*hugs* what a lovely coincidence! Happy birthday <3
“Did you think I’d forget, kid?”
Peter jerks back from where he had just ducked his head into the refrigerator at the Avenger’s Compound. All the hairs on his arms and legs stand up (after the fact, he thinks, thanks guys, so much for a warning system), but it is just Mr. Stark reclining on the sofa. Peter shuts the refrigerator, snuffing the last bit of light in the room so that his eyes adjust to the sight. The man is still dressed in his work clothes, his jacket tossed over one armchair, his tie loosened. His shoes are off, and for some reason, the sight of his socked-feet makes Peter’s chest well up with unbearable fondness.
“Sorry,” the older man says. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I was asleep, actually. Figures that the only way I’d ever be stealthy enough to avoid your senses is when I’m unconscious.”
“I was just getting leftovers,” Peter says, jerking a thumb toward the refrigerator. He’s lived in the compound for months now, but still sometimes feels the need to explain himself to his teammates. When will it stop feeling surreal? When will it feel like home instead of the most incredible sleepover? Never, probably, Peter thinks.
“Steve made lasagna.”
“I know,” says Peter, stomach growling at the thought. “It’s my favorite.”
“I know,” says Mr. Stark, sitting up from his slouched position. “Who do you think asked him to make it?”
Peter’s head tilts, like changing the angle with which he views the other man will help his words make sense. “Wow, Mr. Stark,” he says, mouth dry. “You didn’t have to do that. I didn’t even know you knew I liked lasagna.”
“You’ve mentioned it,” the man says, casually waving a hand as if to dissipate the praise like smoke in the air. “I used to be bad at remembering those sorts of things—remind me to tell you and the strawberries I gave Pepper once—but now I have FRIDAY mark down the things that are important to me.”
“My love for lasagna is important to you?” Peter asks. Mr. Stark is so very handsome, not a feature lost to the darkness thanks to Peter’s enhanced night vision. He looks soft, rumpled from his sleep, but his eyes are sharp. Peter feels…seen.
“You’re important to me, kid.” Tony reaches for something lost in the shadows on the kitchen island and nudges it towards him. It’s a cupcake, with a single candle. “Happy birthday.”
Peter flushes. There’s always a small part of himself that is embarrassed at being acknowledged, but another part basks in the attention. May had rescheduled their annual dinner and a movie birthday-date, Ned had been too busy to hang out, so Peter had distracted himself by slinging around the city, content to celebrate by being purposeful. Tony’s gesture is small, but it rests warmly in Peter’s chest, takes up so much space it feels huge and hard to swallow around.
“Thank you. I didn’t want anyone to make a big deal out of it.”
Tony lights the candle with a match, the scent of sulfur lingering in the air between them. The glow of the flame turns them both golden, and Peter sees that the cupcake is double chocolate: chocolate cake and chocolate icing. Had he told Mr. Stark that? Or did the man just get lucky guessing?
“This is the part where you make a wish,” Tony teases lightly.
Peter licks his lips, staring into the flame, wondering, wondering what he wants most. When he glances up, Mr. Stark is watching him, the smile on his mouth growing when their eyes meet. The breath Peter draws in trembles only a little.
He blows out the candle.