“I mean, I’m not totally against it, but it’s just so weird…” Peter gives a full-body shudder as he slumps forward to prop both arms on the buffet counter. “It’s like…like you know the feeling when you’re at a birthday party or something and you’ve got a bunch of different friend groups that should never meet all mixed up? It’s like that. And it’s weird.”
“It’s not like they’ve never been in the same room before, kid—” Tony counters absently as he chases fried eggs around the pan with a spatula, over-easy for him and Morgan, over-hard and crispy around the edges for Peter and Pepper. It’s a little trickier now, with the prosthetic arm’s fiddly settings and clumsy fingers, but he’s getting better. He’ll work back up to omelets if it kills him. “You forgetting all those awkward dinners? Because I sure haven’t.”
Peter snickers at Tony’s grimace, but shakes his head. In the wake of Peter’s first grand identity reveal, there had been a smattering of stilted meetings and forced dinners: some with just May and Tony, both warily feeling each other out as they began to navigate the uncharted waters of keeping a teenage vigilante alive until graduation, but others with Peter and Happy along for the ride just because they were as deeply involved in the spider-wrangling as the other two. They’d all been painfully awkward in—as Peter had described—the uncomfortable mingling of circles that shouldn’t overlap, but evidently, May and Happy weren’t too bothered. At least not now, given that they’re currently off on the weekend getaway to the Catskills that’s left Peter at the lake house for the duration.
“Yeah, yeah, but they weren’t flirting at each other like teenagers back then,” Peter grumbles. “It’s kinda gross.”
“Oh, you think teenage flirting is gross?” Tony snorts hard, a sharp grin that pulls at the scar tissue along his jaw blooming across his face as he shifts the frying pan off the heat to begin divvying up the breakfast. “Like two-hour phone calls and making sappy eyes at your text messages and—”
“—having a panic if you don’t get to talk to her every day? You think that’s gross, Mr. Just-Got-A-Girlfriend?”
Peter huffs at him, but his scandalized frown looks suspiciously like it’s on the verge of collapsing into an embarrassed smile right up until he thumps his head against the marble to hide it.
“That’s rude. I’m in crisis here—real, emotional crisis!—and you’re mocking me! So rude.”
Tony lets out a cackle as he slides the plate meant for Peter down the counter and folds the girls’ breakfast under a layer of napkins to keep warm until they come down. He’s heard a few drowsy footsteps creaking overhead, but on a lazy Sunday morning, it could be a while before either of them actually emerges. Morgan takes after him when it comes to keeping a night owl’s schedule, and Pepper needs all the rest she can get after all the rallying of the legal team she’s done in the past weeks just to get the Beck situation under control. Still, Tony’s content with the fact that they’re all safely in one place for once.
“C’mon, I’m not gonna hand-feed you.” He reaches over to prod Peter’s sleep-ruffled curls with a metal finger as he settles onto the barstool next to him. Peter groans and stays stubbornly still, as if he’s going to ignore the painstakingly cobbled-together breakfast on principle. “Sit up and take the plate before it gets cold, Romeo.”
“You keep harassing me, and I’m gonna take it outside and eat with Gerald.” The tone is pure sullen teenager, but Peter’s eyes are twinkling when he straightens up to tug the plate over. Tony feels his grin broaden, the overwhelming sensation of calm, of content, of rightness settling over him like one of the cozy quilts Pepper keeps buying to drape over any empty surfaces she finds. He didn’t think he’d have the chance to do this. To do any of this. Bickering with his kid over breakfast and teasing him about his first steady girlfriend are priceless gifts, being there to gape with him over the shock that is Happy and May is a miracle…being there at all is more than he deserves.
“Go for it, you’ll miss my witty repartee before you clear the front porch,” Tony says, nonchalant in the knowledge that Peter isn’t going anywhere. Peter rolls his eyes as he forks up half an egg for an enormous bite that screams choking hazard to anyone but a teenager, but he doesn’t protest. With the world only just beginning to settle around them, admissions of care—whether sappy or sarcastic—are never rejected. And Tony can’t say he minds.