Previous Chapter Eleven: Where in the World is Peter?
This fills prompt eleven for whumptober: crying, struggling, defiance. Thank you for reading!
Here is a link to summary/ chapter guide: THANK YOU
Chapter Twelve: The President, Shrek, and Sweater Vests
Peter didn’t know what to do so he did the only thing he could. He panicked and ran out the door. He wheezed against the quick motions of his feet. The cold tile was like a bucket of cold water to his body and his mind snapped to attention.
Tony – not Tony – yelled after him but he didn’t stop. Peter made it down the hall before he heard footsteps and an IV pole trailing after him. His smile curled higher despite the butterflies in his stomach. He stepped into an alcove whose walls were filled with self-help pamphlets. The blanket fell off of his shoulders as he pressed himself against the wall. His gown fell down along with it leaving his shoulder bare. He didn’t move to cover himself up and suffered through the shivers wracking his body.
None of this made sense. The blood loss and damage to his head must have been worse than he thought. It was the only logical explanation. All the evidence stuffed his brain until all stream of thought abandoned him. He stayed there leaning against the wall as the wheels of the IV came closer.
Shadows passed by on the floor, walking past him, and then the owner of the shadow stepped into view. The short shadows of hair on his face had the beginnings of a small goatee. He stepped closer to Peter and picked up the blanket drooping on the floor to secure it up around his shoulder.
“I’m sorry. It’s been an off day, well year to be honest. Rhodey is always telling me to control my temper and once again he’s proven right. You were hiding from something right? Come back to my room and we can talk. I have some contraband hot chocolate in there and to be honest, kid, you look like you could use some.”
Peter blinked but was helpless against the arm around his shoulder. They walked in quick, quiet steps. Both sets of eyes on watch for any rogue nurse or doctor on the night shift until they were safe behind Tony’s closed door. Tony settled back on his bed.
“Sit here.” He said with a wave of his hand in a casual manner at the end of the bed. Peter stopped for a moment, looking between the chair and bed. But again, he felt his lack of intelligent thought keenly. He sat on the bed, crossed legged at the end, staring Tony.
Was it him? Everything he’d seen so far led him to believe it had to be him.
But then again, it wasn’t him at the same time.
“So, let’s start with the first thing. I’m Tony and you are?”
“Peter. Peter Parker.”
“Circumstances could have been better but nice to meet you.” Peter nodded and avoided his eyes. The brown flecks were so familiar but lacked the warm expression in them. This Tony, or whoever, was a stranger. Peter had a feeling the other one had never been one to begin with. “So, what are you in for?”
“Why are you in the hospital?” A smirk played on his lips and Peter’s neck grew hot.
“Oh. I, that is, I fell.”
“Into a lake.”
“You fell into a lake?”
“That’s what I said wasn’t it?” He snapped. Tony had the decency to look apologetic though Peter noticed that he didn’t apologize for the pestering.
“How’d that happen?”
This line of questioning was going to be the tricky part. He didn’t know how to respond and his brain was thoroughly checked out so he decided to go with the simplest answer and the one he would be most likely to remember in time. The truth at least in part.
“I was attacked – chased- and I got hurt. I was cornered on the dock and it was an accident. I fell into the water. It was cold but calm down there.” He shivered as something stirred in his memory. “It was calm until… until it wasn’t. Something must have stirred up the sand! It was everywhere and there was so much blood until everything went black. Then I was here and it’s so strange here and you look so different.”
Another shiver wracked his body and he hunched in on himself. Tony leaned forward and put his hand on Peter’s knee. His eyebrows were furrowed as he thought about what Peter said. He could only imagine what he looked like. Some strange kid running around the hospital, breaking into rooms, and then running away again. But Tony wasn’t treating him like he was delicate. There was concern in his eyes but a curious glint to get to know the truth as well.
“Easy there. I’m sorry. That totally sucks. It must have been scary, too. Do you…” Tony swallowed. “Where are your parents?”