Chapter 18: Safety First

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Sorry this took so long!!! Thanks for sticking around or if ya bailed, no hard feelings! 😊

"Your brother?" Tony asked, unsure he heard you right.

"I haven't seen him in so long..." You thought out loud, trailing off, thinking that the last time was now over six months ago.

Usually, he'd check in, by phone or in person, about once every month or two.

"Why would your brother shut down the power, scare everyone and not take anything?" Tony thought out loud, growing frustrated, "And the texts? Why's he doing this?"

"I know we grew up rough, but we've always been there for each other. He helped me to build up my pain tolerance and how not to piss off my parents. Where to get the best free food when I was desperate and where it was and wasn't okay to spend the night when I was kicked out." You defended even though Tony didn't attack, "He raised me the best way an older brother could, so whatever's going on, it's on me. I owe him the benefit of the doubt and I don't think he'd do this if I wasn't here."

"Kid, I wasn't-"

"I'm beyond grateful for all that you've done for me, believe me, I am, but this is my brother. He would get beaten by my dad daily and almost didn't leave when he had his out because of me. I pushed him to go, but I owe him my life because he only took those beatings so I wouldn't have to."

"Okay." Tony said, putting an arm on your shoulder to try to calm you down, "I get it, kid."

"I just don't want you thinking poorly of him even though he's done something wrong."

"You care about him and that's good enough for me." He raised his hands in surrender and smiled.


"Yeah, FRIDAY?"

"I have detected facial reconfiguration software. The video has also been tampered with."

"It's not him." You and Tony said at once.

"So, any idea who would want us to think it's your brother or frame him?" Tony asked with raised eyebrows.

"My parents hate him but aren't sober or smart enough for all this."

"What about...Hydra?" He practically whispered, hoping with all he had that it wasn't.

"My parents haven't been in that for years I don't think-"

"Kid," He interrupted you, sounding sad, "They have been."


"FRIDAY came back with the files and they were in contact less than a month ago, I just didn't know how to tell you."

"Shit," You mumbled, "Okay, what do I do? Confront them? Find my brother?"

"Nothing." He shook his head, "Let me take care of this."

"You expect me to sit on my hands?" You scoffed, "That's not gonna happen."

"Hey," He said, sounding serious, "I need you safe. You're only safe if you're not involved."

Before you could answer, his pocket vibrated and he pulled the phone out, reading the message automatically, thinking it was his.

"What is it?" You asked when you saw his cringe.

"Parker says he misses you," He put it back in his pocket, "He sent the kissy face emoji too...your guys' friendship is odd."

"Yeah, odd." You laughed nervously.

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