After All Things (Part V)
Peter Parker x Reader (Peter’s POV)
This is Part V of my series that chronicles Peter and a new reader as they deal with the fallout of the events in ‘It’s A Lot Like Falling.‘
Summary: The crushing, the falling, the deciding, the climb; in that moment, he wondered on shapes and colors and textures: what sort of feathers would that hummingbird have?Peter is 25. Words: 4.3k.
His head was throbbing, sounds of morning in their apartment beating at the insides of his skull. From the moment he’d opened his eyes on this dreary day, he’d noticed immediately that his senses were on hyper drive. The sound of the sheets slipping off his waist was a sun-bleached tarp crinkling as the wind pummeled its surface, the pads of his bare feet meeting with wood as he swung his legs over the side of the bed a sledgehammer to concrete; her breathing like a hurricane, Sputnik lapping at his water bowl across the room the pattering rain to match.
Everything was too loud.
The throbbing increased when the clouds outside a dirty, locked window cleared and the sun came pouring in through curtains covered in cat hair; loose weaving in spots where sharp claws had decided to make their mark. With eyelids glued together tightly, lids crinkling, and brows furrowing, he tenderly rubbed at ears with rough fingers; the sound of his flesh pressing against itself like scratchy sandpaper. The beaming, white light burning his skin with its heat; backs of eyelids blazing red and flashing black as he squeezed harder and harder to keep the sun from beating any further into his over stimulated mind. The hairs on his arms and legs standing, skin pimpling as it sometimes did.
His sense was off.
Had been off since it had happened.
Sometimes it was like this when he woke from nightmares and his body was still on high alert; muscles tense, ears perked, eyesight dialed up, and heart racing, the whole of him ready for action; overwhelming sensations, everything heightened to the point where it was nearly unbearable.
Dr. Brown had told him to breathe through it, had convinced him that he had it within himself to take control of it; he could expel the intensity with purposeful breaths.
She called it dumping.
There were other times where he dumped all of the excess out of him in the bathroom or a trash can, sick more from fear than anything else. Fear of danger and what those alarm bells often meant, what it sometimes led to.
Names: the list that he kept on hold in the restricted section; that webbed shelf in the back of his brain; letters from a fallen sky that forever branded the muscle strands of his heart.
But there was no danger here, not now.
So he let his diaphragm relax and the weight draped across tense, freckled shoulders to roll off of him and into the dark void of space he dumped those rare bad dreams into now. He pulled in the cool, clean air of the bedroom through greedy nostrils, into thirsty lungs, the spicy floral scent of them coating his insides and lapping at fiery nerve endings. As he breathed, he told his ears to listen for the things that brought warmth and comfort; as they obeyed his mind in that way that was still fresh and new in that lighted room that existed outside of that well, the harsh, busy noises of the city gradually sunk deeper and deeper beneath anxious waves, all of those intruding sounds muffling until she was the only sensory object that mattered.
And in the narrow space of his storm shelter mind, there was only the slow, steady, sweet breathing of her; of his something, and a too-small for his age cat sprawled out on his back in the path of the morning sun, paws perked, tail sweeping, blue fur a shiny pastel; luminous in that ray of light as he soaked up the morning in that funny way he did; the yellow in his eyes smiling up at him in good morning; asking him: ‘how much longer, Peter?’