Off all the things to choose from, it starts with a tweet. Or rather, to be more precise, it starts with two.
Spiderman @_ professionalwebslinger
dad come pick me up pls
Iron Man @tonystark
on my way
Twitter, per expectations, promptly explodes. Tony? He’s mostly just concerned.
“Pete, you know if you wanted to spend time with me, all you had to do was text. No need to break the internet to do it.” He chuckles out, face still buried in the teenager’s brunette locks.
Peter’s wriggling in the embrace, digging his arms under Tony’s ribs to get a firm grasp of the older man’s lean frame.
“Figured if I was gonna make a social media debut, appealing to the people’s domestic side would be cool. ‘Sides, Pepper says it was okay?” His voice gets smaller and smaller the longer he speaks and Tony’s ruffling his hair without a second thought.
“So you told Pep beforehand but didn't tell me? I had to find out from Happy, of all people. After one of the desk girls told him.” Maybe he’s a little bitter but mostly he’s just confused, just a tad worried.
All he gets in response is an unintelligible murmur.
“My own protege! My darling apprentice! My inspiring intern! Seeking my attention of his own volition? And on a public platform for all the civilized world to see? What brought this on?”
The sixteen year-old superhero burrows deeper into his chest for a second before, seemingly reluctantly, popping his head up and out to get a proper look at Tony. He’s grinning all the while, expression sheepish as he unwraps a toned arm to rub at the back of his neck.
“It’s just, well- I was bored and I missed you, I guess. The city’s been pretty quiet since.. you know… everyone came back. I think the world’s still recovering.”
“Sweetheart, you really should have called.” Tony’s face is tender now, even more so than before, and a calloused hand comes up to hold Peter’s cheek.
He untangles his other limb from the suddenly somber teenager, maneuvering the two of them over to a nearby couch and grabbing a nearby, neatly-folded blanket to cover them both in.
“It wasn’t that bad, really… I just got lonely all of a sudden, y’know? I’m sorry.”
“I told you to stop apologizing, didn’t I? You haven’t done anything to feel sorry for, Pup.”
Tony knows what this is about, has had a good idea since Peter latched onto him when he came to pick the teenage superhero up during patrol- since Peter refused to let go until the armor was disappearing back into the R.T. node on the billionaire’s silver tie. He’s undoing the piece of clothing quickly enough, unbuttoning his dress shirt and exposing his nape, trying to fill the air with as much soothing pheromones as chemically possible under the influence of his scent inhibitors. He’s never been quite so inconvenienced by the suppressant as he is right now- right now when Peter’s furrowing his eyebrows like he can barely tell his pack Omega is in the room doing his best to remind him that he’s in the real world and the right reality. It’s hard to say the least. They’re both aware that the stuff Tony’s on is quality-grade but Peter dives back into his waiting arms with a desperation the older man has no doubt he’s been forcing down all this time.
The deep, gulping breaths the brunette takes come as no surprise to either party and Tony rubs at his back in consolation, long, slow motions doing nothing to ease Pete’s shaking.
“I’m here, Peter, I’m here. It’s Monday, October 21st, 2019 and we’re in Stark Tower. You’re back, now. You’ve been back for six months. This is the real world, Puppy, I promise.” He repeats the words over and over again, spending the better part of five minutes reciting the familiar mantra.
It’s routine they’re both well-versed in but it feels no different from the first time he’d had to do it. Six months ago, in the wreckage of Titan after it’d been reduced back to cinder and dust. After Thanos. After everything. He doesn’t miss it, of course he doesn’t. None of them do. Nevertheless, it hasn’t gotten any easier. He’d barely gotten Peter back whole the first time and it’s an experience he can’t burn out of his memory even if he tried.
His son comes back choking and hacking, suffocating on the air that fills his lungs after months- years, decades, centuries, time had worked differently there- of non-air. Tony catches him in his arms, holds him there while he convulses, attempts to return his shuddering frame to a state of stability. At this point, Tony’s lost the energy necessary for tears- body and mind too bruised and beaten and, more than that, just plain exhausted force itself to expel water it doesn’t have. Peter looks crazed when he comes out of it, brown eyes wrought with hopelessness and despair and bond-deprivation and he looks like he’ll float away any second so Tony does what he knows from experience will help- offers his pup his hand and only just flinches when he bites.
The wound is deep, he knows it as soon as Peter sinks long canines into the pallid flesh he’s willfully exposed there and he can hear Rhodey protest behind him, leaving Sam where he’d been hugging him to stop his best friend from doing something stupid and unnecessary. But Rhodey is pack too, by all means Rhodey would be pack Alpha if Tony’s circle of important people had ever run by conventional standards(they don’t, which is the very reason why an Omega is considered the lead) so he stops when he reaches them, only drops down to his knees and places a hand on Tony’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. The billionaire sits there, numb and over-sensitive at the same time, carding unbloodied fingers through his lost child’s hair in a reminder that what had once been out of reach was living and breathing in front of him, now.
Peter isn’t biting him, this time, nose buried as physically close to his scent glands as possible but leaving the skin there intact and unmarred unlike the upper-heel of Tony’s left palm. It’s late in the day, thankfully, which means the inhibitors he’d taken should be wearing off soon and he breathes easier knowing his second-youngest pup won’t be so distressed when he can properly smell him.
“You know, if Harley saw you now, he’d never stop teasing you.”
That gets him a snort and the older brunette feels the skin of Peter’s lips rise slightly in a smile, where his face is buried in his neck.
“Harls can call me ‘Scent Hog’ all he likes, he didn’t have to go without feeling the bond for a year.”
Tony’s answering grin doesn’t reach all the way to his eyes, the typically-bright expression tinged with sorrow. He lets out a shaky exhale, muscled arms tightening around the teenager’s tense frame.
If only he’d done better.
“Oh, child of mine, how you’ve suffered so.” It comes out in a whisper but, close as they are, Peter wouldn’t need super-hearing to catch it.
“You already did everything you could, Dad. It’s not your fault nobody ever listens.” The sixteen year-old grumbles, look up at his father-figure through heavy-lidded eyes.
¨I know what you’re thinking and you need to stop it right now.”
There’s a stubborn glint staring back at him from those deep pools and Tony remembers too clearly the arguments following a similar vein since before it had all been said and un done. It’s the memory that has him conceding, easily, too tired to protest against the assurances of his loved ones any longer.
“Okay, okay, Pup. I’ll stop.” He says, begrudgingly.
Peter nods at that, settling back into his arms and nuzzling softly-tousled curls into the skin of his neck. Tony stifles what would have been a very manly
giggle chuckle at the feeling and settles instead on fixing the rapidly-falling blanket wrapped around them.
“How’s the new term going, by the way? That Flash kid still bothering you?”
He gets another amused snort.
“Not since you and May refused to let me out of your sight and told the school you’d be making periodical visits just to be absolutely safe.”
The genius inventor hums noncommittally, eyes closed, content to let the younger inhale the slowly-returning scent of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Tony lifts a heavy eyelid to look at his son.
They smile at each other.
“Yeah, you’re home.”