(So, "whos my spider-baby?" is my most popular story and so many people asked for more so finally here we are. It's not connected to the first one but I hope you enjoy it!)
"I told you to go left." Tony pulled on the ropes wrapped around his arms, squirming anxiously as they writhed around him like snakes, holding him down in his chair.
"You were knocked down, I wasn't going to just leave you there." Peter squirmed in his own seat, cold in the abandoned warehouse they'd tracked their target.
You'd think that someone in an Iron Man suit and a kid with superpowers would be able to get out of some measly ropes but they weren't tied down with ordinary ropes. They were magic. Yeah, New York is weird.
"You don't have to protect me, I can handle myself."
Magic man- yes, he named himself- leaned down to peer at the two heroes he'd captured, sparkly magicians outfit throwing off beams of light around the room like a disco ball.
"Aw, you two are adorable, worrying over each other like that. Mr Tony heals the wounds his own father inflicted by fathering the spider. And the spider gets the father figure he so desperately craves."
Tony gritted his teeth, trying to keep his cool in front of the loopy telepath. His eyes softened and his smile was warm which somehow made him even creepier.
"Ah, how I'd love to go back and be a child with my dad to protect me whenever I was sad or scared."
He turned to Peter, eyebrows coming down in sympathy. "But you don't even remember what that feels like, do you? Your father went missing when you were so young and you held out hope that he'd return for so long that by the time you saw your uncle as a paternal figure you were already grown up. Mostly. You don't remember what it's like for a father to protect you, to love you and be there for you. You don't even remember what it felt like to hug him do you?"
Peter felt the words stab at his heart and he grit his teeth behind the mask.
"The only reason you remember what he looks like is the photos you kept."
Peter couldn't listen to any more. "SHUT UP!"
Magic-man laughed, tittering at his reaction. "My my, so sensitive. And I didn't even say anything about your mother."
Peter pulled at his restraints, voice loud in the wide, empty warehouse.
"YOU SHUT UP RIGHT NOW OR I'LL-" his words cut off with a cry of pain, the snake-like ropes pulling taut around him.
"Spider-man!" Tony tried to reach for him but he couldn't move and the magic moron just stood, hands on his bedazzled hips and hummed as he thought.
"You know, I was going to kill you and consume your flesh-"
"WHAT?!" Tony stilled in his binds, shock distracting him from the winding ropes.
Peter screwed up his face beneath his mask, nauseated and horrified, ropes easing their grip as he stilled. "You should change your name to disgusting man, cause that's nasty."
The apparent cannibal, rolled his eyes as if it were obvious. "Well, how else do you think I got my powers? I have to eat powered people to absorb their gifts. I was going to do the same to you but people always taste better when they're soaked in dopamine and serotonin. It's like marinating steak."
Peter groaned, shaking his head. "Seriously, stop. I'm gonna throw up."
Magic man giggled, clapping his hands as his excitement grew. "Yes! I know what I'll do. I'll give you something you've never had before. A gift from me to you. And once you're both happy and dripping in all those delicious hormones I'll find you and kill you!"
Tony's gaze bounced from the murderer to Peter and back, watching as Magic Man extended a glowing finger towards the spider.
"Back off E.T! Don't you touch him!"
Peter squirmed, pulling back but the ropes held him still and Tony could only watch as Magic Man pressed his finger to the kid's forehead.
Peter gasped at the touch and a blinding explosion of light filled the large warehouse. Tony turned away, shutting his eyes, only turning back once the glow faded.
But as he opened his eyes, dread grew heavy in his stomach. Magic man was gone and the ropes he'd been controlling dropped to the ground, limp and ordinary once more but Peter was slumped in his chair.
Tony leapt up from his seat, reaching for the teenager and giving him a gentle shake. "Pete, come on, answer me."
The boy didn't show any signs of waking and Tony grew more panicked as the seconds ticked on. Friday's scans were telling him that everything was fine, Peters heart rate and breathing were in the range of someone sleeping and his blood pressure and brain activity was normal. So what was wrong?
Tony scooped the kid into his arms, carefully tucking Peters head on his shoulder as he called for help.
"Friday, call Bruce and tell him we have incoming."
"Got it, boss."
The flight back home was a stressful one. The scans showed Peter was fine but he wasn't waking up and that wasn't fine at all. There was no telling what the magic idiot had done and Tony couldn't even begin to unravel all the crazy nonsense he'd dribbled on about.
Thankfully, Bruce always knew what to do and Tony felt better the moment he saw him, waiting on the landing pad with a stretcher.
Tony laid the teenager out on the thin mattress, hanging onto the side as he and Bruce rolled Peter into the infirmary.
Tony was out of breath and worried, panting as he tried to explain. "A magic sparkly people eater touched his forehead. Big blast of light," he gestured to the unconscious boy with splayed hands. "Boom."
Bruce settled the stretcher in an examination room and began gently pulling Peters mask off. "That's not a lot to go on."
Tony stepped out of his Iron Man suit and sent it away, scrubbing his hands through his hair. "I know but he won't wake up. Please, just help him."
Bruce nodded and got to work, reading all the information Karen was putting up on his screen as he snapped on some gloves.
"Everything seems normal, it's as if he were just sleeping. Look," he pointed to one of the screens above Peters bed as he placed monitors on the boy's temples. "He's dreaming."
Tony sighed a little, relieved that Peter didn't seem to be dying but his knuckles were still bleached white where he gripped the side of the stretcher.
"What if it's a coma? Loony Toon said he was giving Peter a gift because he didn't know what it was like to have a father to protect him. What if he's stuck in a dream world? That's not crazy, right?"
Bruce pushed his glasses up his nose before he pulled Peters spider suit to his waist. "Hmm, I guess it's somewhere in the realm of possibility, I mean, we've certainly seen stranger things than that."
That did not make Tony feel better. He squeezed his hands tighter on the bed frame and tried not to panic. "How do we get him out of it?"
Bruce paused, thinking before he gently lifted Peters' arm and hung it over the kid's face. And then he dropped it.
Peters' hand smacked his nose and his blank sleeping face crumpled into one of pain a second before he was enveloped in a puff of smoke.
Tony lunged forward to grab the kid only to be met with the chubby, soft arm of a toddler instead.
"WAHHHHH!" The child was crying, nose red, his Spider-Man suit pushed down to his wai- his Spider-Man suit?!
Tony's jaw dropped open as he watched the kid wail, little hands coming up to his nose.
"Oh my god. Peter?!"
Bruce's eyebrows bounced upwards and he hummed, looking at the monitors on the wall. "Hmm. That's not normal."
Tony was about to explode. "YOU THINK? Do something!"
Bruce gestured to the kid on the stretcher. "Do what? What am I supposed to do with this?"
Tony groaned and took matters into his own hands, taking Peters hands away from his face and leaning down to see him. "Peter, kiddo look at me."
Peters crying was slowing down as the throbbing in his nose eased and he sniffled, opening his wet eyes to see Mr Stark in front of him.
Big sad tears fell down his soft round cheeks and he reached for his mentor. "Midder Starrr."
Everything within Tony melted in that instant as tiny fingers reaching for him, and he reached back without a thought, pulling little Peter to his chest and wrapping his arms around him.
"Aw, Petey, you're okay."
Peter lay his head against Tony's shoulder, hiccuping as he sniffled, brown curls soft against Tony's big hand as he brushed Peters hair back. "Unca Bruce hurt Petey's dose."
Bruce smiled at the little boy and Tony felt like his heart was about to explode. Tony wasn't usually one for affection but he couldn't pass up the opportunity to snuggle the little love bug. He pulled Peter up against his shoulder and cuddled him close, rocking side to side as he pressed his cheek to the boy's hair.
"He didn't mean to, he was trying to wake you up."
Peter shook his head. "Noo."
Tony laughed a little and looked up at Bruce. "Bruce, say sorry to Peter."
The doctor frowned, offended. "What? Why?"
Tony held Peter tight, rubbing his back as they swayed. "You upset him."
Of course, it hadn't been Bruce's intention to hurt the kid but being told to apologize to a child for doing his job was a little degrading. Of course, he loved Peter too much not to do it. He leaned down and offered a hand to the boy. "I'm sorry for hurting your nose, Peter. Would it be alright if I checked it to make sure you're okay?"
Peter peeked at him from under Tony's chin and nodded, reaching out his chubby hand to curl around Bruce's index finger. He'd stopped crying and he rubbed at his wet cheeks as Bruce gently prodded around his nose, to make sure he was okay.
Tony watched as Bruce got a cheeky look in his eyes and tapped a finger to Peters' nose, booping him and making him jump and swipe at his hands. "Does that hurt?"
Peter shook his head and Bruce frowned theatrically. "How about this?"
He wriggled his fingers under Peters' chin, eliciting a small laugh from the toddler as he squirmed on the bed. "Nooo."
Bruce smiled and tickled Peters soft tummy, laughing as Peter squealed, little feet kicking. "What about now?"
Tony caught the boy as he rocked back, giggling and wiggling away from the tickling fingers. "Noo, stop Unca Bruce!"
Tony laughed along with the two of them, hand under Peters back so he wouldn't fall off the bed as he rocked back from laughing. All of a sudden a sparkly puff of smoke enveloped Peter and the weight against Tony's hand grew too heavy for him to hold.
The weight fell to the floor with a thunk and the smoke cleared to reveal a teenager Peter laying on the ground looking up at Tony.
"Uhh, Mr Stark? What's happening?"
Loki peered at the teenager, fingers perched on his chin as he walked around Peter. "Who did this?"
Tony watched the god carefully, ready to get in between if he tried anything with Peter, although that's what Thor had come for. "Some crazy guy. He eats powered people to gain their abilities but I don't know much about him."
Loki nodded and Peter turned to Tony behind him, whining. "Mr Stark, do I have to wear my mask?"
Peter was sitting in his sweatpants and hoodie, spider mask over his face and Tony crossed his arms. "Yes. We don't trust Loki with your identity. He's an asshole."
Loki raised an eyebrow at the mechanic, offended. "I came here to help, Stark. There's no need to insult me."
Thor leaned against the wall lazily, shrugging. "You are an asshole, brother."
Loki, having heard that enough times from his brother and everyone else, didn't really care all that much anymore. He rolled his eyes and poked at Peters' chest, the boy pulling away with a cry of indignation.
Loki turned to Tony, a slight hint of mischief in his eyes that the mechanic did not like. "I'm going to try something and I need you to let me."
Tony shook his head. "I'm not going to let you do anything if you phrase it like that. What do you have in mind?"
Loki ignored him, leaning down into Peter's face, looking just a tiny bit pleased with himself.
"You're a failure. Stark doesn't care for you in the least."
Peter frowned under his mask, voice whiny and hurt. "What? That's not true."
Tony couldn't agree more. He stepped forward, reaching for Peter. "Loki, stop."
The god held up a hand and kept going, smiling outright. "You think you're so smart. I could kill you in a millisecond and there's nothing you could do about it."
Tony put his foot down. "Loki!"
The god thrust a hand forward and would have shoved Peter off the table of the kid hadn't felt him coming with his spider senses. He dodged the shove, only to be pushed from behind when Loki appeared on the other end of the table.
Peter fell to the floor, disappearing into smoke as a cloud of it suddenly enveloped him. Thor grabbed his brother and yanked him back as Tony reached down for the toddler now crying on the tiles.
"Peter, are you okay buddy?"
He scooped the kid into his arms and held him to his chest, comforting him as he told off the little gremlin across the room. "You don't touch him again! I want you out."
Thor nodded and began pulling him out, only for that Loki to disappear and another one to walk through the door. "If you'd have paid attention you'd see I was conducting one of those experiments you're so fond of."
Tony narrowed his eyes as Loki smugly explained. "The child changed when he was in distress,"
Another puff of smoke went up like a mushroom cloud and Tony coughed, waving it away to find the toddler in his arms was now a teenager, clinging to his side.
"And changed back when comforted." Loki finished, smiling as Peter jumped down from Tony's side, embarrassed.
Tony nodded, albeit begrudgingly. "Fine. So what does that mean?"
Loki shrugged stepping in front of Peter who was trying very hard not to jump behind Tony, who himself was trying not to shove him back.
"Shall we try again?"
Peter looked uncertainly to Tony, finding a nod and a reassuring smile, which quickly turned into a glare as his gaze went back to Loki.
Loki rolled his eyes. "I wouldn't dream of it."
He smiled again and Peter leaned back, not trusting him. Loki held up a hand, flicking his fingers out and pulling a cookie from midair.
"Want a snack?"
Peter looked at it, suspicious, but reached for it anyway, only for Loki to pull it away. "No cookies for losers."
He turned away and took a bite. Peter clenched his fists despite himself, eyes on his mask narrowing as he grew angry.
Loki turned back and offered a candy bar instead. "I'm sorry that was mean of me. Have some chocolate."
Peter waited a moment before snapping an arm out and trying to grab the chocolate. Again Loki pulled it away, this time shaking it mockingly and laughing. "Too slow, Spider-child."
Peter tried to keep his cool, his hands clenching at his side and his teeth grinding together but Loki didn't back down. He conjured another one of himself next to Peter to poke at his side irritatingly.
"Got you, dim wit."
Peter made a low growling noise under his breath, flinching as Loki did it again, another version of himself popping up and poking him. "Got you again. Not so fast either, are you?"
The growling got louder and Tony began to get worried. Loki was laughing now, finding pleasure in his little game while Peter tried not to blow a gasket. He held off for as long as he could but finally, he snapped.
Loki had conjured another self, laughing as it popped up beside Peter. His voice was mocking and cruel. "Mr Stark doesn't care about you."
His extended finger was just inches from poking the teenager in the side when Peter disappeared.
The now expected plume of smoke billowed up but Tony didn't see little Peter until Loki reared back, grunting in pain.
Peter had leapt up from the floor and attached himself to Loki's chest with his feet so that he could pound on the god face with his tiny fists, throwing a new punch for each word he screamed out.
"YOU'RE-" smack "A" smack "LIAR!" smack "MY DADDY LOVES ME!"
Tony would have liked to spend all day watching a tiny superpowered Peter punch Loki repeatedly in his stupid face but there was also the worry that Loki would retaliate. So, he ran forward and pulled Peter away.
"Stop! Pete, calm down!"
Loki panted, smoothing out his dark dress shirt as he gathered his composure once more. Thor was laughing behind him, thoroughly pleased to see his brother attacked by the youngest Avenger and Loki glared at him before addressing Tony.
"The changes are tied to his emotions. Anytime he is upset and needs comfort he will revert back until he gets what he needs. Stark, let Thor comfort him, you'll see."
Tony held Peter with an arm around his stomach, furious arms and feet still kicking and reaching for Loki. "What do you mean what he needs? Peter, stop."
Thor didn't seem to understand either but he took Peter from Tony and held him to his shoulder with one hand. "Don't listen to Loki, Peter. He's a bully."
Loki looked offended but didn't retaliate, simply waiting and watching as Thor tried to calm Peter down. Tony wanted to hold him and take care of him but he trusted Thor, and Loki did seem to have a point so, he waited.
Peter cried into his shoulder, worked up and red-faced as he whined. "He said Midder Star don't love me."
Thor beamed, not because of what he'd said but because the little boy was so cute. He patted Peters' hair and pointed to Tony. "But you know that isn't true. Look, he's watching you right now to make sure you're okay. You love Peter, don't you, Stark."
Peter peeked out of Thor's neck and watched Tony offer a smile. "Of course, Spider-Baby. I love you more than anything in the whole world."
That was not usually something he would ever say to anyone other than maybe Pepper. But with Peter so small and looking at him like that, big eyes so sad and hopeful he couldn't help but give him everything he wanted.
Peter twisted away from Thor and reached for Tony, hands making grabby motions until Thor relented and handed him over. Tony held the boy and kissed his forehead as Peter clung to him.
"I love you too, Midder Star."
Tony laughed softly, smiling down at Peter. "Buddy, it's okay. You can call me Tony."
Peter beamed, and tried out the new word. "Tomy!"
Stark tried again. "No, kiddo. It's Tony. To-ny."
"Tomy." Peter seemed happy enough and Thor laughed as Tony tried once more.
"Petey, come on. Say Toe."
Peter looked up at him legs wrapped around the mechanic's waist as he sat on his hip. "Toe!"
Stark nodded, rocking from side to side. "Good! Now, say 'knee'."
"Good! Now, put it all together!"
Peter flung an arm out, happy as ever. "Tomy!"
Even Loki laughed a little and Stark gave up nuzzling his nose against Peters. "You got it, bud."
Loki waved a hand like he'd actually done something, as the toddler disappeared with a puff of smoke, leaving a much larger Peter hanging off of Tony's hip.
"And there he goes, returning to you once you've smothered him in parental guidance."
Tony set a blushing and embarrassed Peter down, ruffling the kid's hair to let him know there was nothing to feel bad about. "It's called love, Loki. You might want to try it sometime."
The god raised his chin, looking mildly disgusted by the idea. "No thank you."
Thor smiled, goofy and wide as he wrapped his huge arms around his brother, hugging from behind. "Aww come on, Loki. You know you love me."
Loki curled his lip, trying to shove his brother off only to get a big kiss on his cheek as Thor hugged him tighter. "Brother, let go!"
"Not until you admit that you love me!"
Loki struggled in his hold again, summoning a knife to his hand and shoving it back towards Thor. The older god laughed and grabbed it before it could do any damage. "You've stabbed me far too many times to trick me now, Loki. Come on, admit it!"
Loki growled and grabbed his brother, flipping him over his shoulder. Tony thought that was about time to go. "Pete, let's leave them to their sibling bonding."
"IT'S NOT BONDING ITS MURDER!"
Peter ignored Loki's yelling as well as the crashing of equipment as the two gods wrestled, following Tony out instead.
"Hey, To-I mean, Mr Stark. Can't Loki fix this?"
Tony sighed and wrapped an arm around the kid's shoulder as they strode down the hall away from the destruction.
"Pete...Loki was here to help us make sense of it but...he said it's not the same kind of magic that he has. He works in illusions and tricks and Magic man is more of a...persuader. Loki can't undo someone else's spell."
Peter pulled away, stricken. "What? So, I'm stuck like this?! What am I supposed to do?!"
Tony took his arm, calming him down before he could go 'poof' again. "Hey, hey. We'll figure something out, it's okay. It's not just you in this, okay? I'm here and everyone in this compound is going to help. Do you understand? It's not all on you."
Peter let out a breath and nodded. "Okay."
Together or not, fixing the problem was easier said than done and the truth was, Tony had no idea how they were going to fix it. He had been hoping Loki would be able to magic it all away but that was apparently a non-starter.
But they wouldn't give up and he wouldn't let it interrupt or disrupt Peters future.
"I can't go to school like this!"
The kid shoved the lunch box, that Tony had very kindly packed for him, back across the bench. "I'm serious! I'm not going! What if something happens? How am I supposed to explain that?"
Tony pushed the lunchbox back, voice stern. "You'll have Ned and you'll have me keeping an eye on your tracker. Now, if you don't get your butt into the car in five minutes I'll take away the juice box."
Peter narrowed his eyes. "What kind?"
Tony narrowed his too, the two of them poised like they were in a standoff of epic juice proportions.
Peter gasped dramatically. "That's my favourite!"
Tony smiled, smug as he dangled the lunchbox in front of the teenager. "I know. But you only get it if you go to school."
Peter rolled his eyes but obliged, knowing he didn't really have a choice. It was either go to school willingly with juice or be dropped off by Iron-Man with no juice. He made his way out the door, Mr Stark calling out an amused 'Have fun at school! Listen to your teachers!' as he went.
It wasn't fair. What was he supposed to do in school when Flash inevitably pushed him and made him poof into a child? Mr Stark wouldn't even be there to help him. The whole situation was unfair. Not only was it embarrassing to constantly change into a toddler but he'd called Mr Stark 'dad' and there was no forgetting that.
Happy barely looked at him as he slid into the back seat and connected his phone to the Bluetooth speakers. "You're late."
Peter sighed, playing 'Learn to let go' and buckling his seat belt. "Sorry."
Happy started the engine and frowned at the kid's music choice. "Kesha? Really?"
Peter slumped in his seat, head sagging back. "I need the encouragement right now and she speaks to me."
Happy rolled his eyes and drove on, ignoring the sulking teenager as he sang along.
When they finally arrived, Ned was bouncing on the pavement in excitement, practically pulling Peter out of the car before it had come to a complete stop. "Dude! You have to show me!"
Peter grabbed his bag and thanked Happy before shutting the door, walking with Ned to class. "What? No way."
He'd updated his best friend that morning through texts and various snapchats of Tony's face and he'd been hoping for some support.
"Come on, please? It'll be so funny!" Apparently, that was not on the table.
Peter frowned and tugged on the straps of his backpack. "It's not funny, it's weird and embarrassing and if I do poof again I won't be able to come back until Mr Stark helps me."
Thank Ned took in the morose look on face and sighed, collecting himself. "Sorry. Anything I can do to help?"
Peter leaned his head down on Ned's shoulder, the other boys arm coming around his shoulder to hug him to his side as they walked. "Just don't let Flash anywhere near me today."
Ned nodded and steered them towards chemistry. "You got it."
Ned was great, really Ned was the best friend that Peter could have asked for and it seemed like every day Peter found himself even more grateful to have him by his side.
"Hey, Penis. How's that internship going?"
Peter sunk down in his seat, trying to block out Flash' annoying, taunting voice as Ned sneered at the bully.
"Hey, Flash. Have you heard about that new bug going around? I think I have it and I'm about to sneeze."
Flash raised his hands and backed away, looking horrified. "Don't you dare! Keep you and Peters disgusting diseases away from me!"
Ned snickered. "Too easy."
He wrapped an arm around his best friend, squeezing him in a side hug as he pressed their chairs closer. "I got you, buddy. I won't let Flash get to you."
Peter found himself smiling, thumping a grateful hand on Ned's chest. "Thanks, dude. You're the best."
The boy smiled, expression something akin to sunshine, bright and happy. "I am, aren't I?"
(More coming! Let me know what you think?)