Rating: MA (NC-17)
Summary: Dark AU post-Civil War
Pairing: Tony Stark/Peter Parker
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Betaed by redhawk
Tony stared at one of his monitors. That particular image was the take from Peter’s cell monitoring system. He hated it, but it was just one of the avalanche of regs he’d had to accede to in order to secure Peter’s transfer back to New York.
Tony had made sure that Peter’s room at the new and rebuilt Stark Tower looked just like his old one had before Peter had left the fold and gone against the law. But Peter barely even seemed to notice. Instead he was crouching on the ceiling in the back of the room; it was one of the few places in the room that didn’t have a camera aimed directly at it. Tony only knew Peter was there because both the guards and the sensors had told him he was.
Tony knew he’d have to add another camera to counter the blind spot. But for now he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Let Peter have at least a few inches of privacy. What harm could it do?
He made a short phone call downstairs. Half an hour later the door of Peter’s room opened and Jarvis walked inside. Still no sight of Peter.
Jarvis took the plate and set it out on the table, adding a soda and some dessert.
“Peter,” he said “You know your aunt would want you to eat.”
Peter jumped down, his white slacks and linen shirt barely moving from the exertion. He just examined Jarvis as silently and as eerily as a spider watched what had blundered into its web.
Peter just stood there, he didn’t move an inch.
“Sit down please.”
Peter obeyed, as if an order had been all he needed.
“I’m sorry about Mary Jane.”
Peter didn’t respond, he just sat there like a life-sized doll, his eyes looked straight up at the camera, dead. Ignoring Jarvis who finally left him with the food.
Tony knew he’d have to call Reed, maybe there was something wrong with the nanobots in Peter’s bloodstream. He’d rather believe that, than imagine what might have happened to Peter to change him like this. Tony took a last glance at the print out of Peter’s physical state, checking the image with that from the sensors in Peter’s clothes.
Peter’s heartbeat was low, for him, he was underfed and nearly catatonic, aside of instant obedience to commands. Tony quickly decided to have Peter’s medical check up scheduled for that same day. He wondered about the incisions on Peter’s head. His files said they served to put in a tracker after Peter’s second escape attempt. They also mentioned certain tests he’d been put through after he collapsed a year back; a consequence apparently of him refusing to follow certain kinds of orders. The file didn’t specify what kind of orders those had been.
He wished he could just have the nanobots removed, but as soon as he did, not only would Peter be taken away from his custody, to be sent right back to the army. He’d seen enough already that that should never be an option. But on top of that, it would mean for him to lose his current position and any chance he had to protect America’s superheroes. If he was gone, people like Gyrich would be the only ones left in charge.
Tony went down the hall to Peter’s room and opened the door. Peter was on the ceiling again. Tony stood still in the door, he looked at Peter, Peter turned away his eyes.
“Come on Peter, you need some fresh air.”
Peter jumped down and followed him, but there was no resistance to the order. He had expected Peter to refuse to have anything to do with him, but then he remembered Peter’s programming. “Don’t worry Peter, I turned off most of the control functions the army guys put in. You don’t have to do something, if you don’t want to.”
Peter didn’t say a word, but there was a momentary look in his eyes that made clear just how wrong he thought Tony was. It was there, like a glimpse, the first sign of life and it was disgust with him. And Tony hated it, if Peter hadn’t turned against them, he’d be free now. Didn’t he get that? All he had to do was follow the law and he’d be free.
It was his sheer refusal to stand by the law that caused this. Yet he acted as if Tony was the bad guy. The worst part of it was that Tony couldn’t entirely disagree, just seeing Peter like this made all the rest of it look like fake gold, worthless and without meaning.
But it wasn’t his fault damn it, he’d done it to save them all, it wasn’t his fault that Steve and others like him had refused to step in line.
It wasn’t his fault that Steve was dead, yet that didn’t keep everybody and their mother from blaming him for just that.
Then he repeated Jarvis earlier words: “I’m sorry about Mary Jane.”
Peter’s response was instant he turned and kicked at Tony in a move so fast you’d need a camera and freeze frame it to see him go from one place to the other. He was on the floor in pain before he came even close to hurting Tony.
“You killed her!” It was the first thing Peter had said since his arrival here.
Tony knelt down next to him, wanting to help him back up, but Peter refused his hand. Tony knew he should be giving Peter an added punishment now for daring to strike at his commanding officer. But he couldn’t get himself to do it; he just hoped no one would notice him giving Peter a free pass.
“It was an accident Peter, the police officer who shot her didn’t know she didn’t have any superpowers. For Gods sake, she was involved in a terrorist attack. What did you expect the police to do?”
Peter got up and turned back to his room. Tony wanted to stop him, if he told him to do so, Peter would, he had no choice, but now Tony just had no idea what to say.
“She was saving children and they killed her. If you can’t see that Stark, then you might as well put your controls back in because I may be damned, and I may be your puppet, but I’ll go to hell before I’ll do it willingly.”
Peter said those words quietly, but they rang through Tony’s heart like a two-by-four. It was the last sign of life he got out of Peter for the next few months.