The first thing Peter notices when he blinks awake is how cold he is.
Not really freezing, just chilled, colder than he would have liked and missing the feeling of Tony’s arms around him and the man’s heartbeat in his ears. Sitting up slightly, Peter’s blanket falls from around his shoulders, pooling on his lap and he reaches up, rubbing at his eyes with a fist. The cabin’s quiet, the TV playing a Disney movie on low and vaguely the 15-year-old watches Rapunzel jump from her tower home, swinging on her long hair down to the bright grass below.
Sniffling, Peter shivers, manages to convince himself to move from the comfort of the sofa cushions, the carpet under his bare feet soft.
Shuffling around the coffee table, his red and gold blanket wrapped around his shoulders like a wrinkly cape, the spiderling finally ducks through the kitchen doorway just as Tony’s turning the stove on low, a pot of what looks to be milk simmering.
“Hi, bubba.” The genius practically coos, turning to look at Peter with a gaze so soft and sweet that the boy ducks his head, his cheeks heating. Leaning into Tony’s arm across his shoulders, Peter glances from his own feet, toward the steaming pot. “You feeling okay?”
Clearing his throat, Peter nods. “Not too bad now. My, uh, throat’s still a little itchy, though. What're you making?”
“Hmm.” Humming, Tony carefully sets the spoon down along the top of the pan before turning back toward his kid, gently resting his palm along Peter’s forehead and then down his neck, grinning at the way Peter half-heartedly ducks away from the tickling. “Hot chocolate. Mama's recipe and all that. You don’t feel as warm. Did you sleep good, kiddo? You barely even noticed when I got up earlier, which is weird for you—”
“Yeah, I think I was just, like, super tired.” Rubbing at the back of his neck, Peter swallows. “Pepper and Morgan are still at the store? I wonder how long that line is, jeez—”
Laughing again, Tony carefully shuffles to the side, pointing with the spoon toward the cabinets right above Peter’s head. “Oh, no, no, buddy, they’re back now. Went outside to do some sort of gardening? I dunno, Morgan was so excited about it, I had to tell her to stop yelling about blueberries so she wouldn’t wake you up. Grab me two mugs, will you please?”
Doing as asked, Peter grabs both his own spidey-printed cup and Tony’s Iron Man one, setting them on the counter as Tony grabs a bar of chocolate from the fridge, breaking a few pieces off. “You know, I think I did dream about blueberries now that you mention it—”
“Oh really?” Stirring the chocolate into the milk, Tony reaches over, brushing a stray curl away from Peter’s forehead, his mechanical arm whirling. “It didn’t go all Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on you right?”
“Naw, I think I was running away from them—there was a really big hill. I dunno, it was weird.”
“She didn’t wake you up though, right, bambino?” Glancing up, Tony studies his son’s face, his own slightly pinched.
“Who? Morgan?” Peter shakes his head, hopping up onto the counter beside the billionaire, lightly tapping at the man’s shin with his toes. “She didn’t. I was so tired, I don’t think even the Hulk smashing in here would’ve woken me up.”
“I believe it, honestly. You were snoring, these like, little tiny baby kitten snores. It was adorable.”
Groaning, Peter covers his face, feeling his cheeks heat in a raging blush. “Stop, Dad, that’s so embarrassing.”
“It’s cute, bambi, trust me. I can’t wait to send the video I took to May, actually. I’ll do that after we drink our hot chocolate.”
“Maybe I’ll just conveniently choke on mine.” Poking at Tony’s ribs as he leans over to grab the vanilla extract, Peter grins as his father-figure scowls, ducking out of the way of the man’s ear flick. “Put me out of my misery before you turn my face into a reaction emoji or something again.”
“That was one time, Pete. And you can’t tell me it wasn’t hilarious, alright, you looked like one of those baby videos where the kid tries a lemon for the first time—”
Pouting, Peter crosses his arms across his chest. “Yeah, only because you and Uncle Rhodey tricked me. The wings were not that spicy when I had them with Ned.”
Pointing toward the ground, Tony levels Peter with his best fatherly glare, ruffling the spiderling’s curls as he gently slides back down from the counter. Transferring the still-steaming pan over to the sink, Tony fills Peter’s cup with the hot chocolate before topping off his own, leading a frowning Peter back toward the couch. “We switched them out when you went to the bathroom. Rhodey’s idea, by the way. I think it was to get back at you for washing your dirty spidey suit with all of his whites.”
“I told him I was sorry, okay? It was like, 2am and the laundry room was dark.”
“Hath no man scorn like one with bright pink underwear.”
All Peter can do is groan with another eye-roll, cuddling into Tony’s side as the older superhero settles down next to him. Cradling the teen under his chin, Tony blows on his own cup of hot chocolate, listening as Peter carefully sips his own. Grabbing the remote, Tony turns up the television just a bit, enough so that both him and Peter can listen as Maximus and Flynn Rider banter.
“Are you still feeling alright, bug?” Tony asks as Peter yawns again, grabbing the boy’s now-empty mug after a few minutes of comfortable silence.
“Hm, yeah.” Blinking, his doe eyes glassy with exhaustion and some leftover illness, Peter sighs, curling his legs underneath him and leaning fully against his father’s chest, feeling Tony’s arms tighten around him. “Sleepy but okay. Thanks for the coco, by-the-way.”
Pressing a sweet kiss against the top of his son’s head, Tony smiles. “ ‘course, bubba. Now, shh, rest up. You’re still fighting this goddamn head-cold, I can hear it in your voice.”
Proving his father-figure’s point with a harsh cough, all Peter can do is nod, settling back down against Tony as the man gently rubs at his back. Curling up tighter under the blanket and in Tony’s lap, the spiderling sniffles, feeling the weight of exhaustion finally start to tug at his aching bones again.
Humming a wordless tune, Tony carefully shifts the boy so that he’s laying across his lap instead, Peter’s face buried against his stomach with his legs thrown off to the side. Running his fingers lightly through his son’s soft chestnut curls, Tony kisses Peter temple again, relisting in the steady pulse and the way Peter sighs again. He’s asleep, knocked out cold and making even more cute kitten-snore by-the-time Morgan and Pepper creep back inside, baskets of sun-ripened blueberries held up and Morgan’s excited shout dying as she sees her big brother snoring away.
“Oh—” She whispers, tip-toeing closer. Holding out a blueberry when Tony reaches out, the little girl carefully sets one down in her dad’s palm, her other hand reaching out toward her brother. “Petey’s tired. I’ll give him a berry when he wakes up.”
Choking back a laugh, Tony nods, taking the second berry his daughter holds up before gently cupping her cheek. “I think he’d like that a lot, sweetie. Go with Mommy to get cleaned up, though, okay? You look like a little dirt monster walking all in here.”
Giggling, Morgan turns toward her mother just as Pepper comes to a stop near the father-and-son, carding her fingers through Peter’s hair before cradling Tony’s jaw in her palm. Her eyes glance from Peter’s face, over toward Tony, her brows furrowed. “He was awake?”
Nodding, Tony points with his chin toward both of their empty mugs. “For a bit, yeah. I made us some hot chocolate and then he was out again. I was gonna make you and Morgana some too but he was just so sleepy, I didn’t wanna keep him awake.”
“It’s okay, honey.” Leaning down, Pepper kisses Tony’s forehead, the both of them meeting in the middle for another kiss once she pulls back, ignoring the exaggerated gag Morgan lets out. Brushing her fingers through Peter’s curls again, Pepper sighs. “Alright, me and little miss over here are going to go get cleaned up.”
“Spaghetti sounds okay for dinner?”
“Yay! Noodles!” Stuffing a few berries in her mouth, Morgan speaks around them, brushing Tony’s hand away when the genius tries to wipe away the crumbs. “Noodles and meatballs and so many noodles. . .”
“I think Morgan spoke for both of us.” Laughing, Pepper steps away, gently tugging Morgan along with her as the 5-year-old wiggles. “Call me if anything happens, I can take Pete while you cook.”
“In a little bit, yeah, if he’s not awake again by then.” Glancing from his wife, toward Peter, Tony tugs the teenager closer, resting his cheek against his kid’s head, his curls tickling the billionaire’s nose. Reaching up, Tony ghosts his fingers along his baby’s cheeks, feeling Peter sniffle and cuddle closer. “Let me know when you guys get hungry.”
With a final nod and a blown kiss, both Pepper and Morgan start off toward the girl’s bedroom, her excited whisper-chatter fading as they climb up the stairs. With a fond eye-roll, Tony curls his body further around his sob, tucking the blanket underneath Peter’s chin, listening as the teen mumbles in his sleep. He looks so sweet, so soft and adorable that Tony’s chest aches.
It’s the sort of ache that Tony knows is the best kind, when his kid is too good for this world and Tony would do anything — raise Heaven and Earth and everything in-between — to make sure that Peter’s safe and happy.
Gigantic nightmare blueberries and miserable upper-respiratory infections and all.