Sable had been watching the little dot on her monitor for months. It flashed all over the map in strange patterns with almost no method to the madness whatsoever. Going at high speeds and altitudes somedays; while others were quieter days with less to worry about. Regardless of how the seasons changed or life moved on; that little dot stayed the same.
Of course, watching Spiderman live was much more exciting. On days she had time to spare, Sable would log into the OSCORP security systems to watch the Spider in action. Sometimes it was drug busts; just out of the camera's line of sight. Other times it was crazy stunts done for the sheer fun of it. Once and awhile; when she was lucky, she caught glimpses of Spiderman knocking down one of his greatest enemies.
They escaped more often than she initially thought.
Those days; however, were usually very bad days. Casualties piled up quickly; when everything went wrong all at once. Even something as simple as a car chase could leave a lasting impact.
Spiderman couldn't save everyone.
It was then that Sable started to notice a pattern. On those bad days when the injured were pulled into ambulances and the dead lie in the streets; Spiderman would make one stop every time. He would always visit the graveyard sometime within that week.
It was honourable; Sable thought, to visit the final resting places of those he could not save. To mourn just as their families and friends had. But to do so every time? That just seemed like a waste to her. There were always casualties in war. Always innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who had time to worry about them all?
It wasn't until she was on her way back to America that she had even considered checking in on his behaviour. She hated to admit it, but she needed the hero at the top of his game should anything like Devil's Breath threaten New York again. Perhaps it was time to confront Spidermans scars.
It didn't take long for something to go wrong in the city once she arrived. It was small in comparison to the other things she had to deal with so it took a backseat in her mind. Spiderman dealt with it himself not even knowing his previous enemy was back in town.
She almost regretted not going when she heard of the bloodshed. Four police officers dead in a shootout, seven injured and one very damaged Spiderman according to the news article.
It wasn't a surprise to see the tracking dot on her monitor blinking towards the cemetery two days later. She grabbed her coat and made her way there; doing her best not to be seen. She was well aware of her ever-present, bad public image. It was better for everyone if she stayed out of sight.
By the time she got there, Spiderman had already been there for a few minutes. Not enough that she expected him to be leaving but she cursed herself for not having the opportunity to see everything he did while there.
It was raining quite heavily and what little foot traffic there was, all had umbrellas and raincoats except one kid kneeled in front of a grave. She paid him no mind as she passed behind him; looking for the masked vigilante. That was; of course until she heard his voice.
It was him; that annoying little voice normally so full of bad jokes and enthusiasm; instead, sounding so crushed and defeated. It wasn’t slightly muffled by the mask anymore because he wasn't wearing one. He was dressed in street clothes with no indication of his Spider-themed alter ego.
It was almost like seeing him naked; at least in Sable's mind. To see his battle armour stripped away; unwillingly revealing the scared boy underneath. And he really was that; just a boy. She had always assumed he’d be older. Her age if not more. But instead was a young man; maybe 25 at best, with puffy brown hair, knees deep in mud, sobbing in front of a relatively newer stone.
She just stood there listening, looking down at someone else's grave not to seem suspicious. Spidermans soft voice was hard to focus on but she did manage to hear some of the one-sided conversation.
“I don’t know why it keeps happening, May. It seems like every time I turn around there’s just something worse going on and I can't stop it. J.J. is really getting to me too. It was always so easy when you were here. I could ignore him but now that you're gone and it's all my fault, I don't know what to do. I should have stopped Li and Otto sooner.
"This time it was Tombstones men. He broke out of jail once the antiserum I made wore off." He let out a small, deeply broken laugh. "You thought that time he broke my leg was bad? You should have seen me this time. My suit was on fire for two and a half minutes and I'm pretty sure I got stabbed. Good thing I heal fast huh?"
He moved to a more comfortable cross-legged position; wiping away the hot tears mixing with drops of cold rain. "Maybe it's good you couldn't see it. You would have lost your mind and probably tried to fight him yourself. But I'm alright so no need to worry okay? I'm doing alright.
"MJ and I are still together which is good. Some things are good. Oh! And with the money you gave me, I was finally able to get an apartment! So now I actually have a place to sleep. I don't have a bed or furniture, or an oven, but I actually have a room so little steps."
Sable's heart clenched tightly. This wasn't what she expected from the web-slinger at all. She had never suffered these problems. She was a hero for hire so money was never an issue. It was so easy to forget that Spiderman was just a hero. No ulterior motive in sight. And apparently, just a boy.
Wanting to keep her distance, she just stood there, waiting for him to leave. He sat a while longer, not talking at all until a distant echo of sirens caused him to perk up. "Sorry guys, I have to go. Doing all I can to make you proud. Love you both."
He took two small, crushed roses out of the pocket of his shirt. "Sorry I got in a fight on my way here so they lost a bit of shape and maybe got smushed but I know you'll like them anyway. I'll talk to you soon."
He placed them delicately on two graves right next to each other and ran off. When Sable was sure he was gone, she walked up to the graves. May and Ben Parker? She had heard the name May Parker before. Someone important at F.E.A.S.T she believed.
No time for that now. Sable solemnly made her way over to the graves he had just left. "You have raised an amazing man," she said to the stones. "I will help him."
Peter came home to his apartment a week later; stopping in the doorway with a confused expression. Had he walked into the wrong apartment? His key had worked though. He looked at the number on the door. "408. That's me. But…"
He looked around at the brand new furniture and decor that lined his walls, looking way more expensive than he could ever afford. As he stepped forward, he noticed a note lying on the ground. He picked it up and read,
Enjoy your new apartment. Consider this payment for a job well done. Devils Breath was stopped because of you.