Tony doesn't know where he is. As in, he doesn't know if he's even on earth. The world around him, it's so desolate...and dead.
Crimson dust and dirt infest the destroyed planet's air. Tony looks around. Ancient skeletons and fresh corpses lie everywhere. He feels the fear intensify in his chest. He feels that something horrible is about to happen.
Suddenly a painful scream breaks the creepy silence. Tony tries to move, but his limbs don't respond. It's as if an invisible rope has chained him in place. The screams continue until a tiny figure crashes hard into the red ground before him.
"Peter!" Tony tries with all of his strength to stand up when the kid doesn't move. He cries out in despair when the familiar purple giant appears. Someone who visits Tony every night in his sleep. Tony shouts helplessly as Thanos lifts the unconscious kid up by his neck and begins to constrict his throat. Peter wakes up from the sudden pain. As he begins to panic, his terrified eyes meet Tony's.
"Tony! Tony, please!" His whimpers make the older superhero's heart shatter, before a sickening crack from his neck silences the child.
"NO!" Tony shouts.
He wakes with a start. His heart is still beating hard in his chest, as if it wants to run away. He sits up and takes a few deep breath to calm himself down, but the picture of his murdered child won't leave his mind.
He buries his face in his hands and starts to sob. He's had nightmares almost every night since he became Iron Man, but this one was different. It seemed so real. And this time, he wasn't the one who died. Peter was.
Two months has passed since the teen moved in the Compound, but during this brief time their relationship became insanely close. Tony had started to worry about the kid all the time, like some caring mum, and it scared him. How did he turn into this?
After a few minutes he begins to doubt that he'll be able to go back to sleep. At least, not until he sees the kid. Until he is absolutely sure that Peter is alive.
He literally jumps out of his bed, and nearly runs into the room next to him. Peter is already up when the older man kneels next to his bed.
"What the-?" asks Peter as he rubs his eyes, still half asleep, but he quiets when he sees his mentor's terrified face staring at him in the moonlight.
Tony doesn't respond, just lays his hand on Peter's chest so he can feel the kid's heart beating. He lets out a sigh of relief and resumes staring into the nothingness.
Peter suddenly realizes what's going on. He's had enough nightmares to recognize one. He lifts his own hand to rest on Tony's.
"Bad dream?" asks Peter quietly. Tony just nods.
"Yeah, I have those too," Peter continues lightly "What did you dream about?"
Tony finally glances up at him, but doesn't take away his hand. He hesitates a bit - afraid of the other's reaction - before answering.
To Tony's surprise, the kid doesn't even flinch. He doesn't know, but Peter has the same upsetting dreams about him.
"I see…" Peter moves their hands away from his chest, but doesn't break the hold. "Would you like to stay here?"
Tony's eyes widen. He didn't expect this question. He is a mature, grown-up man. He doesn't need to sleep with anybody.
Maybe he could make sure, that the kid is safe. Nobody can hurt him if Tony is there, right? Before he can say no, he finds himself nodding.
Peter has already shifted on the warm bed and lifted up the blanket for the older man.
Tony doesn't need more invitations; he quickly crawls under the soft cover. Peter lies facing towards him, his eyes closed. Tony squeezes his hand before whispering, "Thank you, kiddo"
Peter peeks an eye open, his lips curling fondly.
"I won't go anywhere, Mr. Stark. I usually don't leave the people I love," he says gently, huddling closer to Tony and shutting his eyes again.
However, the word "love" didn't escape Tony's attention, nor did the unusual warm feeling in his chest. He wraps one arm around the kid, and starts to run his hand through his hair. After a few minutes, when he is sure Peter is asleep, he whispers,
"I love you too, kid."
However, Peter lies to close to him. Tony can't see the smirk on the kid's his face.