Authors: co-written by liliaeth and XxBrooklynnxX
Summary: One glimpse was all it took, one moment of being caught on tape and Peter's life would never be the same.
Categories: Fanfiction, Fanfiction > Spider-Man, Fanfiction > Spider-Man > Spider-Man Movies Characters: Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, May Parker (Aunt May), Peter Parker (Spiderman)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, Friendship
Warning: Character Death
His dreams were filled with dark visions of black and red, blood and sand and pain. Harry’s eyes going blank and closing and the Sandman’s words hitting into him like a sledgehammer. Peter could feel himself falling, his mask slipping off as dark slime abandoned him, leaving him naked and alone.
As soon as he opened his eyes, the pain surged within his body. His head was pounding, his vision was blurred. Peter reflected on the events that played out the night before by looking at his various wounds, and the ripped costume that was lying on the floor beside his bed.
The alarm clock had crashed against the wall on the other side of the room, where he'd thrown it about an hour earlier when the music first woke him up. It wasn’t the only thing that was broken. The phone in the hall had been down for two days, and the apartment owner, Mr. Ditkovitch was too busy counting pennies and lying sick in bed with a case of the sniffs to come out and fix it. Come to think of it, mister Ditkovitch hadn’t gotten out of bed since last night. Peter had seen Ursula running back and forth getting him cough drops and warm water bottles.
Struggling to get to his feet, Peter Parker, the amazing Spider-Man used all his strength to maneuver his way off his bed. He didn’t feel all that amazing, and he was pretty sure he didn’t look all that spectacular either. He picked up his costume from the floor, analyzing it for repairs. Venom and Sandman had done a number on him last night for sure. He held the mask in his other hand and stared into its opaque, white eye for some time in silence. Almost half the mask was gone, and it wasn’t going to be easy to fix it.
He wondered if he had some spandex left to make a new one, or if he had time to buy one in a party store. He'd seen several of those being sold last Halloween. People, especially kids, seemed to love dressing up like him, he was their real life Superman made flesh and retailers loved the chance to use his likeness.
Peter exited his room and wobbled his way over to the bathroom he shared with the rest of the floor. It was currently unoccupied, and he closed the door behind him as he turned on the sink to wash his face. He looked in the mirror and saw all the cuts and scrapes. He went through the cabinets and took some foundation he found, and prayed that Ursula, Mr. Ditkovitch’s daughter, wouldn't mind him using it. But it wasn’t like he could go to school, looking like he'd just lost a fight. He hoped she'd understand.
He applied the cover-up and went though a cabinet and went to bandage most of them.
He then exited the bathroom, throwing on a baggy long-sleeve shirt to hide his wounds. He looked at his costume one last time before he looked through what left over material he had to fix it up. He knocked over a picture frame when he bumped into a nightstand, and when he looked at it his heart sank. Harry.
He held it for a second, desperate not to look at it, before gently placing it back on the nightstand. He got up and sat somewhere that he didn't have to look at it. Despite that he still felt Harry's eyes on him. He tried to tell himself, like he always did, that Harry's death was not his fault. But he knew deep down it was. Just like Uncle Ben's. At times like these he just wanted to cry, to throw the mask away and stop letting his secret life harm everyone he cared about. But he had tried that, too. And that was no solution. He was Spider-Man. The city needed Spider-Man.
Uncle Ben. Norman Osborn. Now Harry...when would it end? Would it? Would being Spider-Man always cause death, when he tried so hard to prevent it? He knew no one could answer these questions. And so, he cleared his mind and started to sew. Peter was far from a master in the art, but his costume needed to be repaired before he headed to school--not that he was in any shape to go.
God, he was hopeless! He nearly threw the fabric away over a dozen times, but in the end he managed to finish it. Just in time to look up at the clock and notice he was about fifteen minutes away from being late for class.
As if that was new. Doctor Connors reprimanded him for his tardiness almost once every one or two weeks. But Peter knew it really couldn't be helped. There was one small tear across the torso of his costume, but Peter decided to save it for later as he quickly undressed, put his costume on and pulled his mask over his head. He pulled his regular clothes together and spun a web pack over them, attaching it to his back as fast as he could before jumping out of the window.
The New York City air filled his lungs, making him feel much better as he spun a webline and headed in the direction of the campus. He felt the clothes in the pack bouncing, and he wondered if he spun it tight enough.
Cars beeped at him when he swung above them, but Peter was accustomed to that. He was, after all, Spider-Man. He was an icon. People loved him...and hated him. Mostly hated. Nevertheless, Peter chose to assume that the honking of the horns was a way of cheering him on instead of seeing it in a more pessimistic manner.
After a few quick summersaults and some other acrobatics that would make Olympic level gymnasts blanch in fear, he managed to land on the roof the university. He jumped from one building to another, careful to stick to the shadows, desperate to not be seen.
Stealth was never a problem for the Amazing Spider-Man, since his spider-sense always warned him of oncoming dangers and persons. But it was always better to be on the safe side. He found a spot he used frequently to change clothes--a corner that was hidden by a large oak tree, and unpacked his clothes to dress himself. He threw his web pack in the tree, afraid that someone may find it before it dissolved, and headed into the building
He had to race past several students in the halls as he headed to the classroom. He felt strange…were people staring at him? He shook his head. Nah, why would anyone pay any special attention to him?
Peter looked at the clock as soon as he entered the classroom. One minute to spare--he loved the time that web swinging saved him. He made his way to his seat, and noticed there that people were staring at him, too. He pretended not to notice it, though it was very hard not to. He looked around the classroom to see that his lab partner, Gwen Stacy, had not yet arrived. He sat there, and suddenly he heard someone humming. The tune was so familiar. Wait...was that the Spider-Man theme song?
"Have a rough night, Parker?" someone asked him. Peter didn’t see who it was, but he was about to reply when Doctor Connors entered the room, carrying his books with his hand pressing them against his chest. Peter was the first person he looked at. Quickly he called Peter over to his desk. Expecting answers to why people we action so strangely lately, he rushed down. His Professor simply sighed.
"Peter have you... “Connors looked at the class and pulled Peter's arm, then letting it go a second later.” It's been on the news all morning.”
"What's been? What are you talking about?" Peter asked. He didn't have the slightest idea what was going on, and utter confusion filled his face. Dr. Connors picked up a copy of the latest Daily Bugle from his desk and handed it to Peter, as he knew no words that could tell him what the front page would.
It was his face, with him wearing his Spider-Man costume. Maskless. The headline read, "Spider-Man's Face Revealed!—The man beneath the mask - Bugle Exclusive!" Peter set the paper down. He tried to catch his breath. The room was spinning. He started to sweat, and tears were scarcely visible at the corner of his eyes. He looked at Dr. Connors, who patted him on the shoulder. "I'm sorry, Peter."
Peter just shook his head. No, this couldn't be happening! Peter looked at Dr. Connors. "Now what?" he asked, as if his professor had all the answers.
"Peter, the police…they want to talk to you."
Peter fell up against the desk, nearly ready to fall down. He sat on the desk, staring at the front page of the paper. It was like a huge stone had taken place in his throat and he couldn't breathe, he was gasping for air. He knew he was near to a panic attack, but he couldn't help himself.
“The...police..." Peter said. The police never gave him a reason to trust them. Now that his mask was off, they could do whatever they pleased to him. Peter took a deep, deep breath. He was trying to get himself calmed down and had almost succeeded. Then Brian, a student sitting in the first row, opened his mouth. "Hey Pete, can I have an autograph? I could use the money to pay my rent."
And then it hit him all over again.
Every eye in the room was on him. Doctor Connor was saying something, probably scolding Brian, but Peter was no longer listening. He needed to get out of there. He stared at the window and noticed that two cops were heading towards the class.
"Peter, it's alright," Doctor Connors tried.
But it wasn't. Then he noticed that the hatch on the ceiling was open, giving him a direct way out of the room. It was high, over two stories up, but for him it was like nothing. And he was desperate for an escape. He jumped on the desk and leaped straight up, clinging to the ceiling. His classmates pointed and gasped as he scurried through the hatch and went into the air ducts. He did not use them often, but he figured out how to maneuver in their cramped spaces soon enough. He finally got out on the roof. He walked over to the edge and looked down at the ground.
There were news vans all over the campus and he just stared at them as he sat there. He was hyperventilating, but couldn't stop himself.
One of the reporters started yelling and soon all of them were staring his way, their cameras following his every move. Peter grabbed his mask and pulled it on, removing the rest of his outer clothing as he swung, letting them drop on the floor as he started moving away from the campus. He wasn't even sure where he was heading.
He swung away without even thinking about it. He was completely dumbfounded and confused. He was surprised to find himself at Norman Osborn's place. Even now, years after Norman was dead, he still couldn't see it as Harry’s place. Because it had never been Harry’s, not really.
Harry was dead. The cold truth sent shivers down his spine. Harry Osborn, who had watched over him that last year in high school, was dead. He shook his head. Harry...it was his fault. He knew it was. How could it not be? He would have liked to sit there for hours, just thinking on top of the tall building away from everything, but he knew he needed to see Mary Jane and his Aunt May. And Mary Jane was a closer swing from his current location, so he stood, swallowed, and leaped into the city.
He felt odd, pointless. Everyone knew what he looked like under his mask. Everyone knew the face that was taking the beatings, that was delivering the blows, that was saving the day. He regained his wits and continued swinging, realizing he was headed towards Mary Jane's apartment. Was she okay? He started swinging faster and faster as the building came into view. He swung around to the side of the building that her apartment faced, and landed on a rooftop across from her window. He could see very clearly that she was locking her door, putting a chair against it. Were the reporters sucking her for information, too?
He stared at the window, trying to catch her attention.
"Talk to me MJ, please,” he said aloud.
After a few moments she looked at him, meeting his eyes for a second before closing the curtains.
Peter sighed. Great! She hated him now. What else was new? Little did Peter know that it had not been the press that was knocking down her door, but the police; and by closing the curtains she bided Peter time and a long pursuit. In Peter’s guilt, he couldn’t imagine her anything other than angry with him, so he left. He decided to go check on his Aunt May. What if this news gave her a heart attack, what if she needed him? He needed to explain, needed to see her more than anything.
Peter had nearly forgotten his Aunt's new address. She just had to up and move, didn't she? The area around her new apartment was quiet. There were no police cars, no news vans...nothing. Peter, still in his Spider-Man costume, was still in panic-mode. He found her apartment window and nearly busted through the glass. His frame was heaving as he looked around. Aunt May was sitting on a couch, and facing her were two policemen. One Peter recognized as Captain Stacy, Gwen's father. But the other seemed young and insisted on giving Peter the stink-eye. The window was open and he climbed in through it.
"Peter?" Aunt May asked. Her voice was shaky, but she seemed okay. Her silver hair was pulled back into a bun.
"I'm sorry,” was all he could think of.
He felt trapped, like any moment now the cops would start grabbing their guns and shooting at him. He had to get out, but couldn't think of a way out and he couldn't abandon Aunt May; he simply couldn't. He was all she had left.
"Sit down, Peter," Captain Stacy said. "It's okay. Sit down."
Peter, realizing that running from the police would only make things worse, sat beside his Aunt. Stacy smiled, unsure of what words to say. The cop had enough experience to see a kid about to break apart, no matter what the kid was wearing. The boy’s shoulders were slumped and he didn’t seem to dare to look at anyone, he was shaking and the only thing he ever really looked at was the window. Stacy pulled the other cop to his feet. "We'll give you two a moment," The two officers then went to the kitchen, the apartment was small enough that they’d hear whatever was said in the living room, but George didn’t hold any illusions that they’d have any chance of stopping Parker if he really planned to leave. The only hope they had was for the boy to come willingly.
“Aunt May, I’m sorry! I’m—“
"Peter, stop apologizing. You haven't done anything wrong," Aunt May said. She gently pulled his mask off his head, holding it tightly with her two hands. "I understand, Peter. It came as a shock, yes. No mother expects her son to be a superhero."
"I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I'm scared."
"Of course you are. And it's okay to be afraid. It will all be okay, Peter."
"I just wanted to be responsible. Aunt May. Like Uncle Ben always used to say—
‘with great power comes—”
"Great responsibility, yes,” Aunt May finished. “And he was right Peter. But responsibility also means you don't run away and hide when someone asks, ‘Who did that?’” Aunt May saw Peter’s face, and he seemed on the verge of tears. He touched his cheek and said, “I am proud of you, Peter.”
Captain Stacy knocked on the wall, sorry to intrude. "Peter, I'm sorry, but I need to bring you in."
Peter stood and held his mask in his hand. He placed his wrists out in the open, inviting the officers to place handcuffs on them. "Let's get this over with."
Captain Stacy shoved his hands down to his sides. "We are not arresting you, Peter. We are just bringing you in for questioning. We are not arresting you."
Peter gulped and nodded. "I just wanted to help people"
"Sure you did." the second cop muttered with a snippy attitude. Aunt May's glare made him back off instantly.
Peter felt his Aunt take his hand and look at him.
"I'll wait for you here. I love you, I'm proud of you. You have nothing to be ashamed of and much to be proud of."
Then she gave him a sweater he'd left behind on his last visit. He was grateful, as walking around in nothing but his Spider-Man costume was a little awkward for him. Aunt May hugged him tightly and kissed his masked face. “I love you, Peter,” she repeated. She walked him and the two officers to the police car parker a few feet from the back lot. She watched the officers drive away with the boy who was practically her son in the back seat. Her heart felt like it was ready to break. And then she imagined how Peter’s heart must be feeling.