Actions

Work Header

Goner

Chapter Text

There’s a serial killer in Queens.

 

Peter is sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal with May when he first hears about it on the news. He turns around to look at the mini TV May keeps propped on the counter to hear the details.

 

A third body has been found on the side of the highway that’s been connected to two previous murders occurring some months ago, officially marking the pattern of a serial killer. Although it was first confused by a trucker taking a break for a mannequin, the body was later discovered to be that of seventeen year old Elijah Bradley. Like the other bodies, he was found nude and posed gruesomely, but unlike them, all the blood had been drained from his body.

 

Every victim so far has been a teen, two boys and one girl, all left posed the same way, but the cause of death has been unique to each one. It was unusual, which delayed the verdict, but police were sure now. The media aptly labels it the Queens Killer and pleads the public to come forth with any details or suspects.

 

Peter doesn’t even need to look away from the screen to know that May is staring at him fearfully. He looks back at her and smiles.

 

“I’ll be safe,” he says, because he knows what she’s thinking.

 

“Don’t even think about it,” she responds, pointing at him sternly, and continues her breakfast.

 

It doesn’t even take an hour after the official report to break before Tony calls him to tell him the same thing. The man barely ever calls so Peter knows he means business, but he rolls his eyes anyways. He promises he won’t actively go looking for the killer, but if he sees something happening he isn’t going to ignore it. Tony expects as much and doesn’t say anything more except to be careful.

 

And Peter keeps his promise. He goes about his daily Spider-Man activities as usual, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious, be it a car break-in or something more sinister. The point of Spider-Man is to look out for the little guy, and that’s his motto. Every crime stopped is equally important, and he’s not going to prioritize something that the police already have covered over smaller scale crimes that usually get left to the sidelines. Peter knows what he does matters, so he keeps doing his thing and pays close attention to anything particularly murder-y, but he doesn’t actively seek the Queens Killer.

 

That is, until the next victim is from Midtown Tech.

 

Peter knew her. Cindy Moon, a grade below him, and on the Decathlon Team. She was whip smart and almost unbearably shy, but always quick to smile. Her death leaves Peter reeling.

 

After the news of her murder goes public, it seems like a shroud settles over the school. The news becomes all the more real for every student, and the fear starts to sink in. Anyone could be next, and a student from Midtown Tech was dead. Everyone is glued to the news, asking friends and faculty alike for more details, for new releases on the case, anything to feel more connected to what’s going on.

 

For Peter, it feels like a failure. He feels so stupid for thinking this didn’t have to concern him, that his hands were clean as long as he promised to do something if he happened upon the scene. This was happening in Queens, it was his turf, and now it was even more personal. It happened in his own school. He had to do something.

 

He clenches his fists and Ned looks at him nervously, like he knows what he’s thinking. Everyone is so infuriatingly concerned for Peter.

 

“Dude, you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, are you?” Ned asks quietly as they’re walking out of the assembly to commemorate Cindy.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Peter replies flippantly.

 

“You know…” Ned looks around. “Getting your friend involved in this?”

 

Peter glares at him. “Be quiet, people will hear you.”

 

“Oh come on, I’m being super subtle!” Ned whines. “Just answer the question.”

 

“I don’t know,” Peter lies.

 

The next time Peter goes out as Spider-Man, he visits the crime scene of the latest murder. It is taped off and the body is removed, but Peter can see everything pretty clearly from his vantage point above the treeline, which also doubles as cover.

 

From the police reports that Peter read, the body was dumped in this public park and found at six in the morning by a jogger. The body, like all the others, was purposely left to be discovered—posed on the bike path. There were no reports of any leads or DNA matches, but the victim had been missing for three days before she was discovered, and dead for a few hours by the time she was found.

 

Peter feels a chill run up his spine at the obvious bloodstains still on the ground. Police tags mark the area and some officers mill about, but otherwise there’s nothing to go off of. Still, Peter is left feeling vaguely hollow. He’s witnessed a lot of crime in the past year, but something about the deliberate and systematic snuffing of kids his age is so much more terrifying than crimes borne of anger or desperation.

 

“Karen, are you able to run scans of the crime scene?” Peter whispers from his perch.

 

“Sure thing, Peter,” Karen responds brightly, and a blue grid highlights the ground below him.

 

“That blood, is it all from the victim?”

 

“We do not know the blood type of the victim, but there is only blood from one person so we can assume it’s all from her.”

 

“Okay… are there any other leads?”

 

“There are many footprints on the path, although which belong to the murderer would be hard to say.”

 

“Any surveillance?”

 

“There is no surveillance set up in this area prior to the discovery of the body.”

 

Peter sighs. “Anything? Any clues?”

 

“Any evidence that might have been here has been confiscated by the police by now,” Karen responds factually.

 

That makes Peter’s job harder.

 

They visit the other three crime scenes with the same results. They have been cleaned up and there was no surveillance on the day the bodies were found, all cameras were set up after the murders, but so far the bodies have not been left in the same place twice. It’s like the murderer knows where the cameras are.

 

“Who would be a person that would know something like that?” Peter asks.

 

“Perhaps a security guard?” Karen suggests.

 

“Maybe…” Peter steps down from his perch at their fourth stop and webs away.

 

A bike path, an alley, an abandoned construction site, the side of a highway… four completely different locations and causes of death but the same MO. The only similarity was that they were all in Queens and they all lacked surveillance. So either the killer was really smart or really lucky. And Peter guessed it was the first option.

 

But what was his motive? Was it just random? The murders were too well-planned for them to be completely senseless, and they were obviously done by someone who knew what they were doing. They were meticulous… each body was mutilated but all in different ways. Was there a reason for that? There is a missing piece, but Peter doesn’t know what it is yet.

 

He sets his phone to give him alerts on any breakthrough on the case. The police are frustratingly tight-lipped on the issue, but Peter takes what he can get and tries to read between the lines.

 

It’s like all of Queens is holding its breath for the next missing teen report. Everyone knows it’s going to happen again but no one knows when the killer will strike next, and it puts the whole borough on edge. A lot of families have left for “vacations” but those who can’t afford to leave, like Peter and May, have stayed in baited apprehension.

 

“Peter, are you still with me?” May asks over dinner while he’s in his head thinking about the case.

 

“Huh? Oh yeah…” Peter looks back up at her apologetically. “Sorry, zoned out.”

 

“Are you okay?” she asks. “You’ve been really quiet lately.”

 

“Yeah,” he shrugs. “Just a lot going on right now, I guess.”

 

“Anything you want to talk to me about?”

 

Peter shakes his head, poking at his stir fry.

 

May purses her lips. “I know that kid from your class is bothering you… the one that was killed.”

 

Peter opens his mouth to deny it but she holds up her hand.

 

“It’s okay, I’m scared too. Terrified. I don’t feel comfortable knowing there’s a psycho out there targeting kids like you, and you’re out walking to school alone everyday. I know you’re Spider-Man, but… it’s scary to think about it.”

 

“It’s okay, May,” Peter says defensively. “I’m totally safe.”

 

“I know,” May sighs. “I don’t mean to imply that you can’t handle yourself, but… I would feel a lot better if you didn’t walk to school alone. Maybe meet up with Ned and walk together? I could drive you to his house in the morning.”

 

Peter scrunches his nose. “May, you don’t have to do that.”

 

“Please? I want to. Peter, a girl from your school was murdered, and the killer is still out there. Every parent in the area is worried out of their minds.”

 

And Peter feels the guilt bubble up in his stomach. He’s supposed to make sure Queens is safe, and it’s never felt more unsafe.

 

May sees his expression and understands. “Hey, no… do not even think about pinning this on yourself. Are you listening?”

 

Peter looks back up at her and nods solemnly.

 

“You do such a good job protecting this city, okay? This is beyond you… this is the police’s job and they can’t even catch him. So don’t go trying to do this yourself okay? I need you to stay far away from this. Please.”

 

Peter nods again but he can’t look her in the eyes while he lies. The room feels tense with words left unsaid. He has a feeling May knows that he’s been looking into the case anyways but if she does, she doesn’t say anything.

 

They eat dinner again in silence and he prays she won’t bring it up again. He doesn’t need a lecture, he just needs to solve this case.

 

But information is far from forthcoming, and Peter finds himself swinging aimlessly around Queens, hoping to spot something. The killer has left all the bodies in public places, in plain sight, and no one has spotted them yet. It’s infuriating.

 

Then, of course, the next teen goes missing.

 

Thomas Shepherd, 17 years old. No one wanted to say it, but everyone knew: he was the next victim of the Queens Killer.

 

May drives him to school the day the news breaks. His parents and twin brother are on TV pleading with the public to keep an eye out from him.

 

“He has a loving home and great friends,” his father says with tears in his eyes. “He would never run away. We implore the NYPD to bring our son back safe.”

 

He wonders if they also hope Spider-Man will swoop in and save the day.

 

“Hey Peter,” May says gently, breaking him out of his self-deprecating thoughts. “Do you wanna text me when Decathlon practice ends? I’ll come pick you up.”

 

Peter furrows his brows. “You sure May? Aren’t you working late tonight?”

 

“I can use my break to come get you,” May explains.

 

Peter feels his stomach drop. “May, no! Don’t use that time for me…”

 

“Oh please,” May waves her hand. “It’ll be good to get away from the office for a bit. And I don’t mind! What’s more important is I know you’re safe.”

 

And there she is being overprotective again. Between her and Tony, it’s like neither of them are aware that he’s Spider-Man.

 

The school parking lot is more crowded than usual, with parents dropping their kids off becoming alarmingly popular. May gives him a kiss and sends him on his way, waiting to see that he made it inside even with cars honking angrily at her.

 

Peter hasn’t the first clue about private investigation, especially when he’s only working with public knowledge, but he feels somehow that if he just stays on patrol late enough, if he’s just diligent enough, he’ll somehow be able to save Thomas Shepherd. He runs himself ragged through the city until the exhaustion is so great that he almost slips off his webs and May is calling him to yell at him for worrying her so much. Every night he guiltily slinks back into the apartment and apologizes for keeping her up so late until she’s had enough and she confiscates the suit.

 

Thomas is found a week later in a public park, nude, posed under a tree, mutilated horribly. He was found by someone walking their dog.

 

Tony calls Peter again.

 

“Hey, just catching up and making sure everything is kosher. Hey, I hear another body was found in the park near where you live… I was thinking, maybe you should stop by the compound so I can hook you up with some—"

 

“Mr. Stark, are you worried about me?”

 

Tony makes a choking sound on the other end.

 

“I mean, I’m just being reasonable. There’s a serial killer in your area, you fight crime, I know you promised me you wouldn’t go after this guy and I know you wouldn’t lie to me because you’ve never done that before,” Peter can hear the sarcasm. “But you seem like kind of a danger magnet so I just want to take some precautions.”

 

“Mr. Stark, I’m fine,” Peter rolls his eyes. “I can handle this. I’m Spider-Man.”

 

“I know this,” Tony says, affronted. “But when you’re out of the suit, you’re Peter Parker: scrawny, nerdy teenager who is the perfect victim for people who enjoy killing teenagers for fun. Why don’t you stop by the compound next weekend and we can hook you up with a nice little panic button?”

 

“A panic button?”

 

“Yeah, or like… something that you can have on you at all times that you can hit and it’ll trigger a call to me to know that you’re unsafe.”

 

“What is this, like Life Alert?” Peter scrunches his nose.

 

“Please, kid. For my own peace of mind.”

 

Peter sighs. “Fine… I guess. But don’t name it something stupid!”

 

“I would never.”

 

Peter is at the compound that weekend, sitting on the counter and kicking his legs while Tony tinkers with a small device.

 

“What if I, like, accidentally push it or something?”

 

“That would be really hard to do,” Tony promises. “It’s fingerprint activated, so it won’t work if you accidentally press it against a surface. And you have to hold it down for two seconds.”

 

He throws it at Peter and he catches it. It looks like a small bracelet. “Why don’t you test it out?”

 

Peter looks at him skeptically before looking back down at it. There’s a small ball attached to it, which he assumes is the button. He presses down on it and holds. Almost immediately, Tony’s watch starts beeping. He holds it up to Peter for proof. “See? Anytime you need me, kid. I’m like your 24/7 guard dog.”

 

“Yeah, okay,” Peter slides it on his wrist, pretty sure he’ll never use it. The man may be overdoing it but it’s because he cares.

 

“And trust me, kid,” he continues. “The police are on this. I got some of my guys on this as well. It’s only a matter of time before this guy is found, so just sit tight and stick to street crimes. Okay?”

 

Peter thinks of Cindy and the time they did lab together. He thinks of the other victims.

 

He nods. “Of course.”

 

 

Peter spends the next day at the police station, asking questions. He figures Spider-Man isn’t gonna be any help, considering the police aren’t fans of him, so he goes as Peter Parker. They think he’s just a nervous kid asking for tips to stay safe, so they aren’t very helpful, until he mentions that he knew Cindy Moon.

 

He may stretch the truth a little on how close they actually were, but it works and the police are willing to talk to him about her murder.

 

“It’s just crazy, I saw her at school every day, we had Decathlon practice together. Then one day we say goodbye after practice is over, and the next she’s gone. I’ve tried talking to her parents about it, but they’re just too choked up, you know?”

 

The officer nods sympathetically. “Yeah, we think she was snatched on her way home from school… her parents called when it was getting late and she still wasn’t home yet.”

 

“Do you think… was she killed on that bike path?”

 

The officer shakes his head. “No, we think she was moved there from a previous location. She had been missing for days before she showed up there.”

 

“Do you have any idea where they’re being taken?”

 

The police officer scoffs. “If we knew that, we would’ve caught the guy already. We aren’t able to figure out where the murderer’s headquarters are, but they usually always take them to the same spot. Most likely his own house.”

 

Peter feels chills run down his spine.

 

“And there’s no security footage of him with Cindy anywhere?”

 

“Unfortunately, no. After Cindy left the school grounds she entered a blind spot and disappeared after that. We’re trying to track cars that were seen on surveillance nearby all the scenes of the crimes, but so far it’s inconclusive. But don’t you worry, security has tightened in that area since then, so you should feel safe.”

 

It isn’t himself that Peter is worried about.

 

“Was Cindy… what happened after she disappeared? Before she showed up at the park?” Peter asks, trying to sound choked up and not having to put too much effort into it… it’s a scary thought. He may not have been close to her, but she was still his teammate.

 

The officer looks grim. “I don’t think you want to hear the gory details.”

 

Peter’s face goes pale. “I know… I know she was stabbed,” he whispers.

 

“Yeah, that was the cause of death,” the officer responds cryptically. “Listen, kid. I don’t want to freak you out. We’re doing everything we can to nail this guy. You don’t have to worry, we’ll get justice for your friend.”

 

Peter wants to know more, but he’s nervous, and he doesn’t think the officer is willing to answer any more questions, so he just nods. The officer gives him a gruff smile and Peter wishes him luck on the case, then he leaves.

 

He visits the obituaries of all the victims and reads them over. He looks at their pictures. They’re all smiling. They’re so young and carefree, and all met with violent ends. The comment sections are filled with mourning family and friends, traumatized from the sudden loss. He reads all of those too and let’s the guilt sink it’s claws into him. They were all Queens residents, they should have been under his protection. He failed them.

 

Six months. It’s been six months since the first body was found, and Peter’s had enough. He dons the mask (the old one since his suit is still confiscated) and jumps from the roof of his building, desperate to find someone, anyone that he can take out his frustration on. He finds them in muggers and car jackers, purse snatchers and pickpockets, but he doesn’t find what he needs to find the most. He needs to find the killer.

 

The suit isn’t working. The suit isn’t doing anything. He’s scaled the length of Queens ten times over just keeping an eye out for the killer, and still nothing. He could be anyone. Peter doesn’t know what to look out for. Unless he catches him in the middle of the act, he’s not going to find him this way.

 

So he switches tactics.

 

He hangs up the blue and red and starts pounding pavement as Peter Parker. He prints out a map of Queens and marks all the locations where the bodies were discovered so far, tries to find a correlation. He reads anything he can online, visits public records, and scours reddit pages and news articles. The police are withholding the names of any suspects until they’re sure of who it is, so he has nothing to go off of on that front.

 

Everything seems to lead to a dead end. Without police files, he can only uncover so much unless…

 

He needs a guy in the chair.

 

 

“So what do you need me to do exactly?” Ned asks skeptically as he sits at his desk, laptop open in front of him.

 

“Just… hack into police files?” Peter grimaces.

 

“Dude, do you have any idea how bad that sounds?” Ned says. “If we get caught, you realize I’m gonna be arrested for like… forever, right?”

 

“I know, I know,” Peter throws his face in his hands. “Listen, this is dangerous. If you don’t wanna do it, that’s okay. But trust me… this is for important Spider-Man business!”

 

Ned squints his eyes. “Why don’t you ask Mr. Stark for help then?”

 

Peter makes a pained face and folds his hands innocently. “Because… he doesn’t necessarily know I’m doing this?”

 

“Oh, come on!” Ned rolls his eyes.

 

“Please!” Peter begs. “Guy in the chair!”

 

“I’m only your guy in the chair when you’re doing stuff that’s gonna get you in trouble!” Ned complains.

 

“I know, I know, I’m sorry! I promise, if you do this one thing for me I’ll talk to Mr. Stark about you becoming my official guy in the chair. Maybe he’ll get you some cool tech too?”

 

Ned looks at him suspiciously for a few seconds. “... you promise?”

 

“I promise.”

 

They shake on it. Ned looks displeased but he nods. “Okay… can you at least tell me what this is for? I need to know what to access.”

 

“Uh… any files on the Queens killer?”

 

Ned rolls his chair around to face Peter fully, his mouth gaping.

 

“Dude, are you serious?”

 

Peter squeezes his eyes shut. “Ned, please…”

 

“Do you even understand how crazy psycho this dude is!? He targets kids our age, are you sure it’s a good idea to—"

 

“Ned,” Peter cuts him off. “That’s exactly why I need to go after him. He’s in Queens, he’s after us, if I don’t catch him… how many other victims are there going to be until the police find him?”

 

“Yeah but… isn’t that the police’s job? They’ll find him eventually…”

 

“Well maybe I can find him faster,” Peter shrugs. “Come on, don’t argue with me man. You know I have to do this.”

 

Ned looks at him sadly. “Okay… but seriously, don’t do anything crazy. This is big. I know you’ve faced the Vulture and stuff but this is like… a really big case.”

 

Peter nods. “I’ll be fine.” He hits Ned’s shoulder impatiently. “Come on, come on. Before May gets home.”

 

“Alright, geez.” Ned turns around and starts typing. “Just for the record, this is totally illegal. Like, probably a lot more illegal than hacking into your suit.”

 

They find a list of suspects, who’s been interviewed so far, potential leads, and potential locations that the murderer might appear next based on current patterns.

 

Peter decides to start with those.

 

“Thank you so much,” he says sincerely as Ned prints out some of the info. “You can add ‘helped catch a serial killer’ to your resume.”

 

“Yeah, like I can ever actually talk about this,” Ned pouts. “But seriously… I think you have to catch him first.”

 

“I will,” Peter says with conviction.

 

 

Tony texts Peter after school.

 

Notice a lack of Spider-Man activity. Is this something I should be concerned about?

 

Peter grimaces at his phone. Tony has been oddly attentive lately. Back when they’d first met, Peter had been starving for his attention, but now it feels a bit intrusive, like Big Brother monitoring all his actions.

 

Everything’s fine, May just took my suit for a few days. I should be getting it back soon.

 

Tony texts back in seconds. What for?

 

Nothing bad, she just worried too much that I was out late so she took it away so I would stop.

 

Well I can’t say I disagree with her. Now’s probably not the best time for a kid to be out late.

 

Peter rolls his eyes. You too? It’s like you guys keep forgetting I have super strength.

 

I know, I know. But worry is irrational. You’ll get it when you’re older.

 

Peter doesn’t respond, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. May didn’t need to worry about him, and neither did Tony. He could handle himself.

 

 

“Karen, can I talk to you about something?” Peter asks as he pulls out some poster board that he had left over from a school project. He’s wearing the mask that he finally got back mismatched with his casual clothes. “But only if you promise not to tell Mr. Stark about it?”

 

“I am only required to tell Mr. Stark if it is life threatening,” Karen responds. “So as long as you are safe, all of our conversations are private.”

 

“Okay, cool,” Peter pulls out the file of info about the case and a pair of scissors. “So I have a bunch of data that Ned got for me, I was wondering if I would be able to run it by you and get your opinion.”

 

“Sure thing,” Karen says cheerily.

 

“Awesome, thanks,” he takes out the stack of papers pertaining to the case, complete with mugshots of the suspects, and a map of Queens.

 

“So,” he flattens out the map and tapes it to the poster board. “Here is where the bodies have been found so far…” he takes a red sharpie and circles all the areas where bodies have been found, labeling them with the number of the victim as well as their last name. “And here is where they went missing.” He takes a green sharpie and does the same thing, pulling the info from the police files.

 

“Do you see any pattern?”

 

Karen is silent for a few moments, collecting data. “Besides the lack of surveillance, the bodies were all taken from relatively remote areas, but left in public areas so they would be easily found.”

 

“Exactly,” Peter points the sharpie at the map. “So clearly, this guy is looking for an audience. Why does he want the bodies to be found? That makes it easier to find him, doesn’t it? It leaves clues.”

 

“Possibly,” Karen muses. “But it also strikes fear in the public.”

 

“So he wants them to be afraid,” he taps the sharpie against his bottom lip. “Of him?”

 

“Maybe.”

 

Peter looks down at the police files again. The mugshots glare up at him. Each suspect looks menacing in his own right, and they all have criminal pasts. It could be any one of them.

 

He takes the scissors and carefully cuts out all of them, taping them below the map, and then cuts out their connection to the case. There’s four of them in total that have been most closely tied to the case.

 

Then he takes the list of evidence: footprints found at the scene of the crime: dress shoes, men size 10. Then he turns back to his map.

 

“Hey, Karen? Do you know which places in Queens don’t have surveillance?”

 

“Based on the current locations, there are 24 locations in Queens that lack surveillance and match the description of locations that have so far led to disappearances.”

 

“Perfect! We’ll set up some drones in those areas and you can send me alerts if something pops up.”

 

Peter props up the poster board against his wall and steps back to examine it.

 

“Hmm… alright, am I missing anything on this board?”

 

“It’s very thorough, Peter, I’m impressed,” Karen compliments.

 

“Aw, thanks Karen.”

 

 

He goes out on patrol the next day and leaves several drones around the city in the areas that Karen highlighted as potential targets. By the time he crawls back into bed, he’s completely worn out.

 

“I really hope this works,” he mumbles as he crashes into his pillow.

 

He doesn’t hear anything for a long time, neither from Karen or the news. It’s as if the killer has taken a vacation or something, because over a month goes by without hearing anything. Peter has half a mind to believe that maybe he’s just… stopped. It seems to leave the public eye after a while and the panic dies down a bit.

 

So when Peter gets a ping in the middle of the night on his patrol, he’s surprised to see that it’s from one of the many drones he’s left around.

 

“Wait, Karen, what’s this!?” he asks excitedly, already webbing himself to the location the alert was sent from.

 

“Our surveillance shows a man assaulting a person, presumably with the intent to kidnap. The victim is a young male between 15 and 18, and the kidnapper appears to be a middle-aged Caucasian man wearing dark clothes and protective gear. He fits the MO of the Queens Killer. He’s drugged the victim and is taking him to his car.”

 

“Oh shit,” Peter says and goes faster. Luckily, he’s not very far away and if he can just reach the area before he gets in the car…

 

“The victim is in the car.”

 

Car chase it is then. Peter reaches the park right as the car peels out of the parking lot. He quickly shoots a web and redirects himself towards the street. If the car notices him tailing it, it doesn’t show any signs.

 

“Karen, how do I stop this guy?” Peter asks, getting closer and closer.

 

“May I suggest getting in front of the windshield and cutting off his vision?”

 

“I like the way you think.”

 

Peter shoots a web and attaches it to the bumper of the car. He immediately feels the tug and gets pulled towards the vehicle.

 

“Woah!”

 

He braces the web with both hands and falls toward the pavement. It knocks the wind out of his lungs and he can feel the scrape of the cement. The car speeds up, probably noticing it’s extra passenger.

 

Peter grits his teeth and pulls closer and closer. He reaches out and touches the bumper, sticking to it. He pulls himself up and off the pavement that’s starting to burn through the fabric of his suit and Tony would kill him if he had to repair it again.

 

He crawls up and over the car, around the windshield, where he knocks politely.

 

“Excuse me, mister! I think you might have something in your trunk that you definitely shouldn’t have. Or rather, someone.”

 

The man looks startlingly normal. He’s maybe in his thirties, with brown hair and eyes, and completely average features. He doesn’t recognize him from any of the mug shots and he certainly doesn’t look like someone who has a criminal history. It throws Peter off. He figured that someone who was capable of committing such heinous crimes should look sinister. But he just looks like a regular guy.

 

The guy immediately skids to the side of the road as soon as Peter makes his appearance. It’s a relatively quiet road surrounded by trees. The park had been on the outskirts of the city already, and it was easy to dip out into a more secluded location. Peter swears. Of course, the killer would have a remote hideout far from the public eye.

 

Peter jumps off the hood of the car as soon as the guy opens his door.

 

“You’re the Spider-Man,” he says breathlessly, with a smile that makes Peter uneasy.

 

“Uh… yeah,” Peter replies. “And I’m here to take you down.”

 

“I was really hoping you’d show up soon,” the killer replies and then whips out a gun from his pocket.

 

Peter’s hands fly into the air on instinct. “Woah, hold on man!” The guy walks closer and closer to him, closing the gap. In a panic, Peter flings his wrist forward and webs the barrel of the gun, yanking it back towards himself. The man stumbles forward and Peter uses that moment to dart past him towards the trunk.

 

“Come on, come on,” It’s predictably locked, so Peter yanks it open, breaking the mechanism keeping it shut.

 

Inside there’s a kid that looks around the same age as Peter. He’s bound and gagged and still passed out, body folded to fit in the tight space. Peter forces down bile and focuses on breaking the bonds on the teen.

 

Before he even gets a chance to, the man has caught his bearings and wraps his arms around Peter’s neck in a headlock and yanks him back. Peter easily flips over in his arms and releases his grip with his superior strength. He webs the guy’s hand to the ground and runs back to the trunk.

 

“Sorry dude, wait there a second,” he says as he finally breaks the kid free from the chains. He removes the gag but he’s still sleeping. He taps his face gently. “Hey, psst, wake up.”

 

“He’s going to be asleep for a while,” the man behind him says and he turns around to fix him with a glare except he has to do a double take because he’s getting up and the webbing is gone, how—?

 

The man chuckles like he can see Peter’s thought process. “You’re not my first spider.”

 

Before Peter can even ask what that means, the man surges forward and pulls a syringe out of nowhere. Peter’s Spidey senses flare even though he’s pretty sure whatever drug the guy has in there won’t work on him, or at least won’t be very effective. He dodges out of the way, pushing the guy’s head towards the bumper and slamming him into it.

 

He spins around and watches the guy get up slowly, blood gushing from his nose. He puts his hand up against it and pulls it away, looking down at the red staining it. He looks back up at Peter with a sneer.

 

“You’re gonna pay for that.”

 

Peter’s Spidey senses send shivers up his spine, but he can’t run… he needs to stay and save the boy in the trunk.

 

The man lunges for him again and he flips over him, landing on top of the open trunk. He grabs the boy under the arms and hoists him out, jumping to the nearest tree and climbing up it as fast as he could. It’s no skyscraper, but it’ll do.

 

He reaches the highest stable branch and perches the boy on it gently. It should be able to hold him for a bit. Peter himself is holding on to the side of the tree via his sticky fingers.

 

“Karen, call the—”

 

A sudden pain spasms through his entire body. He convulses with the surges— electric shock— and he can feel himself falling, falling, and thudding to the ground harshly. His body still twitches uncontrollably after the pain has stopped. His limbs feel like putty.

 

“Fucking nuisance,” he hears the man grumble from a few feet away. His footsteps come closer and Peter’s senses blare at him to run. He’s starting to get feeling back in his limbs… his fingers twitch, he needs to just…

 

Before he can move, however, the man plunges a syringe into his neck and pushes down.

 

Peter lets out a shout of pain and jerks away. The fire entering his veins spurs his body into action and he scrambles away from the man. But the world spins as he moves and he’s hardly righted himself before he’s falling again. He feels like he’s floating underwater. His senses are dampened, his vision is foggy and his hearing is murky and distant.

 

“Wha…?” He slurs, his tongue filling his entire mouth and his head full of cotton balls.

 

“Shh… just go to sleep,” a voice coaxes and he feels his mask being pulled off. He tries to protest, but he’s so tired, and his arms aren’t working, and they give out under him and now he’s lying down, watching the sky.

 

“Oh, look at you. You’re even younger than I thought.” The voice tsks. “This is going to be fun.”

 

The man’s hands wander his body and he wants to push them away but he can’t, his hands aren’t cooperating.

 

“How the fuck do you…” the man grumbles to himself again. “Oh…”

 

He presses the spider emblem on his chest and the suit collapses. Peter feels the man peel it off of him until he’s just in his boxers, exposed to the chill of the night air. The man leaves for a minute and Peter doesn’t know where he goes, just keeps on staring at the sky and counting the stars. He vaguely knows he should run, but he’s tired… so tired…

 

He turns his head to look down at himself tiredly. He needs to stay awake and fight but… wait. With the suit off, he’s able to see the glint of a small bracelet on his wrist. The panic button Tony gave him. A flicker of hope bursts in his chest. If he can just…

 

He doesn’t know when the man is going to be back, so he tries to go fast. It’s hard when his arms feel like dead weight, like he slept with both of them above his head and woke up without feeling in either of them, but he manages to cross them over his chest. His fingers feel for the button and he finally locates it, pressing as hard as he can for one, two…

 

“What the fuck is that?”

 

The man is back. He grabs Peter’s hand and inspects the gadget on his wrist. “What did you do, huh? Jesus, kid, you’ve been nothing but trouble. You better be fucking worth it.”

 

He rips the bracelet off and tosses it off the side of the road, into the trees. Peter looks after it forlornly, his one chance at escape…

 

He feels himself being dragged but he doesn’t fight it. He can’t… he feels dazed and staying awake is becoming harder and harder. He’s picked up and lowered into a tight space. His limbs are arranged and he feels his arms getting pulled behind his back, wrapped up by something, and then his feet. His Spidey sense is but a vague buzz in the back of his head.

 

The man strokes his hair fondly and he doesn’t have the strength to pull away. “Good boy,” he says. “I have special plans for you.”

 

Peter tries to glare at him through half-lidded eyes as a gag is forced around his mouth.

 

The man slams the trunk shut and he’s enveloped in darkness.