They look like boyfriends, talk like boyfriends, and act like boyfriends, so they must be dating, right?

Summary: Peter Parker is in love with Harley Keener and he thinks no one knows but absolutely everyone (including Harley) has noticed. A Parkner story where many things fly over a certain superhero’s head, there is as much fluff as I could manage, and I tear phase four into shreds and make a paper mache sculpture that I adore.

This was originally supposed to be a field trip fic but I got lost in writing backstory, so I am instead making a series of oneshots for all the little ideas I’m having in this universe.

Additional note to manage expectations — despite them both considering Tony to be a father figure Harley and Peter never had a sibling relationship and didn’t meet each other until post-blip at age 17.

Additional Author’s Note: Wow okay, so this was supposed to be a Field Trip fic but it somehow turned into a way for me to process my Infinity War/Endgame trauma and also just way more Parkner content then I had originally planned but I’m not mad about it?? The Field Trip is going to be the next oneshot in the series.

They look like boyfriends, talk like boyfriends, and act like boyfriends, so they must be dating, right?

At seventeen years old, Peter Parker was still considered a kid. Despite that fact, he could unequivocally say that he had seen some shit. His life would never be normal, not since he had been bitten by that spider. 

Luckily, Peter had people in his corner. Peter wasn’t sure what he would do were it not for Tony Stark. There had been a moment, after the man had conducted that third snap, that they worried he would be gone forever. Luckily Dr. Strange — who now insisted Peter called him Stephen, despite the teenager’s hesitance to do so — had stepped in and he and Wong had worked to save Tony’s life. 

In the following days, as Tony lay in a coma, the world struggled to adapt to the sudden influx of life. In the past five years those left behind had obviously mourned those who had been dusted, and while the loss might not have been accepted, people had adjusted. Their return was celebrated, but adjustment was needed once again. 

Luckily when Bruce had initiated the second snap those who returned were returned in safe places — no one was returned in midair or in the middle of a busy street, or inside a building that no longer existed. But doubling the population in an instant had consequences, especially for those whose homes had been sold, whose apartments had been emptied because they did not pay rent for five years. 

Peter and his Aunt May had both been snapped, which meant that their apartment was gone. Someone else was living there now. Tony had saved their belongings, because of course he did. Pepper told him softly while they waited at his side how Tony had not believed that the dusted would ever return, but he could not bear the thought of May and Peter’s possessions being sold to the highest bidder, and so kept them in a storage unit in Queens. May was planning on looking for a new apartment once she had a job again. After five years her medical license had expired, so she could not work at the hospital. Currently she and Peter were staying in guest rooms at the Stark lake house. 

Tony woke up after three days and the first people he wanted to see were Pepper, Morgan, Peter, and a boy named Harley, who Peter had never met before. Nevertheless Pepper arranged for him to be flown from where he lived in Tennessee. 

Peter still remembered the first time he met Harley. He could see the worry, the hesitation all over the other boy’s face. He could tell that Harley felt out of place, like he didn’t belong. But then Harley caught Peter looking at him and suddenly all that was gone. In a flash there was a smile, and confidence, and he was shaking Peter’s hand and speaking with a smooth accent that invigorated Peter in a way that previously only interactions with Liz and MJ had. 

“Hi, I’m Harley. You must be Peter.”

Peter had always had the unequivocal support of his aunt May. Since Tony had recruited him he had also had the man’s support, his mentorship. This past year it had grown to new heights. After Tony made his recovery he focused on helping the world recover, and more specifically helping Peter and Harley recover.

Peter and Harley had been a few months away from finishing their junior year of high school, and now they were stuck back in October. Initially they were not sure what they wanted to do, but ultimately decided to return to school after the winter break, and simply redo a few months. 

This worked especially well for Harley, who decided to transfer schools and conduct the rest of his education at Midtown with Peter. Harley’s younger sister Abbie was now older than him, and a freshman at Columbia. Tony had been keeping in touch with Harley’s family and was actually paying her tuition, as he refused to let Evelyn or Abbie Keener put themselves in debt. Evelyn still lived in Rose Hill, luckily, because he had reappeared in his bedroom, which she had left exactly as it was, unable to change anything. 

Still, she did move to New York when Tony made the offer for them to all live together in the tower, though they had an enormous argument when she demanded that he let her pay rent. 

Peter had been surprised that the tower was available to live in, as Avengers tower had been repurposed to hold Stark industries offices only, but apparently the top fifteen floors empty without the Avengers or Tony there. It was easy to move back in, and he gave May and Peter their own floor, and Harley, Abbie, and Evelyn another. Abbie was happy to stay primarily in the dorms, but having her mother and older/little brother close was a comfort, and she often stayed at the tower over the weekend. 

Additionally, in the wake of the compound’s destruction, the tower became the home of the Avengers once again. Or at least, a certain iteration of the Avengers. Rhodey lived on the Penthouse level with Pepper and Tony and Morgan. Sam and Bucky shared a floor. Bruce had his own floor that he shared with Thor and Valkyrie whenever they came by. 

The Bartons had their own floor. They still had the farm, of course, but Laura and Clint had agreed that they wanted the kids to have a broader education, and living in the city would help with that. 

Wanda was offered her own floor, but deep in her grief she refused it and refused moving to the tower at all until convinced by Clint. She now lived on the same floor as the Bartons. 

Captain Marvel was almost never there, but she and the Guardians had their own floor too if they ever wanted it, and she and Nebula in particular were always welcome, as was Rocket. “The Other Peter” was on Tony’s shit list and Peter knew exactly why the man was never getting off.

The Wakandans and the Wizards each had their own guest floors to do with what they wanted, which were more honorary than anything else, but Peter knew that they appreciated them. 

With such a full house, Peter had more family than he knew what to do with. He, Tony, and Harley spent multiple afternoons together in the lab. He also found himself playing often with Morgan, who had claimed both himself and Harley as her older brothers. Pepper, Laura, and Evelyn were quick to get the prefix “aunt” added to their names. Sam, Bucky, Clint, Thor, Rhodey, and Bruce became “uncle”. Cooper, Lila, and Nate were now considered “cousins”. The only place he hesitated was where he was terrified at the thought of calling Captain Marvel “Aunt Carol” but she told him too, so he did not dare argue. He was not sure how to classify Wanda or Nebula and the other guardians, but he managed to get along with them when they were there. 

His relationship with Tony was stronger than ever, especially after what happened in early December. See, Peter still went out as Spider-Man — a secret he kept from Harley, Evelyn, and Abbie for approximately a month. 

There was one night he came home after a patrol, injured, and stumbled into the med bay. Tony had been up late in the lab with Harley when FRIDAY notified him and they both came in to see Peter attempting to give himself stitches. 

“I didn’t invent time travel for you just for you to die from a stab wound!” Tony snapped, interrupting Peter’s defending why he didn’t call Tony himself and swatting Peter’s hands away as he started to treat the wound himself. 

Harley, who had been anxiously pacing, stopped and stared at Tony, and Peter paused in his speech, looking at Tony with wide-eyed confusion. 

“You invented time travel… for me?” Peter asked cautiously. 

Tony, seeming to realize what he said, studiously did not look at either Peter or Harley as he began to stitch the cut in Peter’s side. “I invented it for both of you. I… Pepper often accuses me of being emotionally constipated so I haven’t said this properly before but you’re both like sons to me. I did not want to undo the snap. I did not want to risk losing Morgan. The only thing that could have possibly made me risk one child was getting my other children back.” Tony’s voice was gruff but both teenagers could hear the emotion behind it. 

There was a lump in Peter’s throat, and he could not bring himself to say anything. Neither could Harley. But that was the night that they went from calling Tony “Mr. Stark” and “Mechanic” to “Dad”.

The only real problem was that despite the fact that Peter and Harley both called Tony dad, and shared sisters in Morgan and Abbie, Peter could not bring himself to think of Harley as his brother. 

He was conflicted about his growing feelings for months, which only grew more confused once they restarted school in January. 

“Is there anything I should know before I get there?” Harley asked as they sat in the backseat of Happy’s car on the way to school. The trip from Manhattan to Queens wasn’t exactly pleasant this time of day, so they had a long time to talk in the car. 

“Um, well you’ve already met Ned and MJ. Two others from our class I know got dusted are Betty and Flash. I’m not sure who else got dusted and who didn’t so I don’t know who might be in our class. Betty is kind of pushy but mostly nice. Flash is a menace, but he’s all talk. He likes to throw around the fact that he’s rich and pretend that he’s the smartest person in the room but he’s actually a dumbass and none of us really take him seriously, or at least I don’t. He used to push me around before I got the bite and hasn’t figured out that I have super strength now and I’m not the “Puny Parker” anymore.” Peter rolled his eyes. “I don’t know how being snapped and coming back might have changed his family dynamics and personality but be prepared for him to be an asshole. Like I said he’s pretty much all talk so I usually just ignore him and don’t rise to the bait because it’s not worth getting disciplined by a teacher, and if I give in and punch him in the face my super strength will do too much damage.”

Harley gave him and unimpressed look. “Darlin’, I feel like you’re downplaying this.” 

Peter shifted uncomfortably. It would not be conducive to the situation to tell Harley about how physical Flash had gotten with his bullying in the past, or the severity of his insults. He just had to hope that they minimally crossed paths. 

“Hey Penis Parker! Who’s your boyfriend?” 

Peter wanted to bash his head against the wall. Of course that is the opener Flash would choose. 

Peter was unsure of what Harley would do. Peter had not included the fact that some of Flash’s insults were homophobic in his explanation of his bullying, mostly because he had not yet come out to anyone in his family yet. 

He definitely could not have predicted Harley’s actual reaction. Harley had been turned away from Flash but had already been leaning quite close to Peter, as he explained how the lockers at Midtown were finicky and sometimes had to be jostled a certain way to open. 

At Flash’s exclamation Harley spun around and stepped closer to Peter while leaning backwards. This had the effect that Peter almost automatically wrapped his arms around Harley, who he knew was otherwise unsteady in this position and could easily fall over if Peter did not hold him up. It was a very intimate position, and everyone watching — and everyone in the packed hallway was watching — could see it. 

“My name is Harley Keener. Though I’m not sure you’ll remember that since you seem to think I’m dating someone named Penis.” Harley’s sarcastic drawl made Peter laugh into his hair, though he was also internally panicking, both at the intimate position, and the fact that Harley had both not denied that he was Peter’s boyfriend but was actively encouraging the rumor. 

Flash seemed somewhat stunned and was unable to come up with a response before MJ and Ned appeared, brushing past him. 

The four were quickly engaged in conversation, Flash completely forgotten. 

It became a pattern that any time Flash came over to Peter or Harley to say something obnoxious Harley would make a point to completely ignore the other boy in favor of engaging in some kind of flirtation with Peter. Quickly the rumor that Peter and Harley were dating swept through the school, which was helped along by the fact that for Christmas Harley had been gifted a motorcycle and Peter had been gifted a car, and they argued that Happy would be much happier if he didn’t have to drive them to Queens every day, so they should be allowed to drive themselves and not let the vehicles just languish in the garage. 

On nice days they took the bike, and other days they took Peter’s car. This, however, led to many rumors as students connected the dots that Peter and Harley would always arrive and leave school together either on Harley’s Harley or in Peter’s Audi. Flash had tried to corner Peter in the locker room before gym and ask how “poor orphan Peter Parker” could afford an Audi but Harley had interrupted them, as usual. 

“Darlin’ could I borrow one of your t-shirts? I just spilled water all over mine and I know you usually have an extra. Besides, you know I like wearing your clothes.” 

Peter felt his heart lurch as Harley all but fluttered his eyelashes at him. He really wished he knew why Harley wanted all of Midtown to think that they were dating, but he wasn’t willing to question it when it got him such close contact with Harley. And the fact was that Harley did steal his clothes pretty often. As well as the reverse. The two of them were the same size and their laundry often got mixed up, especially since they would often have movie nights or study sessions together and fall asleep in each other’s rooms since they didn’t want to bother going to their own floor and just change into whatever clothes were there in the morning. On nights that Peter went out as Spider-Man he would come back to find Harley in his room, sometimes awake working, sometimes asleep in his bed, always there to make sure that Peter had made it home safe. He rarely went back to his room afterwards, always insisting on patching up any wounds Peter might have before they both fell asleep.

When Peter thought about it, he realized that he wasn’t sure he remembered the last time he and Harley hadn’t slept in the same bed. Probably January, and it was now March. 

Flash mumbled “whatever” and Peter turned to ruffle through his bag for a shirt for Harley. 

Birthdays were really weird for those who had been dusted. Legally Peter and Harley had decided to be seventeen. The first snap had happened in April, and everyone was brought back in October. According to the Infinity Accords, anyone who had a birthday within six months of the snap had the right to “skip ahead” to their age as if that birthday had occurred. Both Peter and Harley had birthdays within six months, so while they came back at 16 physically, they decided to be 17 legally. Nevertheless they were both nerds and decided to calculate when their new physical birthdays were. They had been dusted on April 27th, 74 from Peter’s birthday on August 10th, and they came back on October 23rd, which meant that his new birthday was January 5th. It was 149 days before Harley’s birthday on September 23rd, which meant that his new birthday was March 19th (they decided to pretend that February always had 28 days to make the math easier). 

This is all to say, that it was almost Harley’s kinda-birthday and Peter needed to finalize the plan for what he was going to do to celebrate. The other boy had gone all out for Peter’s birthday. Harley had taken him to see a show on Broadway and they had gone out to a fancy dinner with just the two of them. He had also woven Peter an intricate anklet that fit snugly enough that it would fit even with his suit, but was flexible enough to not be uncomfortable. Harley, despite the fact that he loved tech and mechanics just as much as Peter and Tony, was also a very skilled crafter. 

Ever since Peter’s birthday they had been going out every week or two to a different show or movie, and would often grab dinner together outside the tower just to get some space away from everyone else. At this point Peter had a good idea of where would be the perfect place to take Harley, and had made plans for the following weekend. Unfortunately they could not spend the day together in the same way they had for Peter’s birthday since Harley’s birthday was on a Tuesday, and did not fall during break like Peter’s had so they had school. 

As was usually the case, Harley was staying the night in Peter’s room. He woke up before Harley did, the other boy wrapped around him like an Octopus, as usual. The sun was lightly streaming in through the window and making Harley’s blond hair glow. He was beautiful, and Peter was in love, and he wondered how he got into this situation.

“You’re staring, darlin’. I can feel it.” Harley mumbled into Peter’s chest. 

Peter laughed and stroked a hand through Harley’s hair. “Happy birthday.” 

Harley cracked one eye open and hummed. “It is my birthday isn’t it?”

“Yep.” Peter nodded. “Do you have a birthday wish?”

“Maybe.” Harley replied with a sly smile. 

“Oh?” Peter raised an eyebrow.

“Could I have a birthday kiss?” Harley asked, and Peter felt himself freeze. He was not sure that his ears were working properly. There was a faint buzzing blankness to his thoughts.

“A what?”

“I mean we don’t have to, it’s just, thought, we’ve been dating for a few months now and —”

“We have?” Peter interrupted, staring at Harley, bewildered. Harley’s jaw snapped shut and he pulled away from Peter.

“I think I should go.” Harley said flatly, scrambling out of the bed.

“Harley, wait —” Peter called out, but Harley was already gone, and Peter was confused.

Peter revitalized the group chat that he had with MJ and Ned, the one without Harley in it, that had not been used for nearly three months.

SpiderParkour: Hey guys, quick question, are Harley and I dating?

GitC: I thought you were but now I’m not sure????

BDB: Glad you finally noticed, I was about to lose the bet.

SpiderParkour: 🤦 Why do you know everything before me

BDB: Loser, everyone knew before you

GitC: Wait, how did you not know???

SpiderParkour: Idk, I mean I have liked him for a long time but I wasn’t sure if he liked me back

SpiderParkour: And then this morning we were in bed and he asked if he could kiss me and I was confused and he said that we have been dating for months and I was like “we have?” and then he just like, ran out of the room

GitC: What do you mean you were in bed? Why were you in the same bed?

SpiderParkour: I mean we sleep in the same bed pretty much every night. Like we have our own rooms but we always stay in one or the others

GitC: Is that why you two share clothes so much? You’re always switching between rooms?

SpiderParkour: I mean yeah

GitC: So like, to recap. You’re always all over each other flirting in school. You never correct people when Flash teases you about being boyfriends. You share clothes and a bed every night. You have told me multiple times about places that you and him have gone together alone that sound a lot like you recounting dates. Do you need more evidence 😑

SpiderParkour: Oh shit. I’ve been dating my crush for months and NEVER EVEN NOTICED

BDB: Wow this is so sad Alexa play despacito

Peter sent a bunch of frustrated emojis to the chat before shutting off his phone and running out of his room. He didn’t bother with the elevator, instead taking the stairs, two at a time, up to Harley, Abbie, and Evelyn’s floor. Were he not enhanced he would probably be panting as he knocked anxiously on Harley’s door. Normally he would not bother knocking — neither of them did when going to each other’s rooms. Another point in the “we’re dating” column. Yet given how this morning had gone so far, Peter figured that knocking was the better option. 

Peter found himself anxious as he waited for Harley to open the door and when it swung open he felt an uncomfortable weight in his stomach when he saw red around the other boy’s eyes. Still, there were no other signs of tears on Harley’s face as he glared at Peter. 

“Can I come in?” Peter asked hesitantly. Harley’s glare softened into something that simply looked tired, his tense shoulders slumping. 

“Of course.”

Peter slipped inside the room, closing the door quietly behind him. The two of them looked at one another silently for a moment before both speaking at the same time.

“I’m sorry.”

There was a moment of silence as they each processed the dual apology.

“What do you have to be sorry about?” Harley asked at the same time that Peter said “Why should you be sorry?” 

They both laughed for a moment before Harley awkwardly scratched the back of his head. “Do you want to, um, sit?”

“Yeah, sure.” Peter replied. He wasn’t used to feeling awkward around Harley. They settled on the bed, leaning against the headboard, their arms brushing against each other. This was normal for them. Comfortable.

“I just… I can’t believe I didn’t notice. Imagine I just used the skull emoji.” Peter leaned into Harley and mumbled into his shoulder. 

Harley laughed and threaded his fingers through his hair. “Darlin’ I should have said somethin’ ages ago. I assumed too much.” Harley replied softly.

Peter looked up from Harley’s shoulder so that they were eye to eye, and Harley’s hand fell from Peter’s hair to his cheek.

“Do you still want that birthday kiss?” Peter smiled at Harley, hovering close.

“I think you know I do.” Harley smiled back as Peter leaned in.

Final Notes: Yes, BDB stands for “Bow Down Bitches”, MJ is part of the BeyHive. She and Wong get along great, they text all the time, they are besties, this is canon to MOI. I may or may not write a oneshot about her hanging out at the sanctum getting magic lessons, just you wait. Also, yes I know that in a lot of places Harley having a September birthday would make him be a year higher than Peter in school, but I’m hand waving and saying that for some reason I don’t feel like coming up with he is behind one grade in school from everyone else.

Edit 6/13/2023: I inadvertently lied in my previous note — the second fic in this series is actually this fic but from Harley’s point of view. But there’s actually a ton of stuff in there that isn’t in here and vice versa, hence the POV shift!

This fic belongs to the series A Moment in the Sun.