your futures goodbye. Iron Man out.”
He walked confidently with Peter under his arm. He could feel Peter push back into his brace as Tony held him a little closer this time.
Hey everyone! I am so sorry I have not updated in 84 years. Life has been insane with everything going on and I just haven't had the time. I am finishing up with summer courses that I am taking and then I'll be more free to give you the chapters you deserve! Love you all and stay healthy and happy :)
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
WELL HEY THERE GUYS, GALS, AND NON-BINARY PALS IT'S YA GIRL.... back from the dead. I am sooooo sorry for my incredibly long hiatus but we do be living in a pandemic and I recently went through a big change in my life including moving to the city and starting my first full-time job! With that being said, I really missed writing for you guys and thought I would continue and finish this series. I am currently working on another series as well but I also want to make some more one-shots. If you want to, please feel free to comment with any ideas and I would LOVE to write it for you! This chapter is shorter than the others but I figured the ending was perfect so I didn't want to change it. For those that give this a read and still stayed with my account, I'm sending you all the love in the world and for any newcomers, I'm giving you all the love as well. Thank you all for being amazing and I hope your lives are doing well :)
Tony was still feeling quite on edge ever since Peter had his episode at the school. He really didn’t want the kid to go back so soon, but the excited and eager expression on his face made him realize that Tony had to help him start adapting to his life, no matter how hard it may be. They had been through a lot already and he should focus his energy on making new, stress-free memories for Peter. The week continued on and Peter seemed to be adjusting quite well. He made friends with people that Tony had never met and his heart swelled with pride. He would come home from school, get his vitals checked, and then eagerly tell Tony everything that had happened. There was still a part of him that felt as if he was lying to himself, and in a way, lying to Peter. It wasn’t like he was replacing Peter because in the end, it was still him, but there was still that rock in his stomach that kept him on edge. It was a unique and difficult circumstance that they found themselves in but Peter was still the same Peter he had grown to love. It was finally the weekend, and Peter had been at the hospital, mindlessly flipping through channels when Tony had decided to try something new. As a man who also hates being bored, he figured Peter would jump at the chance of leaving the white-walled building.
“Hey kiddo,” Tony called, tossing Peter a bag that had loads of goodies, ranging from donuts to a sandwich he had made himself (that was a lie, Pepper had made it but she allowed him to take credit). “How are you feeling? What are you watching?”
Peter grinned so wide at the older man’s entrance that his dimples poked out. “Hi Tony! I’m feeling okay, just watching Hell’s Kitchen. This Gordon guy is intense but I like him… and his accent.”
A smile pulled at the corner of Tony’s lips as he motioned for Peter to scoot over so he could sit on the bed too.
“Well, it seems riveting but I was wondering if you maybe wanted to come to the lab and maybe do some experiments?”
Tony had expected Peter’s reaction to being thrilled and jumping out of bed at the mention of it. But, again, Tony glossed over the reality of the situation. So, when Peter instead frowned with confusion etched across his features, Tony felt that rock roll around in his stomach.
“What kind of experiments? Like because of the accident?” Peter asked quietly.
Tony shook his head and bit back a sigh. “No, you used to really like science. Like, you loved it. We would meet up after school and do these lab projects and create these amazing inventions.” Tony smiled fondly at the memory of them creating the web fluid for the first time. “We even made your suit together. It was great, and I thought maybe we could do it again.”
Peter returned the smile, thinking it was for him. “Well then yeah! I’m not sure how useful I’ll be but I’d love to learn!”
The grin that formed on Tony’s face actually made his cheeks ache. “Great! Why don’t we go now? Unless Gordon is holding you hostage then I get it.”
Peter rolled his eyes and turned the television off. “Anything to get out of this hospital bed. If I see one more white wall I’m gonna vomit.”
They left pretty quickly afterward, stopping for ice cream along the way. By the time they arrived at the lab, the pair were laughing and in high spirits. Pepper had been at the lab with Morgan for some business investments when the two walked in.
“Well, aren’t you two in good moods,” Pepper remarked with a knowing smile. “Why are you two here?”
Tony wrapped an arm around Peter’s shoulders who tried to hide the obvious glee he felt at the small movement. “The kid and I wanted to tinker for a bit and see what kind of nonsense we can make.”
Peter nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah! I’m gonna try and make a catapult!”
Pepper smiled but her eyes flicked over to Tony who gave her the ‘we’ll talk about it in a second' look. “Well, that’s great Peter, why don’t you go downstairs and start grabbing the best materials. I got to steal Tony for a moment to figure out takeout.”
Peter grinned, “Smart idea!”
Tony watched as the kid ran off and turned back to his wife who now looked worried.
“Do you think he’s remembering anything?” Pepper asked softly. “I mean, a catapult? I thought that maybe bringing him to the lab would stir up the hundreds of memories you guys have of it but it looks like that’s not the case.” She bit her lip in thought. “I’m sorry honey, I know how much it means to you.”
Tony looked down at his calloused hands and clenched his jaw. “It’s fine… it’s not fine but, what’s the point in telling him that? He’s trying, Pep, he’s making friends and tells me about it all the time and yet I would do anything to hear him call me Mr. Stark again, no matter how much I begged him not to. But the only thing we can do is keep trying. Something is bound to stick, right?”
Pepper smiled but her eyes told a different story. “That’s true, well I don’t want to hog you all to yourself but now I have to figure out takeout, want to do Chinese food?”
Tony kissed her on the cheek and smiled. “Sounds perfect.”
When Tony had finally joined Peter downstairs, they ended up building a gigantic catapult (with the help of Morgan who would periodically hand them various tools, some of which they had to pretend to use). Peter had begged Tony to test it out but the idea of causing any more bodily harm to the kid made his chest clench with anxiety. He did end up making a promise to do it sometime next week… sue him the kid is adorable.
“Hey Tony?” Peter questioned softly as they finished their Chinese food, the two of them sitting in the wheeling chairs next to the work station.
“What’s up kid?” Tony asked, tinkering away at his newest toy. It was a heart rate monitor that he wanted to attach to Peter when he went to school or really anywhere that wasn’t his apartment.
Peter looked down at his hands. “So, you remember when we had that… conversation? “
A snort left Tony’s mouth, “Kid I hate to break it to you but we’ve had a lot of conversations, you’re going to have to be a bit more specific.”
Please don’t say it.
“It’s about Spiderman.”
There it is.
Tony took a deep breath. He felt that familiar choking feeling in his throat and the rapid beating of his heart that threatened to jump out of his chest. It’s fine, it’s just a conversation.
“Well, what exactly do you want to know?” Tony asked, holding onto his screwdriver a little too tight turning his knuckles white. “You got bit by a radioactive spider in that ass-hat’s laboratory otherwise known as Norman Osborn. Then you created this dingy little onesie that you called a suit but it was not at all working, you couldn’t even see through the eye piece.”
Tony smiled and laughed a little, remembering Peter’s embarrassed reaction when he showed up at their apartment.
“So then when did we meet and start working together?” Peter asked, wandering over to sit next to Tony. “Cause it’s obvious you and I got really close. When I heard about the stories and the way you act around me, I thought there was a chance we were, you know, related. But being Spiderman seems like a dangerous thing, something a lot of adults would have trouble with. I guess what I'm trying to say is I just don’t understand why my parents aren’t here. I saw,” Peter paused for a moment and Tony looked up to see a tear fall down his face.
“Kid?” Tony asked, worry evident in his voice.
Peter sniffles and wipes away the stray tear. “I had been thinking about Uncle Ben and I…. I remember being dropped off by these two people. It was a man and woman, they seemed upset.”
Tony turned his body towards him. “You mean you had a memory come back? When did this happen?”
Peter shrugged as he looked down at the table. “While you and Pepper were talking upstairs I was walking around the lab and I saw this one object on the wall and I… I just started crying. That was when I saw those people.”
Tony felt like he couldn’t breathe. So, it was working. He was remembering. He didn’t have to lose hope. What could have triggered it?
“What did you look at, Pete?” Tony asked, his voice almost a whisper.
Peter stood up and walked over to the wall. Tony had kept a lot of relics over the years, some belonging to Peter, other items belonging to the Avengers. But Peter stopped and pointed.
There, on the shelf, was the picture of Tony and Peter.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
Hey everyone! So I'm going to be posting short chapters more frequently instead of doing longer chapters spaced out. With my schedule, it makes my life a lot easier and you'll get more updates instead of waiting 84 years in between each chapter. Hope you all enjoy and again, if you have any one-shots or prompts about our favorite duo, feel free to comment!
P.s. this chapter is going to be through Bruce's POV
Bruce looked around the room, his knee bouncing out of habit as he waited anxiously for this meeting to begin. The clock was ticking away and it felt as if it was echoing inside his head. He glanced across the table and saw Strange clenching and unclenching his jaw, his fingers drumming against the table. He didn’t seem to be in a talking mood, and to be honest, they had been waiting for almost twenty minutes. Next to him was May, who had a slight smile on her face but the furrowing of her eyebrows revealed how she was truly feeling. Next to Bruce on the left was Pepper, who had been typing away on her computer the entire time. She would pause periodically to glance up at the clock or look around the room and then would return to her laptop. On Bruce’s right was Steve, which Bruce was still confused as to why he was there. Sure, he had been visiting the hospital and helping everyone with Peter’s recovery but the relationship between Tony and Steve was still on the rocky side. The captain had his arms crossed over his chest and was simply staring at the clock with a stern expression as if he was scolding the clock for ticking. Bruce opened his mouth to finally question what was happening when the door swung open and Tony walked in. Everyone sat up a little straighter as the genius sat down with a stack of papers and files.
At last, he looked around at everyone and smiled. “Good afternoon everyone.”
They all shared glances that clearly said, ‘is he okay?’
Bruce cleared his throat and decided to speak up. “Tony, you called us last night at two a.m. and said, ‘meeting tomorrow at 11, be there or I’ll send my suits to pick you up in a bad way’. We have no idea what’s happening.”
Tony, instead of answering, stood up and placed a cube on the desk. Within seconds, a hologram projection appeared in front of everyone. There were multiple pictures scattered throughout as well as videos. Some of the videos had a haze over them, making the figures seem blurry and unable to identify who it is. Bruce glanced over at May whose eyes were glossy and tears were beginning to form in the corners. The videos and pictures were of Peter doing all types of things ranging from creating the Death Star with LEGOs, to a scene of him at a restaurant with May. The pictures were of him younger as well as pictures of him throughout middle school and his first day of high school. The images were gently rotating in a circle and Bruce watched the pain-filled expression on Tony’s face as a picture of young Peter wearing an Iron Man mask lined up perfectly next to Tony. Although it was a simple moment, it struck a chord within Bruce that this must be just as difficult for Tony. Hell, he had been Peter’s father figure since the moment they met.
“So, what trends do you all notice here?” Tony questioned, walking around the room.
“Trends?” Steve echoed. “I mean there are pictures and videos.”
Tony stared at him with an unreadable expression. “Thank you for that, we should change your name from Captain America to Captain Obvious. Does anybody else have some thrilling insights?”
Bruce raised his hand and internally cringed at the fact he did that. “It’s moments of Peter when he was happy?”
Tony snapped his fingers, “Close! There are moments here that are definitely not the happiest,” Tony glanced at one of the videos playing but it was one of the blurry moments. All he could see was what looked to be a ferry. “Think more specific.”
May smiled softly. “It’s Peter’s favorite things, as well as some of Peter’s least favorite things.” She sniffled and pointed up, “There’s him on his science field trip to Stark Industries, there’s him at Free Comic Book Day, there’s him not realizing he hates brussels sprouts until I snuck it into dinner one night, and there’s,” She took out a tissue and dabbed at her eyes, “There’s us getting larb.”
Everyone seemed quiet at May’s emotional moment. They knew how hard it was for her, to watch her only family forget everything and everyone. The whole situation was a reality they have been learning to deal with but it doesn’t mean that it gets easier. If anything, the longer it goes on the harder it can be.
“Everything that you see here is, as May said, his favorite things. On the other hand, we can’t just pretend that the bad memories are a thing of the past,” Tony paused and Bruce watched his gaze track that same blurry memory of a boat. “I think we need to start bringing in the good and bad through the means of physical recreation or even through the use of the physical objects. Something is making him remember what happened before his… accident to put it lightly.” Tony grabbed one of the holograms and expanded it. There was a picture of what looked like a brain scan with certain areas lit up. “As of right now, he has retrograde amnesia. That means he can’t recall memories that were formed before the event. He even has a little bit of difficulty remembering what he had for breakfast, but after researching a bit more I think it may just be his brain attempting to recall something. I’ve been putting him under a lot of stress, I think, with remembering things. I keep finding myself doing what we always do and then acting surprised or making some stupid expression that obviously shows I wish the old Peter was back.” Tony stared at the scan and Bruce watched as he swallowed harshly. “I don’t want him to know that because I love the kid no matter what version of himself I get.”
Tony sniffled and that was enough for May to stand up and wrap her arms around the man. He hesitantly wrapped his arms around her as well. Bruce knew that Tony held some form of guilt, for not being there quick enough to take the gauntlet. As Bruce looked away from their moment, he saw that Stephen had been watching as well, his gaze showing that same guilt. He should change the topic.
“So,” Bruce started making Tony and May separate, her hand gripping his arm as a final way of calming him, “I’m a doctor but I’m not too familiar with some of the concepts. You said he doesn’t know about his life before the accident. How is he going to remember how to act? How is he going to remember his ‘favorite things’? Wouldn’t he have to know what he likes? I feel as though it would be a little awkward telling him what he likes and doesn’t like.” The others nodded in agreement.
Tony hummed in thought as he once again pulled forward another hologram and expanded it. This time it was a diagram of a brain, with different sections highlighted.
“Peter is having a problem with declarative memory, memories for facts and events in his life. If I asked him when May’s birthday is, for example, he won’t be able to know it.” Tony zoomed-in on part of the frontal lobe. “That being said, we were down at the lab and I quickly threw an apple at him, and without looking up, he caught it. His non-declarative memory is okay and he can remember those skills and habits. So, you’re right Bruce, we can’t force him to like the same things but we can start to implement it casually. Yet, there is something we can do that wouldn’t be forcing him, it may help him. I’m just not sure if everyone would be in agreement.” There was a pause and it was obvious Tony was about to say something controversial. “I think we should let Peter start-up Spiderman again.”
At first, there was silence, enough to hear a pin drop. Everyone looked around at the table and Bruce watched as Strange began to chuckle.
“You know, Stark, that’s probably the dumbest idea I’ve heard from you,” The wizard began, “Why on Earth would we put him in more danger?”
Bruce tensed up, waiting for the two of them to start one of their bickering fights, but to his surprise, Tony just nodded.
“I get it, it sounds insane. But yesterday Peter remembered.” Strange furrowed his eyebrows at the comment. “He told me that he was looking at this picture we had taken at the Stark Tower after we had really gotten comfortable with him being Spiderman, it’s this dorky image but when he,” Tony cleared his throat and it was painfully obvious to everyone that the mentioning of that time brought back those dark thoughts he desperately tries to forget, “when he got dusted, I kept that picture up there to remember what it was like when he was here when he was with me. But when he looked at it, he remembered being dropped off by his parents, he remembered his uncle. People with retrograde amnesia can begin to remember certain facts and memories. I did a little bit of digging for a few hours and found that cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people with memory loss. With Pete, he’s obviously special because of his advanced healing factor. If we can do these regular schedules, bringing back the things he used to love, I feel as if we can help him remember.”
“What about his most recent memories?” Steve quipped, looking around at everyone. “The Peter that we’ve been caring for now, it’s obvious he’s different from before. Is he going to forget about all of these moments?”
Tony sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. The brain can be super confusing, I mean I never expected Peter to have amnesia from this so anything can happen, both good and bad. If he does, great, but if he doesn’t I’m kind of thankful that he doesn’t have to remember forgetting us, forgetting his life.”
Once again the room filled with silence. This time, Steve was the one who spoke up.
“So, with Spiderman, he still has enemies. If you want him to start getting back into his patrolling, how can we make sure he’s safe?” Steve looked around the room and everyone was nodding in agreement. “But I get why you want to do this; it’s just how will he remember how to be Spiderman?”
Tony bit his lip in concentration, “You’re right about that, good call Rogers. We’ll have a rotation, staying out of sight but keeping an eye on him. I have Karen re-set up in his new suit since the other one,” He chose that moment to shift his eyes towards Strange, “Got destroyed. I’ll be training him this week and see how much he remembers. Thankfully his non-declarative memory isn’t typically affected by amnesia.” The confused expression on May’s face almost made him chuckle. “Non-declarative memory is his skills or habits. He should, with a bit of practice, remember things like using his webs. He knows the hand movement.” He let out a sigh and grabbed his cube so they were all once again looking at each other. “Thank you all, for being there for him. For being there for me, May, and everyone who loves the kid. This isn’t going to be a walk in the park, Hell it might not even work. But I’d be damned if I didn’t at least try. We will still use BARF, but I’m worried if he sees one bad memory everything we’ve worked for could be gone in an instant. So, if everyone’s in, then we got ourselves a plan.”
Tony reached a hand in the center and watched as Bruce, May, Pepper, Steve, and Stephen joined in. What a world they lived in.
Then, for an unknown reason to the others, Tony smiled. “Thank you all for helping Operation No Place Like Home.”
Chapter 12: Chapter 12
Hey all you people! Thank you all for continuing to read the story despite the hiatus and continuing to support it! Again, as always, if you have any prompts or ideas that you would love to see in a story with our favorite duo, feel free to DM me or comment it below!
Knowing you have to act a certain way while trying to act like you aren’t acting a certain way, is probably the most frustrating thing Tony has had to deal with; and he literally had to fly through a wormhole. The first day of their plan involved moving Peter out of the hospital. His beaming smile made it worth it as he nearly skipped through the hallways, saying “goodbye” and “thank you” to the nurses and doctors that had grown to love the energetic boy. Peter, on the other hand, was thankful that he was finally leaving. They had gotten into the car that Happy had arranged and Tony tensed at the interaction of another person Peter forgot. When they got into the car, Peter was quiet despite smiling widely. Happy had been on vacation and had recently returned so the news hadn’t been broken to him. Tony was kicking himself for waiting this long.
“Wow, the kid that talks my ear off every five seconds is silent? We must be in an alternate reality,” Happy commented, looking at Peter through the back mirror.
Peter blinked and looked at Tony before looking back at Happy. “I’m sorry! I’m just…. Tired! Yeah, tired.”
Happy’s eyebrows furrowed and glanced over at Tony who gave a subtle shake of the head. “Whatever you say, Peter, whatever you say.”
The drive was silent as they drove to May’s apartment. As part of their plan, they figured having him stay with May would make him feel the most normal and then he would go back to Tony’s place for training. Stephen made a good point that seeing familiar places would help with the process of recalling past moments. Sure, Tony was now going to worry whenever he wasn’t around Peter but he didn’t feel like admitting that. By the time they arrived, Peter was itching to jump out of the car and nearly opened the door while the car was still moving. May was waiting outside the apartment door and was grinning from ear to ear as Peter nearly ran over to her. Tony and May were both shocked as Peter wrapped his arms around May’s stomach. The two adults locked eyes and Tony gave her a soft smile as she returned the hug.
“Hey Peter,” May cooed as she pulled away to look closely at her boy, “Welcome home.”
Peter smiled, “Thank you May, for letting me stay with you. I can already tell it’s going to be better than the hospital!”
May chuckled and opened the door as they walked inside, Peter and Happy following suit. Tony followed Peter as he wandered around the living room and kitchen, looking at the walls and almost searching for something that was recognizable. He turned slightly and stared at the two doors before slowly looking over at May.
She smiled at his worried expression, “To the left, Pete, don’t worry. I kept everything the same.”
Peter nodded and Tony noticed that she spoke to him as if he had been away on vacation. The shy smile that came across Peter’s face was subtle but Tony knew that he appreciated being treated normally. Peter opened the door to his room and Tony watched as he slowly looked around the room. There was a bunk bed in the corner with open access to his window. Against his wall on the opposite side of his bed was a cluttered desk and wheeling chair. There were multiple papers scattered across it, various math and science papers, all with a red A+ on the top. There were different tools pushed to the back and textbooks in a makeup bookshelf he had made. There were two other shelves that carried other knickknacks, a lamp on one of them, and other books. Peter picked up a piece of a chessboard that had fallen onto the desk and stared at it for a moment. Tony chose that moment to walk in and look around the room. He looked up at the ceiling square where Peter had tried (and failed) to hide his Spiderman suit. He watched as Peter sat down on the bed and stared at the floor.
“You okay kid?” Tony questioned as he motioned for him to scoot over. He remembered the last time he was here, on Peter’s small twin bed. “You seem to be lost in your thoughts.”
Peter blinked owlishly at his mentor. “I was just thinking, this room and this place, it all seems familiar. I feel something in my chest but I just don’t recognize anything.” He sighed and looked over at his desk. “I want it to get easier, I really want to see something and feel like it’s familiar, but it’s like something is missing.”
Tony followed his gaze and saw that May hadn’t cleaned his room or touched it at all. On his desk were pieces of graph paper that looked to be rough drafts of his web slingers. Another graph paper that was half-hidden underneath it, was an adorable drawing of Peter’s Spiderman mask. The kid was talented when it came to that type of thing and he knew that he was right. Spiderman was that missing link, that piece of the puzzle to bring everything together.
“Well, you know, I’ve been thinking.” Tony began.
“That’s dangerous,” Peter joked and Tony let out a snort.
“As I was saying,” Tony gave him a joking glare, “I was thinking of letting you try to get back into Spiderman duties.”
Peter’s eyes widened comically. “Really? I mean, wow, uh, thank you Tony! That’s huge, but how am I going to do it? I don’t know how to be Spiderman, I don’t even know what he does.”
Tony just smiled, “You’ll get the hang of it super quick. It’s easy, you stick to walls and shoot out your webs to swing from building to building. When you see a bad guy, you typically web them up, say some sort of dorky phrase, and then go tell the police where you captured them.”
The young boy nodded and Tony could see the gears in his anxiety-ridden eyes. “That seems… kinda complicated,” he looked up and gave him a reassuring smile, “but I think I can do it! I can say things like, ‘Looks like you’re in a sticky situation’ or ‘you didn’t see that coming, guess you can call me a spy-der’.”
Tony let out a large groan and covered his face with his hands. “Dear God, what have I done?”
There was a knock on the door and the two of them looked up to see May.
“You boys want to go get some larb?”
The following day, after Peter got accustomed to the apartment and finally was able to sleep through the night, Tony decided that they should start training. He was still working on repairing the Stark Suit (when he first got it half of the suit was completely charred) but the most important thing was the web slingers. He heard the kid enter the lab quietly, something that still bothered Tony as the old Peter would’ve immediately begun chatting his ear off. Tony waved him over and Peter sat down next to his mentor.
“Alright kid, so I’m going to teach you the basics and we’re going to continue working on one of the most important parts of your suit, the web slingers.” Tony saw Peter nod but knew the kid was still lost. “Essentially when you’re doing your web-slinging around the city, you need to use these. It’s super easy you just need to flick your hands out and grasp onto it and just let your body do the rest.”
Peter’s eyes were comically wide. “Oh. Okay, so like, this?”
Peter proceeded to flick his hands out with his palms, just like Iron Man. Tony smiled and fixed his hands to the correct position. He paused and held Peter’s hands in his. There were still scars and burn marks that most likely won’t go away. His body would reflect that sacrifice forever. Tony felt a tear welling up but he blinked it away quickly. He looked up to see Peter staring at him with a look of almost pity.
“You miss him.”
It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. Tony looked back at him and they held eye contact for a moment.
“I’m grateful every day that you’re alive. But, yeah, I got to be honest of course I miss him. He was my kid, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t,” he squeezed the kid’s hands. “I don’t want to hurt you and bring up memories or moments that you won’t get. We just have to make our own memories, okay?”
Peter nodded and this time his smile was genuine. “Sounds good, Tony.”
After that, they started to train. Tony took him outside and had him practice webbing onto a tree. The first time, he shot past the tree and it went directly into the lake. He smiled sheepishly and Tony assured him it was okay. When it hit an hour, Peter had managed to not only web onto a tree but he could swing around it like a tire swing. He let out a gleeful giggle as he swung around, grabbing the attention of Pepper and Morgan.
“Whoa!” Morgan exclaimed, causing Peter to pause and land on the ground. “Peter you’re flying! I wanna fly!”
Peter looked at Tony who nodded. “Want to try?”
She gasped out-loud comically and reached up at him as Peter picked her up and held her tight against his chest. “Hang on tight okay?”
Tony walked over to Pepper and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Look at them,” Peter and Morgan were now gently swinging around the tree and laughing, “He’s getting better. I don’t know if he’s remembering, but he’s getting better.”
Pepper rubbed her husband’s back. “I know that you still blame yourself, but look how happy he is. Whether he’s the Peter we got to watch grow or the Peter we have now, you give him the same amount of love. That’s a lot to handle, but you do it.”
Tony nodded and turned to kiss her. “Thank you, Pep, I needed that.”
After the excitement of the web slingers had died down, they all sat down for dinner. Tony had meant to bring Peter back to the apartment but he begged May to have him spend the night. They were eating and Tony thought back to a phone call he had received earlier in the day.
“So Peter,” Tony began as he took a sip of his drink, “I got a call from National Security and they had a few questions regarding Avengers stuff. I thought maybe you would want to go with him as the headquarters has a museum with all kinds of Avengers memorabilia. It’s a rotating situation, so all of our old suits and everything are being sent from New York to there,” He glanced at Pepper who was subtly looking to see if Peter would react, “They have Spiderman things too.”
Peter looked around at the table, even at Morgan who was trying to stab multiple peas onto her fork. “I… I can’t go to Germany… I have homework.”
Although the comment was small and even comedic, Tony and Pepper instantly looked at each other.
“What,” Tony said his heart hammering, “Did you just say?”
Peter looked around out of worry, “I can’t go to Germany I got homework? I don’t know it just popped up in my head. Did I say something wrong?”
Tony shook his head rapidly, “No, no you’re fine. You’re more than fine,” he looked at Pepper who motioned for him to change the topic, “But, regardless, I’ll pretend you didn’t say that. I need someone to help me out with this meeting and I want you there.”
Peter’s tense shoulders deflated slightly, “Oh well okay. Is May okay with it?”
Tony smiled, “I’ll talk to her when I drop you off okay?”
Peter nodded in understanding and slowly went back to focusing on his food. Tony let out a low sigh, was it smart to bring him back to where they had a pretty substantial battle? Was it smart to bring back Civil War?
Chapter 13: Chapter 13
We are nearing the end of this story but I hope you guys have enjoyed it! I'm going to make sure the ending isn't rushed but again if you ever have any prompts you want fulfilled please let me know and I will make it happen! Lots of love and joy to you all my guys, gals, and nonbinary pals
In the week leading up to Germany, Tony wanted to get as much training in as possible because he knew deep down that no matter where they go, there will be danger. With the kid forgetting everything he had known, the added stress of potentially having to fight someone plagued Tony’s mind. He still had nightmares, and will most likely continue to have nightmares, about Peter grabbing the stones and Tony not being quick enough to save him. What if he wasn’t quick again? What if something else happens to his kid and he has to, again, sit by and watch it happen? Besides, Peter was enjoying training! The two of them had used a gym that Tony had hired a construction crew to create, complete with mats covering the entire floor so they don’t break any other parts of themselves. Tony had made the ceiling comedically tall to resemble a skyscraper, with ledges for him to practicing leaping off. On the ground, he had (poorly) disguised Rhodey, Bruce, Stephen, and Steve as criminals so Peter could practice webbing them up. It took a lot of convincing, which mainly involved Tony spamming them pictures of Peter until they ultimately agreed. Tucked away inside of the makeshift buildings were tennis ball shooters to test his Spidey sense and Tony had also hired Morgan to play a scared citizen (Morgan promised she would be super into the role and started practicing her scared screams around the apartment). The first day of training started with Peter walking inside of the gym and immediately widening his eyes.
“What is this?” Peter nearly whispered, looking around the room.
“This,” Tony began as he walked Peter further inside, “Is your training room. Before I send you into the city, we’re going to get you ready in a more…. Safe way.”
Peter cocked an eyebrow at Tony, “I’m assuming OG Peter was a little careless?”
Tony stifled a laugh, “OG Peter?”
The younger boy shrugged, “I figured it was better than saying ‘old me’ or ‘old Peter’ and other variations. Besides, it sounds cool!”
Tony rolled his eyes fondly, “Yeah yeah, regardless yes he trained without my supervision and I’m pretty sure he picked up some bad habits like getting shot and not telling me. So, we’re doing this my way, safe style.”
Peter nodded in understanding and finally noticed the thrown ‘criminals’. “Is that… Doctor Strange? And Steve? And… Bruce? What’s going on there?”
“What are you talking about?” Tony questioned, not looking over at the group. “Those are a group of nasty criminals!”
“I’m pretty sure that’s Doctor Strange with glasses and a fake mustache. Did you put a unibrow on Steve?”
“Anyways,” Tony continued ignoring Peter’s laugh, “This is essentially an obstacle course. You’ll start by webbing up the criminals and save the damsel in distress,” Tony raised his voice at ‘damsel in distress’ for Morgan’s cue.
The adorable little girl looked up and gasped before squealing. “Oh no! Bad guys!”
“After that, you have to get to the top of the skyscraper, leap to the other side, check to see if there are other criminals, and then go down safely to meet the police.”
The final criminal was Rhodey wearing Strange’s cloak (who was very irritated that Tony talked him into handing it over). He would be hiding on the skyscraper to fight Peter. If anything happened and Peter fell off, there was a hidden net to catch him but is only visible after being touched.
“Okay,” Peter began, “Doesn’t seem too bad. You’ll be here, right?” Peter seemed to get a little sheepish at the request. “You don’t have to if you don’t have to.”
The mentor walked over and ruffled Peter’s hair. “Of course, I’ll be here. Unfortunately, we’re two peas in a pod, where you go I go.”
Peter smiled at that thankfully and sighed. “Well, only one thing to do right? Just go for it.”
Tony nodded, “I’ll walk you through it the first time, and then you’ll do it on your own, capiche?”
Peter nodded and as Tony walked a little away so he could get a better view, he could hear Peter mumble to himself, “Come on Spiderman, come on.”
Tony whistled and the three ‘criminals’ plus Rhodey up top all looked over at Tony who gave them a thumbs up. It was time. Peter inhaled calmly and as he exhaled he began to approach them.
“Hey, kid!” Steve called, “I’m going to rob a store!”
Tony facepalmed and Bruce snorted.
“I think you mean that we have a hostage, fellow criminal!” Bruce shouted back to which Steve turned bright red.
Peter frowned, “Well both of those are bad so I’ll have to stop you!”
Tony stood up straighter and watched as Peter flicked his hand forward, the web-shooting out and-
“You missed.” Stephen triumphantly shouted as the web sailed past them.
Peter blinked in surprise when Steve advanced toward him. He quickly shot another web and hit him directly in the face.
“Good kid!” Tony shouted, “He can’t see so knock him down!”
Peter nodded and dropped low, swinging his leg out and taking Steve down who yelled in surprise.
“Nice one,” Steve commented before dramatically hitting the ground, “oh no I’m dead.”
Tony rolled his eyes, “Alright kid that’s one down, now the rest of them are going to advance on you so never let your guard down.”
Peter had been looking at Tony while he said that and as soon as he finished the sentence, Stephen launched his cape at Peter, knocking the boy down.
Peter yelped as he wrestled with the red cloth, “That wasn’t fair Tony! You distracted me!”
Tony smirked, “I can be very distracting but that’s not an excuse. When you are fighting as a team, we’re going to be in your ear the whole time, so you got to learn to balance listening with fighting. Got it?”
At long last, Peter desperately grappled with the cape and pinned it down, shooting webs on all four corners of it. He breathed in harshly, a drop of sweat falling down his face.
"That was.... a lot. You sure there's going to be magical capes in combat?" Peter grumbled mainly to himself. "I feel like I'm in Aladdin with the magic carpet."
Tony snorted at that, "I mean in a way, yes. But good you got that enemy, but that doesn't mean you're through. You got two more people, one of which is the guy who owned the cape and is upset that you messed with his toys and the other is a scient- I mean an evil scientist who you shouldn't anger."
"Shouldn't anger?" Peter echoed but was cut off by Stephen sprinting towards him.
Peter let out a genuine yell as he quickly ran from him, jumping over the 'dead' Steve who silently was cheering Peter on. Then, Stephen reached his hands out and Tony felt his chest clench. This wasn't part of the plan.
"Strange what are you- "
But before Tony could finish his sentence, Stephen summoned a portal directly under Peter's feet and opened another one at the top in between the skyscrapers; sending him plummeting towards the ground.
"What the- "
"HELL?!" Peter squealed as his body started to spin and he was falling quickly to the ground.
"Language!" Steve yelled before looking around and dramatically falling to the ground again.
Bruce also looked confused and slightly angry, "What are you doing?!"
"Relax, okay? It's to help him." Stephen calmly explained and as the kid was getting closer, he opened another portal below, sending Peter back to the top. It became a repeat, he would fall from the sky, to the ground, and reappear back at the top.
Tony was standing next to Stephen and was fighting every force to not strangle him. "What the fuck is your plan, huh? Are you going to let him just continue falling as he screams? What is this, the Matrix?"
Stephen chuckled, "If Peter goes out into the real world, and starts genuinely falling, whether it's because he was pushed or just miscalculated his jump, how is he going to prepare to save himself?"
Tony opened his mouth and shut it, making him look like a fish out of water. "I mean... you're right but this is just ridiculous. At least give him some guidance, the kid has been screaming for two minutes now."
Strange rolled his eyes, "Okay fine."
Stephen called back his cape as it easily wiggled around the webbing. Then, as the cape returned, he flew up to Peter who was desperately trying to get some sort of grasp.
"Peter, listen to me," Stephen calmly addressed the boy.
"IT'S SORT OF HARD- " Peter fell through the portal and reappeared once again, "TO LISTEN WHEN I'M FALLING!"
Stephen smiled, "You can easily get yourself out of this, but you panicking and- " Strange waited as the kid reappeared, this time looking angry, "spinning your arms is just making it worse. Relax your body, and when you are simply falling straight, extend your arm, shoot the web onto the side of the building, and go on from there."
Peter, his expression now relaxed, took a deep breath and let his body relax. Tony watched in amazement as the kid began to fall head first and as he reappeared, he extended his arm, shot the web, pulled himself forward and clung to the wall. For a moment, Tony had a mini heart attack since he forgot the kid could stick to things. Tony let out a loud whoop and punched the air.
"WAY TO GO KID! NOW FINISH THE WIZARD!"
Peter nodded and shot a web slightly above him to the parallel wall. Stephen was busy getting rid of the portals he had created to notice Peter as the kid rapidly kicked towards him, his legs extended, as he violently kicked the wizard in the back. Stephen let out a groan and it looked as if it truly hurt as he slowly went to the ground and sat.
"The kid really does have super strength, ow." Stephen mumbled.
Tony beamed with pride as the kid slowly went to the ground and stared at Bruce. "You're the guy that I shouldn't anger, right?"
Bruce sent a quick glare at Tony and turned back to the kid, "Yeah, you won't like me when I'm angry."
Bruce then took a deep breath and his skin started to turn into a green tint. He slowly started growing in size, and Peter began to back away, his eyes widened.
"Pst, Tony," Steve whispered, "Peter's never seen the Hulk before, don't you think he's going to freak out?"
Tony frowned but just nodded, "He was going to have to meet him at some point. If the Hulk acts out too much I'll step in, but Bruce has control over him now. I think it'll be fine."
As the Hulk finally came to be, Peter looked up at him with awe and fear. "Holy shit."
Bruce looked down at him, "Spiderman you friend, but now you enemy."
And without any warning, he slammed his fist down. Due to Peter's Spidey instincts, he jumped out of the way.
"How did I- he almost got me, I don't know how I was able to dodge that!"
Tony grinned, "It's called your 'spidey sense' and you called it that 'cause you're a nerd. But it alerts you to danger, kinda like an impulse."
Peter nodded and rolled out of the way as the Hulk let out a roar and charged forward. Peter quickly flung out a web towards his raised fist and pulled, making the Hulk's arm point downwards. It was as if a lightbulb went off in Peter's head because moments later the kid jumped up and began swinging around the Hulk. He was flexing against the restraints and a few were starting to break. Peter had a concentrated look on his face and swung faster until it looked like the Hulk was a mummy. Peter let go and landed on his hands and feet. Straightening his back, he sprinted forward and landed a kick at the back of the Hulk. The scientist-turned creature began to shrink and there was Bruce once again, now rolled up into a tight ball. He looked like a Q-Tip.
Tony let out a loud laugh and without thinking, wrapped Peter in a tight hug, "Kid, oh my God that was incredible! The way you just let your body swing quickly around him and send him to the ground, I'm so proud of you!"
Peter melted into the embrace and hugged him back, "Thanks Tony.... this is nice."
Tony suddenly stiffened but desperately tried to calm his body. The last time he heard that, was moments before Peter had snapped his fingers. He let out a shaky sigh and put on a smile before pulling away.
"Yeah it is, kid. But you still have one more guy left, then we'll get ice cream. Capiche?"
Peter grinned, "Capiche."
"Hey, not to ruin your moment or anything," Bruce spoke out, his voice slightly muffled, "But could I be untied before you go?"