we lay here for years or for hours, so long we become the flowers; chapter six
The avengers babysit, part two
part seven of single parent peter parker
read on ao3 here
“So. Tonight, yeah?”
“I know I said we should tell them, but you know we don’t have to if you don’t want to? We can keep it to ourselves. We’ve been good at keeping it a secret, we can carry on doing that.”
“I know. I want to tell them. I do. Let’s just…not make a big deal out of it?”
It was Peter’s idea to do it like this, he’ll admit that. But, he’ll also admit this; telling his family is scary. He knows he doesn’t have anything to be scared of, nothing at all, but it doesn’t really get easier, if he’s being honest.
They’ve timed it well though. It’s the first movie night they’re having where everyone is there for a few weeks. Pepper hasn’t got any late-night meetings, Sam’s back from visiting his sister and nephews, Clint’s back from visiting his family, and Natasha is back from whatever mission Fury sent her on. Even Bruce and Tony have come down from the lab after not leaving for the best part of three days.
Because it’s the first time they’ve all been available at the same time in weeks, movie night has turned more into movie afternoon, which works even better for Peter’s plan.
It’s one of May’s Saturdays, technically, but she got called in last minute for an afternoon shift, and it’s movie night so she knew she wasn’t likely to see Peter until the morning anyway. He leaves for the tower at the same time that May leaves for the hospital, meaning he’s making it to the common room after everyone else. Which is perfect.
Leia’s running out the lift as soon as the doors are open.
“Uncle Tony!” She shouts as she sees him, laughing as she climbs onto the couch.
“Hello, sweetheart,” He chuckles as she climbs over his lap and settles in between him and Pepper. “What time are you going to be back, underoos?”
“I don’t know. Not too late. Should be back before Leia’s asleep.”
“You’re not joining us tonight, Pete?” Bruce asks, frowning slightly. Peter blushes, his cheeks dusted pink.
“What is it that you’re doing, by the way?” Tony asks, settling a blanket over himself, Leia, and Pepper. “You call asking me to babysit and then refuse to give any details,”
“Oh,” Peter’s cheeks flush darker. “I, uh, I have a date,”
“A date?” Peter laughs as Tony splutters. “With who?” Peter looks down as he grins, cheeks still pink.
“With my boyfriend,” This time it’s Clint who splutters, eyes going wide.
“Boyfriend?” He asks, voice high. “Since when-” The archer is cut off by the lift door opening.
“Hey,” Harley grins as he walks into the room, straight up to Peter, seemingly oblivious to the confusion filling the room. “You ready to bounce?”
“Yeah,” Peter smiles up at him, pointedly ignoring the gasping behind him.
“Harley, honey, I thought you were seeing Brad?” Pepper asks, frowning lightly. Peter waves sheepishly.
“But…you…what?” Clint stutters, eyes flicking between the two teens. “What?”
“So.” Tony coughs, looking awkward. “You two are…huh. Okay. How, uh, long?” The man frowns when Peter starts looking slightly guilty. Harley squeezes his hand gently.
“A little over two years,” The older teen replies, and then notices how uncomfortable his boyfriend is getting. “Well, this has been a blast, but we’ve got reservations to make, so we better be going,” He tugs gently on Peter’s hand as he moves them into the open lift.
“Be good, Leia,” Peter calls out, not looking at any of the others. “I love you.”
“Love you, Daddy!” She calls back, waving until the lift doors close. She turns to Tony when the doors close completely, and the mechanics start whirring. She pokes Tony’s cheek. “Juice?”
“You.” Tony narrows his eyes. “You knew about this.” His eyes narrow further when Leia’s widen, and she pouts her lips. “Stop with the puppy eyes. I’m trying to be upset with you. I thought we didn’t have secrets,”
“Juice? Please?” She pouts her lips further.
“You’re fricking adorable,” Tony sighs as he stands up. He ignores Pepper and Steve berating him for his language as he picks Leia up. “So bloody cute. I don’t understand. Where’d you get it from?” He walks them into the kitchen area, bringing a box of her drinks out and letting her pick one. “I mean, Parker isn’t cute. Parker keeps secrets,”
“Thank you, Uncle Tony,” Leia grins up at him when she picks one of the bottles out. Tony fights a smile as he puts the box back and moves back to the couch.
“Yeah,” He mumbles as he sits down, taking care to cover her with the blanket again. “Whatever, traitor,” He kisses the top of her head.
“You’re not actually mad at them, are you?” Pepper asks once they’re settled. Tony sighs when he feels everybody watching him carefully.
“Of course I am,” He scoffs. “They’re horrible. Parker and Keener. Together. They’re going to be disgusting. Harley is going to corrupt my baby,”
“Tony,” Steve sighs, sounding exasperated. “Harley’s a good kid, he’s not going to corrupt-”
“Boss,” FRIDAY interrupts Steve. “Mr Keener and Mr Parker have just taken number eleven from the garage.”
“See!” The engineer groans, throwing his head backwards. “It’s already happening.” Everyone laughs as Tony moans mournfully.
Harley is watching Peter carefully. They’re in the lift, the doors having shut, and Peter’s eyes are closed as he leans against the back wall. He’d collapsed backwards as soon as the doors had shut.
“Hey.” Harley kicks his ankle delicately. Peter hums, but his eyes stay closed. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” Peter clears his throat a few times. “Yeah. I mean…I don’t know. I know they’re not going to think differently of me, but you know. It’s…”
“Yeah,” Harley agrees softly. “I know. I’m proud of you, though, bubs,” Peter laughs gently. Harley grins when his eyes blink open.
“’Bubs’? Also, do not. I’m emotional, I will cry,” Harley laughs as the doors open, pulling gently on his boyfriend’s hand, leading him into the garage.
“Come on,” He walks them over towards the collection of cars Tony has at the back of the room. Peter narrows his eyes.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing?” Harley grins, spinning around so he’s facing Peter and walking backwards. Peter rolls his eyes.
“These are Mr Stark’s cars,”
“Aw. I’ve heard people calling you a genius, baby, but now I’ve seen it for myself. Truly, you are unprecedented,”
“You’re so mean to me,” Peter whines, dragging his feet slightly, making Harley laugh. The older teen brings them to a stop in front of a car. “He’ll get mad,”
“If he was gonna get mad at me drivin’ his car, would he have handed me the keys?” He pulls the keys out his pocket, holding them up with a grin. Peter narrows his eyes as Harley jingles them happily. “Okay, so, technically he gave me the keys to fix her up, but I finished fixin’ her up hours ago and he hasn’t asked for the keys back yet, so. She’s all ours, baby,”
“Are you…you know what. Sure. Let’s go,” Peter laughs.
“Your carriage awaits, Spider,”
“Okay,” Peter sighs, turning to face Harley again. “I know you’re making some sort of joke, but I don’t know enough about cars to understand it.
“Uncultured,” Harley shakes his head mockingly, opening the door for Peter to get in. “This is an R8 Spyder, Spider-man,”
“Oh,” Peter nods slowly. “Clever.”
“Thank you, darlin’.” Harley grins as he gets into the car, starting her up and steering out of the garage.
They decide to walk back to the tower, taking their time and meandering through the park. Their hands are connected, swinging them gently. Peter takes a sip of the sugary iced coffee Harley bought him and sighs quietly.
“Thank you,” He mumbles, glancing up at his boyfriend. Harley hums.
“You know.” Peter shrugs one of his shoulders, keeping his eyes on the ground. “Agreeing to tell them. I know you weren’t sure about it but…it means a lot.”
“You were right.” Harley sighs. “We couldn’t hide forever. And honestly? I didn’t want to,” He stops walking, pulling Peter lightly to a stop beside him. He lifts Peter chin with his fingers tenderly, makes him meet his eyes. “I want to be able to cuddle with you on movie nights and kiss you whenever I want to and I don’t want to have to sneak into your bedroom every night so nobody catches us. I want to be able to love you out loud, Peter. I don’t want to have to hide it anymore because-” He takes a breath, averting his eyes for a moment. He swallows before bringing his eyes back up to meet Peter’s. “I am totally, completely, unequivocally in love with you, Peter Parker. And you mean the world to me. More than the world. The world and the sky and all of the stars in the sky and in our universe and in every other universe in every other reality. I love you beyond the limits of our knowledge.” It’s quiet for a few moments.
“’Wow’?” Harley laughs, poking the dimple on Peter’s chin where he’s grinning. “Just poured my heart out to you, Parker, and all you can say is ‘wow’?”
“I love you.” Peter tells him, voice quiet but face painfully open. Sincere. “You are…you are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” He pulls Harley in by his jacket. Their lips meet delicately.
It’s still early when the lift doors open again. Leia is still awake, singing along softly to the words to Dumbo, making Bearbear dance on Tony’s thigh. She perks up when she notices the teens coming into the room, laughing.
“Daddy! Missed you!”
“Aw,” Peter coos, bending over the back of the couch to plant a kiss on her head. “Missed you, too, bambina,”
“Missed you, Harls,”
“Yeah?” The other teen asks, where his head is sticking out of the fridge to look at her. “I missed you, too, stink,” Harley comes out of the fridge with one of Peter’s sugary drinks in his hands. He takes a swig of it before grimacing, handing it off to Peter and moving to sit down on the empty chair. “God, that is awful,”
“Why do you keep drinking it then?” Peter takes the bottle with a scowl. He’s just sat down next to Harley when Tony clears his throat.
“Pete? Why don’t you go and get Leia into her pyjamas?” He asks. Peter frowns at the tone of his voice. He glances up, frowning more when he notices Tony watching Harley. He meets Pepper’s eye, sighing when she just rolls her eyes.
“Come on then, trouble,” He sighs as he stands up, holding his hand out as Leia untangles herself from the blankets. “Let’s leave Uncle Tony to do his best impression of a protective father threatening my boyfriend,” Bucky barks out a laugh as Peter and Leia leave the room, but his expression sobers when Tony glares at him. Harley shifts when all the attention turns to him.
“Is this the part where you ask me about my intentions with your son, Mr Stark?” He asks with a smirk. The smirk widens when he sees Tony’s lips quirk.
“Never call me that again.” He says, rolling his eyes. “I get enough of it from Peter.”
“Seriously, though. You’re giving me the shovel talk?” Harley asks with a raised eyebrow. Tony opens his mouth again, before he closes it and shakes his head.
“No.” He sighs. “I trust you,”
“Aw,” Harley coos, holding a hand to his chest. “This is the greatest day of my life. Hey, guys! Guys! I’ve got Tony Stark’s approval. Wow. What a feelin’,”
“Alright, kid, don’t push it,”
“For what it’s worth, I really like him.” Harley says, serious. “And you can’t be mad about him keeping it from you, either, because that was all me,”
“He’s not mad, honey,” Pepper reassures him, sending a soft smile. Harley matches the expression. “He just doesn’t want to see either of you hurt. He cares a lot about both of you. You’re his kids,”
“Have you told May?” Natasha asks him. Harley laughs.
“You know Peter. He told her the second I asked him on a date,” Sam laughs across the room. “Then he passed out. It was a pretty eventful day,”
“He passed out?” Bucky asks, raising his eyebrow. “Why?”
“He got stabbed. Didn’t tell us,”
“How did May take it?”
“Peter passing out? Surprisingly well,” Harley smirks. “She took me out for coffee,” He tells them with a sigh. Pepper nods her head. “She said that she hadn’t seen Peter as happy since before…you know,”
“Yeah,” Tony smiles softly. “So, Pete’s happy. What about you?”
Harley looks up when he hears Leia giggling, running away from a laughing Peter.
“No! Come back here, you menace!”
“Yeah,” He smiles, looking down. “Yeah. I’m happy.”
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