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"Ugh, um, hi. You reached the voice mail of me. You know who I am. I probably didn't answer because I'm ridding the world of hunger . . . or eating pizza in Monaco, at the Grand Prix. And if I'm not doing either, then I'm probably getting intimate with a hot interviewer who couldn't resist my famously good looks. Nah, just kidding – I'm in a stable-ish relationship. Or maybe I just don't like you – ever thought about that, Bucky? – so don't bother calling back. Ok, bye."

Crackle . . . beeeeeep.

"Oh, c'mon, pick up!" Peter muttered to himself. That had to be the longest voicemail ever. Oh well, it was Mr Stark, Peter couldn't really expect much less.

"Peter, honey, lunch is ready!" Aunt May's voice floated down the hall, creeping between the cracks in Peter's closed bedroom door.

"OK, be right there!" Peter shouted back.

He threw his phone angrily onto his bed, and watched it roll off and crack onto the floor. Great, just great. He didn't bother checking if it were cracked or not, and flung open his door. He walked through the small apartment, until he reached the kitchen.

He smelt burning toasties, and his mood lightened considerably. He plonked himself into a seat.

"Hey, kid. So, I thought I'd go a bit special, and make you a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich. You've seemed a bit off, lately, so I'm hoping this'll brighten your appetite." She grinned at him, placing a plate in front of him with three sandwiches piled on it. He smiled back.

He reached for the one on top, cheese dripping from the toast. He pulled it off, and stuck it in his mouth.

The flavour felt dry on his tongue, and the greasy string of melted cheese stuck to his mouth, the oil making it feel slimy. His throat clenched up, refusing to swallow it down. He had half a mind to spit it out, but May was chatting away happily about work and her dinner last night. He could feel himself choking silently, the cheese stuck to the roof of his mouth. His tongue seemed to swell, and he subconsciously lifted his hands up to his throat, scratching at it, willing it to open.

"Peter, honey, are you OK?" May was asking, and Peter knew she wore a worried expression.

Without answering, he got up so fast, he knocked his chair over. He staggered through the lounge, then into the door at the other side of the room. He wrenched it open, flinging himself inside. He could faintly hear May's hurried footsteps behind him and concerned shouts.

He fell against the sink, and retched.

"Oh, baby, it's OK." May was saying comfortingly, and Peter felt her soft hands on his back, rubbing circles. He vomited again, and fell into a coughing fit afterward.

The heaves racked his body, and he felt himself slip to the cold tiles. The feeling of the cool stone, caused the coughs to cease, and now he just lay there, shivering – even though sweat dripped down his forehead.

"Peter, why didn't you tell me you were feeling sick?" May cooed, and Peter felt her hand on his forehead.

"God, your burning up!" May muttered more to herself than her sick nephew.

Peter could barely hear her, because of a loud ringing in his ears. He groaned, pressing his face further into the tiles. He was cold. It was so cold. He seemed to be able to breathe again, so Peter took that as a good sign. He gathered strength in his arms, and pushed himself so he was lying on his back.

"M'fine, May. M'okay." He murmured, even though he wasn't feeling particularly fine.

"Are you sure? You seem like you have a bit of a fever." May said, training a contradicting gaze on Peter.

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