“Sometimes you want someone and you want to kiss them. And be with them. But you can’t. Because responsibility demands sacrifice.”
Peter could put on a spandex and crack bad jokes all he wanted at all kind of supervillains, he could websling between buildings and fall into dark alleys on cold nights to stop innocent people from getting hurt. He could give older, more experienced people, a big chunk of good advices on a bad day, and even hold them back from doing some really stupid thing. From the day his uncle died, he took to the heart that with great powers come great responsibilities, and he would have to watch out for everyone around him. He could and would do many things, but giving in.
And recently he had decided that whenever he’s around, no one dies.
This, he thinks, is taking responsibility for his actions, taking in account that no matter how good he does to everyone else, there will always be something, or someone, putting the ones he loves in great danger.
That’s why he’s sacrificed so much.
Peter doesn’t think often about it, because thinking implies he’ll have to deal with it and he’s really in no shape to start evaluating his personal life, counting what he lost or let go on purpose. He’s good the way he is, he’s got his dream job during the day, and he’s a vigilante at night, and if you ask, he’s doing pretty well.
So well that, in fact, balancing on top on a building near Hell’s Kicthen is just another one of his routines. He’s not following Daredevil around, this is just a bad coincidence, that he happened to walk right into him punching some dudes that were apparently trying to hurt a young lady. Spider-Man’s not even interfering, he’s just watching, making sure it’ll go the right way, with no one more hurt than the necessary. And he waits until everyone’s out, until Daredevil’s the only one still standing - besides the crying lady that runs away the moment she’s sure no one’s going to follow her - and gets ready to leave. Wrist already pointing on a general direction, he notices the head turning before he hears the man down there calling him. Peter - no, Spider-Man - stops his web from flying away from his device, and looks at the man in red.
He shouldn’t have done that.
These little reckless acts of actually staring, these long moments with no words spoken between them, these are the moments he likes to avoid. Because these are moments of extreme honesty, because even though Daredevil can’t actually see him, he can listen to his fast heartbeats, his changing breathing and uneasy way of moving. He knows these things happen when they meet, and he knows these are things they can’t actually hide, or better, Peter doesn’t want to hide.
But between want and need there’s a huge abyss.
It doesn’t really matter how much they want to be together, they both have too many enemies, they can easily turn into each other’s weakness, and while he wouldn’t mind sacrificing his life for Matt - Daredevil - he knows he still has people depending on him. Some waiting for him to show up sometime around the weekend for lunch, some seeing in him a good example, some just around the corner in need of some help. He couldn’t risk Matt.
Spider-Man nods before Daredevil takes off, disappearing in the dark. He knows the police will be there soon and he should be gone for his own sake. But for a moment, he lingers.
Matt is out there, putting his life in danger just as much as he is, and still he can’t bring himself to step up and face the consequences of his feelings, he can’t risk much more than he already did, because it’s painful, too painful to be responsible for losing someone you hold dear.
Someone you love.
When the police car lights start to get near, he jumps out.
Sometimes, loving someone’s not enough to keep them safe. Sometimes you need to let them go, pretend you don’t care. With great powers come great responsibilities, and day after day he understands better the meaning of this phrase.