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how to make friends: an essay by peter parker

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@spidey_spotter: spider-man seen here buying a sandwich from raj's, queens

@spidey_spotter: jury still out on what filling he has

@nikki439: @spidey_spotter if it aint ham and cheese get out

 

 

Daredevil trains in a basement so dark and murky that Peter finds it pretty fucking hard to see, really. He guesses that's, like, his ninja-skills - like this is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Daredevil is like a cool, scary Splinter that lurks in the alleys in Hell's Kitchen and teaches Peter how to fight with his eyes closed.

Because that, apparently, is one of the only skills you need to make it as a New York ninja. That, and how to fight without giving a fuck about morals, and knowing where exactly to punch and twist so that the person you’re punching will become really eager to cooperate with you.

"This place is cool," Peter offers - it’s the first time Daredevil’s taken him anywhere but the roof of an old warehouse, and he guesses there’s stages to friendship with Daredevil. Friendship? Maybe mentorship, or something like that, although Daredevil is hardly the typical mentor type. He isn't very chatty, but he isn't awkwardly silent; he just doesn't say things that don't need saying, which, hey - Peter can appreciate that. He doesn't say things unless they mean to be said.

But Peter knows spaces are important, and so he says it again, with a little more sincerity.

"Thanks," Daredevil says, after a moment, brushing his hand over the corner of one wall; it's hard to see in the dim lights (no bulbs, just what the skylights provide) but it looks like he's stroking across the corner of an old, peeling poster. "This used to be a boxing ring."

"Used to be?"

"Illegal matches," says Daredevil. He looks kind of scary, in this light, dark and red and menacing. He's probably old, too. Can he tell Peter isn't? Peter's tried his hardest to hide it, better these days than he did when Tony was digging around trying to find him, and now he thinks he does it better. Makes himself sound older. He hopes he passes for over twenty, anyway.

"Illegal matches," Peter echoes; in the centre of the basement there is a boxing ring, but the ropes have been taken away long ago and all that remains is a raised dais, surrounded by four propped poles. "That's - yeah, that's cool I guess. Yeah."

"It serves purpose now," Daredevil says, and with the fluid menace he always carries, he moves away from the wall and into the centre of the room, into the light cast by a hole in the roof. "What do you want to work on?"

"I dunno," Peter says. He always says that. He doesn't know why Daredevil keeps asking - Peter is basically a blank slate, because he's pretty sure just stealing the way Link moves in Legend of Zelda doesn't count as combat training. "Just - teach me what you think I gotta know, I guess."

"Fair enough."

The friends Peter has, when he's like this, feel like points on a quivering cobweb, always in danger of snapping. Daredevil is notoriously reticent, always darting back into the shadows, and Peter is never sure if he's liked or not; if Daredevil sees him as a pity project, or as a friend, or as someone he has to help get better so that Peter doesn't keep endangering the rest of them.

He'll take it, he guesses. Daredevil always wants him to fight with his eyes shut (probably what they did in ninja school; Peter's seen that Jackie Chan film) and Peter sort of hates it, being deprived of the sight of things. The cloth wrapped around his eyes feels suspiciously like the old Daredevil costume, which makes no sense, because although these exercises are good for ninja training or whatever, they're hardly practical for fighting real people. Whatever. Daredevil is reluctant to share. Sometimes Peter thinks he is a teenage mutant ninja turtle.

"Punch me," Daredevil says, and he sounds like he’s smiling a little. “If you can.” Train of thought derailed; useless, anyway.

"You're cheating," Peter says, stalling for time, straining his ears; Daredevil's feet shifting on the dusty floor, the sound of those peeling posters fluttering in the distant wind, the sound of cars and people yelling and the city all happening at once.

"I am not," the feet - the Devil's shoes, surprisingly silent on the floor - the voice itself.

"I'm the only blind one here."

"Sometimes, in fights, the odds aren't in your favour. Will you tell that murderer that it isn't fair? Those bank robbers last year - will it be fair?"

"No need to be so mean about it," Peter says, and he lunges out with his fist clenched and he swears he feels skin across his knuckles -

But, of course, the punch doesn't connect. He staggers blind across the floor, into the empty air that Daredevil was meant to occupy, and only manages to right himself before he face-plants into the floor. "Hey!"

"I dodged you just as I would if you weren't blindfolded," Daredevil says, from a few feet away, his voice low and measured. "Try hit me again. A bit harder."

The longer Peter goes with his eyes blindfolded, the louder he seems to hear things, the sharper he seems to smell things, the more he feels the thrum of Daredevil's feet on the floor, the drier his mouth is, the more he experiences as he moves through the air. Most of it is probably because of the heightened senses, and the spider bite, and everything like that, but they usually cede the foreground to sight, and taking that away always leaves Peter a little more grounded in the rest of the world. He can hear Daredevil breathing (heavier than usual - he is managing to task the ninja-freak more than he usually does) and he can taste displaced dust on the air, and he can smell the sweat and mildew of exercise and disused basement.

"Good," Daredevil says, after an hour and a half, when Peter lands a square punch on his shoulder and doesn't fall over. "You're doing good."

Peter shakes the blindfold off, squinting in the light from the windows. "Fucking hell, that was rough. Thanks, man."

"Always a pleasure," Daredevil says, and weirdly enough, he does sound like he means it. Peter doesn't like it when people say they like his company - it throws him off guard, because he hardly ever hears it. MJ is too much of a disaster to ever say so, and Ned hardly counts because he's Ned, and he's basically Peter's other half, and Harry is hardly in school anymore what with his dad getting him caught up in running the company, and May is his aunt. He thinks he kind of annoys Tony, a bit. He wishes he didn't.

He doesn't know many other people, and that leaves a very small list of people who like hanging out with him. Ned, May, Harry, probably-MJ, probably-most-of-the-decathlon-team. (Although they might hate him, after the disaster that was Washington last year, which he still can’t think of a valid excuse for that doesn’t end up outing him.)

"Seriously," he says, watching Daredevil take the steel ladder to the roof, "Thanks. Saving my life over here."

Daredevil shrugs, all aw-shucks, and waits for Peter to clamber onto the roof. “See you around. You’re good.”

The compliment makes him smile; he waves Daredevil off, and springs towards Queens as Daredevil heads into the Kitchen, the anxiety in his gut settled a little more.

There are lots of things he's worrying about, these days, and Daredevil makes some of them a little harder to stomach, even if he does just think he's helping the neighbouring vigilante suck a bit less. Harry talks to him less, and his texts are short and his visits shorter, and although Peter knows it's his dad, knows it's the pressure Harry's carrying around with him like a ball and chain, it hurts in a selfish little way not to have Harry behind him anymore, ready to talk shit, his eyes glimmering with the idea of having fun. There's that to worry about, and then school - he still attends as much as he can, and just because his extracurriculars are particularly time-consuming doesn't mean Miss Gooden lets him get away with a bad maths grade, or whatever. Ned. MJ, who probably knows everything but is pretending she doesn't, because she gets some weird satisfaction out of seeing Peter squirm. Gwen Stacy, his lab partner, part-time investigative journalist intern for the fucking Bugle of all things, always asking things, always butting her nose in just where Peter doesn't expect it. Aunt May, who works hard and worries harder and always seems a split-second away from telling him something Peter isn't sure he'll recover from, like how disappointed Ben would be in him for worrying her, like how this is exactly what she's afraid of...

(Because Peter thinks he'll probably die doing this, and he doesn't want to leave May all alone.)

And Tony Stark, who has probably never had a functioning relationship with another human being ever, according to his interactions with Peter. He texts him sometimes, brings him out for coffee, spends a glorious half-hour chatting shop about robots and spider suits and things, and then ignores him for another few weeks until the next time the moon cycle - or whatever it is driving Tony Stark - prompts him to make contact again.

Peter lands on a roof nearby his building, and scrambles down the wall to change in a place where nobody will be looking. He can't believe that one of the easiest relationships he has right now is with a ninja he knows nothing about, who likes to try and fight him while he's blindfolded, but that's... that's life, or whatever.

Dinner is pasta bake. Store-bought, although in her defence May did try the first time 'round - the pile of charred chicken and breadcrumbs is testament to that.

"How was school?"

"Good," he says, through a mouthful. It tastes nice. May and him have a working relationship with Danny in the grocery store; namely, he thinks May is hot, and May thinks Danny is a sweet boy who gives her discounts because he's kind. Peter just likes to eat.

Lots.

(He feels sort of bad about it, because they live in New York on one measly little nurse salary, and so he tries to eat junk food, and stock up loads when he goes to Ned's place or hangs out with Harry, because they can afford to feed a fucking spider mutant. May probably can't.)

ned: what do u think hypothetically abt me dropping 0ut of sk00l to become like a ninja or smth

Peter grins around his fork.

me: i dunno ninjas arent as cool as u think

ned: cryptik i lik it

me: want help w the hmwk

ned: its almost like ninja is our hmwk safeword

me: never say or think tht ever again

ned: aye aye captn

 

 

@spidey_spotter: spider-man seen here entering a public bathroom and leaving 3 mins 42 seconds later

@caps_left_nipple: @spidey_spotter u are literally jobless what is this

@spidey_spotter: @caps_left_nipple i dont need to say anything 2 u when u have that handle

@flashnotgordon: @caps_left_nipple @spidey_spotter ooooooo burn

And Deadpool follows him around sometimes.

Peter knows he knows he knows he knows (and on and on ad infinitum until someone dies) but Deadpool never actually does anything, and he's pretty sure that, to Deadpool, Peter - Spiderman - is a strange little pet project. It's like those people that put GoPros on their dogs and then follow them to the park so they can see POV shots of their dearest Flopsy taking a shit on a bench, or whatever, except Peter is dearest Flopsy and the shit is his whole life and the bench is New York.

Not perfect. Peter only just managed to make his B in English this term. He's trying his best.

But - yeah, Deadpool follows him around, and it isn't like he's subtle about it, and also Peter isn't a fucking dinosaur and so he has Twitter notifications on for all the vigilante sightings and stuff (even if his own page is a goddamn creepfest) and so when his phone buzzes in the pocket of his suit, telling him @dpdpdp says Deadpool's just got on the subway headed for Queens, Peter isn't a bit surprised. A bit weirded out, maybe. Deadpool is an assassin, and one with not a little notoriety, and he really should have better things to do than follow Spiderman around Queens, watching him take down bag snatchers and creeps and the occasional counter-hopping petty thief. Maybe it's funny, watching Peter fail so hard.

"Thanks, man," says a guy a few years older than Peter - he goes to the high school Peter would have gone to without the Midtown thing, and usually when he sees Peter on the streets he sneers at him. His name is either Ralph or Ryan.

"Not a problem," Peter says. His voice sounds deeper in the suit, purely because of all the spandex covering his lips; Tony tried to get a Batman modulator in, but Peter refused flat-out. And Ralph/Ryan may be a dick to smaller kids living near him, but he still doesn't deserve to get his phone nicked, and therefore Spiderman jumps in to save the day.

Ralph/Ryan gives him a high-five and promptly buries his head in his phone, presumably to make a report on the interaction.

Good job, Spiderman. Looking out for the little guy one iPhone 6S at a time.

He buys himself an ice-cream as a reward, and swings up to the top of an abandoned parking garage to eat it. Good job, Spiderman. He gets good-job sprinkles and strawberry sauce even though they cost more, because he is all about the luxury in this line of work.

And he swings his legs, and watches the sun set over the skyline, and feels just about as content as he ever does.

These days.

Recurring themes.

"Hey, Spidey! Hey!"

He looks down, and sees black bags piled up in a dumpster, and he looks up and sees the sun, and he looks down and hooks his neck a bit and sees Deadpool in the middle level of the parking garage, waving a handgun at him, leaning out over the concrete wall. "Fuck!"

Deadpool - and it is Deadpool, it has to be him, all red and black and covered in knives and pockets that contain knives and the little pointed tuft where his mask doesn't quite fit, gives him another wave when he sees he's caught Peter's attention, and then throws himself out of the parking garage and digs his fist into the concrete wall just in time to miss the ground. "Wait there," he yells, "I'm coming!"

So Peter spends quite an entertaining five minutes licking his melting ice-cream and watching Deadpool punch his way up the side of the parking garage to the roof, humming itsy-bitsy spider with all the cheer of a man out for a happy walk with his dog. Every time he jumps up his body swings right or left, and bits of shiny metal things fall out of his pockets - they look like thumbtacks, or those little silver jacks Peter used to play with when him and Ben and May would stay up late over the winter holidays. "Need a hand?" He asks, when he's eaten down to the cone and there's no longer any time-sensitive issue taking up his attention.

"No," Deadpool says, "No, I gotta prove myself. This is a test. A test of strength."

Peter looks at the biceps bulging out of the suit, and the thighs that look like they could crush skulls, and the broad shoulders and the way Deadpool looks like two normal guys in a trench coat. "Strength," he says.

"I hear doubt in that tone, and I don't appreciate it," Deadpool yells, dangling by his fist about ten feet from the top of the garage, very carefully aiming his face upwards. "This is a motherfucking test of strength, Spidey, and you best believe it."

"I'm very impressed," Peter says, as sincerely as he can.

"Yeah, I bet you are. Hah."

It takes another few minutes for Deadpool to punch his way up to the roof, which is really plenty of time where Peter could be skipping right out of town, but he's sort of intrigued.

Deadpool's been following him for days now, and this is the first time he's so much as called out to him. Also, Peter's slippery, and he knows these places more than anyone does, so they're all good - no danger. Whatever.

"Hey," he says, when Deadpool finally reaches him and falls onto the concrete roof, breathing heavily, bleeding from all his knuckles. "I'm Spiderman."

"Hello, Spiderman. I'm very - ow, fuck, fingers - pleased to meet your acquaintance," and Deadpool, in a show of respect, holds out the hand with two whole fingers left, as opposed to the other hand, which has succumbed to being thrust into concrete over and over again and is now a pulpy mush.

"Ok," Peter says. His voice goes higher than he means it to; between finger and thumb he shakes what remains of Deadpool's hand. "That's. Yeah, okay, cool."

"I've been following you with interest," Deadpool says; he holds out his hand to watch tiny little fingers sprout from the stumps of his knuckles, with a sort of detached curiosity. "You intrigue me, little Spiderkid."

"Spiderman."

"You are a kid. A youngling, a baby, a small tiny seedling of a boy, a precious pumpkin, a little terror, an underage demon, a freshly sprouted man," Deadpool cocks his head to the side, "Alternatively, you're vertically challenged. Or whatever the medical term is. Vertically challenged with the physical attributes of all of the aforementioned subspecies of humanity."

Peter takes a few steps back, out of the line of fire, in case Deadpool decides to do something weird. In-character. "Uh. Who cares, anyway?"

"I care," Deadpool shoves his thumb emphatically into his chest, forgetting it's only about three minutes old; with a sickening crunch, like the sound of scrumpling paper, the baby thumb breaks under the impact. "Fuck, that hurt. Ow. Ow. Fuck."

"You probably shouldn't have done that," Peter says, gruesome curiosity making him look at the mess Deadpool's made of his hand. "That looks bad."

"I'm a responsible adult," Deadpool says. "Spidey, you gotta believe me."

"Okay?"

Deadpool tells him to take out a piece of paper, and then seems to change his mind and tells Peter to take out his phone instead. "I was going to be professional," he explains, sucking on the stump of his thumb, "But then I decided that would be boring, and now here we are. I am in immense pain, Spidey, and I hope you appreciate what I'm going through."

"I do," Peter says.

"Lies and slander, Webs, lies and slander. You'd sell me."

"For one corn chip," Peter tells him cheerfully, and fights down the laugh when Deadpool slaps his fingerless palm to his mouth, gasping in horror.

Deadpool gives him his number, and makes him save it under Man With The Right Amount Of Thumbs, which Peter changes immediately to don't interact as soon as Deadpool looks away from his screen. "I like you, Webs," he says; in the time they've been talking, the sun's started setting, and Deadpool now has hands that look a little more like the hands he should have - albeit with incredibly tiny fingers - and Peter's starting to think that today might not be his last day to live. Deadpool doesn't seem to want to kill him at the moment, anyway.

"Give me a call, Spidey," Deadpool says, weirdly sincere behind the mask and the severe head injury. "Seriously. Any time you think someone needs maiming."

"I'll definitely keep that in mind, yeah. Maiming. Yeah. Maiming," Peter says.

"Bye, Webs!"

Fucking bizarre.

 

 

@spidey_spotter: spiderman pictured here helping the police w their enquiries

@potterpoker1390: @spidey_spotter d00d did u take a pic of spidey being arrested & not help

@spidey_spotter: @potterpoker1390 im the spidey spotter not the spidey saver

(And all that leads him to being here, existing now, trying not to dissolve into a little pile of anxiety and mechanical webslingers hooked into the bracelets on his wrists.)

May is one on speed dial, and Ned is two, and Harry is third.

(MJ refuses to give him her number even though they hang out all the time and are therefore definitely friends and Peter is not offended by this, not at all.)

"I know I get a phone call," Peter says, trying to sound very small and very afraid and very innocent. "I - I - my aunt, she worries - she's, she's-"

In defence of the worn-out police officer in front of him, he had been sloppy. Spiderman had been seen twenty minutes ago running away from the police, narrowly dodging oncoming cuffs and blaring sirens, and ten minutes ago a scruffy Peter Parker had run into the same lot - a boy out on his own at three in the morning, shaking and twitching, heavy bags under his eyes, scrawny under his baggy clothes, and it hadn't taken them long to decide this Nefarious Teen was connected to the Nefarious Spiderman and to clap the cuffs on him, instead. Either that, or on drugs.

The way Peter’s violently shaking isn’t exactly helping his case, either.

"Why were you out at -" the officer glances up to the plastic clock on the wall behind her, "At two fifty-seven, then? That's not normal behaviour. Wouldn't your aunt be worried?"

"My, my, my friend and me were doing a school project," Peter launches off into the next warbling fabrication, "But - I didn't, like, check the time I should have checked the time but I didn't and May gets home at, at - at three, three from the night shift, she's a nurse, and I wanted to be back 'cause she worries-"

"Okay," the police officer looks old. Like someone's been stepping on her for ten years. All thin and rolled out; underneath all that, she looks quite young, and he wonders how long she's been doing this job to look so thoroughly sick of it. "Okay, sure, your aunt. Project. Hospital."

"I wanna go home," Peter tries. Really makes an effort; makes his voice all damp and wet.

(He’s, like, three seconds away from having a breakdown, which would make the whole thing more realistic, but he’s also convinced the officer thinks he’s a teen junkie aiding and abetting Spiderman, so… there are pros and cons.)

“Name?”

“Peter Parker, I-” he swallows, and he can feel his eyes going all watery almost of their own accord. “Please let me call? Just for five seconds, I-”

“Fuck’s sake. Yeah, go ahead,” there’s only one other officer in the station, and he’s asleep behind the desk, and Peter can see how badly this woman wants him to stop being a problem so she can follow suit.

“Thanks,” he says. Damp. Scared teenager, scared suburban teenager, you attend Midtown Tech, you have an internship with Stark Industries -

He presses down on the fourth button for speed dial, and the officer helps him push his phone between his ear and his shoulder, seeing as his hands are still cuffed in his lap.

It only rings once before the person on the other end picks up, and by the sound of his voice, he was sleeping. “Hello? Is this Spiderman?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” Peter says, a little theatrical wobble in his voice. MJ would be proud - she had him play white man #3 in her dramatisation of Columbus’ Discovery of America, and she told him that nobody could possibly act at being a stale piece of bread better than him. “I - I - there’s been a mistake-”

“If someone is listening to this conversation, say ‘of course not’,” says Daredevil, his voice slowly losing the grit of waking-up. “Where are you?”

“Of course not,” Peter says, and sniffs, and a tear spills out down his cheek. Take that, stale-bread MJ. “I’m… I’m… I’m near Ned’s place, I was walking - home from the project and I didn’t want to disturb May ‘n I got lost and I’m-”

“The 115th,” the officer interrupts, and Peter parrots it back.

“I can be there,” says Daredevil. “What’s happened?” On his end, there’s thumping and bumping, like he’s putting on proper clothes. “I’m - tell them your older brother Matthew is a lawyer, and he’s coming to pick you up because your mom’s working. Tell me. Pretend I’m Matthew the older brother. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“I just wanted to go home before May,” Peter says tearfully, because Older Brother Matthew knows May, and knows Peter’s mom isn’t working, and - and whatever, irrelevant, keep talking, “I - the science project, it’s for Mr Hopper, and me and Ned lost track of time and I got super lost-”

“Is this about Spiderman?” Daredevil’s outside, now - Peter can hear cars roaring. “Say ‘I know’ if it is.”

“I know, s-sort of,” Peter says. He’s crying a bit more than he meant to, and the hot tears itch his cheeks without his hands free to scrub at them. “I’m scared.” (This is for the officer’s benefit. Spiderman never gets scared. Especially in front of cooler older heroes.) (Daredevil will know this.) (Peter hopes Daredevil will know this, because Peter hangs an embarrassing amount of his self-esteem on the way Daredevil seems to be proud of him when he manages to land a punch, or take down one of the recurring criminals on the circuit, or whatever.)

“I’ll sort this out. Don’t be scared. I’m coming in - okay, ten minutes, so keep being a scared kid out past his bedtime ‘til I get there.”

“Okay,” Peter says.

Daredevil hangs up.

“Done?” Asks the officer, sliding his phone back from his shoulder and setting it on her desk. “Seriously, though, we can’t let you go. There’s strong suspicion you were with Spi-”

“My brother’s coming,” Peter interrupts. You were with Spiderman. The sound of it sends shivers up his spine. “He’s - he’s, he’s a lawyer, and May’s still at the hospital and he said he’d come pick me up-”

Her eyes narrow. “I have reason to believe-”

“Please,” he says. His voice breaks, and he hadn’t even meant it to do that, this time. “Please, I. Just… let me go home?”

“I’ll talk to your brother,” she says eventually, eyeballing him quite impressively, “And we’ll see what we’ll do then.”

So Peter spends fifteen minutes looking at the clock and trying not to cry for real (for realsies, he hears Deadpool saying in the back of his head) and wondering how Daredevil will fix it at all. He should have called May, or Ned, or Harry, or someone that isn’t a total stranger to him, and how is he meant to act all nice with brother Matthew if that isn’t even Daredevil’s real name? Deadpool. He could have called Deadpool and Deadpool would have done something insane, like throw himself off the top of the precinct building so they’d all have to evacuate, and then he’d grab Peter and run home on two broken legs because Deadpool is Deadpool and Deadpool is crazy.

“Hey, Jenna,” says the officer sleeping behind the desk, suddenly not sleeping anymore, “Some guy’s up front. Says he’s called Matt… Murdock? Wants that kid. Says he’s got school tomorrow.”

Peter smiles up at the officer - Jenna - and makes yes I do have school tomorrow eyes at her, all channelling his inner puppy, or whatever.

“Murdock,” says Jenna-the-tired-cop. “Your last name’s Parker.”

“He’s my brother,” Peter says, directing it at nameless-sleepy-cop.

Jenna groans. “Let him on through, let’s get this sorted.”

Older Brother Matt AKA Daredevil Out Of His Fetish Gear turns out to be blind.

Or a good actor.

What the fuck is he doing? Peter makes a face at Daredevil when the two cops aren’t looking, but Daredevil must be pretty committed to the act, because he doesn’t even make eye contact. He’s tallish, and looks like he should be broadish, but he’s slender around the shoulders and the waist, and in a suit that’s just a hair too big for him. He isn’t wearing a tie, and his buttons aren’t all the way done, and he’s got that brush of shadow on his jaw that Daredevil has, too. A fluff of brown hair, though, and he looks far more approachable like this.

His white stick (cane, right?) crosses the floor ‘til it hits Jenna’s desk, and he stops. He looks tired.

Daredevil’s an even better actor than Peter-the-sad-high-school-student. “I’m so sorry,” he says, apologetic and gruff and not as scary as Daredevil, “He’s scatterbrained these days. Hey, you okay?”

His hand fumbles in the air a bit before it lands on Peter’s shoulder, a little too theatrical if you know Daredevil well enough, and Peter’s beginning to have the sort of realisation he really wishes he wasn’t. Why else would he have to train blind? “I’m fine,” he says, and the Realisation is making him sound very-not-fine. “I’m - okay.”

(Most important of all - how many blind jokes has Daredevil made without Peter knowing?)

“We found him in the middle of the night in an alleyway ten minutes after Spiderman vanished in the same area,” says Jenna, although her confidence is waning in the face of concern and a respectable, blind older brother. Older Brother Matt. “What do you say?”

“He was out with his friend Ned, I guess,” says Daredevil. His thumb rubs comforting circles over Peter’s shoulder, which is weird, because Peter’s pretty sure the only thing giving away how genuinely terrified he is right now is the thrumming of his heart. Drumdrumdrum. “Science project, right?”

“Yeah,” Peter says. “For Hopper.”

Daredevil (Matt, Older Brother Blind Lawyer Responsible Matthew) gives Jenna a wan smile. “It’s my fault. His aunt-”

“Not your aunt,” Jenna says.

“Not mine, no. She cares for Peter now-” how the fuck does Daredevil know his name, “And I said I would take him tonight, since she’s got the night shift, but -” he laughs, rubs the back of his neck, the picture of a sheepish young man, “You know how it is. Next thing I know it’s three in the morning and he’s calling me, and I was still in the office. I’m sorry to have caused such a bother.”

Jenna’s beginning to soften, Peter can see, in front of this sniffy teenager and his fancy-lawyer brother and the bare fact of it being past three in the morning. “We still have to keep him in,” she says. “Books-”

“I haven’t recorded it,” says the sleeping one, settling back into his chair. “I was. Busy.”

“I’m so sorry to have bothered you,” says Daredevil again - and that seems to be what settles it.

“You can leave,” Jenna says, rubbing her palm against her eye. “Just - try not to stay out too late again, okay? There’s strange people about. Today proved it. You were this close to Spiderman.”

Daredevil’s hand clamps down on Peter’s shoulder, and Peter tries not to visibly jump. “Thank you so much,” says friendly-Matt-the-lawyer, “You’ve been so patient. Thank you.”

They last five minutes out of the station, around a few corners, before Daredevil folds the cane up far shorter and melts into the shadows of a nearby alleyway. “Are you okay?”

Peter has to stop and blink for a bit. “Wha?”

“Are you okay,” Daredevil repeats, and he sounds a little more like he does when he’s showing Peter how to throw a punch - authoritative but not stern, and concerned under a thick layer of apparent indifference. No Soft Older Brother; this is more familiar, more relaxing. Peter knows where he stands with this kind of Daredevil.

“I’m sorry I woke you,” Peter says instead. He moves his eyes, and Daredevil’s remain still behind the dark glasses; there’s one thing he isn’t faking, anyway. But that’s something for another day. Another time.

“Are you okay,” Daredevil taps his hand against the brick wall behind him. “It’s late. You’re tired. You just got arrested. Will your aunt be worried?”

“She really does have the night shift. And she thinks I’m out with Ned, just-” Peter rubs his arm, scuffs his heel against the pavement, “Just I was, I left at, like, midnight, and I thought I’d do some patrol or whatever, and I just got carried away a bit. And then the police came. And then you came.”

Daredevil (Matt?) opens his mouth to say something else, when Deadpool melts out of the shadows beside the dumpster.

Fucking Deadpool. What is he doing here?

“So I don’t get to rampage against the NYPD,” Deadpool asks, tossing a hunting knife up and down in his gloved palm. “Disappointing. You okay, Spidey?”

Peter looks from Daredevil - apparently Matt, apparently a lawyer, apparently blind - to Deadpool, apparently with a latent caring gene. Or an intense need for vengeance against the NYPD. “What’s Deadpool doing here?” He asks Daredevil. Matt.

Matt/Daredevil has the grace to grin sheepishly. “I called him.”

“Called me to murder.”

“Called him to help you out.”

“Yeah. By murdering.”

Matt hits Deadpool’s shoulder. “Shut up. Don’t be an asshole.”

“I’m being truthful,” Deadpool says, with a note of whiny hurt. “You’re so mean.”

Peter leans against the wall as Daredevil and Deadpool melt into a squabbly, snippy argument, punctuated by Daredevil poking Deadpool with his (what do you call it? Blind stick? Cane, right.) “Uh. Guys? Guys?”

And now he has their attention. Sort of disconcerting. “I appreciate you coming out, and all,” he begins, and Deadpool cups his chin in his hands and starts cooing, “But like - like, what the fuck? With all due respect. Like. Like - are you really a lawyer? Are you really called Matt? Are you really…”

“Blind, yeah,” says Daredevil. Matt. He leans against the opposite wall, his cane propped against his knee. “Do me a favour. Don’t spread it around.”

The menace of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen leaks into his voice, the way it does when he’s showing Peter how to throw a proper punch, and Peter swallows back on the fear in his throat. “Yeah. Yeah, man, sure, sure, your secret is safe with me, I got ya-”

“You scared him,” Deadpool leers. “If we’re getting touchy-feely I’ll tap out, ‘cos emotions break me out in hives, and that really fucks with my complexion.”

Apparently that’s a funny joke, because he clutches his stomach through a bout of giggles while Peter (and hopefully Matt) just hangs on to the thread of the conversation as best he can, and hopes he can steer it back to clearer waters. Deadpool wipes an imaginary tear from the cheek of his mask. “Ah. I crack myself up.”

“Go home,” says Matt, patting Peter on the shoulder. “Get some rest.”

“I can still take action, if you know what I mean wink-wink nudge-nudge,” says Deadpool, cracking his knuckles with glee.

“No,” Peter says. “Uh. But. But thanks, I guess. Thanks for coming.”

 

 

ned: dude what the fuck

me: ???

ned: chek ur fukin twitter

me: u r not the boss of me

ned: do it asshole

Peter looks around curiously; Spanish has him and Ned sitting at opposite ends of the room, so they ‘aren’t a distraction to themselves and others’ according to Mrs Jenkins, who is a crusty old woman who finds enjoyment in slapping her desk and shrieking anytime someone forgets the accent on their written work. He sees Ned waving his phone at him behind his textbook, looking equal parts like he’s about to die of happiness, and like he’s about to die of constipation.

@spidey_spotter: pictured here spiderman with daredevil @devilreports and deadpool @dpdpdp taking down known petty thief david p johnson

@spidey_spotter: lol its like the avengers but they actually give a shit abt people

@rebekkkkka239: @spidey_spotter u are the Most Not Neutral updates acc ever

Ned gives Peter a slow thumbs up behind the textbook, and Peter smiles.

me: hey have u seen twitter

matt: i haven’t seen twitter no

me: that stopped being funny about 203738 years ago

dont interact (wade): dont listen 2 him bby ur hilarious

Peter smiles wider, and doesn’t stop even when Mrs Jenkins catches him with his phone out and confiscates it, sending him to the office so he can be given a stern talking-to.