just read ur new imagine (with dad tony) and i loved it i was literally squealing with excitement and i was wondering if you could please make me a Peter Parker imagine where he calls Tony “Dad” for the first time ever in front of all the other Avengers and it’s all cute and fluffy? and the team knows Peter is Spider-man (not sure if u have rules for requests if u do let me know so i can follow them!) ❤️
Thank you so much! The fact that someone enjoyed it still makes me smile, so again, thank you! I have FINALLY finished this request. Honestly, this one is one of my favorites, and I really wanted it to feel right, because if/when Peter calls Tony “dad,” it’ll have to have a good leadup and all that stuff. I’m sorry it took so long! Also, I’m on mobile so I can’t put the “read more” cut, if that bothers anyone. ANYWAYS
Title: “Drowning on Dry Ground” (you’ll see why)
Word Count: 2831
He couldn’t sleep.
He was exhausted, and his body protested against his decision to pull another all-nighter, but it didn’t change the fact that he was going to stay awake.
He continued to sit on his bed, hugging himself as he willed his eyes to remain open. He knew he’d promised MJ that he’d read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and give it back to her, but if he started reading, he’d fall asleep and the nightmares would return.
He racked his brain, hoping that there was some homework he could get done. When nothing came to him, he cursed under his breath and burrowed deeper into the corner where his bed met the wall.
The nightmares were coming.
Peter took a breath, squeezing his eyes shut against the images of rubble coming down on him, of him screaming for help, of the crushing weight of a building on top of him.
That wasn’t helping.
Peter scrambled out of bed, grabbing his earbuds and plugging them into his phone. Music would drown out his memories. That’s what Tony did, right? And it worked, right?
Even as he shoved the buds into his ears, shaking hands scrolling through his playlists before selecting a OneRepublic album, he knew that it wouldn’t work.
He turned and slid down the wall until he was sitting again. He didn’t only want to listen to music, but there was nothing else for him to do. He figured he could retype his chemistry notes and study for any of the numerous tests that would inevitably take place in the next week and a half.
But his chemistry notes were all the way over there, and he didn’t feel like standing up to go get them.
Quickly, he opened Safari and looked up cures for insomnia. And, unsurprisingly, he found nothing.
So, naturally, he deflected to YouTube to watch cute videos of puppies.
When his alarm finally went off at six, he was in the process of watching a tutorial on how to communicate with a penguin.
He blinked foggily, exiting the app and forcing himself to stand. As he made his way to the shower, grabbing some clothes, an incoming text caused his phone to buzz.
Mr. Stark: Hey, can you swing (NO, I do NOT mean that literally) by the Tower after school? I’m working on something and I could really use your input.
Peter blinked rapidly, still not quite believing the words on his phone. Like, yeah, he and Tony Stark were close (Peter had almost called him “dad” several times now, but that was beside the point), but it never failed to surprise him that Tony freaking Stark wanted his help.
He stopped to text a quick reply: Yeah. Can I ask what it is?
Mr. Stark: It’s not a new suit, in case you were wondering. Just something for Rhodey and another something the United States government wants me to work on.
Sent: Yeah, yeah, I can swing it. Are you sure you need my help?
Mr. Stark: You’re a genius, kid. Yes, I want your help. Besides, it’ll move faster.
Peter doubted that, but he assured Tony he’d be there at three o’clock sharp.
He got ready quickly, mentally running through the lesson plans for the day. Classes would be pretty easy, he figured. The hardest thing lined up for him was a presentation in World History. Though, he thought, it was more because Flash would inevitably make fun of him.
He sighed, grabbing a bagel on the way out of the apartment, saying goodbye to May. He yawned, and he felt exhausted.
Because MJ had just informed him of a pop quiz in English.
And he hadn’t studied.
Because – as Michelle so gently put it – he was an idiot.
He boarded the train, silently begging God to take pity on him and smite him where he stood.
But God was probably just laughing at him.
He woke up to a throbbing pain in his shin.
Michelle was glaring at him, but it was more desperate than usual.
Had he just been asked a question?
He blinked foggily and turned to the teacher. “Um, c-can you repeat the question please?”
His teacher sighed heavily and repeated her question. “How do you find the limiting and excess reagents in this equation, Peter?”
Thank the Lord it was an easy question.
“You balance the equation, find which reagents you’re working with, and set up the mass to mole conversion to find which numbers correlate with the problem.”
The teacher blinked, obviously surprised that Peter answered correctly. “And, uh, Flash, how do you determine which reagent is the limiting reagent and which reagent is the excess reagent?”
Peter glanced at Michelle, and she mouthed “don’t sleep till lunch” at him.
He rolled his eyes, settling his arms on his desk. He supposed that was fair.
Someone flicked his ear.
He raised his head slowly, and both MJ and Ned were giving him “the look.”
He groaned, rotating his neck. “Okay,” he said groggily, “what is it?”
“You’re a loser,” MJ said at the same time Ned said, “How much sleep have you been getting?”
Peter pointedly looked to MJ first. “Thanks.” He sighed, running a hand through his hair. “To answer your question, Ned, I didn’t sleep last night.”
Ned gave him another look, and Peter winced. MJ was looking at him strangely, and he was fairly certain he could see a hint of concern in her eyes.
He stretched. “I’ll get your book to you next week, MJ. That cool?”
Michelle looked confused for a moment before she realized what he was talking about. “Oh! Yeah, just get that to me before Christmas break, loser.”
He rolled his eyes and laid his head on the table again. “Thanks for the sentiment.”
Before his eyes could close, the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch.
Michelle smirked at him, and Ned was visibly concerned. Peter looked up at the ceiling, again praying that God would smite him where he sat.
He stood, slinging his backpack onto his shoulder. He came up to Ned’s side. “You know, man,” he said, closing his eyes briefly. “I just feel like dying right now.”
From ahead of them, he heard Michelle say, “Same.”
Ned glared at the both of them while Peter and MJ high-fived. “No,” he said firmly.
“Dude, if God just took mercy on me and like, annihilated me at this moment in time, I would be completely cool with that,” Peter said, shrugging his backpack higher.
“Or if there was just like a new plague that kept us out of school for a year or two,” MJ added.
Ned was still not impressed. “As the team Mom,” he said, crossing his arms, “I say that you guys need to spend time around either puppies or kittens.”
Maybe the rest of the day would be better.
He was wrong.
It wasn’t his classes that made his day worse, per se.
It was more like a human being whose name started with “fl” and rhymed with “dash.”
And, naturally, he was just being a normal jackass, but it didn’t make it any better.
The bell rang at 2:35, and Peter all but bolted out of class, barely taking time to stop by his locker and pick out his textbooks. MJ and Ned both called after him, but he was out the door before he could hear what they were saying.
He made sure to text May and tell her that he might be late getting home because Tony had asked him for his help.
A couple of messages came in from both Ned and MJ, but he tucked his phone into his backpack as he redirected his steps to the Stark Tower.
It was close to three when he arrived, and he let himself through the door, still wondering why Mr. Stark had taken it off the market. Probably because Oscorp offered to buy it, he thought to himself.
“Hello, Mr. Parker,” F.R.I.D.A.Y. said. “Mr. Stark is upstairs in the common area.”
Peter paused, hand hovering above the elevator button. “Wait, which one?”
He stayed there, his hand still hovering over the button, as he racked his brain, trying to come up with a map of the tower.
“Do you want me to take you there?”
Peter breathed out a sigh of relief, nodding his head. “Y-yeah, F.R.I., that would be great.” The elevator doors opened, and he stepped inside, still marveling at how fancy even the elevators were.
When he stepped out, he found Mr. Stark sitting in the living room with most of the other Avengers.
“W-wait,” he said, not quite believing his eyes. “I-is that Bruce Banner?”
Mr. Stark and Dr. Banner both looked up, and Mr. Stark smiled slightly to himself.
“Uh, yeah, son,” Dr. Banner said, standing up to greet Peter. “And you are…?”
“I-I’m Peter Man. I mean I-I’m Spider Parker. I mean – fuck.”
Mr. Stark burst out laughing, lifting his StarkPad to cover his face.
Steve Rogers sat in confusion while Black Widow looked like she was suffering from secondhand embarrassment. Captain America’s friend – it was some bird name, he knew – was the only one to say anything to that.
“Kid, you’re like, ten. You can’t go around throwing the f bomb everywhere.”
Peter looked to Mr. Stark, who was still trying to compose himself. “I-I…I’ll have you know, I’m fifteen,” he said, his voice cracking with the last word.
Metal Arm Dude and Random Bird Guy started laughing, and Peter briefly wondered if it was possible for a cause of death to be laughter.
“I-I mean,” he turned to Dr. Banner. “We learn about you in school, and like you’re this genius and I mean, it’s so cool learning about what you taught the world, so y-yeah. There’s that.”
Dr. Banner smiled and shook his hand. “Thanks, Peter.”
“Y-yeah,” Peter stammered. “Wait.” His eyes widened and he turned to Vision. “Dude, like I am in the same room as the science bros!”
Mr. Stark’s laughter was cut off by a loud groan. “You had to give him one more reason for his head to get bigger, kid,” Steve said.
Peter nodded, lifting his hand in a salute. “C-cap-captain.”
“Steve is fine.”
“Sorry I stole your shield that one time. But then you beat me up, so I guess, like, we’re even,” he stammered.
Steve chuckled. “No hard feelings, kid.”
Peter turned to Mr. Stark. “S-so, Mr. Stark, why are they not freaking out about me being Spiderman?”
Random Bird Guy spoke up again, still trying to fight off peals of laughter. “Dude, like, you sounded like a twelve-year-old before. This isn’t too much of a stretch.”
Peter glared at him before turning back to Mr. Stark, who was still trying to conceal his laughter. “You wanted my help?”
Mr. Stark seemed to remember why Peter was there in the first place. He tossed his StarkPad onto the footrest. “Yeah, come on down to the lab.”
The next two hours were spent with Peter, Dr. Banner, and Mr. Stark tossing around ideas for the government’s new toy. Peter suggested a self-defense mechanism that could be activated only by Dr. Banner or Mr. Stark.
Tony turned to Bruce. “Told you he was a genius,” he said nonchalantly, programming Peter’s idea into the drone.
Peter couldn’t help but realize that they were making the drone a lot less…violent, per se, than the government wanted. He smiled to himself, glad that Tony was sticking to his beliefs and still refusing to build weapons. A search drone, yes, but not a weapon.
“Okay, kid,” Tony said, clapping Peter on the back. “We’re done here.” He began walking out, but he turned around. “If you want to stay for dinner, you can. I’ve heard your horror stories of your aunt’s cooking.”
Peter nodded eagerly. “Yeah. Um, is it okay if I stay a little later, too?” He shifted awkwardly from foot to foot, ignoring the confused looks Dr. Banner was throwing his way. “I-I mean, it’s a weekend, and I don’t have a whole lot of homework and as long as May knows that I’m here she won’t freak out –”
Tony raised a hand. “Sure thing, kid. Just…call your aunt so she won’t call me while she’s freaking out.”
Peter bolted up the stairs, barely paying attention as Tony called after him, “Do I make myself clear, young man?”
“Got it!” Peter’s voice was faint, and Tony turned to Dr. Banner, shaking his head.
“Can you believe that kid?” He chuckled. “Not a lot of homework, my ass.”
Bruce still stood confused. “Um, Tony,” he began slowly. “Is Peter…your kid?”
Tony furrowed his eyebrows, unsure of Bruce’s meaning. “You mean, am I that kid’s father?” When Bruce nodded, he scoffed. “God, no. Good thing, too. That kid doesn’t need that in his life.”
Bruce simply hummed in response. “Whatever you say.”
Mr. Stark had given in and let Peter choose the movie for the night. He was expecting some overrated Disney movie or any of the crappy movies kids were watching these days, but Peter settled on Big Hero 6.
Needless to say, Tony was proud.
And Random Bird Guy may have accepted him as a member of the team in that moment in time.
Also, Black Widow actually cried within the first twenty minutes of the film.
Peter settled on one of the couches, stretching out completely. He tried to watch the movie, but he was too tired to actually do so.
Sleep kept tugging on his sleeve, and he closed his eyes just for a moment.
And he found himself crushed under tons of brick and rubble, dust filling his lungs. He coughed, feeling a slab of concrete digging into his calf. The building pressed down on him further, and he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe, oh God, he couldn’t breathe.
He tried to scream for help, reaching out and grasping for anything that could pull him out of his demise. He begged anyone to come to his aid, but he was drowning on dry ground, and no one was around to help.
He was going to die.
Oh God, he was going to die, he was going to die, he was going to die.
And no one would be there to save him.
They all heard Peter’s whimpers as soon as they began. Steve and Sam began to stand, ready to calm the boy’s nightmares, but before anyone else could react, Tony was by Peter’s side.
“Kid, wake up!”
Peter continued thrashing, his cries becoming weaker and more strangled. Tony gripped Peter’s shoulders firmly, gently shaking him awake. “Kid, wake up!”
His eyes snapped open, and he threw a punch. Tony caught Peter’s wrist in his hand, gently batting the other one out of the way. “Just me, kid, it’s just me.”
“Dad?!” He was frantic, but when his eyes locked on Tony’s, he relaxed completely. “Dad,” he breathed out, settling back against the couch.
Tony pretended he hadn’t felt his heart squeeze. “Yeah, kid, it’s me.” He reached out and brushed some of Peter’s hair out of his eyes. “You’re okay, kid, you’re okay.”
Peter offered Tony a half-smile. “Th-that was scary, man.”
Tony nodded, rubbing soothing circles on Peter’s shoulder. “Yeah. Yeah, it was, kid.”
“I-I was under a pile of rubble, a-and I couldn’t get out, and I thought I was g-gonna die –” Peter’s breaths were labored.
Tony’s jaw tightened, but Peter didn’t catch it. “You’re safe now, son. Deep breaths with me, kid, okay? Calm, deep breaths.”
Peter breathed with Tony, and his body relaxed further.
As they were doing this, Steve turned to Rhodes. “Since when has Tony been this kid’s father figure?” he whispered.
Rhodey shrugged. “It just sort of happened, man.”
Peter rested his head against the pillow. “I-I feel fine now,” he said, his ears and face turning red now that he noticed the other Avengers watching him closely.
Tony didn’t move his hand from Peter’s shoulder. “You sure, kid?”
Peter looked at Tony, prepared to lie. When he made eye contact, his resolve cracked, and he shook his head meekly. “No.”
Tony nodded. “Okay. I’m right here, son; I’m not going anywhere.”
Peter nodded, shifting so that Tony would have room to sit on the couch. “Th-thanks, Mr. Stark.”
Tony pretended that he hadn’t felt crushing disappointment when Peter didn’t call him “dad” again. He pretended that his heart hadn’t jumped into his throat when Peter was crying out. He pretended like it meant little when Peter scooted closer to him, as if he was a safety line.
Because if he let himself realize any of those for even just a moment, he would lose everything he’d ever cared about.