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sweet dreams, tennessee

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They don’t meet because Tony introduces them, funnily enough.

They meet because Harley definitely has a broken nose, and May had taken one look at him slumped in that alleyway nearer the apartment than the hospital and couldn’t not do anything.

Tony doesn’t get involved for years, actually.

 




Peter's sitting on the kitchen counter when it happens. 

It takes him a minute to notice that there are two sets of footsteps in their tiny entryway when May opens the front door. By the time he realises, she's already taking the corner into the kitchen, and even then—even then Peter has to take a moment to process the sight in front of him. 

Slumped over May's shoulder is a tall, lanky boy with shaggy blonde hair and a bloody nose dripping a dark red pool onto their kitchen tiles.

"Hi—May, what?" Peter scrambles off the bench, automatically reaching for the first aid kit underneath the sink. "Is he okay?" 

"Broken nose," May says in that no-nonsense-nurse tone of voice Peter's well acquainted with. 

May guides the kid to the dining table, helping him sit down as his head rolls around like an uncooked pasta noodle. Peter pulls the antiseptic wash out, because those are some nasty cuts across his knuckles, like this guy’s punch a brick wall.

"Ha'ley," the guy's breath hitches in the middle of the word, voice nasally around what Peter’s sure is congealed blood. “Name’s Harley.”

“Harley,” May repeats, nodding her head. “I’m May, this is my nephew, Peter. He’s the one making your hands sting, if you want someone to blame. Breathe through your mouth for me, that’s it.”

He must have been pretty out for it for May to only just now introduce herself. May sets about righting his nose, keeping up a running commentary as she does, not severely broken apparently, tilt your head that way, okay, there.

Peter’s zoned out in the familiar motion of cleaning blood from someone’s hand—for once not his own, try as he might not to get into physical altercations—when he processes that Harley’s talking again.

“Can’t blame someone with such a pretty face,” he says, which doesn’t sound nearly as smooth as it should be, on account of the broken nose.

Even though there’s blood smeared across his face, that doesn’t stop Harley winking one sparkling blue eye at him. Peter flushes a bright pink.

“I—um,” he stutters, not familiar with such blatant flirting, considering the circumstances, and accidentally tips the bottle of isopropyl alcohol flooding across Harley’s knuckles. “Fuck, I’m so sorry, Harley.”

Harley flinches away as it pools in the grazes on his hand. “S’alright, darling.”

“Language, Peter.”

“Sorry, May,” he says automatically, even as he does his level best to flush the surface wounds with water. 

“You should be fine without going to emergency, I think,” May says, five minutes later, wrapping an ice brink in a towel and pressing it gently against Harley’s nose. “Ice it at least four times a day, for fifteen minutes, for the next 48 hours and take some Tylenol for the pain.”

Harley looks at May like she’s hung the starts and yeah, Peter gets that. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Do you have anywhere to be, Harley?”

Harley shakes his head wordlessly to May’s question.

“If it’s alright with you, I’d like you to stay for a couple of hours, at least. Have dinner with us, so I can make sure you don’t develop a concussion.”

“Sure,” Harley says, and Peter misses the way those stark blue eyes flick over to him at the kitchen sink, washing his hands, but May doesn’t. “I can hang around.”

Peter hears May hum, before he turns around. “So, how do you feel about Vietnamese?”

A crooked grin, wide and only slightly bloody, splits across Harley’s face, and Peter definitely ignores the way butterflies suddenly make a home in his stomach.

 




It’s May who tells him later that night, slipping a piece of paper with bloody fingertips smudged on it across the table, that watching the two of them together was like watching a house on fire.

That the two of them reminded of her and Ben, when they first met.

Peter’s never put much stock in fate or destiny or divine intervention, and there’s something about Harley that makes him think the other boy doesn’t, either, so he rolls his eyes at May and sets to finishing his pre-calc homework due the next day before he’s getting told to go to bed an hour later.  

Peter sits on his bunk bed, half asleep, toying with the torn paper that has Harley’s name and number on it. His handwriting is at odds with whatever Peter was expecting, clear and blocky architecture amidst smears of red. It’s a bit morbid, if he’s being honest, because he knows May only took Harley’s number to check up on him and his broken-ish nose, not set him up with her one and only nephew, which is a whole other can of worms Peter doesn’t want to think about.

Except for the fact that she’s right. Over dinner they’d just clicked in a way Peter hasn’t done with anyone in a long time. An easy back and forth between the two of them amongst May’s general questions of where’s that accent from? and what are you doing in New York?

Harley’s a year older than he is, seventeen to Peter’s sixteen, here visiting a family friend over the summer from Tennessee.

Summer’s over in two weeks.

The next morning, Peter types out the number and a hey harley, it’s peter? you had a broken nose in my kitchen yesterday with deliberate purpose.

apologies, princess. if only i had a say in when i got jumped, right? he receives back, and it snowballs from there.

 




Harley messages him so am i going to get to see you before i leave? that afternoon, which turns into hanging out almost every day for the rest of the two weeks Harley’s in New York. They haunt the subway with Peter’s native ease and explore the city together as if Peter hasn’t grown up here, stopping in every single café or bakery that tickles their fancy, too much sugar fuelling their adventure through the streets.

In between their gallivanting through the different districts, Peter comes to learn that Harley’s visiting his mentor for the summer, a mechanic who hasn’t taught Harley everything he knows about cars but has been there through thick and thin already. How New York is a home away from home, which is Rose Hill, Tennessee. Or in Harley’s less kind words, barely a speck on even Tennessee’s map. How he’s going into his senior year and wants to apply to MIT one day, for mechanical engineering, because it’s his mentor’s alma mater and it feels like a disservice, after everything he’s done for me and, yeah, Peter gets that, when he thinks of May and half-entertaining the idea of going into medicine.

Says as much to Harley, two days before he has to fly back home, who tells him with a look haunting his face that makes him seem older than he is, that Peter’s only just going into his junior year; that he can take however long or however short he wants to figure it out, what to do after graduation. That the only person’s opinion who should matter—at most, not least—is May’s, if only because Harley has learnt in the fourteen days they’ve known each other how much Peter looks up to her. If it's medicine he wants to do, then, who is the world to stop Peter Parker? 

Somehow, coming from Harley, it makes sense it a way it hasn’t before, when the career counsellors spoke to him about his AP classes at the end of last year.

May’s right about the house on fire thing.

At the end of the week, Harley leaves with the promise of Skyping and Peter—well, Peter stays, waiting, hoping.

 


 

The next nine months go like this—

It only takes two months, until Peter says something a little too real, a little to raw, and almost ruins it all.

It happens fast, but hell, they haven’t gone a day without talking since they met, so maybe that explains it, how it doesn’t feel fast to them at all. Over the span of the last sixty-odd days Harley’s come to know him unlike anyone else, has told him all about his parents and Ben and everything in between, his hopes and dreams and plans for the future. Peter tells him about how as of his junior year he’ll be starting his internship and hopefully he’ll be able to swing a job there after graduation. Harley, in turn, tells him at three in the morning about his father walking out on them and how his mother found her crux in the bottom of a bottle so Harley had to step up and raise his sister basically by himself, and the only reason he’s able to visit New York every summer is because Abby attends a horse riding camp an hour from Rose Hill that their grandparents pay for because they live in Colorado and there’s some government bullshit that forbids them from becoming his and Abby’s legal guardians.

The point is—Peter slips up two months in and only half regrets it, because knowing Harley, being known by Harley, is something he never could regret, and he means that with every inch of sixteen-year-old teenage angst he possesses.  

“I really like you, Harley,” Peter says over video chat, in the middle of a conversation about his AP Literature class, not looking at the screen. “More than a friend should.”

Harley goes so still that Peter thinks his connection has cut out, flicks his eyes to the corner of his screen and hover his cursor over the symbol only for it to say WIFI-connected.

“Sorry, what was that?” Comes Harley’s dulcet twang. “I think you glitched out for a second.”

“I said, I really like you—” except Peter chances a glance up and finds Harley’s shit-eating grin spread across his face and the nerves tangling Peter’s stomach in knots suddenly unwind.

“Say it, again, darling.”

Shut up, Keener.”

“Nah,” Harley says, and Peter watches as that grin softens into something more tender, half smug-half sweet. “You like me.”

He says it in a way that has Peter’s eyes roving over his face, in a way that says maybe Peter’s feelings aren’t so one-sided—there’s no way, anyway, because Harley’s flirted with him from day one and surely by now if he didn’t mean it he would’ve said something—and that thought makes Peter’s brain spiral because Harley’s just sitting there, solid in his self-assurance at his desk in Tennessee and Peter’s nine hundred miles away in New York and—

“Harley,” Peter says, voice strangled and choked. “Say something, please, before I lose it.”

“Yeah, sweet, I like you too.”

Sweet tingles from head to toe, like candy injected directly into his veins.

“Really?”

Harley nods his head, decisive, and the smirk catching the corner of his mouth is only slightly teasing. “A whole lot.”

“Nice.”

“Good.”

“Good,” Peter echoes, and it all clicks into place in the LED light of his laptop screen and Harley’s sun-like smile.

So it goes, their usual video calls turned into movie dates and hour-long phone calls racking up the distance between New York and Tennessee with frightening speed, one hour turning into two hours into three, and seven months fly by until it’s summer again.

 


 

The first time Harley sends him a video, Peter loses the plot, just a bit.

It’s sent without comment, an innocuous link to YouTube sitting in blue on his phone.

Peter clicks on it.

The video finally loads, and it’s Harley. Harley—his boyfriend, Harley—sat on rock under a massive pine tree, farmhouse noises in the background, with a guitar in his hands.

Peter’s eyes flicker down to the username, HarleyK, besides the bright red subscribe button and 145,873 subscribers.

What the fuck.

“Hey, guys,” comes Harley’s voice, somewhat tinny through the speakers. “So, uh, this vid is kind of different today—my partner doesn’t know I have this channel, or that I play, for that matter, so I um—”

It’s adorable, the way Harley breaks himself off and drops his head, a blush spreading across his cheeks. Oh, but is he in for it, the minute Peter finishes watching this and has a chance to call him. 

Harley laughs, shaking his head incredulously. “I may be sending them the link to this out a’ the blue, so if y’all could leave a kind word below so they don’t kill me, that’d be great.”

Peter watches as his shifts on screen, getting a better grip around the guitar, fingers settling on the fretboard.

“Well, here goes nothing. Hope you enjoy it, sweet.”

Harley glances up once into the camera lens, and even though realistically Peter knows he isn’t, it feels like Harley’s looking right at him, those bright blue eyes locking onto his. The clear dedication to Peter that only the two of them could recognise. Because Harley calls just about every single person he meets darling but sweet has only ever been reserved for Peter; Peter and the way he flushes at this, all for him, Harley and his overly romantic tendencies that Peter can’t get enough of even a year in.

His fingers move over the chords with practiced ease as he starts strumming.

You’re the northern wind, sending shivers down my spine,” Harley sings, and God if Peter didn’t have a voice kink he wasn’t willing to acknowledge before, he definitely doesn’t have one now. 

Harley’s voice is like cinnamon sugar, a little raw and gravelly around the edges, but smooth for the most part, washing over Peter like rhythmic waves to shore. His southern accent mellows out until it’s barely a hint—Peter’s never heard anything like it before, so singularly, uniquely Harley it aches, the way he’s only just hearing this side of him now, the words curling with smoke and wildflowers in saccharine baritone.

Peter’s lost in it, completely gone, the words and the way Harley sounds like he’s in love, because surely this is what it is, now, there’s no going back from something like this.

Peter’s okay with that.

Oh my love, oh my love,” It’s sappy. It’s so fucking sappy and it’s making Peter blush and there’s something melting through his veins like honey, the way Harley makes him feel. “You don’t know what you do to me.”

Harley strums the last chord and Peter’s hard-pressed not to think how poetic the fade out is of the strings, coupled with the rustle of the tree-leaves and the birds chirping in the open air, and Harley, looking beautiful in the sunlight, hair spun gold and the smirk on his face somehow equal parts endearingly shy and rightly confident.

How have they been dating for nearly a year and Harley never thought to mention he can sing like that.

Didn’t even say a word of it, over the summer they’d just spent together. Harley had only flown back to Rose Hill two weeks ago, getting used to what it’s like without Harley after having him so close for three months. A continuous stream of eighty-four days worth of afternoons and early mornings spent together whenever Harley carved out enough time away from his mentor to sneak his way down to the subway and into Queens. Peter thought it might have been awkward, going from over the internet to hanging out in real life again, but they are a house on fire and it's fine, he worried for nothing, and Harley had taken one look at him across the street, that first time he managed to make his way to Peter's and May's apartment that the wide grin across his face will probably be seared into Peter's retinas for a long time yet. 

And he didn't say a single word. 

He scrolls down the screen after Harley’s brief outro, to take a look at the comments and oh—there’s a lot of them. Most of them praise his singing, swooning along with Peter. Some of them are obviously long time subscribers, and scrolling back up to the recommended sections shows Peter a spate of City and Colour covers that confirm the numerous exclamations of you finally did northern wind! A few of them have picked up on Harley’s careful use of they/them pronouns—another thing that has him feeling on air again, head in the clouds and hazy—that makes Peter pause before coming to conclusion that Harley’s going into his senior year in a red state, and he’s eighteen in a handful of weeks, and it’s no one’s decision but his what he says in his videos, and that definitely includes when he comes out. 

Peter hits the subscribe button.

 




Peter creates the Twitter account on a whim, really, just wanting a place to talk about all the crazy stuff that happens during his internship without Flash hounding him about making it all up. His first tweet is a hit, if only because Tony quote retweets it and Pepper replies.

p (he/him) @starkintern
happy birthday to me thank you @PottsSI !!

Pepper Potts ✔︎ @PottsSI
@starkintern Just don’t post anything confidential and you can keep it.

Tony Stark ✔︎ @IRONMAN 🔁
Hey @Twitter can we get my personal intern verified?

p (he/him) @starkintern
happy birthday to me @PottsSI !!

The hashtag #getstarkinternverified ends up trending, which honestly Peter was kind of expecting—considering, well, Tony.

 What he wasn’t expecting, however, is the text message sitting on his phone during recess, under Harley’s contact name that reads, You never told me your internship was at Stark Industries?

It sits there, almost accusatory in its simple, silent existence that Peter has to read it  four times over before the words actually process. It’s the proper punctuation that gets him, because he and Harley have never once used a capital letter unless for dramatic emphasis, let alone in casual conversation. He swore he’d mentioned it, way back when they first met, but in front of him sits evidence to the contrary.

His brain scrambles, searching for a way to respond, when Harley follows up with a i guess it’s fair play. i never told you who my mentor was, did i? and come to think of it—Harley never has. it's tony stark, Harley sends, and Peter short circuits reading that, because of all the possibilities he never expected that one. So, of course he has to send back what the fuck, harley as if he doesn't know Harley's thinking the exact same thing, and then his phone's buzzing with an incoming call and Harley's face on his screen is a mischievous grin once they get past the fact that they're both essentially adopted by Tony Stark. 

It's Harley's suggestion, that they don't say anything to Tony, and Peter has to agree, not for the fact that he knows Tony would probably freak out, but because there's a certain innocence in keeping it between themselves for a while longer yet, and the pay-off when Tony finally figures it out would be glorious. 

And there's no doubt in Peter's mind that Pepper already knows, because her and May are as thick as thieves. 

Of course—and Peter doesn't know this then, but—Tony never does figure it out. 

Later, Peter opens Twitter and sitting innocuously is a blue check mark beside his name.

p (he/him) ✔︎ 
@starkintern

shenanigans of personal intern to @IRONMAN

📍NYC  | 3.2 million followers

 


 

Valentine’s Day, their third as a couple, and Harley sends him yet another link to his YouTube channel, accompanied by a love you more than I know what to do with, sweet. miss you so bad that has tears welling in Peter’s eyes unbidden even as he clicks over to the app.

It links to a cover of You’re The One That I Want.

It’s already got a sustainable amount of views, even though it was posted half an hour ago. Harley’s close to five hundred thousand subscribers now, after that first video of his to Peter that went viral.

It’s been three years and even though they’re doing this thing halfway across the country, Peter already knows he’s never going to want anyone else like he wants Harley.

Some days he misses Harley like a limb. Aches with it, even though they talk close to every single day. They’re both insanely busy; Harley’s a year into taking over Rose Hill’s sole garage and Peter’s got his internship. He get’s it—he does—there’s really no logical realise for Harley to move to New York or for Peter to move to Tennessee—Harley has his job and his sister, Peter is starting his first year at NYU, and it’s inconceivable, this yearning of distance, but Peter can’t help but hope that one day, they’ll be in the same city for longer than just the summer.  

p (he/him) ✔︎ @starkintern
i need y’all to know that my partner sung me the cheesiest song from my favourite musical and i am sooo gay happy valentines day!!
💬 987 🔁 34k ♥️ 213k

Hannah @doofenschmirtz
@starkintern could you possible tell us your partner’s pronouns please 🥺👉👈

p (he/him) ✔︎ @starkintern
@doofenschmirtz he/him!!

p (he/him) ♥️
BLM @mjones
@starkintern said gay rights

He fills the void with Twitter, drops random videos of him and Tony fucking around in the lab, or posts more important things like the work he’s doing for his college courses.

In the fall, NYU figures out the connection between Peter Parker, the application he did that included patented Stark Industries tech, and the Twitter account making the rounds with five million followers and tweets about what an honour it is to have Tony Starks protégé attending their university, stuff about the next generation of leaders in STEM and Peter—well.

Peter takes that as an opportunity to showcase all of the brilliant people he knows in the field, like Ned, who’s halfway through a compsci degree at Stanford, another intern named Miles, who Peter’s worked with a handful of times on a new sustainable substitute for plastic, project codenamed Spider Silk; Mile’s friend Gwen who just started a physics degree overseas at Oxford.

NYU takes it as the reprimand for what it is, and Peter gets through the rest of the semester without the administration in his emails asking if it’s possible for Stark Industries to make a donation to the school.

 


 

They’ve been together for four years now—four years of nine months out of twelve spent apart, save for the few times Harley or Peter have been able to catch a plane and fly in for a week or two—when they mutually decide that it’s time for Peter to be introduced to Harley’s some seven-hundred-odd thousand subscribers.

If only because Harley’s mentioned him a few times in his videos, vague posts on Instagram and everything, and there’s a slight difference in being known as Peter, Harley’s boyfriend, and Peter, Tony Stark’s personal intern.

They don’t do anything as cheesy as the boyfriend tag, or anything. At first Peter just appears as a disembodied voice off-screen, throw-away one-liners and a rememberable Harley, baby, why is there a hole in your roof? 

Then, people start connecting the dots between the Peter introduced as Harley’s boyfriend and the Peter who runs the @starkintern account on Twitter, and they come to realise—after close to five years of dating—that they’re finally going to have to tell Tony.

At this point, it’s a bit ridiculous that they haven’t yet; the joke far too drawn out at this point for them to simply give up and cave in. But neither Harley nor Peter want Tony to find out on accident. Especially when Harley’s subscribers start popping up in Peter’s mentions asking if he’s really ‘that Peter.’ Harley is the one who freaks out, surprisingly enough, moans dramatically about how Tony’s going to kill them for this, and it’s Peter who suggests, that in the summer when Harley's at the Tower again, they tell him. 

At least the logistics are easier now—Harley’s only a three hour train trip away in Massachusetts compared with the fourteen hour drive from Tennessee, finally attending university now that his grandparents were able to move to Rose Hill and start taking care of Abby, even though she’s something like fifteen now and probably needs them less than ever, going through her rebellion against all adult authority, including freshly twenty-one year old brothers.  

And it’s all because Peter had accidentally liked one of Harley’s new video tweets from his intern account and not his personal one.

p (he/him) ♥️
Harley Keener ⚡️✔︎ @harleyk
new video is out! master and a hound is just one of those songs that hits different yk

sawyer @wntrsldr
did anyone else notice that @starkintern liked @harleyk ‘s most recent tweet? Anyone else thinking that p might stand for “peter” ?? 👀👀

harley keener stan account @hallowayq
@wntrsldr OH MY GOD. CAN YOU IMAGINE.

Ned #compscined @guyinthechair
@wntrsldr @hallowayq they are real people leave them alone

Who is Stark Intern @wisi2019
I just googled who Harley Keener is and apparently, he’s a youtuber/singer from TENNESSEE?? There’s no way he’s dating /the/ Stark Intern??? Y'all are wildin'

 


 

That summer, Harley catches the train in from Boston, and Peter meets him at the station right after his last class finishes at NYU.

It’s always the same, the way they collide, meeting each other in the middle of the platform in a wild tangle of arms around waists and shoulders, Harley’s guitar case the only thing set down gently in their rush to return to one another, Harley looking up at him with those bright blue eyes, and for a moment, it’s like no one else exists in the shine of them but he and Peter.

“Missed you, baby,” Peter says into the hollow of Harley’s throat, Harley’s chin resting atop his head, his arm wrapped around Peter’s shoulders and finally, as he melts against Harley in the middle of Penn Station, does Peter feel like he’s home.

“Me too,” Harley leans back, just enough to slide a hand around a cup Peter’s jaw, touch like starlight incarnate against his cheekbone, and eyes fluttering shut as Harley dips his head to press his lips against Peter’s. “Always, sweet.”

They stay like that for who knows how long—not long enough, if Peter had any say in it—before they’re making the walk back to Queens and the apartment, trying to figure out the best way to tell Tony.

It’s more and less nerve wracking than he’d thought it’d be, a few days later, waiting for Tony to turn up at their favourite café. It’d been May who suggested it, somewhere considered neutral territory rather than breaking the news in the confines of the Tower. Harley sends the text to Tony, a rather hilarious—at least to them—there’s someone i want you to meet, to which Tony had replied this mysterious partner of yours?

Harley, being Harley, had only said you’ll have to come and find out.

Peter’s sitting at their usual corner table, back to the door so Tony would have to wait to sit down to get a good look at his face. By the time the two of them make it back with their drinks—in Harley’s hand is Peter’s usual order, and that should be enough to tip Tony off because he’s never met anyone else who drinks so much sugar disguised as coffee—there’s a certain bittersweet taste of nervousness filling his mouth.

“So, introduce me,” he hears before Tony slides into the seat across from him, hears the sharp inhale when Peter meets Tony’s eye and the shocked look of recognition over his face.  

“Hi, Tony.”

“Peter?”

“Peter,” Harley says with a wry grin. “I would but I think you two already know each other.”

“What are you doing here?”

Peter has to smother a laugh, even as Harley shoots Tony a look that says aren't you meant to be a genius? 

“We’ve been dating for four years,” is Harley's blunt reply. 

“Four years,” Tony says, as scandalised as Peter’s ever heard him. “And neither of you told me?”

Harley shakes his head, but it’s Peter who talks, voice breathy with disbelief. “We actually thought you would figure it out, or that May would tell you, and we are sorry—we never meant for it to go this long without telling you.”

“May knows? Wait. How did you even meet?”

“Do you remember,” Harley says, hand finding Peter’s underneath the table. “When I was seventeen and I came back to the Tower so late you nearly had a heart attack until you saw my face, and then you really did have a heart attack?”

“The broken nose and the grazed knuckles, yes, I remember,” Tony says, with a look in Harley direction that screams never do that to me again, asshole.

“It was May who helped me out, and her nephew.”

“Peter,” the look that flashes across Tony’s face Peter can only describe as divine revelation. “It was Peter who you kept sneaking out to all these years.”

Harley has the nerve to blush at that, ducking his head and hiding a grin in his coffee cup.

Peter, too, feels slightly abashed.

“Somehow, I’m not surprised, to be honest,” Tony says, much to their mutual shock. “Of course, this makes sense. It’s you two.“

Harley laughs, a delighted sound that Peter can never get enough of, and the grin that Harley shoots his way, blinding and real, makes Peter fall in love all over again.

 


 

The most recent video Harley uploads is titled ‘sweet dreams, tennessee.’ Peter watches from over his boyfriend’s shoulder as it plays through on the screen—something Harley’s always done, just to make sure everything’s fine after posting.

This one is different, though. 

Peter twines his fingers through Harley’s as the video loads on the shitty Rose Hill connection. 

“I just sort of always feel sick without you, baby, Harley-on-screen starts singing, but superimposed over the video in his architect’s font is i’m moving to new york in a week.

some of you figured out that my peter and @starkintern 'p' are one and the same appears on the screen to darling, I can’t quite seem to quiet, completely falling to bits, I really might be losing it, the idea that you’ve existed all along’s ridiculous.

It’s a bit too on the nose for Peter, even used to as he is of Harley’s more romantic tendencies, this entire video being exhibit number God only knows in their four years together.

i’ve actually known tony longer than peter has, and we decided to keep our relationship from him a secret. Harley leans his head against Peter’s shoulder, eyes sliding shut as Peter continues to watch. first it was a joke—how long until tony realised we not only knew each other but were dating that somehow ended up spanning four years of us just not saying anything.

“Sweet dreams, Tennessee,” Harley’s voice fades out.

Then, unexpectedly, Peter appears on screen.  

He knew this was coming—Harley had asked, if he could use the footage—but it’s still slightly jarring, seeing himself in the video. He’s too used to Twitter. But this—this is more than he’s ever posted before, so intimate and personal that he feels exposed, even from the safety of their room and Harley’s arm around his waist.

The camera’s obviously placed somewhere inconspicuous, a third of the fame taken up by the leaf of a house plant. Peter’s across the room, standing at the kitchen bench, not quite in profile, angle too skewed to see his face clearly.

the third last week of summer scrawls across the screen, and Peter’s breath catches in his throat, even now, weeks after it happened i proposed to peter on the day we met.

The soft strum of a guitar can be heard in the background, but it’s obviously not Harley, who walks into frame and winds his arms around Peter’s waist. But even the camera microphone, smothered by greenery, can pick up his humming.

Harley doesn’t sing—but anyone not living under a rock would be able to tell that the song playing is Can’t Help Falling in Love. Just keeps humming along to it, face tucked into the curve of Peter’s shoulder. 

Peter watches as his past self hides a grin his chest, even as he continues to make coffee as if he doesn’t have a Harley-shaped leech attached to his back.

In retrospect, it's intentional, the way Harley grabs his hands and turns him so they’re both facing the camera side-on, and then Harley’s getting on one knee.

It’s funny, watching it back, but Peter had sworn he’d forgotten how to breathe in that moment.

There’s a part Harley’s cut from the video, the quiet conversation they’d had in the kitchen, swaying around together as the record player skipped and left them in silence. It’s important because they’re in Tennessee—it’s winter break and the farmhouse was empty, so they’d decided on a road trip and had convinced Abby and his grandparents to fly in for Christmas—and Harley’s got exams up to his eyeballs for the foreseeable future and Peter’s still got a year left at NYU, but they’re both already committed to Stark Industries so they’ll end up somewhere in New York regardless, but the thing is—the thing is, Harley wants to end up somewhere in New York together and it’s been nearly five years but they both know it’s a forever thing between them.

Peter can feel the phantom tears welling in his eyes on screen, as Harley looks up at him like he’s hung the stars in the sky. Real-Harley lifts his head from Peter’s neck to nose along his jaw, lips leaving gentle open-mouthed kisses in his wake.

“I love you,” Harley whispers in his ear, the same time on-screen Harley brushes a kiss across Peter’s knuckles.

Peter’s gaze moves from the laptop to Harley. He’ll never quite get over how blue his eyes are, bright and clear as a summer sky at high noon. You are the sky, Peter thinks, distantly hearing himself through the speakers saying yes, everything else is just the weather.

 


 

Tony bets Harley that if the ‘sweet dreams, tennessee’ video hits a million views in two days he’ll concede to being in a video with the two of them, as demanded by not only their mingled followers but May, too, who looks smugly on as Harley agrees with a mischievous sideways glance to Peter.

Tony hadn't specified rules, so Peter decides to get involved. 

Peter tweets the link, in a post that includes their first picture together either of them have ever posted; Peter’s auburn curls burning gold in the sunlight, pressing a kiss to Harley’s grinning cheek, the faintest blush surfacing amongst his freckles, the flash of a sliver ring on Peter’s finger against Harley’s jaw.

The video hits a million views within the hour.