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Number One Fan

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"You ever think about what it's like?"

Peter looks over at Flash, eyebrow quirked. "What what's like?"

Flash leans forward on the lab table, gazing toward the ceiling in thought. "You know, being Spider-Man."

"Ohhhh," Peter says noncommittally. He still can't get over the fact that he and Flash are actually talking now, maybe even starting to become friends. He shakes his head. What is his life now?

"Seriously. You really haven't?" Flash scoffs lightly, not really insulting him, or writing him off, like he would have even last month. "Man, it's all I think about lately."

"Really?" Peter asks, still trying to be casual. "Like a fantasy or something?”

“No! Not like that.” He smacks Peter lightly on his arm. “Geez,”

Peter rubs the spot, though it doesn’t really hurt. “Sorry. What do you think it's like?"

"It must be... so sweet. All that power, muscles ripped, flying through the air, doing whatever he wants..." His eyes light up as he talks. Who knew Flash was such a fanboy? "Out all night, sleep all day."

"I wish," Peter says before he can stop himself.


"I mean," Peter tries to cover, "don't you ever wonder if he has, like, a day job?"

Flash levels him with a disbelieving stare. "Why would the dude need a day job? He's frickin' Spider-Man."

"Oh, I don't know..." Peter waves his hands in the air, helplessly. "How does he support himself? Spider-Man isn't exactly a paying job."

"What are you talking about, man? There are rewards, and like, merchandise..."

Peter frowns. "He doesn't stick around to collect rewards, too dangerous. People could find out who he is. And merchandise? Do you think he sees a penny of it? People will try to make a buck off anything in this city." The last part is said with a bit too much vehemence. He decides to back off.

But Flash keeps after the subject like a pitbull with a bone. "Why doesn't he want people to know who he is? The guy's a hero!"

"Who works outside the law," Peter says in a quiet tone. Their conversation is drawing attention now. He needs to shut this down. "Only a little while ago, he was wanted by the police, remember?"

"Yeah, but if he just revealed himself, he could be part of the law, right? Maybe join the Avengers or something."

Peter lets out a frustrated laugh. "Easier said than done." At that moment, Mr. Warner walks in. He turns away to open his notebook and start on his science notes. Hopefully Flash will take the hint.

He doesn't. "You sound like you've thought about this a lot for someone who 'hasn't thought about it'," Flash whispers.

Peter ignores him and tries to pay attention to the teacher. Twenty minutes later, when it’s time to start on the lab, he hopes Flash has dropped the subject.

He hasn't. "You know," he says, "maybe he does have a day job, but it's like, really well known. People would bug him all the time if they knew."

"Mm," Peter agrees, pouring the first chemical into the beaker.

"Or some asshole might try to sue him for damages, even though he saved their life."

"Mm," Peter agrees again. He can't help but add, "He probably doesn't have insurance, either."

"Huh," Flash says. He's quiet for a long time after that, just contributing what he has to to finish the assignment.

As they're packing up to head to lunch, Flash finally speaks again. "You know, Parker, you're pretty smart."

"I do all right," he says with a smile.

"No, I mean, you're a total brainiac and all that, sure, but what I mean is, you're right. I bet a lot of people don't have any idea what the Wall Crawler goes through."

"I know I wouldn't bet against you."

Flash claps him on the shoulder. Peter winces; that actually did hurt. He chased down a couple of car thieves last night and he hasn't quite healed yet. "Still, man! What it's gotta feel like, swinging through the air on nothing but silk..."

Peter grins. "Yeah, it must feel amazing."