kisses are a better fate
"Is this the way Captain America would have done it?"
On one hand, it was weird to have Nick Fury's voice in his head at a time like this.
But on the other hand, Peter was currently getting a very close and personal lesson on the way Captain America would have done it in the middle of what was supposed to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. training room floor.
And "it" was supposed to be "getting rid of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s killer attack robots," but as it turned out, "it" actually meant "mount a teammate and shove his tongue down their throat."
Not that Peter was complaining.
It was just that if he'd thought about what a first kiss with Captain America would be like, it wouldn't have been on a cold steel floor and the kiss might have been slightly less enthusiastic in Peter's imagination.
So, basically, Fury was right, and Peter hadn't had the first clue about how Captain America would have done it.
Peter just hoped that Fury wasn't watching him learn this particular lesson.
This particular training room could only be monitored by one solitary security camera. It was one of the older rooms, and hadn't been modified to allow observation from the outside the way the newer models had. Most of the "rookies" weren't allowed access, but the other rooms were full and Fury had trusted Steve to keep an eye on Spider-Man's back.
Since Steve had taken out the only camera in the room in less than two minutes in an attempt to get rid of the robots attacking from the ceiling, it was a pretty safe bet that the modifications would be coming a lot sooner than Fury had planned.
As for the trust...
"Oh, hey, the ability to breath again. That was definitely becoming an issue," Peter gasped.
"Sorry." It was a terrible apology, but what was Steve supposed to say? That in the heat of the moment, Peter had been standing too close to an exploding robot and all the protective urges that had more to do with 1945 than 2012 had kicked in?
"Hey, you don't have to be sorry. I appreciate a little enthusiasm. In fact, if you keep straddling me this way, I might start to show some enthusiasm of my own."
That was a terrible thing to say to a living legend, Peter was pretty sure of it. If only Steve hadn't been so fast and hadn't knocked him out of harm's way, Peter could have safely been caught by an exploding evil robot and safely avoided the current mortifying situation.
"Right. Sorry about that, too," Cap answered.
Unlike Peter, Cap's mask was still firmly in place, so it made it hard to really tell, but Peter could have sworn that was an honest to goodness blush threatening to spread across Cap's face.
But Peter only got a brief look at it, before Cap was standing up and offering Peter his hand.
As far as aftermath of first kisses went, Peter supposed that being offered a helping hand up off the floor by Captain America after he'd had his tongue shoved down Peter's throat was not the worst option.
Peter accepted the offered hand and scrambled to his feet. Because despite what vibes Danny and Luke were giving off, the last thing he wanted was for his new team to walk in on him while he was in the middle of or enjoying the dazed aftermath of kissing Captain America.
"So like I was saying, you really don't have to be sorry," Peter assured him again, mostly because the awkward silence in the now-empty training room was getting under his skin. Who would have thought that anyone would ever actually miss the annoying buzzy hissing sounds of the robots, anyway?
"You're sure about that?" Cap asked, and there was something completely surreal about Captain America seeking reassurance from Peter Parker, and it wasn't entirely due to the whole kissing thing.
Relationships hadn't been this hard, once. Even in the war, where situations were fleeting and private time hard to gain, things had been so much simpler and involved much less fumbling than this century seemed to require.
But maybe that was because this century didn't involve Bucky. Maybe without Bucky, everything in the last century would have felt like he was fumbling blindly in the dark, too.
"I'm sure," Peter was saying. "I mean, yeah, it would have been nice to have a head's up, but I can't fault you for a little celebratory 'hooray, we have destroyed the evil robots' kiss, and ... um, it's not like it was a bad kiss. So, sorry really isn't necessary. Really, it's not."
"Your century has a lot of arbitrary rules that I don't understand," Steve confessed. "They allow and encourage you to put your life in danger on a daily basis, yet those same people would think that you are incapable of giving your consent for the kiss I just gave you. I don't understand that. "
Because he'd tried. Those weren't the kind of rules that he and Bucky had to worry about, because if they'd ever been caught, the last thing anyone would have given a damn about was that Bucky was 16 and Steve was 20.
But he tried to think how different that would have made things, or if it would have. If Steve would have glanced up at his best friend, costume covered in blood that was only partially Bucky's, and would have been able to keep from touching.
How differently would the history books paint him, if they knew?
"Hey, I consented! I totally consented. Proportional strength of a spider! If I hadn't consented, I could have thrown you ... well, maybe not across the room, but a little bit. I could have absolutely thrown you a little bit."
Okay, so it was at that point that Peter was reminded that the man who had given Peter his first non-Mary-Jane-Watson kiss had been frozen for decades and probably had more in common with Aunt May than Peter himself.
But it had been a nice kiss; Peter hadn't been lying about that. Which is why he followed his previous rambling with, "So if you wanted to do it again, sometime, I would consent to that, too. Just maybe somewhere more comfortable than the floor of a S.H.I.E.L.D. training room."
It wasn't, in retrospect, Peter's smoothest comment.
But then Cap smiled at him, and it wasn't one of those gloriously cheesey smiles you saw in the newsreels or those old posters they showed pictures of in Peter's history books. Peter was sure they'd both been sincere, in their own way. But this smile was for Peter, which made it more special.
At least, until Cap spoke.
"I think we should see how things go from here. We both have a good deal of responsibility, you with your team and - "
"And me with my team. Yeah, I get the responsibility thing. I really do." Apparently, Cap had his own special smile reserved for dashing all of Peter's hopes. Which was impressive, really.
"You also remind me of someone I cared about very much. I need to be sure that I'm being fair to you when ... if I kiss you again."
It did not take someone with Reed Richards' brain power to figure out who that "someone" was. Not to anyone remotely familiar with Captain America's story. The whole younger-man-with-brown-hair-leaping-into-battle deal kind of gave it away.
"Ah, so you want to chalk this up as a mistake?" Now was a good a time as any to put his mask back on. This conversation was obviously drawing to a close and it was getting very close to time to make his getaway and head on back to the boring part of his life that didn't involve kissing Avengers.
"I didn't say that. You're a good guy, Peter, and I don't regret kissing you. I just want the next time to happen when we're both in a better place and I'm able to be more fair to you than I am now." Cap gave him that smile again, which really wasn't a fair weapon to use against someone when they were being rejected, because it really did remove all ability to be or stay angry. "And yes, somewhere more comfortable than the floor of a S.H.I.E.L.D. training room."
"Fair enough." Peter's mask was firmly in place, but he offered a smile, anyway. "See you around, Cap."
"See you around, Peter."
With that, Peter left the training room, thankful that immediate area seemed rather empty, which was always a pleasant surprise when it came to busy-body S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
It wasn't the best result from a first kiss, but on the other hand, it had been a first kiss with Captain America. How many other people could say that they'd done that?
So all in all, even if there was never a second kiss, it wasn't the worst luck a guy could have.