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Very Distinctive Hands

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“Tony, stop pouting,” Steve told the genius. He got a rather petulant look in reply even as Tony defended himself.

“I am not pouting. I do not pout.”

Natasha rolled her eyes while Clint snickered beside her. “Man, what else do you call that? You’re pouting and you know it.” Tony glared at the archer but was interrupted by Steve before he could comment.

“Peter will be back soon.”

Sam and Bucky came into the common room from the kitchen, lightly shoving at each other as they went. With one last push at Sam’s shoulder, Bucky asked “Why exactly is he out of town anyway?”

Tony pouted more. “He’s got a work thing.”

Sam’s eyebrows furrowed. “What is it that he does anyway? I mean, to have time to do all the Spiderman stuff that he does but also have to go out of town…”

This question, like usual, caused everyone to look curiously at Tony. He was the only one who actually knew about Spiderman’s civilian identity. The rest of the team had only actually known the wall crawler for a little less than a year. Tony, they knew, had known him for a few years before that. Around the team, Spidey kept his mask on. They’d only learned his actual name, or rather his first name, a couple months ago. Since then, they’d been trying to find out more about him.

Tony’s not-pout disappeared instantly at the question. “Hey, no trying to learn Peter’s identity when he’s not even here!”

This time they all seemed to roll their eyes. They knew how protective Tony could be of his favorite spider. Honestly, the fact that the two of them supposedly weren’t dating was almost more of a mystery than Peter himself.

“Come on, Tony,” Clint said with a groan. “When do we get to see who’s behind the mask? I mean, isn’t it about time?”

“That’s up to Peter,” Tony said with a shrug.

“Come on man. Wouldn’t you like your boy to be comfortable on movie night? Or even just at dinner?” Same raised his eyebrows as he asked and didn’t even bother to hide his grin when he saw Tony’s cheeks flush.

“He- he’s not my boy.” He got multiple disbelieving looks and sounds in reply. Tony shot them a light glare and tried to fight back the red in his cheeks. “Besides, it’s not my decision or yours. It’s up to Peter and Peter only.”

“Well, I appreciate that, Tony.” They all turned to the elevator at the unexpected but familiar voice. Spiderman himself stood in front of the silently closing elevator doors, a faded black duffle bag over his shoulder and a heavy looking black and silver case of some kind in one hand.

“Peter!” Tony’s face lit up like a little kid in a candy store at the sight of the red and blue spider.

Natasha looked at him curiously as the others gave their own, not quite as enthusiastic, greetings. “You’re home early.”

It wasn’t a question. Peter had said he’d be back on Tuesday and it was only Monday afternoon.  

Peter shrugged. “Well, my flight was scheduled for tomorrow morning, but someone decided to send me his private jet instead.” He looked at Tony and somehow, even with the mask, they just knew he must have had the most deadpan expression possible.

Tony scrunched up his nose. “What, you wanted to fly commercial? Ew. No. You deserve better than that,” he said with a decisive nod. “Besides, this way we know your equipment was handled with all the care needed.” He pointed at the odd black and silver case as he spoke.

“There’s nothing wrong with flying commercial,” Peter defended. “But, yeah, I was a lot less worried about my equipment.”

“And what equipment is that?” Clint asked. They were all looking curiously at the case, wondering what exactly it held.

Spiderman just laughed a bit. “You guys really want to know who I am and what I do, huh?”

There was a resounding ‘yes’ from Clint, Sam, and Bucky. Natasha just looked at him with one curious eyebrow raised as even she had respected his wish to keep a secret identity. Steve was the only one to look the least bit apologetic though it was obvious that he was just as eager to know.

Tony rolled his eyes. “You guys know the rule. You only get to know when Peter decides. It’s up to him if he-“


They all whipped around to stare at Spiderman with varying levels of surprise.

“Seriously?” Sam asked, delighted. “You’re gonna tell us who you are?”

“What you do?” Bucky added, looking again at the case.

“We get to see your face?” Clint asked, rubbing his hands together. That made them all pause.

“Why are you so happy about that in particular?” Natasha asked him suspiciously. She had a feeling she knew why, though. Clint’s next words only confirmed her theory.

“We’ll finally get to see if he blushes as much as Tony when we talk about their little not-relationship.” As if on cue, Tony’s cheeks flushed a light pink. They could only assume, for now, that Peter’s were similar.

Steve took the opportunity to steer the conversation back to the original topic. “Now, wait a minute. Peter, this is your decision. I know we’re all curious but if you don’t actually feel comfortable with this then you don’t have to do it.”

“I know, Steve. Really. I’ve actually been thinking about this for a while now and this just seems like the perfect opportunity to do it.”

“You really sure about this, Pete?” Tony asked him. His concern was obvious, but he also seemed almost as eager as everybody else. After all, Tony certainly wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to see Peter out of uniform around the tower instead of just in his lab or other private areas.

“Yeah, Tony. I’m sure.” Spidey shifted the bag hanging over his shoulder as he started toward the hallway that lead to their bedrooms. They all had one, even Peter, though he still refused Tony’s offers to move into the tower with the rest of them. “Just let me put my stuff down and change. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Without the mask, right?” Clint asked.

“Without the mask,” Peter confirmed.

“I can’t believe it’s finally happening,” Sam said, eagerly watching the hallway with everybody else. “I mean, it’s kinda like I thought it would never actually happen, you know?” He looked around at the others and got agreeing nods in answer.

Steve’s eyebrows furrowed. “What about everybody else? I mean, Vision and Wanda are in Scotland right now. And Thor, Bruce, and Loki are in Norway.”

Clint automatically frowned at the trickster god’s name. While it was true that they’d accepted the truth of Loki’s brainwashing and knew that New York wasn’t really his fault, things were still tense between the two of them in particular.

Bucky shrugged. “Peter can decide the next time he sees them I guess.”

“He said he’s been thinking about this for a while, so he’ll probably have no problem showing everybody else his face too,” Natasha pointed out.

“I’m just so excited!” Clint gushed, pushing Loki out of his mind for the time being. This only earned the over excited man-child amused looks from everybody else. “Guys, we’re gonna see his face!”

“We know, Clint,” Steve said patiently.

“His face, guys!”

“We know, Clint,” Bucky said less patiently.

“I mean,” Clint continued, “I’ve never even seen his hands.”

“There’s a reason for that,” Tony muttered, still watching the hallway, waiting for his, ahem, for the spider to come back.

“A reason we can’t see his hands?” Sam asked incredulously. “What, are they very distinctive or something? We’d see them and be able to figure out exactly who he is?” He didn’t ask like they were serious questions, but Tony looked at him completely serious.

“Yes,” Tony said. “Look, I’m telling you all now, warning you, what you’re gonna see is probably not what you’re expecting.”

“What do you mean, Tony?” Steve asked. Tony went to answer but before he could their attention was drawn back to the hallway as Peter himself reappeared. They all turned to look at him and then proceeded to freeze as soon as they saw him.

Tony was right. None of them were expecting what they saw.

Peter stood before them wearing a faded pair of blue jeans with a hole worn in one knee. He had on a black Fleetwood Mac t-shirt and his feet were bare. The shock came from the ink that covered nearly every inch of his exposed arms. They could even see a bit creeping over the collar of his shirt, up to his neck.

“Huh,” Sam muttered. “Very distinctive hands.”

Peter’s hands, along with a few silver rings, were also decorated with ink. Most noticeable was the large rose on the back of his left hand. It was red with a distinct golden color shading the edges of the petals.  

It took a minute for them to stop looking at his tattoos and take in his face. Peter’s hair was a mess of brown curls. He had a sweet face that could only be described as pretty and a jawline that could probably cut glass. His pink lips were turned up into a cute smile and he had the bright brown eyes of a floppy eared puppy. None of these things were particularly shocking. Really, after the tattoos, nothing was really shocking about Spidey anymore. Not even the earrings they could see lining each ear or the silver stud he had in his nose.

“Peter Parker.”

“What?” Bucky asked, blinking out of his daze along with everybody else as Peter spoke.

“My name is Peter Parker,” he said, still smiling.

Steve smiled back at him. “Nice to meet you, Peter Parker.”

Tony walked over to Peter with a bright smile and tossed an arm over his shoulders. “Well, how does it feel to freely walk around the tower, huh, Pete?”

“It feels great actually.” The two of them looked at each other, smiling, the very definition of heart eyes though they’d both deny it if asked.

“Get a room you two,” Sam told them, grinning when they both turned red at the insinuation.

“Yes!” Clint yelled with a victorious fist pump. “I knew it! Look at the little strawberries,” he cooed.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Bucky said over Peter and Tony’s denials. They’d all learned to just ignore the two oblivious idiots. “So, what is it that you do? I mean,” he gestured at Peter’s arms, “with ink like that…”

“Actually, my ink’s kind of like a uniform, really,” Peter said. “I’m a tattoo artist,” he elaborated at their confused looks.

“And a body piercer and an entrepreneur,” Tony crowed proudly. “Peter here owns his own tattoo shop on the edge of Queens.” Peter’s cheeks turned pink again under Tony’s clear praise.

Natasha hummed thoughtfully. “So, by equipment you meant…”

“My tattoo machine,” Peter confirmed. “There was a body arts expo in Los Angeles. That why I’ve been gone the last few days.”

“Believe me, we know it’s been days,” Steve said with a pointed look in Tony’s direction. After all, the not-pouting had begun only a few hours after Peter had called to say goodbye before his flight to Los Angeles.

Tony waved a dismissive hand. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Now,” he clapped his hands together and turned towards Peter. “Since you’ve decided everybody can know who you are, how about moving into the tower?”

“Tony, we’ve talked about this.”

“I know, but-“

“I can take care of myself. My apartment is fine.”

“Yes to the first. No to the second.”

“Tony…” Peter headed towards the kitchen with Tony trailing behind him still trying to convince him to move into the tower, rambling about how terrible Peter’s apartment was and how much of a jerk his landlord was.

Neither of them seemed to notice that at some point they’d locked hands, Tony’s thumb rubbing lightly back and forth at the edge of Peter’s rose.

“They’re gonna be so much worse now that they can actually look at each other, aren’t they,” Sam said. It wasn’t a question.

“Yup,” Steve sighed. “It’s cute though.” Sam and Natasha both nodded slightly in agreement. If there was anything the Avengers and extended allies agreed on it was that Tony and Peter’s status as not-a-couple-because-they’re-both-so-oblivious-and-stubborn was both very frustrating and very cute.

Clint suddenly turned away from where he’d been staring at the kitchen doorway. “Was that a spider and web tattooed on his neck?”

Natasha stood from where she’d been perched on one of the couches. “Probably. He is Spiderman, after all.” She made her own way to the kitchen. She needed to hear more about this apartment and landlord. She might just need to help Tony convince Peter to move in. There was no way her little spider brother was staying in that apartment if it was even half as bad as Tony was making it sound.