~~ PETER ~~
Peter knew, reasonably, he shouldn’t have gone out like this. He was a mess after MJ left him a few weeks ago, waiting for the divorce papers, he’d gotten fired by the Buggle two days ago, there was nothing left to eat in the house and garbage everywhere and to top it all, he had a cold.
But he saw no purpose to stay mopping in his now too empty apartment while crime happened in the streets, so he’d done the costume and gone out. He’d helped an old lady cross the street, stopped three muggings, and ran out of web fluid, resulting in a two-stories drop, directly into a garbage container. Of course, one of the trash bags had opened and spilled rotten food and several days old nappies over him, and there were unidentified fluids dripping down his legs.
He absolutely didn’t want to know what they were. No, rather, he would… stay here, and gaze at the pollution-grey sky above, and grimy outer walls.
“Holy shit, are you alright?” a voice asked shrilly, and he heard heavy footsteps running to his garbage container, just before a masked face interrupted his philosophical gazing at the sky. The mask was red, with black shapes around the wide, empty white eyes peering at him. “You didn’t get hurt, did you?”
“I’m perfectly fine, thank you”, he replied, harsher than he probably should have.
After all, the stranger only cared about his well-being, which was nice, especially in a city like New York. But he also had to admit he hadn’t wanted anyone around to witness his humiliating fall from grace. Well, now he couldn’t go any deeper: he’d reached rock-bottom. He didn’t feel like moving, but the masked guy – it was a guy, from how deep his voice was – would probably wonder about his sanity if he remained laying amongst trash. Trash among trash, he simply belonged.
Grimacing, he started to push himself up, sinking into the stinking piles as he tried to get a grip. The guy, thankfully, pulled back enough to let him sit up. He hoisted himself out of the container and dropped to the ground, making a disgusted noise at the sight of his costume. With a sigh, he looked up. The masked stranger was still there, and he was… well, he was a strange stranger. Clad in form-fitting red leather that set out bulging muscles on an impressive height, with the handles of katanas showing over his shoulders and guns strapped a bit everywhere over his body, he was probably one of the most unsettling things Peter had ever seen, Spiderman or not.
A maniac, probably. And Peter was out of web fluid, that was just great. The day couldn’t get worse.
Oh, wait. It could.
Before he could feel it come, he sneezed, his mask taking the brunt of it as snot just. Spread over his face.
“Great”, he said. “Just, great. Best. Day. Ever.”
The world started to spin and he took a step forward, dizziness overcoming him for a moment. The stranger reached for him with a frown.
“Are you sure you don’t need help?” he asked cautiously.
“I can take care of myself just fine”, Peter retorted, stepping back and knocking right back into the garbage container.
“Sure”, the man answered, sounding completely unconvinced. “But there’s nothing wrong with needing some help from time to time.”
Peter didn’t grace him with an answer and instead started to climb the wall. He’d made it two meters high before his fingers stopped sticking altogether. His eyes widened in fear and he fell again, straight back into the container. He felt a sharp pinch to his thigh, probably a broken piece of something, and let out a long sigh. Maybe if he stayed here…
Massive arms reached for him and pulled him out of the garbage, setting him down on his feet but not letting him go.
“Alright, you’re not fine. Let me help you.”
This time, Peter snarled and wrenched himself away.
“Fuck you, I’m fine”, he bit.
“Dude, there’s a syringe in your thigh.”
Peter looked down, and there was, indeed, a syringe in his thigh. That was the thing that had pinched.
“I really don’t like syringes”, the man added, staring at it warily.
Peter rolled his eyes, which, bad idea, because everything started to spin again, and grabbed the syringe, ripping it out. The man made a sick noise as Peter dropped the syringe back into the container.
“Well, thanks for nothing”, Peter said, before he started to walk away, not trusting his body to stick anymore.
He made it as far as the end of the alleyway before the world spun around him, faster than before, until everything faded to darkness.
Peter woke up feeling warm and comfortable, with something cold over his forehead and his eyes, and his spider-sense strangely… calm. It had gone haywire the moment MJ left him and had been constantly buzzing in the background, but right now, he felt safe. His head was still heavy and pounding, though, but that was probably just the cold. He reached for the thing over his face, but was stopped by a hand over his wrist.
“Don’t”, a voice said. “I haven’t looked at your face, but if you touch this, I will.”
He vaguely recognized the voice as that of the strange guy whom he’d met in that alleyway. His nose, which had been runny until now, was completely stuffed, and he could only breathe through his mouth.
“Whazzapen?” he asked, feeling like his mouth was full of cotton.
“You passed out”, the voice answered, and he felt hands against his cheeks and neck. “You’ve got a severe fever, Spidey. I got some medicine, but ultimately sleeping it off is the best you can do. Here”, the voice added, gently slipping a hand under his head until he was pillowed against a muscular arm.
A cold glass touched his lips and he drank slowly – water, that soothed his parched throat. The guy pulled the glass away and pressed a pill to his lips, which he took without protesting.
“I’ll get some broth ready for you”, the guy said, laying him back. “Don’t worry, you’re safe here.”
Peter tried to snort and ended up chocking on his saliva, which evolved into a coughing fit that left him even more weakened. A part of his brain told him he ought to go back home, but he couldn’t even move his hand to scratch the itch he had on his stomach.
“Thanks”, he rasped ultimately.
He soon fell asleep again, or he passed out, at this point there wasn’t much of a difference. He was blissfully unconscious, and that was what mattered.