Peter Parker was a great, wild, many things. He was talkative… almost every teacher he’d ever had said the words “Peter’s great to have in class, but…”. He was stubborn, a trait his family noted as hereditary and Tony noted as “your problem”. And he was also not, even in the vaguest of terms, a morning person. But what person is when school is what the alarm clock beeps for?
He’s up at 6:50 just to leave by 7:20 for a place that doesn’t even start until 7:45. He’s no math genius but he’s pretty sure that’s fucking bullshit.
But whatever, that’s the kind of adolescence every singer writes about rebelling about. He stumbles to the bathroom to clean up, and then stumbles back out into an eerily quiet kitchen. With two eyes just cracked enough to see the cabinets, he pulls out his cereal and bowl in relative quietness. Most of his family members have rooms with enough distance between them and the kitchen that Peter could stage an elaborate tap dance sequence with an ill-fitting bass drop and only ever wake up JARVIS. But his dad’s room was closer---- and being a man who hated to sit still almost as much as he hated people who called him “Anthony” unironically, Peter elected to ere on the side of caution. Typically, Tony Stark was up and annoying Peter by the break of dawn. He claimed it was because he was, in fact, a morning person (or that he was just a really, really, late owl) but Peter had a sneaky suspicion it had all the more to do with who was awake at the ass crack of dawn. Like clockwork, every weekday morning there Tony was, brewing up something that was so caffeinated it probably surpassed the legal definition of coffee, and asking Peter what his plans were for the day. Even when Peter’s general hatred for all things not past double digits on the clock overtook his otherwise normal personality, Tony Stark was there. It should be noted, that the only person Peter actually believed to be a disgusting “morning person” was Steve, who took his morning jogs next to the paper trucks he was up so early. And Peter didn’t see a trace of him either, so he chocked it all up to the late night movie marathon the group had had last night, and went about his business quietly. Lord knows his dad needs sleep, so he let him have it.
With that in mind, it was still important to note that today was an outlier. No Tony, no Steve, no Thor, Bruce, Nat, or Clint… he was alone. And a ninth grader he decided he’d take it as a badge of honor. A testament to how as newly indoctrinated high schooler, he’d not only be ready for responsibility, but kick its ass. Considering everyone in his immediate vicinity had saved the world at some point or another, Peter was kind of delegated as everyone’s son. And therefore, babied by every man, woman, and child who entered the tower. He was pretty sure even Carol’s cat was under strict instructions to protect Peter with his life.
He turned to grab a spoon from the drawer, and the hand he whipped around to grab with hit his bowl from its precarious spot on the mantle and fell to the ground before Peter could even react. It broke into a million taunting pieces, and for a second, Peter had to wonder why it was god hated him so. He waited another second to let his senses gather any sounds of incoming footsteps, and when he heard none he moved about to clean up his mess. It was 7:08 now, so he’d have to move quickly and skip breakfast altogether but it’d be worth it if he could erase any trace that he’d failed his first morning test.
But as the fates would have it, he was scraping off the last bits of bowl into the trash when he heard the soft, almost nonexistent opening and closing of the door. And although it was coming from the only room within ear range, there was no way it was Tony (his father opened doors like he was trying to catch Peter cheating with another father).
“-----Peter?” A soft, scratchy voice called out, vaguely resembling that of Steve Rogers.
“It’s fine! Just a freak earthquake that no one could have predicted or accounted for.”
Steve, in nothing but a pair of over-washed “AC/DC” pajama pants stumbled into the kitchen and looked at Peter through tired eyes curiously, a question on his lips that his brain had not formulized.
Peter decided to beat him to it. “Shouldn’t you be like, pulling the sun up in a chariot or something right now? In Steve terms this is like sleeping in till noon.”
Steve laughed, and rubbed his eyes. “Yeah, I guess I got tired out faster than I thought…” He mused, but stopped that thought as if he were biting his tongue mid-sentence. He looked behind him, at Tony’s door like he had only just realized it resided there. A few seconds passed before he said, “What happened?”
“The bowl attacked me.”
“Hm, well you put up one hell of a fight.” Steve mused to the shattered remains that still littered the floor.
They settled on that early morning kind of silence that wasn’t awkward, but more contemplative. For example, contemplating why on earth any rational being said “hey you know what’s fun? Teenagers before noon.” But for now both Steve & peter had kneeled on the kitchen floor to pick up the rest of the pieces he’d missed. He kept doing this weird thing of checking behind him, but like a good friend he was probably just worried Tony had woken up in all the fuss. Surprisingly, no ‘man in the can’ showed up.
“I take it that was your breakfast.” Steve said, getting the dust pan from the kitchen and therefore removing any incriminating evidence.
Peter shook his hands above the trash to get the debris off, and gave a minor look to Steve who was still cloaked by the morning grey light. “I’ll survive, and if not make my death something cool like a car chase, or like, I died because ‘I knew too much’, but sound really ominous when you say it.”
Steve laughed, “Okay, or, I could just make you something?”
Peter turned to look at the clock, and cursed when it said 7:15. No, there was no time. If he missed homeroom again and Mrs. Steinbrenner had to call Tony Stark again, Peter would probably not see the inside of a lab for weeks. He shook his head sadly. “No, it’s grab-n-go for me.” Peter moved closer towards Steve, but reached behind him for the fruit bowl as he picked out a banana that would suffice. Steve yawned loudly, and realizing he had never really heard that from the Captain’s mouth before, Peter turned to look at him and possibly taunt him until he noticed an ugly, prominent bruise just on his collar line.
“Hey.” Peter noted. Making Steve look down at Peter with faint curiosity.
“When did you get hurt?” He pointed at the dollar coin sized splotch on his neck, and Peter saw Steve pale like he was auditioning for Casper.
He spluttered around a few syllables here and there, but eventually Peter caught the message.
His family was the Avengers for christs sake! His father had a piece of metal in his chest that dictated whether he lived or died, he could handle hearing their war stories! When Natasha came home saying that she had broken her arm while at bible camp, and Clint stitched himself up in the living room after “having a stern talk with some high schoolers about the dangers of drugs”, he knew they were just G-rating their escapades for Peter.
What hurt though, was that typically, Steve didn’t indulge in that kind of lie. When Tony went into the wormhole above New York, it was Steve’s voice on the other end of the phone line. When Steve had been under the gravel of a newly collapsed building he had told Peter frankly ‘yeah, I could have died. But I didn’t.' with a sincerity few others could match. But by the way Steve was now filtering through unoriginal excuse to unoriginal excuse it was clear that Peter was very much, still a baby in his eyes.
“It’s fine, Steve.” Peter said tiredly. “Just know that I know. Or at the very least will find out.” He put on his best tough guy voice to showcase that he really could talk like the rest of them, but ended up having to exhale the breath he’d been holding for fear of choking.
“You know?” Steve asked with wide eyes. Sometimes, he was really good at playing along.
“I know.” Peter confirmed, noticing the little light behind his shoulder that read “7:21” fuck!
“Ahhhh, bye Steve!” He called hurriedly, and ripping his backpack from the counter top as if anything of importance actually lay in it he made a mad dash for the elevator.
“B-bye.” Steve called after him, in a softer and much more serious voice than typical. Jeez, you’d think being the heir to the most kidnappable man in the world would be cause for just a little bit of leeway, but apparently no dice. Whatever, he’d just have to remind himself to google “Captain America” later to see what big bad had gotten a swipe in on Steve.
He never did get around it…
Shopping with his family felt like the body builders of the world had collectively decided to dress at a community college’s lost and found. Everybody assumed that if you wore a cap that hid your hair, and a hoodie that did little to hide shape, then you had effectively got one over on the general public. Even Clint and Natasha, who were internationally recognized spies fell into this unfortunate trap of everyday wear as going ‘incognito’. In reality, the only person Peter could typically go a whole day with in public without getting recognized, was Bruce, and even then they had to stick to the parts of town not known for their STEM students.
So that’s how Peter found himself in a mall in November, surrounded by the Avengers in varying forms of ‘street clothes’. Well, except his father. His dad claimed that malls were where ‘the black plague really started’ and he was notorious for getting bored of shopping, tweeting their location out in a power move to get the Avengers to just go home. So he stayed back, which was for the best, considering Peter was shopping for his gift first.
Even as Christmas was more than a month away, Peter couldn’t help but stress out a little about presents. I mean, as a kid it’s pretty easy to get the best gift on the market, but as the kid who is shopping for six super enhanced individuals, Christmas can be a real homemade card as a thanks for saving the world affair. No one ever complained, but Peter always knew.
“Look!” Thor broke Peter’s thoughts excitedly, shoving a thin plastic box in front of his face. Upon inspection, the thing in question was actually a hulk action figure and Thor looked more excited about it than Peter supposed the target market, ergo children, probably were. “It even has a little bubble that says SMASH!”
And true to his word, it did. It said ‘smash’ in big comic book letters, and they had even gotten the right shade of purple for the Hulk’s pants that had appeared in the battle of New York. Behind him, he heard Bruce sigh, with the faint remnants of a blush slowly appearing on his cheeks.
“Thor, put that back!”
Thor frowned, “But it comes with a collectible trading card”
Peter hid his smile in his hand, whereas Bruce seemed to get more concrete in his ‘don’t you dare’ decision.
“Look, it’s even on clearance, they’re probably just trying to get rid of it!”
Thor’s eyebrows knitted together as he looked down at the box in hand. “Oh.” He said sadly. “Then I shall get all of them!”
Peter laughed, and backed out of that particular spar as Bruce had to talk Thor off a very precarious shopping cliff. On the other end of the aisle, Natasha, Clint, and Steve were having an otherwise frugal attempt at conversation.
“----Well what do you want to get him?” Natasha asked. Steve opened his mouth to answer, a look of deep thought on his face that dissipated into surprise when Peter joined the conversation.
“I----- haven’t thought about it.” Steve said quickly.
“Get who?” Peter questioned, shaking his head when Clint showed him the ‘at home spy kit’ he was meddling with.
If Peter had been paying attention to the people rather than the walkie talkie in hand, he might have noticed the glances the trio spared above his head. As it so happened, the moments of silence passed without thought.
“A friend.” Steve finally answered. “A good friend.”
That caught Peter’s attention. “ooooooohh” He cooed, a bit childishly. “Who is she? Or he? Or them? I gotta admit, I don’t actually know your type.” He seemed to be the only one excited about this revelation though, and felt a little out of the loop at that. Peter told Steve about the girl who had smiled at him in the lunch line once in middle school, and about the boy whose hand had brushed over his in chemistry once---- it was kind of disheartening this was the first he was hearing about a ‘good friend’.
“A guy from work.” He deadpanned. Natasha looked away after Steve said that, and he half wondered if she was looking for the person now. She however just seemed to be pursuing her lips, with the corners of her mouth upturned like Steve deserved a comedy special or something.
Steve was dating a SHIELD agent? Despite working in close contact with the organization, Peter was under the distinct impression that Steve merely tolerated SHIELD. The fact that he was actively dating one now came as a bit of a shock to the young Stark boy, but was a welcome addition.
Steve ducked his head, and Peter noticed the soft crimson that tainted his otherwise white cheeks, and felt a rush of warmth at the idea that Steve had someone that could get him flustered like that. Good for him, he thought happily. Steve deserves someone good.
“When are you going to introduce them to the family?”
Steve’s head snapped back up to meet his eye line then, and if Peter hadn’t said the words himself he might’ve thought someone just asked him when he was going to overthrow Napoleon and take back France. Steve opened his mouth, but no words came out. He was saved a second later with Bruce interrupting in a chaotic hurry.
“Guys, we gotta hurry. I just told someone that that was Thor so they would distract him long enough to forget about the toy.” The group all looked over to where Thor was now happily smiling into a camera with a fan------ and others in the store started to notice too. “I’d say we have like, five minutes before chaos.”
Peter groaned internally, they had literally only gotten to two shops before they’d been outed! Whatever, he’d just go with Ned and pick out something Tony would secretly hate but claim to love for Peter’s sake at a later date.
“wait, wait, I wanna buy these!” Clint said, waving around the walkie talkies.
“Clint, we have the world’s best comms at the tower, let’s just go.” Steve rationed. But he knew he was fighting a losing battle almost immediately. Clint pouted, and he just sighed, “fine, let’s just make it quick.”
Natasha joined Thor & Bruce from where they were trying to save Thor from the growing crowd(meanwhile Thor looked very comfortable and even happy as he peace signed every phone that was shoved in his face.) This left Clint, Steve, and Peter to make the line relatively undisturbed.
“What are you going to do with those anyway?” Steve asked Clint.
“I’m gonna use them as a fucked up baby monitor, you know, hide them around, and then speak like God through them so-----“
Peter’s attention was lost as soon as they reached the part of the line that had dividers between them and was stacked with candy and magazines. Typically, he ignored the headlines because they rarely if ever spouted anything good, but this time he saw a few familiar faces smiling back at him from the cover of US weekly, and his interest was piqued.
“Hey” peter motioned for his companions to look, “It’s Steve!”
Steve was only a small part of it actually, but there were big arrows pointing and saying “Captain America!?!?!” which left little up to imagination. The title said “Avengers couple celebrate anniversary” and it had a very charming picture of Thor and Bruce at some gala the year previous, and then in a little box above their heads it said “Another avengers romance??” And showed what appeared to be Tony Stark kissing Steve Rogers. It was in a little café where they were bent over the seats, and the picture was fuzzy with little focus on their faces, but honestly, it was convincing.
“Wow.” Peter whistled. He was used to seeing his family members as stories, but sometimes they were just too good to pass up. The big scandal: Captain America and Iron Man. Two people who fought like they were in some kind of thunderdome, 2 enter 1 leaves situation, canoodling in some Italian bistro. He could see the possibility for widespread interest. However, neither Clint nor Steve had said a word, or moved from what peter’s peripheral could tell. Peter turned then to face them, and Clint looked to be on the verge of commentating, whereas Steve’s lips were pulled tight, his face pale, and his eyes wide.
It was then that Peter realized this kind of faux-press wouldn’t settle right with cap. Especially if he was dating someone. I mean, Steve could brush off dating rumors like the best of them could, but clearly he was shook by this one, and it had to be because his new partner wouldn’t love the new scoop. He felt bad about laughing, or even pointing it out at all.
“Don’t worry, Steve.” Peter sighed sympathetically. He let his hand rest on one of Steve’s massive biceps in a comforting manner. Steve hardly reacted at all to the touch, but seemed to follow peter’s word closely. “Everybody knows the press has really good photoshop.”
When Peter finally hit high school his father let him enter the design part of R&D. Before then, sure he could tinker like the rest of them but he couldn’t do more than screw in a few bolts, or suggest ventilation where ventilation had no previously been noted. He still wasn’t allowed to operate some of the bigger, more dangerous machines but now after school, Peter could race down to the labs and get his hands dirty with Dum-E and his dad.
Which is exactly what he planned to do. The lab was encased on all walls by glass, so as soon as he reached the corridor, he could see Tony Stark, with a black tank top and a shiny blue light in the center of it, wiring something in the back of a thin wristlet. Hastily Peter punched in his access codes and tore open the door, ready to reboot the kinks in one of the formulas he was reworking.
“Let’s get this bread.” Peter said, as a means of making his presence known.
Tony flipped his welder’s mask up, and made a face like Peter had just said “Let’s move to West Virginia and live like the amish!” Hm, so a man who effectively controlled modern technological advancement still couldn’t grasp the concept of a meme.
“Shouldn’t you be in school?” His eyes squinted like he could see the lie on his face, but of this, Peter was totally innocent. School ends at 3, just like it has every day.
“Not unless I got detention without realizing.” He responded. Tony again looked at him like he’d grown another head.
“What? JARVIS, what time is it?”
“3:43, sir. You have been up for nearly 34 hours.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Didn’t ask for that last part, J.”
Tony sighed and pushed back in his chair, taking his mask fully off. He rubbed his eyes with his hands, and leaned forward on the table Peter had just set his stuff onto. Sure, he was supposed to be thinking about Ray Bradbury in English class today, but he had finally come up with a solution for that pesky little ‘flammable’ issue on Clint’s newest batch of arrows.
“What are you working on, kid?” He looked exhausted, but anybody that pointed that out to his face was sure to get some annoyingly faulty tech in the near future.
“Clint’s retractable arrows. I think I realized why the test products were catching fire…” He mused, shoving his notes towards Tony for inspection. “Ignore the parts about the firefighters being symbolic of censorship, that’s something else.”
Tony hmmm’ed and hmmrupf’ed at a few things here and there. He used the pen he typically kept behind his ear to scratch at a few things, but otherwise seemed impressed and passed it back to Peter in record time.
“Looks stable. Good work. Also, take out the part about ‘big brother’ in your essay, that’s 1984 not Fahrenheit.” Tony pushed away from the desk with his roll-y chair and back to whatever tinkering he had been at for the past 34 hours.
“What are you working on?” Peter asked curiously. Tony wasn’t known for his stellar sleeping habits, but he only ever surpassed the 24 hour mark when there was something that really caught his interest.
“I thought of a new modification on a prototype for one of Steve’s new wrist shields. But I need it to retract on command, and it can’t weight him down in any way, but needs to withstand some serious heat. So, in essence, I need to create the impossible.” Tony flipped the mask back down, and picked up something out of sight to get back to work.
Peter nodded at that, but the mention of Steve brought up memories of the mall and his brain to mouth filter seemed to be unavailable at the moment.
“Did you know Steve is dating someone?”
Tony lost his grip on his tool and the sound of metal hitting the floor resounded. That was weird, Tony was famously known for his steady engineer hands.
“Excuse me?” Tony asked, slightly muffled by the thick mask. Even still, Peter could hear the shock in his every syllable. Ha! So peter wasn’t the last to know.
“I know!! I was shocked too!” Peter said. Feeling more excited about gossiping about his families love life than starting on the arrows he’d promised, Peter began to spin a little while he talked. So Steve hadn’t told Tony either, that meant it was so new that Peter could forgive him for not telling him sooner.
“He’s a SHIELD agent too! I thought Steve would date the underside of a public school desk before he ever dated someone from SHIELD, but he says he met them through work, and unless he’s a barista at some café I don’t know about…” Tony merely mmhmm’ed at that. Ugh, of all the people to know last it just had to be Tony! At least Thor would gossip with him, or Clint would go down the conspiracy theory hole but Tony was acting as if this were no giant revelation! Uhhhh hello! Steve hasn’t had a date since the 40’s, this was officially ‘IHOB’ freak out levels! “We were shopping for Christmas presents when Nat brought it up, something about getting him a present…”
“And did he get one?” Peter stopped spinning to think. Hm, what had they actually achieved that day?
“No, I don’t think so. Thor got mobbed and we had to make a break for it. Although we did pass by a pretty funny magazine that said all this tea about Captain America and Iron Man making out.”
Tony didn’t respond initially--- probably waiting for Peter to continue. God, he was a horrible audience right now.
“I told him not to worry about it. His boyfriend will know it’s fake. Remember when they used to write all those things about you and Rhodey? Or you and Bruce?” And that, Tony actually laughed. It was shaky, and not at all as good humored as what he thought it might be. Whatever, maybe he would still tell Thor about it later. If he asked, Thor would pretend as if he hadn’t known and they could freak out about this in peace. “Do you think he’ll let us meet him? Do you think we’ll like him? What do you think Steve’s ‘type’ is? If he does bring him around, please don’t freak him out---- I’m sure he can ignore the picture but all those joking pet nicknames you call Steve might throw him off, and I want Steve to bring him around!” Peter let his mouth ramble off all the useless thoughts in his head.
Tony stopped working for a moment, seemed to decide on something, and then he pushed up and out of his chair to face Peter. “Peter,” he said earnestly, clearly about to enter into some kind of monologue. Internally, Peter sighed because no offence, but he really didn’t need a lecture on prying into people’s lives when the Avengers knew about peter’s first kiss before he ever even got home.
But the lecture was cut off when Bruce stormed down the stairs, wielding a small black object like it had personally offended him. He slammed in his key code, whipped open the lab doors and said “Tony, if I find another one of Clint’s fucking walkie talkies in the bathroom----“
Which promptly ended the previous discussion.
Maggiano’s on third was probably one of the most delicious places on the planet. Okay, not really, but it was the only place that they believed Tony Stark was ‘Guy Fierri as his fake name credit card said. It was one place they could typically sit and have an uninterrupted evening out of the tower, as the restaurant had like three tables total, and was manned entirely by a lovely Italian couple who really only spoke in their native language. Sometimes Peter thinks Tony only likes it here because he gets to flex his Italian in front of company, but peter can do more than keep up.
However, tonight, Tony was out of his element. He kept fiddling with everything. The placement of his napkin---which he decided needed to be exactly 3 centimeters to the left. And then .05 to the right. And just slightly down. His phone, which he kept tapping on to see if anything new had exploded in the past 3 seconds since he last looked (it hadn’t), and his fingers which tapped the table incessantly. Steve was introducing his boyfriend tonight. And being two prominent figures in the life of Steve Rogers, Peter could understand the trepidation. There was always the chance that they wouldn’t get along, or they’d say the wrong thing and then Steve would feel the need to separate two great facets of his life.
“Dad.” Peter scolded, feeling the accompanying power high that followed chastising your own father at the dinner table.
Tony looked up, a faraway thought escaping him as he returned back to Earth from Peter’s comment.
“Relax. Steve’s mans is going to love you! Or ask for your autograph or something.” Most people did, even though Tony Stark was notorious for signing anything other than his name on paper. “if anything, it’s me who should be worrying!”
That sparked a genuine reaction in his father. One eyebrow shot up, and his mouth did that little one side up and the other down which foregoed the need to ask a verbal ‘why?’
“What if he isn’t a kid person? I mean, what if he doesn’t like kids? Not that I’m Steve’s kid or anything, but just, what if he’s got a problem with kids. I mean, he knows Steve is an Avenger so he knows about you and everybody else, but me? I’m a wild card, he could hate kids, or he could love kids and hate me, or-----“
“Peter” Tony laughed. He had finally stopped fidgeting and regarded Peter’s very sensible concerns as some kind of cosmic joke. “I can promise you, he’ll love you.”
Eck. “Typical parental bias, you don’t know that he’ll love me! You just love me, and love has made you blind. I talk a lot, did you know that? And sometimes I’ll talk a lot about science things, which makes people even more tired. And---“
“peter!” Tony interrupted again. Again, there was a small, knowing smile dotting his face and that just ticked Peter off a bit more. If Tony could freak out on whether or not Steve’s new boo would love the genius known as Iron Man, then peter could freak out as to whether this guy liked kids or not. Not that Peter was a kid. A teenager, technically, but not everyone respected that title.
“fine, fine! All I’m saying is no matter how cool this guy is---- you have to be on my side. Okay? You’re my dad first and Steve’s friend second.” Peter joked. But Tony turned rather serious. He inspected Peter like he was an equation he hadn’t quite solved yet, and with no sarcasm dotting his words said “Of course, Peter. You know you’re first.”
He was just about to ask what the hell that was about when the bell for the front door chimed and Steve Rogers entered the scene.
“Hey!” he said, slightly out of breath. He let a hand run through peter’s hair like a fond older brother, while his other softly drifted across the hand Tony had on the table. Steve was an affectionate guy, and he and Tony seemed to have that in common. “Sorry, I was running late! You would not believe traffic.”
“yeah, cars move a lot differently when horses no longer pull them.” Tony responded, clearly pleased with his own joke.
“Not all of us have homemade jet packs, Stark.” Steve laughed along, and their eyes locked on each other as if the rest of the restaurant were just a soundtrack in a sitcom. Peter cleared his throat noticeably. “Uh, hello? Aren’t you forgetting someone?” Peter asked pointedly. Steve’s boyfriend could forgive the press, but even Peter was getting some real vibes from the Earth’s mightiest heroes here. “Where is the mystery man!” Peter continued enthusiastically.
Steve stared at him with that blank look that was becoming annoyingly commonplace. Either he was terrified of Peter’s opinion of the man, or ashamed of Peter because he never carried the conversation past that one day in the mall. But today was meant to be first contact! And unless Peter was boyfriend-blind, then Steve was here solo!
“Well, funny you should ask…” Steve said, almost giddy. He looked like he was about to pull out a comically large cake and have his boyfriend jump out with confetti, but no, at the table it was just Tony, Steve, and Peter.
Beep beep beep.
----Annnnd Tony’s watch. Tony cursed something colorful, and shamefully looked down, freezing as he read it. “scopami la vita. Attack on Oscorp, their mainframe is destabilizing, and police haven’t cleared the area.”
Steve and Tony shared another look, this one more serious. Oscorp was at the center of the city, so if something was gonna blow there it had the potential to uproot the whole city. They both took another beat to look wistfully at each other, and then pushed up weirdly in sync. Peter knew the drill, and yet, still his father called out to him again while he and Cap were leaving. “Stay put until Happy gets here! Stay out of trouble! Pay the check!”
Peter mumbled ‘yeah, yeah’ into the palm of his hand as he texted Happy, and couldn’t help but feel like Steve Rogers went a little far on that escape plan. If he didn’t want Peter to meet his boyfriend, he could’ve just said so.
So it turned out the Oscorp thing wasn’t an elaborate distraction orchestrated by America’s righteous man. There had been an attack, the mainframe had blown to shit, but fortunately the Avengers were able to clear the area of all citizens.
Well, most of it.
Genius, billionaire, philanthropist Anthony Edward Stark thought he could stabilize a radioactive element when it was seconds away from bursting, and thus presented the well deserved seat in the ICU he now had.
Peter had spent his night on the side bench of his father’s bed, and when morning came the man had the audacity to send Peter to school. “Go.” He said sternly. “Maybe you’ll learn how to rewire the mainframe, while diverting auxiliary power to restart the meltdown at a slower speed.” He said.
Peter argued. Complained. Exaggerated, and even faked a cold, but still, no dice. Tony called Happy and Happy drove a petulant Peter to school like they had reverted to his elementary days. Either out of spite, worry, or a beautiful mixture of the two, Peter hadn’t paid attention to a single thing in class. People approached him, questioned him, nagged him about what happened but much as he had his entire life, he didn’t give much up. He was lost in his own thoughts. Much like New York, he had almost lost his dad that night.
Finally, when the final bell rang, Peter sprinted outside and towards the subway to hopefully catch the 3:07 instead of the 3:20. He made it just as the doors were closing, and spent the entirety of the ride thinking about his soliloquy on how Tony Stark needs to get his priorities straight. Who makes their only son go to school when they’ve just barely survived a blast that would’ve killed anybody else? Either Tony Stark really hated his son or he had a self esteem that hit rock bottom and then kept digging.
Finally, Peter makes his exit at the tower, and takes the elevator to the top floor. The Avengers had texted peter to tell him Tony was being moved to the medbay at the tower at about noon today, and considering it was closest to the helicopter pad, it had to be at the top of an excruciatingly long elevator ride. It was wrong of Peter to be planning a scolding while visiting his sick father. But seriously? If the roles were reversed Tony would have stopped time itself in order to spend every waking moment with peter. It was a bit delusional of him to expect anything less in return.
“Floor 90.” JARVIS announced. Peter thanked him, and exited the elevator. Natasha, Thor, Bruce, Rhodey, and Clint were all lounging about in the common area, some talking in hushed voices and others staring out the windows like the answer lay in the horizon. All heads snapped when they heard the elevator, and Thor was first to fill the silence. “Peter!”
“Hey everybody, how’s he doing?”
“Better. There’s not much that can kill your dad.” Clint said, in a rare moment of comfort.
Peter smiled at that softly, and made it as far as the hallway door before he thought to ask, “can I go in?” What if his dad was like… undergoing surgery, or surrounded by doctors and not needing his kid to mess with the room.
“Yeah, he might be sleeping, but he’ll be glad to see you.” Rhodey answered. Peter nodded at that, glad to have Rhodey back, if even considering the circumstances.
He turned back to the hallway, opened the door and continued down to the last door in the corridor to the right. He had extended towards the door handle, when his eyes caught sight of the glass that separated Tony’s room and Peter’s position.
Steve Rogers leant over his dad’s bed, one strong hand wrapped around Tony’s. Peter smiled at that. Who would have thought that the people whose most common mode of communication a few years back was bickering, would be comforting one another in a moment of hurt. It made Peter proud of what they had, and infinitely grateful to have some small part in it. He watched as Tony stirred slightly, blinking through an exhaustion that clearly had control over his body otherwise, until he noticed he wasn’t alone in the room. Steve smiled broadly, a tangible sense of relief flooding his system and that’s when Peter’s small moment of content did a back hand-spring out the nearest window.
Steve Rogers kissed Tony Stark.
On the mouth. And Tony didn’t even have the decency to act scandalized. Steve had a boyfriend! One that Peter had planned to meet and do his best to make him fall in love with Steve’s stupid little brother/nephew/whatever. He gets that tensions were high and that Tony was as close to the bright white light as anybody would ever like to see him at ever again, but still! Steve Rogers knew better!
Quickly, Peter rationed that maybe it was like a European kiss. Like the fraternal kiss on the Berlin Wall, or just like a really weak attempt at CPR. But Peter was smart enough to know a brotherly kiss when he sees one, and it didn’t look like that at all. He and Ned had never kissed like that. Steve and Clint surely didn’t.
Realizing he’d be spotted if he didn’t move, he took the moment that they weren’t liplocked to enter the room. His dad’s face brightened significantly, and for one simple second, Peter forgot that he was mad at him. The man looked absolutely beat, but he’d tried his best to look energized when his son walked in. But Peter couldn’t get that kiss out of his head. Steve Rogers had a boyfriend! One he was serious enough about to mention, and hope to bring about the Avengers and cheating with Tony Stark was no way to go about love.
“Petey!” Tony said excitedly, if not a little dopey. This time, it did not evade Peter’s notice that Steve retracted his hand from Tony’s and moved a little farther away. Yeah, Peter thought sourly, you’ve been caught. “-----bet you’d thought you’d seen the last of me.”
Yeah, his dad was definitely on pain killers. But sue him, Peter couldn’t help but laugh at his father’s (out of date) use of pop culture, and he just took his seat by the bed, took his father’s hand as a son was supposed to, and listened to the loopey ramblings of a mad man.
And if he accidentally gave Steve Rogers the cold shoulder here and there, so be it.
It had been just about a week since the events of Oscorp. When exams were over and school released for the winter break, peter found it increasingly difficult to dodge a person that he lived with. He’d entertained Clint to as much as he could take, practiced Russian with Nat till he had his заполнить, and even essentially third wheeled a few Thor and Bruce dates. He’d still frequent the lab, but his father and his own work went about relatively quiet. Tony asked if there was anything bothering him, and he simply said no. Tony asked if he was freaked that he had almost died, and Peter said no again. Steve picked up on the difference almost immediately, and not a day went by where Steve didn’t ask ‘you doing alright?’ in that soft, confused voice that Peter no longer trusted.
Because he was kind of in a precarious situation. Steve was like a father figure to him, and Tony, well, Tony was his father. It’s not like he could tell them what to do. I mean, maybe from the moral stand point, sure but also he’d have to say that he saw what he saw and waited this long to come out with it! Also, he couldn’t really find the words. They floated around in his head, but never materialized on his tongue.
That was until December 25th, Christmas morning when holly jolly sentiment was passed around and a general sense of merriment filled the air. They had their typical ‘pot luck’ style breakfast which essentially comprised of six superheroes and one scraggly kid in a kitchen that was too small trying to make food that only they liked. Usually Steve and peter were team pancakes, but deciding he didn’t want to make a scene on the merriest of mornings, he’d helped his dad with the eggs. Steve definitely noticed, and passed Peter a few sad, confused looks, but Peter was most definitely not done with the shaming stage of anger yet.
Even at the table, Steve kept on trying to catch Peter’s eye, but without even trying to hide it, Peter made it clear he was ignoring him until he could have a proper talking to. Was there a Cap PSA on kissing teammates? He wanted to ask, but figured he’d save for a day with a little less green and red.
Later, it came time for presents. Peter ended up getting Thor the ‘Bruce Banner’ action figure, both to annoy Bruce and please Thor. Natasha got Clint a coffee mug that said ‘bad bitch’ in the ugliest, bedazzled fashion that peter had ever seen (Clint wiped away a few tears--- both real and fake when he saw it). And finally, from the side of Peter’s view, he saw Steve hand Tony a small, wrapped box. Peter’s own unwrapping halted as he watched the scene unfold, with the small taste of bitterness still fresh on his lips. He wondered if Steve got his boyfriend a gift too. If his boyfriend knew that he’d gotten Tony one. If Tony knew at all.
Tony opened the gift to reveal a small white box, from which he pulled up a necklace of sorts. No, not a necklace, but dog tags. The ones Steve Rogers wore around his neck religiously. The ones he never took off, not even, he suspected, to shower. In terms of Steve Rogers that was more than an engagement ring, that was… three kids, a white picket fence and a neighbor who said things like “sure is gonna be a hot one today.”
“Steve…” Tony breathed softly, looking up at Steve with a look Peter had never seen cross his face. I mean sure, it was love. Peter knew that look indefinitely, but love mixed with… something.
Tony clutched the tags as if it were a precious artifact, perhaps the most precious thing in the universe. He looked down again, as if to confirm it wasn't an illusion and finally got his stunned mouth to say more than his name.
"I don't have a dog."
Steve’s look of utter adoration quickly turned into an all-consuming laugh, but the sentiment remained. “That is so stupid.” He mirrored that strange look his own dad had now, and they kept eye contact for a plethora of seconds past comfortable. Steve had his head in the crook of his hand, and was looking up at Tony with a soft expression doting his face. Tony was standing, still with his present threaded between his fingers and a focus that seemed to erase any other presence from the room but the super solider. Peter recognized that look. It was the same that Thor had when Bruce said something nerdy without realizing. Or Bucky’s face when Natasha wasn’t looking.
And then it clicked.
“Oh my god.” Peter said audibly. “You’re dating!”