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Shades of Red

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“Hey what are you doing Friday?”

“Well, seeing as it is a Friday, Valentines Day, we don’t have school, and I am single , I won’t be leaving my apartment.”

“Peter…”

“Harley…”

Harley was bouncing up and down on Peter’s bed with the energy of a 3 year old, which is dangerous since he has the height of a fucking giant. “You’re not gonna do anything?” he asked.

“Nope. If I do anything, I will see couples being adorable and I will be sick.”

“You’re lame.”

“No, I’m gay and can’t find a boyfriend. Did you have a point?” Peter finally swung his desk chair around to face his idiot best friend. 

“I did, yes, but you’re being a Debbie Downer.” His pout honestly didn’t have to be that cute. Add one more thing to the ‘Things to be Sad about on Valentine’s Day’ list. Harley’s not his boyfriend. 

“Can you just spit it out? I have homework and I’m going on patrol in an hour.”

“Does that mean I’m a distraction?” Why does he look that happy? What is he planning?

“Yes,” said Peter hesitantly. “You are a distraction.”

Harley had a glitter in his eye. “Can I keep being your distraction?”

That was significantly more tame than he was expecting. “I have no power to stop you.”

“Can I be your distraction Friday ?”

Ah. There it is. 

Deflect deflect deflect - “I’m shocked you don’t have a date. Mr. Playboy himself with no arm candy this year? You must be really off your game dude,” he said. 

“C’mon man. Can’t a guy just spend time with someone who matters to him? It’s our senior year and I’m tired of that fake shit. I honestly don’t know how dad kept it up for so many years. It’s exhausting. I’d rather spend time with you.” Harley had stopped bouncing and was sitting on the edge of Peter’s bed. He was squirming under the undivided attention. It took all his willpower to not blush. 

He was still suspicious. “Fine. What do you want to do?”

Harley was beaming. “I’m not gonna tell you, just be ready Friday morning by 9:30 okay?”

You’re gonna regret this, you’re gonna regret this, you’re - “Yeah okay. I don’t trust you though.”

“Valid. Wear something moderately nice.”

“Now I really don’t trust you.”

Pink // Romance

Peter and suspense do not get along. It’s what makes his Spidey-Sense so reliable. Having anxiety is a blessing and a curse for him honestly. Being forced to wait 4 days for whatever Harley has planned is literally hell. So maybe a few criminals got hit extra hard this week, who cares? 

Thursday night, he decided to put in some effort to prepare for the morning. What does moderately nice even mean?

He texted Harley. 

What does ‘moderately nice’ mean? Like should I be wearing khakis or dress pants or what?

wear jeans , came the reply. something you wouldn’t care if I took pictures of you wearing/something you feel comfortable going out in.

Seems reasonable. He started looking through his sweaters to see what he could do. A few minutes went by, and he heard his phone buzz again. 

have you seen my MIT sweatshirt? I can’t find it anywhere

Harley had been wearing that sweater when he was over the other day. Peter knew because he loved that look on him. 

Give me a minute

He started looking around the room. It hadn’t been on his bed when he left, so maybe he’d hung it up when he came in the door? Nope, not in the kitchen or the dining room. Not in the living room either. Peter walked back into his bedroom and grabbed his phone to text Harley that he couldn’t find it. 

And then he found it. It was hanging off the back of the desk chair Peter had been sitting in on Monday when they’d made plans. When Harley had thrown it there, he would never know, but at least he found it. 

He texted Harley and went back to trying to find a shirt. Why was everything in his closet blue and green? He never wears green. There’s also all the grey shit, but if pictures are involved he’s gonna want color. And it was gonna be Valentine’s Day so he should probably wear something tacky like pink. Did he even own anything pink?

That’s when his thoughts wandered back to Harley’s sweater. He knows how he looks in red, and that particular shade would look fantastic on him-

But he couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair to Harley, and it wasn’t like they were dating or anything. Still, he could see it. Harley probably wouldn’t mind. 

He picked up the sweater and pulled it over his head. It was far too big on him, but it was so comfortable. It also smelled- Peter pulled a sleeve up to his face- he couldn’t quite identify it, but it was something so quintessentially Harley he couldn’t help but feel a little drunk on it. Like motor oil and vanilla, smoke and cinnamon, rugged and perfect

Peter looked in the mirror. He looked cute. 

He sighed. Damn it

Red // Passion

True to his word, Harley came by the apartment the next morning. He had not however said anything about roses. 

As Peter opened the door, Harley popped his head out from the bouquet of red roses. 

“Hi.” How can one man’s smile be so cute?

“Hi. You brought roses.”

“Yup. For you, my love.” He handed Peter the roses. 

He made a show of smelling them just to make Harley laugh. When he looked up, Harley had already taken a picture. “Loser.” 

“A loser you agreed to spend the day with!” Peter rolled his eyes. “Is May in? I wanted to say hey before I whisked you off on our little adventure.”

“She is, but she pulled a graveyard shift last night, so I don’t want to wake her,” he explained while he dug around for a vase. “I’ll leave a note, and maybe she’ll be up when we get back.”

Harley seemed satisfied with his answer. He watched as Peter finished up with his task. “Ready to go?”

“Yep! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got planned since you won’t fucking tell me, you ass.”

“But I’m your ass.” 

I wish

“Whatever. I’m set if you’re good to go.”

“And we’re-” he froze. “Is that my sweatshirt?”

“Hmm? Oh yeah. Didn’t think you’d mind. Red is a classic for Valentine’s, and I don’t have any of my own.”

Harley looked like he was trying very hard to process this information. “Sure. You look good.”

Peter had to wave a hand in front of his face. “Harles? Are you ready?” 

“Mhmm, yesir let me just-” he opened the door. “Pretty boys first.”

He smirked. “Well I do have to follow you, darling. Lead the way.”

Harley spluttered, but did walk out the door. Peter made sure he had his keys and wallet, and walked out behind him. 

“Where to first?”

~~~

First was a coffee shop down the street. Harley ordered for both of them: iced coffee with cream for himself, and a dirty chai latte for Peter. 

“Am I really that predictable?” he asked when Harley set the drinks down at the table he made Peter choose. “I didn’t even tell you what I wanted and you still got it right.”

He popped the lid off the cup and inhaled. Something about cinnamon

And then he looked down. “Harley.”

“Yes?”

“Why is there a heart made out of cinnamon on the top of my latte?”

“So maybe I told the barista it was for my sweetheart. And that’s actually cinnamon and espresso, so there.”

“Yeah, you really showed me.” He had a feeling he was going to be rolling his eyes a lot today. “Seriously dude, what are we doing?”

“Having fun I hope,” said Harley. “It’s a day to be cute and cliché and I’ll be damned if I’m not doing that with my best friend.”

“This is a romantic holiday.”

“It is.”

“Dude.”

“Just go with it. I have a whole agenda planned, so finish your coffee.”

“... Fine.” 

~~~

The rest of the day was spent with Harley dragging him around to various museums and spots where Peter was fairly sure they were meant for romantic dates. It was hard to not pretend they were really together. Especially when Harely was flirting like that. He was managing to come up with perfect pickup lines for every location they visited. 

~~~

The MOMATH:

“Be the x to my y?”

“That’s so cheesy, I hate it.”

~~~

The Thai place they went for lunch: 

“I mean, I’d prefer to be eating you , but I guess this works.”

Harley.

~~~

Watching a street musician:

“I used to play hearts like they’re playing that violin, but then I found you.”

“That’s a saxophone Harley.”

“Does that mean I can’t finger you?”

“FUCK!”

~~~

The MOMA: 

“You should stand over there.”

“Why?”

“You belong with the masterpieces.”

“Mhmm.”

“And you deserve to be pinned against the wall.”

“There it is.”

~~~

Dinner at an Italian place:

“Don’t.”

“What? I’m not doing anything!”

“You’re trying to think of a pickup line. I can feel it.”

Silence.

“Harley James, I will take my breadsticks and leave.”

“But I’ll tira-miss-u.”

“I’ll kill you.”

“C’mon baby, I just want a pizza your ass.”

“I give up.”

Maroon // Love

After dinner, Peter and Harley decided to walk through Central Park. With the sun setting, it was getting colder, and despite having his jacket on, Peter was shivering. Harley took notice and threw his arm around him, pulling him closer. He squeezed his shoulder, and Peter looked up and him and smiled. They were at the perfect distance for Peter to lean up just a little and peck him on the lips. 

Before he could, he heard carnival music. “Do you hear that?” he asked Harley.

“Hear what?”

“It sounds like a carnival.”

Harley paused and listened for a moment. “Yeah it sounds like it’s coming from...” he listened harder, “this way.” He started leading them in the general direction it was coming from. 

Then they saw the lights. 

“Has there always been a Valentine’s Day fair in New York?”

“Honestly, I have no idea,” Peter answered. “However, as my date, you’re legally obligated to win me a giant stuffed animal. I don’t make the rules.”

Harley smirked. “Game on.”

~~~

It took a while, but eventually Harley won Peter a giant stuffed hedgehog. There was also a variety of smaller stuffies that were given to small children as they passed (and if Peter kept the Iron Man one, that was no one’s business. Neither was Harley’s little Spider-Man). 

The Ferris Wheel was decked out in heart shaped lights and tinsel. Harley looked so excited when he saw it that Peter knew they absolutely had to go on it. The ride operator gave them a smile and a sweet saying as he opened the gate, and up they went.

The sun had finally gone down, deep red painting the horizon the way it does right before full darkness sets in. Peter finally gave in to the romance of the day, and he rested his head on Harley’s shoulder. 

Harley was quiet for most of the ride. Their cart paused at the top for a few minutes, and Harley shifted. 

Peter raised his head. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, just thinking.”

“So that’s why I smell smoke,” Peter laughed. “Seriously, is everything okay?”

He moved back a bit so he could turn and look Harley in the face. 

The lights perfectly framed Harley’s face, and Peter felt like he couldn’t breathe. His cheekbones looked like they could cut glass, and his jawline seemed more defined. Blue eyes looked violet as the red shone off of them, and they looked shiny in the darkness. 

All Peter could think about was how beautiful he was, and how much he wanted to close the distance between them and pull him into a kiss. His eyes flicked down to Harley’s lip (redder in the lights. Fuck ), and his mouth opened slightly. Before he could do anything, Harley cleared his throat and looked away. 

“I was thinking about today. I don’t want it to end.”

“Doesn’t have to, Harles. We can keep going.” 

Harley looked back at him and smiled softly. “Okay.”

Peter settled back on his shoulder, and they were quiet for the rest of the ride. Once they returned to the base, Harley stood and held out his hand. Peter grabbed it, and they walked off together. The operator gave them one last smile and a quiet ‘Happy Valentine’s Day,’ before they left. 

Deciding they had enough of the carnival, they kept walking through the park. They hit an edge and saw a small 24 hour dinner across the street where they could run in and get warm. 

Walking in felt nostalgic and comfortable. Harley was still mostly silent. They were still holding hands, but were forced to let go after the waitress led them to a booth. She handed them menus that they briefly scanned. 

The waitress came back. Peter ordered chicken strips and a strawberry milkshake. Harley ordered fries and a vanilla milkshake. She nodded and walked away. 

Harley turned to face Peter. “Chicken strips?”

“They’re a safe food! And they’re just good . I don’t understand why they get so much shit.” Peter looked up to see Harley on the verge of laughter. “Shut up.”

“No, no, it’s not that-”

“Then what is it, asshole?”

“It’s cute,” Harley laughed. “You’re cute.”

Peter made a face. “You’ve been flirting with me all day, cut it out.”

Just then, the waitress dropped their food and milkshakes on the table. 

Harley picked up a fry and gestured with it. “I don’t think I will.” He dipped it in his shake and ate it. “In all seriousness though, you’re adorable. And my sweater looks so hot on you. I can’t figure out if it’s the color or the fact that it’s mine, but damn.”

“Well I do look good in maroon,” said Peter. It was hard to not be affected by Harley’s words. From the way he was talking, they really could be on an honest to god date right now. 

“Nope. I’ve decided that it’s because it’s mine it makes you look better.”

Peter just rolled his eyes and drank his milkshake. Really, it was like Harley wanted him to fall in love with him. 

Harley narrowed his eyes. “Do you not believe me? Is that why you’re not taking me seriously?”

“I think you’re ridiculous.”

“But I’m right!”

“Oh my god, Harley.”

“Listen if you don’t believe me, that’s fine, but I will shout from the rooftops until you listen to me.” As if to make his point more clear, Harley started to get up from the table. 

“What are you doing?” Peter asked him. “Harley sit down, you’re being weird.”

“I’m gonna prove to you that you’re attractive,” Harley told him. 

Peter had to practically launch himself out of his seat to get Harley to sit down. He actually had to get up and force him to sit down. Just to make sure he wouldn’t stand up, he sat on the same side of the table as him. He let out a long sigh. “God, you’re a loser.”

“A loser who wants you to appreciate how great you are.”

“Thank you, Harley, but you don’t have to.”

“But I want to. Peter, I want to spend time with you because you’re my favorite person. I wanted to do all this today because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with the person I love most in the world. That has nothing to do with how attractive you are, but you opened the door this morning and you knocked me flat on my ass. You’re perfect in every way, and I cannot adequately express to you how it felt to see you wearing my sweatshirt. It was like a dream come true.” 

Peter was shocked speechless. “I-” He had no idea what to say. Harley loves him. Harley loves him.

“Goddamn it, Peter. I just-” he stopped. “Can I kiss you?”

Actions were so much more powerful than words, and kissing Harley was the easiest thing in the world. Harley had barely finished his sentence before Peter reached forward to pull him down. He tasted like vanilla and sweetness. Peter thinks he has a new favorite flavor. 

They parted slowly, nearly dipping back in to continue kissing. 

“I think I love you,” Peter whispered.

“Good. I think I love you too,” Harley whispered back. 

~~~

It was late by the time they finished their food. It took longer only because fries were stolen at the same rate as kisses. 

Harley called Happy to come pick them up and drop them back at Peter’s apartment. While they were waiting on the curb, Harley leaned down for one more kiss. “I hope you know I was serious about my shirt. I want you to keep it. I want you to be mine.”

“I am yours.” Peter smiled. Maybe he could get behind Valentine’s Day after all. 

Walking in with no expectations and walking out with a giant stuffed hedgehog, a sweater, and a boyfriend was the best outcome he could have asked for.