Dancing w/ Our Hands Tied (part twenty-one)
Summary: Winter break has commenced, which means time apart for Reader and Peter. But time apart is exactly what they need to their get heads out of their asses and kiss and make up, agreed? (masterlist)
Warnings: angst (duh), abandonment issues, a gazillion taylor swift references, fluff, reconciliation, swearing , everybody telling peter what an idiot he is lmfaoo, wise words, mj = sage wizard
Pairing: Peter Parker x Fem!Reader/Stark!Reader
Characters: Peter Parker, Ned Leeds, May Parker, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson
Word count: 13k (have fun with this)
Peter pushed his fork around his plate, nodding as he listened to May talk. He felt his leg start to jump up and down below the table and cleared his throat, putting his hand on his knee to stop it as he moved the plate away from him.
"Not hungry?" May queried, pointing to his hardly touched food.
Peter shook his head. "No, sorry, May. Go on," He sighed.
May paused before continuing, looking at him, doubtful. "Well, after I finished doing routine checkups, I got a call from Happy. He picked me up and we got a nice lunch outside the hospital. He says hi, by the way,"
"Oh. Right, that's still happening," Peter recalled. "Everything's going well then?"
May smiled a little at the thought. "It's going very well. I have you to thank for suggesting the whole thing in the first place. Happy's a perfect gentleman,"
"That's great, I'm glad things are so good for you. You deserve a gentleman," Peter told honestly, palm driving up and down his thigh to obstruct the irritating movement.
May hummed in agreement, obviously satisfied with her relationship. Peter hadn't seen her so content in a while - it was nice. Following a long pause, May's fork scraping against the plate filling the silence, she hesitantly spoke up again.
"Moving on from me... have you and Y/N patched things up yet?"
Peter stiffened slightly from the mention, clearing his throat. "Uh, no. Not... really. She made it pretty clear she just wants to be alone and I'm trying to respect that, you know. Could we just- Talk about something else?"
"Pete, I love you, but you've always been one to overthink. And with love you just gotta put yourself out there, take a risk," May urged, ignoring his request. "It's been nearly two weeks. Give her a call,"
"I don't... I don't think that's such a good idea," Peter said, inhaling sharply. "Look, I- I'm fine. And I'm sure she is too, maybe it's for the best. Maybe we don't have much of a future,"
May raised her brows, interested. "What makes you think that? I was your age when I met your uncle, and when I got married," She noted. "And when I graduated. Eventful year,"
"It doesn't matter why I think it. But-But you know, you and Uncle Ben, you got lucky. Everything worked out, you both loved each other and you both wanted more and you were both ready for that. It's just... different with Y/N," He told.
She sighed, nodding. "I guess you're right. It's a crappy situation," May mentioned.
"I'm well aware," Peter said, tone bitter as his thoughts lingered on the last time he saw you.
May continued to eat. Peter stood up, taking his dish as he covered it with a plastic covering on it and put it in the fridge for leftovers another night. He plopped back down across from May, the kitchen light flickering above them slightly.
"Here's a scenario. Let's say you got a call from Y/N right now," May proposed. "And she says she wants to get back together, she misses you, she... wants to recreate a TikTok with you, or something, whatever teens say. What would you do?"
Peter hesitated, thinking about the scenario that, knowing you, wouldn't happen in his wildest dreams. You deleted TikTok when Peter tagged you in a sad video of a dog passing. In his defence, he didn't finish the video and thought it was about a golden retriever running around a field.
It was not.
"Um... I don't know,"
May tilted her head at Peter, curious, considering he had spent the better half of his vacation moping.
"I-I mean- Obviously I... I do, I would love nothing more for things to go back to how they were. With her and with... you know, everything," Peter quickly said.
He inhaled deeply before going on, stammering as he tried to place his words.
"But um, I don't know, it's just- It was her decision. She decided to shut me out, she decided to run, she decided to end it," He emphasised. "I'm not interested in having a relationship where I'm constantly worrying I'll set her off and she'll decide to break things off and I'll get hurt again,"
"Well, no relationship is a guarantee, Pete. There's no fail-safe option, no backup plan and that's what makes it interesting and exciting, you get what I'm saying?" May said.
Peter nodded along, chewing the inside of his cheek as he listened.
"But, what I'm getting is... if you did end up getting back together, you'd just have to know it was safe," May stated. "Which is okay, you don't want to get hurt. Nobody does. Humans have tried, but every time it leads them into a place. If you avoid the bad, you'll never experience the good,"
"It's not that I wouldn't risk it for her, I'd risk everything," Peter replied. "I love her, I can't- That's not going away any time soon,"
May's eyes widened a little, taken aback by the confession. She hummed, delighted as Peter realised what came out. He could predict the upcoming comments from his beloved May.
"I just- You know, I mean... I..." He trailed off.
"You're head over heels in love with her, I've known for months," May bragged. "It's a good feeling to see you realise it too,"
"It's not as good of a feeling when it feels one-sided," Peter remarked.
"Uh-huh, sure," May muttered, finishing her dinner, not believing him.
Peter furrowed his brows. "What? What is it?"
"Nothing, nothing at all," May affirmed, shaking her head.
"No, no, you have that look where you know something, come on, May," Peter pointed out.
She had a small smug smile on her face, shrugging. "No, it's... it's really nothing. It's just a hunch," She said. "From the limited time I've spent with her, I would say that she feels the same. She's just confused, and she's feeling a lot. Being in love and having your heartbroken, I would say she's far from fine,"
"But she freaked out when I said it, why wouldn't she say-" Peter began.
"-The same reason you didn't say it when she asked," May interrupted.
"But that's different, I'm afraid of pushing her further away from me than I already have," Peter stated.
May scoffed. "And what do you think she is? Why did she end things? Because she was afraid. God, you kids, and fear. You're young, this is the age to be fearless. If you let it get to you, stuff like this happens and you end up feeling like crap,"
Peter, surprised by her candidness, hesitated, clearing his throat again. "I just keep on thinking about it, you know. And she-she means a lot to me. So much. I don't want to- I can't lose her all over again,"
May's expression rested, comforting as she gave him a tight-lipped smile, nodding, understanding his reluctance.
"Maybe you have to risk losing her to keep her. Maybe I'm completely wrong, maybe you move on and you're even happier with someone else or maybe you realise you've got a hell of a girl, overwhelmed and disoriented, needing a little time to come around. Whatever comes first, I'm here for you and I'll always support you no matter what," She assured kindly, putting her hand over his and giving a quick squeeze before she went to put her empty plate into the sink.
Peter couldn't say he didn't need that. Although, he couldn't quite picture a future without you in it. He didn't like it anyway. Frankly, he barely remembered what his life was without you. It was strange.
But this was Peter, he could be patient. He was Spider-Man. He was a freakin' superhero. He could hold out for his girl.
The Avengers sat around the table, recently returning from the tiresome mission, laughing as Sam recounted a story. You were zoned out, for the most part, partially listening to the heroes enjoy themselves after the days spent in Australia, working an international arms deal.
"God, that was a hell of a mission, right Cap?" Sam declared
"I hate that story so much," Steve shook his head, hiding his face as the team berated them with more questions.
"Alright, alright, so Rogers comes up to me and goes on and on about the chick at the bar," Sam continued. "Turns out, she's Hydra. We get into a shootout behind the building, and right as we're gettin' out of the whirlwind of bullets, I turn to him and say-"
"-Let's do the bullet tornado," Steve finished off for him, remembering the mission.
"What the hell's the bullet tornado?" Natasha chimed.
"Hey, hey, it's called the man sprinkler," Sam scolded strictly, joking as Steve chuckled. "Basically, we stand back to back and shoot in a circle all 'round us. It looks awesome,"
Steve nodded along. "It does look pretty awesome," He admitted.
"I'll drink to that," Tony raised his glass.
"You drink to everything," Wanda said.
"Cheers!" Tony called out as the rest of the table laughed, clinking their glasses with each other.
You blinked a few times, noticing you were the only one with your glass still on the table. You put it to the air, acting as if you'd been hearing and gently tapping yours against Clint's.
You cleared your throat, waiting patiently as everybody else proceeded lively conversation, relishing Wanda's home-cooked meal. The mission was a huge success, names plastered on headlines celebrating the victory and even a call from Senator Ross saying how well they'd done.
Spending a couple of days in Australia was an interesting experience. You got to mingle with locals, try out different foods, learn new slang, shoot some bad guys. A good experience and an even better distraction, not letting yourself think about a certain resident in Queens.
And the minute you returned, he came back. Just... there. Occupying every thought as he had been doing every day since he kissed you. It was the Brooklyn Bridge that reminded you of him, strangely enough.
As much you wanted to share the positivity radiating from the Avengers, your mind wandered off somewhere else and into the arms of Spider-Boy.
Perhaps you had lost your mind. You wouldn't put it past yourself. Come on, you were Y/N Stark. Wait. That was it. You were a Stark. Damn it. Obviously, you were losing it. Your dad lost it a while ago and never looked back.
Maybe the best idea was to embrace it. Just go ahead and listen to ‘Red’ by Taylor Swift, steal wine from Wanda's secret stash, cry your heart out and put your problems on everybody else. That was your initial plan.
Then you thought, ‘hey, maybe keep that dignity. It could help’.
Dignity did not help. Truth be told, you were tempted to throw in the towel. But you also realised that, well, you were supposed to be completely and utterly fine. To the others, nothing happened two weeks ago. Nothing eventful or even the slightest bit damaging to your emotions.
You were supposed to be fine.
Hell, maybe if you told yourself that a few billion times, it would become true. Alright, new plan... (well, technically, the plan you stuck to for most of your life) internalise it and distract yourself with other things.
Huh. Did all Stark's have that mindset? It would make a lot of sense. Peter would probably tell you to slow down and join in on the conversation, try and be present with your family. He had a knack for seeing when your brain was going at a million miles per minute.
"You alright there?" Natasha asked, returning your attention to the conversation at hand.
You looked to the redhead, straightening your back. "Fine. Completely fine. Just a little preoccupied," You insisted, technically not lying.
Nat nodded, not pressing you. You liked that about her. She knew when to mind her business and when not to.
You didn't notice her eyes linger on you. Or any other time. She had been observing you and surprise, surprise, she had a few theories. That's the consequence of a spy knowing you like the back of their hand.
Abruptly, a song started to play from somebody's phone, effectively interrupting the very serious discussion over whether a squirrel can really beat a chipmunk in a fistfight.
(The squirrel, by the way.)
"Oh, that's me," Tony said, taking out his phone as it continued to ring.
"Your ringtone is Blank Space?" Wanda mentioned, gesturing to the device.
The song continued to play, or his phone continued to ring, as Tony shrugged. "It makes me feel like I just broke up with my toxic boyfriend, what do you want from me?" He defended.
"But. you're in a loving relationship with a woman?" Steve said.
"I'm sorry, I'm not gonna sit here and talk about how Taylor Swift makes me feel to somebody who's never even heard 'All Too Well'," Tony scoffed. "Give her discography a listen, American Sweetheart, you might learn a thing or two,"
"What could I possibly learn from some singer?" Steve wondered.
"Alright, can you answer that phone? I love the song, but I'm not sure whoever's calling is gonna appreciate it," Natasha mentioned.
Tony shot Steve a quick glare, shaking his head. "Some singer," He grumbled as if he was personally offended. "All of you, shut it. Important call,"
He put his finger up, the table quietening down, letting him without commotion. You leaned into your seat, sipping your soda as he answered it, sighing.
"Why don't you just step out-" Steve began, confused.
"-Shut it, uncultured swine," Tony demanded. "...Oh, hey, Parker," He said into the phone.
You choked on the liquid, coughing loudly as you put your glass down. They looked at you, concerned as you cleared your throat, giving a thumbs up to say you were okay.
Oh, delightful. This is amazing. So amazing.
(It was not amazing. For a second there, you weren't thinking about him. Seriously, universe, pick a side, dammit.)
"Yeah, kid, everybody is good," Tony went on, talking loudly enough for the table to hear. "Took a trip to Australia for a mission... Ah, you heard, huh? Did you see the- Yeah, you did... Uh-huh... Oh, that's good..."
There was a brief pause, hearing distinct talking on the other end from his phone.
"Kid, I'm gonna put you on speaker, say hi to the team," Tony told.
He put his phone down on the table, pressing the speakerphone pin, allowing everybody else to hear Peter.
"Oh- No, Mr. Stark, don't put me on speaker that's okay," Peter said from the other end.
You swallowed the lump in your throat, the sound of his voice making you shuffle ever so slightly closer to the phone. Was it wrong to miss it? No, it wasn't. It wasn't. Why did you feel guilty about it though? For missing him, the voice that had the occasional crack without him realising it. Spider-Man your ass. You loved the guy but you-
You missed Natasha's suspicious glance from the phone to you, brows knitted together, your own realisation causing your stomach to twist in a strange frenzy, feeling.
"Hey, kid, how's Queens?" Steve said.
You heard him sigh. "Fine. Everything's fine. Nothing that interesting, usual friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man gig," He answered. "Um... I did meet this cute cat. That's... something, I guess,"
"Pete, it's Sam, how's the aunt?" Sam asked.
"Uh, May's good. She says hi and to take care," He responded. "Is-Is um, is everybody there? Like, the whole team?"
"Eh, most of us, some left for bed," Tony told.
"Oh... cool. Alright. Cool. Hi, to most of you, then," Peter said. "I saw that the Australia mission went well. Kinda sucks that I missed it, I would've loved to see what the big deal with Vegemite is,"
"I brought back like three bulk packages, trust me, you'll see the big deal," Tony stated.
It was kind of your dad's thing when it came to traveling, particularly to Australia. He always brought back a crap ton of whatever food he liked then become obsessed with it for a brief period of time. It explained why there was a section of the pantry dedicated to Tim Tams and Pocky sticks.
"I think somebody mentioned I was trending on that bird app. Tweeter?" Steve mentioned.
"Twitter," Wanda corrected.
"Any reason you're calling for the first time since you went on vacation?" Nat wondered, effectively switching the topic.
"Uh, actually, I wanted to know if anybody had taken anything from my room?" Peter quickly asked, falteringly, as if not to come off as rude. "It's not that I don't trust you guys. I left some things there and just want to check nothing's out of place or something like that,"
Sam looked up to Steve instantly, the two of them exchanging a knowing look as Sam hid his smile with his hand. You furrowed your brows, confused by the not-so-subtle interaction. They definitely took something.
Sam cleared his throat. "Kid, I did actually take something from your room, but I don't know if you want me to put it back or not," Sam confirmed.
"Don't, Sam," Steve warned quietly, shaking his head. "Give him a break, it's not our business,"
You noticed Wanda snicker a little to herself, Natasha biting her lip to stop herself from chuckling. You and Tony left in the dark as you waited to get whatever inside joke you weren't being let in on.
"Is it my comics? Come on, Sam, you know they're super rare," Peter stated. "My friend got them and I'm trying to keep them in good condition and your Cheeto fingers are gonna ruin 'em,"
"Really? Did your friend also get you a twenty-pack box of condoms?" Sam questioned. "Half-used, at that,"
Your eyes grew, seeing as Tony's face contorted to a mix of curiosity and disgust like he didn't want to know that information. You knew what Sam was talking about. It was tucked neatly in his bedside drawer, right beside the said comics he treasured.
You did try to tell him to put it in a better place. What did he reply with?
"Right after this,"
Peter was a smart guy, but damn, he had his stupid moments. Why did you love such a stupid guy?
After a beat of rustling and slight static, Peter spoke up again. "Alright, I can... I can explain that,"
"It's fine, it's- You do not owe us any explanation," Steve assured, shooting Sam a glare. "You're nearly an adult and heck, it's good you're being safe, so,"
"Uh, speak for yourself, Rogers," Tony butted in. "I'm sorry, have you been having sex under my roof? Without my knowledge?"
You gulped, staring at the phone as Peter's contact was shown on the screen, seconds going by.
"Oh, uh, do you- Do you hear that? It's May, crap, got to go," Peter excused despite the fact nobody could hear anything other than the panic in his voice. "Nice talking to you all, bye,"
"No, Pete-" Tony tried.
Peter hung up suddenly and Sam chuckled, sipping his drink. "Oh, I cannot wait to shove this in his face when he gets back,"
You were a little wrapped in your thoughts. Hold on, now. Just because this stupid boy made you feel warm and safe, and genuinely cared for, and...
You stood up. "I'm kinda jet lagged so I'm just gonna go to bed," You excused yourself awkwardly, giving a tight-lipped smile to the group.
A few good nights and collective goodbyes, you hurried out of the room, baffled by the realisation that seemed to hit you like a bag of bricks. Alright, maybe it wasn't so sudden. You knew for a while, you just ignored it and labeled it as deep feelings.
It's not like you could act on those 'deep feelings' anymore. And it's not like you could even blame him, even if you told him you did or yourself. This was Peter, he wouldn't take 'deep feelings'. He'd take the massive 'L' word - loud and proud.
Nat watched you go, uncertain. "She's been weird lately. Is that just me?"
"I'm sure she's fine, I'm a little more concerned about Peter's mystery girlfriend we've got no clue about," Tony mentioned, picking up his phone.
Nat rolled her eyes, keeping her mouth shut.
"You think the kid would tell us if he had a girl here? I mean, I haven't checked security in a while, maybe he managed to sneak her over," Tony said.
"Stark, just drop it," Steve advised.
"I'll drop it if you can tell me the name of Taylor Swift's debut album?" Tony argued.
Steve stammered, trailing off as he went quiet. Tony shook his head, disappointed.
"I expected better, Rogers. I expected better..." He sighed.
You exhaled deeply as you closed your door behind you. Your realisation still not quite set in and that all too familiar sense of need for his presence was gonna push you over the edge. But no. You had to be fine. You needed to be fine. You needed to.
God, how did it feel so fast? Everything just rushing by.
From the innocent second date to the fateful party to... now.
It was so messy and you hated it. The whole reason you danced with Brian... or Chad, Brad, whatever his name was, was because it was simple.
Peter was messy. You didn't want messy. Messy came with problems. And the more problems you had, came to more stress. Stress came to bad moods.
You were not a pleasant person to be around in a bad mood.
So... You needed to be fine and to be fine, you had to get over it.
You needed to get over it. You may have fallen for a complete mess, but that was your problem. Not his. You could do this. You had made some progress over the past two weeks.
He was just a stupid guy.
Just an awesome... incredible and honest and amazing guy who kissed you like it would be the last time and made you feel so adored.
And just like that... that progress? Gone.
Back to square one, you thought. The thing was, this was the first relationship you'd felt so strongly for. It was such a good feeling, too. You never could've thought you could've felt so good because of somebody else and that's why you needed to cut the rope, so to speak.
It was just too good to be true.
Even with the flaws, his flaws, yours and your past, it - surprisingly enough - worked. It molded into something you wanted more from but what was the point when he would leave. Eventually, he would've.
Cut them off before they cut you off.
Still, it didn't ease the regret and absolute guilt that racked you every day. Just... total remorse for whatever hurt you must've inflicted to Peter, especially after your conversation in the kitchen. And that feeling of knowing you made the wrong decision, the yearning to talk to him.
For now, however, you plopped onto your bed, dragging your hand over your face, frustrated as you tried to relieve yourself with a comforting memory.
You sat the sunset, sitting on the small fire escape by Peter's room as your eyes started to close when the sunlight started to slowly descent, leaving the city that never sleeps, and you stared in awe as a beautiful surge of pink and cream coated over the sky.
"It's so beautiful," You remarked softly.
"It really is," He said, but his eyes weren't on the sunset at all. They were on you, as per usual.
The sun was nearly gone and you put your head on his shoulder. He chuckled, smiling at you. You laid still as Peter hesitantly kissed your forehead, letting himself close his eyes as well, both of you at complete and utter peace for the short-lived moment.
You would need to leave soon, but neither of you cared to think of that.
"Can I tell you something?" Peter whispered.
You nodded, continuing to admire the gorgeous view.
“I wasn’t looking when I found you, but I wish I had found you sooner,” He confessed, feeling his heart skip a few beats as you looked up at him.
"So poetic," You remarked, giggling.
Music to his ears, he thought. "God, I wish could tell the world,"
"Go ahead," You said.
"Okay," Peter hummed. "World! Guess what! Y/N Stark is my freaking girlfriend and I really-" He yelled to the streets.
You quickly put your hand over Peter's mouth. "I did not mean literally!"
“Shut up!" A man a few buildings down shouted.
You both laughed, taking your hand from his mouth as you settled yourself back onto his shoulder.
Peter smiled a little to himself, entertained by the picture of you in his head, a finger tapping against the spine of his book as he paid no regard to his surroundings. He sat on the park bench, attempting to focus on the ink lining the pages.
It had been a few days since the Avengers returned from their mission. He had been scrolling through his phone while taking a break on patrol and read an article with an image of the whole team in Sydney. He spotted you in the background, high-fiving with Wanda.
It was enough to make him go right back to the times he made you smile like that. It was easily his favourite thing, next to making you appear as a fuming puppy in a skirt.
Wait, what was he reading?
"Peter!" Ned called out. "Want a pretzel?"
He looked up, his friend signalling his hand at the small vendor on the curb. "I'm good," Peter returned.
Ned gave a thumbs up, advancing to pay for his own. Peter looked around, seeing families, old people, and tourists strolling throughout the park. He recognised a couple, maybe around his age, having a picnic near a tree, blatantly shoving their tongues down each other's throats with no care to the general public.
He wasn't sure if he was disgusted or jealous. Either way, he was back to think about-
Peter snapped his head in the direction of your name, confused. His senses heightened, he focused over the chatter. He jumped a little when he felt a tap on his shoulder, looking back to see Ned there.
"You're missing out on these pretzels, just saying," Ned stated, taking a bite of the fresh pretzel, sitting beside him.
Peter nodded, doing another scan of the park.
"Who are you looking for?" Ned wondered, slightly muffled by his snack.
"Uh, no one. Sorry. I thought I heard something," Peter justified, trying to go back to his book.
Was he hearing things at this point?
"So, Betty and I went out to coney island yesterday," Ned told, smiling. "Super romantic. She says hi,"
"That sounds nice," Peter remarked, listening as he read. "You and Betty seem to be going strong,"
"We are. See, it takes a sophisticated man to keep a woman like Betty around," Ned claimed, prideful. "We just... get each other. She won me a Star Wars toy. I mean, talk about a keeper, right?"
"Yeah, definitely. Lucky guy," Peter said. "I'm really happy for you, man,"
Ned grinned, nodding. "Oh, did MJ tell you about her new girlfriend?" He asked, eager to tell Peter.
Peter raised his brows, stopping his reading. "Girlfriend? I didn't even know she liked someone. How long have they been together?"
Ned shrugged, unsure. "Her name's Gwen, they met at the dog shelter. I think they got together last week. Known each other for months, apparently,"
"Seriously? She didn't tell me," Peter said, disappointed.
"She wasn't telling anyone, don't worry. I only know about it because I saw them while I was at coney island," Ned explained. "I talked a little with Gwen, she's cool. MJ's super into her,"
Peter hesitated, nodding. "Huh... that's-that's awesome. Good for her, you know. I'm happy for her. I'm happy for you, happy for Aunt May, even happy for that random couple," Peter let out a humourless chuckle, pointing to the picnic couple. "I'm just- so happy. So happy," He said, despite his lack of - ironically - happiness.
It's not that he wasn't genuinely happy for them. He was. It was great to see the people he loved in relationships, all in love and happy. But he was human, a tinge of envy was okay now and then. It was like everybody had somebody, but him. If it wasn't for you, he could swear he wouldn't feel this way.
He just craved that feeling he felt around you. Heart skipping a beat, his stomach fluttering, and blood pumping, head-spinning, and just content. He hadn't felt that way until you.
Ned sighed, shaking his head. "Dude, you gotta call her," He suggested for the hundredth time since the night of the party.
Peter wasn't a big fan of the number of pep talks he was getting over the same thing, the same person. It was the same information and the same advice. "Ned, just- Drop it. Talk to me more about you and Betty,"
"No, come on, I wanna talk about you," Ned tried. "It feels like we're reaching the season finale, you know?"
"My shit love life isn't a soap opera, it's my shit love life," Peter stated. "I don't want to hear the repetitive crap that I need to take a leap of faith,"
Ned, taking another bite of his pretzel, a moment passing as he ate. "You're hearing the repetitive crap because it's good crap. And honestly, your love life is less of a soap opera and more of that good show on Netflix that gets canceled after one season and while shows like ‘Riverdale’ keep on going,"
"I'm not sure what ‘Riverdale’ has to do with-" Peter began.
"-Case in point," Ned cut him off, clearing his throat. "You are miserable. It's a beautiful day to be in love, Peter," He gestured to the blue sky, a cool breeze and clouds painting the sky. "Call her, or even better, go over there and tell her how much you love her,"
"I'm gonna screw it up worse than it is, alright? I can't- It's fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine," Peter assured.
Ned rolled his eyes. "You haven't screwed it up. You're screwing it up by sitting here with me reading some book," He argued. "You're doing that thing where you overthink it,"
"I do not overthink," Peter defended.
"You overthink, Peter. You overthink bad," Ned went on.
"I wasn't thinking at all when I first kissed her," Peter replied. "You know, I had a little theory and I tested it without thinking twice,"
"And you ended up the happiest I've seen you in forever,"
Peter stammered for a moment, scoffing as he tried to come up with a logical response. "I wasn't thinking when I told her I loved her. Now I'm... single and sad. I'm not the guy who goes to the girl and professes their love and ends up with a happily ever after, you know,"
"You never will be if you keep on overthinking it. You just like... I don't know, you gotta be honest and you gotta get closure, at least," Ned told. "And closure could mean moving on or it could mean being with her again,"
"Why is everybody suddenly wise?" Peter pointed out.
"I know right, I feel so powerful," Ned said, finishing his pretzel. "Alright, I'm gonna get another one of these, they're freakin' good, man. Are you sure you don't want one?"
Peter smiled a little, inhaling sharply. "...uh, I don't..." He paused for a second. "Sure. Sure, I'll- Yeah, I'll get one,"
"Hey, nice job not overthinking," Ned praised. "My wisdom has already begun to aid you in your discovery of idiocy,"
"Don't kid yourself, Ned, MJ's the sage wizard of us,"
"That's fair. I'm more like... the cool sidekick. The talking cat," Ned declared. "You're the Jon Arbuckle of us,"
Peter furrowed his brows. "...So, that makes you Garfield?"
"You mean, an iconic statement in pop culture? Yes, Peter, I am Garfield," Ned pointed to himself, scoffing. "Single, sad, and stupid,"
"Aren't you supposed to be my friend?" Peter reminded.
"Yeah, and I'm buying you a pretzel. What more do you want from me?" Ned insisted.
Peter smiled, seeing Ned go back to the street cart to get the two of them pretzels. Peter went back to reading, letting his thoughts be enamoured by the words on the surface. He was trying harder to savour moments where it didn't include fighting bad guys or heroic moments.
There was beauty in the mundane he had come to appreciate after all the crap he'd been through.
Not that he didn't love being Spider-Man, it was awesome. Who wouldn't want to be a superhero? He liked seeing the usual citizens on his patrol that were kind enough to wish Spider-Man a good afternoon or evening, saving lives and being a pretty cool role model. (not to brag, or anything...)
He liked spending time with May - and occasionally Happy who stuck around the apartment sometimes. He had a lot to be grateful for. Strangely wise friends being a neat bonus.
Peter spent the rest of his day with Ned, a welcome distraction as they hung around the park, wasting money on street food. Ned went on about a theory he came up with while rewatching ‘The Office’, Peter was just happy to listen.
Hours later and Peter was heading home, waving goodbye to his friend and putting both earphones in, walking through the sea of people rushing past him. He passed a store with TVs placed directly at the front window, the news playing as a few people stood outside, peering through the glass to watch it.
He glanced over one of their heads, seeing a report of Tony Stark speaking to a news lady, you standing behind him, hands behind your back as you stood there with a smile, looking beautiful as always.
"Isn't that his intern or something?" Somebody mentioned, pointing at the screen.
"Hot, right?" Another one remarked. "If she wasn't a minor, I'd give it a go, "
Peter bit his tongue, gulping as he passed them, continuing to walk. No big deal. He didn't have to care anymore. He didn't. He obviously wasn't allowed to feel any kind of jealousy, it was just a couple of guys making some comment.
He was, however, allowed to feel disgusted. Maybe he should've said something. No. He should just keep walking. But he could go back, that was just creepy. Or maybe-
He was already crossing the street. Why was he still thinking about it?
He looked over his shoulder, seeing the same people chuckling as they watched the screen before the owner of the shop told them off. Peter cleared his throat, deciding to just try and focus on the playlist. Yep... a great song...
Maybe he could still-
Nope. He officially told himself to stop thinking about it. Maybe Ned was right.
"May, I'm home," Peter announced, locking the door behind him as he entered the apartment.
He took off his jacket, leaving it on the small hook that had layers of coats and scarves already. Dropping his keys into the bowl near him, he took out his earphones.
A little confused by the lack of response, he checked his watch. Oh, right. She was picking up extra hours because of Allison, Peter recalled. It was eerily quiet. He was used to an empty apartment, but usually, there was some kind of noise considering May left the TV on to keep away neighbours or robbers.
Nothing. Dead silence. He could drop a pin and it would sound like a gong.
He felt his spider senses dial to nine, feeling something off with the apartment. His hair stood up on his arms, and he placed his book on the table next to the bowl of keys and shoved his phone into his pocket. He heard a light tapping coming from outside.
Maybe it was just the cat from Miss Smith. It had started to hang around the small balcony.
Just as Peter stepped on the wooden floors, about to check the balcony, he felt somebody tap his shoulder from behind.
"-Jesus Christ," Peter yelped, hand going to his chest as he spun around.
"I gotta say, I've been called a lot of things before. Jesus is a new one,"
Peter cleared his throat, surprised to see Natasha standing there, arms folded over her chest as she smiled a little at him, baseball cap on as she admired the small apartment.
"Seriously? Your 'Peter Tingle' didn't go off, or anything? I've been in here for the past hour," Nat mentioned, patting Peter on the back as she went into the living room.
Peter stammered for a moment, heart still beating a little too fast for his liking post-jump scare. "It's-It's not called 'Peter Tingle'," He corrected, quickly realizing that had no significance. "Um, Miss. Romanoff, what are you doing here?"
Nat shrugged. "Just wanted to come by. You have shit security by the way,"
"...Did you break in here?" He asked, unsure of how he should feel. Afraid?
This was one of the deadliest assassins in the world.
No, this was Natasha. Natasha was cool. It still didn't stop him from saying a quiet prayer to himself.
She shook her head, going over to a small table, photographs standing upright on it. "This you?" She asked, picking up a framed image of him.
"Um, yeah. May took it right before we watched-" Peter began.
"-So, I'm here to talk to you about your girlfriend," Nat interrupted, setting it back down delicately.
Peter raised his brows and nodded along, deciding to overlook her lack of response when it came to how she got in. "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't have a girlfriend,"
She continued to roam through the living room, looking over some of the decorative pieces. "What is she to you then? You two didn't get eloped, right? Wouldn't be surprised, it would explain why you're both so squirrelly lately,"
"I don't- What?" Peter said, surprised.
If he had gotten eloped he would've known. Unless it was a Ross and Rachel situation. But he hadn't been to Las Vegas... or had any alcohol. Or had a Rachel. But that would also make him Ross. In all honesty, Peter wasn't a huge Ross fan.
Okay - bad analogy.
"Nice. Play dumb. It worked for you then, surely it'll work now," Nat replied, chuckling.
"N-No, Miss- I don't... Look, I'm really just enjoying my winter break, binging ‘New Girl’, you know, it's- I don't have a girlfriend," Peter quickly told.
"Come on, Pete, I'm not an idiot. I've known for ages," Nat mentioned carelessly.
He hesitated, not wanting to assume anything. "You've known that I don't have a girlfriend? I haven't hidden that. Why didn't you call, or text, or... give me some kind of heads up that you were coming here?"
Nat sighed, amused as she still had a small smile on her face, arms folded over her chest as she stopped roaming. "I wanted to gauge your genuine reaction. Do I really have to spell it out?"
"Maybe. 'Cause if I am as single as... well, you. Unless whatever the weird thing you and Dr. Banner had going is-" Peter mentioned.
"-We don't talk about that," Nat cut him off sternly. "And this isn't about me,"
"You did technically break into my home and start interrogating me on something I'm in the dark about," Peter stated.
"You and Y/N," Nat said. "Like uh, Romeo and Juliet. Minus the tragic ending. Forbidden, secret, unapproved of. Did that make it more appealing? Teenagers tend to like things their parents don't by separating and individuating from them and rejecting those ideals in order to form their own identity,"
Peter's eyes widened, scoffing. He opened his mouth to say something, nothing coming out. He shut it, really thinking about what he could say to that. He already had a hunch she knew but at least expected her to keep it to herself for the meantime.
Alright. So, she knew you and him were a thing. Well, not anymore. Technically, he wasn't lying.
"I take it I'm right, then?" Nat pointed out, clearly pleased with herself.
Peter paused. "I don't- You're- How... I could call the police, you know. Um, I'm, like, pretty certain I locked the door before I left,"
"Hey, relax, I won't snitch, or anything," Nat swore, putting her hand to her chest as if pledging allegiance. "Promise. Just don't bother lying, it's kind of obvious,"
"I'm not lying. I- You kind of scare me and I've had a pretty nice day so far so I really wouldn't lie. Um, Y/N isn't my girlfriend," Peter said, trying to be as concise as he could.
She scoffed. "Look, kid, I've gotta head back soon and I don't want to waste my time with-"
"-She isn't," Peter cut her off. "Not anymore. We- Just- We were. You know, we were... doing the whole secret relationship thing and um... then it didn't work so she broke things off. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Natasha looked at him, seemingly apathetic as she simply nodded. "She broke things off?" She specified
"Why do you care about some two idiots who decided to go against Mr. Stark's wishes?" Peter sighed.
"'Cause I can't stand seeing Y/N so gutted since you left," She stated. "And honestly, you two have been my favourite source of entertainment for a while now. The ‘will they, won't they’, the rivalry, the slowly falling in love for each other. You make an interesting pair,"
"We're not- It's..." He paused for a moment. "Y/N's gutted?" Peter asked.
"Quiet, reserved, polite, friendly," Nat listed.
That was a solid eight on the Y/N STARK SCALE. It was a scale the two of you had invented sometime during your relationship.
One meant you were happy and completely fine. Which consisted of traits such as loud, sarcastic, brash, charismatic. Very similar to your father, in that sense.
Ten meant you were feeling like shit and in severe need of a mood booster. Consisting of traits closed-off, shy, thinking through responses, and formal.
"Let me guess, she's distracted herself with twenty useless projects and inventions?" Peter guessed.
"Bullseye," Nat sighed. "Tell me a little about the breakup. Was it brutal? Some crying, yelling?
"She doesn't like complicated. It's the whole reason she hates-" Nat started.
"-IKEA furniture, yeah, I know," Peter finished off for her.
She nodded, tilting her head at him. "Right. Things got complicated. That happens. It's a part of life. But, I will say, complicated can be really good. You know? It can be thrilling and uh... beautiful, I guess,"
"She wouldn't agree with that. Have you seen her try and build a chair from IKEA?" Peter recalled.
"Do you love her?" She wondered.
Peter, a little taken aback by the question, furrowed his brows. "I'm sorry, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you broke into my apartment,"
"Answer the question, Parker," She replied.
"Yeah, I-I do," He responded, fidgeting with his hands. "But uh, it's fine. It was all a big mixture of bad timing and fears of a stupid five-letter word, and uh, it's... just... complicated. And I don't think it's the type that's thrilling or beautiful, it's just a mess,"
"I wouldn't call it bad timing, she's young. You both are. It's a lot, you know. Love is messy, it's not supposed to be simple. It's supposed to be interesting and filled with dynamic," She explained. "I get it's not really my business, usually I wouldn't stick my nose in but I care about her, alright? And I care about you too, kid. I don't like seeing either of you like this, miserable, sad, pained,"
"It's fine, I would've been more weirded out if it was Sam or something. He's already showcased enough of a part of my life I wanna keep to myself," Peter mentioned.
She chuckled a little. "Yeah, the condoms. That was funny,"
"Not for me. Did he at least put them back?" He questioned.
"How would I know? It's not like you're gonna be using them any time soon anyway," She scoffed.
"Thanks for the wise words," Peter remarked sarcastically.
"Anytime," She hummed. "Alright. I think I've got a good understanding of the situation. You're both in love with each other, but knowing Y/N and her dad, she ran away at the first hint of commitment,"
"...Well, I'm-I'm in love with her. She's not-" Peter tried.
"-If she isn't in love with you, then we don't live in a city where aliens once tried to take over," Nat interrupted carelessly. "That kind of chemistry, from the banter, the longing glances, the smiling. That's love if I've seen it,"
"Good chemistry doesn't make up for bad timing," Peter stated.
"If it's any consolation, it was pretty obvious you were head over heels," She shrugged. "We all saw it coming,"
"I still don't understand why you're so invested in this, Miss. Romanoff,"
"I've watched Y/N grow up the past two years, alright? I'm not gonna watch her turn into someone like Tony Stark," She responded, frank. "I love the guy, but he lived an unsustainable lifestyle for most of his adult life and didn't realise the love of his life was right beside him the entire time,"
Peter stayed quiet, gulping.
"I'm not cupid, I'm definitely not a love expert and I can also assume you've gotten a lot of these kinds of conversations," She went on. "But I've seen the way you look at her, it's rare. Meeting the love of your life and first love at once,"
"But she doesn't... I can't just go to her and tell her I love her and pray that she feels the same way," Peter said.
"Why not? Seriously? What's stopping you?" Nat asked. "It's been weeks at this point. She's had time. I don't want another dinner where she sits there quietly and plays with her food and acts like she knows exactly what's going on while she's stuck in her own head. You make her happy, she makes you happy. Just try, Pete. Give it a go, and hell, if she says no then move on. But one more chance isn't gonna hurt anyone,"
Peter sighed, licking his lips as he listened. "What if I get hurt?"
"Then... go to therapy, I don't know, you've got your own support network. I'm fixing your love life, not your entire life," Nat told. "Alright, I really gotta head out. Avengers have a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister. He wants to thank us,"
"Thanks, Miss.. Romanoff," Peter said. "I just- I mean, I'm still kind of concerned about how you got inside,"
"Key under the mat," She responded.
"And you're welcome. It's not a big deal, and don't tell anyone about this. Keep it between us, okay?" She replied, pointing to him and then her.
"Yes, ma'am," Peter gave a slightly awkward thumbs up.
"You..." She paused. "And Y/N. I don't understand it," She grumbled, heading for the exit.
Peter stepped to the side, letting the redhead walk ahead, opening the door.
"By the way," She began. "Sam did take those comics you left. They're somewhere in his room. He didn't bring them up 'cause he wanted to embarrass you with those condoms,"
"Seriously? Could you get them for me and bring them back?" Peter asked.
She glared at him as if that was the stupidest question one could ask. Peter cleared his throat and nodded.
"Fine. I'll just- I'll come by later this week to get them. I wanna see how much I can sell them for this Saturday because there's a-" Peter started.
"-I don't care," She cut him off. "Come on Thursday. Y/N and Tony are going to some event that night if you're not ready to see her yet,"
"Thanks, Miss. Romanoff,"
She rolled her eyes at his formalities. "See you, Parker," She said, walking out and patting Peter on the shoulder with a smile.
She left the apartment, Peter closing the door behind her as he was now left alone with his thoughts. A surprising discussion from an unlikely team member. She was right. What's the worst that could happen?
You dump him? Completed.
You don't reciprocate? Been there, done that.
He feels like shit and gets hurt? Uh, welcome to life, Peter Parker.
And even though he was far from prepared to actually go to you with a speech he was planning on writing (There was no way guys in romcoms came up with the most romantic monologue on the spot. No way.) and to see you. He could say was prepared to stop feeling single and sad.
He could be single and fine. He did it for most of his life, nothing was stopping him now. However, there was one thing stuck on his head.
There was no key under the mat.
You sat in the car with your dad, the radio playing softly in the background as you drove in silence. You fiddled with the material of your dress, fingers clasped around the small purse on your lap. You glanced at him, seeing his focus on the road.
"Dad-" You began nervously.
"-Don't," He interrupted you quickly.
You nodded, looking out the window as the city rushed by the two of you. Just when you thought the silence would return, he spoke up again.
"You do realise you're going to have to issue a formal apology, right?" Tony said.
You rolled your eyes at that. "Yeah. But I won't mean it, just so you know," You told.
"I don't care if you mean it or not, one of your biggest investors just pulled out of your contract because you dumped your politics on him," He stated, scoffing. "You shouldn't have said anything,"
"I didn't dump my politics on him, I shared my opinion on something and his narrow mind couldn't comprehend that a woman could actually have an opinion," You explained.
"Yeah, he's scum. Kind of the package deal with these guys, kid," He remarked, taking a right into Upper Manhattan.
You sighed, chewing the inside of your cheek, hesitant. "Sorry, we got kicked out. It was embarrassing, I know,"
He looked at you, brows raised. "I could care less about being kicked out. Do you know how many events security has dragged me out of? It's just... I know this project is important to you and I don't want to see you lose it, alright? So, when you pull that kind of stunt..." He trailed off.
"I don't regret it," You made clear. "I don't want to do business with a guy who thinks I'm incapable of producing goods and to leave it to his son who's a first-year MIT student and in his late 20's," You replied.
He looked back to the road, chuckling a little. "You need to find a new investor, you know that right? Can't have anybody seeing Stark written all over the assets,"
"I know. But I can find someone who isn't going to demean me and kick us out of a stupid gala. Did you see how Charlie was dressed?" You said.
"Big bird, right?"
"Yes, that's what I was thinking," You exclaimed. "And the sandwiches-"
"-So small," Tony cut you off, shaking his head.
"I know. I think they took finger foods a little too seriously. But bright side," You opened your purse. "I took a couple,"
Without taking his eyes off the road, he reached into the purse, taking one and putting it right into his mouth. "This is why I love you," He remarked, muffled by the food.
You ate one, the radio continuing to play as he drove.
You reached the compound, getting out of the car and walking in. Tony took off his bow tie, grumbling as he put the material into his pocket. He rubbed his eye with the ball of his palm, a quiet yawn coming from him.
You pressed the elevator button, leaning against the wall as you pulled down the bottom of the form-fitting dress that was hiking further up your thigh, exhaling deeply.
"You're not mad at me, right?" You asked.
"No, no, just..." Tony began.
"Do not say disappointed, everybody knows that's so much worse," You quickly said.
He shook his head. "You've been kind of closed off lately, for whatever reason, and it was nice to see you stand up for yourself again," Tony stated, amusement in his words. "I'm proud of you. Okay?"
You didn't say anything, giving him a small smile.
"The guy was an asshole anyway. I just like playing the strict dad. How'd I do?" He wondered.
"Fantastic. Expecting a call from Hollywood any minute now," You answered.
The gala was just supposed to be a fun distraction. There were supposed to be some people your age, live music, and you could've just enjoyed yourself and then make a nameless donation to the charity it was sponsoring.
To paraphrase, it was not a fun distraction.
Fun? Not quite.
It was an event filled with old white guys who loved to spread their views on how women are nowadays. For the past couple of weeks, you had been pretty comfortable with the makeshift wall to protect yourself from emotional damage.
But a man telling you to your face that you were not smart enough to be creating the source of clean energy in each state of America your breaking point. Like he knew anything about concussive energy or high-density muon beams. Like he had an IQ of 189 or a degree in Engineering.
The elevator dinged and you entered it, puzzled when your dad didn't join you.
Tony patted down his tuxedo, uttering profanity under his breath. "I left my glasses in the car. Just head up without me," He assured.
"Alright. I think I'm gonna hang around the common room, I think that's where everyone else is," You told.
"I'll meet you there," He said before leaving for the parking garage.
The doors closed and you pushed the button to the common room. It was nearing seven at night, most likely the team would be there watching a movie or something like that. Indistinct buzzing around you, you pulled out your phone, dusting off the crumbs of the mini sandwiches that were still in your purse.
You scrolled through Instagram, liking a few posts, murmuring a song you couldn't get stuck in your head. Of course, Taylor Swift comes on the radio and your dad decides to put it at full volume. She made a hell of a catchy song.
The elevator dinged, stopping and you looked up, confused to see you were on 'Cool Guy Level' - Sam coined the title for the floor that was just his room, Steve's, Thor for when he returned from Asgard and Bruce's.
The doors opened and your face dropped, clutching your phone, eyes wide as Peter stood there. You could hear a hairpin drop as the two of you stared at each other.
No. No way.
This was like... a really bad dream. Maybe this was your breaking point. Or, better yet, this was all an illusion. Yep. None of it's real. That's your theory. All of this - fake.
You swear to the pop bible (1989) that it was not real.
That made you feel better than knowing that holy shit, Peter Parker is standing in front of you with that familiar mix of awkwardness and shock washing over him, jaw agape. He's standing there. He is. He is standing there. Peter is there.
Yeah, saying a couple hundred times was not soothing at all.
You weren't ready for this. You couldn't see him. Not after the goddamn kitchen conversation. You plunged a dagger into the relationship, you couldn't undo that. He must've hated you. You would hate yourself too.
Oh, god. Oh, he's still there.
He's staring at you.
Stupid pretty eyes waiting in anticipation.
"Fuck this," You murmured, hastily pushing the button to close the doors.
He watched as you tried to force them to close, fidgeting with his hands, brows furrowed. As they began to shut, inches apart from your relief, Peter quickly stepped into the elevator, managing to slip in (that's what she said), clearing his throat as he stumbled a little, holding onto the short rail.
The doors closed and there was silence. This couldn't be happening. This could not be real. You refused to believe otherwise.
"What level?" You asked quietly.
Peter stammered for a second, finding his footing. "Me? Um... I'm- Same as you. Yep. Just- I need to ask um... Sam where he put some comics he stole from me. His room's a mess, you know, like an elephant paraded around in it," He told, beginning to ramble. "And uh, it was the really rare editions so I figure I could maybe sell them because Ned and I - we were thinking of making- I'm gonna shut up," He realised what he was doing, wanting nothing more than for the earth to swallow him whole.
"Okay," You muttered, biting your lip restlessly as you began to move up, a low whirr filling the quiet.
You glanced at him, surprised to see him already looking at you, drawing his eyes to the ground once you caught him. You inhaled sharply. Never, in all the time you'd known Peter, had you experienced this level of awkwardness. Never.
Comics. He was here for comics. It wasn't like he intended to see you. You certainly didn't. You would've prepared some sort of mental battle, made sure to build up that makeshift wall higher and taller and stronger.
Then again, this was Peter. Just... Peter. You could bring the ‘Y/N STARK SCALE’ a little lower for him.
"I could be polite and ask how you're doing, but I can already tell it's not great," You pointed out, blunt as you looked at him up and down, seeing the light bruising on his collarbones and leading below his Silence of the Lambs t-shirt.
Peter raised his brows, surprised by your candidness.
"What was it? Patrol?" You wondered, gesturing to the bruises.
Peter looked down at himself and then back up at you. "That- Yes. Yeah, it was. A couple guys had these baseball bats on them and um... I was a little too slow, so," He explained. "Not that you needed to know that,"
You nodded, waiting patiently as the numbers rose, nearing the level. Peter cleared his throat again, fiddling as he overlooked the racing heartbeat or the ludicrous butterflies in his stomach.
He hadn't even started on the 'speech'. He didn't plan on running into you. But of course, the universe just always has a different idea for him. Shoving you in his path looking nothing short of gorgeous and being as outspoken as he recalled.
"Could we talk?" Peter blurted out.
Speech or not, he figured, he could at least give it a shot. He was really trying to take Ned’s advice and to stop overthinking.
You hesitated, confused. "I don't- Nope, we're gonna get off soon. So," You quickly said.
"Alright, but I just-" He began.
"-No, no, we aren't- Not doing this," You interrupted. "You look great, you seem to be doing fine, we're both doing fine. We don't need to talk about anything, really,"
Peter sighed. "We can't be mature about this then?"
"Nope," You shook your head.
"And you're completely fine?"
"Absolutely fine,” A bald faced lie. “Thanks for asking, so kind of you. Can we stop the weird small talk now?" You remarked sarcastically.
Peter hummed. "Fine,"
Your gaze reluctantly met his, gulping. He licked his lips and moved to the row of buttons in the elevator before pressing the 'STOP' button, causing the elevator to come to a halt, abruptly stopping.
"Can we talk now?" He repeated himself.
"You mother-" You began.
"-Fine, you don't want to talk," He cut you off. "That's fine. Because you're fine, and that's fine. Good for you. But you're gonna listen because I know if I don't say this now, I'll overthink it and chicken out, alright?"
You rolled your eyes, arms folded over your chest. A simple elevator ride. Was that too much to ask for? It was absurd enough you were stuck with Peter.
Yes, he still looked great.
Yes, it was a little stupid to think he'd look any different from the last time you saw him.
Yes, you were feeling warm around him.
Yes, you were in love with him.
Oh, that realisation was not helping at all.
"Come on, you know I hate when you do that," He mentioned.
"And what are you gonna do about it?" You questioned. "Stop the elevator? Oh, you've done that. Show up without any kind of warning? Done that too"
"I didn't know you were going to be here, you were supposed to- That doesn't matter," Peter shook his head. "Can you just try to not deliver some sort of punch line right now?"
"I'll make an attempt," You stated.
He gulped, his hands dropping to his sides, clenching and admittedly, he kind of wished he had some sort of checklist because he had a lot to say. Even some kind of vague speech could've worked but now he forced himself to speak on the spot and maybe, just maybe, he'd fuck it up worse than he already had.
Since Natasha came by, Peter really did try to think about everything he'd say when it felt right. He just wasn't quite thinking it would feel right in an elevator when you clearly were trying to avoid any kind of big conversation and he was completely blanking.
You were looking at him, waiting as you keep the surface act up, trying to focus on the etched demoralisation and frustration across his profile. You had made the shitty mistake of retaining each and every detail on his face.
"I'm sorry," Peter said. "Like- I mean, I'm- I'm sorry, alright?"
You looked to your feet, not expecting that as you nodded. Even if you did try with every part of you to put the fault on Peter, you knew better. It made you feel guilty that he felt the need to feel differently. "You really don't owe me an apology, Pete," You said, tone clipped.
"No, but I do," He argued. "Look, even if you hate me or if you want me to go away and never talk to you again, I just need you to know that I am sorry. I am,"
"Could you not-"
"-Y/N, just listen for a goddamn second," He interrupted.
A little taken aback by the serious tone you looked back up to him and gulped, staying quiet.
"Here it is. Alright, I can... I might screw this up, so... just a heads up," Peter went on, faltering. "I- I'm sorry for not fighting harder. For us, you know. I just- I gave up way too easily, and I was afraid. I'm sorry for ever making you feel like I was trying to fix you, I'm sorry for making you feel like a project, you never- You were... You mean so much more to me than that, I swear, and I'm really sorry I made you think otherwise," He spoke fast, trying to catch up his brain with his mouth.
Not saying a word, you kept your surprise to yourself. You didn't predict this. Not even for a second.
"Um... What else? I'm sorry for saying I love you. You're right, you know, it was rushed and had bad timing and you weren't ready but um... Alright, I'm just- I'm gonna be honest, I meant it and I don't regret it," He proceeded, seeing your eyes grow. "I didn't say anything when you asked because you just seemed so afraid already that I couldn't scare you off worse than I already had,"
You were trying to analyse his face, seeing if he was telling the truth. He was. You weren't sure if you were scared of that, but then you'd be going right down the rabbit hole Peter had created himself for you. Your stomach fluttered a little at his words, ignoring how your heart swelled.
"I can't imagine my life without you, and I just thought... you know, if I said it to you then I'd lose you and so- I- Yeah, I meant it, okay?" Peter said. "Um, I'm kind of just going with this on the spot so I don't- Does that-Does that make sense?"
"What are you saying?"
He sighed. "Y/N, you know what I'm saying,"
You shook your head and inhaled sharply. "Peter, don't- Just- Stop, please, just stop," You directed. "Stop talking,"
"See, this is what you do," Peter pointed out, his tone changing from nervous to stern.
You let out a dry chuckle, lacking humour. "What do I do?" You inquired.
"You just- You just decide how things are gonna go," He stated.
You scoffed. "I am not the one deciding-"
"-Of course you're the one deciding," He cut you off, taking a step to you in the small elevator.
Peter's imaginary rope was making a reappearance, knotted together as Peter pulled on both ends, tugging it to keep it together. "Y/N, you're always deciding," He argued. "You decide to leave, you decide to stay. You decide you need me, then you decide you don't," He listed. "You decide we can talk, you decide we cannot,"
"I don't want to talk!" You raised your voice, copying his actions as you took a step toward him, the space getting smaller between the two of you. "Because-Because I know what you're gonna say, okay? You're gonna say you love me but-"
"-You don't know what I'm going to say!" He snapped.
"Oh, I'm pretty sure I do," You insisted.
"Doesn't matter, you don't!" He shot back.
"Fine," You said. "Fine. Then just- Go ahead. Say it,"
Peter sighed, blinking a few times as the only noise was the faint sound of the air conditioner above the two of you. You felt your blood's temperature rise, that feeling you knew all too well around Peter. You almost missed it. It had been a minute since someone had made you feel so strongly.
"Oh, my God, Peter. God, please, would you just say it!" You shouted, voice breaking at the end. "If you meant it, why the hell can't you say it to me?"
Peter gulped, hesitating. "Do you forgive me?" He asked, to your surprise.
"Of course I do, you idiot!" You answered without hesitation.
"Then I love you," He said, the words flying out of his mouth and for a split second, Peter just felt relief from finally being able to say just as he wanted to. Knowing he was absolved.
"Are you just saying that because-"
"-No, Y/N, I'm saying it because I've been in love with you for so long that it hurts," He interrupted, his oddly calm tone juxtaposing yours. "Okay? I'm... I'm not saying it because you're someone I can't have, I'm not saying it because I want to change you or fix you, I love how broken you are. I’m broken. We’re all broken, and we... fit. It’s beautiful, you’re... you’re beautiful, you know?”
You stared up at him, quiet as he spoke.
"I'm not saying it because I'm going to leave you, I'm not saying it because I miss you even though... I do, but I'm saying it because if I think I just need to. Because I am... I am completely and utterly in love with you," He told. "Does um... Does that make sense?"
You nodded a little. "Yeah, it makes sense," You said.
The heavy silence returned as you both breathed heavily, only a few inches apart as your eyes flickered around his face. You could quite easily say you had never felt so warm in your life. Even in Australia, where the sun burned through your skin considering it was summer there.
It was just... Peter.
"Alright, okay. Fuck it," You mumbled, trying to convince yourself to just spit it out.
"I'm not expecting any big response, or whatever, okay? If you don't-" Peter began.
"-Shut it, Parker," You said. "You're listening to me now because... if we're doing the whole sorry thing now, then... I get to have my say too,"
"I kind of missed you being mean to me," He admitted.
"It's what I do best," You mumbled.
You cleared your throat, taking a breath as you flagrantly glanced to his lips, not going unnoticed by Peter as you tried to place your words. You had thought about it a lot.
It's what happens with this kind of thing, reevaluating decisions and whatnot.
"I'm sorry for hurting you. I just... I pushed you away, I was trying to distance myself from you and I was trying to find any kind of stupid reason to end it because I was afraid," You confessed. "I was really afraid because I've never felt like this and when you said it... It was like, just... Everything became real. And what's real eventually leaves and uh, I thought ruining it and sabotaging my own happiness would save me the pain in the future..." Your voice trailed off in thought, slightly distracted by how his gaze was glued on you, clinging to your every word like it was spoken poetry.
He couldn't place what he felt in words, nodding along.
"I was stupid. I left you because of my fear of being left and that's not fair to you. Alright, no, you-you deserve so much better. You're such a good guy, you deserve somebody who isn't like me. Who isn't fucked in the head," You kept on going. "It doesn't matter how much I regret my stupid choice because I can't change it, even if every day I want to. It doesn't matter how much I want to be with you or how stupidly in love with you I am. You should have someone who won't leave you because of their stupid fears, you should have someone who won't hurt you, and someone who makes the right choices,"
Peter's brows furrowed, letting out a shaky breath, stomach-dropping as he felt an entire swarm of butterflies engulf him. You sniffled a little, not fully registering what you were saying. You figured if Peter could do the whole stupid speech, you could do it.
Maybe not as eloquently but it was something.
You were basically telling him how wrong you were for him. If that didn't get him to run away, you didn't know what would.
"Uh, yeah. So... I am... kind of, very much, in love with you. Just... Yeah, do with that what you will," You cleared your throat. "But uh, maybe, you know, it's for the best or whatever people say, right? Even if it hurts. A lot,"
Peter was quiet for a moment, a small smile on his face. "You're in love with me?"
"I'm pretty sure," You responded. "Whenever I'm around you, I get really stupid and get this weird feeling in my stomach. So, I'm either in love with you or allergic to you and I don't know which one is worse,"
"Pretty sure. I'll take that," He murmured. "And if it's anything, I'd much rather have you than anybody else. We're human - It's human to get hurt, to make a crap decision, to be flawed. I’d rather get hurt so I can really fell all the good. If that makes any sense at all,"
"I just... I'm sorry. I fucked up," You told. "And um- Yeah. That's... that, I guess,"
"I forgave you a long time ago," He assured. "I want to be with you, with every part of me, I want you. I just really wish I had gotten my head out of my ass and called you or come here earlier," He conceded.
"Well, at least you're here now," You whispered. "That's what matters, right?"
He watched as your eyes dropped to his lips again, seeing the hesitance scrawled across your face as he gulped. So, what happened now? Love confessions, apologies, what else was there to do? You had a few theories.
Your phone started to ring, your ringtone filling the silence, playing loudly as it vibrated in your clutch.
"...Your phone's ring-" Peter began.
"-Yeah, I know," You took out your phone, reading the contact flashing on the screen. "Shit. It's an investor, sorry,"
"No, yeah, you should take that,"
You looked back up at him, not moving away as you pressed the answer and putting your phone to your ear. "This is Y/N,"
Peter didn't take his eyes off of you, trailing from your legs to your styled hair to the shiny lip gloss under the fluorescent lighting. He recalled a couple nights where your legs were wrapped around-
"Don't look at me like that," You reprimanded, putting your hand on the speaker to not let the other person hear.
"Like what? We just said I love you to one another, I think I can admire your appearance for a second," He defended. "And you look gorgeous if it wasn't obvious,"
"I know, thank you," You acknowledged. "I don't want to know what's going in there though," You mumbled, motioning to his head, before continuing to talk.
"Oh, you really don't," He agreed, teasing.
You shot him a short glare, nothing serious Peter concluded from past glares, receiving a slight smirk from him as he cleared his throat.
"It's another thirty-six point five percent according to federal data, I'd prefer you stick to the agenda instead of trying to raise it any higher," You said.
Peter waited patiently, looking up to the roof of the elevator, noticing the lack of cameras. Thank god, he thought.
"Whatever major problem you've got with my program, I'd suggest you take a look at the analytics before you try and follow your friend, Carl, alright?" You stated.
"Major Problem," Peter and you saluted in unison, instinctually as you casually continued your conversation.
Peter saw your grin start to appear, lips tugging upward as you spoke, glancing at him.
"Is that all? Okay... Send my regards to Kate," You finished. "Alright. Good night,"
You hung up, putting your phone back into your purse, beside the sandwiches.
"So, what now?" You asked Peter.
He shrugged and pulled the 'STOP' button, causing the elevator to suddenly continue to move up, making you trip slightly, surprised by the movement. Peter held you by the forearm, keeping you steady.
"We keep on going," He replied.
"Are you sure?"
"Stupid sure," He answered. "How about you?"
"Well, I'm not stupid but I am sure," You affirmed.
"Whatever you say, princess," He sighed.
You nodded, eyes going to his lips once again, and this time Peter didn't let himself overthink it, putting his hands to your cheeks, cupping your jaw softly as he made you look up to him. He leaned in, the space between the two of you small as you felt his lips thoughtlessly brush against yours, taunting.
"Wait, just so we're both on the same page," Peter pulled back a little, looking you in the eye. "Are we... I mean, I feel like there should be something more... I don't know, official?"
"Peter," You murmured.
"Oh- Oh, yeah, sure, I'll do that-"
You pulled him down to you, putting your hand around his neck as you pressed your lips against his. Peter immediately reciprocated, pleasantly surprised. Kissing you tenderly, nipping at your lips, hesitant and burning with anticipation.
You felt him smile against you, bringing the familiar passion as his thumbs softly caressed your cheekbone before dropping to your waist and bringing you closer to him, pressing onto the material of your dress. Your fingers tugged a little on his hair, raking them through his brunette waves.
It wasn't an illusion, you thought. It was real. It was so, completely real. It was like you had woken from a bad dream, instead. You could say with certainty that you preferred the reality of it all. Unscripted, exciting, and entirely authentic.
And he loved you. He loved you. Peter Parker loved you. That was still a mystery to you but you decided then and there you weren't going to be afraid of it, you weren't going to try and run. You were going to embrace it, every second of it because if this is what love felt like, you never wanted to feel like anything else again.
The elevator dinged, the doors opening before you could register the noise.
"Oh, hey, guys," A voice disrupted.
You quickly pulled back from Peter, his hands still on your waist as you saw Wanda standing there, sipping from a soda as she observed.
"You getting out? I'm heading to bed," She sighed, going inside the elevator, pressing the button to her floor.
You and Peter eyed her, skeptical. Peter stammered for a moment as you pulled him out of the elevator, hearing the faint conversation from the team as Wanda hummed, leaning against the wall of the elevator.
"...Wanda, did you... did you see-" You began, confused.
"-Yep," Wanda answered, a smug smile on her face.
You nodded slowly. "Are you going to tell-"
"-Nope," She replied, the doors closing.
A/N: Okay. With these authors notes, i usually give a brief and vague update on my life and my thoughts on this part and what not.
Starting with, i am finally on two week holidays so I can hopefully be more active and stuff, yay. Can someone let me know if what if...? is good? I havent seen it yet, im waiting for all episodes to be released but I’m still confused on the premise of the show so, somebody tell me something lol. Im really sorry this has taken so long to get out, trust me when I say I just wanted to make sure it was worth the wait because I love writing this and I want to be somewhat proud of what I produce of yall :)
Alright, this part is... kind of a mess but you know what? I love it. I love this mess. I know it might seem kind of rushed, I was really really trying to make it seem more developed. Plus, I just couldnt write angst for so long. it’s not perfect which I’m well aware of so please give me feedback! How can I improve my writing and what would you want to see? I love Nat, I wanted to bring her to the limelight a little. If you can spot all the Taylor references, I’ll actually post one of wlw stories I have drafted somewhere. And there will be one more part, because I can’t say goodbye to this series so easily. One more.
Anygays, I am exhausted, I have spent weeks on this after plenty of procrastination. Leave feedback, tell me your thoughts and give me requests! Thanks for reading, I’d be surprised if you stayed this long to read an authors note. You a real one. x
Because I am so bored, I made another Peter Parker playlist on spotify. Check it out of yall want I listen to it all the time.
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