AN: So, I was trolling through my old computer and found this chapter that I, somehow, completely forgot about? This is one of the first irondad pieces I ever wrote, which is wild. I polished it up a little, but otherwise left it as the fossil it is.


Peter was in his AP Calculus class when he got the text.

Not-So-Happy: Be ready after school. Boss wants you for a mission.

He was so excited he almost fell out of his chair.

"Dude," Ned hissed, glancing back and forth between the front of the classroom and Peter, "what is it?"

Peter shoved his phone into Ned's hands under the guise of borrowing a pencil and tried his best not to grip his desk tight enough to bend the flimsy metal.

"Peter!" Ned's voice squealed up an octave. "This is so cool! What do you think you're gonna do?" He quieted only briefly when one of their classmates shot them a look. "Do you think you're gonna fight aliens?"

"I don't know!" Peter hissed back, jittering in his seat. "Man, Mister Stark never lets me come on missions. It must be huge."

The rest of the day passed in a blur. Peter fudged his way through a Spanish test and scrambled to complete the Captain America Fitness Challenge in Gym. It seemed like a lifetime had passed before he was finally sitting in Physics, his final class of the day.

He couldn't stop himself from glancing back at the clock every other minute.

"Mister Parker?" His teacher finally snapped, her lips pressed tightly together. "Do you have somewhere else to be?"

"No, Mrs. Warren. Sorry."

Peter had to stop himself from webbing out the door once the bell rang, vaulting over his desk in his hurry to get outside.

Happy was leaning against the car, sunglasses firmly in place and StarkPhone in hand, when Peter skidded across the sidewalk. He didn't say anything to acknowledge Peter's excitable appearance, just jerked his head towards the backdoor as he slid into the driver's side.

"Happy!" Peter gasped out as he flung himself onto the luxury car's plush leather seats and fumbled with his seatbelt, fingers numb with excitement. "So, what's the mission?! I have the suit, obviously. I mean, it's just a coincidence that I have it today. It's not like I carry it all the time, that'd be stupid, wouldn't it? I was just, you know, planning on patrolling later and, never mind, you don't care, do you? Anyway, where do you need me? I've been-"

Peter cut himself off as the privacy screen slid up between him and Happy.

"Thanks a lot, Happy." Peter sighed, listlessly pulling Fahrenheit 451 out of his bag. He might as well get some studying in before he went off the save the world.


"Just go to the usual elevator. F.R.I.D.A.Y. will take you to Mister Stark."

"Thanks, Happy!"

The new Compound never failed to make Peter feel small. The hallways were massive, and the ceilings had been designed to accommodate the Hulk, so they towered over his head dizzyingly. Every inch of the place looked like it was brand-new and polished beyond Peter's comprehension. Hell, it even smelled like fanciness.

"Hi, F.R.I.D.A.Y.!" Peter exclaimed as he bounced into the elevator, taking in the fancy varnish and wooden panels as if he was seeing them for the first time. "Can you take me to Mister Stark? He has a mission for me!"

"Hello, Peter." The AI responded, friendly as ever. "I've informed Mister Stark of your arrival. I have instructions to deliver you to the debriefing room."

"Thank you!"

"My pleasure."

The elevator doors had barely opened before Peter was barging out, flinging the door to the debriefing room open and talking before he even registered who was inside.

"Mister Stark! I aced that project for robotics lab! Thank you so much for your help on it. Oh! What are you we doing? I'm ready for anything, obviously, but, like, what exactly are we…"

Peter's brain suddenly registered the fact that it wasn't just his mentor in the room. The Avengers, including the ones who had been recently pardoned, were sitting around the conference table, staring at him with varying levels of surprise and amusement.

"Holy shit." He said, staring around the room in shock.

"Watch your language." Tony said, trying but failing to sound reprimanding. It was obvious that the man was trying very hard not to laugh at his protégé. "Those words are for adults."

"Oh my god," Hawkeye spluttered from across the room, humor lacing his words, "are you parenting him right now?"

"Laugh it up, bird-brain." Tony snapped, but there was no weight behind the tone.

The archer opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by Dr. Banner.

"Leave him be, Clint." The scientist flashed a smile at the teenager. "Nice to see you again, Peter."

"Hi, Bruce." Peter said, giving his other man a shy wave.

"Wait," Clint said, looking back and forth between Peter and Bruce, "do you two know each other now? Why wasn't I invited to the 'meet Tony Stark's son-not-son party'? Frankly, I'm incredibly insulted."

"Are we done?"

Peter turned to look at the new voice. He nearly fainted when he saw who it belonged to.

Captain freaking America was standing by the door, arms cross and eyebrows raised expectantly.

At first, Peter felt a lot like he did when a teacher reprimanded him in class. All he wanted to do was shrink back into Tony, head hung low and mouth zipped shut.

And then he looked at his mentor, the man who has stepped into his life after the Vulture and offered nothing but unwavering support, and he remembered how twitchy the older man been since the Civil War, since Siberia. He remembered how gingerly he'd moved for weeks, how beat up his face had looked.

Peter felt anger swell up in his chest.

"What are you doing here?" He snarled. At the edge of his vision, he saw Tony flinch backwards, eyes swiveling to stare at Peter in surprise.

Captain America looked shocked, too.

Good.

The hero took a step forward. "Excuse me?"

Peter scrambled to place himself protectively between Tony and the bigger man, body coiling in preparation for a fight. "Stay away from him."

Steve raised his hands nervously, staring at Peter as though he were a frightened animal.

And oh my god did it just piss him off even more.

"Listen, Pete-"

"Don't fucking call me that."

"Okay." Steve cocked his head to the side, sizing the teenager up calculatingly. "I don't plan on doing anything to Tony, Peter."

"But you did."

Steve flinched as if he'd be slapped, and shame swept across his face like a winter storm.

"Yeah, Peter. I did."

From the other side of the room, Black Widow spoke for the first time.

"It's all worked out, kid. We're a team again."

To his shame, frustrated tears sprang into Peter's eyes. None of them understood. They didn't know what it was like to watch your hero come back broken. "Y-you weren't here. You left." He spat, sniffling pitifully. "You b-betrayed h-him, a-and th-then you just left."

"Peter," Tony's voice sounded gently behind him, "calm down, kiddo."

He swung around, blocking out everyone else in the room besides his mentor.

"You want me to be calm? These people fought you. You tried to compromise and they didn't give a shit. Steve nearly beat you to death, and you think I'm just going to waltz in here and be fucking calm?"

Tony strode up to him, gripping his shoulders firmly.

"Look at me, Peter."

He met his mentor's gaze, and felt tears finally break free when he blinked, sliding down his face and dripping off his chin.

"Oh, Peter."

"Y-you were s-so… s-so messed up when you c-came b-back. And… and I know you b-blame yourself and you shouldn't. I-I… I j-just don't want them here, Mister Stark. I don't want them here."

"Listen, Peter," Tony said, swiping a knuckle across his cheek to disrupt the flow of tears, "I know you don't want to hear this, but we need them. You're a great kid. I've never known you to hold a grudge. I'm ready to forgive them if you are."

He stared at Tony's face for a second, searching his eyes for something he couldn't explain.

He found it, and he let the emotion spark in his own gaze, too.

A candle lighting a candle.

"Okay."

"Okay?"

"Yeah, okay."

Tony nodded jerkily. "Good, because we've got a job to do."

There was a brief moment of silence, and then Clint piped up from his spot at the table.

"So… is he your kid or what?"

Tony took a deep breath and rolled his eyes. "No, Clint."

"Liar."

Bruce's murmur wasn't meant to travel, but Peter's enhanced hearing caught it anyway. "See? That's what I said."

Steve strode over to the rest of the group, quickly composing himself. He looked every inch the leader that Peter had heard so many stories about.

"Alright," Steve said, leaning heavily against the table, "so we've got a Hydra base to raid and no time to lose. Let's get started."

Peter started. "Wait, we're raiding a Hydra base?"

Steve barely spared him a glance, but Tony gave his shoulder a reassuring pat.

"The base is located in the outskirts of Stuttgart. Their security is tight, so there's almost no chance of getting in undetected. The plan is to draw their forces into combat and try to scatter them. Clint and Nat, you're going to work stealth. Try to scope around their defenses while the rest of us distract the main attack forces. Tony, Sam, you're our eyes in the sky. Your main focus is to cover the rest of us on the ground, but your secondary objective is to scan for weaknesses from above. If you see one, exploit it, or pass the data on to someone else that can. Lucky for you, Spidey, the complex is situated in a wooded area, so there are lots of trees for you to web around from. Your job is the same as mine: distract and divert. Do anything you can to divide and confuse their units. Banner is hanging back in the jet as medical, but under no circumstance is it a Code Green. We're too close to residential areas to risk it. Are we understood?"

Peter nodded along with the rest of the team, feeling his anger dissolve into background noise as he focused on the task at hand.

"Alright. Suit up and meet me at the jet."

At the dismissal, Tony grabbed Peter's arm and pulled him out the door, heading in the direction of his lab.

The moment the lab's door closed, Tony spun Peter to face him, leaning forward a little so their eyes were even.

"I'm sorry I didn't warn you about them being here, Peter." Tony said. "I didn't realize how much being around Steve would upset you. But I swear to you, he will not hurt you. Even if he tried, I would stop him. You don't have anything to be afraid of."

Peter just stared at his mentor for a second before responding. "I'm… I'm not afraid of him like that."

"There's no reason to be ashamed of it, Peter. He beat you up, dropped a jet bridge on you, and then I didn't go a good enough job of hiding the injuries he gave me in Siberia. And all of those are on me, okay kid? It's completely normal to feel-"

Peter cut him off abruptly. "That is not why I was upset."

"Then why...?"

Peter just laughed. It was harsh and full of bitterness. "Because he nearly beat you to death, Mister Stark. I'm not scared of him. I'm fucking furious."

Tony flinched back and stared. Peter could practically see the wheels turning in his head.

"Peter…" His mentor paused, took a deep breath, and plowed forward. "I don't want to relive it all right now, not when we need to be focusing on a mission, but I need you to understand that mistakes were made by both sides in Siberia. Steve and I have talked. We're not good yet, not by a long shot, but we're on our way there, okay? What happened in Siberia, it… it isn't going to happen again."

Peter paused, letting Tony's words sink in slowly. "I don't like him."

"You don't have to. But if you go on this mission, you do have to work with him. That means watching his back, and trusting him to watch yours. If you don't think you can do that, that's fine. You can sit this one out. No one will judge you for making that call."

Peter was already shaking his head before Tony could finish. "No. I'm coming."

Tony nodded, giving his shoulder a boisterous pat with one hand and reaching ruffling his hair with the other. "Then suit up."


The flight to Stuttgart took 8 hours, which was still almost an hour and a half shorter than it would have taken on a commercial jet, thanks to Tony's technology. Peter spent the flight sitting right next to his mentor, picking away at his homework while the older man tapped at his StarkPhone, one arm slung casually around Peter's shoulders. To anyone else, it looked like Tony was conducting important business. In reality, the billionaire was playing Candy Crush.

Every once in a while, Tony would catch one of his teammates staring at the pair from across the cabin, eyes filled with a series of emotions that Tony couldn't untangle.

He opted to ignore the looks. Instead, he leaned over and raised an eyebrow at the scrawling equations littering Peter's paper.

"Derivatives?" Tony questioned, eyebrows raised. "Isn't that a little… elementary for you?"

Peter sighed, stifling a yawn. "Yeah, but a bunch of kids needed to review them."

Tony rolled his eyes. "You ought to be in advanced classes."

"This is for AP Calculus, Mister Stark."

"Even more advanced."

"Aunt May didn't want me skipping any grades. She said it would be bad for my emotional development, or something."

They slipped back into comfortable silence, Peter dutifully recording all of his work and Tony playing on his app while trying to ignore the way the other Avengers kept pointedly staring.

"So," Clint said sometime later, startling Tony out of his reverie. He hasn't even noticed that he'd zoned out, staring at the same level on his phone for god knows how long, until the archer had spoken, "you're like, what, twelve?"

Peter glared. "I'm almost sixteen."

Tony prodded the kid in the side playfully. "You know, putting 'almost' as a qualifier for your age just makes you seem even younger."

"And you're not Tony's kid?"

Tony practically growled at Clint, unconsciously tensing the arm that was wrapped around Peter. "Shut your fucking mouth, Barton. I already said he wasn't."

The archer just shrugged, and the plane fell back into uncomfortable silence for the rest of the flight.

There was a flurry of activity when the jet landed. Tony made sure to keep a firm grip on Peter, only letting go to let the Iron Man suit engulf him.

As soon as Steve finished his quick pre-mission debrief, just to check that everyone was still clear on their positions, Tony pulled Peter aside and looked at him intensely.

He'd been doing a lot of that, today. Parenting was exhausting.

"You stay safe, okay?" Tony said. "If I tell you to get back to the jet and stay put, you better glue that skinny ass into one of those seats and do as you're told. I don't give a shit what Cap tells you to do, all my orders trump his when it comes to your safety. Am I understood?"

Peter nodded, practically buzzing with anticipation.

"Good luck, kid."

Launching into the air and leaving his kid on the ground felt like tearing himself in two.

He'll be okay. Tony told himself. He has to be.


Peter was not okay.

In fact, if there was a spectrum of okay, he'd be on whichever side was the furthest from it.

"We're secure up here." Sam's voice crackled across the comms. He'd manage to find a way through Hydra's security shield and had cleared the portion of the base that was above ground.

"Same from below." Natasha replied. It had taken her all of four minutes to slip past the front lines, using the chaos of battle as an advantage, and slink into the underground tunnels.

"Good job, everyone." Steve said, voice all righteousness and professionalism. "Let's leave the cleanup to SHEILD and head back to the jet."

"Pizza party, anyone?" Clint said, voice jovial and light. "Tony's paying."

Peter heard his mentor grumble as the rest of the team's voices clambered to make their own opinions for dinner plans known.

He wanted to join in. He really, really did. He'd just completed his first mission with the freaking Avengers and now he had the chance to argue with them about whether they should have pizza or curry for dinner and it was probably the coolest moment of his entire life.

It was just that the blood staining his suit and the bullet hole in his side was putting a major damper on his enthusiasm.

He'd made it to the end of the conflict with only a few bruised ribs (the impact had also damaged the mainframe in his suit enough to send Karen offline, which was a massive bummer) and what was definitely going to be a black eye in an hour or two. He'd just webbed up his last group of Hydra thugs when the gun went off.

He'd been so preoccupied with disarming and webbing up the lone sniper that, at first, he hadn't even realized the bullet had hit its mark. It was only when he'd slung from a web and felt his right side erupt in agony that he realized something was very, very wrong.

And now he was on the ground, stumbling towards the Quinjet rather than swinging while pressing shaky hands against the bullet hole in his side, wondering just how pissed off Tony was about to be.

"Peter?" As if his mentor had read his mind, the billionaire's voice echoed in his ear in nervous concern. "You're being uncharacteristically quiet."

"Yeah, uh," Peter briefly considered telling Tony he was fine, but decided that it would be pretty impossible to hide the fact that he'd been fucking shot on the eight hour plane flight back to New York, "I think I may need some help."

The comms went deathly silent.

"What's wrong, Peter?" Tony snapped, following it immediately with a frantic order to his suit's AI. "F.R.I.D.A.Y., give me Peter's location now."

"I, uh, may or may not have been shot."

More silence. Then,

"Holy shit Peter."

"Report, Spider-Man. How long since the bullet entered?" Steve's voice was devoid of all emotion. There was something reassuring about the calm competence oozing from the super soldier's voice. It made Peter feel like everything was under control. "Is there an exit wound?"

"Um, like, maybe ten minutes ago? And, uh, yeah. It went right through."

"I'll be there in a minute, Peter. Stay where you are." Tony's voice sounded like he was verging on a full on meltdown. "Motherfucking shit. You were supposed to be fucking fine. Being shot isn't fine, Peter!"

"Where's the wound?" Steve snapped, blatantly ignoring Tony's frantic cursing.

"My side. Like, the fleshy part. I don't think it hit anything important."

"It hit you, Peter!" Tony practically yelled. "I'd qualify that as hitting something pretty fucking important!"

"Keep pressure on it until Tony gets there, Spidey."

Peter could suddenly see why Steve was such a good leader. He was quick, efficient, and to the point. Throughout the battle, he seemed to be able to keep tabs on every member while also handling himself with ease.

Peter still wasn't sure he liked him, but he did respect him.

He barely had time to finish the thought before the Iron Man suit was landing heavily in front of him; faceplate retracting before the boots even touched the forest floor.

"Peter!"

"Hey, Mister Stark." Peter said, a little more breathlessly than he would have liked. The adrenalin from the battle was wearing off, and he was suddenly feeling strangely detached from his body. The pain in his side was only multiplying as the seconds wore on. He swayed slightly on his feet.

"Hey to you too, kid." Tony's hands were on his shoulders, steadying him. "I thought I told you to stay safe? Is this a teenage rebellion thing, disobeying direct orders? I'm not sure I'm a fan."

The words were playful, but Tony's voice was shaking. His face was pale.

He's scared.

"Yeah, sorry about that." Peter gave him a weak smile, nearly toppling over as Tony let go of him to let the suit's gauntlets fold back over his hands.

Tony just gave him a tight smile. "Think you can keep pressure on that while we're in the air? The Quinjet is only a couple minutes away, so it won't be for long."

"Yeah."

Tony quickly but gently scooped the boy up, blasting into the air as soon as he had a firm grip. Peter let out a little gasp of pain as the jolt sent white hot agony shooting up his side and into his shoulder.

Were gunshot wounds supposed to hurt this much?

His mentor, who had kept his faceplate off, winced at the noise. "You okay?"

"Yeah," Peter gasped, squeezing his eyes shut and forcing deep, even breaths between the flashes of pain. "Just… it hurts."

"Hang in there, kiddo." Tony soothed. "We'll be back at the jet before you know it, and Bruce'll pump you full of the good stuff."

"The good stuff doesn't work on me, Mister Stark." Peter winced. God. Fuck. It felt like acid was leeching into his veins. "My metabolism is too fast."

"How about the good stuff we formulated for Captain America and his crazy DNA, huh? Something tells me that'll do that trick."

Peter couldn't stop the flood of relief that rushed through him. With the amount of agony he was in, he hadn't been looking forward to sitting through cleaning and stitching it without any form of pain meds.

"Thank god." He groaned, unconsciously squeezing Iron Man's arm nearly hard enough to bend the metal.

Metal boots clanged against a ramp and, seconds later, he found himself being bustled into a jet full of the worried faces of the Avengers.

Bruce was on him in an instant.

"Lay him down there." Bruce barked to Tony, gesturing towards one of the bunks built into the wall of the jet. His next words addressed Peter. "Hey, kid. You know, we've really got to stop meeting like this."

The joke won Bruce a pained laugh. "Yeah, I think I'd like that."

Peter gave a pained yelp as Tony, despite trying his very best to be careful, deposited him on the bunk.

"Sorry," Tony gasped, hand brushing through Peter's bangs compulsively, "I'm sorry, Peter."

Something told the teenager that he wasn't apologizing for the jolt.

Bruce frowned. "Can you rate the pain, one to ten?"

Peter chose that moment to shift, and his vision went white for a second. When the agony reduced to a level that allowed for semi-coherent thought, he responded. "Uh, like, an eight."

His whole body was starting to shake, and his breathing was taking on an unnatural rhythm. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't seem to control it. Every movement made him dizzy. He couldn't tell whether it was because of the pain or something else entirely.

"Can you give him something?" Tony hissed, fingers moving to grip Peter's sweaty wrist.

"I'm on it. Hang in there, Peter. It's about to get a lot better."

All he could do was whimper. It felt like the pain was slowly being turn up on a dial. Every minute brought another level of agony.

The jet took off, and the minute movement that accompanied the action made colors explode in front of Peter's eyes. His back arched up off the table despite Tony's desperate attempts to keep him flat. A strangled scream tore its way through his throat.

He didn't even notice he'd started to cry as he reached blindly for Tony, desperate for comfort.

"Tony." He sobbed, clutching at his mentor's shirt desperately. "Tony, make it stop."

"Just a second, kiddo." Tony soothed. Peter could hear that his voice was shaking. "Just a second. Just a little longer, okay?" He ran set a grounding palm against the teenager's chest. "What's the pain now, bud?"

"T-ten."

It's so bad, Mister Stark. Please. It's so bad. Make it stop.

"Okay, kid. Okay. It'll be, like, a negative five soon. I promise."

Bruce had just come back from… wherever he had gone, and was prepping Peter's arm for an IV. Normally, Peter would've protested. He hated needles. Now, however, he was tempted to rip the IV from Bruce's hand and jab it in himself. He'd do anything to make this pain go away.

Tony turned to the scientist as he worked. "Why is he in so much pain? That isn't normal, right?" He tossed a nervous glance back at the teenager's pale face, voice a raspy whisper.

Bruce just shook his head minutely as a response, eyes flickering pointedly at Peter.

"Quick pinch."

He didn't even feel the IV go in. He was just a little too preoccupied with the fire racing through his entire body to care.

Bruce deftly inserted a syringe into the IV and pushed the plunger down. Seconds later, Peter felt something cold race into his veins and a weird taste in his mouth.

"Take some deep breaths and just relax, Peter." Bruce murmured, taking a step back and whispering to Tony. "I'm going to grab the supplies to treat his wound. We'll give the meds a few minutes to work before I start."

"They'll knock him out?" Tony's hand was rubbing gentle, calming circles across Peter's forehead.

"Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how his body reacts to them. He won't be in any pain, though, I promise."

Bruce was right. Peter could already feel the agony ebbing away. His muscles relaxed, probably due to both the sudden lack of pain and the anesthetic effect of whatever it was Bruce has put in his IV. His fingers, which had been tearing at the seams of Tony's shirt, suddenly released. Tony rushed to catch his lax hands, settling them gently down on the bunk.

"There you go, son. Just relax."

Even through the final dregs of pain and the persistently growing haze caused by the drugs, Peter noticed the fact that Tony had called him son.

"Son." Peter murmured, a sleepy smile curling across his face. "Like that. You… you calling me son. I like that."

Tony blinked, as if he had just realized exactly what he said.

"Yeah, kiddo. I do too."

Peter blinked up at his mentor (father?) slowly, surprised at how quickly the meds had dulled everything. It was surprisingly comfortable, though. His thoughts were slow, but warm. It felt like the times he would start to doze off while watching a movie with Tony and the older man would wrap him in a nice, warm blanket before tucking him into his side for the night. Everything was fuzzy, but in a good way.

"Mmm." Peter hummed, too drowsy to bother with forming words.

Tony smiled, a shocking amount of tension leaving from his body once he saw Peter relax. His fingers kept up their ministrations at his hairline, making the teenager's stomach fill with warmth.

His eyes slipped shut and he listened dazedly to Bruce and Tony, floating somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. The words washed over him in comforting waves, the content not fully registering.

"What the hell was causing him so much pain?"

"I don't know, Tony. And be careful, he might hear you."

"He's high as a kite, Bruce. He's got no idea what we're saying. Now answer my damn question."

"I said I didn't know."

"But you have a suspicion, don't you?"

"I… I think the bullet may have released a neurotoxin on impact."

"It released a what?!"

"You know what I said, Tony. Pass me that, will you? Thank you. Anyway, I'm going to pull some blood and check, but I don't think it's anything to worry about. His healing factor should deal with it on its own."

"He was fucking sobbing, Bruce. That's definitely something to worry about."

"We'll keep him drugged up until the toxin works through his system. It shouldn't take long. F.R.I.D.A.Y. can give us an estimate once I have the sample."

"How bad is the damage to his side?"

"Not bad. Peter was right, it didn't hit anything vital. It passed entirely through fat and muscle. I'm almost done stitching it. With his healing factor, I doubt it'll even scar."

"That's something, I guess."

There was a time where no one spoke. Eventually, he felt someone move his arm and Tony squeeze his hand.

"All done." Bruce's voice drifted back. Peter couldn't tell how long it had been. "I was right. It is a neurotoxin. Luckily, his healing factor is already repairing the damage and flushing it out. F.R.I.D.A.Y. thinks we'll be clear to wean the drugs back in about 4 hours."

"You hear that, Peter?" Tony whispered, fingers curling lovingly across the boy's face. "You just take a quick nap, and we'll have you all fixed for when you wake up, okay?"

And because Tony said so, Peter did.

He was really tired, anyway.


Peter came back to consciousness slowly.

The first thing he was aware of was a calloused thumb rubbing back and forth across his cheekbone.

"C'mon, Peter. Time to wake up, kiddo."

That was Tony. Tony wanted him to wake up. He could do that.

Couldn't he?

How exactly did waking up work? After mulling it over for a moment, he decided that opening his eyelids was a good place to start.

All he managed to do was twitch them.

"There you go, squirt. Take your time. I'm not in a hurry."

Peter did take his time. He gave himself permission to just exist for a few breaths, and felt some of the fogginess slowly creep away from his brain. His next attempt at opening his eyes was far more successful than the first.

He was rewarded with the exhausted but excited face the one and only Tony Stark.

"Morning, kiddo."

"Hey."

A bright smile lit up his mentor's face.

"Hey to you, too." The smile slipped for a split second. "Are you in any pain?"

Peter considered it for a moment. If he really focused, he could feel a weird pull and ache coming from his side. Otherwise, he was blissfully numb.

"No."

The smile was back full force. "Good."

"Called me son."

Tony looked at Peter, an unreadable expression on his face. For a second, it looked like he was going to play it off.

"Yeah. I did."

Peter opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by Clint's voice.

"And you're still saying he's not actually your son? Bull fucking shit, Stark."

Tony winked at Peter before responding.

"I guess you'll never know for sure, will you, Barton?"

Their only answer was a strangled scream.