“It’s fuckin’ hot,” Harley grumbles, banging his head against the cabinet above the counter that he’s sitting on, legs crossed. “It’s. Fucking. Hot.” Each word is accompanied by the thump of bone against wood, and Peter winces.
“It’s not that hot,” he tries, and Harley, thankfully, stops his self-inflicted pain and turns his head slowly. His eyes meet Peter’s with the strength of a thousand suns, and Peter raises his hands immediately in surrender. “Okay, yeah, it’s hot, don’t kill me.”
“’m not gonna kill you, because that would take too much fuckin’ effort, and it’s too hot to put effort into anything.” Peter’s lips twitch in a smile, and Harley groans. He tugs at his shirt, and then, to Peter’s delight, yanks it over his head, throwing it somewhere over his shoulder.
“You look hot, babe,” Peter says, biting his lip to hold back a grin, and Harley stares at him.
“I appreciate the compliment, but did you just make a fucking heat pun?”
Peter loses control of his grin, and Harley frowns in response. “Maybe.”
“You’re lucky I love you.” Then, after he stares at Peter for three seconds longer, he adds, “And that it’s hot. Too much humidity to commit a murder right now.”
Peter’s grin turns to a smirk. “Would you call this a love-heat relationship?”
“I hate you.”
“I think you mean that you heat me. I mean, whatever, heaters gonna heat.”
Harley groans, his head falling backward. Peter’s eyes trace the smooth, strong line of his neck, the skin coated with a sheen of sweat that Peter wants to lick - “You’re not gonna stop, are you?” Harley-head still tipped back-asks, interrupting Peter’s thoughts. He flushes red, ignoring the feeling of desire coiling low in his stomach.
“Aw, babe, you know me so well. In fact, I’d say that you heat the nail on the head with that one.”
Harley brings his head back up, rolling his eyes. “I can’t believe I’m dating you.”
“Damn, it’s almost like you regret not being heaterosexual.” Peter’s laughing now as Harley’s groan echoes through the apartment, and he looks fondly at his boyfriend. “I’ll stop, babe. If you need me to. Or…if you refire me to.”
“That one was bad. That one was awful, darlin’,” Harley says, stretching out on the counter until he’s lying down. Peter almost dies, because God, it’s such a pretty picture, Harley’s pale skin in contrast with the dark granite, his chest bare and freckles on display, and Peter wants to take him then and there, teasing slowly up his body until Harley begs him to- “The counter’s cold, thank sweet baby Jesus.”
Peter swallows tightly and adjusts his jeans casually, because he needs to get himself under control now. “Don’t you mean heat baby Jesus?”
“I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you in your sleep and you’ll never see it coming,” Harley mutters, eyes closed, and he throws a hand over his face dramatically. The motion tightens the muscles along his side and Peter wants to bite them. He shifts awkwardly in his chair.
“That would be lit.”
Harley lets out a loud groan. “I seriously. Seriously. Hate you. I can’t believe you made a lit joke. That’s not even-I can’t.”
“Did I go a step too fire?”
“Darlin’. You’re on fire with those puns,” Harley drawls, and Peter grins brightly.
“Ha, I win, you made a pu-”
“And if you keep making them,” Harley continues slowly, “I will set you on fire.”
“But then it’d get even hotter in here,” Peter says instantly. Harley opens his eyes, long golden eyelashes catching on his cheeks, and fuck, he’s so pretty.
“Fuck, can’t argue with that logic.”
“I know, it’s such a hot take. Pretty spicy, some might even say that it’s sizzling.”
Then Harley’s sitting back up, and his abs contract as he spreads his legs apart, putting his bare thighs on full view, and Peter almost loses all control, because he wants those thighs wrapped around him now as he thrusts into Harley and- “Red alert, the counter is no longer cold, everywhere is hot, why do we live in a city?”
Peter feels a shudder run through him as he tries to tamp down on his thoughts, awkwardly putting his hands in his lap as he says, in an attempt at casual, “It was your idea to stay close to the Tower.” His voice comes out strangled, but Harley doesn’t seem to notice as he runs a hand through his hair, and fuck, Peter wants to pull on those blonde curls hard enough to make Harley scream.
“Okay, yes, point, but remind me again why we didn’t install an AC?”
“Because you were too lazy when we were moving in?” Peter offers, voice still tight.
“Fuck you, you’re Spider-Man, you could’ve done it,” Harley snaps, and it’s sharp and cold and wrong, a drastic difference to the swampy heat that is thick in the air. “’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap.” Peter nods slowly as the desire to take Harley apart fades to background noise, concern for Harley becoming the only focus.
“Okay. Do we need to talk about something, babe?” he asks softly.
“No,” is the muttered reply, and Peter stands up, walking over to him.
“Harley,” he says, and Harley looks up at him, eyes empty. Peter pulls him close, standing in between his legs and cupping Harley’s cheeks to rest their foreheads together. “Baby. Talk to me.”
“I just feel fucking weak sometimes,” Harley whispers, and his voice cracks. “I should be able to do things without you. But I can’t sometimes, and that hurts. The week we were supposed to be moving in, Tony pulled you for a mission, and I was in charge of doing the moving shit, and I didn’t because you weren’t there and I was so scared that you wouldn’t come back, so when you did we just forgot about it. But I should be able to do things without you! Especially something simple like installing a fucking AC unit! But I’m so fucking dependent on you and I can’t and when you leave, everything feels wrong, because-” Harley lets out a shaky breath and pulls back to meet Peter’s eyes. “Because what if you don’t come back? Peter, what if I-what happens if I lose you? I love you so fucking much, and fuck, I love that you’re a hero but-but Spider-Man isn’t my boyfriend, Peter Parker is, and when Spider-Man gets hurt, all I can do is tear myself apart with worry and fear and it destroys me, and I-I just-I just fucking miss you. I miss you, but you always have to leave and you-you’re always gone, and I don’t-Peter-it hurts -I can’t-Christ on a fucking cracker, Peter, I- fuck. ” Harley inhales sharply, and Peter rubs his thumbs across Harley’s cheeks, feeling splinters in his heart.
“Baby. You- baby,” he breathes, holding back tears. “Why didn’t you tell me-baby, I’m so sorry.” He presses their foreheads closer together, and the air is hot and thick. “We really need to talk, huh? I’m so, so sorry, Harley, and I love you so much. I’m not gonna leave, baby-”
“But you don’t have control over that!” Harley shouts, and Peter flinches. “You can’t promise me that you’re not gonna leave, because how am I supposed to believe that when you do dangerous shit every goddamn day?”
Peter’s heart breaks, because Harley’s right, and they both know it.
“Baby, I’m always safe, I promise.”
Harley shakes his head, pulling away. “Now I get why Pepper had to take a break from Tony.”
Peter folds in on himself, feeling bile rise in his mouth. “What-what are you saying?” And he doesn’t mean for it to come out so brokenly, but it does, and Harley immediately moves back towards him.
“No, no, I don’t want to leave you, we’re not doing that,” he says fiercely. Peter lets out a sob of relief, and Harley wraps his arms tightly around Peter, pressing his nose into his neck. “We’re not doing that.”
“You can’t scare me like that, Harley,” Peter says quietly, and Harley scratches his back lightly in acknowledgement.
“It’s-“ Peter clears his throat roughly. “It’s okay.”
“We’re fucked up,” Harley says softly, and Peter laughs humorlessly.
“Yeah. Yeah, we are, baby.”
They stand there, holding each other in their too hot apartment that neither of them care about anymore, until Harley breaks the silence.
“I hate thinking about losing you, Peter, and I hate depending on you so much,” Harley murmurs against Peter’s skin. “I should be stronger than that.”
Peter brushes a kiss to his hairline and voices the thought that has been forming in his mind, whispering unsurely, “Do you wanna try-do you think couples counseling might help?”
Harley hums, tucking himself further into Peter’s body. “I don’t know.”
“Do you wanna try?” Peter asks, rubbing a hand against Harley’s bare back and up to the back of his neck, massaging slightly. Harley bites at his neck unexpectedly, teeth scraping skin, and Peter’s eyes widen, his desire coming back full force.
“Sorry. Reflex,” Harley says quickly, his face bright red, and Peter wants to wreck him.
But he steels himself, and repeats, ”Baby, do you wanna try it?”
Harley sighs. “Yeah. I do.” Peter smiles.
“I love you, Harley. We’ve got a long road of work ahead, but it’s gonna be okay, baby. Because I’ve got you, and I’m not leaving. Ever. It’s gonna be hard. But we can do this. We’ll get through it.” He feels tears against his neck, and brushes his hand through Harley’s hair. “Shh, baby, it’s okay.”
“Can you fuck me?” Harley asks, tears still wet on Peter’s skin, and Peter chokes.
Harley tilts his head to look Peter in the eyes, and Peter sees tears scattered across his cheeks like stars against a pale sky, and God, he wants to kiss them away, to make Harley cry and scream and beg. Harley’s eyes follow him knowingly. “You heard me,” he says huskily. “Can you fuck me?”
Peter swallows. “Baby, I don’t know if that’s the best-“
“Peter, you’ve wanted to pounce on me all day, and just because we just had a fight about our relationship doesn’t mean you can’t fuck me. In fact, I think that’s a perfect reason to fuck me.”
“I haven’t wanted to pounce on you,” Peter mumbles.
“Sure, darlin’. As if I don’t know you at all,” Harley says. Then, “Peter. I’m being serious. I want to feel you. Yes, I’m upset, and sure, it might not be the healthiest thing, but I love you and I want to be with you right now. Is that bad?”
And he looks up at Peter, blue eyes shining, and Peter sees galaxies in them.
“Okay?” Harley repeats, and he seems shocked. “I didn’t think you were gonna-“
He cuts himself off with a moan as Peter pushes him roughly against the same counter he was lying on earlier. Peter smirks. “I said, okay. ”
The next morning, Peter finds a couples’ therapist in their area, and they start attending appointments bimonthly. He makes a pun about it, and Harley threatens to kill him, and it’s right.
It’s hard at first, and it continues to be hard. They fight and scream, and it’s messy and rough and painful, but they also love and cry and laugh, and it’s perfect and easy and real. Peter continues to risk his life constantly, and Harley continues to depend on his presence. But they’re in love, and they’re getting better, and they’re strong.