“Please, Uncle Aaron.”
Miles felt his uncle’s fingers loosen around his throat. He felt like his heart was going to burst from his chest and his breaths hissed through his teeth in his fear.
Uncle Aaron hesitated, his head jerking slightly between Miles and the street just out of the boy’s field of vision. He carefully pulled the mask back over his nephew’s face.
“Take the fall, Miles.” His voice was deepened by whatever voice-modulator he had, but his familiar inflection was unmistakable if you knew what to listen for. And these particular inflections were something Miles had never heard from Aaron before: Fear. “Hit the ground in a roll and run. Stay hidden and stay out of it.”
Miles barely had time to register the instructions, confusion and surprise clouding his thoughts, when Aaron dropped him.
The unseasoned superhero was able to do as he was told, landing on a pile of potting soil and rolling before he clambered to his feet and ran as fast as his legs could carry him, fear turning him invisible as he vaulted the back fence.
He ran and ran and ran until he wound up in an alley and climbed up on one of the fire escapes, hiding in a dark corner where no one could see him. He tore off his mask and heaved in gulps of air.
His uncle had tried to kill him ( again ) but had stopped.
Miles’ stomach ached with all the running but he forced himself to focus.
Uncle Aaron had been looking between him and the street. Something had been there that he was afraid of. But Uncle Aaron wasn’t afraid of anything… Was he?
The proto-Spider-man let his head drop to the brick wall behind him.
Aaron slammed the bathroom door shut and ripped off his mask.
He’d kept it together on the way back, but now… He’d almost murdered his nephew. Twice.
How were you supposed to deal with that?
First things first: He couldn’t leave. Kingpin would know something was up and he’d be as dead as that Parker kid. But somebody had to check on Miles.
Aaron took off his gloves and set them on the counter. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and sent off a quick text to his brother.
Aaron: You need to check on your son.
Jeff: What happened?
Aaron: Just go check on him.
He slid the phone back in his pocket, took a deep breath, and splashed his face with some water from the sink.
He could do this.
He just hoped those other Spider-people could stop them in time and kept Miles somewhere safe.
Six Months Later…
The New Spider-man swung from building to building, letting his feet skim against the top of a passing car just for fun.
“Miles…” The Prowler’s voice filtered through the bluetooth in his ear in warning.
“I know, I know.” Miles rolled his eyes, but yanked himself up and into the air to climb higher with his webs. “If they’re going slower than me, I could lose my grip and fall.”
He looked down and saw his uncle’s bike weaving in between the cars.
The Prowler chuckled.
“I gotta turn in. You gonna be alright on your own?”
Miles shot another web, swinging around a building in a wide arc and waving to a little girl in the window who was up way past her bedtime.
He heard the bike pull off onto a side street and start to edge the outer range of the bluetooth.
“Goodnight, Uncle Aaron.”
A beep and the night was silent again. Or, as silent as it could be in New York.
He stopped on the outcropping of a building, perching and swaying slightly in the breeze.
“Hey! It’s Spider-man!”
Miles waved at a group of college students as they passed, shouting up encouragements and how they were all big fans.
He leapt from his perch, flipping and doing tricks in the air before shooting a web right before he hit the asphalt.
Cheers followed him as he swung through the city, looking for anybody who needed saving.
Okay, let’s do this one last time, yeah? For real this time.
My name is Miles Morales.
I was bitten by a radioactive spider and for the past six months, I’ve been the one and only Spider-man.
I think you know the rest.
My uncle turned out to be the Prowler and was working for the Kingpin. He realized what he was doing was wrong when he found out who I was.
He risked his life to let me escape and I ended up saving him later on when I shut down the super collider and sent my friends back to their universes.
He became a superhero. (Kinda like me, but more like my sidekick.)
Since then, I finished my essay, saved a bunch of people, got hit by a drone, and painted a mural with my dad and uncle’s help.
I met my roommate, finally.
And I slapped a sticker where my dad’s never going to find it.
And when I feel alone, like no one understands what I’m going through, I remember my friends who get it.
I never thought I’d be able to do any of this stuff. But I can.
Anyone can wear the mask.
You can wear the mask.
If you didn’t know that before, I hope you do now.
‘Cuz I’m Spider-man. And I’m not the only one.
Not by a long shot.