Dad and pops were fighting again.
They had been for at least a week now. Peter was used to the occasional blowup for a night, maybe two, before they got all stupidly sappy with one another again.
This was new. Scary.
They avoided each other in the day and screamed at each other in the night when they thought he was asleep. Pops had been sleeping in the spare room for at least six of the seven nights it had been going on for. Dinner time had become a nightmare; Uncle Clint having to swap seats so he was sat in between them and prevent another fight from springing up while they ate.
He didn’t want them to split up. Divorced parents were a pain in the ass, according to the girl who sat next to him in math class. She was always talking about what a hassle it was, moving all her stuff from one house to another every weekend.
And it meant one of them would have to leave. Move out. Get a new life and a new partner and maybe even a new kid-
But Peter really didn’t want to think about that.
Today was the fifth day of Peter coming home to see only one of his parents in the kitchen, where there should usually be two. They tended to hang around, waiting for him in order to ambush him and ask questions about his day. Their latest fad was ‘so how was Wade today?’ or something along those lines, in that stupid sing-song voice that adults always did when they were being dicks.
It had been irritating- but Peter wouldn’t have minded now. If it meant they’d been doing it together, sending stupid smirky grins toward one another or just holding hands at the table rather than looking cold and tired- he wouldn’t have minded at all.
Today it was dad who greeted him. He was sat with a coffee in hand and tablet in the other, idly tapping at the keys and trying to keep his eyes open. Peter knew he hadn’t been sleeping well- it wasn’t exactly hard to tell. And although they never spoke to him about what they did with the avengers, Peter could guess that that had been the trigger for all the stupidity lately.
He didn’t have to be the genius he was in order to figure that out. Pops hadn’t come back from the mission two Fridays ago; they’d hurried him off to hospital instead. And then three days later, once he’d been given the all-clear, dad had brought him home, where they’d proceeded to have a huge argument. Right in front of Peter.
Honestly, he’d just wanted to be able to sit with pops and make sure he was okay- let him stroke his hair and quiet his worries and say how tough he was, that he wouldn’t go down that easy. But instead he’d had to be hurried away by Uncle bruce, who was rolling his eyes and apologizing on behalf of them, saying that he’d be able to talk to his pops soon, but it wasn’t a good time right now.
Peter had scowled, told Uncle Bruce moodily ‘I’m thirteen, not an idiot- I know that’, and then slammed up to his room to wait it out. And, of course, Pops had hobbled up eventually; sitting on the bed with him and assuring him he was okay, he was tough as nails, and he would always, always come home to Peter.
Except he’d been alone. and usually, no matter how mad they were at each other, Pops and Dad had always talked to Peter about this together.
That had been the first warning. From then on, it had seemed things just got progressively worse.
“Hey squirt- how was school?” Dad asked, when Peter dropped his bag and began making his way into the kitchen in order to make himself a bowl of cereal (he was a growing boy, okay, shut up, cereal in the afternoon was perfectly fine, his Uncle Clint did it all the time).
he shrugged. “Eh- it was okay. Boring, as usual; they gave us a test, I aced it, again, as usual,” Peter explained, carefully avoiding the fact that they’d been learning about The Battle of New York in lesson that day. He knew it was a touchy subject for his dad, and he didn’t want to risk upsetting him.
Dad raised an eyebrow, taking a sip from his coffee and watching Peter with a look on his face. Peter just sighed. He knew what was coming.
“So how was Waaade?”
He sighed. “Ugh, Wade was fine, he smiled at me while i passed on the corridors today and that was literally all that happened. I honestly don’t know why you’re making such a big deal out of this, he called me cute once-”
“Once is enough,” his dad shrugged bemusedly, poking Peter in the side as he walked around the table to sit next to him and get to work on his snack.
“That is not a snack, Peter,” dad said, because unfortunately he was good at reading Peter’s mind like that. “That’s like, a full meal. We’re having dinner in an hour, are you serious-”
“School is hard work,” Peter complained, flopping on to the stool and leaning on his dad’s shoulder theatrically, “It drains me of energy that I need to replenish with Lucky Charms.”
“Natasha will blow her top if she sees you eating that- it’s her turn to cook tonight. And if she chooses to murder you for eating beforehand, then there isn’t much I can do. I know you’re my son, but the whole parent-bond thing only goes so far-”
Peter bumped him on the shoulder and he laughed quietly. It was nice to see the tension ease off his face a little.
Of course, then everything went wrong again.
“Hey Peter, didn’t know you’d be back so ear- oh,” his Pops said, entering the room and faltering when he saw Dad already sat at the table.
There was an awkward pause. Peter guessed they must have got the days wrong for which one of them was going to go and talk to him about his school day.
That tended to happen when they didn’t actually speak to one another and acted like they were Peter’s Goddamn age.
Pops managed to collect himself, though- walking forward and smiling as he reached out to squeeze Peter’s shoulder, before heading to the cupboards and grabbing a mug. “You had a good day today?”
Peter shrugged, wishing it didn’t feel as tense as it did. Why the hell did parents have to argue anyway? It was stupid. They were being stupid, and Peter just wanted them to kiss and make up already- because that’s what they did, that’s what they always did, right? This wasn’t going to last, it couldn’t- Peter didn’t want to have two homes, he didn’t want Dad to marry someone else or Pops to have different kids-
It was only then that he realised Dad and Pops had moved, resting a hand on each shoulder while he leaned forward on to the table and hid his crumpled face in the crook of his arms.
“Peter! Hey, baby, what’s happened, did something go down at school-”
“Do we need to go in, because we’ll go in, okay- whatever’s wrong, we’ll sort it out. Are you being bullied?”
“Did someone hurt you?”
“Did you have an argument with your friends?”
“IT’S YOU TWO!” Peter yelled, jerking upward again and throwing his hands in the air. “God, this is the first time you’ve been this close to each other in ages! I haven’t seen you look each other in the eye when you’re around one another except to argue! Why the hell are you both being so stupid? I don’t…I don’t want you to get divorced! But you will and then you’ll both find stupid new people and have stupid new lives and leave me behind and we won’t be a family any more and I don’t want that so just STOP FIGHTING!”
He didn’t stop to listen to whatever stupid crap they tried to throw at him; instead kicking the chair he was sat on over and storming out of the room angrily, ignoring their calls and running up into his room before they could bother him.
(Read more, mobile users!)