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Sixteenth story, “Evil-Doer.”

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"Have you ever seen porn?" Such a simple question is offensive to some, invasive to others, but for Peter, this question implies the awakening of memories from a long time ago. Memories that he thought he had forgotten.

 

Peter Parker is a teenager of only sixteen years old, he is aware of the implication of the sex act; It is not that he has an active sexual life, he barely has the courage to look directly into the eyes of his crush or even try to ask her to be his partner for the approaching ´Homecoming´ which is as difficult as solving a physical theorem for him. Peter is not stupid. He knows about sex education; he knows about what biology implies at the time of copulation, about sexuality or about contraceptives and STDs. He is a bright boy; he knows a lot more than just numbers. 

 

Peter hides secrets. First, he is Spiderman and only a few are aware of it; second, he has low self-esteem but no one knows this because no one has been told about it; though he tries not to be obvious. And he also has another third secret, but it is one that he keeps deep inside of him, one that he will not even reveal to himself ever again.

Now, Peter thinks about when he was just a twelve-year-old boy. A brat, no doubt. Innocent, immature. A child. When he was a little kid, he was always the classic nerd boy who had no friends; sometimes they would tease him, but if he had to go back in time, he would never change how he spent his childhood reading books instead of playing with other kids his age.

 

Returning to the present, Peter is happy. He spends most of his time in the tower with the Avengers; he likes the food Steve prepares, to train with Natasha and to listen to Bruce's explanations; he also likes his favourite duo, Sam and Bucky who, although they almost always make fun of him, they are nice fellows; he rarely sees Clint since he has his own family, or Rhodey because he is not an official member per se, but he takes every opportunity to start a conversation whenever they visit the tower. Wanda and Vision are too quiet, and that is something Peter sometimes rejoices about because in that place, silence is strange and sacred. There is also this Thor guy who is not a fan of children but you could say both get along very well; and Pepper! She is a really hardworking woman but Peter cannot help but think how incredible she is when he sees her. Of course, he can never leave out Tony, his mentor, his favourite superhero, his role model. Nor can he leave aside his aunt May, almost like a mother, who gave everything for him.

 

Peter is happy, but sometimes he doubts it.

 

Today, Wanda, Natasha and Pepper decided to have a night just for them, without the company of any man. It was to be expected that the couple of the year would make their scene. "Tony, what part of "girls' night only" don't you understand?", "I don't see the point of it! What if you hire a male stripper? I won't allow it; I want to watch the show too!", "Don't be childish. See you guys in a couple of hours! And don't start a war while we're gone, though we understand that without our incredible power called female order and intelligence, there's not much to hope for."

 

When the ladies left, Tony, as a grown-up adult version of a child, sat down and embraced himself; Clint placed a hand on his shoulder and gracefully said, "Come on, Tony, let it go for today, we can also have our night between strong Alpha-male humans if you want". "Incorrect, I am God of Thunder and not a human," Thor added. “Yeah and Spidey-Pete is a kid” Sam jokingly said. “You know what? I think that´s a spectacular idea; we´re going to have fun too!” replied Tony.

 

So, they did it. They ate like kings, they watched a movie of an hour and a half (by the way, a bad one since it was Steve's turn to choose it) and now they find themselves eating unhealthy snacks. Peter enjoys moments like this a lot, eating, watching a movie or talking about stuff, not serious stuff. Or so it was the plan. “Say Steve, did you really not slept with that beautiful blonde from the bar we visited?.” Tony's reaction was priceless, “Wait what?? Blonde? Bar? I need to know that story”, "Hey! There's a minor around here, watch what you're talking about”,where I live kids talk about it all the time” says Thor proudly but they ignored him. ”Sure Captain, as if you're worried about Peter's innocence! You just want to avoid the subject!" Peter doesn't like to talk about sexual matters, but he knows about it. As previously mentioned, Peter Parker is not ignorant. But he does not say anything, just look at the situation and shut up.

 

Then Sam, again trying to make fun of him, says, "I bet this brat doesn't even know what porn is!" to also add, "Hey baby spidey, have you ever seen porn?" Peter's hands start sweating. “What is that? You can eat it? Says Thor, "Sam, stop bothering him," Bruce argues, but it does not work because everyone is watching him and waiting for an answer. The young boy responds clumsily and tries not to stare at anyone at the same time,"Um, kind of?" , "Oh, really? Don't tell me you also do inappropriate things while everyone's asleep!" and Sam laughs again.

 

Then, Clint pulls out his dad´s side and says, "Well, you mustn't be ashamed of this kid. But at least they gave you ´the talk´, didn't they?" Peter feels uncomfortable. Sex is normal, he should not feel that way, but he is not feeling uncomfortable about the subject itself, rather he feels uncomfortable because he knows that his way of discovering about sex was not in the same way as any other normal child. “um, uh- well, kind…of?” Peter says clumsily again. Everyone keeps looking at him and apparently that is the signal that they want a more elaborate answer, then he reopens his mouth to say, " Well... the first time I knew about, um- sex, was when I saw a magazine with some- some compromising photos.” Peter spoke so fast, he doubts they understood him, but they did. "Oh, a magazine from your uncle, perhaps?" asks curiously Tony but the teen denies that possibility immediately, "no, no, of course not. One person showed me one when I was twelve." There is an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds and nobody seems to want to say anything else, but this time it is not Sam or Tony who speak, but Steve; “Twelve years old is too young for that, don't you think so?” Peter neither denies nor agrees to it, he just keeps his eyes focused on his hands, already too sweaty.

 

Peter has no intention of telling his secret, he has not even told his aunt May or his uncle Ben about it. He feels ashamed and guilty. He was just a kid, but he feels dirty anyway. “I- um- well, yeah, I don´t know”, “Steve is right, twelve years is too early for that.” Peter has no idea what else to say, he prefers them to change the subject or to be like Thor, just keep eating and nothing else. He also fails to know how to act when he is agitated, he does not measure his words so it is not surprising when he says "It’s not like I saw that magazine by change or out of curiosity either. I didn't even want to look at it." You fool! “What do you mean by that?” He does not know who asked it, maybe it was Bucky or all together at the same time. Peter does not want to have a panic attack nor to bring those episodes back again. He keeps looking at his hands and simply says "guys, I don't want to talk about this" in a very low voice.

 

Bruce, who only spoke once, interrupts what Steve was going to say and looks at the young boy with a sympathetic look; he knows that what he is going to ask is very sensitive. "Peter, I'm probably getting the wrong conclusion, but... Did someone force you to see those magazines?" Peter's silence confirms everything. “Peter.” Tony's voice sounds pretty serious.

 

"Yes, I was forced to it" he simply admits. Fear, shame, disgust and guilt. This is what Peter always feels every time he remembers what happened to him. Carrying a secret for a long time can be difficult because the burden is too heavy. The teenager breaks down; he needs to be able to breathe again without feeling that way. "Once a boy - a boy older than me, I don't particularly remember his age but I think he was 17? Or it was 18? um, well, he showed me a porn magazine. I was naïve and those pictures just… scared me. He also--he, uh, said I should exper-experiment with him. To um, to recreate some of the photos of the magazine.”

 

Peter now shut his eyes. He thinks, is it all right to have said that? He feels a weight lighter on him and he can breathe easier, but he is also worried that they no longer want to be with him.  Peter only opens one eye to peep, and he just cannot understand what he sees. Everyone in the place, Tony, Steve, Bruce, Bucky, Sam, Clint and even Thor have an expression of horror. "What did you just say?", "Does your aunt hottie knows?", "I can't believe this," "where I come from, you don't touch children, children are sacred," "Who was the goddamn fucking bastard?" Everyone spoke suddenly, the teenager feels dizzy. Then Tony stops his usual "I´m Cool" face expression to put on a worried look, he comes up to him and grabs both of his shoulders to ask, "Do you remember his name?”, “I-Uh? Wha- What name?”, “The name of the fucking pervert, kid.” “Oh- y-yes, I remember his name. Skip, I mean, Steven Westcott. We haven't spoken since that time!” Tony seems to boil out of rage. Bruce, on the other hand, says in a soft and concerned voice, "Peter, I understand if you're not comfortable with this, but did he hurt you?"  Of course, everyone understands what he meant to ask. Bruce is a professional; he would not ask irrelevant questions. Basically, the translation of that is "Did he rape you?"

 

Peter thinks he was lucky that Skip did not dare to rape him, but not so lucky as to not have been abused. Today he remembers those filthy hands, how his cheek was kissed and that groan, that creepy voice.  "He... he only touched my body, nothing else." “Nothing else??? This is not a joke!” Great, that is not helping at all. Peter wants to cry. He feels humiliated; he is supposed to be a superhero, not a cry-baby. "Tony, I think you need to calm down. You don't help us by acting all mad.", "Thor doesn't know what's happening, but if they hurt the boy of the spiders, they’ll be dealing with me."

 

They are worried about him, not angry or disgusted with him. Peter still is not comfortable, but the result is not as bad as he expected. Peter finally cries and feels relieved; this time he has no need to hide that secret which he has been carrying for years. "Sorry for ruining the night, guys," he says between sobs. The teenager had no time to understand what they told him afterwards because he hears the door open; Wanda and Pepper stop talking when they see Peter crying and Natasha stepped forward with the position of “I´ll kick your ass." "What the hell did you brutes do to the boy?"

 

Oh good heavens, this was a really unusual night for Peter Parker.