Date: August 29th, 2008
Character(s)/team(s): Tony Stark (Iron Man), Peter Parker (Spider-Man)
Prompt: "Don't you know you've got your daddy's eyes/Daddy was an alcoholic" -- or: Tony and Peter both have daddy issues.
Rating: PG 13
Word Count: 1130
Summery: Tony's father never approved of him, Peter lacked a father, why did this make it way too easy for Tony to slip into that role?
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the Marvel universe, no matter how much I would love too. This was written completely for entertainment purposes only, and maybe because I'm insane. Take your pick.
Author Note: I tried to make this slash, but somehow it kept stuck just before it hit that point. So ... gen (or one-sided pre-slash)
Tony let his hand slide over Peter’s chest as he checked his heartbeat, feeling the thickness of his containment suit between him and Peter. Feeling the sweat on Peter’s body, he took a sponge and carefully brushed it over the young man’s muscled chest.
He could have called in May or Mary Jane, but he didn’t. They weren’t supposed to be in this area, for their own safety’s sake. Peter was infected with at least two or three viruses from the rocket that he’d managed to stop.
He could have brought in a doctor, but Peter was always so cautious about his secret identity. Paranoid almost. Not that Tony could blame him. Peter had as much if not more enemies than he himself did and several of them held personal grudges.
Peter’s eyes opened for a second, and Tony thought he might be waking up. But then Peter started mumbling to someone, still trapped in his fever.
“I’m sorry.” Peter whispered. “I’ll be good daddy, please come back, I’ll be good.”
But it was clear that his fear was made true, rather than lost. Tony wondered what had happened with Peter’s father. Would it be worth it to check up on it? It didn’t matter not really, but Tony could remember another boy a long time gone, desperately wanting his father to approve of him. Another long lost boy who’d never be good enough.
He gently brushed through Peter’s hair, like a father caressing his son, letting him know it was safe to sleep on. Just a boy, a child; Peter was only a decade younger than him, yet somehow Spider-Man felt far younger.. Maybe it was because he’d been a teenager when he started. Maybe the fact that he’d been a kid then, made it so that many of them still saw him as a kid now, even though he’d been an adult for years.
When Peter woke up, Tony gave him one of his own shirts. Peter never asked why Tony hadn’t just asked MJ for some of his own clothes. With Peter living in the tower, Tony finally managed to get to know him. Not just the prankster with the obnoxious sense of humor, but the intelligent young man that hid underneath the joking. The boy that needed someone to guide him and direct him. Peter seemed to desperately need someone to be a father to him and Tony couldn’t help but step into the role.
To show Peter how proud he was of him, like his father had never done for him. To protect Peter’s family and become a part of it. It was so easy to like May and Mary Jane, and when May started seeing Jarvis, it just made sense. He shared a grin with Steve. What could be more natural than for his family and Peter’s family to come together like that?
And then Peter almost died. Tony had hidden his pain, he’d tried to step in the role as a father again, protect Mary Jane, and look after May. Be there for Peter’s family, when Peter couldn’t do so himself. And when Peter came back, since they always did, he had to stop himself from standing there saying: “See, I looked after them for you. Aren’t you proud?”
Because if your father can’t be proud of you, then who better to do so instead than your son?”
Peter had looked at him with those lovely brown eyes of his and thanked him. Tony had wanted to see more of that smile so he made Peter a costume. His boy, his colors, a nice way to show the world that Spider-Man was his, his family. Sure, Peter nagged about it, but he still wore the costume. He wore the colors. He wore them as he stood or hung down in congress and spoke up for their community. Tony wanted to lay his hand on the boy’s shoulder, to bring Peter’s body close to his own and give him a hug. Peter needed a hug.
Tony wanted to pat him on the back and tell him he’d done well, even if he had to tell him what he did wrong. Because that’s what fathers do, they point their children down the right path. And Peter sat next to him on the steps, eyes filled with guilt over how he’d messed up. So close and yet so far.
“Will things get better?” Peter asked him a few days later, and Tony hesitated to tell him that it would. Because it had to, because he’d planned for it to get better, but how could he be sure?
“Yes they will. They just need to get used to seeing your face.”
And then he smiled.
He sent Peter of to a game show, get people familiar with his face. Make him a household commodity, so they’d stop fearing him. So he spread action figures and pillows with the new suit on it. There were talks of a cartoon based on Peter’s likeness, a new comic called ‘Young Spider-Man. Anything to make people understand that Peter was one of them. To show him off to the world, to let them see his boy and be proud of him, as he was, as May was.
To tell Steve: “Look at what I can do for him, why didn’t you?”
Peter flinched whenever the press got near and they’d started spreading rumors about him dating people other than MJ, models he was supposed to be sleeping with, oncoming paternity suits that made no sense whatsoever. He lost his job at the school because they thought he brought threats to the students. He was sued and libeled and Tony wondered what he’d done wrong. Why didn’t they love his boy as they should?
Peter went through it with grace, a flip and a smile and a joked “Hey boss”.
Tony had never been prouder.
“I need to see the prison.” Peter asked. And Tony had looked at his son, and figured, yes he did need to see it. He needed to see what they were doing. So he showed it to him, showed him how the people in it were living, how they were held there and what could happen to someone who went on the wrong path.
And his heart broke when he realized that Peter wasn’t proud, that Peter didn’t understand, couldn’t hope to understand.
Peter, his son, his protégé, and Steve still held a stronger hold on him than he ever could. And Tony didn’t understand why. Didn’t Peter want a father?
Tony wanted to reach for him, to pull him back in, to tell him it would all be alright again, if he just came back home.
Peter uttered one word “Surprise”, and Tony lost him forever.