Life was actually going pretty well for Peter at the moment. Being a friendly neighborhood Spiderman was a lot less stress than being an avenger; and having his identity kept secret helped. His aunt… That was another matter. She screamed, cried, and screamed more for about three hours.
But eventually, she came around to the idea of Spiderman being a part of who he is – and Mister Stark helping him. She figured that he’d be doing this with or without the added security the new suit offered.
She and the billionaire had had a long, heated, emotional discussion, but under the terms that Mr. Stark took two weekends a month off to help train and tutor him, she allowed the mentor-ship to continue. Peter’s days had improved drastically since Homecoming; but his nights had worsened.
Every night, he was back under the rubble of Thoome’s warehouse, unable to breathe and slowly being crushed. He hadn’t felt so utterly powerless since Uncle Ben’s death. The feeling of his rib-cage creaking and crumbling under the weight, and of the cold rain freezing his skin haunted his dreams.
The smell of ozone and dust, the tang of blood in his mouth, his eyes burning with tears; it was all so vividly real. He and Ned had theorized about that, the only time Peter had brought it up. In the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian, it had said that Captain Roger’s brain had been made high-functioning by the super-soldier serum.
Since Peter’s own serum was based off of that, it was likely he had the same thing. A perfect memory, capable of recording every sight, sound, and smell; and never forgetting. It was a gift for tests – his grades had never looked so good.
Although his own serum was imperfect, it was still pretty damn close to the original. However, it was also a curse when it came to things he’d rather forget about. That night, Peter crawled back into bed at eleven sharp. A curfew was one of the restrictions May had insisted upon; and Tony would have F.R.I.D.A.Y. send a suit to pick him up if he was out past that time.
He was trying not to bend those rules so soon after them being made; especially with everything still so fresh. But it was hard to remember to be home on time, and to not stay out till way later. Unfortunately, this left him staring at the ceiling for hours upon hours, not daring to close his eyes for fear of the cold sweat he’d wake up to. Like tonight, for instance.
His digital watch read 00:23, and Peter was still wide awake. He’d cataloged every scratch and scuff mark on the ceiling; which was actually pretty impressive, since he’d started pacing up there when he was nervous. His room was a mess, and his head even more so.
“Peter?” He would never admit it when asked, but he jumped so high his head hit the base of the top bunk. Swearing and heart hammering, he grabbed his mask and shoved it on. “Karen?” He asked, worried. “What’s up? Is everything okay? Does Mr. Stark need my help?”
“Everything is fine, Peter,” Karen reassured, voice soft and placating. “I was just concerned about you.” That gave him pause. “Concerned? About… me?” He blinked, frowning. “Why?” “You are not sleeping at night,” she explained.
“If you receive less than ten hours of sleep over the course of two days, I am programmed to interfere and rectify the problem; if it is within my abilities.” That…That was actually really sweet. His eyes watered a little at the thought of Tony going to all that trouble, though he’d never admit it.
“If you like,” Karen continued, “I could call Mr. Stark for you?” “No!” Peter yelled a little too quickly. “Uh…No. No, thank you. Are you programmed to do anything else?” “I could recite Macbeth word for word until you’re asleep,” she offered after a moment of thought. “it is required reading for your grade, and could be beneficial.
Studies also show that monotonous noise helps people feel reassured, and they relax more easily.” Psychology wasn’t Peter’s forte, but that made sound sense to him. “…That’d be nice,” he finally conceded. “Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome, Peter,” She answered. “You can set me down on your nightstand. My speakers are adequate for your hearing.” Peter did as she said, then curled up against his rumpled, messy covers. Moonlight from outside his window filtered in, covering everything in a soft silver light.
His desk was piled high with neatly-organized, completed assignments. The smell of dirty laundry and sweat, though disgusting, was comfortingly familiar. Karen’s smooth, caring voice echoed through the speakers: “Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, circa 1606. Act one, scene one…”
He closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep.