My dear readers,
Thank you so much for still reading this. :) Sorry I haven't updated in so long. Been really busy for the past few months, I haven't got time to come up with ideas and write, but thank God for Christmas breaks. Hope you'll get to enjoy this chapter!
PS. Noticed line breaks are not working on the app. :( It'll be confusing to read without it. So, I would recommend reading this story using your browser.
"So how's your summer?" Ned asked as he finishes putting his stuff in his locker and closes it.
Peter's mouth curved into a smile remembering the happenings of the last two months and recalled to Ned what happened while they walk towards the Decathlon club room.
Peter spent his summer at the lakehouse with his Dad and visited the compound more often so he got to spend more time with Avengers. They also visited the families that the foundation were helping in Sokovia and Johannesburg. Dad wanted to make sure that the victim's lives have improved from the past months.
Many are grateful for the help but some still blames Tony Stark for what happened. Something Tony has no control over, but ended up still causing destruction.
Peter knew how his Dad still feels from the happenings of the Ultron offensive and he can see it in his father's eyes even though he tries so hard to hide it, somehow Dad still blames himself from creating Ultron and the fatalities it caused to innocent lives.
"Mr. Stark's really so generous, Peter." Ned said smiling. Mr. Stark has always treated him like family whenever he's at the Stark household.
His face beamed with heartwarming light at the thought of his dad. "He is."
Dad, Tony Stark truly has the biggest heart of them all. He has given so much already and is still willing to give without expecting any in return. Peter can't help but be proud to have him as his father. His role model.
Reaching the club room, their batch-mates are already waiting engrossed in their own stuff just waiting for their coach.
"Parker?," Flash called out standing up from his seat turning to Liz in disbelief. "How is he here?"
"I should be the one asking you that, Flash." Liz replied in annoyance and continued chatting to Cindy.
"Really Flash? You have to ask? Come on." Abe, one of his classmates of History class, defended walking past them to his seat.
Flash returned to his seat with a scowl on his face. After a few minutes, Mr. Harrington finally showed up introducing himself as their Decathlon coach and oriented them on when will the practice will start for the Nationals.
"Academic Decathlon, Robotics and Chemistry Club, the Orchestra... plus your homeworks, and studying for SAT's. You sure you can juggle all of these?"
Tony flips through the papers he needed to sign for the after school practice of Peter's clubs. Wondering on why Peter wants to join all of these on top of school work, when his academic performance already shows competitiveness and passion for learning. He's concerned that Peter might get burn out from all of the extra activities.
"The more entries, the more chances of winning. I'm not the only one having that many, Dad. And piano practice at the orchestra goes only twice per week."
He's been playing since he was five years old so he has already mastered learning by ear. Midtown high is a very competitive battleground for students. Almost everyone of them in their class is a self-identified nerd that has some quirky side hobby. Even as freshmen, everyone becomes a missile striving to strike their target and that means an Ivy League education in the future.
"What happens if I don't sign these? You know MIT will still accept you even though you're short in extracurriculars. Just state that you've worked with me, with Banner, you're off the hook."
"Come on, Dad. Like being your intern since I was four?,"
Peter chuckles at the thought. "That's nuts."
Growing up he has the front row seat of Tony Stark building and creating brand new tech from scratch. He knows the perks to being the son of a genius multi-billionaire but he doesn't want anything to be handed to him just because he's a Stark. Academic wise if he's going to achieve something, he's going to do it his way.
Pepper put the last of the meals at the dinner table and they started to eat. They make sure the get to eat together during dinner. "I'm sure he can handle those, Tony. Having extracurriculars shows you're capable and dedicated, it demonstrates initiative."
"Well, that's a first.," Tony blurted out that made Pepper glare at him. Pepper was usually the one who objects first when it comes to his son's safety and well being but now the table's have turned.
Pepper caressed Peter's cheek. "Just make sure you don't overwork yourself, sweetheart."
As they eat, Peter caught a glimpse of the local news from the TV on mute. The headline saying a new robbery in Queens. It made him wonder who helps these innocent victims in his childhood neighbourhood if the superheroes he know are halfway around the world, eliminating a more dangerous threat to people.
"That's twice this week.,"
Pepper and Tony turn their heads to what Peter's talking about. "Can't the Avengers help Dad?"
Tony and Pepper looked at each other and Tony stared at Peter.
"You see bud, there's people who handle those sort of things. We have the Police and FBI. We don't want these people to lose their jobs, don't we? Don't worry, I'll make sure Damage Control also gets on top of it."
"I'll make sure the relief foundation helps as well."
Rhodes walks towards Tony's lab at the compound. His bestfriend rarely visits the new team but when he does, he brings major improvements on their suits and their tech, still providing all that the team needs. Something that they're grateful for.
Tony's version of tapping out really just pertains to focusing more on being his innovations rather than their missions.
He saw Tony's back sitting at the table and he walks across the room without knocking. "Tony, have you been waiting long? Sorry, Sam got me preoccupied with this Antman."
Peter brows furrowed in confusion. Dad's not here yet. He started to stand up to face his Uncle.
Rhodes stopped in his tracks and gave Peter a once-over, realizing "Oh my god, Peter is that you?,"
He walks close inspecting Peter's features, the kid he's treated like his godson over the years is now a teenager. "A year and you've grown up this much, I thought you were Tony, only with the glasses. Look at you, you're taller than me already."
"I missed you too, Uncle." Peter laughs seeing Uncle Rhodes surprised reaction and gives him a hug. Aunt Nat and Cap also has the same reaction earlier.
"Oh good, you're here already," Tony said as he enters the lab walking towards them.
"Let me guess, you thought I was this handsome young kid."
"I can't believe it, this is exactly what you look like when we first met."
Rhodes and Tony give each other a half bro hug.
"Who's Antman?" Peter asked curious as to who would name himself after an ant.
"Just some guy who infiltrated the compound."
Rhodey smirked teasing. "and kicked your ass."
"So he's also a superhero? Cool!" Peter's eyes lit up curious to know more.
"No, not cool. Don't tell Cap about this."
"Tell me what?"
Cap's voice suddenly made Sam jumped lightly that made everyone laugh. Their afternoon went along as Tony demonstrated all the improvements he built on the War Machine armor and a few tech the team can use.
"Hey, Dad... Whoa."
Peter walked over at the lab as is his usual routine after school. But instead of the usual look of the lab, he instead saw his late Grandma's grand piano. Wondering on why it is here when it was destroyed years before when Dad crashed landed on it way back when they're still in Malibu.
"We should get going, Maria. Wake him up."
His head snapped to where the voice came from and goosebumps suddenly formed in his skin as he's still trying to process what he's seeing.
His grandfather walking toward his direction and his grandmother walking over towards the Piano.
"What-what, what's happening?" Peter mumbled startled and almost shocked. Debating on his head if he's gonna believe any of what he's seeing.
A low groan of someone waking up suddenly made him look at the sofa and was startled to see a younger version of his Dad who remarkably looks a lot like him got up.
In a moment he cannot speak and thought he suddenly time traveled to another universe.
"I'm here, Pete."
He turned into that voice that he knew all too well and saw his Dad.
In a second, the whole old ambiance is gone. He can see the lab again and just with a few things that resembled an all white living room.
"That's grandpa and grandma and you! Just younger!"
"It's just a memory or more of my imagination. I'm still working on it though. One of our scientists had this brilliant idea, but he can't get it started so I tweaked it up a little. Upgraded it."
"I thought I was seeing a ghost or transported into another dimension. It looks amazingly real Dad! So real that it looks kinda creepy."
"Sorry, I startled you bud. So, how are you? How's school?"
"Same, same." Peter took something out of his bagpack and waved a piece of paper in front of Tony.
Tony snatched the paper and read it.
"We have another field trip on Friday, something on this new museum. Some exhibits from World War II and Cap's new exhibit will be there, I think."
"Museum of Science Discovery. Isn't this that new museum on the other end of the island? And your teachers call this a field trip?,"
They won't even let the kids cross the island? Seeing as there's no harm in seeing science artifacts, he proceeded to sign the consent form.
"Europe or Asia, now that's a field trip."
As Tony's giving back the signed waiver, he looked at Peter who's obviously hesitating to tell him something.
"I uhh.. can I uhh, just ride the subway back home please? I'll be fine Dad, I promise."
Tony stared at Peter's hopeful eyes. Kid really misses taking the subway. Peter asked him before the start of school year if he can just take the subway everyday after school but it's not something to take lightly since they're not just ordinary people, so he still insisted that he will pick him up or Happy does.
"Yeah okay, I guess you can."
Peter's eyes lit up and cheerfully finished the last of his homework in the lab.
Before they end the day, Tony placed a small case in front of Peter and opened it. Peter's eyes flashed with questions seeing a Rolex wrist watch in front of him. Is this an afterthought of a graduation gift? A birthday gift? Cause Dad already gave him those when he got a new telescope and a yacht cruise in Greece and Italy.
"Is this a post-birthday gift? Cause Dad you don't have to. I still have my watch and it works just as good." He also has a set of watches but not as extensive and fancy as this one and the one's Dad have.
"Nope. That yacht was your birthday gift. This is just your new pinata for a cricket."
"Wait? What?" Peter stood up and his eyes widened. "That yacht is mine?" When they had gone to Europe for his birthday for a week, he just thought Dad rented it for their stay. It was a luxury yacht, one of the most beautiful boats he had ever seen and he boarded it not knowing it's a present for him, he can't believe it.
Tony picked the watch up and put it into Peter's wrist.
"Well, I thought you already knew. Now, this isn't just an ordinary wrist watch. It's somehow like my gauntlet."
After Tony double tapped the watch, it assembled into an armor glove around Peter's hand and Peter can't believe his eyes and his jaw dropped. "Whoa, this is... this is, this is the most amazing thing I'd ever seen!"
"As what we've talked about before, you'll just use this when it's really necessary. Last minute option, only when I'm not around to protect you, capishe?"
Tony upgraded Peter's defense toy into something that Peter could wear, not just something he'll pull out of a bagpack cause that can be inefficient when it comes to life or death situations.
He always has enemies everywhere and Peter as his only heir, only son, can be a possibility for the bad guys to target on to get to him and he cannot let something like that to ever happen again.
"Capishe. Oh my god, Dad. This is so cool! Thank you!"
Tony chuckles watching Peter's sparkling eyes and he demonstrated what the glove can do.
Peter can't help his excitement. When he was a kid, he had an Iron man helmet and a glove imitation of a repulsor and now he already has a real iron glove. Not exactly the same, but somehow similiar.
He grew up in the care of superheroes, his dad is a superhero. He looks up to all of them and he knows he can never be one of them, but at the back of his head no matter how he tried to push past it, he can't help but think of the possibilities.
That dreaded what if.
Will it be too wrong to dream of being one?
The resounding sound of the electric guitar of Shoot to Thrill awakened Peter's senses like a bolt. The rock and roll lyrics blazes through the speakers of his room.
Groaning on his loud alarm of a rock song, he put the pillows on his ears to tune it out hoping that the song will just put him back to sleep but every second that he doesn't get up and open his eyes, the volume of the speaker just keeps getting louder.
This is one of his and Dad's favorite songs but now it's turning to his most hated. He stayed up late last night to get all his projects done. Perhaps, juggling school work and club practice isn't a good idea after all.
"Okay, okay. Friday, cut it out. I'm awake." Slumping his shoulders in droopy eyes, he got up half-eyes closed to his bathroom. The automatic blinds of his room revealing a glorious sunrise.
"Good morning, Peter. Weather in New York today is 65 degrees with scattered clouds. A high chance of rain is expected this afternoon so don't forget to bring your umbrella."
"Kay, Thanks, Fri." Peter called out from his shower and after a few minutes he's already groomed up and ready for breakfast. Friday is totally different from Jarvis, whereas Jarvis speaks like a Britishly formal butler, Friday is a perky Irish who speaks to him like a friend.
He immediately saw his Dad and Pepper already there having their coffee and greets and kisses their check.
"Good morning sweetheart, I heard you're going to see some dinosaurs today." Pepper teased and Tony can't help but chuckle.
Peter rolled his eyes at his Dad as he munches on some toast. He's never been to this museum before. The one's he only went to are the museums in DC when he was a child and waiting for Dad to end some meetings. But he guess it's just the irony of having a close enough attraction, you never get to actually check it out knowing it's just close and you can visit it anytime. Mr. Harrington said they're going to visit 8 exhibits.
"You know we're heading out to Malibu today right, bud? We'll be in DC by afternoon until day after tomorrow to finalize the transition. You have the Tower all to yourself this weekend so you can invite some friends over if you like."
It's already been a year since they started transitioning all of the operations from Malibu to be moved to the Tower and the new Stark HQ in DC. It's getting hard for Pepper to travel back and forth from east and west coast on a weekly basis so Tony decided to just bring it closer to home.
As they drove closer to school, he can already see his classmates and the yellow buses waiting. They parked a short distance from the crowd and Peter bid his goodbye and kissed Pepper in her cheek before stepping out the car.
Tony stepped out as well and waved his hand to Ned, some of the students are even waving their hands, thrilled to see Tony Stark aka Iron Man early in the morning.
"Get back home safe, okay?" Tony said as Peter hugged him close.
"Always will. I love you, Dad."
Dad kissed his head. "I love you, bud. I'll see you Sunday."
Peter walked to where his classmates are while the car drove to the airport where the jet is.
"It would've been really cool if the SHIELD's Academy for Science and Tech still exist. I would definitely apply," Ned tried to make conversation as they enter the third exhibit of the Museum. He's already getting bored on all the history artifacts of the War they've been seeing.
"Are you really taking pictures of those things or secretly taking pictures of Liz?"
"What? No! Hey, I'm only taking pictures relevant for the school paper okay. And I heard SHIELD only accept people with doctorate degrees." Peter replied after capturing another set of photos in his camera.
"We could definitely do that. It'll be so cool, we could be agents, saving the world with our minds. Not telekinetically though. Just with our brains and stuff."
Peter scrunched up his brows, thinking Dude what are you talking about? but still continued on what he's doing.
"Oh I forgot you can't be an agent, you'll be the next Tony Stark." Ned said casually that made Peter stopped taking pictures.
"There's no next Tony Stark, Ned. Tony Stark will always be just my dad."
Ned shook his shoulders. "If you say so."
The next exhibits passed by like a blur and they even saw Captain America's exhibit which made the students understand more of Steve's role in the success of their win during the war.
They're now listening at the tour guide drawling on the different works of different scientists. But something really familiar made Ned stop and immediately tucked Peter's shirt before he can walk away with the rest of the group.
"Peter, look, your Mom's here."
Reading the carved name, Peter can't believe it at first. But it really is true. "Mary Fitzpatrick Parker" engraved in a corner along with some really old paperworks and frames.
"How come I didn't know Mom's works gonna be here?"
There's also a little picture of his mom with his step dad with their team.
Mary Parker, PH.D. Biochemistry and Engineering.
He fascinatingly inspected all the things. There lay different sketches but one that really caught his eye is a lone preserved dead spider in a frame.
He's never seen anything like it.
"Dad's not gonna believe this." He immediately took his phone out and looking at his phone's front camera, he started recording like he's talking to his Dad. "Dad, check this out. Mom's works are here, this is so cool! Ned, look here. Gonna show this to my Dad later."
Mr. Harrington suddenly showed up and finally found his missing students. "Peter, Ned. What're you doing there? Come on. All your classmates are having fun on that body immersive exhibit. You can't miss it."
"We're coming, sir! Peter come on."
"You go ahead. I gotta take a picture of this, I've never seen this before. Dad will be surprised this got wind up here. He'll retrieve this for sure."
"Okay, but wrap it up. I'll tell Sir you went to the restroom."
He took pictures of the sketches. He somehow cannot understand the writing, like it's in some sort of code.
"I wonder what Mom's been working on."
He takes a picture of the small frame focusing on the spider but the flash of the camera suddenly popped off reflecting, producing a white picture.
"Oops, I forgot to change the settings."
He attempts to take a picture of it again without the flash but upon looking again at the frame he stopped curious.
Where is the spider inside?
He touched the frame even though they can't touch anything in the exhibit, just to check but clearly the spider isn't there.
He looked around and there's no one in sight except him.
There's no way someone captured that spider in a split of a second the moment he took a picture.
Sudden goosebumps came over to him. He's not the one to be afraid that easily but can't deny the feel of something strange.
He started to back away and put his phone in his pocket.
But before he can turn around a sharp and stinging pain came radiating at the back of his head like he was pricked.
Hissing at the jolt of pain he's been feeling, he unconsciously touched the back of his head that stings. He then felt a thin weave of silk from the bitten spot and snatched it.
"A spider's web? How come?"
Looking at the spider's silk web in his hand, he wondered if that spider did this.
But how did that spider suddenly came back to life?
How on earth did that happen? How did it get out of the frame? Does it just winded up there? Or was it there years before? But how could it have crawled its way out if it's dead already?
"This is really really weird."
His heart's now starting to race and his mind's still raising questions he doesn't know the answers about.
As he's about to walk out of there, he suddenly heard a soft crackle in his shoes, like he stepped onto something.
"Oh no no no no."
Checking his sole, he found out his assumptions are right.
"Great, now I've killed my Mom's spider. I'm so sorry, Mom."
I'm a spider killer.
Face palming, a little relieved seeing that he's not completely crushed the little thing but still dismayed.
"Peter? You're still in here? Next Exhibit's halfway over." Mr. Harrington's now a little upset seeing his best student missing the experience.
Peter ran towards his teacher still clinging his hand at the back of his neck trying to relieve the bitten mark.
When was the last time he took the subway? He can't remember. But he can see nothing much has changed. It still is the same old train he remembers and people looking somewhere and minding their own business.
He's still a few stations away from the station he's needs to get off. Minutes tick by but it started to feel like hours.
Why does it always feels like an eternity when I'm waiting and hurrying up to something.
He can see the sky starting to loom darker against the skyscrapers. Friday's right, it's starting to rain.
Now's not the right time to feel this. He's been feeling weird and he can't explain it. Ever since the end of their fieldtrip, he's been feeling chilly. At first he thought maybe it's just the approaching autumn chill but then he also started to sweat profusely. He's supposed to have plans with Ned's to Queens and hangout before going back to the Tower but he had to cancel last minute.
More people started to come as the rush hour emerge. He closed his eyes to relax.
Nope, I am not gonna throw up in here.
As much as he likes to sit still and ease the growing headache he's been feeling, he can't. The more it gets crowded, the more heavy he feels.
A pregnant lady stood over in front of him, and he gave his seat away. So he stand clinging at one of the bar handles like his life depended on it. The train's screeching and bumping only makes it worse.
One more station. One more station and you're going to get out of this.
This is the worst day to take the Subway and have the flu. Yes, this is just the flu, he convinced himself.
Stepping out of the train and having to take a bunch of stairs to get out underground, enveloped him like an eternity of torture. Every step is pins and needles and his vision's started to double.
What is this? Why am I feeling like this? What is happening to me?
Dad. I have to call Dad.
He searched for his pockets but his phone's not there. He opened his bagpack and finally found it.
13 missed calls from Dad.
His hands are shacking, the cold, the rain, the fever. The phone vibrated from another call but before he can even answer, it slipped away from his hold and landed on the cold hard bricked ground shattering the screen.
"No please no..." He picked it up trying to get it to work but the thing is useless now.
He only have one thought in mind. To get home. He stumbled on the ground while the rain poured.
"Boy, are you okay?"
Heaving heavy breaths, Peter looked up to see a set of concerned eyes from an old man trying to help him back up.
"Yeah, yeah, I am. Thank you."
The nice gentleman picked up his umbrella and he tried hard to walk again forcing every ounce of energy into his footsteps.
Trying to walk straight and fast as he could even though he could see the Tower just a block from him but getting there feels like a mile away.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Stark." A pair of guards greeted him and opened the glass doors of the Lobby open wide for him.
That's not me. That's my Dad.
Speaking of Dad, if he knows I'm like this, I'm screwed. He has more important things to take care of, I'm making him worry again.
He walked slowly to the private elevator ignoring the greetings and concerned glances of the people in the lobby. As much as he'd like to greet them all back like he does everytime he gets home, he just doesn't have the energy to do so.
"Hey, Fri.." Peter barely whispered as he sits and slumped back at the elevator as it goes up.
Peter didn't hear the usual perky welcoming voice of Friday whenever he's back from school, instead he heard a concerned and somehow hint of fright in Friday's voice and might've wondered in he's hallucinating. "Peter! Your temperature's been increasingly flaring up above normal human limit. This is impossible-"
Half the sentence didn't even register to his mind. He just wants to sleep.
"Mr. Stark already coming here, Peter. Your watch gave us an alert of your vitals. He's already left DC since you've taken the subway. His ETA's within 10 minutes. We've been trying to contact you on your phone but you're not answering the whole time. Please try not to fall asleep. Emergency services are also already on their way."
Elevator already reaches the Penthouse and Peter tried his best to stand up but ended up falling anyway. So he had no choice but to crawl his way out. He felt like he's seen this kind of scenario before.
"I want to sleep now Fri."
Laying on the floor staring at the ceiling as his vision gobble, Friday's anxious words started to sound gibberish, his eyelids are getting heavier. He wanted to stay awake but everything else started to shut down until it is all pitch black.
Tony stared at the DC skyline as Pepper dawdled on again. They can't have this fight again. They've had a million conversations like this before and he's hearing this after their whole day spent on meetings and checking everything's in place for the start of Operations of the new HQ in DC is giving him a headache. Give me a break, Pep.
"Are you even listening to me, Tony?" He turned around to see Pepper's agitated face.
"Are you? Because Pepper, you know I can't give this up."
For the nth time, He's not giving up the arc reactor. He can't. He knew somehow Pepper was right on some points especially the mistakes and decisions he's made because of it but it's the only thing he knows how to protect his family safe.
Pepper's about to make her remark and prove Tony he is wrong on so many levels when she was stopped by an alarm from Tony's phone.
Tony stared at his phone in disbelief. "This can't be right."
He can see Peter's vitals in red alert. He's not the one to monitor his son's every movement but he gave that watch as a precaution, to alert him when Peter's in danger.
"What's wrong," Pepper can tell something's up.
"I have to go," Tony immediately kissed her cheek and before she can even reply, he already had the suit flying towards him ready to take off.
Tony's flying thrice as fast. Perfect timing that couple weeks ago he upgraded a brand new booster to his repulsors. Calls to Peter go straight to voicemails until it got out of reach. He can see Peter's vitals on his monitor still going up on an unprecedented rate. How could this happen? This is above normal levels that the normal human body can't survive. What happened at that fieldtrip? He shouldn't have agreed on letting Peter on that! What did his son do? Why wasn't I in here of all places?
Tony landed on the Penthouse on the shortest amount of travel time possible from DC to NYC in exactly ten minutes.
His heart stopped for a bit as he saw Peter's body soaked pale lying on the floor. He hurriedly went to his side to see Peter's face sleeping but can already tell his child's in pain. "Pete, wake up." He started to lift the boy up carefully and carried him on to the bed.
Tony's heart stated to race and his hands now started to shake from nervousness as Peter's still got no response. He was full of courage earlier before arriving, convincing himself it's going to be alright, Peter's going to be alright he'll make sure of that. But now seeing his fragile little boy, his walls are starting to break down, Peter is his strength and his weakness. He was supposed to be safe.
"Pete come on. Fri, ch-check-scan his body. Check for anything unusual. Where is the goddamn ambulance. They should be here by now!"
Tony's now shouting, he's not the one to stammer but he doesn't know what to do now. He can't break down and panic but what is he to do. Who can help his son when he doesn't know what he's suffering from? And where the fuck is Bruce when you needed him? He needed a Doctor right now.
"There's been a massive collision on the fifth on the way here. No cars can pass not even the ambulance. I've contacted another hospital Sir, the air ambulance is now on their way. Upon scanning, there's a bite mark on the back of Peter's neck."
Tony immediately checked and there it is, halfway gone now but he can see the mark on it. Has his son been poisoned? but what animal would do something like this? Where did he got it from? He need more info that only Peter can tell.
He asked Friday for antidotes and also checked Peter's photo gallery on the cloud. After a second of scanning, he started to play the video made earlier and his eyes started to open wide in shock.
"How on earth, in a public museum of all places. Goddamnit!"
This can't be happening. No, Mary. You can't do this to your son.
"Friday, stop the helicopter, tell them Peter's already stable. Call Dr. Palmer. I need her here."
I need someone I can trust and I can't let Peter go to any hospital right now. I don't need them to treat my child as a walking experiment.
He caressed his son's hair, closing his eyes as he planted a kiss on his forehead.
If that spider bit Peter, he can only hope his son will be able to survive it, that his body can handle it. He doesn't know what that spider can do or what it'll do to his son. But one thing's for sure, he knew Mary wouldn't let his son die or so he hope.