Peter Parker knew for a fact that if he went home to Aunt May, he’d have not only killed Spiderman for good but also put additional burden on each of the Avengers’ shoulders. He’d leave New York all of a sudden, and they’d be asking what happened to the hero in red-and-blue spandex, swinging over and in between buildings? The other heroes tasked to protect the city weren’t actually keen on crowd control, expecting the police to do that, while Spiderman had both hands deep in both departments. With him gone, the crowd might go wild, and not in the good way.
Just with that one single decision of going back.
He looked around at his crappy old apartment. Even with its paint peeling in long strips from the walls, even with the dust bunnies multiplying under every table, even with the jacked-up heater that wheezed for him one last time this morning, he’d miss the old place. It had been what he’d call home for a little over two years. It had been there for him, shielding him from whatever storm New York suddenly barrelled into. It had housed him when he was cramming both his deadlines for his academics as well as his deadlines for The Daily Bugle. It had welcomed him with grimy, open arms, when he stumbled around in the dark as Spiderman, with all his cuts and bruises. It had tucked him in to sleep with a cold draft whistling through, and it would wake him up with the cold water sputtering from the rusty shower.
Of course he’d be sad when he had to say goodbye.
He had to face the reality. Aunt May’s stipend wasn’t exactly the best, what with Uncle Ben gone, and it was already lacking just with his expenses in college alone. So when he thought he had enough savings from working at The Daily Bugle, he had moved away from Aunt May and closer to the city to try and ease the pain in her pockets, but it got worse. Of course, living near the city’s heart meant a higher cost of living, and he had to send a lot of pictures of Spiderman to The Daily Bugle to have enough to buy food for a week, and not to mention the bills and the rent.
Until finally, a week before, his landlord had told him that he couldn’t do this anymore, and gave him an eviction notice with one week to shell out. He didn’t know where to go, and of course he didn’t want to insist on anyone, especially Aunt May. He’d want to save face, and keep the responsibility of being Spiderman altogether.
He’d have found a job that pays better, as an intern at OsCorp (and this time, it was his name on the name tag, but there was still a twinge of pain in his heart when the new Head Intern greeted them and guided them through OsCorp, the Head Intern who had replaced Gwen Stacy after she died), but the notice was far too late to talk the landlord out of it. He had the job to pay for a roof, but he needed to look for available space first, preferably somewhere small and preferably shared with someone who didn’t bother with their roomies.
He dragged himself to a small café and ordered a latte to ease his nerves. His bags were beside him on either side of his feet. He looked around, willing himself to see something, anything that would give him a way to secure a roof above his head by tonight. Saying goodbye to the old place was heartbreaking, to say the least. He kept looking back at his unit, stripped bare of every piece of evidence that Peter Parker lived there, and wished that he could go back and just go flump! on the couch again, forgetting the whole idea of leaving altogether.
But that didn't happen, couldn't happen, and with a heavy heart that seemed to get heavier with every step he took away from the familiar door, he finally left.
He sighed and decided to go look for a miracle, but he was too caught up with the miserable thought that he didn’t know he had hit someone entering the café with his bag on the way out. Although the day was a bit sunnier than usual, the man was wearing jeans and a pull-over hoodie with a baseball cap. The hood of his jacket was drawn up, and the bill of his cap was pulled down so no one could get a clear look on his face. His eyes widened in horror when he saw the man’s papers, tucked neatly in his hands, scatter all over the floor.
“Oh shit!” Peter quickly ducked and took each of the papers to try and at least make up for what he has done. “Oh, God, I’m sorry – “
“Hey, hey, it’s all good, I can do it –“ The man said, a bit worried and more amused than annoyed like Peter expected. The latter looked up at the former, and he only saw clear blue eyes before the man straightened, turned and ran.
“I… what…” To say that Peter was confused was an understatement. The man had been quite flustered when he tried to help, but the second he looked at him, he turned tail and fled? He frowned to himself as he straightened up, the papers still on his hand. He awkwardly shuffled his bags and coffee and went out the door, trying to read the paper.
He only saw the first two words but he felt like someone had pushed him into a wall to the point that he felt breathless. He fought back a joyful scream, and he patted his pockets for the phone to contact the number on the bottom of the page for the room. He waited patiently, rocking back and forth on his heels, while the phone rang. Finally, a gruff voice answered. “Hello?”
“Uhm, hi,” he said, flustered for a bit. Why the fuck was he blushing? “Erm, is this… uh…” He looked down at the name in bold letters on the bottom. “Mr. Wade Wilson? I’m to inquire about the roommate thing…?”
“Oh! Of course!” The person at the other end sounded happy, perhaps because his searching had borne fruit after all. He told him the address, and Peter didn’t have to write it down; his nightly patrols of New York made him memorize every part of the city. The apartment was actually only two blocks from where he was standing. “All bills, including rent, will be shared equally, and we only have one room, but two separate beds, and the shower’s really not that good but the heater at least works from time to time, and – “
“That sounds perfect,” he smiled to himself, not really listening to the other man rambling on. “Can I go there? I’ll be there in five.”
There was some sort of commotion on the other line. “Ah? Y-y-y-yeah, sure, sure! I’ll just ring you up then, alright? It’s room 304!” He said and ended the call.
“…Huh.” He smiled to himself, not really fazed by the man’s behaviour. But at least he got a decent deal. He silently thanked the blue-eyed man, whoever he was, for giving him (albeit indirectly) the chance to start again. And with that, he half-walked, half-jogged to his hopefully new address.
When the building came into his view, he slowed down to at least look calm and composed. He looked at the number of doorbells and saw that the number 304 was written in red and black crayon, and only the initials “W.W.” were hastily scrawled. He furrowed his brow and pressed the button, hearing a distant chime. After a few seconds, the intercom buzzed to life.
“It’s me,” he said, smiling brightly. There was a buzz, and the door was unlocked. He helped himself in, then climbed the stairs and knocked on the right door.
By this time, he felt dread and excitement churning in the pit of his stomach. He hoped his roommate wouldn’t mind him going out every so often with late night ‘projects’ (ahem, patrols), and going back and waking up near noon, of him insisting on doing the laundry in some small and obscure laundry shop, of his hectic schedule. He saw a figure looking out through the small peephole, and he smiled and raised his hand in greeting.
After what seemed like a minute full of sounds that seemed like someone on the other side was unlatching a multitude of locks, the door opened.
Peter spoke up immediately, too excited to wait. “Hello, uh, my name’s Peter Parker, and –“
He suddenly stopped, staring in horror at the masked person who answered the door. He felt like his stomach fell into a never-ending pit, and there was a gnawing sensation inside of him. He stepped back, panic at what he had said and who he said it to, settling in. When he had finally found his voice, he could only manage out a strangled croak: