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I Need A Hero

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"Class, this is the new transfer student, Tim Goodman," the teacher announced, "Please give him a warm welcome!"

Peter eyed the new kid as everyone gave a tired chorus of "Hi Tim Goodman" - he was pretty tall, with black hair and a red tee shirt paired with blue jeans. He seemed pretty nervous, but Peter figured it might be because Flash was giving him the stink-eye for no reason. Granted, Flash gave all the newbies and anyone he deemed a nerd the stink-eye as the teacher continued, showing Tim a spare desk that happened to sit right in front of Peter's.

"I'm sure Ryme City is a long way from Queens, but we hope you enjoy your stay, Tim," the teacher grinned before turning back to the board, "Now, open your textbooks to page fifty-three...."

As Peter grabbed his textbook, he watched as Tim reached for his backpack, only to withdraw his hand and hiss as a shot of electricity elicited from the zipper. Peter blinked again, waiting for the spark to start a second time, but Tim was okay, opening the zipper carefully before taking out his textbook. As he went to close it again, however, Peter swore he could see a fuzzy yellow think squirm around, Tim patting it before flipping to the teacher's desired page.

"Hey, Peter, what do you think of the new kid?" Peter heard Ned whisper in his ear as best he could, ignoring the slight amount of spit that came with it.

"Dude, later, he's right in front of me," Peter shot back, ignoring Ned's annoyed groan as he sat back in his seat.

For the rest of the lesson though, he and Ned passed notes, and he swore he could see Tim's backpack shuffling around before Tim gave it a small kick. He swore, as the teacher handed back take-home tests, he could see small scars on Tim's fingers, small lines wound around his knuckles and slivered between his fingers. Peter figured he got them from a shop class, maybe he had Mr. Sax, he was known to let students get too handsy with some of the blades in the machine.

He thought that until he saw a flash of blue course through Tim's skin and he almost dropped the paper he was handing over his shoulder to Peter.

A tap on his shoulder and Ned was handing him another note. Grabbing the paper from Tim, Peter took the opportunity to look at it:

do you think he has powers? or knows ur spiderman?

Peter wrinkled his nose, shaking his head. Ever since becoming Spider-Man, Ned was worried someone was going to find out his identity; he was right in his assumptions, considering they whispered about it in science class, Peter made web-fluid in chemistry and who could forget that one time they experimented with alien tech in woodworking? Peter scoffed to himself at the memory- he was surprised that no one figured it out at this point, really. Not to mention being Tony Stark's intern was not really helping matters, making him even more of a bully target than before.

He scrawled quickly on the paper, handing it back to Ned with the tests. Tim only just got here- there was no way he knew anything, so they were fine, right?

He'd make sure to talk it over with Tony Stark before doing anything about it, Peter figured, shoving his books into his backpack as the bell rang for the next period.

-----

Tim honestly had no idea what he was doing when he decided to go along with Pikachu's plan of bringing him to school. As far as he knew, Midtown High was nothing like Ryme City. Looking at all the kids, he didn't see anyone take out a Pokedex, he didn't see anyone discussing theory about Eeveelutions. These kids were weirdly normal in the fact that they weren't. No one had even a Pokeball themed hat or backpack on. No Z-rings or cards that signified they even knew about Pokemon.

So when Pikachu tried getting out of his backpack, he knew he was in trouble. All day, the little yellow mouse was demanding to be let out, to run around and let go of some of the electricity he had stored. He tried at the opening ceremony to jump out, electing to stay in when the school bully cornered him and demanded his reason for coming to "his turf." Pikachu tried jumping out when he sat in study hall when he was talking to this girl named Michelle ("Call me MJ," she said without looking up from her sketchbook) as she was "drawing people in crisis."

It was hard to pretend Pikachu's laugh was his own when she showed him a picture she drew of the gym teacher with a rather disgruntled look on his face.

So when Pikachu pressed his head into Tim's palm during history when he went to grab his textbook, of course he tried to squish him down out of sight. He glared at the backpack when Pikachu shocked him in retaliation, but thought nothing of it, even when he felt some of the electricity dance on his fingers as he handed the tests to the kid sitting behind him. He and his friend were actually pretty noisy; the one called "Ned" wasn't as good at whispering as he thought he was.

So at lunch, of course Tim found himself sitting with two said kids from his class while trying to keep Pikachu from peeping his little yellow head out of the bag by sliping him apple slices when his grubby little paws tugged at his pant leg.

"Hey, do you guys have superheroes in Ryme City?" Ned asked around bites of a sandwich.

Tim shrugged, "Not really? I mean, we might have some in other regions, but I'm in the Kanto region, and we just have a normal police force."

"Regions? Like Hunger Games factions or something?" Ned said, "'Cuz we have, like, Spider-Man in Queens and then Daredevil micromanages ten blocks in Manhattan-"

Tim shook his head, "Sorry, we don't... we don't have superheroes in any of our regions. Also they're kinda like little towns or countries on their own converged into one big one?"

Ned's friend Peter had been silent through the whole thing, nearly choking when Ned mentioned Spider-Man. In fact, he had been silently glaring at Ned, his eyes screaming to shut up as Ned kept rambling on and on about Iron Man this and Black Widow that and oh, did you ever see Thor bring down a lightning storm? It's pretty cool! Pikachu was rustling around in his backpack and Tim could feel it get suddenly warm at the mention of lightning; he really had to let the little guy out soon or he was pretty sure his backpack would be a toaster by the end of the period.

After school, he found himself sitting on the steps with Peter and Ned again, until Peter was called away by a man with a sleek black car. He was dressed impeccably, a black suit with a button down white shirt and shiny black shoes. Waving goodbye, Peter ducked into the car and Tim let himself look around; a few other kids were staring, but otherwise paid it no mind.

"Is that a normal occurrence?" Tim asked, "That car seems really fancy for Queens and all."

Ned shrugged, "Pretty much. Even though Flash is a dick about it, Peter is an intern for Mr. Stark. It's pretty cool- I'm even Peter's 'guy in the chair' if he needs backup for stuff."

"I have no idea what that means, man," Tim admittedly, pursing his lips. His backpack was starting to get too hot again, and he could feel Pikachu poking his leg through the fabric, shuffling around to get more room. Wincing, Tim grabbed his backpack and pushed himself off the school steps, giving Ned a polite smile, "Listen, I gotta go, I guess I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Oh, yeah! Bye, dude!" Ned called as Tim started walking away. Once he made it out of the gate and around the corner, he slipped his backpack off and nearly threw it to the ground, Pikachu making a break for it as he burned through his backpack, skittering across the cement into an alleyway; his tail was crackling with electricity, yellow sparks flying from his cheeks as he ran in circles.

"Pikachu!" Tim exclaimed, "My backpack!"

"Ahh, that feels good!" Pikachu ruffled his fur, his hat flying off as he twitched his ears, "I really needed that-"

"And I really needed that backpack!" Tim said, kneeling down to dig through it. It was absolutely charred, his papers and even new history textbook burnt and still slightly on fire. Quickly, he dumped everything out of the bag, groaning at the large hole through the bottom of the bag. Pikachu watched idly as he tried sorting through the browning papers, tossing them to the ground in frustration.

"Come on, Pikachu!" Tim moaned, "This was my first day, I needed those papers! And that backpack!"

Pikachu shrugged, ambling around, narrowing his big brown eyes, "Uh.... why don't you take that one?"

"We're in an alleyway, there are no backpacks!"

"Yeah there is, with all that white stringy stuff, very white..." Pikachu scratched his chin, "Should we investigate?"

"Investigate what?" Tim said tiredly, "Besides, we can't take someone else's backpack, especially if it has sticky white stuff and- hey, wait! Word choice!"

Despite the poor word choice, however, Pikachu was right; on the wall across from him, just slightly above a smelly dumpster was a backpack, the zipper haphazardly done. Papers and pencils and even clothes were threatening to spill out from the bag, all held together with stringy white fluid, almost translucent, he realized as he got closer to it.

"I think," Tim looked at Pikachu, "we should investigate, yeah?"

Pikachu blew a raspberry, reaching up with grabby paws, "Give it over! I wanna see!"

Tim let his gaze dart around the alley- from the opening, he could still see other students and people walking around. Cars dashed down the road and he could hear the blaring sirens and honking horns of the city. On the other end, the alley seemed to be shrouded in darkness, inviting stray cats to feast on the dumpsters. A slight smell permeated the air, making Tim wrinkle his nose.

Snatching the backpack from the wall, he muttered under his breath that "This is so gross" before opening it fully and leaning down to let Pikachu jump inside. The clothes made a nice cushion for the Pokemon to sit in and it was definitely a step up from having to go to the apartment with a newly charred and on fire backpack.

-----

Tim didn't realize, as he left the alleyway, new backpack in tow, the black car Peter had gotten into before slowly idling down the street, following at a snail's pace as he walked down the block. Black tinted windows rolled down to reveal none other than Tony Stark in the backseat, hand hanging loosely off the rim as he lowered his sunglasses.

"You said you left a backpack in the alley by your school, right?" Tony asked Peter, who was sitting next to him, tapping away on his phone.

"Yeah, but do we really have to follow him?" Peter asked nervously, "I mean, he's new and-"

"Well, New Kid just took your backpack, webbing and all," Tony reveled in the spluttering protests Peter tried to give, the whine of "I worked on that fluid all night!" as they drove to a stop in front of the alleyway Tim Goodman had just popped out of. Eyeing it warily, Tony noticed another backpack sitting on the ground, small orange flames licking the material and whatever papers and textbooks managed to succumb to their death. His gaze flew up the wall to see charring on the bricks; thanks to his glasses, he was able to have FRIDAY zoom in on them, taking photos of the zigzagging pattern and haphazard sunbursst blasted into the cement.

"You said you saw lightning on his fingers, kiddo?" Tony asked when he was satisfied with the photos.

"Yeah," Peter said, "He went to unzip his backpack and I'm pretty sure he got shocked by whatever was in it- and it was yellow! The thing in his bag, I mean, the lightning looked kinda blue, like Thor's-"

Tony let the kid ramble, using his glasses to flick through the photos. As far as he knew, Reindeer Games didn't have any lightning powers, just his shape-shifting and daggers along with insanely flowing hair and devilish grin. Thor was a much better bet on the lightning thing, being the God of Thunder and all, but unless Loki helped him, he shouldn't be able to make himself small enough to fit into a backpack. He remembered Thor saying something about a secret sister of theirs once they got back to Earth too, but from what he got she was involved in all things death besides being dead herself.

"Maybe Thor has a sibling?" Peter broke through Tony's thoughts, an excited gleam in his eye as Happy drove the car carefully down the block. Tony hummed, eyeing Tim from the rearview mirror.

"Already happened, she was- and this is according to Bruce- hot as fuck and scary as all Hell, which is incidentally where she came from," Tony explained, adding nonchalantly, "She also died in her revenge to destroy Asgard, leaving a giant monster dog behind to wander around the Bifrost."

"Bifrost?" Peter asked, "Like the Rainbow Bridge from the myths?"

"You know, good for Thor for coming out vut we really should focus on the kid who can currently expose you as Spider-Man to the whole world."

Peter grumbled unintelligbly under his breath, but Tony let it slide. Tapping the back of the driver seat, Tony said, "Hap, I need you to get Pepper to give me all tge dirt on this kid-"

"Mr. Stark!" Peter cried, "You can't do that!"

"I'm Iron Man, I can totally do that," Tony said, "Tell her to get a background check on- what's this kid's name again?"

"Tim Goodman?"

"Right, tell her to get a background check on Tim Goodman, we need to see if the kid has any powers and if he does we need to check if he's a good fit," Tont instructed, ignoring Peter's groan to tell Happy to turn left at the light. 

"You can't just stalk the people at my school, Mr. Stark," Peter said, "It's already bad enough with Flash on my ass about the internship-"

Tony raised an eyebrow, turning to look at Peter with disdain. As far as he knew, his only friends were Ned and that Michelle girl. There was never any mention of a lid named Flash and he didn't want to say it, but.....

"That is the most pretentious name I've ever heard and I am the king of being pretentious," Tony said, "We're gonna have a talk about this later, you know that right?"

Peter rolled his eyes, "His real name is Eugene and that's not the point. You're gonna get me in more trouble with the new kid too and he's actually kinda nice!"

"Kind of doesn't mean they are, Petey," Tony said, lurching forward slightly as they rolled to a stop, "So I'm gonna make sure this kid is not another super we need to reign in while you focus on your science homework."

Peter was quiet, but Tony could see he wanted to say more. His face was slightly red and he glared at the front window. Happy was quiet, but that wasn't anything new, really.

"Dude, we're near my apartment building," Peter finally said, "Tim probably rented an apartment there, he's a transfer student. Besides, all he's done while we followed him was walk around the city and get two hot dogs."

"Why does he need two?" Tony muttered, "Besides, everyone knows the hot dogs at Josie's are way better than the street vendors."

"Minors can't get into bars, Mr. Stark," Peter reminded him.

"Right, right..." Tony trailed, narrowing his eyes. He could see Tim stopping at the door to a building- Peter's apartment building no less, the kid was right- and fumbling with a set of keys. He did so for a few minutes before finding the right one.

Every few seconds, however, he kept looking at the backpack, and if he wasn't mistaken, it looked almost like he was talking to it.

"Did you put anything in your backpack?" Tony asked. Peter shrugged.

"Um... notebooks, textbooks, my webfluid," he counted off his fingers, "I changed into my Spider-Man suit right after first period to wear under my clothes now so there's a second set in there. Oh! And two canisters of web fluid, but that's about it."

Tony nodded, making a mental list- as he saw Tim go inside the building, Tony rolled up the window, Happy pulling away from the apartment complex with a squeal of rubber.

Tony flipped his glasses back on, allowing FRIDAY to snap a photo just as he saw something yellow pop up in the frame.