Hullo friends! I just wanted to thank all y'all for your support, it was overwhelming. Seriously, it means so much to me and I'm so glad y'all like the story. This chapter was actually a lot of fun to write, so I hope you enjoy!
I especially wanted to say thank you to AquaDragonSilverFire, silverwolvesarecool, Modern Demigod Hero, and elisiumqueen for your wonderful reviews. Y'all are the best!
I also wanted to say: My favorite part of writing is getting to interact with my readers. So, if there's anything you'd like to see in this story, drop a review with your suggestion and I'll make it happen! :)
The first thing that flashed through Peter's mind was a veritable explosion of excitement that made him want to fling himself into out space and scream about how much he loved his life because Captain freaking America just saved his life. That excitement, however was quickly followed by an acute sense of horror. Peter Parker idolized Captain America. Except for Iron Man, there was nobody on the planet who was cooler than Captain America. But to see his hero in that state—weak and bloodied, laying unconscious on the ground—was a traumatizing experience.
He was beginning to feel the warmth creep back into his body, but his mind was still hazy. He could hardly concentrate because there was so much going on: so much noise, so much movement, so much agonizing pain. Peter had never dislocated a joint before and he never wanted to again. The slightest movement, the smallest spasm of his muscles made him want to scream. Not to mention the white-hot burning feeling that told Peter there was more to his injury than met the eye.
Sirens screamed in the distance. Even with all of the pain and emotions running through his head, there was one clear thought that stood out above the noise: Get out of there.
Captain America, he knew, was a fugitive. The entirety of the United States saw the former hero as a criminal. If the police showed up and found him, he'd probably end up locked away forever. That thought didn't sit well with the teenager.
Ignoring the pain, the confusion, and the general feeling of numbness that seemed to encompass his entire being, Peter pulled the unconscious super-soldier up over his good shoulder in a messy sort of fireman's carry, and stumbled out of the alley way. He had no idea where he was going (or how he was even still standing, let alone single-handedly carrying a massive super-hero over his shoulder like a sack of flour) but he trusted his feet to take him where he needed to go. He was completely on autopilot.
The next twenty minutes were lost on him. He blinked and suddenly he was standing outside of his apartment building. Tessa the dog came excitedly bolting from the shadows and barked happily. However, when she noticed Spider-Man obviously in pain and struggling under the weight of Steve Rogers, she sat down and whimpered.
"It's okay, girl, don't worry about me," Peter grunted, trying to reposition his hold on Captain America in a way that wouldn't make him feel like his shoulder was exploding. Luckily, adrenaline, super-human spider-powers, and sheer willpower were nature's best painkillers. There was no pain, anymore. Actually, there was no feeling at all. Just an instinctual, primal need to get upstairs to safety.
Spider-Man stared up at the massive building and groaned. There was no way he could climb that building in the state he was in! Not to mention with an all-American hero in tow. So, instead, he slipped inside and took the elevator up to his floor, praying that no one would be outside at that ungodly hour and see him. Luckily, whatever benevolent being was listening was merciful and Peter managed to evade notice. Unfortunately, the door to his apartment was locked and the key was still in his backpack on top of the building. Peter wanted to scream in frustration and exasperation. However, he lacked the energy, so, instead, he let out a string of explicatives that would've made Cap's ears fold inside out, and kicked the door open (promising to replace the lock later.) He dropped the super-soldier onto the couch in the living room and collapsed.
As soon as the weight was lifted from his shoulders, the pain returned with a vengeance. Whimpering, Peter curled up in a little ball on the floor. Just breathe, Pete. You can do this.
After several minutes of casually wandering though the seven circles of Hell, the pain finally began to ebb away. It didn't disappear completely, but it was bearable. At least he could think again.
Beneath the pain, the overstimulation of his senses, the excitement, and the horror, there was a deep sense of confusion that seemed to permeate Peter's whole being.
"What am I even supposed to do?" he asked himself, so quietly that Karen didn't catch it. Or perhaps the AI knew simply that it wasn't a question to be answered. The question hung in the air unanswered and open-ended and Peter had no idea how to proceed.
"Incoming call from Tony Stark," Karen said suddenly.
A wave of panic washed over Peter like a tidal wave. Tony Stark, as much as he looked up to the man, was definitely the last person he wanted to talk to right now. "What? Karen, no! Why is he calling?"
"I am programmed to automatically notify Mr. Stark if any of your vital signs become critical," Karen responded. "Answering call,"
"Wait, Karen, no—Oh, hey Mr. Stark!" Peter said, plastering on a weak smile as Tony's face appeared in the monitor.
Normally, Tony immediately would've reprimanded him for calling him "Mr. Stark" instead of "Tony", but instead he cut straight to the chase. "What happened, Peter?" he asked. His voice was firm but caring, and his face somehow looked both angry and worried at the same time.
"What do you mean, Mr. Stark?" Peter asked, part of him hoping Tony would leave him alone if he played dumb.
Tony, however, was far too smart for that. He rolled his eyes. "Cut the crap, kid. Your core body temperature dipped down to 85 degrees. What happened?" the inventor demanded, his voice harder than steel.
Peter ducked his head, feeling a little bit guilty. "It's nothing Mr. Stark, I swear. There were these three guys—they were using those Chitauri weapons, and this one guy had a sort of gauntlet type of thing. I've never seen anything like it before. He hit me with it and suddenly everything got really cold. I managed to take the guy out, though, and Karen warmed me up with those cool suit-heaters—Oh, thanks by the way. Those things are really nice. Anyways, I'm alright now, I promise," he said. He deliberately left out the part about being rescued by Steve Rogers; yes, the WWII veteran was technically a criminal and Peter knew that he was probably supposed to turn him in, but there was a nagging feeling in his gut that told him to hold his tongue. It felt wrong to turn on the man who'd saved his life not more than a half-an-hour earlier!
"You got cold?" Tony asked, his face unreadable. A whole slew of emotions was churning inside of the master invertor's mind. Yet, he chose to ignore them all.
"Yeah, it was some kind of temperature reducer. I swear, if felt like it sucked all the heat right out of me," Peter explained.
Tony paused for a moment, thinking deeply. He lifted up his head and studied Peter very carefully. "Well, your core temperature is back up to 95 and still rising., so that's good. You sure you feel okay, kid? Dizziness? Confusion? Muscle pain? Stiff joints? Anything?"
"No, I feel fine. I just feel a little chilled," Peter lied. Truth be told, he felt absolutely miserable, like he'd been crush by a parade of cement trucks falling from the sky. He didn't, however, want to make Tony suspicious, so he added: "My shoulder's dislocated and that hurts pretty bad,"
Tony raised an eyebrow. "Your shoulder's dislocated?" he asked. Dislocated joints were certainly not a life-threatening condition, but Tony couldn't seem to turn off the alarm bells that were firing off inside of his head.
Peter nodded. "Er… yeah. I mean, he hit me pretty hard so…" he trailed off, unsure of what else to say.
"That's pretty serious, kid. That's not something you can fix yourself," Tony said.
Peter's eyes went wide. Crap. He'd forgotten all about that. "But I was just gonna head up to the ER or something," he said sheepishly.
Tony narrowed his eyes. He felt like there was something that Peter wasn't telling him and he didn't like that feeling. "Look, do you need me to come down there and help you out? Well, I mean, I won't be there but I can send Happy or one of my suits down to give you a lift," He had no intention of letting the kid fend for himself, but he thought he'd at least give Peter the option of asking for help himself.
"No!" Peter answered quickly, too quickly. "I mean, um, no thank you. Really, I'm fine, Mr. Stark, I swear. There's a big hospital like five miles from my house. I was just gonna call a cab or something. I promise, I'm okay," he said, flashing a convincing smile for good measure.
Tony's frown deepened. "Why a cab? Isn't Aunt May taking you?"
Crap. Crap. Crap. "She's actually out of town at a wedding," Peter admitted.
"I see," Tony said. He raised an eyebrow. "And how are you planning of getting home after they pump you full of painkillers?" he asked.
Peter swallowed thickly. He really hadn't though about it.
Tony's face remained expressionless, but Peter didn't miss the ghost of a smirk tugging at the corner of his lip. "Yeah, that's what I thought. I'm sending Happy up to take you to the hospital. He won't be able to make it until tomorrow morning, though, so I want you to wrap that shoulder, ice it, and take a couple of ibuprofen. Understand?" Tony asked, inwardly cringing at how fatherly he sounded.
Peter gave a curt nod. "Yes, Mr. Stark,"
Tony rolled his eyes. "How many times to I have to tell you, Peter, call me Tony,"
Peter released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "Oh yeah, sorry. I, um, it won't happen again," His eyes flickered towards the injured super-soldier laying on his couch. He was itching to end the phone call so he could help the man.
"What are you doing out so late?" Tony asked, suddenly. "Don't you have a curfew?"
Peter jumped, startled. "Aunt May isn't home, remember?" he said, flashing a cheeky smile.
Tony snorted. "Whatever you say, kid. When she gets back, tell her I said hello. And listen, if you need any help call me or Happy. Actually, call Happy first. Okay, kid?"
Peter nodded dutifully. "Yes, Mr. St- Tony. Thank you,"
Tony gave him one more scrutinizing look then his features softened and he said: "Happy'll be there around 10 a.m. tomorrow. Get some rest, kid," Then he ended the call. Peter sighed and collapsed back against the floor, pulling off the mask. "He's gonna kill me if he finds out…" he mumbled, glancing in Captain America's direction.
So… now what?
He crawled over to Steve Roger's prone from and knelt down beside him. Excitement bubbled up inside the teen's chest but it quashed it quickly: now wasn't the time to fanboy over the fact that one of his idols was in his house. Without wasting any more time, Peter slipped the mask back over his head and asked: "What are his injuries, Karen?"
"Scanning," the AI responded. She was silent for a moment, then Steve's vitals appeared in the mask's display. "Blunt force trauma to the head resulting in lacerations and a concussion; deep lacerations across the chest and torso; puncture wound in the left thigh—minor damage to the quadriceps sustained; broken radius bone, right side, clean break; rib fracture in six ribs; severe freezer burn; hemorrhaging; frostbite; and hypothermia,"
Peter stood frozen for a long time, trying to process all of the information Karen had given him. He felt like his brain was buffering. He'd watched enough House, Scrubs, and Grey's Anatomy that on a normal day, he'd know exactly what she was talking about. Today however, was not a normal day. Today sucked. His head still felt like somebody had picked his brain out through his nose (kinda like the ancient Egyptians did—thanks history class) and filled the empty cavity with sand.
"…Okay, erm, thanks Karen," he said, sounding (and feeling) unsure.
"You didn't understand any of that, did you?" Karen said. Her voice was steady and unwavering and she didn't sound irritated in the slightest. Peter was glad that she was always so patient with him. Then again, he was a robot after all. Could robots be impatient? Peter shook his head. That was a question for another day.
"Yeah, no. Not really," Peter admitted. His hand's hovered over the Captain's body, unsure of how to proceed but desperate to do something.
"I can walk you through it," Karen said.
Peter felt an unexpected wave of relief wash over him. "Yeah. Yeah, that sounds good. Do that,"
"Start by removing his shirt and pants—that will give you better access to the injures," Karen directed.
Peter bolted upright almost immediately. "What?!" he screeched.
"Start by removing his shirt and pants—that will give you better access to the injures," Karen said again.
"You want me to strip him?" Peter cried, feeling his whole face burn.
"It will give you better access to the injuries," Karen said a third time.
"Yeah, okay, I heard you the first time," Peter said.
"I recommend cutting the clothing off with scissors to reduce the amount of movement," the AI said casually.
Peter buried his masked face in his hands. "Yeah, okay, whatever you say," he muttered, sounding thoroughly unconvinced. He reluctantly dragged himself into a standing position and stumbled into the kitchen, returning with a pair of scissors.
Peter took a deep breath. "It's only awkward if you make it awkward. It's only awkward if you make it awkward," he repeated.
First, he set to work on Steve's jacket and shirt. They didn't look very expensive (they were actually somewhat ratty-looking) much to Peter's relief. With the shirt gone, the teen couldn't help but stare in abject horror. The good captain's whole chest was mottle with bruises, cuts and scrapes. There was a horrifying-looking burn across Steve's torso, the sight of which made Peter gag a little. The flesh in the area was raw and waxy, red on the outside and gradually turning blue, with the innermost portion being an appalling shade of black. No doubt, Steve had come into contact with Mammoth's ice-puncher. Peter swallowed thickly and shuddered. He wondered if his shoulder looked just as mauled.
When he was finally able to tear his gaze away, he set to work on cutting away the Captain's pants. "Please be wearing underwear…" Peter mumbled.
Luckily, Steve was, in fact, wearing a pair of boxers underneath. Peter then pulled of the captain's shoes and socks and examined his patient in full. He did his best not to think about the ridiculousness of the situation and focus on the task at hand.
"There's a puncture wound on his left thigh that's bleeding heavily. Karen said gently.
"Yeah, okay, I can see that," Peter said. He wasn't normally a squeamish guy, but this was his hero after all. The sight made his stomach roll. "How do I fix it?" he asked. Luckily, most of the bleeding had stopped (hallelujah for soldier-serum super-healing) which made Peter's job much easier.
"Clean the wound with warm water and hydrogen peroxide. Then, wrap the wound tightly with a clean bandage.
"Okay. Okay, I can do this," Spider-Man said. He left for the bathroom and came back with a wet washcloth and a first-aid kit. Then, he set to work. Slowly, Karen guided him through the process of cleaning and dressing each one of the soldier's wounds. She even helped him set and wrap Steve's broken arm. ("Karen, how do you set a bone?" "I would highly recommend leaving professionals to do that," "Yeah, but if he goes to the hospital, they put him in jail! C'mon, Karen. Pleeeeaaassee?") The sickening crunching sound and Steve's unconscious scream just about made Peter lose his lunch.
Finally, after nearly an hour, the ordeal was over. After finding a blanket and carefully draping it over the super-soldier, Peter slunk to his room where he got out of the Spider-Man suit and crawled into bed.
A sudden wave of dizziness and nausea overcame the teen and he curled up in a tiny ball, hugging his knees and with one hand and gripping his head with the other. "Today sucks," he complained to no one in particular as he rode out the pain. He spent another half an hour completely unmoving. When the pain finally ebbed away, he dragged himself out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom to care for his own wounds.
He took one look at his mangled shoulder (which, as he expected, was just as horrifically burned as Captain America's chest) and his knees buckled. He spent the next several minutes violently throwing up everything he'd ever eaten since the day he was born, into the toilet bowl. After that, he lay on the cold floor of the bathroom, shivering miserably. He whimpered softly and wished, with every fiber in his whole being that Aunt May was there with him. She was always so kind and gentle and she always knew how to make him feel better when he was miserably sick. Seriously, she was the best mom in the whole world.
After what felt like years, Peter finally felt well enough to drag himself back to his room. He had no intention of wrapping his shoulder anymore (sorry Tony.) It was nearly 5 a.m. now, and all he wanted to do was sleep. He crawled back into bed, slid under the covers and had just about drifted off when a sudden thought bust forth into his tired brain.
"CRAP!" Peter shouted, sitting up. "Happy's gonna take me to the hospital tomorrow! I can't just leave Captain America in my house all alone! What if he wakes up!" Peter exclaimed, running his good hand through his hair. Then, he had an idea. He swung himself out of bed, stumbled over to his desk, and retrieved his phone. Then, he called the only person who could possibly be of any help in this situation.
He called again.
Again, no answer.
Peter was undeterred. He must've called nearly a dozen times before someone finally answered.
"Dude. It's like, 5 a.m. What do you want?" came a tired, stuffed-up sounding voice on the other line.
"Ned!" Peter exclaimed, happily. "Ned, I need your help. It's like super important. How are you feeling?"
"Tired," Ned deadpanned on the other line.
Peter sighed. "Okay, yeah, but are you still sick?"
"A little. I feel better, though," Ned responded.
"Dude, that's great!" Peter exclaimed.
"Why are you still awake?" Ned asked with a yawn. "Is it like a Spider-Man-thing that you don't need to sleep anymore? Can spiders sleep? Do you think spiders can dream?"
"What? No, I don't know. Ned, listen. I need your help. I know it's super early, but this is really important. It's like, Spider-Man level important. I need my man in the chair," Peter said.
There was a pause and some shuffling on the other line. "I'm listening," Ned said, sounding more awake.
"Okay, I need you to be at my house tomorrow at 8, okay?" Peter asked.
"Why?" was Ned's first response.
Peter sighed, a little exasperated. He was exhausted and he just wanted to go to bed. "I swear, I'll explain everything tomorrow. I just need you to be here at 8 a.m. sharp, okay? Can you do that?"
"Yeah, dude. Hey, wait, what if my mom says that I need to do my chores first?" Ned asked.
Peter pinched the bridge of his nose. "Then tell her that I'll help you do them tomorrow night. Look, I gotta go, man. But I'll see you at 8, okay?"
"Yeah, okay. That sounds awesome. See you tomorrow! Wait—should I bring that LEGO TARDIS we've been building?"
Peter paused for a moment to consider it. "Yeah. Yeah, bring that," After all, if Captain America stayed asleep, then it might get boring. It was definitely a good idea to bring something to do.
"Okay. See you tomorrow Peter!" Ned exclaimed and hung up.
Peter sighed wearily and collapsed onto the bed, gritting his teeth as the movement jostled his shoulder. What on earth had he gotten himself into?
Hope y'all enjoyed!
Also, here is a snippet of dialog for chapter 3, just to get y'all PUMPED because I'm super excited about it.
"Dude. Captain America is half-naked and laying on your couch. On Spider-Man's couch. This is like some kind of epic fanfiction. Except it's not fanfiction. It's real life and I'm a part of it," Ned rambled.
Peter gave him a confused, sideways glance. "What?"
"Captain America is so ripped. He has the face of an angel. A genetically enhanced angel," Ned breathed.
Again, Peter made a face. "Dude, is now really the time for that?"
Ned, however, seemed to ignore everything that Peter was saying. "Listen, I'm not super religious, but I think we should say a prayer. Like, right now. Just to tell God thank you for letting our lives be like this,"
Peter face-palmed. Bringing Ned was a horrible idea.