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I'm A Huge Fan

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“NED! Ned, please help, I think I’m dying,” Peter says in a rush as soon as his best friend answers the phone. He’s been holding it in the whole way home, everything had hit him at once the moment he stepped out of the building, and to be completely honest he’s still a little dazed and light headed.

There’s a pause before Ned says, “Is this a superhero thing or a nerd thing? ‘Cause I know you had that international super meeting thing today but I didn’t hear about any attacks-”

“No! I mean, no, nothing like that, I’m - well, it’s kinda both? Just- just me nerding out over superheroes I guess,” he stammers, trying to get his thoughts in order, but all he can think about is a blinding grin and green eyes and he gets short of breath all over again.

From excitement, obviously. It’s not every day you meet the greatest Hero Japan, and possibly the world, has ever seen - much less his protege.

“Oh, okay. That’s cool,” his friend says, and Peter feels a little guilty at the disappointed note in his voice. No matter how much he had wanted to bring him along, it was strictly a Heroes only thing. Plus, Happy had looked about ready to tear his head off when he mentioned the idea of anyone bringing a “plus one”.

“So… All Might?” Ned prompts when Peter says nothing for several seconds, and that elicits a groan from the young Hero.

“I called him Mr. Might,” He admits, and then Ned is laughing in his ear and his expression gets stuck between a grimace and a grin. It had been pretty mortifying, honestly, the way he had stumbled through three different addresses in one breath (even trying to tack on a “-san” on one, which drew amusement from everyone nearby).

****

(3 hours earlier)

Although Peter kind of wants to jump out the window after a botched introduction like that, the enormous hero just keeps smiling and lets out a booming laugh that he could easily imagine coming from the God of Thunder himself. “Just All Might is fine, young man,” He says after.

Peter immediately nods and says something like “Of course, Mr. All Might, sir”, which kind of defeats the point altogether.

All Might’s smile turns a bit softer, almost fond, and there’s a completely insane moment where Peter thinks he’s going to reach out and ruffle his hair. But just like with the “hug” in the limo with Mr. Stark, it’s just Peter’s imagination and hero-worship getting the best of him.

But then he says, “You remind me a bit of my boy when we first met,” and Peter’s struck almost speechless. “My boy”? Did he mean-?

“All Might!” comes an excited shout from behind him, and it’s all Peter can do to not jump three feet in the air and stick to whatever’s closest (which would be All Might - and just no, the man may be as tall as a tree but that’s absolutely no excuse), “I just talked to Hawkeye and his Quirk is so fascinating, and I know I say that a lot but it’s really amazing what he’s able to do with what seems to be just a simple aiming Quirk! I noticed some similarities with Hatsume-kun’s Zoom, although his eyes seem to be relatively normal and I wanted to ask if his ability to aim without looking is part of his Quirk or just a really impressive skill and how it overall varies in different lighting and wind conditions and he said-”

The spiel (all in English, some part of his brain notes, accented but perfectly clear) cuts off abruptly and Peter finally manages to look away from All Might (whose expression had become exponentially fonder as he looked to the speaker) and turn around to see if it’s who he thinks it is.

Staring back at him, just a few inches shorter and dressed in green from head to toe, is none other than THE Deku.

The moment they make eye contact Deku’s smile stretches into a dazzling grin and they’re standing close enough that Peter swears he can see stars in those green eyes and for a moment he thinks he may go blind. His stomach does something funny that involves swooping down and back up again quickly, and that’s before Deku starts speaking.

“Oh my god, it’s you!! Peter Parker! THE Spider-Man! I’m a huge fan!” Deku gushes, snapping the notebook he had open in one hand closed and bringing the other, holding a pen, to his cheek in a gesture of childish glee. The pen is still uncapped and leaves a small mark near his jawbone, and that’s really not what Peter should be focusing on but apparently TV is nowhere near capable of capturing his likeness - not the brightness, nor the multitudes of freckles - and he can’t help but stare a bit even if he really shouldn’t.

He shakes himself out enough to blurt “Are you kidding me?!” and he is just going to ignore how his voice cracked in the middle there. “It’s YOU!!” He says, thankfully normal-sounding, grinning back and pointing needlessly at the other hero, “You’re Deku! THE Deku!”

That makes Deku try to hide behind his gloved hands, but he seems to catch himself at the last second and just settles on clutching his items close to his chest and smiling bashfully at him. “Ah ha ha, yeah, that’s me…”

Oh no, he’s exactly as adorably humble as in the handful of translated interviews Peter’s found.

Suddenly Deku seems to think of something and quickly begins flipping through his notebook, muttering in a voice that’s too low for him to hear. Peter’s eyes flick down to the cover and he sees something written in kanji across the top, and just below that “AVENGERS” in English.

“Ah! Found your page!” Deku says, and Peter’s brain promptly short-circuits. “I have a lot of information on your fighting style already from online videos, but I’ve largely had to deduce the specifics of your Quirk. It doesn’t seem to be a mutation type like Tsuyu-chan’s - or, well, you might know her as Froppy - where you actually have the physical characteristics of an animal because I’m pretty positive that your webs are support-based and don’t actually come from your body - I guess I should be asking Iron Man about that, actually, since your suit and tech is from Stark Industries - but your wall-crawling seems to be natural.”

Peter takes his chance when Deku pauses for breath. “Uh, yeah! Yeah, that’s right. And actually my new tech is from Mr. Stark but at first, it was all my own - web formulas, too.”

Somehow Deku looks even more in awe, and Peter would be lying if he said that he didn’t like having that look directed at him - by anyone, really. But apparently, Deku has a way of making you feel like you’re in a spotlight all by yourself, even in a crowded room. It’s… really nice.

“Oh my god, really? I know in your early fights your suit looked homemade - no judgment, my first suit was made by my mom actually - but I didn’t even realize! I don’t really know how your high school system here works but at UA the Support and Hero courses are separate so that’s not the case for any of us. Although in things like the Sports Festival tech is generally allowed if you’ve made it yourself, most heroes don’t have the time or dedication to learn and build all that just for themselves. Yao-, uh, Creati, is an exception considering that her Quirk requires it of her in order to be effective in the field. You must be an absolute genius at robotics and chemistry!”

Peter vaguely wonders if this is how it feels to talk to himself, although Deku is doing a much better job at staying on topic than he usually does. Deku’s bubbling energy is also extremely infectious, and more than enough to shake him out of his ’oh my god DEKU is fanboying over me’ stupor to actually jump in on the conversation.

“Those are actually two of my favorite subjects! Physics, too - my Quirk gives me a really developed sense of balance but honestly it’s better to be able to calculate my trajectory while I’m swinging so I’m not just guessing on a gut instinct. Helps with my math grades, too. Though, technically gut instinct is another part of my Quirk? The whole ‘Spidey Sense’ thing, I mean - it’s like hyper-analysis of my environment but only in my subconscious so it’s not really helpful at telling me what is happening just to watch out for it.” Really, his Quirk is just a weird agglomeration of abilities.

“Okay, but speaking of genius and Sports Festivals - DUDE,” Deku jumps a bit, but Peter plows forward because can’t go another minute without giving him his own due praise, “You were awesome in your first one! The way you didn’t use your Quirk literally at all in the obstacle race but actually exploded yourself into first place - I don’t think I could’ve thought of that trick with the mines quickly enough, much less carrying that panel of robot metal all that way. You must’ve been crazy strong to not only cut through the robots with it but carry it across the ropes and platforms. And slamming it down on the other two right as you passed over them - that was absolutely brutal!”

As soon as Peter mentioned his Quirk Deku had started writing in his notebook - Peter could actually see a rough drawing of his newest robo-suit, almost completely surrounded by dense notes - but as soon as the topic switched to him Deku started blushing and half-stammering protests.

“Oh, um, uh, not my finest moment honestly? My math was really rough, nothing refined like you seem to do with your swinging. Plus I had no plan for landing and really it was just a lot of luck that got me through,” He says, one hand coming up to rub the back of his neck sheepishly.

Nope, nope. Peter had seen those criticisms online and was not having it out of Deku’s own mouth. “Seriously, you don’t give yourself enough credit!” He protests, and thankfully manages not to stutter over his next words when Deku looks up at him shyly through his long eyelashes, “You had to be really creative and gutsy to pull that off - improvisation in the field is a skill too, you know! I make makeshift weapons by swinging around rubble and shrapnel all the time.”

Deku is bright red by then and barely manages to squeak out a thank-you. But before he can ask any more questions, a large hand falls on each of their shoulders, causing them both to jump a bit.

All Might had apparently returned from wherever he had wandered off during their conversation, still smiling that soft smile that either TV doesn’t translate or is just completely different than his usual one. “Boys, sorry to interrupt, but we’re about to start the proceedings and really should get to our seats.”

Deku’s blush doesn’t fade, but he seems to relax somewhat. “Oh, of course, All Might! I think I saw my name between you and Mic-sensei, right?”

Peter actually had no idea that they even had assigned seats to get to, much less where his was. But he bid goodbye to Deku and All Might (he’s still internally screaming over getting to talk to them), and for lack of a better starting point goes to find Mr. Stark.

****

(Present)

“And after the meeting, I went to go find him again, but he was bouncing around to different Heroes and looked so earnest about taking notes that I didn’t want to interrupt,” He says, remembering seeing those starry eyes turned on all the others. At some point during his retelling to Ned, Peter had moved to lay on his bed, still in costume.

He remembers thinking that Deku reminded him of an energetic bunny, even without his hood up. He bites back a smile as the thought comes up again.

“Dude, the notes thing is a little creepy,” Ned says, though Peter quietly thinks that he has no right to say that with all his weird questions about heroing that haven’t really stopped even now.

He almost says as much, but holds back. Why is he bothering to get defensive over a guy he just met, anyway?

’Because it was super flattering and super adorable,’ his traitorous thoughts butt in, and he’s very suddenly glad that he had decided on a voice call rather than a video one.

“No one seemed to mind, especially with All Might right there,” He says instead, recalling how the blond man hadn’t exactly hovered but did always manage to be within hearing distance of his student.

That gets a snort out of Ned. “Wait, he actually dads that way in real life? That’s hilarious,” He says, and Peter has to laugh a little too. Despite looking nothing alike, the pair had seemed very close - even more so than what the videos show. In real life, you could pick up on the little movements they shared, like the embarrassed neck-scratch thing, as well as their uniquely accented English. All Might honestly almost sounded like he was from Texas, and Deku must have done some practice with him because he had a bit of a twang on some of his words as well.

Peter definitely isn’t going to examine why he had been paying so much attention to them. He was just being alert, is all. He’s always being told to pay more attention to stuff.

“Anyways, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him again before Mr. Stark was ready to leave and he was my ride home, so,” He finishes lamely.

“So, let me get this straight,” Ned says when it becomes clear Peter has nothing more to tell, “You met Deku, Hero-in-training to All Might and Sports Festival legend for destroying all his bones and the arena in his second fight, had a conversation where you aggressively complimented each other… and you didn’t even get his number or, like, e-mail?”

He’s positive that Ned can hear his face smack over the phone. “Oh my god I didn’t did I?” He groans, pouting as his friends’ laughter rings out. “And he’s more than the breaks-all-his-bones kid you know!” He adds, a little indignant and raising his voice to be heard. “He’s kind and smart and modest and obviously has way more control over his power now. He’s actually a really cool guy!”

However, Ned is merciless. “And that may have been your only chance to talk to him personally and now you have no way to follow-up, dude.”

Goddammit. Peter is so, so dumb when it comes to people. Especially Heroes. And cute people.

… and cute Heroes.

Amidst his wallowing, though, he gets an awful, awful idea.

“Hey, Ned?” He starts slowly, “You’re still my guy in the chair for sneaky stuff, right?”

“Um. Yeah?”

“And you’ve gotten to the point where you can like, hack security systems and stuff right?”

“I mean, nothing too fancy, but sometimes yeah.”

“So, if I told you the name of the hotel the foreign Heroes are staying at, would you be able to take a peek at the rooms listing?”

For a moment, there’s silence on the other end of the line and Peter worries that because it’s not a save-the-world mission or for the good of anyone but himself that Ned will say no. He’s being selfish, he knows, but at the same time he can’t help but feel like he let a huge opportunity slip by. He really, really wants to make it up before it’s too late, and this is the only idea he’s got.

Then, miraculously, there’s the sound of keyboard typing from Ned’s end. “Sure, okay. What’s the name?”

Peter lets out a sigh of relief, silently promising to make it up to Ned later, big time.

****

(1 hour later)

Peter has to hold himself back from humming the Mission: Impossible theme under his breath (not that he thinks he can be heard over the traffic, but better safe than sorry), but otherwise things are going… pretty okay, actually.

Turns out all the listings are under aliases (figures) so the most Ned could give him was the floor and general area that the Japanese names were listed. The rest is up to luck and Peter’s ability to be stealthy.

Currently, he is creeping along the side of the hotel building, trying not to think about how bad an idea it is to be lurking outside the windows of who-knows-how-many Heroes and how bad it would be for him to get caught.

His Spidey Sense has saved him more than once already when people got too close to their windows or felt like peeking out of the curtains to the surrounding city. Ledges and the occasional alcove have been his friends. But, honestly, it’s a minor miracle that he hasn’t dropped the food yet.

That had been kind of an impulsive decision on his way over. Sort of a “peace offering because I know I’m doing something weird and probably illegal”. Trouble is, he isn’t at all sure what Deku likes to eat, and his options were limited by the late hour. He ended up grabbing a couple sandwiches from the bodega that he likes, plus some classic American chicken nuggets and fries for good measure. At least one of those had to be a hit, right?

A shadow moves past the window he’s approaching and he feels his heart rate pick up as he ducks below the sill. Short stature, broad shoulders, messy hair… He double checks the floor he’s on by counting the windows from the bottom up, and it seems right. But he doesn’t want to leave this up to chance.

He quietly activates his suit’s enhanced listening capabilities, directing it toward the suspected window. He seems to have caught the tail-end of a conversation, but one of the voices is definitely Deku’s, and then there’s the sound of a door opening and closing. A moment later, there’s rushing water from what he assumes to be the shower. It’s quiet, then the creek of a bed as someone sits. Deku’s low muttering and pen scratching fill the silence and Peter breathes a quiet sigh of relief, disengaging.

He very slowly pokes his head over the sill, holding on with the hand carrying the take-out bag, and then softly knocks with the other. Immediately, there’s a flash of some kind behind the curtains, and before Peter can blink the window is thrown open and there’s a hand reaching directly for his face.

He’s blinded by the electric green that suddenly floods his vision, but his body is already moving on its own, flinging itself to the side and away from the threat so that he ends up sticking to the wall to the right of the window. He remembers the food a split second later and sends a web to catch the falling bag, a little thankful that they’re so high up so that it didn’t immediately go splat.

Dinner saved, he turns his head to meet the wide green eyes of Deku, whose body is still crackling with energy. He has his middle finger held back and ready to be flicked, and it’s pointed directly at Peter.

If he wasn’t so close to getting Smashed in the face, seeing Deku’s power up close would be really, really cool.

They just stare at each other until Deku says “Spider-Man?”, his face scrunched up in confusion. Peter gives a little wave with his free hand and that’s enough to make Deku power down his Quirk and lower his arm.

Peter starts to reel in the food as Deku starts talking in a hushed voice. “Oh my god I am so sorry I was this close to grabbing your face with Full Cowl up it’s just a reflex by now especially because I thought you were an intruder but you also kind of are like what are you even doing here anyways were you actually looking for me or was this a coincidence because I’m not sure how you would’ve found my room specifically?”

“It’s good, I should’ve figured that would be a Hero’s first instinct,” Peter says, feeling bad for getting an apology when really he’s the one in the wrong here. In lieu of answering the other questions, Peter raises up the bag of take-out he’s rescued. “Um, are you, uh. I thought you might be hungry? And we could, um, eat, maybe? Together?” Wow, way to go, Parker, real smooth.

Deku’s staring at him again, in a way that makes him feel like he’s being picked apart and critically examined. He’s not sure if it’s from the leftover energy of his Quirk or the surrounding city lights, but his green eyes seem to glow in the darkness. Peter has to remind himself to breathe a few times as he waits for a verdict.

Suddenly Deku’s face lights up in a smile and it’s all he can do to not drop the food again. “Okay, sure,” He says, then pauses to glance over his shoulder into the room again. “I can probably get away from my roommate for a little while. Can I meet you on the roof in a couple minutes? I’ll try to be quick, I don’t want the food to get cold.”

“Yeah!” Peter kinda forgets to be quiet in his excitement, but at a look from Deku, he mimes zipping his lips over the mask and just gives a thumbs-up. Deku looks like he’s holding back a laugh when he nods, then leans back into the room and quietly shuts the window.

Peter’s buzzing with so much excitement about how his stupid plan actually worked that he makes it to the top of the building in record time. He sits down on the ledge that seems to have the best view of the city, letting his feet dangle over the side. He sets the bag down next to him, removes his mask… and waits.

He doesn’t have to wait for long. His senses alert him to movement from behind, and he turns to see Deku’s green electricity lighting up the night. He runs to Peter’s side in a moment, bringing a breeze with him, before shutting it off. He sits down cross-legged with the take-out bag in between them, still smiling radiantly. For the first time, Peter notices that he’s dressed in casual clothes; grey sweatpants and a really faded All Might jersey. It’s kind of adorable that he has merch of his mentor, too.

“I couldn’t find a way up from inside without causing some sort of property damage, so I ended up borrowing your idea and just scaling the building. I can’t stick to things, of course, but I just needed something to jump off of. I can jump between walls sort of like, um, Mario, you know? I used the building around back for that,” Deku explains, already moving to look in the bag.

What he sees makes him laugh, and he raises an eyebrow at Peter. “You do know that we have McDonald’s in Japan, right?” He asks, taking out the fries with the bright logo and giving it a little shake.

Peter flushes and hopes Deku can’t see it well in the dark. “No, I know that! I just got that in case you didn’t like what I picked out for you at the deli.” He explains, reaching in himself and pulling out the two half subs wrapped in paper, ignoring how close the movement brings them to each other. He offers the one marked as having fewer toppings to Deku. “Here, just try it. It’s from the best bodega in Queens.”

Deku stops munching on his fries and agreeably takes the sandwich. As he unwraps it and gives it a sniff, Peter is once again reminded of his bunny comparison from earlier. Apparently not minding the smell, he takes an experimental bite. Noticing Peter still watching him, Deku gives him a thumbs-up as he chews and swallows. “It’s really good, Parker! Thank-you,” He says brightly.

While it does feel a little weird to be addressed by his last name like that, it’s even weirder to realize he’s been calling Deku by his hero name in his head this entire time. “Oh, no problem! Glad you like it,” He says, returning the smile. He pauses and looks down at his feet, still swinging over the edge of the building. “And, um, you can call me Peter, by the way.”

He hears a cough from the side but doesn’t move until the other boy says, “O… Okay, Peter. Y-you can call me Izuku, then, I guess.” Peter looks up to see his bashful smile and that cute little tic where he scratches the back of his neck. His eyes stray there for a moment as he wonders if that hair is as soft as it looks.

He shakes himself out of it and gives De- Izuku another smile before unwrapping his own sub and digging in. He hasn’t eaten anything in hours, and super-metabolism is unforgiving. By the way Izuku is finishing up his own sandwich and already reaching for the chicken nuggets, Peter guesses that it’s the same way for him.

They spend several minutes eating in silence and just enjoying the view. Peter keeps sneaking glances at Izuku when he thinks he can, and their eyes meet only once before they both quickly look away. It’s really nice, actually. This high up, the city sounds from below aren’t so bad, and for all his energy Izuku is a strangely calming presence at his side.

He’s almost finished with his own fries when he remembers what he technically came here for in the first place. He smacks his forehead, probably getting salt in his hair, and turns to Izuku with the words pouring out of his mouth before he can think better of them, “Can I get your number?”

Even in the low lighting, he can tell that Izuku definitely turns red. He starts waving his hands around and mumbling something about international call and texting fees, and it would be really nice right now if Peter’s brain restarted and allowed him to say something.

“O-or email?” He ends up blurting, cutting Izuku off in the middle of a word. He barrels on before it can get worse. “I-I just mean you’re, like, really cool and I really enjoyed talking with you at the meeting because you’re really smart and probably have awesome ideas and I would really like to talk to you more if that’s okay? I just don’t know when the next chance we’ll get to meet in person, so…” He trails off, one hand idly fidgeting with a discarded wrapper.

“...Oh,” Izuku whispers. He seems to calm down, though the blush doesn’t really fade, and pulls out his phone from his pocket. “Here,” He says, handing it to Peter after unlocking it, “Go ahead and put your information in. You’re really cool, too, so I think I, um, would like that as well.”

Peter, also blushing now, nods and navigates to his contacts. Or, tries to, until he remembers to retract the hands on his suit. From what he can see of Izuku’s home screen it looks like a picture of him with four other people. He recognizes Froppy and Shouto by their distinctive hair, but can’t place the other two. He adds his cellphone and personal email under “Spidey”, then hands it back to him.

Izuku’s grin is back at full-force now, and he texts something that has Peter pulling out his own phone. It’s just a quick “Hi! :D” along with his own email address. He adds the new contact under “Izuku (bunny emoji)”, grinning stupidly.

“Actually, that reminds me,” Izuku says, reaching into his other pocket and pulling out the Avengers notebook from earlier with the pen tucked in the spine, “I had some more questions about your Quirk! Not that you have to answer, of course, I know some people find it weird or invasive.” He looks a bit nervous as he flips to the same page from earlier, which looks fuller now although it’s hard to tell.

“No. I mean - no, I don’t mind! It’s really flattering, honestly. Some people forget that I’m an Avenger,” He says, chuckling nervously. Then, he adds, “Actually, could I take a peek if you don’t mind? Just out of curiosity. And, well, you’re probably smart enough to have noticed things that even I haven’t.”

Izuku complies, laughing a little as tilts the pages toward him. “Sure, you can look, though you won’t understand any of it. I could read some things to you if you’d like?” He suggests, scooting closer to give Peter a better look.

At first, he thinks Izuku said that because it would all be written in Japanese - which would make sense, of course, though it’d be impressive that he could talk in one language while writing in another. Instead, though, what he sees is complete gibberish. It looks like a mix of a few different alphabets with some weird symbols thrown in. He must’ve made some sort of face at it because Izuku starts laughing again. It’s a nice sound.

“It’s in code,” Izuku explains, “My principal designed it for me when the teachers realized what I was taking notes on all the time. See, I not only analyze Hero and Villain Quirks and fighting styles but also design strategies against them and note their strengths and weaknesses. Helps when I’m battling my classmates, but kind of dangerous information to be walking around with. I didn’t think anyone would ever take it seriously since I’ve been doing it since I was like, five years old, but since I’ve started to become more noticed and developed my analyzation skills it seemed like an important safety measure in case Villains ever found it.”

At some point, Peter’s gaze had drifted from the nonsense on the page to staring in awe at Izuku, who’s gone back to looking embarrassed. “Dude, that’s amazing! And you do this for everyone?! I don’t think I could keep up with all that,” He admits, pausing to brush back the hair from his face from where it had fallen in his eyes.

Izuku’s smiling at him now, soft and pleased. “Uh, yeah, pretty much. I call them my ‘Hero Analysis For the Future’ books. Technically this one is number fifteen, and I don’t usually dedicate one just for a single hero group, but you all keep changing your ranks and upgrading your gear and getting into world-crises so this way it’s easier to keep you all in one place,” he says, flipping back in the pages to show him.

Peter sees more pages on himself along with drawings of his other suits, all the way back to the one he made himself. There’s still plenty of notes on them, but a lot of question marks too - assuming that’s not also part of the code. There are pages for all of the Avengers, but notably more for Iron Man and Captain America. He likes Izuku’s taste.

“Do you have a book dedicated to just All Might, too?” Peter asks, half teasing.

Izuku blushes absurdly easy, really. “Uh, I mean, if you count the first few that I did when I was little in crayon? I do have a special one that has to do with him, actually. He signed Number Thirteen for me when we first met,” He says with a small smile, “His signature took up two pages.”

“Lucky number thirteen!” Peter says with a grin. Then, because it’s begging to be asked, “So, how did you meet All Might?”

“He saved me from a villain in my last year of middle school,” Izuku says, “And I wish I could say that I remember it all and it was amazing, but I was kind of suffocated during the attack and fainted just when he arrived. But when I woke up, he was right in front of me! I cried a little, honestly. He’s been my idol for forever. I went to ask him to sign my notebook, but he had already done it while I was out.”

“Oh, wow! That was really cool of him,” Peter says, smiling as he imagines an even smaller Izuku crying at the feet of his larger-than-life idol after being saved by him.

“I met Mr. Stark in a similar way, actually?” He says though he’s not sure if it counts as a ‘meeting’ when he hadn’t even said anything. But Izuku is looking at him with wide eyes, so he decides on continuing.

“When I was nine, I went to the Stark Expo and I was there the day it was attacked by those drones. One landed in front of me, ready to blast me into pieces, but I was wearing these toy versions of the Iron Man helmet and blasters so I was feeling brave. I aimed my arm at it,” He says, extending his hand palm out to demonstrate, “Like I was gonna blast him right back. Then actual Iron Man comes in out of nowhere and destroys it!” He punches the air and makes an explosion noise for emphasis, grinning when Izuku laughs a little. “And then he turns to me and says,” He pauses, clears his throat, then says in his best impression of Mr. Stark, “’Nice work, kid.’ Then he blasts off again and saved the day and all.”

Izuku grins at him and says, “That sounds amazing! Please tell me you still have that merch, right?”

“Oh, totally!” He says, then adds, “Um, not like I’ll tell Mr. Stark that. I gotta be a little cool, you know?”

The other boy smiles and shakes his head. “I’ve never been able to be ‘cool’ around All Might. Even now my room is still covered floor to ceiling in merch,” He admits with an embarrassed chuckle. “Plus, after he saved me All Might tried to blast off and leave me behind, but I was desperate to ask a question and so I sort of, um, grabbed onto his leg when he jumped?”

Peter gapes at him, lost somewhere between awe and disbelief. “Seriously?! Wow. That’s… wow. I knew you were a little crazy but… What did you even have to ask him that was so important?”

He regrets asking as soon as it leaves his mouth because Izuku’s openness abruptly closes up. He looks a little sad, actually, and Peter immediately feels terrible. But before he can backtrack, Izuku’s talking.

“I… I was a late bloomer with my Quirk. Like, really late. It didn’t manifest until my body was ready to handle the energy output - that’s why I was so bad at using it in my first year and why it kept breaking me.” He says. And that… that makes a lot of sense, actually, even if it is shocking to hear. But Izuku’s not done.

“Even so, I still wanted to be a Hero and make people feel safe with a smile. So, I asked All Might if I could become a Hero even without a Quirk. He… At first, he said no, I couldn’t,” At that, Peter sucks in a breath, not quite believing his ears. He could imagine that coming from someone like Mr. Stark, who doesn’t like “kids” doing dangerous Hero work in general and kept him out of the loop a lot at first, but… All Might? The Number One? Killing a kids dream, just like that?

“But then I did something stupid that All Might saw and thought was brave. He found me afterward and finally told me… ’You, too, can become a Hero.’ That’s when he decided to train me and we discovered my power,” He finishes, eyes distant as he looks out over the city.

There’s a lump in Peter’s throat that he has to swallow around once or twice to get rid of. He takes a deep breath and exhales slowly. They sit in silence for another minute until Peter finds his voice.

“I think I know how that felt, kinda,” He says, kicking his feet and looking down at the city - his city - as he remembers. “Iron Man’s been my hero for, like, ever, obviously. And he does all he does with pretty much his gear alone. But my Quirk - sticking to things, balance, danger warning - it isn’t flashy or all that useful on its own. No one really believed in me, so I couldn’t get into a Hero school.” He can still taste the disappointment, like mold in the back of his throat.

“I went to a science and tech school instead and designed my Web Shooters and formula on my own. That started my six-month stint of Vigilantism before I was found out by Mr. Stark,” He says, and though it’s not exactly a huge secret he doesn’t often talk about it now that he’s fully official. The police, certainly, are happy to brush it under the rug now that he has Mr. Stark’s backing. “I… I just saw the everyday dangers in my neighborhood that the Heroes couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take care of. And I felt like I could do something about it.”

He clenches his hands into fists, thinking about the helplessness and frustration he felt. About Uncle Ben. “We… We have all these powers and we have the responsibility to do the most good with them that we can. I-I just wanted to use mine to help people.”

Peter looks up when he feels a hand on his shoulder and sees Izuku smiling softly at him with tears in his eyes. He isn’t crying but seems dangerously close. Peter panics a little, but Izuku just wipes his eyes and keeps smiling at him. “I-It’s fine, I just cry easily,” He assures him. “You’re… you’re just really inspiring,” He adds softly, and they’re close enough for him to hear it perfectly clear.

Those words, combined with the closeness, makes Peter’s heart pound in his chest. He mumbles a thank-you and leans back and away, allowing Izuku to collect himself for a few silent minutes.

“Who would’ve thought we would end up here, huh?” Izuku says, and Peter knows he means working under their childhood heroes, saving people all the time. But something makes him feel like he also means the two of them being here, on this roof, talking about their pasts and their pain with someone who was merely a video or article just yesterday. Both situations are strange and unlikely, but… they still are.

He hums in agreement. “Yeah,” he says, “But I’m glad we made it.”

After that, they try to talk about lighter things, but it’s not long before Izuku glances at his phone and sees the time. Suddenly, he’s scrambling to his feet and muttering about how he should’ve left already. Peter checks himself and blanches, knowing that Aunt May is going to have words with him for staying out so late.

Izuku bids a hasty goodbye with a quick “Thanks, Peter! Call me!” before he’s dashing back across the roof and leaping down, a blur of bright green in the dark.

Peter doesn’t even have time to wave, much less respond, but he finds he doesn’t mind that much. He sets to work cleaning up their impromptu picnic, stuffing the empty wrappers and containers back in the bag.

As he does so, he finds the Avengers analysis book. “Oh no, he forgot it! And it seems really important to him…” He says to himself, wavering with indecision. Even as fast as Izuku is, if he’s trying to be careful he may not be back in his room yet.

Utilizing his new contact, he texts Izuku “hey you left your notebook up here. want me to bring it to your window?”

While he waits for a reply, he fiddles with the notebook and pen. As he looks at them, he gets a silly idea, and it’s probably way too presumptuous of him, but… he also really wants to and Izuku probably won’t be too mad about it.

A couple minutes later, his phone buzzes with a text. All it says is “thank you!!! the window is fine”. He extends the mask and gloves again, gathers the trash, then moves back to the side of the building that Izuku’s room is on. He attaches a web to the nearest pole and begins lowering himself down.

Either his luck or his memory must be really good because he ends up dangling upside-down right in front of Izuku’s window. It’s closed again, and the lights are out. He knocks as quietly as he can, fairly confident that he won’t be attacked this time now that he’s being expected.

What he doesn’t expect is the way that the window opens and Izuku sticks his head through the curtain before he even looks, head angled down like he thinks Peter will be in the same place as last time. This has the wonderful effect of their foreheads crashing into each other, making Peter swing and Izuku jump back with a wince.

Yeah, ouch, that metal had to hurt.

They stare at each other after Peter steadies himself. Then they have to muffle their laughter at how silly they are. Peter silently offers the notebook back and Izuku takes it, mouthing “thank-you”.

He thinks he’s going to get away scot-free, but of course, Izuku has to flip through his notebook for absolutely no reason. He stops on the latest Spider-Man page, looking at it with surprise. Apparently, the ambient light is enough for him to make out Peter’s autograph in the corner.

When he looks back at him, Peter just shrugs, though the gesture must look weird upside-down. Izuku smiles brilliantly at him, completely dashing his doubts, and then pulls the pen back out from the spine and mimes himself writing something.

‘He wants to give ME an autograph?!’ Peter realizes, panicking because he has absolutely nothing except his skin that’s even plausible for him to sign-

Oh, wait.

It’s kind of stupid, but it’ll work.

Peter digs around in the take-out bag and shoves one of the fry holders in Izuku’s face.

Izuku needs a moment to stifle his laughter again, but then he gladly signs it. Peter places it over his heart to show his gratitude and Izuku rolls his eyes at him. He then gently makes a “shoo” gesture and Peter knows they’ve been goofing long enough.

He places the now-much-more-precious fry holder back in the bag, silently promising himself to be extra careful to not throw it away with the rest. He gives Izuku a little salute before he fires another web and lets himself swing away.

Once he’s reached the top of a building almost half a block away, he lets himself be as loud as he wants. He yells a whoop into the night air and does a backflip just to help get out his happy energy.

He just had his second conversation with THE Deku, gets to call him Izuku, and got his autograph!

Deku is so much more amazing in person than he ever imagined. And he likes him too! He thinks Peter’s inspiring, even!

God, today’s been amazing. And he really, really owes Ned. Maybe some pizza and Star Wars this weekend?

Still feeling insanely giddy, he does one last little jump and fist-pump before finally swinging off and back towards his neighborhood.

The entire time, he’s unaware that a certain green-eyed boy has been watching him since he swung away from the window and doesn’t stop until he’s out of sight.

FIN