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Tony is in his lab when the boys wake up the next morning. It's clear that they've parted ways to brush their teeth, shower, and get dressed, because they're talking amicably as they walk in, going straight for the wall of inventions.

Harley points out the green plastic contraption near the top.

"That was my original potato gun model. I got it to fire up to 280 mph."

"No way!" Peter says looking back at him. "You're Tennessee? You saved him from the Mandarin."

"I just let him use my shed." Harley's voice is clear and nonchalant but the blush on his face is obvious.

"You fixed my suit, kid. Saved my life," Tony cuts in. He hadn't been a part of either boys' life until well after conception but they are just as mentally and emotionally stunted as he is. He looks at Harley, who he told to not be a pussy about his father leaving when he was just a kid. He looks at Peter, who May has told him was a small eight year old behind an Iron Man mask going up alone against one of Justin Hammer's robots. He wonders if their problems have always been his fault.

"Oh no," Harley says throwing a ball of paper at Tony's face. "He's thinking."

"Nothing good ever comes from that," Peter agrees jokingly. "Out of the lab, Mr. Stark. Children's orders."

"And what makes you think you can get me out of here, Underoos?"

"He's stronger than you," Harley says as if it's obvious.

"And me and Harley's combined puppy eyes are even stronger than that," Peter adds. "Plus I'm hungry and May and Pep both already left for work."

"Bested before I could even argue, huh? Why did I want kids again?"

"Ouch," Peter says, a hand on his chest playfully. "It's almost like you needed someone to take care of you in your old age."

"You forgot senile." Harley smirked.

"He's right. In your old senile age."

After the correction the boys high five, both wearing wicked grins on their faces.

"This senile old man can also ground both of you from working in the lab." The threat is as flimsy as it sounds and they all know it, but Peter protests anyway just for an excuse to grab onto Tony's arm and happily pull him along while Harley follows them into the living room, plopping onto the couch. FRIDAY turns the TV on for background noise more than anything else.

"Ma says her and Ava are probably going to head back out sometime tomorrow. Don't want to miss too much work or school or whatever." Harley shrugs when he says it, but Peter can see that it's kind of tough for them to be thinking of going home even though he's just got them back. Harley looks back up and keeps going. "Whenever your lawyers are done with the paperwork she says you can just mail it back. Should I— I mean I'm glad to be here, but..."

Peter had only just met Harley so of course he's never seen him cry, but there's a part of him that thought he never would. That Harley would be the strong one between them. Seeing the boy cry and still push forward not an ounce of embarrassment on his face, Peter realizes that Harley's even stronger.

"Hey, hey, hey," Tony says pulling him off the couch and in for a hug. "Harls, what's going on?"

"They were dead. Gone. For months a-and now Ma...I mean, she's just happy to throw me on you. I'm happy to be here, I am. But first my dad didn't want me and now she's pushing me away too and— listen, I know I'm being a pussy about this, okay? But I just— is there something wrong with me?"

"Kid, you are not being a pussy about this. God, I never should have told you that. I just didn't know how to deal with emotions then. I still don't, but we're going to get better at that together, okay? I promise."

"You didn't answer my question."

"Harley," Tony says nudging the blonde head to look him in the eyes. "Your mother loves you. She's doing this because she loves you, because she wants you to have the best opportunities out there, because she knows that I can afford it."

"You shouldn't have to pay for everything," argues Harley, as he's started wiping the tear tracks from his face. "I could get a job."

"Oh yeah?" challenges Tony, looking over at Peter as if to say do you believe this kid.

"Mr. Delmar is hiring! He still hasn't gotten a steady staff back since he got the new place," Peter adds in and although he says it like a tease, it's an honest spot if Harley really wants a job. "Best sandwiches in Queens."

"See!" Harley says like that solves everything. "I could be serving the best sandwiches in Queens!"

"If you really want to get a job, kid, no one's stopping you, but that money is yours. There's no helping with grocery or saving up for school. All that's covered."

"Bu—"

"No buts."

"He coddles because he cares," Peter jokes from his corner of the couch, laughing.

"Don't make me come over there, Parker," Tony says, arm still around Harley.

"Sir, yes, sir!"

"Hey," starts Tony. He has his idea face on and Peter narrows his eyes at him. "Why don't both of you see about working at Delmar's? Harley could get his independence and you could show him around the area."

"That's actually a really good idea, Dad!"

"I have a few of those every now and then."

Harley laughs at that and it's as if he'd never broken down in the first place and Peter thinks that he may be the strongest kid he knows to accept his feelings like that. Peter wonders if he can ask for a lesson or two on being okay after dying and not knowing how to voice it. Instead he smiles.

"We could actually head out now before it gets too late, right?" he asks excitably. "School starts next week and—" Peter freezes. "He's coming with me to Midtown, right?"

"Of course he is," Tony agrees. "Best STEM school in the state and I wouldn't split you two up; Pep would murder me."

"Not if we did first," Harley says with a smirk and crossed arms.

"Okay, that was ominous. No more lab time today. For either of you. Pete, Happy can drop you and Harley off at Delmar's and pick you up later from May's if that's alright with her."

"It's fine, Dad. We can walk from here and Happy can pick us up from Mr. Delmar's. May works late tonight and she thinks I'm staying over here. I don't want to scare the life out of her. She come back alive just to kill me too."

"Fair enough. Keep your phones on."

"Okay," says Peter at the same time Harley says: "Yep!"

Tony chuckles at his boys. Because he can say that now. His sons. The paperwork for Harley's adoption is in the works and he's already talked to May about it for Peter even if they've already got a pretty sweet co-parenting gig going on.

His chest isn't tight. There's no pain. He smiles.

-§-

hey futher muckers

yes, i'm writing multiple fics at once again.
happy 12 days of ficmas
meaningggggg updates every other day until the 23rd

i wonder if you guys will love the fluff and family domesticity and just all around iron fam goodness this fic is about to give you because holy fucking shit i loved writing soooo many of these chapters and i have so many ideas for the rest

im not gonna cry or anything, but know that i did miss writing and posting for yall
i also missed the community this app provides
hope you lot missed me too. lol

and remember, even if i dont always love the app, 
 i love y'all

-- angel janeé xoxo 💋

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