The main consequence of having Peter swing through the city with Rio on his back is that now the entire city is aware that the other spiders are still around and not going anywhere. The drawback to having Miles ride around on top of his cruiser that one time is that now everyone knows that one Jefferson Davis has a connection to the spiders as well.
The police chief calls Jefferson into his office after that patrol. Jefferson is half expecting to get chewed out, or at the very least ordered to arrest Spiderman on sight. Instead, Chief Yu just asks him one simple question.
“You protecting him?”
Jefferson nods. “I’m trying to, sir.”
Yu nods. “Good. You’re the best cop for it.”
Jefferson blinks. “I am, sir?”
Yu smiles. “Yes. Despite your feelings about Peter Parker, you’re still a dad. It’s pretty clear our new Spiderman is just a kid. It’s also pretty clear he trusts you and you like him. If anyone can watch out for him, it’s you.”
Jefferson relaxes just a bit. “Thank you, sir. The other spiders help as well.”
“Are they as attached to you as ours is?”
Jefferson can’t help but think back to the previous night – Rio teaching Peter and Noir how to make chocolate chip pancakes completely from scratch while Miles and Gwen teased the two mercilessly and Peni and Ham played card games in the living room with Jefferson. He smiles. “Something like it.” he says easily. “They mostly show up to help out our Spiderman.”
Yu smiles at that. “Good.”
“Sir, if I can speak, you seem awfully attached to Spiderman yourself.” Jefferson says hesitantly. Yu just nods.
“He’s just a kid.” he says simply, and Jefferson can only nod in response to that.
Yeah. He’s just a kid.
It surprises Peter the first time he hears a citizen of Miles’ ‘verse call him Red Spider. Then he realizes that’s just what this New York has decided his name is.
Miles just shrugs. “Makes sense. I mean, you’re not Parker, but you dress like him. They gotta have some way to tell us apart.”
“Think they could have come up with something more creative than Red Spider?” Peter groans.
It’s become something of a Friday thing for the Spiders. Every Friday night, no matter what, they all wind up in Miles’ home and hang out for the night and part of the next morning. If nothing is going on, they go home somewhere around noon. Sometimes a crisis in one ‘verse or another disrupts the fun and they head out to deal with it.
Tonight, though, there are no crises or anything else. Which means that Peter, Miles, and Gwen have commandeered the couch while Noir sits on the chair, Peni in his lap and Ham wrapped around his shoulders (and Peter swears that’s Ham’s favorite spot now). Rio has a crock pot meal cooking, and she and Jefferson are cuddled together on the love seat right across from the chair.
Gwen grins over at Peter. “They’re not very creative here. They keep calling me White Spider – Miles, quit pulling my hair.”
“If you’d hold still, I wouldn’t be pulling your hair.” Miles says with a grin, not relinquishing his grip on her hair. Then again, she’s not fighting him too hard, so he must not be actually hurting her.
“So would that make Noir or Miles the Black Spider?” Peni wonders absently. She’s got what looks like a high-tech tablet on her lap with a stylus out, and she’s taking turns using the stylus to color on the tablet with Noir while Ham quizzes Noir on what the colors are called.
“Pretty sure I’m the Black Spider.” Noir says casually. “They just call Miles Spiderman. This is blue.” He points to a spot on the tablet, and Ham chuckles.
“Good job. Pretty sure that and purple are the only colors you know.”
“Would that make Ham the Pig Spider?” Rio asks suddenly.
Ham laughs. “I really don’t know what they call me.”
“Confusing.” Jefferson says dryly. “Along with a few adjectives that I won’t repeat because I don’t want Rio to hit me.” Rio gives him a look while the others laugh. “Mostly they just call you Spider-Pig. Miles, what are you doing to Gwen’s hair?”
“Traci in physics wanted me to braid her hair, but I suck at it.” the boy replies. “So I asked Mom to teach me, and I’m practicing on her.”
“Apparently, I’m more fun to annoy.” Gwen says dryly. “Miles, if you knot my hair up so bad that I can’t get it out – “
“You’ll rip my arm off and beat me with the stump. Yeah, I know.”
“We’ve heard that threat before.” Ham says dryly.
“So what do they call Peni?” Peter asks suddenly. “Robo-Spider?”
Peni shrugs. “I guess? I haven’t really checked? Noir, that’s not green. That’s yellow.”
“The grass isn’t yellow?” Noir smirks, and Peni punches him in the arm with a laugh.
Peter grins. “She’s on to you, man.” He glances at Miles and Gwen, and grimaces. “Miles – man, stop, stop, stop. She really is going to kill you. Here, watch.”
Miles scoots back, but he mutters under his breath in rapid-fire Spanish that even Jefferson has trouble following. Peter, however, smacks him upside the head and replies back – in equally fast Spanish. Miles just laughs as Peter undoes the mess he made of Gwen’s braid.
Rio frowns. “Peter, where did you learn Spanish?”
Peter laughs. “I didn’t. I survived the two semesters I had to take for college and might know how to say bathroom. Maybe.”
Rio and Jefferson exchange looks, but Jefferson just shakes his head with a smile.
It doesn’t take long for the media to figure out that Jefferson is close to the spiders. He’s used to dealing with reporters – most of the time, he simply gives them the bare bones of whatever event they’re questioning him about and walks away. When it comes to the spiders, however, he just levels them with a look and says two words.
The others are a little more forthcoming with information, even if Jefferson wishes they weren’t. The last thing he wants is some reporter figuring out who Spiderman really is.
During an incident involving the Green Goblin (seriously, he’s been off the radar since before the collider incident, where did he come from?) and all six spiders, one reporter is so eager to get the story that he gets too close to the fight. Goblin notices – and promptly throws a car at him. A cop – not Jefferson, but a young officer called Kate – grabs him and twists, putting her body between him and the car.
Impact is never made. Miles uses his webs to grab the car and throw it back at Goblin. If he had left it there, the incident never would be remembered. He didn’t.
He jumps down, grabs the reporter by the shoulders, and physically shoves him back behind the barricade.
“Your story isn’t worth their lives.” he hisses, body tight and vibrating with so much fury that the reporter simply nods and backs away.
The fight ends quickly enough, as far as anything with the Goblin involved goes quickly. The spiders hang out and help out with the cleanup – mostly moving debris from the few buildings Goblin damaged.
Kate finds Miles. “Thanks for that.”
Miles doesn’t even pretend like he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. He offers her a cheeky salute.
“Hey, you guys protect us all the time. ‘Bout time someone returned the favor, right?”
After that, every officer replies to the reporters with “No comment”.
The best part of being Spiderman, in Peter’s opinion, has always been dealing with civilians outside of saving them. There’s something fun about swinging in, exchanging a few words or jokes, and swinging back out again. Social small-talk is a lot easier when you’re wearing a mask and the other person can’t tell how awkward you feel.
Miles does it a little differently, just like he does everything differently.
It’s the middle of the week, and normally Peter wouldn’t be here right now, but Miles’ distress and anger drew his attention and eventually his concern. He keeps out of sight this time, just watching the scene unfold and keeping an eye out on the kid. Miles knows he’s there but doesn’t acknowledge him yet.
There’s been a shooting. That much Peter can tell. The shooter got away before Miles could arrive, but the small spider showed up before the ambulance got there. His gloves have been taken off and discarded on the ground, and even from this height, Peter can tell they’re soaked with blood. He grimaces.
Miles must have tried to stop the bleeding himself.
Now the ambulance is pulling away, leaving one distraught little girl alone with Miles, Jefferson, and two other cops Peter doesn’t recognize. Miles is holding the little girl securely to his chest while Jefferson is on the phone with someone. Finally, the officer hangs up and sighs.
“I’ve got an officer picking her mom up from work.” he says. “It’ll be probably 30 minutes before they get here, though.” Miles nods.
The little girl sniffles. “Is Daddy gonna be okay?”
Jefferson kneels down, putting himself on the child’s eye level. “Listen to me, sweetie. Your daddy is gonna be just fine. I know it looked scary, but it wasn’t as scary as it looked. When your mama gets here, one of my men will take you to the hospital, and you can see for yourself. Okay?”
Instead of nodding, the child looks up at Miles, who nods to her.
“Trust me – if Officer Davis says he’s gonna be okay, he’s gonna be okay. Officer Davis doesn’t lie, ‘cuz he’s bad at it.”
The add-on makes the girl giggle and Jefferson groan good-naturedly. Finally, the girl just smiles at both of them.
Peter just smiles to himself as he watches over the small group. He probably wouldn’t have stuck around after something like that – just long enough to make sure the kid is okay before swinging off to find another criminal to web up.
But this is how Miles does things, and New York loves him for it.
It’s a bitterly cold night that finds May Parker out at her nephew’s grave.
Sometimes there’s a comfort to staring blankly at the stone. Other times it just hurts worse. Tonight, she’s not sure which it is.
She glances behind her. Miles stands there, mask pushed up to show his face as he watches her with concern. When she can only look at him, he takes a step forward and puts something around her shoulders.
“I wasn’t sure if you wanted company.” he says quietly. “I didn’t want to hurt you more, but I didn’t want to stay away. You’re family.”
She understands that, more than anything. She can see the earnest truth in the slight hunch of his shoulders, like he’s not sure he’s doing the right thing but can’t just walk away, and tears sting her eyes. Slowly, she nods.
“So are you.”
Miles grins. He reaches out to her. “The others come over every Friday, and Mami makes, like, a huge dinner. There’s always enough for one more.”
It takes May a moment to realize what he’s offering her. She looks at her nephew’s grave, then back to Miles.
Despite occasionally helping Miles adjust his web shooters or fix the costume, May figured she was out of the Spiderman business. She chose to help Peter Parker, was his aunt, mother, and collaborator all rolled into one. Without her nephew – without those roles – she’s been so lost.
Miles doesn’t need a mother, and he doesn’t need a collaborator. He has those in his own parents and the other spiders.
He’s asking her to be their aunt.
She reaches out to him and takes his hand.
“If your parents don’t mind.”
Miles grins and motions to the front of the cemetery, where Jefferson is waiting with his patrol car. May chuckles despite herself. “Trust me,” he says, still with that impish grin, “they don’t mind. And the others really want to see you.”
“Do you still hear them?” It’s a distant curiosity, not really all that important in the moment, and the look Miles gives her says he knows it.
“Come on, Aunt May.” he says, giving her a gentle tug. “Let’s go home. It’s cold out here.”
She still has part of her identity. She can rebuild like this, still being Spiderman’s aunt. It doesn’t take away the pain of losing her Peter, but it might take away the pain of losing herself.
Finally, she smiles back at the boy.
“Yeah. It is.”