Peter was born with his soulmate’s words.
I need you, kid.
According to the various specialists of the soulmate bond, such an early marking was an abnormality. Most people got their words in their teens or in their early twenties, but Peter had come into the world with them already etched on his skin. As if his case wasn't strange enough already, his words weren't written on his arm, chest, back, or even on his neck, like 99,9% of the population.
No: fate had written them on his fingers. His words swirled around his index and middle fingers in block letters, all capitals. Years of frantically studying writing styles of various cultures and levels of society had told him that his soulmate must be working in architecture or in a similar trade. He was an intellectual, a man who understood numbers. As for the words… they were simple, yes, but also gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.
I need you, kid.
Considering that his soulmate would need his help at some point, Peter had spent his whole life learning how best to help people. As soon as he could read those words with his aunt's help, and grasp the gist of it, he'd sworn to this person whom he had yet to meet that he would help them in any way he could.
So Peter learned how to help others. He wanted to be good at it; the best for his soulmate. He helped old ladies cross the street, lent a hand to his classmates who struggled with their homework, and spent whole nights patrolling the neighborhood to make sure people were safe and happy. He never, never walked away from someone in need. After all, any one of them could be the one. Any one of them could say those words.
I need you, kid.
Curled into a ball in his bed, Peter wondered yet again how something so natural, so simple as a soulmate bond, could be so... complicated. And wrong. He'd assumed that his soulmate would be older; how could he not, when this wonderful person addressed him as 'kid'? He'd assumed many things about the bond, and many things about the person who would wear his words. In the end, he'd been so far off the mark it would be funny if he wasn’t suffering so much.
In the darkness of his room, Peter bit back a sob. He rubbed the skin over his chest with this hand, with those words. It felt strange to use them in that way, somehow, but not as strange, as wrong (yet right, so right), to let his hand travel lower.
He did it anyway.
He stroked himself slowly, not really into it just yet, but the comfort the touch always brought him worked its magic once more, and sadness receded just enough for his tears to dry.
His soulmate didn’t want him. Fate had been wrong, and that was it. He’d met his soulmate and told him the words, but he’d been rejected, denied. The words had obviously been a mistake on fate’s part.
After all, how could he be the soulmate to one Tony Stark, billionaire, philanthropist and Iron Man? If Tony Stark had said those words when they'd first met, I need you, kid, and yet kept him at arm's length, what was Peter to believe? It was obvious to him, to anyone who cared, really, that Tony was a man who'd flirted too much with darkness, who was broken, at times, and too brilliant at others. He was someone who needed help but didn't want any, and especially not from an eighteen-year-old who thought they were soulmates.
And he had refused to see the words Peter was all too willing to show him. He'd even tried to rescind his offer of an internship, but Peter had held on to that last link between them with all his might. After Germany, he couldn't simply go home. He needed to be in Tony's presence even if the reverse wasn't true, even if the words that should never lie had made a joke out of his life. So he did his best to stay out of Tony's way, but also to help him in the lab, and out of it as well, as much as Tony allowed it. It was a delicate line to thread for sure, skirting around Tony's shadow, but he'd become so good at dancing that Tony had stopped being so tense whenever the two of them were in the same room.
It had to be enough.
In public, he had to pretend, but here in his set of rooms, he could break down as often as he needed, and do the only thing that gave him any comfort: touch himself, everywhere, with the words that had been haunting him every hour of every day for almost two years, ever since Tony had told him it couldn't be true, that the words weren't his.
Today had been an especially trying day. He'd spend the whole afternoon and part of the evening in the lab helping out Tony with a new project. He'd thought that Tony's silence wasn't personal right up to the point when he'd realized how the older man kept his body angled away from his, and never looked at him in the eye. Peter hadn't stopped smiling, because it wasn’t Tony’s fault if Peter was a freak of nature, a mistake. If he couldn't be Tony's soulmate, he would be the best friend the man could ever wish for.
Needless to say, he’d been completely worn out after their tinkering session. He’d dragged his feet to his bedroom and went straight to bed. His body had ached, still ached.
His heart ached more.
He did his best to chase those thoughts away, if only for a little while. His hand still felt good, and he squeezed the base of his cock in a poor attempt to distract himself. He could pretend that it was Tony’s hand, calloused and firm and skilled, pulling at his cock. He was good at pretending. Pretending that Tony would willingly come to his room in the death of night and beg to touch him just like Peter wanted to beg to touch him. Would Tony find him pretty without his clothes or would he consider him too thin?
Did it really matter when it was a dream?
He didn't hear it when the door opened, too caught up in this new version of his favorite fantasy.
"Hey kid, sorry to barge in like that, but I forgot to tell you something im-"
Peter turned his head so fast he might have sprained his neck.
Tony was standing in the doorway, just as transfixed as Peter was.
Their eyes met.
Peter could taste the electricity on the air and he felt faint with need; the whole spectrum of it. It didn't occur to him to hide under the cover; after all, everything that he was belonged to that man, who was presently holding on to the door knob as if it was the only thing keeping him upright. His hair was still yet from the shower, noted a far corner of his brain, and the Black Sabbath t-shirt he’d put on clung to his chest like a second skin, drawing the eye to sinful narrow hips and a solid chest perfectly defined by the thin fabric.
The faint whimper he let out seemed to fuel the tension in the air. With his enhanced eyesight, Peter could see goosebumps break out on Tony’s arms. The older man's throat bobbed.
"Why... Why are you crying?"
Of all the questions that Tony could have asked him, this was the last one Peter had expected.
His own reply was just as unexpected.
“It… hurts.” Letting go of his soft cock, he showed the hand that he always kept gloved outside of his rooms. “It hurts because you won’t see what I want to give you. Those words are yours, and you won’t… You don’t want them.” Want me, he added silently, shame uncurling at last in his belly.
He was so sure that Tony would leave in a rush that he felt a surge of warmth when Tony’s eyes settled on his hand, on the words that he couldn’t possibly see from there, and yet… Tony seemed completely entranced by his hand, and he was taking a step away from the door and toward him, and then another, and another after that, until Peter had no doubt that Tony could read what he so wanted him to see.
I need you, kid.
It was his handwriting. Tony couldn’t not recognize it. Peter saw the older man’s eyes widen in shock, and he opened his mouth to say something, anything, but then pain filled Tony’s eyes, tightening the crow’s feet around them. His features hardened into a mask of sorrow.
“I need you, kid,” he said aloud in a rough voice, as if the words couldn’t be real until he said them out loud, a second time, to the one who’d just shown them to him. “Oh, god.”
“I need you too,” Peter said, because what else was he supposed to say? It was the truth, a love declaration and an offer of forgiveness all wrapped up in four simple words.
For a moment, there was only silence as Tony hid his face in his hands and sighed heavily. Peter waited with bathed breath and couldn’t believe his luck when Tony dropped his hands and smile at him. It was a small, tentative smile, but the hope in Peter’s chest bloomed like a summer come early.
When Tony closed the distance between them and sat on the edge of the bed, Peter expected his heart to simply burst out of his chest from happiness. He may or may not be shaking; he was so nervous it was a wonder he was not babbling a mile a minute like usual.
“You have my words,” Tony said, like he still had trouble believing it. He still looked completely flabbergasted. “Fuck. May I-”
Peter’s only answer was to lean into the touch. Tony cupped his cheek, and that first intimate touch between them caused fireworks to go off thorough Peter’s body.
"Tony..." He reached for Tony’s wrist and held on to it.
Tony didn't laugh at the younger man clinging to him; if anything, he seemed to drink in Peter’s expression of wonder.
“You already knew I had your words.”
“I…” Tony’s thumb dug into Peter’s jaw. “I couldn’t- You’re just… When you first told me, you were sixteen, kid, and I am… I’m damaged goods, Peter, and I’m too old. You could…” He briefly looked away, but it was as if Peter’s face was a magnet, and his eyes returned to it, dark brown pools of pain and uncertainty. “You could do so much better. There are some bonds that are mistakes-”
Peter had to cut him there. “Do you have my words?”
A faint blush crept over Tony’s throat. “I… Yes, I do.”
“Then there is no mistake,” Peter said firmly. “Our bond is real.”
Tony made to take his hand back, but Peter was so much stronger than him, and he would not let Tony flee out of fear. It was Peter’s job to make him understand.
“I don’t care that I’m young, or that you’re older. And I can’t do better. No, that’s not something you can decide on my account, Tony,” he added in a rush when Tony opened his mouth. “I love you, I want you, and you will never convince me otherwise.”
The following silence felt a bit tense, but soon enough Tony’s free hand moved to Peter’s own, his calloused fingers moving softly over the block letters carved into the pale skin.
“My fucking words.”
“Your beautiful words,” Peter corrected. “Everything about you is beautiful, even those parts of you that you think are damaged. I know you have flaws; I do, too. But I love you as you are and you are my soulmate, Tony Stark.”
Tony’s hand on his face was gentle once more. He traced his jaw, his lips, his brows, as if he couldn’t get enough of him. When Peter tried to pull him closer, Tony kissed away every tear.
“I’m so fucking sorry,” he mumbled. “Those two years must have been hard for you.” He kissed the corner of Peter’s mouth. “They had been for me, but that’s- I shouldn’t be allowed to kiss someone like you.”
“For the longest time, I’ve felt the same way,” Peter said just as fiercely.
He wasn’t sure who initiated the kiss, but suddenly they were devouring each other’s mouth, all tongue and teeth and Tony sure didn’t seem to care that Peter had zero experience whatsoever, so Peter sucked on Tony’s lower lip and thrust his tongue alongside his like it was his only chance at kissing this formidable man.
“You’re so good,” Tony said once they parted for air. “So fucking good for me. You have to know that.”
A trail of saliva linked their mouths together, and Tony licked it until he was licking in-between Peter’s lips, requesting entrance. Peter was only too happy to let him in, and he felt his cock come to full hardness as Tony suck his tongue into his own mouth with a growl.
“You’re everything...” Tony began to trail kisses down his neck. “… everything I could ever want, and I want to deserve you, kid.”
“You deserve me.” Peter threw his head back, baring his throat. “You have all of me. I belong to you and you belong to me.”
“Yes,” Tony whimpered, and then he was biting the tender skin over Peter’s pulse point.
Peter cried out and balled his fists into the sheets. He was so close already, and Tony had just kissed him. He laced their fingers together, pressing the older man’s words against his fingers.
It felt so right.
A thought suddenly occurred to him.
“Can I see my words?”
Tony stilled completely. “Of course.”
He said it just a little too casually. Looking at his guarded expression inches from his face, Peter smiled his gentlest smile.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” he said, even though he really, really wanted to see them.
Tony grimaced. There came that blush again. “No, it’s all right. The words are just… not really in a… how can I put it… regular spot?”
“Have you seen mine?” Peter arched his brow.
Tony was still blushing, and Peter felt a touch of worry.
“Does it hurt?”
“The words? Do they hurt?”
Tony breathed out a laugh. “No, they don’t. It’s just- Well, you tell me if it becomes too much, ok? I have to… well, take out some clothes.”
Peter blinked once. Twice. “That’s… fine. I mean…” It was his turn to blush. “I’m already naked, and obviously…”
“Hard?” Tony finished for him. “Will you let me help with that?”
Hunger and shyness warred on Tony’s features, and Peter gasped as Tony’s thumb brushed the head of his cock, causing his erection to twitch. Unconsciously, he snapped his hips forwards. Tony licked his lips, eyes strained on Peter’s cock. “Only if you want. I will never force you into any-”
“I… I want,” Peter was quick to reply. “I just… I’d like to see the words first.”
The words were etched on Tony’s rim.
Peter’s mouth went dry. Tony was kneeling in front of him on the bed, naked from the waist down. He wasn’t looking at him, but he had both hands on his ass cheeks, parting them to better show Peter those words meant for him, and only for him.
Are you for real?
The interrogation mark disappeared partly inside, and Peter felt his own knees grow weak.
“It’s weird, right?” Tony’s voice was strained. “I mean…”
“It’s fitting,” Peter said, head spinning deliciously. His eyes were glued to his words, and the perfection of Tony’s asshole: pink, delicate, awaiting his touch. “I love them. I love it. I really want to touch you,” he said, knowing that he sounded very eager but not caring too much at the moment. “May I? Please?”
Tony seemed to relax a bit. “Of course you can. I just didn’t expect you to want to- fuck!”
As much as Peter wanted to taste, he had to do what all soulmates did when they first accepted each other: bring their words together. So with a fluttering heart, he leaned forwards, took hold of Tony’s hip with one hand, and with the other reached for his own cramped handwriting.
Are you for real?
The moment his index and middle finger touched the marked rim, Peter could feel the tension he’d lived with his whole life leave him. He gasped in surprised relief, and then moaned, desire rushing straight to his groin as the mere pressure of his two fingers caused Tony to pull on his ass cheeks even more.
Gently, reverently, Peter tipped the tip of one finger inside. His face felt warm; his whole body felt on fire.
He was afraid to hurt Tony, but when he tried to pull his finger back, Tony urged him to go deeper, to explore. Tony’s channel felt tight and hot and Peter had to think silly thought not to explode right here and then.
“I want more,” he heard himself say. “Want to feel you… more.”
“Whatever you want, yes, right here, take this…”
With lube, it was easier, and in very little time Peter had those two fingers sliding smoothly in and out Tony’s ass. He loved the needy sounds his caresses pulled out of Tony’s throat, like his fingers were directly connected to his soulmate’s mouth. Tony didn’t give him directions at first, but Peter asked for them. He wanted to make Tony feel just as good as he was feeling, giving pleasure to his soulmate.
“Fuck, Peter, yes, that’s it, oh fuck!”
Peter crooked his fingers again, and was rewarded by a throaty moan. Not thinking about it, he did it again, and then pressed his face to Tony’s hole, kissing the puffy rim inked with his words. Praise tumbled from Tony’s lips in-between whimpers and keening sounds of rapture, and Peter was only too happy to suck and lap at the ring of muscles, thrusting his fingers in and out his soulmate’s ass as he did so. When he dipped his tongue alongside his fingers, Tony cried out and came all over the sheets.
“Oh fuck, that was… Peter, do you have any idea-”
Peter didn’t have any opportunity to answer, because Tony was pouncing on him, pining his hips to the bed and swallowing his very erect cock in one go. Peter was so close already that the mere sigh of Tony’s cheeks hollowed around his cock sent him careening over the edge. Tony pulled away, and at first, Peter was confused as to why, but then he saw the older man dart out his tongue to catch his load.
“You taste just like you are.” Tony crawled upwards and kissed Peter on the mouth, softly and unhurriedly. “Sweet, and exactly what I need in this world, apparently.”
They kissed for a while more, and then Tony rolled to his side, pulling Peter into his arms.
“I’ve heard what you said, and I’m not strong enough to stay away anymore, but if you ever want out of-”
Lightning fast, Peter clapped one hand over Tony’s mouth. “Don’t say it,” he growled. “If you are for real, then you are who I want in my life, until death do us part.” He knew he was not so good at the whole threatening-look thing, but he tried anyway. “Is that clear?”
Tony nodded. Regrets and doubts still clouded his eyes, but hope and happiness lurked right at the edge. Peter would strengthen them. He’d made that promise a long time ago.
“Be good to yourself,” he said, and lowered his hand.
Tony kissed his brow. Peter could feel him smile and snuggled closer into his arms.
“I love you too, kid.”