(AN: I accidentally came up with this idea this morning when I was trying to get back to sleep and since I've finally got a day off I got to write it yay!
just a little warning this does have a little bit of 'recovering alcoholic tony' so if that's going to trigger anything for you be safe and maybe skip this story? Love you all)
"Tony, you need to sleep."
The mechanic ignored Rhodey's very sound advice and reached for a bottle from the shelf, fingers dancing over labels until he'd found a whiskey he liked.
"What I need is a drink and some Ritalin."
Rhodey snatched the bottle out of Tony's hand, anger thinning his patience out faster than usual. "You promised Pepper you'd stop this."
Tony reached for it again, sour mood worsened by being told what to do in his own lab. "She's used to it."
Rhodey evaded his grasp and tried again, tone lower as he held Tony's gaze. "Peter's not and you promised him too."
That was a low blow but not a word of it was a lie and that's what hurt the most. Tony blew out an irritated breath as he walked away, throwing an arm out and sweeping bits of scattered projects from his workbench.
He was throwing a tantrum and he knew it but the loud clang of metal as it crashed onto the floor was cathartic and that was enough of an excuse for his guilt to let it slide.
Rhodey sighed. "He's fine. We got him out."
Tony rubbed a hand over his face, still turned away from his friend as he shook his head. "He should never have been there in the first place. That building should have never come down. He should never have been put through that again!"
His words turned into shouts by the end of it and he turned to face Rhodey, hands trembling as he crumbled just a little, voice softening.
"I should have saved him this time. I was right there and he had the suit but it wasn't enough."
He was quiet, pleading with Rhodey like he could turn back time and fix it but he couldn't.
Rhodey, having known the man long enough to know that the anger was gone and all that was left was the hurt, stepped forward and gripped Tony by his shoulders.
"You can't protect him from everything."
He knew that but it wouldn't stop him from trying.
"He wasn't in there for long, Tones and you made Friday and Bruce do every scan and test they could. He's okay."
Peter was fine. I mean, the cast on his arm was annoying and he still had a headache from the concussion he'd gotten when the roof collapsed on him. But the deep cuts over his face had healed enough that he'd graduated from bandages to the bright teenage mutant ninja turtle bandaids Bruce got him.
And sure, having a building collapse on him in the middle of a mission was NOT the way he'd wanted his Friday night to go but he was okay. Really. He just wished the fear and panic from it would go away.
It was bad enough that he'd been buried under rubble but when that rubble reminded him of another collapsed building it just ramped up the anxiety. And having a panic attack through coms and begging for Tony to save him while the Avengers could all hear was just embarrassing.
Peter wasn't sure if he was ever going to be able to look them in the eye again. And to make matters worse he'd freaked Tony out so bad the man had refused to sleep for the past three days.
The sound of his own voice cracking as he'd sobbed for Tony rang through his head again and he shook it away.
"Mr Stark, you gotta help me, please! I'm stuck! I can't get out! I can't breathe! Help me!"
God, he should have just shut up and waited quietly.
The other Avengers hadn't made fun of him, not even Sam and Bucky, they had all just shouted to him over the coms, telling him they were getting him out.
Tony had sounded frantic, digging through rubble with his hands until the paint on his suit had scraped off. When he'd finally dug the teenager out he'd grabbed him in a hug and held on until Peter had finally stopped crying.
Great work Spider-man.
"I bet Black Widow never cries when she gets trapped." He'd muttered it to himself, sulking in his room and unaware of the other Avenger in his doorway.
"No, but she does insist on being knocked out for any dentist appointment longer than a cleaning."
Peter turned around at the voice to see Clint leaning on the door frame. Peter didn't say anything as the archer strolled into his room and took a seat on the chair next to Peters bed.
"Look, kid, we all have trauma and shit that scares us. A kid your age shouldn't have two building's collapse on them in their lifetime let alone one. No one's going to look down on you because you freaked out. We would have been more worried if you hadn't."
Peter looked down at his sneakers and scratched idly at the bandaid on his cheek, anxiety rippling through him. "I just feel bad that I worried Mr Stark so much. I know he's not sleeping. I heard Miss Pots talking to Dr Banner about it."
Clint watched the droop of Peters' shoulders before nodding. There was no use lying to the kid.
"Yeah, but we'll get him sorted. He'll be okay."
Peter kicked at the carpet, annoyed at himself. "Yeah but it's my fault. I just keep screwing things up and getting in the way and-"
Clint smacked the back of his hand against Peters' shoulder, frowning at the weight the kid was putting on himself. "Hey, you didn't screw anything up. The building collapsed while you were evacuating people from it. You got everyone out and you got yourself to the safest place you could before it came down. You didn't do anything wrong."
Peter sniffled, wiping a hand over his nose as his eyes stung with tears he really didn't want to fall.
"But Mr Stark-"
Clint leaned an elbow on his knee as he leaned forward, searching for Peters' eyes were they stayed glued to his shoelaces. "Peter, Tony has had a lot of people that he cared about, and that were supposed to care about him, let him down. You are not and could never be one of them. Do you know how many kids I have?"
Peter sniffed, not seeing the relevance. "Three?"
Clint nodded. "Now that makes me an expert Dad so let me let you in on a secret about the whole parent thing, okay?"
He'd never said it out loud, he'd been too afraid of losing it if he named it but Peter did see Tony as his dad and he wiped a hand over his eyes as he leaned forward, listening eagerly.
Clint looked into the teenager's eyes and wished he didn't see so much loss in them.
He softened his voice and let a small smile lift his features. "There is nothing in this world that we wouldn't do for our kids. Not all parents are good ones but the ones that are, like yours were, like Tony is, would give up everything just to make sure you're okay. So, trust me when I say Tony doesn't want you blaming yourself or feeling bad. Especially when it's not your fault."
Peter's mouth tugged down at the sides and he ducked his head down like he was fighting against tears. Clint stood and took a seat next to Peter on his bed, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and letting him collect himself.
It took a few minutes before Peter sniffed and blinked the tears away, taking a breath and evening out his voice enough to ask. "Hey, Mr Hawkeye? If Mr Starks my dad, what does that make you?"
Clint smiled and squeezed him tight. "Your crazy awesome uncle."
Peter laughed, letting his shoulders shake with it in Clint's hold and he felt a little better.
That was until night came.
Tony sat at his desk and stared at the shelf of liquor he'd made Rhodey leave alone.
He should have gotten rid of them, he knew that. They were just a temptation and he wanted to stay sober for all the people that he needed to protect from his stupid drunk self but nothing else calmed his roaring anxiety like the burn of alcohol and he was weak.
It was three AM and while it was the fourth night he hadn't slept, he didn't plan on changing that.
Sleep led to nightmares which lead to panic attacks and he wasn't signing up for his brains thrilling rerun of Peter trapped in that building, thank you very much.
He saw it enough during the day. God, the kid's screams and sobs through the coms had almost killed him.
But he shouldn't drink. He couldn't, he promised.
"That building on the south side's come down."
Deep breaths, Stark.
"Wait, where's Peter?"
Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
"I don't- I think he's-"
He's fine. He's fine.
"TELL ME HE'S NOT IN THAT BUILDING!"
God, someone make it stop.
"Mr Stark, help me!"
Fuck he really was sleep deprived. That one had sounded so real.
Tony jumped up from his seat and stormed over to the line of sins on the shelf, pulling the vodka down. He hated himself the second he touched it but that didn't stop him from reaching for the lid.
"Please! I'm trapped!"
Tony's head snapped up, heart thundering hard in his chest because...fuck. That wasn't a hallucination or a flashback. That was real.
He dropped the bottle, too panicked to even be aware of the shattering glass and spray of spirits across the floor as he ran.
"Friday, where's Peter?"
The AI answered as her creator sprinted from his lab, nothing else on his mind but his need to get to his kid. Right. The Fuck. Now.
"In his bedroom, Boss."
Shit, had someone broken in? Had something happened? Were they under attack?
Tony's legs had never carried him faster and he barreled his way into Peter's room, ready to kill whoever he needed to keep Peter safe only to find there was no intruder. There was no alien or death squad, no dangerous threat of any kind.
Peter was asleep and having a nightmare.
The kid was tangled in sheets, crying out and thrashing as he struggled to free himself from his cotton prison.
Tony was frozen in the doorway for a second, brain trying to catch up with the fact that Peter was in fact safe. He didn't move until one of Peters screams of terror broke into a sob.
Tony didn't need to think about what he needed to do, that word snapped something inside of him awake and he jolted forward the few meters to Peters bed.
"Peter, wake up."
He reached for him, tearing his sheets away and gripping his arms, shaking him a little, trying to rouse him from his horror-filled dreamscape.
The teenager's sobs stuttered as his eyes snapped open and he lay frozen on the bed, hyperventilating for the second it took for his eyes to register Tony in front of him.
"You're okay, Pete. It was just a nightmare."
His face crumpled once he realised who it was that was gripping him and he started crying all over again, reaching for his mentor with sleep clumsy fingers.
Tony took a seat on the bed and pulled the kid until he was sitting up, trembling beneath his hands. He wrapped his arms around him, rocking the two of them as Peter wet his shirt with huge heaving sobs.
"I w-was back there and I couldn't get out. I couldn't find you."
"You're okay. You're safe now, kiddo. I gotcha."
Tony pulled in deep slow breaths as he tried to calm the residual waves of panic leftover from his scare. "Just breathe, Pete. We're okay."
The poor boy was shaking against his chest and while Tony felt like crying too he didn't have time for his own meltdown. With his arms still around the sobbing teenager, because he was clever like that, he took his anxiety demon and put it in a vibranium box and sealed it. That little shit wasn't getting out until he knew Peter was okay.
He steadied himself with another deep breath and softened his voice, forcing it to be as steady and calm as it had ever been. He held Peter close and brushed a hand over the back of his head, fingers massaging the soft curls that lay at the back of the boy's neck.
"I'm right here, Petey. I'm not leaving you. You're okay."
Peter's crying was quietening down, settling into small whimpers and sniffles against Tony's chest but his back was still jumping up under his mentor's hands with each jerky gasp and Tony held tight.
He kept up the steady stream of reassurances to soothe himself as much as Peter, making sure the kid knew he wasn't going to let go until he was ready.
The room was dark and Tony found his eyes blinking slower and slower as he held the shivering boy. Peters' fingers were already curled securely into his shirt so he felt like he'd be okay to move around a bit.
He held Peter to his chest, making it clear he didn't have to let go as he repositioned them, swinging his legs onto the mattress and leaning back against Peters headboard.
"We're okay. You're safe with me, Pete."
He reached a hand down and pulled the comforter from where Peters thrashing had let it slip to the side, and pulled it over the both of them, tucking it around his ward.
Although it had been his job to make Peter feel better he found that not only had he managed to lock his anxiety away but Peters weight against his chest had silenced it completely.
The teenager was warm and safe in his arms and he let himself relax against the headboard, small puffs of air against his neck smoothing out and deepening as the kid calmed down.
Peter lifted his good wrist to his eyes and wiped the tears away, wishing he would stop hiccuping so pathetically. He should have felt more embarrassed but Mr Stark hadn't even blinked an eye at holding him and it was the only thing making him feel better.
The comforting ramble of reassurances had quieted as his own crying had and although Mr Stark had made himself comfy there on his bed, Peter was worried that he'd pull away any second and leave him in the dark again.
He really didn't want him to leave.
He hid his face in his mentor's shirt and scrounged up the scattered bits of courage he had left to get his voice to work.
Tony's arms tightened against him minutely but there was no answer and Peter closed his eyes as he pushed the small words out into the air.
"Can you stay? I don't want to be by myself."
The room was quiet and Peter suddenly felt as if he'd dropped every bit of bravery he'd managed to find. He pulled away, sitting up as he backtracked, wiping a hand over his face.
"Forget about it. You don't have to- I'm being stupid and-"
Of all the things that could have come out of Tony's mouth to interrupt him he never thought it would be a snore.
He sat there on Tony's knee, the man's arms still looped around him, and stared in amazement at the sleeping face of one Tony Stark.
He was out like a light, head leaning back, soft snores coming from his mouth and Peter smiled.
They were okay, the both of them.
Peter tugged the blanket back up his shoulders and laid back down on Tony's chest, curling up in his arms as Tony instinctively wrapped his arms back around him.
And finally, for the first time in three days, the two of them slept through the night.