They Wanna Make Me Their Queen
( Prompt: princess diaries style “I grew up not knowing I was royal and suddenly my royal grandparent showed up out of nowhere and told me I was so now I guess I’m the heir to the throne and you’re my crush from my pre-royal days but I still have a crush on you” AU )
A/N: Two words: Lip-sync battle. SLAY TOM, SLAY. I WAS WEIRDLY TURNED ON BY HIS PERFORMANCE?? LIKE. I WOULD DO HIM IN THE SUIT, AND I WOULD DO HIM IN DRAG, AND I AM CRYING. That being said, if anyone wants to fangirl with me over Tom, please hit me up. I need more friends to fangirl with!! ( I also need a date with him ASAP. ) In other news, this was very heavily influenced by that scene in Catching Fire. Matt Murdock, the dumpster ninja, will be showing up in a few more chapters, and I cannot wait. :)))
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You leave the room – and the after party – without delay. Your walk is more of a stagger as the amount of champagne you’ve consumed just minutes before becomes apparent. Too much. And yet, not nearly enough. You move as calmly as possible towards the archway leading to the hall … To escape.
Or as much of an escape as you can manage with a limitless number of guards keeping watch over your every move.
You press a hand against the wall to steady yourself. Once you find an exit to the balcony, you grasp hold of a railing and try to calm yourself. A sob rises in your throat. You clamp your lips together to force it back.
No one told you the life of a princess would be this hard.
No one told you that you would have to give up your friends.
No one told you that a crown could weigh so heavily upon your head.
“What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?” Light and good-humoured – not to mention vaguely familiar – a voice greets you from the shadows, you jarringly realise that you aren’t alone.
Normally, you would be thrilled – or shocked at the very least – to have New York’s very own Spiderman hanging from the fire escape only several feet away. It’s becoming a trend at school – all the girls are bragging about how Spiderman had saved them from robbers/harassment/bullying, and they’d proceeded to make out with Spiderman in some dark corner to ‘thank’ him.
And now he’s here. Real and alive. You could add on to the flood of wild stories, but you hardly need the added popularity. As it is, you could claim that you’d discovered Atlantis and people would believe you.
You manage a faint smile that comes across as more of a grimace on a pale and strained face that not even M.A.C and Elizabeth Arden can hide.
Willing your voice not to crack, you speak slowly, attempting to compose yourself, “Parties aren’t really my thing.”
“What is your thing, then?”
He’s talking to you like he’s known you all your life. It’s warm and familiar and comforting somehow, to be talked to like a normal human being. No, “Yes, Your Highness”, or “As you wish, My Lady”. No airs, no treading on eggshells. Just … Normal conversation. You could cry. You want to cry.
“I enjoy horseback riding and embroidery.” Your voice sounds dead, even to your ears – it sounds like something you’ve memorised from a textbook. “I volunteer at soup kitchens in my free time, and I donate generously to churches and shelters.”
“I mean the real things.” His gaze is heavy on your face, so piercing that you think he can see all the way down into your soul. “Not the princess things.”
“I like watching movies,” You say, softly, carefully, after making sure that your grandmother isn’t going to jump out of nowhere to chide you for not giving the appropriate response. “I always watched them with my best friend.” There’s a sour taste in your mouth, almost like curdled milk, when you remember that you haven’t been to Peter’s in weeks, and that you haven’t been speaking to him for about as long. Swallowing, you continue, “I like books. Reading. Listening to music. You know. Teenager stuff.”
“Teenager stuff,” He repeats. “So why are you saying that other stuff?”
You let out a half laugh that sounds more like a hysterical hiccup. “Don’t have much of a choice, do I?”
It’s what people want to hear. It’s what they expect from a princess. But your all your lies are piling up, one after another, and you’re afraid that soon they’ll collapse over you and will bury you under, and you won’t be able to climb out of the hole that you’ve dug yourself into.
“There’s always a choice.”
Not for me, you think, both angrily and wistfully. If you had any choice, you would abandon all your duties and run off to Antarctica to chill with the Penguins. You’d turn in your crown immediately. You’d become normal again. A regular girl, in a regular school, with a regular life.
You’d never thought you’d miss normalcy.
“You need a break.” Spiderman says, shaking his head in mock – or is it real? – disappointment. But then, his voice changes, takes on an edge of boyish excitement. “C’mon, let’s go!”
“Go?” You wag your head hysterically. “Oh no no no, I can’t just … Go.”
“It’s not like I’m taking you to Aspen. Just around the city.”
Spiderman’s looking at you hopefully, almost child-like in his excitement. He holds out a hand, and you stare at it, wanting to take it, but still, unable to. What’s the harm? A voice whispers. Tomorrow you’ll have to go back to your life. All the press, the attention, the loneliness …
Your cheeks warm. This is like something from a fairy tale – you the princess, and Spiderman the unconventional knight. You take his hand. It’s surprisingly warm and firm, and your own hand feels like it was made to hold his.
You try to think past these unwanted thoughts.
“Hold on tight. Okay?”
Before you can respond, you feel hands on your waist, and Spiderman’s lifting you up carefully, gently into his arms. He’s skinny, but a lot stronger than he looks. You accidentally slide back against his chest, breathing in the scent that clings to his skin – something warm, like cinnamon, vanilla, and the night air. Your heart inches its way into your throat. You’ll admit that you’re unusually nervous, but you chalk it up to being near to Spiderman. One breath is all you get the chance for though; he runs up to the edge of the roof and leaps right off it.
A loud scream escapes your lips. Your stomach plunges into a freefall, and your arms, once hanging limply at your side, now fly to wrap around Spiderman’s neck. You’re not sure if you’re strangling him with how tight you’re grabbing onto him, but right now, the only thought on your mind is holding on so that you don’t become a spot on the pavement.
You make a mental note to add ‘heights’ to the list of things you aren’t good at.
He has to shout to be heard over the cars honking, and the wind rushing by. “C’mon, open your eyes!”
“You’re crazy!” You squeak, praying that you won’t throw up all over his shiny new suit. “This was a bad idea!”
“I’m not going to drop you. You’ll be safe with me, I promise.”
It’s hard to doubt the sincerity that rings true in his voice, but still, you glare suspiciously at the direction of his voice before opening your eyes.
Your breath catches in your throat. Wow. It looks absolutely stunning. New York at night, from the sky … It looks otherworldly, surreal. To your surprise, a laugh bubbles forth from you. Your hair streams back from your face, and a smile makes its way across your face. You’ve grown used to the strange, but not all together unpleasant feeling, of being weightless and free and infinite, of flying through the air.
You could get used to this.
“I – I, uh, saw the press conference.”
It’s the wrong thing to say.
Your mood had been rapidly improving, but now, the weight of all your mistakes comes crashing back down, hard, onto your shoulders. You’ve been teetering on the edge of tears all day, and this is all it takes for you to break down completely.
You cry Peter’s name.
And then you just cry.
His name, Ned’s name, Michelle’s name, in one desperate stream of sounds that you can’t separate from one another. You want someone to make things right; you want someone to make you not feel as if you’re constantly being pulled different ways by your heart and your head. Most of all, you want someone to tell you that everything will be alright; to promise that your friends won’t be hating you with every fibre of their beings.
“Shit shit shit,” Spiderman’s saying from somewhere far away, panic and fear vibrating through those three words. “I said something wrong.”
Vaguely, you’re aware that the crisp night winds have stopped rifling through your hair, aware that you’re no longer flying through the air, have the vague sensation of being set down gently onto gravel. The cold and the damp press against your legs.
“My friends hate me,” You sob, scrubbing at your streaming eyes with the back of your hand. “My crush hates me. I said some things that I didn’t mean just now.”
Through the tears that blur your vision, Spiderman freezes, goes impossibly still, like a deer caught in the headlights. “Then why did you?” He asks softly.
“Because – Because I wanted to keep them safe,” You confess. Your throat aches as a horrible black ball of fear lodges itself under the roof of your mouth. “This – The Princess job isn’t safe, there are horrible people who want me dead, and if they manage to get to my friends, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
“I get it.” Spiderman says, just as quietly, his voice suddenly sounding heavy and weary. “Believe me, I do.”
“No, you don’t!” You cry. It explodes out of you before you can stop it. You don’t know why you’re suddenly so angry, but you could shake him or cry. “You have no idea – No one does – I thought this would be fun, but it’s not! It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, and I’m in over my head, and I just want my friends back, but I can’t have them, and I just … I don’t know what to do anymore.”
The tears come in a flash flood. Exhaustion and self-pity roll over you. You’re sobbing even harder now, hunched over, and trembling in pain and sorrow and grief, with barely a pause to breathe as your frame is racked with the release of so many built-up emotions.
You think Spiderman’s left, but suddenly he’s holding you, warm and reassuring and real. You find yourself with your head buried in his shoulder, sobbing. He lets you cry it out, keeping you pressed tightly to him, and he’s making little noises into your hair, sounding positively pained that you’re miserable and he can’t do anything to help.
“I’ll take you home, okay?” He asks, once you’ve stopped crying.
All you can do is nod, still keeping your face buried into his neck.
He carries you into your room, through the window. He helps you to wash your makeup off, waits as you change out of your dress, helps you into bed, smoothing the covers over your still-trembling frame. Spiderman says goodnight, but you catch his hand and hold him there. You don’t want him to go, especially not when you feel so awful.
“Stay with me,” You whisper plaintively, like a small child. “Stay. Please.”
Fingers ghost through your hair, and you think you feel the brush of lips against your forehead. You think you hear Spiderman whisper a word back, but you’re too far gone to make it out.