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I Think I Might've Inhaled You

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Peter

 

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Peter was having a bad day. A string of bad days, actually.

It had all started with the announcement of his upcoming chemistry test, which had caught Peter by surprise. Then there was the complication with the data he was analyzing for his internship at Oscorp, causing him hours upon hours of extra work. Then, of course, there were the beatings he had received the past two nights during patrol, leaving him black and blue and pained all over. (Apparently reciting chemistry formulas whilst fighting criminals isn’t exactly conducive to harm-free and successful victories. But hey, Peter is still learning. He’s only been a hero for like, six months. Cut him some slack.) And now there was the Harry problem.

“Come on, Peter. What’s the big deal? Why won’t you let me do this for you?”

Peter groaned, letting his head fall face-first into the chemistry book lying open on the table in front of him. His glasses pressed into his nose, causing some discomfort, but Peter was too fed up with everything to care. “I can’t even think about my birthday right now. And that’s not even considering the fact that I don’t want a party.” The frustration was clear in his voice. After all, he’d already told Harry at least five times that he absolutely did not want him spending money on a party he neither needed nor wanted. And he was trying, unsuccessfully so far, to cram some last minute studying in before his test seventh period. Couldn’t they just leave him alone for five measly minutes?

Of course not.

“Peter.” Harry began again, ignoring the resulting groan of frustration as if he couldn’t hear it over the clamoring noise of the cafeteria. “You’re turning sixteen in two weeks. Only two weeks. That’s hardly enough time to plan a proper celebration if you decide you want one.”

Peter raised his head from his book and looked pointedly across the table at Harry, who was lounging in his little plastic chair as if he were sitting comfortably on a fancy leather couch, his near-black hair falling artfully across his forehead. “I won’t want one. I promise. I swear on my test scores, which you know are very important to me.” And with that not-so-subtle hint that he wanted to be left alone, Peter looked back down at his book and tried to refocus on electron deterioration.

He should have known that it wasn’t going to be that easy.

“What if we want a party? Your birthday might just be an excuse to throw one.” MJ, always a fan of loopholes, pointed this out from her seat beside Peter, where she was sketching an admittedly beautiful rendition of Harry in her notebook. MJ was a good friend, she really was. And she was usually so good at knowing what Peter needed and doing her best to make it happen for him. So it was a bit surprising that she was currently making him want to throw his half-eaten lunch at her.

Peter heaved a sigh and ran his hands through his hair, probably making the unruly brown locks stick up in every direction even more than usual. “If you want to have a party on your own, you’re more than welcome to. Get Britney Spears to come play. Buy strobe lights. Hire strippers for all I care. But you are not spending that money for me. Besides, no one would want to come if you advertised it as Peter Parker’s fucking birthday bash. I have exactly three friends, and two-thirds of them are sitting at this table trying to convince me to have a party I don’t want.” Peter glared across the table at Harry after his little rant. It had been his idea, after all, and it would be him who would cover the undoubtedly large bill that would result from such a party.

MJ and Harry were silent for a moment, and Peter almost thought he had gotten through to them, then Harry said, “Britney Spears? When did you travel back to 2001?” Peter just closed his eyes, the weight of the last few days suddenly feeling very heavy on his shoulders. He couldn’t deal with this right now…

“Fine.” He mumbled, unable to believe that he was about to give in to this ridiculous idea.

“What was that?” Harry sat up in his seat, and when Peter peeked at him from under his eyelashes he could tell from Harry’s expression that he hadn’t really expected him to grant his approval.

Peter groaned again. “I said fine.” He snapped. “You can throw me a stupid party. But it can’t be big, okay? And don’t spend too much money.” He knew Harry would probably ignore both requests, but he had to at least try. He hated it when Harry spent money on him. It didn’t matter that Harry Osborn was a billionaire and Peter didn’t have twenty dollars to his name. In fact, that was all the more reason why he hated it. He didn’t like feeling like a charity case. “And now can I please study in peace?” There were only eight minutes left of lunch and he needed every second if he wanted to have any chance of acing the test.

Harry was grinning, and MJ had a smug little smile on her face as she looked back at her drawing. “No problem, Petey. No problem,” Harry said, leaning back in his chair again.

Peter just sighed and shook his head before making his best attempt at absorbing the information in his chemistry book via a combination of rushed reading and forced osmosis. The noise of the cafeteria made it difficult to concentrate, especially since Peter could hear every word that was spoken across the room and every clink of every piece of silverware against every plate. Thankfully, Peter had some practice tuning out the noise.

The rest of lunch was blessedly silent (at their table, anyway). MJ drew, Harry scrolled through something on his phone, and Peter studied. He felt like he was always studying. You know, when he wasn’t working at Oscorp or swinging through the city in a kick-ass suit, fighting crime.

But, you know. That’s life. Peter’s life, anyway.

 

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He ended up doing alright on the test, so that was at least one thing off Peter’s long list of lovely problems. He was talking through the answers with his friend Ned as they walked through the crowded hallway after the final bell of the day.

“Dude, it’s so unfair. I studied for days. Days and you forgot all about it until Monday and you still aced the test!” Ned was annoyed, as per usual, with Peter’s ability to glide through school with minimal effort. Well, it didn’t feel like minimal effort.

“I crammed, Ned. And it was just lucky that I had gone over all the topics on the test. I mean, she could have put ionic compounds on there. I didn’t study those at all.” That wasn’t exactly true, but he was trying to make Ned feel better.

“Whatever, dude. It’s still unfair. I had no idea what to do on question nine. The one about covalent bonds? We didn’t even go over it in class. And then she expects us…”

Peter had stopped listening. He felt a tingle crawling up his spine and forced himself to resist the urge to dodge out of the way or jump up and cling to the ceiling. He’d learned to control himself in school after his spidey sense resulted in a shockingly good performance during a game of dodge ball in gym a few months ago. It had taken weeks of acting clumsy and weak to convince his classmates that it had been a crazy fluke. So he forced himself to keep walking, cringing only slightly a second before a broad shoulder slammed into him, knocking him into the lockers.

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there, Penis Parker.” Flash Thompson sneered at Peter from the middle of the hallway.

“Not cool, man.” Ned muttered, but he didn’t dare to step in. Somehow, Flash had an uncanny ability to punch people in the face on school grounds and never get caught. It was actually very annoying.

“No problem, Flash.” Peter responded, rubbing his shoulder as if it hurt and stepping in front of the lockers to hide the substantial dent he’d made in one of them. “I know it’s hard to move in a coordinated manner when you’re the size of an overgrown gorilla.”

Flash scowled and stepped forward as if to hit Peter again, but Peter just ducked out of the way and started weaving through the crowd towards the exit, Ned trailing after him. God, what Peter wouldn’t give to beat up Flash Thompson, just once… He could just imagine the asshole’s face when he realized Peter was stronger and faster and a hell of a lot better at punching people than Flash was. But alas, it could never happen. Not unless Flash decided to rob a bank tonight while Peter was patrolling… But he wouldn’t hold his breath.

He pushed through the front doors of Midtown High School and squinted into the sun, taking a breath of the warm spring air. As he started down the steps, Ned finally caught up to him.

“Dude, Flash sucks.”

“Yup.” That was the understatement of the year. Flash Thompson had made it his mission to torture Peter since the very first week he started at Midtown. Peter had been a freshman, nerdy and weak and easy prey. Flash, a sophomore jock at the time, needed someone to make his punching bag to support his fragile masculinity and reputation as a world-class jerk. It was a perfect combination.

Peter spotted Harry in the parking lot, leaning against the side of his ostentatious silver convertible, talking to some guy that Peter only knew by sight. He was going to walk the other way, just planning on catching a train over to Oscorp for his shift this afternoon, but Harry had keen eyesight.

“Peter!” He shouted, waving them over.

Peter sighed to himself but walked over, ignoring Ned’s statement that “oh my god, Harry Osborn is so cool. Doesn’t he just look so cool? I can’t believe you’re friends with him.”

“Me neither.” Peter muttered, coming up beside Harry’s car as the guy he had been talking to walked away, shooting Peter and Ned a look that seemed to say ‘why the fuck are you coming to talk to Harry?’ Peter had gotten used to those looks since he and Harry became friends last summer.

“Need a ride?” Harry asked, casually tossing his car keys and catching them in one hand.

“No, that’s okay. I’m just gonna take the subway.” Peter said, eyeing the expensive car almost suspiciously. He’d ridden in Harry’s car before, but it still felt weird. Too clean and nice and leathery.

Harry just rolled his eyes. “Get in, dork. We’re going to the same place.”

It was true. Peter worked at Oscorp four days a week and on three of those Harry worked there, too. Of course, they resided in very different departments. Peter was in the basement, mostly doing data analysis and cleaning the labs. Harry was on the top floor, meeting with executives and being groomed to someday take over the multi-billion dollar company. Peter took the subway to get to work and the bus to get home. Harry had his own reserved parking spot right next to the executive elevator. Peter turned to Ned. “What’re you doing?” Sometimes they walked to the subway together.

“I have chess club.” Ned reminded him. “See you later, dude. Have fun being a science nerd! Bye, Harry!” Ned waved at the older boy, who gave him a slightly confused look and didn’t respond, before walking back towards the school.

Ned and Harry didn’t really know each other. Like at all. Harry was a senior while Ned, Peter, and MJ were all sophomores. Ned and Peter had been friends since freshman year, bonding quickly over their nerd status and mutual love of science fiction. MJ and Peter had become friends fairly quickly, as well, although Peter had never really figured out how that had happened. MJ could be popular, if she wanted. She was beautiful and kind and talented. Everyone liked her. But for some reason she chose to hang out with two dorks who never would have dreamed of having a friend like her. And then there was Harry. Harry was so rich that he would have had no trouble making tons of friends even if he wasn’t strikingly handsome and smart to boot. But he was all of those things, and he still chose to befriend a wimpy kid who worked in the basement at his father’s company.

Peter really didn’t understand it, but he felt incredibly lucky to have all three of his friends. Even if they threw him unwanted parties and forced him to ride in expensive cars.

“Really, Harry, I don’t mind taking the train. I can just - “

“Shut up, Peter.” Harry said, but he was smiling as he walked around the car and opened the passenger door for Peter. “You’re going to let me drive you or I really will book Britney Spears for your party.”

Peter huffed out a sigh, but he got in anyway, setting his backpack carefully on the floor between his feet and snapping his seatbelt into place.

“We’re picking up MJ from door five.” Harry said as he slid into the driver’s seat and started the car. It wasn’t unusual for him to give MJ a ride after school. In Peter’s opinion, it made much more sense for the two of them to be friends, even with the age difference. They were both beautiful, well-liked, and sociable people. Peter had expected them to eventually get together, but that hadn’t happened yet despite them knowing each other for almost a year. They flirted sometimes, but nothing ever seemed to become of it.

“You wrapped up in that issue with the Gene X data?” Harry asked as they drove to the other side of the building. Peter wasn’t surprised that Harry knew about that. Part of his responsibilities was to collect updates from the department heads and prepare reports for his father.

“Yeah.” Peter sighed, looking out the window. “I’ve spent hours on it and I haven’t been able to make heads or tails of what’s wrong with it.” It was really starting to get on his nerves.

“Don’t worry.” Harry said. “You’ll figure it out. You’re like the smartest person working down there.”

Peter felt his cheeks grow slightly warm. “Yeah right.” He muttered, but Harry’s words brought a smile to his lips. He didn’t know why Harry said stuff like that sometimes. Probably just to be nice.

They pulled up outside door five and almost immediately MJ appeared, her arms full of art supplies. Harry got out to open the car door for her, and she slid into the back seat, depositing her stuff beside her.

“Hey.” She greeted them a bit breathlessly as Harry got back in his seat.

“Am I dropping you at the restaurant?” He asked.

“Yeah, thanks.” MJ’s father owned a diner just a few blocks from Peter’s building. They used to hang out there a lot, and the food was quite good. Peter wished he had more time to spend there, like he used to, but since he started his internship last summer and his, well, other extra-curricular activities (you know, fighting crime and saving lives) a few months ago, he hadn’t been around much.

“Whatcha making?” Peter asked, twisting around in his seat to look at MJ’s supplies while Harry pulled away from the school.

“Oh, just a project.” She replied cryptically. Peter was used to her being kind of secretive with her art before it was finished. She didn’t like people to see what she was doing until it was done. Peter understood that, and he didn’t push any further.

They spent the ride to the restaurant chatting easily about school and complaining about the traffic. Peter always found himself surprised by how well the three of them got along. For the last few years of his life, before he met them, Peter had only thought of himself as a nerd. A science-obsessed kid who was bound to be a pariah in high school and locked in a lab somewhere for the rest of his life after that. But then came along MJ. And Harry. And Spider-Man. Everything had changed so quickly, and sometimes Peter was still left reeling at how his life had turned out.

He was thinking about that as they pulled away from the diner, MJ having already disappeared inside with her backpack and armful of art stuff.

“A penny for your thoughts?” Harry asked after a minute.

“Hm?” Peter tore his gaze from the window and looked over at his friend. “Make that a hundred dollars and I might tell you.” He joked, smirking slightly.

“Okay.” Harry said without missing a beat, taking one hand off the steering wheel and leaning forward to reach into his back pocket for his wallet.

Peter laughed. “No, no, stop that. I’ll tell you. Free of charge.” He took a moment to gather his thoughts, looking out the window again. “I was just thinking about how different my life is now. Since I started this internship at Oscorp. Since I met you and MJ. I never thought things would go so… right for me.”

Harry was silent, prompting Peter to turn back towards him and study his profile. He was staring intently at the cars in front of him, a serious but distant look in his clear blue eyes. When he saw Peter looking, however, he softened his expression and smiled. “I’m glad things are going right for you, Peter. You deserve it, you know.”

Peter just shook his head slightly, bewildered. “I’ve always had such bad luck, but all of a sudden… I mean, this isn’t luck. Not really. I have you to thank. Well, you and your father. And MJ. You’re all so nice to me.” Norman Osborne wasn’t nice exactly, but he had given Peter this internship.

Harry shook his head, too, getting that frustrated look like he did sometimes when Peter gave voice to his confusion regarding their friendship. “Lighten up, Parker.” It was clear he was trying to shift the conversation in a different direction. “You’re not even sixteen yet. You need to get drunk a few times and crash a car. Then you can worry about your life path and all that shit.”

Peter chuckled. “That sounds like you, Osborn. Not me.” Harry smiled, and they began talking about the time Harry did get drunk and drive one of his dad’s cars into the Hudson River.

They arrived at Oscorp before long, driving up the parking structure in dizzying circles until they reached the top and pulled into Harry’s spot, which was marked with a plaque and everything.

“Thanks for the ride.” Peter said as he undid his belt and got out, swinging his backpack over his shoulder as he shut the car door carefully.

“Anytime, Petey.” Harry got out and locked the car with a push of a button and a fancy little beep.

They walked to the elevator bank and Peter pressed the button to go down. They took different elevators, since the one that went to the top floor needed a key-card to use. It dinged almost immediately and the doors slid open, but before Peter could get on, Harry caught hold of his arm.

“Don’t worry about the data issue, okay? No one expects the youngest employee in this whole company to solve all the problems.” Harry smiled slightly as he reached up with his other hand and brushed a bit of hair out of Peter’s eyes, his gaze growing distant. “Although I know you could.” He let his hand drop away, but his grip on Peter’s arm lingered for a moment before he let go. “See you, Parker.” Harry turned away to scan his card for the other elevator.

Peter looked at him for a second, his face warm and his heart beating a little too fast. “Yeah… Bye, Harry.” He turned and went into his normal-employees elevator, his mind struggling to catch up with his body. He stared at the buttons for a second before remembering which one to press, and the elevator doors slid closed with a soft whoosh. He breathed in, and out. Huh. Okay. That was new.

Harry was always nice to Peter. Too nice, really. And when he said things like that… Well, it confused Peter. Could you blame him? But he didn’t have time to be confused right now. So he shook it off and refocused his attention on the task at hand as the elevator arrived at his floor. He had problems to solve. And he would solve them, even if he wasn’t expected to. He just had to focus.

 

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At the end of another long day, Peter was preparing to go out. He hadn’t made any breakthroughs at Oscorp, but he felt like he was getting closer to the answer after another three hours of data manipulation. He’d taken the bus home and had dinner with his Aunt May (spaghetti and meatballs, if you must know). They’d watched some sort of talent show competition on television, then Peter spent a couple of hours doing homework. He was in all advanced classes, so he’d only gotten a little over half his work done by the time he ‘went to bed’ at ten thirty. He usually crammed the rest of his homework in on the bus to school and at lunch.

It was currently ten forty-five and, after making sure Aunt May had retired to her room to read, Peter was quietly slipping into his super cool spider suit. He absolutely loved this thing. Mr. Stark had made it for him just five weeks ago, and he didn’t even want to guess how much it cost.

But in Peter’s opinion, it was worth every penny. Not only did he look totally badass in it, but it really did boost his crime-fighting abilities. The web-shooters operated extremely smoothly and held a lot more web fluid than his homemade ones. The material was flexible and breathable, somehow keeping him at the exact right temperature no matter how cold or hot it was outside. It was also fireproof and deflected most knives, although it did nothing to cushion punches or kicks, and it probably wasn’t bullet proof (Peter hadn’t tested that out and he had no intention of doing so). The mask’s eye patches filtered light so he was never blinded and allowed him some pretty awesome night vision. His eyesight was already naturally improved, but even he couldn’t see in total darkness without the aid of the suit.

And Peter knew that wasn’t even the extent of what the suit could do. Mr. Stark had informed him that he would only be able to unlock the suit’s full capabilities once he’d gotten more experienced at, you know, being a superhero.

Peter silently set his unneeded glasses on his desk and pulled the mask over his head. His vision instantly dimmed, but in a way that allowed him to see more details rather than less. He stepped over the pile of clothes on his bedroom floor to his sixth-floor window. He clung carefully to the glass and slid the window open, only a near-silent whooshing noise to mark the movement. Peter swung one leg out of the window, then the other, and he sat on the sill looking down over his narrow street in his own little corner of New York.

He took a deep breath, the cool night air almost tasting sweeter through his Spider-Man mask, and smiled. This was his favorite part.

He leaned forward, teetering on the edge of the windowsill, and fell. The air rushed around him for one glorious moment, then Peter shot a web at the building across the street and caught himself, swinging forward with dizzying momentum, letting go, falling, and shooting another web. It was like a roller coaster ride that never got old.

Peter waited until he was a few blocks away from his apartment building before he really let himself go. He swung between buildings, did flips in midair, vaulted over rooftops, and let out an occasional whoop of joy. He really, really loved being Spider-Man.

When he got to downtown Manhattan, he forced himself to slow down, stopping on a rooftop of some big bank to catch his breath. He went all over the city on his patrols, but it seemed like most of the crime occurred here in Manhattan, so he frequented the island over the other boroughs of New York. Peter sat down on the parapet of the roof and dangled his legs over the edge, looking out over the lit-up city. It still took his breath away sometimes, how beautiful it was.

After enjoying the view for a minute, Peter decided it was time to get down to work. He closed his eyes and started to listen. It was just a cacophony of sound at first, too jumbled to distinguish anything specific through the din of car horns and voices and movement. But the more he focused, the more he could hear. People laughing loudly as they walked down the street, a cabby yelling about the traffic, a couple fighting (it didn’t sound violent), an umbrella salesman trying to sell his products to whoever passed by, a businessman talking angrily on the phone.

There… under all the rest, a voice. It was a woman, and she was definitely crying. “Please… please no, don’t! I don’t… Stop, please. No!” Peter shot to his feet, his mouth set in a grim line under his mask. He hated these situations. Why couldn’t criminals just stick to robbing banks and stealing bicycles?

He leapt off the roof and let himself fall for a moment, then shot a web and started swinging towards the source of that voice. It was about three blocks away. He landed on the roof of an apartment building and crouched on the edge to look down into the alley below.

There was the woman, pressed up against the bricks, mascara tracks marring her tear-stained face. She was dressed in a little black dress and heels, but Peter (inexperienced as he was with these things) couldn’t tell if she was a prostitute or just some girl trying to go out. It didn’t matter. Either way, the man with a knife to her throat and his hand inside her dress was definitely deserving of some hard jail time.

Peter clung to the side of the building and crawled silently down the wall until he was perched behind the man. Neither of them noticed him. He cleared his throat.

“Excuse me, sir? Did you buy her dinner first? Because I think there’s a bit of decorum that needs to be followed here.”

The man whipped around, and the woman gasped. “What the fuck?” The man exclaimed, releasing the woman to point his knife at Peter.

“Hey now… that’s just rude.” Peter shot a web at the knife and yanked it away from the man. It clattered to the ground safely out of reach. “I was just trying to give you some friendly advice, y’know? And that’s how you thank me?”

Maybe the man knew who Spider-Man was (he was gaining a bit of a reputation, after all), or maybe he was just freaked out about being caught and the fact that Peter was, you know, crouched on a wall. Whatever the reason, he chose to turn and run. They were so stupid when they tried to run.

“Not so fa-ast.” Peter called out in a sing-song voice. He shot a web at the man’s feet, causing him to trip and fall flat on his face with a surprised yell. “I’m not done talking to you. I think we need to have a little lesson on manners.” He jumped from the wall and landed in a crouch beside the man, who was attempting to wriggle away using just his arms. “Lesson one.” He stood up and aimed a kick (only with partial strength; he didn’t want to kill the guy) at the man’s stomach. “Assaulting people is not cool.”

The woman had been inching her way towards the alley exit, and at this point she took her chance to dodge past them and run out onto the main street. Peter let her go. He didn’t want her to be any more traumatized than she already was, even if having her stick around would have been helpful for when the police showed up.

Peter got a couple more good kicks in, taking grim satisfaction from the grunts of pain he received in response. He hauled the man to his feet (he was actually a good few inches taller than Peter) and webbed him to the wall. He wouldn’t be getting out of that anytime soon. He dug in the man’s pocket for his cell phone, making a retching sound in the back of his throat as he did so, then dialed the police with it. He left the phone on the line and tucked it back in the man’s pocket.

“When the police get here, you’re going to tell them what you did, alright?” Peter patted the man roughly on the cheek, making sure he had his full attention as those wide eyes focused on his mask. “I’ll be watching, understand? And if you don’t tell them the truth… Well, let’s just say I’ll have a few more lessons to teach you.” He waited until the man nodded his ascent, then turned and crawled back up to the roof of the apartment building, disappearing over the edge.

He waited around until the cops showed up about fifteen minutes later, and then listened in to make sure Mr. Rapist did as he was told. He did, thankfully. Peter hated it when he had to follow criminals around after the police left just to beat them up again. He didn’t feel like it did any good. But he couldn’t exactly go back on his word, now could he? He had a reputation to build and maintain.

He watched the police struggle to cut the man free of the webs. They handcuffed him and tucked him in to the police car, then they were gone. Peter allowed himself a small smile for a job well done. Things didn’t always turn out this nicely.

Just two nights ago, for example, Peter had dropped into the middle of a pretty big drug deal and things got messier than he’d anticipated. There had been four more guys hidden away in the truck, and Peter ended up facing eight of them all at once. He got quite a few bruises from that fight, and his ribs had only just stopped aching a few hours ago. But all’s well that ends well, right? He’d webbed those guys up good and as far as he knew, they were all safely in jail at the moment.

Peter stood up on the roof and took a deep breath, preparing to swing away to a higher vantage point to start listening again. Before he could move, however, he heard the unmistakable sound of a man screaming. And it was definitely close by.

He took a running start and leapt to the next roof. He ran about a block and a half across the tops of the buildings before he came to the right place, peering down into another dark alleyway.

The sight that greeted him was… unexpected. The man who had screamed was handcuffed to a dumpster. He was slumped down, clearly too weak to stand up fully, and was panting heavily, his eyes squinted in pain. His shirt was ripped open down the front and his chest, stomach, and face were littered with small, shallow cuts. He had what looked like a bullet wound in one of his legs.

Standing across from the tortured man, twirling a small knife dexterously between his fingers, was a hulking figure in a skin-tight red and black suit. He was masked, his eyes small white patches inside two large black pools. There were guns strapped to each of his hips and what looked like sword handles sticking up from his back. And it looked like he was… singing.

“I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums.” He nodded his head and shifted his hips as if he were listening to some unheard music. “Oh what a shame that you came here with someone… So while you’re here in my arms…”

The longer Peter looked, the more familiar this guy seemed. In fact, he was sure that he knew who this was. The name floated up from his subconscious: Deadpool. He didn’t know much about him; just that he killed people for money and caused a lot of trouble for the Avengers.

Peter drew in a sharp breath as the knife flicked from Deadpool’s hand and imbedded itself in the man’s handcuffed arm. He let out a short, strangled yell, but Deadpool didn’t flinch.

“Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young!” The masked man chuckled and sauntered forward as if he had all the time in the world. Peter could see the terror in his captive’s eyes as he looked at Deadpool, and his stomach twisted in disgust. This was not a good guy. This was why he got into the hero business in the first place.

Peter didn’t bother with crawling down the wall this time. He dropped straight from the roof, landing in a crouch behind Deadpool.

“Why do you guys always pick alleys? I mean, I dig the décor, but… A nice abandoned warehouse would be a nice change every once in a while.”

Deadpool turned on his heel to face Peter. He let out a strangely feminine scream upon seeing him and clapped both hands to his cheeks, his mask’s eyes somehow widening to complete his exaggeratedly surprised expression. “Oh no! A spider!”

Peter supposed he should be flattered that Deadpool at least recognized him, but somehow he wasn’t sure that was such a good thing right now. He straightened out of his crouch and carefully placed his middle fingers on his web-shooters, ready to act on a moments notice. “Why don’t you let our guest go, Deadpool? It looks like he’s had enough of your company.”

Deadpool stuck out his right hip and fanned at his face with one hand. If Peter could see through that mask, he was sure he’d see him batting his eyelashes. “Oh. Em. Gee. You know who I am! Well fuck me with a spoon and call me flattered, little spider!”

Before Peter could respond, Deadpool had drawn one of his guns and had it pointed straight at him. Peter made a noise in his throat that was part surprise and part disgust. That had happened fast… And he hated guns. Absolutely detested them ever since his uncle had been killed two years ago.

“What is it with you guys and your guns…” He muttered. He shot a web at the gun and jerked it from Deadpool’s hand, just as he’d done with the man’s knife earlier. He didn’t wait for a response, but ran forward and leapt up, flipping over Deadpool to land beside his unfortunate prisoner.

“Don’t worry, I’m gonna get you out of this.” He told the man, reaching for his handcuffs.

All of a sudden his spidey sense shot sharp and alarming down his spine. He acted on instinct, leaping out of the way and clinging to the wall above the dumpster. A small throwing knife bounced off the metal dumpster right where he’d been standing a half-second ago, making a harsh clanging sound as it hit.

“I think a certain itsy bitsy spider should crawl back up the water spout.” Deadpool warned, reaching back and drawing his swords with a chilling scraping sound. They looked pretty sharp.

Peter shot a web at Deadpool’s face, blinding him. While the mercenary was busy clawing at the webs to try and get them off, Peter dropped back down to the man and got his hands on the cuffs. He gritted his teeth and pulled. The metal snapped under his fingers and the man was no longer chained. “Run. Go call the police.” Peter ordered, helping the man to his feet and giving him a shove towards the alley exit.

Another intense tingle warned Peter to dodge out of the way as one definitely sharp blade swung past his head. “Not so fast, Casanova. Didn’t we warn you not to run from us?” Peter watched Deadpool stick out one foot, tripping the man as he tried to get away and sending him sprawling with a groan.

Peter scowled under his mask, dodging another swing of Deadpool’s sword and quickly webbing him around the middle. He pulled hard to send the larger fighter sprawling in the opposite direction. “Just let the poor guy go, Red. I think you’ve tortured him enough.”

Deadpool laughed as he got to his feet, a slightly hysterical edge to the sound. “Of course he doesn’t know… Well, we haven’t told him, have we?” He approached Peter, swinging his swords (katanas, something in Peter’s mind supplied) in wide, intimidating arcs. They circled each other slowly, Peter watching for an opportunity to get in under those blades and knock Deadpool down for good.

“We think you should know, itsy bitsy spider. That guy you’re saving works for a human trafficking ring as big as Kim Kardashian’s titties.” Peter chose to ignore that strange analogy, glancing over to see that the man he’d freed had taken his chance and run. He was no longer in the alley with them.

“It does too make sense…” Peter frowned slightly as he looked back at Deadpool, just in time to dodge another swing of the katanas and leap up onto the wall out of Deadpool’s reach. “Obviously I meant compared to other tits. You know, ‘cause Kim Kardashian’s tits are the biggest.”

Peter had no idea what Deadpool was talking about now, but he took the opportunity to shoot another web at him, intending to pull him down again. But Deadpool dodged the web with unexpected speed. “Hey, they are too! You take that back!” He swung again, lightning fast, and Peter just got out of the way, jumping higher up the wall. He felt a snag near his ankle and looked down to see a thin, inch long tear in his suit.

Peter gasped. “My suit!” He couldn’t believe it. Anger and indignation swelled in Peter’s chest and he found himself growling. “You are so going to regret that.” He shot a web at the top of the opposite building and swung out, both feet knocking into Deadpool’s chest with enough force to dent a car.

The mercenary stumbled backwards, laughing as Peter landed on top of the dumpster. “Hell yeah he is! And that ass… Mm.” He sheathed one of his katanas and pulled out another gun.

Peter grunted in frustration and jumped to the opposite wall, webbing the gun before it could be used and throwing it aside like the first one. “Who the fuck are you talking to?” He demanded, quickly growing tired of this bazaar fight he had found himself in.

Deadpool grew still, and looked up at Peter with his head tipped slightly to one side. He seemed to be listening to something. After a moment he said, “Just Ke$ha. I’ve got her on Bluetooth.”

Peter scoffed out a laugh, his anger dissolving, but he kept his guard up, ready to dodge another attack or tie Deadpool down with his webs (if he could catch the fast bastard). “Fine. Tell her Spider-Man says hi.”

Deadpool seemed to grin under his mask, and he sheathed his other katana, almost instantly relaxing into a more neutral stance. “Will do, buggy!”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Spiders are arachnids. Not insects.” That always got on his nerves. He glanced towards the entrance to the alley, wondering where that guy had run off to. “Was that man really working for a human trafficking ring?” He asked, surprised to find himself feeling slightly regretful about letting him go.

“Yup.” Deadpool popped the ‘p’ obnoxiously and started swinging his arms back and forth, rocking up and down on his feet.

Peter frowned down at him. “And you were… trying to get information out of him?”

Deadpool laughed again. “Something like that.”

Peter’s frown deepened. “Look, Red. You can’t just go around torturing people.”

Deadpool stilled and looked down slightly. “Well he doesn’t need to know that…” He muttered under his breath. Then, louder. “Yeah, sure, little spider. Whatever you say. Hey look. This has been fun and all, but I’ve gotta get going. Things to do, people to see, all that jazz.” He turned and jogged towards the main street, leaning down to scoop up one of his guns on the way.

“Hey, wait!” Peter wasn’t sure that he should just be letting this guy go. He’d definitely broken the law, and he was undoubtedly dangerous.

“Catcha later, Spidey-boy!” And then Deadpool was gone, disappeared around the corner.

Peter could chase after him, but he wasn’t even totally sure that he’d be able to subdue Deadpool if he did catch him, and that was a frightening realization.

With a sigh and a shake of his head, Peter decided to let it go for now. If he ran into Deadpool again, well, maybe he’d try his hand at taking him down. But for now, he had had a long day and he was pretty tired. He crawled back up to the roof and looked out over the city one more time, scanning the streets for a certain red-clad figure, but he saw nothing out of the ordinary.

He swung home, enjoying the journey a little less than usual (although at least he wasn’t returning home injured tonight). He landed on the side of his apartment building fifteen minutes later, crawled to his window, and carefully opened it as quietly as he could. He slipped into his room and listened for Aunt May. Her deep, even breaths from down the hall told him she was asleep, so he relaxed, falling onto his bed with a deep sigh.

He wriggled out of his suit and held it up to his face, looking for the tear that Deadpool had made. He found it on the back of the right leg and frowned, pinching the edges together as he thought about how to best stitch it back together. As he watched, the jagged edges seemed to cling together and reform into a solid piece of fabric once again. Peter gasped and ran his fingers over the area. It was perfectly smooth.

“Damn, this suit is cool…” He grinned. After tucking the suit away under his bed, he pulled out his laptop. He knew he should probably get to sleep, or at least finish his homework if he was going to stay up, but he was too curious. It took forever for his computer to boot up, and almost as long for the internet to start working (his laptop was more than a few years old). But that didn’t keep him from his search.

Peter stayed up until almost three a.m. googling everything he could about Deadpool.

 

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Song credits:

Work Title:
Bloodstream (Vampire Diaries Remix) - Stateless
Chapter Title:
Scenic World (Version) - Beirut
Lyrics:
Die Young - Ke$ha

 

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