"You need to lie down Peter", Matt huffed, patience long worn thin as he didn't even bother to lift his head from the saucepan he was stirring.
Huffing slightly, the younger man limped his way into the kitchen, the crutches clacking slightly on the hardwood as he made his way over before gently hoisting himself onto one of the stools surrounding the island. "I was lying down Matt. I've been sleeping all day. I'm tired of it!"
"You're tired of sleeping?" A crooked smile appeared on the corners of Matt's mouth as he tilted his head to regard Peter, reaching out with his senses.
"Stop it Matt, I'm fine," grumbled the younger man as he squirmed slightly on the stool, "It freaks me out when you do that 'stare into your soul' thing".
Finally breaking eye contact, Matt turned back to the saucepan and stirred the contents absentmindedly a few more times, adjusting the heat. "Yes, Foggy's always told me it's a bit unnerving...I'm going to keep doing it though, you do realise that right?"
Sighing, Peter lowered his head to his hands tiredly and leaned on the island. "Yeah, I get it Matt. Thanks, I, uh, I really mean that. I mean, I know this hasn't been easy on you, and I just wanted to say thanks. For, you know...looking after me."
Big doe eyes peeked up to view the broad back that belonged to his kinda-but-not-yet-sorta-maybe boyfriend as he flicked off the stove and moved the pan off to one side, turning to face Peter.
"Pete, " Matt approached, leaning over the island and gently cradling Peter's face between his hands. "I don't want you to thank me. I just want you to get well and make sure that this never happens again. There are so many people out there that depend on you. That love you and don't want to see anything happen to you. You have to take better care of yourself."
Averting his eyes, the chastised younger man slowly let his forehead bump Matt's and breathed a small sigh, his voice hitching slightly. "I know Matt, I really do. I'm sorry okay, it's just. Sometimes it's all just too much. Too many people needing me for something - all the time. I could be out there every night and still there would be people screaming for help. I just...it's just too overwhelming sometimes! I don't know..."
Releasing Peter, Matt stepped around the island and quickly gathered the smaller man into an embrace. Squeezing Peter tightly when a soft hiccup escaped him. Gently massaging the back of his neck, Matt held him tight until the sniffles died down and Peter's deathgrip on his shirt had eased.
The silence stretched on as Peter's breathing slowly evened out. Matt's body heat radiating safety and comfort and arms encircling him tightly. A feeling Peter had always associated with Family. Aunt May, Uncle Ben, Gwen, their unwavering support and love had always given him the strength to carry on. To put that mask on night after night and help anyone and everyone that he could just so that they too could have a taste of what it was like to feel valued. To have someone who cares about them.
What had started as a few brief team-ups had developed into a close friendship and as Peter secretly hoped, something more. Matt was as much a part of his family now as the others. He gave him strength and drive in ways the others couldn't. Being a fellow vigilante Matt knew what it was like. That need to protect the 'little guy' - to avenge wrongs and mete out justice while praying that you didn't become so disillusioned or sink so low you couldn't find your way back. It was a fine line to walk and Matt and Peter needed each other more than either was willing to admit.
Nuzzling his head further into the crook of Matt's shoulder Peter relaxed. They were the same. Despite Daredevil's often excessive shows of force, he still cared just as much for the people and the city as Spider-Man did and Matt - Matt was always there. Always willing to help Peter in any way he could. Even when he was the unwanted cold voice of reason telling Peter that he couldn't save everyone. He was there with him.
"You don't have to do this alone Pete...I'm with you." The muffled voice came as Matt pressed a soft kiss to Peter's hair.
"I know." Peter smiled. "Thanks, Matt." And something just seemed to click in Peter's head and for the first time it felt as though both Spider-Man and Peter Parker weren't alone. He felt whole. And he wanted nothing more than to return the favour.