TW: Self destructive behavior, mentions of blood, mentions of needles, mentions of starving (not intentional)
“Peter, please, just a few bites,” May murmured. “You’re going to get sick, honey.”
Peter stared blankly at the food, silent. He shook his head.
“Peter. Oh sweetie,” she whispered. She stirred the spoon in the soup. “Maybe later?”
May got up from the bed, quietly shutting the door behind her.
Natasha looked up.
“He’s still not eating. I- I don’t know what to do.”
Nat sighed. “Does he talk?”
“We can get Bruce to set him up on an IV,” she suggested.
“He hates needles. He probably won’t let him. He’d only let Tony-” May winced.
They heard a gut-wrenching sob from behind the closed door.
Steve paced the length of the living room.
The silence was new.
Something they couldn’t get used to.
Bruce had disappeared. So had Rhodey.
Thor had left for Asgard as soon as he heard.
No one had seen Happy in days.
Nat, May and Pepper curled on the couch together. Clint hovered behind them. Sam stood off to the side, looking worried.
“How’s Pete?” Steve asked.
May shook her head. “He’s not doing so good. Won’t eat. Won’t talk.”
“God. We’re supposed to take care of him. Tony’s gone. It’s our job now,” Steve muttered.
“It’s our job. You’re right,” Clint said. “May… you’ve known him for the longest… what do you think we should do?”
May shrugged helplessly. “Even I don’t know. He’s devastated.”
“Peter- I think he just can’t. He can’t eat, can’t talk,” Pepper added.
“He needs to. We- we can’t lose him too,” Clint said.
The thought of losing Peter, their bright, cheerful boy, was almost too much to think of.
Peter staggered to his feet. He leaned against the wall to keep himself upright.
He was weak.
He wasn’t Spider-Man. Not anymore.
He wasn’t anybody.
Peter didn’t realize he was biting his knuckles until the taste of blood stung his mouth.
Blood. Tony’s blood. Everywhere
Nothing but blood
The Iron Man helmet
Stained and dented
Just the helmet and blood
Peter collapsed, knocking his head against the wall. He landed on the shards of glass, from when he had thrown his Iron Man snowglobe through the window.
He sobbed, the glass slicing his palms and knees. But he didn’t care.
Tony was gone.
He was dead.
It was all his fault.
He choked, gasping for air, clawing at his neck. “Mr. Stark!” he screamed. “Mr. Stark!”
Nonono why did he leave?
Why did he leave me?
“Mr. Stark! Why did you leave me?! I need you!” he wailed.
Shards pierced through his jeans. He could hear footsteps running up the stairs. It was too loud.
Mr. Stark! Help me!
I can’t breathe
It was May. But he didn’t want May. He wanted Tony.
Tony was dead.
“He collapsed?” Helen asked, bandaging Peter’s small, bloody hands. “Did he hit his head?”
“No,” May said anxiously, wringing her hands. “He was already on the ground.”
“He’s unhealthily thin, and extremely dehydrated. He hasn’t eaten anything?”
“No. He refused.”
“I’ll have to set him up on an IV,” she said, already gathering equipment.
“Can’t- can’t he just go one more day? Maybe he’ll eat.”
“May,” Cho said sternly. “You’re a nurse. You know he needs this.”
“He hates needles…” she whispered.
“I know. But I’d rather have him alive with needles in him than dead without.”
May flinched at the severity of her words. Just then Nat, Sam, Steve, Pepper and Clint sprinted in.
“How’s Peter?” Pepper asked urgently.
May sighed. “We’re putting him on an IV. He’s really sick.”
“What happened to his hands?” Clint asked, stepping forward.
“Glass. His window was broken. I guess he fell on it.”
The team stared in shock at the boy, pale and still, far too thin. Tear tracks were fresh on his cheeks, his jeans bloodied, his hands bandaged.
Where was the happy, energetic, cheerful Peter they all knew?
Dead, along with Tony?
Peter woke up.
But he didn’t want to.
The grief and anguish hit him in waves.
“Tony,” he whispered. “Mr. Stark?”
He held back a sob. He tried to bring his hand to his face, but it was pulled back.
He looked around.
He remembered screaming. Glass. And the blood.
So much blood.
He could hear talking, outside the door.
He didn’t want to listen.
“It’s been five days since we found… you know, Tony,” Sam muttered. “Peter hasn’t eaten, had water, or left his room for five days.”
“Yeah, Sam. That’s why he’s on an IV,” Clint snapped.
“I know, I know. But he’s destroying himself. We can’t just let it happen.”
Nat sighed. “He’s grieving… what can we do?”
They stood in silence.
It wasn’t silent for long.
There was a set of footsteps thundering up the stairs. The team spun around, pulling out various weapons, guns, tasers, shields, and May grabbing a potted plant from the hallway table.
The door burst open, nearly cracking the wall, and there was… Tony?
They stared at him blankly. “Tony?” May whispered, lowering the plant.
His clothes were ragged and torn, his face bruised and bloody, and his left leg bandaged heavily. He was panting, looking terrified.
“Where’s Peter?!” he asked, frantically, voice trembling. “Why isn’t he with you?! Is he okay?!”
May was the first to step forward. “The hell he isn’t okay!” she nearly snarled. “He thinks you’re dead!” She looked like she was about to slap him.
“He- he what…?” Tony muttered. Then he was sprinting to his kid.
Peter’s hospital room was dark. The only sounds were the whirring of the IV and Peter’s choked, staggered breathing.
“Petey?” he whispered. “I’m here.”
He walked closer. Peter stared listlessly at the light blue walls, eyes blank.
The joyful, child-like, bright spark that his eyes had held was gone.
Oh god. What had he done?
“Peter,” he murmured, “Petey. It’s okay now. I’m here. We’re okay.”
Tony realized his hands were shaking violently.
He’d never seen Peter like this.
“Petey, you’re scaring me. Please, mimmo, look at me. I’m right here.”
Carefully, gently, he bent, squatting by the bed, and touched Peter’s shoulder. “Pete? I’m here, baby. You’re okay.”
He was terrified at the blank, lifeless look in Peter’s eyes.
This was all his fault.
He gently tapped Peter’s soft cheek. “Petey? Please, baby. I’m here. I’m here. Dad’s here.”
Peter’s big brown eyes gazed at him, confused, uncomprehending. Tony watched, heart pounding, stroking Peter’s cheek.
“‘M I dead?” the boy whispered.
Tony flinched. “No- no, no sweetheart. You’re here, you’re alive, you’re breathing. We’re okay.”
“You’re dead. You’re gone. You left me,” Peter said dully. “Why’d you leave?”
“Petey, no, I’m not gone. I’ll never leave you. Ever.” Tony ran a hand through Peter’s curls. “Feel that? I’m here, Petey, I’m real. We’re okay.”
Peter looked at him, eyes wide. Tony smiled gently.
Suddenly, that boy was launching himself up in bed, sobbing hysterically. Tony lunged forward, catching him and pulling him onto his lap.
Peter sobbed, tears and snot dripping down his face, which he pressed into Tony’s chest. He hugged Tony tightly, cries muffled.
Tony cradled him close. God, he was so thin.
He kissed the boy’s hair, murmuring words of comfort, rocking him back and forth.
“Mr. Stark, I thought you were dead!” Peter wailed. “IthoughtyouweredeadIthoughtyouleftme!Mr. Stark!”
“Shh, shh, Peter, I’ll never leave you, I will never, ever leave you. I will always be here. It’s okay, bambino. I got you.” Tony squeezed him tightly.
Peter choked and gasped. Tony could feel his rapid heartbeat.
He couldn’t bear it when his kid cried. It physically hurt. And knowing he’d caused it…
“Petey, you’re going to hyperventilate, please, don’t cry. Please, baby, it’s okay. I got you. It’s okay,” Tony pleaded. He rubbed circles on Peter’s back, taking exaggerated breaths for Peter to follow. Tears were welling up in his own eyes.
Peter was, in fact, struggling to breathe. Tony desperately tried to comfort him, kissing his button nose, holding him tight, rubbing his back.
Instinctively, he began humming, rocking Peter like a baby, stroking his cheek.
Slowly, Peter’s sobs dissolved into whimpers and strangled versions of “Mr. Stark” and “Dad.”
Tony could feel each knob of Peter’s ribs, how he trembled violently, how cold he felt. He tried not to think of how much pain Peter had been in without eating.
“We need to get you some ice cream, sweetheart,” he choked out. “Maybe cookies?”
Peter buried his face further into Tony’s chest. He could hear him sniff, nodding.
“Mr. Stark? I missed you,” Peter whispered.
“I missed you too, baby, I missed you so much. I will never, never leave you again. Ever.”
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