Just one I thought up today and couldn't resist writing. I hope you enjoy!
On August 10th, Tony Stark was awake bright and early… maybe too early. It was four o'clock in the morning, and he was already in the kitchen of the home he shared with his beloved Pepper. He sat at the breakfast bar alone, his hair mussed from the few hours he had spent in bed, and his eyes still adjusting to the early hour. He nursed a coffee, freshly made from the coffee maker. The smell roused him slowly, allowing him to think through what the day would hold before him. It warmed him to the bone, reminding him that, on this day, everything was normal. It was the safe reminder that, for the time being, he was alive, safe, and home, exactly where he belonged. Something as simple as the smell of coffee was all he needed to remind him of what normality felt like.
The steam of the coffee drifted airily from the mug cupped between his palms, but as he sipped, his mind was absent. He stared at nothing in particular, only half aware of the kitchen slowly brightening as the light of the day broke through the window. He could have almost watched the sunlight spread towards him, leaking through the window at the far end of the kitchen and slowly moving towards him. Time was irrelevant on that particular morning, for Tony Stark's mind was far, far away.
It was the kid's birthday - sixteenth birthday, to be exact.
He didn't understand why it was getting to him so much. It was just another silly day, an exaggerated day. Yet, when it came to Peter Parker, Tony wanted to make his day that little bit more. But how? He had never had to think about it before. Pepper was easy to buy for at Christmas and on her birthday, simply because she loved nothing more than the fact that Tony even remembered, so a gift to her was just a bonus. But a teenager, now that was something out of the billionaire's comfort zone.
Never in his life did he think something so civil would frighten him so much. He even surprised himself that he remembered the 10thAugust being his birthday, for he barely remembered his own. And Peter was sixteen today, and Tony was sure that that was kind of a big deal.
He released the mug between his hands and then proceeded to rake them through his already messy hair, to then dragged his fingers down his face. Tony was one of the richest men going, and he almost laughed at himself and the situation he found himself in: what on earth did you buy for a sixteen year old teenager who's hobby was fighting crime?
He had thought about upgrading the Spider-Man suit, or even making a brand knew one, but he then thought better of it. The kid needed to learn to appreciate and respect the suit he had before he had anything new. The revelation had surprised him, for it was a thought that only a guardian would think, and yet there he was. It was when these silly little thoughts, which had began not long after he met the kid, that Tony realised he was in too deep. He cared more for Parker than he should, and it would slowly be his undoing.
"Tony?" came a quiet, tired voice behind him. Before he could turn, hands slithered under his arms and over his chest from behind, before a warm body pressed against his back and lips grazed the skin of his neck ever so gently. Tony closed his eyes, his breath faltering for just a moment, and he smiled adoringly. Pepper's presence would forever take his breath away.
"Good morning," he murmured. There were no quips this morning, only peace. Pepper slowly kissed from his earlobe and down his neck, breathing him in at the same time, and Tony found himself twisting in her grasp. She smiled dreamily down at him, and in the morning light she looked like an angel. Despite her messy hair, sticking out this way and that, and the silly t-shirt and old, battered shorts, she looked utterly stunning. And she was all his.
She raked her fingers through Tony's hair before bending down to meet her lips to his in the gentlest of kisses, but in her drowsy state, it was all too intimate. It was all Tony could do to not stand and lift her up, to kiss her and carry her back to bed. He wanted to, right then, but told himself that there would be many more mornings in the future for that. Instead, he kissed her back, caressing her lower back and pulling her closer. He then moved his hands down, before knocking the back of her knees so that she came to sit on his lap. She obliged, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, and he secured her with his arms around her waist.
"It's five in the morning, you know," she whispered, her nose gliding down the side of his. Oh, she could absolutely ruin him, and she had no idea.
"I thought it was four." He whispered back. Had he really been sat here for an hour?
"It's still not too late to come back to bed." She said, cocking a brow at him. Her unspoken question made him ache, but he shook his head with a sheepish grin. She pouted at him, and he couldn't help but laugh against her mouth as he kissed her.
"Come on then," she said after a moment, tilting her head so that her hair fell away from her beautiful face. "What's on that brilliant mind of yours?"
He paused, thinking, and found he was frowning. "It's the kid's birthday today." Was all he said, and that perfect brow of hers rose yet again.
"Peter's?" she asked, stroking his cheek gently.
"Yeah. I don't know what to get him."
"You're telling me that you've been up since four because you were worried about what to get Peter?" she asked, but she wasn't annoyed. If anything, she looked at him with the most adoration he had ever seen, her smile blinding. "You're hopeless."
"I know," he sighed. He hid his face, kissing the skin of her collarbone. He could feel the silent laugher in her as she gently stroked his hair, planting kisses over the crown of his head.
"Why don't you forget getting him a gift?" She suggested, pushing on his shoulders so that he would look at her. He opened his mouth to protest, but her index finger silenced him. "I mean, you've given him enough between the day you met and now."
He smirked. "They were work related."
"True, yet you know that he doesn't see that suit as work related." She retorted, and Tony found himself chuckling in agreement. "So, why don't you just spend the day with him? It's Saturday, so you could grab some food, go for a drive, you know…" now it was her turn to smirk. "Have a little bonding time, mentor to protégé."
"You wound me," he said, kissing her jaw. "The Great Tony Stark doesn't do "bonding", and he is not my protégé."
"Liar," she whispered against his mouth. He shivered against her, holding her tighter. "Now come back to bed." It was an order, and for a moment, Tony found himself obeyed. He kissed her roughly, cupping her back of her head, her hair like silk between his fingers. All of her was against him, warm and solid and real, and before he knew it he found himself standing, her legs around his waist as he held her up. Blindly, still kissing, he moved to where he thought the door was, eager to obey her command.
"Sir, there is an incoming call from May Parker." F.R.I.D.A.Y voice filled the room, and instantly the mood was dead.
Tony broke the kiss with a growl as Pepper hopped down, giggling into his chest.
"What time is it?" he demanded, rubbing his jaw in frustration.
"Half past five, sir." F.R.I.D.A.Y replied, and for an AI, she sounded nervous.
"Damn it," he muttered, trying to ignore the tinge of worry in his chest. Oddly, Pepper's concerned eyes mirrored his own. May Parker never rang him, especially not this early. "Pass her through."
A beat passed. "Mr Stark?" May's voice was level, but the tinge of worry did not go amiss as her voice filled the room.
"The one and only," he replied, keeping his eyes on Pepper's, and his voice was level. "To what do I owe this early pleasure?"
"I… I'm sorry it's so early. I just wanted to call to see if Peter was with you?" there was hope in her voice, that distant ache for relief, and Tony closed his eyes, sighing through his nose as levelly as he could. "I went into his room to give him his present, but when I went in he wasn't there. His window was open. I was hoping he was with you."
Another beat passed. "No he's not." He said. "I'll get F.R.I.D.A.Y to track him down."
"That's the thing," May said, clearly worried now. "His suit is in the wardrobe. He never goes out without it."
Shit. He rolled his eyes to the heavens, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I'll find him." He said, and with brief goodbyes, he ended the call. If it wasn't for the worry suffocating him, he could have killed Peter Parker.
"Go on," Pepper whispered, kissing his cheek. "I'll stay here in case he comes by."
"I love you," he said, kissing her mouth. "And God help me, when I get back, I'm finishing what you started."
"Oh," she said, her eyes all fox. "I'm counting on it."
Peter Parker hated his birthday, and he had been dreading his sixteenth for a while now. He never wanted to turn sixteen. Maybe he was being childish and silly, but damn it he did not want to grow any older. He wanted to stay in school, with his friends, and to just not have to grow up.
The more he grew up, the further he left Uncle Ben behind.
He had awoken at four in the morning on the 10thAugust, choking on a cry and damp with cold sweats. He had lay there, tangled in his sheets, staring at his ceiling towards nothing at all. He had prayed that this day wouldn't come, and the day before his mood had been foul. He'd snapped at Ned for trying to make plans with him, and MJ had given him the middle finger in actual anger when he had ignored her. All she had asked was whether he wanted to get smoothies on Saturday, not even aware that it was his birthday. He'd been an asshole to both of them, and he hated himself for it, even though he knew they would get it and that they would be okay in the new week.
But he never imagined that he would be spending his sixteenth birthday without his uncle. It had never once crossed his mind. Up until a month ago, it hadn't bothered him, but as the months turned to weeks, he found himself suffocating in his grief all over again.
He didn't remember leaving his bedroom through the window. He didn't bother with the suit because nothing had his attention but his grief, and instead he simply took his web shooters. They would get him to where he needed to be. For a while he had swung through Queens, watching the sunrise, and he allowed the cool air to sooth his tense muscles. He ended up on a high building, looking up and thinking nothing for the longest time.
Yet, as the morning grew stronger, Peter found his body taking him away from Queens. It was rare he did that, at least, on his own. But as he carefully jumped over the rooftops, ensuring to stay hidden in the morning hustle and bustle of New York, he found himself at Harlem.
Before long, he was sat in front of the gravestone belonging to his uncle. His legs were crossed as he sat there, crouched forward and his hands tucked away into the front pocket of his hoody. He let the cool morning breeze cool him, making him shiver, but it didn't faze him. He stared at the engraving of his uncle's gravestone, his jaw set, and tears stung his eyes painfully.
He hated this day. Uncle Ben should have been here, celebrating his birthday with him and Aunt May. Most days, Peter tried to smile and laugh, tried to be normal despite the circumstances, but sometimes it was just too hard. He didn't know what time it was, but he probably should have checked. He knew his Aunt would worry, but he just needed to be alone sometimes, and Aunt May was… smothering, to put it lightly.
He loved her, truly he did. She was more like a mother to him, and she always would be, but like all mothers, she was sometimes too much. He needed space to breathe, and that meant that he needed to hurt her from time to time. Peter wanted her to grieve in peace, without having to worry about him. Around her, he put on his brave face and hold his chin high whilst she cried on the bad days. He would hold her when the night terrors returned every now and then, shushing her back to sleep. But sometimes, when his own nightmares of reliving that night came to terrorize him, he just needed to get away.
The nightmare had come back in full clarity on the eve of his sixteenth birthday, a cruel reminder of his reality. He didn't think about it in that moment, for living it in the real world was enough. When the nightmares held him before beating him awake, he would do everything in his power to not let the memory choke the life out of him whilst he was awake.
He tried to blink his tears away, but to no avail. They trailed down his cheeks, warm against his cool skin, and a small sob lodged itself in his throat. He never even noticed Tony Stark approach him from his left.
"You had me worried for a second, kid." Tony said. Peter didn't even flinch at his voice, nor did he look at him when he came to sit beside him, crossing his legs to mimic Peter's sitting position. "You aunt is worried sick. She called me at half five this morning asking for you."
"I'm not going back yet." Was all Peter said, still staring at the gravestone, allowing the tears to fall freely now.
"I'm not making you." Tony replied, and his tone was uncharacteristically gentle. "I let her know I found you, so she's cool. Its just me and you, kiddo."
"Maybe I want to be alone." Peter half expected Tony to snap at him, or scold him at least, but he said nothing. The pair sat in silence for a while, and Peter huddled into his hoody, shivering as he did.
"Happy Birthday, by the way, though this isn't how I was expected to spend the day with you." There was no joking in the man's voice, only regret. It almost grabbed Peter's attention, almost made him look at him, but Uncle Ben had a pull on him that no one else ever had.
"I didn't want to turn sixteen." He whispered, pulling his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them, hiding his hands in his sleeves. He knew he looked like a child now more than ever, but for once, he just didn't care.
"Tell me about him." Tony said, angling his body towards Peter in interest. It almost made him laugh.
"Don't pretend to be interested, Mr Stark." Peter sighed, finally looking sideways at the billionaire. He hated himself for saying the words immediately, expecting Tony to be angry or upset. However, Tony straightened his back, and his expression looked determined. It baffled him, so much so that his brows rose in question.
"Hey, I'm interested. Tell me everything about him, I wanna know." Tony defended himself, his hand on his chest as if securing the promise of his curiosity. Peter cocked his head, trying to read him, for he was normally terribly hard to read. Yet, right there, on the damp grass in his billionaire suit, shiny shoes and pampered hair, he had never looked more honest.
And so Peter humoured him and told him everything about Uncle Ben, right up until the moment he watched him die in the street. And Tony listened. God, he listened more than he ever had to anyone, his eyes only focussed on Peter and his stories and his own eyes. He nodded and commented where he felt he needed to, laughing at stories along with Peter, saying "wow" so many times with such honesty it hurt.
But it hurt the most when Peter told the story of how he lost him that night. Tony's face had shifted from smiling and supportive so simply grief-stricken, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing, and at long last his gaze finally tore away from Peter's. He looked utterly distraught, actually, like it was someone he himself had lost and only come to realise, and it was all Peter could do to not ask if he was all right.
Finally, Tony spoke, his voice quiet and even. "You can talk to me, you know, when things get too hard."
"I'm sure you have better things to listen to, sir." Peter replied. At that, Tony grabbed his gaze with his, and it was cold, almost a warning. It made Peter shiver and shrink into his hoody like a child ready for a telling off, but the words that followed completely threw him.
"Don't ever say that to me again." He said, his voice shaky. It took Peter a moment to realise that he was hurt. "Never think for one second that I don't want to listen to you, Pete. I do. And, shit, when things get so hard you feel like you have to hide, come to me. Call me in the middle of the day or in the dead of night, I don't give a shit, because I'll answer and I will listen to you."
The tears came again, but they were no longer for Uncle Ben. Tony saw them, blinked, and then shuffled closer to the teenager. Before Peter knew it, the billionaire's arms were around him, and his head was tucked under Tony's chin. Both of them shook with Peter's sobs, rocking the both of them, but Tony never shushed him. He let him sob in silence, allowing him to let it all out whilst he held him, and it was the support that Peter had needed for a very, very long time.
When Peter finally pulled away, Tony wrapped his hand firmly around the back of his neck. Their eyes locked, Tony's eyes hard. "Don't feel like you have to keep it in, Peter. It'll do you no good, trust me."
"I know." Peter sniffed. Tony squeezed his hand gently on his neck before he then placed it on his shoulder. Their gazes broke, and Tony began to rummage on the inside of his jacket, reaching into a pocket. His tongue stuck out in concentration, earning him the first smirk from Peter, before he finally found what he was searching for.
"Here," he said, opening his palm. "Happy Birthday."
In the centre of his palm was a single key. It looked like any other key, nothing special, in fact very simple. Peter frowned, taking it and turning it in his hand. He didn't miss that Tony was smirking at him, the smirk in which he was enjoying a silent joke.
"You're hand prints are in the data base, so when you use that key, place your hand on the pad and the door will open." Tony said, speaking as if Peter should have understood what he was on about.
"I don't get it."
"Because, as per usual, you're not listening." Tony replied, fully grinning now. "The Stark Tower, kid. That's a key for it."
Peter's eyes widened. "No."
"Don't wind me up."
"Damn it, kid, for once in your life will you trustme?" But he was smiling, his eyes warm, his face genuine. "Any time you need me, even just for a chat, just call me to let me know you're coming and I'll meet you at the door. And dear God don't lose it, those things are expensive to cut."
Peter laughed airily, almost gasping, and nothing else needed to be said. Tony used his awestruck state to his advantage and hoisted Peter to his feet, muttering about how expensive his suit was in disgust, but his eyes and smile remained warm.
"Come one, I'll give you a lift home." Tony said. "Unless you don't want to yet?"
Peter looked down at the gravestone, sniffling a little, before looking back to Tony, who was now waiting a few feet away. "Is Happy waiting in the car? I don't want to put him out of his way."
Tony smiled. "I told you, kid, it's just me and you. I'm the driver today."
"No way," he breathed, and he heard his own heart stop for the briefest of moments. Tony Stark, in his own car, driving it. Oh, the possibilities! "Which car?"
"Audi R8." Tony was grinning again, jerking his head in a direction behind him. "Where to?"
Peter was, for the first time in a while, beaming like a child on Christmas Day. "Anywhere but home."
I hope you liked it, sorry for any mistakes!