joseph liebgott was not your average superhero. he didn’t have a secret identity. he swore at nearly everyone; strangers, victims, villains. his uniform consisted of whatever jeans and t-shirt he threw on in the morning. he was abrasive, aggressive, and argumentative. above all, he was damn good at his job. he hasn’t lost a single victim or hostage and of all the superheroes in the nation, he has the highest record of arrests. and when he finally allows a journalist to interview him, much to tab’s - his public relations manager - demands, his life changes. web is serious, sophisticated, and absolutely scintillating, if joe had anything to say about it. when joe responds to a question with a snarky answer, he expects web to get angry or uncomfortable, but web just laughs and smiles at joe. and joe totally does not blush, no matter what web says. the interview lasted all night and well into the morning. and when web asks joe out for lunch, it’s impossible to say no. nine months later and they’re still together. nine months later and web is joe’s only weakness aside from astatine. web’s papers and writing are always over joe’s tables and joe’s comic books, which web had found absolutely endearing and adorable, always found their way into web’s messenger bag. and no matter what, no matter how late, they’d always made it home to one another. so when joe doesn’t show up at night, web knows something wrong. he can feel it in his bones. and he’d always known joe would find out about his past, but he wanted to be able to tell him himself, preferably in the comfort of their own home. but the man he loves is being held hostage, and there nothing he wouldn’t do to save him. even if joe never wants to speak to him again, after finding out he’s lied all this time. if joe’s alive, that’s enough.
it’d been approximately one year since web had held a gun in his hand. he’d never expected he have to hold one again. after his last undercover case had gone sideways and he’d lost his partner, henry jones, web had retired. he wasn’t one to quit in the face of adversity, but the way the bureau had handled jones’ death had left him with more than disgusted and he quit.
he knew it was the right decision when he met joe. from the moment he saw him, a goddamn superhero, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, web was hooked. then he discovered more about the man behind the powers and the weight of the city on his shoulders. he learned that joe was as compassionate as he was strong, as hilarious as he was offensive, and as endearing as he was frustrating. he learned how joe kissed, how he taste, how he felt. and everything he learned, he loved. he loved joe. every little part that made the man up, web was completely in love with.
and now, he was worried that he’d never be able to tell him.
he loaded the guns joe never knew about. a barrett m95 sniper rifle, a mossburg 12 gauge, and two colt m1911 pistols. normally, he’d think it would be overkill, but he wasn’t taking any chances.
aelric was joe’s one and only nemesis. the only one who actively sought to hurt and kill joe. usually joe would return banged up, a little worse for wear, but he always came home. and if joe didn’t come home then it meant aelric had finally done something serious. he’d finally manage to do something that meant joe was in serious trouble. and web just wasn’t going to let joe handle it on his own, wasn’t going to stand idly by while the man he loved was being hurt.
guns holstered on his thighs and againsts his back, web zipped up his leather jackets and sped across the city on his motorcycle. cold, wet air was biting into his skin and fueling the rage coursing through his veins.
as a journalist, web had sources all over the city and when he and joe had moved in together, he made it his job to know where any and every enemy of joe’s hideouts were. web’s sources were loyal, smart, and efficient. if he wanted, web could run the city with all of the information he had.
or tear it down.
joe sometimes hated being a superhero. he didn’t ask for any of this. didn’t ask to have people’s lives depend on him. didn’t ask for an entire city to watch over. didn’t ask to be hunted by every asshole with an inkling for deviant behavior. hell, when he was younger, he recalled some of his own deviant behavior. but things had changed since then. since his powers presented themselves and he’d helped one too many people and drew too much attention to himself, it’s been nothing but pressure and bruises and people trying to kill him.
the only lights in his dark life were the fact that their were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children alive because of him. people got to see another day, live entire lifetimes because of him. and joe would gladly give up everything for that. everything except david webster. sometimes he hated how easily web had fit into his life. before he knew it, web was in his apartment all the time, making himself at home across joe’s dining table, and making joe dinner when he came home. and massaging every kink out of his body from a night of crime-fighting. and treated joe’s wounds with a startling efficiency that always made joe want to ask how he knew to treat a gunshot. but then web would kiss him before he could ask and no one would blame joe for forgetting his curiosity in favor of kissing david webster.
and it’s that thought, the thought of kissing web again, that pulls joe out of his weak state, and continue fighting against the astatine.
he gasps as another wave of the element pushes its way through his body.
“i-it’s really sad that you can’t fight me on your own aelric.”
aelric laughs, high-pitched and annoying.
joe would’ve rolled his eyes if he could spare the strength.
aelric had always wanted what joe had, superpowers. and because he had the next best thing, wealth, he’d been spending every penny figuring out how to steal it from joe..or at least kill him in the process.
“silly, i don’t need this for anything, except to torture you.”
aelric turned up the power on the machine pumping astatine into him.
joe passed out before he could scream.
web pulled into an alley outside a luxury apartment building.
“you sure this is the place? seems like an odd place to do business?” web asked into his phone.
“yeah i’m sure web. gene worked for them a while back, patching people up because his ma was sick and he needed the money,” babe responded with a defensive tone all at once, “that’s the place.”
“alright, thank you.”
before web hung up, babe spoke up again, “web, look, you been good to the guys since you came into town. you’ve saved our asses more times than any of us care to mention. i mean, you got buck off the hook for the twenty grand he owed the russian mob, for christ’s sake.”
web shrugged, “it was nothing, hones-”
babe interrupted, “it wasn’t nothin’ to us, web. you’re family to us now. and we protect our family.”
web sighed, “things could end badly and bloody.”
“ain’t nothing we ain’t dealt with before.”
web pursed his lips, “i could use a grenade launcher.”
babe laughed, “there’s the web i know. so we’ll be there in five because we were gonna show up no matter what and snaf had been tracking you since you text me, so see you soon. or right now actually, bill stop driving like a fucking madm-”
as soon as babe hung up, he was out of the doors and hugging web.
web’s eyes widened as he saw eight men shuffle out of the back of the van and two more from the passenger and driver seats.
ron and lip smiled softly, “dick and nix wanted to be here, but they’re in paris right now.”
web looked at all of the men, dressed in black, enough weapons to start a war, and excited looks on their faces.
lip, speirs, babe, roe, bill, snafu, sledge, leckie, toye, and luz.
ten of the toughest, smartest, and deadliest men in the city, working under dick winters and lewis nixon who did for the people what the city and government wouldn’t. they were people who sought to eradicate the evil of their city, even if it meant having to kill people now and then. web had been to their headquarters several times. he never forgot the phrase framed in dick’s office.
“destroy all that which is evil. so that which is good may flourish.”
since their first meeting, web had known he found the right people to align himself with. despite his being and fbi agent, web knew good people when he saw them. and these were good people. and he knew joe knew who they were. he knew they were people that he knew joe had let slide because they’d never hurt anyone who hadn’t had it coming.
and he would be forever in their debt because they were the ones who had gotten him the interview with joe and his subsequent happiness and love of his life.
so if they wanted to help save the man he loved, who was he to say no? they were the best professional killers web had ever seen in all his years of working with criminals. but these weren’t criminals to him, they were friends…family. and web would have to invite them over if they ever got out of this alive. if only to see the shocked look on joe’s face when speirs showed up to their apartment with a fruit basket ron no doubt had forced him to bring.
web laughed and the men looked at him.
he waved his hands, “i’ll tell you later.”
he gathered himself and cracked his neck. “load ‘em boys.”
joe came to when his pain went from piercing and unbearable to a dull, throbbing ache that made its way into his bones.
he wanted to fight, for web, for their future and the love joe had for him. he’d loved david webster from the first time they kissed. when their lips met, he knew he never wanted to kiss anyone else again. and he never got to tell him. wanted to and almost felt like he should so many times. over coffee, before leaving for a call, or after they’d spent a night in bed sweating and panting. but he never did and as he lay on the ground, motionless, he was starting to think he never would.
he could feel himself waning. the astatine doing it best to kill every cell in his body.
aelric sighed, disappointed.
“shame, shame, shame. i was so hoping for a longer time with you, joseph. perhaps you’re not who i thought you were. you’re certainly not anything i long to be.”
joe was about to pass out when an explosion sounded somewhere outside the room they were in.
aelric looked annoyed and pointed to the four guards in the room, “you four, go make sure jackson didn’t play around with the c-4 again. it costs a lot of money to remodel this place.”
joe didn’t know who or what was happening but aelric had unknowingly turned of the machine pumping astatine into him and he could feel his powers regaining their energy. he only hoped the explosion would keep his nemesis distracted long enough.
from the first body hitting the ground, web knew that if he needed anyone killed, the easy company gang would be the first people he’d turn to.
for all their light-heartedness, joking around, and all-over way too kind and polite attitudes, they were excellent marksmen. better than him and he’s been a trained marksman for a long time.
they’re through the first floor and working their way up to the penthouse.
web is distracted, he knows, but they could have joe anywhere and the fact that they haven’t found him yet is making his worry skyrocket.
he doesn’t even notice the man about to shoot the back of his head until the thug drops dead behind him.
speirs rushes to web and grabs the back of his neck tightly to ground him.
“you can’t have a future with him, if you’re dead. clear your head and keep fighting. he’s here. we’ll find him. alive.”
web looked into ron’s eyes and felt his mind clear.
he nodded, pulling his pistols out of their holsters.
joe could feel the pain subsiding, he was still weak but at least he could move parts of his body now.
aelric was pacing back and forth and normally joe would provoke the man, but he was counting on whatever was outside the door to keep him distracted.
he sees aelric shrug and walk back over to the machine.
“i was hoping to be a little more relaxed before i killed you, but we can’t always get what we want.”
joe sighed as he finally, finally got control of his hands, enough power in them to crush the remote controlling the astatine. he just had to get a little closer.
“can i least have a last drink of smoke man? even you aren’t that cruel.”
aelric started at joe for a long time, seeming to think over whether or not to allow joe’s last request.
joe did his best to look absolutely helpless.
aelric shrugged, “i supposed. i’m not entirely heartless. so what’ll it be, smoke or drink?”
joe let his head loll to the side where aelric was sitting, “dealer’s choice.”
aelric smiled and went to the other side of the room to pour a drink.
and joe made his move.
all of them were fighting their way through way too many men that should be guarding the building.
web shrugged in his mind, money can buy you bodies, but not loyalty.
the last man on the floor dropped his weapon and was shaking by the time web approached him.
he couldn’t have been any younger than when web first started at quantico.
“where is he?”
the kid was still shaking when he pointed upstairs to the penthouse.
“any men up there?”
the kid nodded.
then web knocked the out with the butt of his gun.
they moved upstairs as one unit, silent and poised to strike.
when they opened the door by the stairs, lip and speirs took out the two guards by the door.
there were four in the kitchen, five in the living room, and two in each of the two hallways on either side.
the kid was right, fifteen. fifteen men, silently assassinated by them. if only the citizens knew how easily they could take over the city and how meaningful it was that they chose not to.
the men were panting, adrenaline pumping through them as much as it was for web.
he noticed a room off to the left of the hallway and silently gestured to speirs that it was that last room that hadn’t cleared.
then he heard joe scream and any semblance of calm vanished and was replaced with blind rage.
joe had managed to get a hold of the remote but he still need some time to before his powers would be strong enough to destroy it.
“i take mine on the rock.” joe couldn’t help but be a little bit of an ass to the man trying to kill him.
“i don’t take every request from men i’m going to kill, joseph. you’ll drink what i give you.”
joe, remote in hand, blood pumping furious, thought about david in his, quite possibly, last few moments. he wondered what he was doing right now and smiled. he’d probably be curled up on the couch, either writing of reading. maybe he’d be wearing the shark sweatshirt joe had gotten him for his birthday along with year-long passes to the aquarium. web had looked at joe, amazed and a little teary-eyed, like joe had gotten him an actual shark. and joe would be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about it, but there was no room in their home for a shark. still, that look from web haunted joe. he’d never been looked at like that before. and there was something in web’s eyes that joe couldn’t place. he’d hoped that it was love, unconditional and given freely, but web had never let on to anything like that. sure joe knew web cared about him and liked him enough to move in, but neither had spoken the words that completely change everything. that bring a whole new meaning to their lives. and he hoped he made it out alive in order to tell web. even if they were his dying words.
he was so distracted that he hadn’t noticed aelric walking back towards him. he tried to grab the remote to hide it but a residual shock of the astatine hit him and he accidentally hit the switch back on.
he screamed out in pain as the element pumped into his body. even at a low rate, it still felt like his body was trying to tear itself apart from the inside out.
aelric rushed to him to grab the remote. joe didn’t know if it was whether or not to turn it off of jack it up.
then door burst open and in the span of two minutes joe realized four things.
one, his boyfriend was here, in the same room as him and his arch-nemesis.
two, his boyfriend not who joe thought he was. his hand wasn’t shaking, but one- hundred-percent steady and joe didn’t, couldn’t really, flinch when a bullet went straight through aelric’s skull, blood splattering all over joe’s writhing body, and body falling harshly on the ground.
three, his boyfriend was was surrounded by ten men - that were somehow familiar to him had he had the wherewithal to access his memory - similarly dressed in black, all, except two, with weapons aimed at aelric. the two men, one redhead-man with a warm, comforting smile aimed at joe as he turned off the machine. the other a jet-black-haired man with cold, steady hands that worked to get joe in an upright position.
four, joe, despite realizing that web had been lying about who he was the entire time they’d been together, had never love david webster more. it was fucked, joe knew, but knowing that the person you loved would, quite literally, kill for you and save you from certain death, kind of made you love them in a way you never knew how to love before. it was deeper, more inherent, and joe was high off of it.
or he was high off whatever the raven-haired man had put into his arm.
web was by his side, mumbling about something, but joe’s head was swimming and he didn’t think he’d remain conscious long enough.
he had something to tell web. he had to tell him something.
web’s hands were shaking now and joe wanted to tell him everything would be okay tell web that he was an stupid and an asshole for not telling him about his past, but he loved him no matter what.
but all that came out before he passed out was, “ass.”
when joe woke up, he was bombarded with a face he’d never seen before.
big wide eyes, a jaw that looked like it was carved directly onto the man, and an odd smile on his face.
“huh, ya don’t look much like a superhera, how we supposed to know if ya are one?”
a different red-head than the last one joe remembers seeing came up behind the man and slapped the back of his head, lightly, almost like it was out of fondness and not annoyance.
“snafu, please got hack into some corrupt politician’s bank account and leave this poor man alone.”
snafu looked to the redhead and his eye softened, “whateva ya say sledgehamma.”
snafu winked and the redhead blushed.
“i told you don’t call me that anymore. i ain’t used a sledgehammer in five years.”
joe just stared at the two of them in an odd trance before trying to talk.
the man stammered and motioned before he managed to bring a cup of water to joe’s lips.
“sorry ‘bout that. snafu don’t really have a filter when it comes to talk to strangers. come to think of it, talking to anyone. part of the crazy reason, i love him.”
joe just nodded blindly before moving the cup away from him.
he moved to get up, but his body completely rejected that idea.
“whoa, whoa, whoa there! now i’m under strict orders from doc to not let you move until he gets here.”
joe groaned, he would’ve fought consider he doesn’t know any of these men, but his body was bruised and hurt too bad to leave the comfort of the bed.
“w-web?” joe asked.
“oh he’s passed out next door. you’ve been out for four days and he hadn’t slept since the night you were taken. bill slipped a sleeping bil in his bourbon and he was out like a light.”
joe would’ve threatened to hurt them for drugging web, but for some reason web trusted them and joe did too. he could tell good people from the bad, came with the job. and they were good people.
“i can’t go get him if you wa-”
joe waved a hand, and even that put him in a lot of pain.
“nah let him sleep.”
sledge smiled, “well my name eugene, but everybody just calls me sledge. just holler if you need me. doc will be here soon, so just rest.”
joe nodded and closed his eyes. he was out before sledge was out of the room.
web woke up in a haze. he felt like everything that had transpired over the past four and half days was just a crazy dream.
he remember it was real when the bruised rib pulsed in pain when he got up.
nope, it was real. the guard that slammed him with a baseball bat was real. joe’s pain and near-death was real. aelric’s death was real.
web wished he had the wherewithal to be even a little guilty or worried over aelric’s death, but he wasn’t. he had threatened, tortured, and nearly killed the only thing web cares about. he’d make that decision again and again if it meant joe lived.
web was out of the room and rushing to joe before he think.
joe still looked asleep, but he was breathing and web sat down heavily in the chair beside him and wrapped his hands around joe’s.
“you’re really scaring me joe. i need you to wake up. don’t make me to the whole cliché, love confessions by your dying bedside thing. it’s cheap and overplayed and you know it.”
joe smiled at web’s little meltdown.
he looked at web’s downcast head and had mercy on him.
“everything you say is a goddamn cliché, web and i’m pretty sure for it to be a love confession, you have to say the words.”
web’s head shot up and in an instant he broke down, tears happily sliding down his face and onto joe’s as web kissed him within an inch of his life. and as joe’s lungs cried out for air, that inch was getting smaller and smaller.
web pulled back and placed his forehead gently on joe’s, “sorry, sorry. it’s just i-i almost lost you. i was so fucking scared joe.”
joe pulled away and looked into web’s eyes, “i’m here, web. always gonna be here.”
web nodded and kissed joe again and it was desparate. far too desperate for either of their liking, but it was exactly what they needed.
a clearing of several throats behind them, caused them to turn around.
roe, babe, sledge, snafu, lip, and speirs were all standing in the doorway.
web smiled and turned to joe, “there are somethings i need to tell you.”
joe made a look that told web “no shit sherlock,” but it didn’t hold the malice it usually did. instead it looked so fond that web blushed and looked away.
“hello joe, how’re you feeling?”
joe sighed, “you must be the doc, i’m feeling like i swallowed several bombs that exploded in my body.”
roe just smiled, “that’s to be expected. now your powers will help with the healing, but not all of it. i’ve given you accelerants to speed the healing and a standard painkiller for superheroes that’ll help ease the pain. you should be back to normal in a couple more days.”
web sighed in relief and put his head in his hands.
joe, sitting up now, just looked at all of the men around him, trying to act busy but listening nonetheless.
“so what are you people?”
the all turned to look joe and web looked to the ceiling in frustrations.
“they’re the easy company gang, joe.”
joe’s eyebrows rose considerably as the men stood there in defiance and pride.
he looked to web, “and what exactly are you doing with the ECG?”
web looked behind him at the men who had helped save joe’s life without him having to ask. the men who he had come to know so very well. the men who would be a part of his life whether joe liked it or not. they men who had become…
web smiled, “they’re family.”
web caught roe’s eyes and the warm smile he got in return, he knew was plastered over every face behind him.
joe shrugged and web made introductions as the rest of the men shuffled in from the other offices.
web’s hand never left joe’s and the warmth seeped into joe’s bones and made him feel like he was home.
one year later.
it was a cool autumn day in the city, when joe and web got married.
the easy company boys were the only ones invited and because web was a journalist and the gang had so much sway over the city, it was a very private affair.
web had fiddled with his tie for thirty minutes before nix finally got up and slammed his whiskey on the table.
“okay, okay, stop. you’re making me nervous and i’m already married.”
web laughed, and started fiddling with it again.
nix started fixing the tie and calm web down, “look it’s okay to be nervous, but trust me that man out there love you and wants to be with you. so take a deep breath and imagine that you’re assembling your rifle. each piece fitting together like it should. and this is the final piece.”
web breather deeply, imagining each piece of his and joe’s life together coming together like a rifle.
he smiled and nix laughed, “there it is.”
lip popped his head in the door and speirs was right behind him and for the first time since they’d known each other, web saw giddiness in the expression from speirs.
said man spoke up excitedly, “we’re ready.”
web would have balked at walking down the aisle, especially with nix and speirs by his sides, but babe had insisted that someone had to. and that night joe and web had played rock, paper, scissors for the honor. joe laughed when he won, but said seriously that he couldn’t wait to see web walk down the aisle.
speirs was an obvious choice because they’d worked together often enough for web to trust him implicitly. he trusts all the men like that, especially now, but he and speirs had always clicked and could work together efficiently and seamlessly. and ron was web’s first and only friend in the city before he met joe and the rest of the men.
as for nix, he and dick were not only the leaders of easy company, but they were essentially the father figures of the group. even though they weren’t much older than any of the others, their leadership spoke otherwise. and they protected the men both as brothers and sons. so it only made sense for one of them to walk web down the aisle. and seeing as how dick was officiating, nix was the obviously choice.
though if web did have to choose, he would’ve chosen nix anyway. he’d always felt a kinship with him. both of them had come from wealthy, ivy league families. and both of them had been the disappointments of said family and became criminals. web had tried the straight and narrow and it had gotten a good man killed. he didn’t want that to happen again. so he dealt with people who weren’t afraid of who they were and embraced it. and nix helped web become the person he always knew his was, saw himself in web and sought to help him reach his full potential. and that was something web could never thank nix enough for.
so there’s some soft song, that sound familiar to web, playing as he makes his entrance. his hands are shaking and he’s looking as his feet.
nix grips his hand tightly and whispers in his ear, “trust me, you don’t want to miss this.”
web looks up and see joe, eye’s wet and feet shifting like he wants to run to web.
when their eyes met, every insecurity, worry, and doubt that web ever had vanishes.
the only thing he sees in joe. the only thing he hears is joe. the only thing he feels is joe.
he doesn’t hear dick talking or the wolf whistles from the men when they exchange rings, and he can only hear the roaring of blood in his ears when he pulls joe roughly to him and seals their marriage with a hot kiss.
they pull back and the men are cheering and clapping.
their foreheads rested on one another for a long moment during the celebration and web whispered in disbelief, “we’re married.”
joe bit web’s lick, “fuck yeah we are.”
web laughed and kissed joe again before whispering unto his lips, “i love you joseph liebgott.”
joe smiled, “i love you too david webster. have since the day i met you.”