Peter isn’t the brightest fellow. You see, today had been his GSA’s recruitment day and everyone who was out was asked to wear pride pins. Long story short, he forgot he was wearing it and just walks into Mr. Starks's lab with a transgender pride pin on his chest. Peter had been out in school since he was eleven.
But Mr. Stark doesn’t know that.
“Peter?” Mr. Stark asks when he notices Peter stopped in the doorway with a petrified look on his face. “You okay?”
Peter nods rapidly and quickly rushes to his desk. He turns his back to Mr. Stark as soon as he sits down and practically rips the pin off his chest, not caring where goes as long as it’s off his chest before Mr. Stark sees it. If he hasn’t already. He nearly jumps out of his skin when Mr. Stark touches his shoulder.
Peter shakes his head, “I’m fine, Mr. Stark. I just want to get to work.”
Mr. Stark frowns and squeezes his shoulder, “Alright. You knew you can tell me anything right?” Peter’s breath gets stuck in his throat. Did he see? Did he figure it out?
“I-uh, yeah. I know,” Peter says, forcing the words out of his mouth.
Tony sighs and pulls up a stool to sit beside Peter, “So what do you want to do today?”
Peter’s mood changes like the flick of a light switch. He grins and pulls out his notebook, chattering happily about new web combinations, the pin all but forgotten. But he does notice how every few minutes Mr. Stark’s gaze will turn to him with concern. Just like every Friday, the time flies by. He finds two new combinations and (with Mr. Stark’s help) has started coding his own, very basic, AI. And all too soon, it’s midnight and Peter receives a text from May to tell him to stay the night with Mr. Stark.
“Is that okay?” Peter asks nervously.
Mr. Stark gives him a soft smile, “Of course it’s okay. You remember where your room is right?”
Peter nods, “Thank you.” Peter says goodnight to Mr. Stark, slings his backpack over his shoulder, and walks sleepily to the elevator and up to his room. But he doesn’t notice the pink, blue, and white pin on the floor of the lab.
Peter wakes up on Saturday morning to light rain tapping against his windows. He smiles to himself and burrows himself deeper into the stack of blankets on top of him. His eyelids flutter and he hides his face against his pillow
“FRIDAY, what time’s it?” He murmurs sleepily.
“It is 9 am, Peter. Boss wanted me to tell you that he is waiting for you in the living room when you wake up.” FRIDAY replies sweetly.
Peter frowns, “He is?” He shoves his hair out of his eyes and extracts himself from the blankets. While he changes into a t-shirt and sweatpants, he mulls over in his head. Why does Mr. Stark wants to talk to him? Did he find out? Does he know?
When he walks into the living room, he sees Mr. Stark sitting hunched over on the couch. In his hands is Peter’s pin.
“Mr. Stark?” Peter asks, his voice shaking. Mr. Stark looks up to Peter with a concerned look on his face. Oh no oh no. He knows. He hates me. He’s going to yell at me. He’s never going to want to see me again.
“Kid, can you come here?” Mr. Stark’s voice is strained, his thumbs run over the surface of the pin. Peter nods jerkily and sits down a few feet away from Mr. Stark, his legs curling to his chest. “Is this yours?” Mr. Stark holds the pin to Peter in an open palm.
“Yeah.” No use in lying anymore. Emotion rises in his chest as he prepares himself to be screamed at. Told he’s worthless. That he’s going to hell. That he’s a girl. That his name isn’t Peter.
Mr. Stark nods and runs his hand through his hair, “Have I been calling you by the wrong name and pronouns this whole time?”
And that’s when breaks Peter. He covers his mouth as he sobs, tears pooling quickly in his eyes and running over his cheeks. Mr. Stark for his part looks shocked and very very nervous. He moves closer to Peter and takes his arm, pulling him into a tight hug. One of his hands rests on the back of his head while the other rubs comforting circles into his back.
“Shh...shh...” Mr. Stark gently rocks him back and forward. “It’s alright, I don’t mind that you’re trans, you’re still my kid. No matter what. It might take some adjustment if you want me to call you by a different name, but I can do it.”
Peter hiccups and pulls away from Mr. Stark enough to sit up, “You-you don’t mind?” Mr. Stark shakes his head with a smile and squeezes his hand. “You only want-only want to know you’re using the right-right pronouns?” Mr. Stark nods and Peter tackles him with another hug. “Peter. My name’s Peter.”
“Okay, Pete.” Mr. Stark holds him even tighter. “What do you want for breakfast?”
Peter chokes out a laugh, “Can we have french toast?”
Mr. Stark kisses the top of his head, “Of course.”