fortune’s fool: peter parker III
peter parker x reader
A/N: multi-part fic based off of a twitter post which I won’t link until the end so as not to spoil anything :-) Each part can be read individually or as a series! (ps i’m dedicating this chapter to @rileywrites-parker bc i appreciate her very much and i’m still shook that she likes my story aaaah!)
Warnings: cursing, mentions of panic attacks, mentions of death, angst
summary: Two Empire State University students fated to meet, but just out of reach
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requests are open!
23 year old Peter, 21 year old reader
When asked in the future, she’ll say that she can’t quite remember how it happened. She’ll say that everything occurred too fast, that every word, every breath, every second was a blur of color and sound, incoherent to her numb body. Perhaps, though, that was only an outcome of the slippery hands of time, that her own mind let her forget.
The truth was, when it actually happened, she was acutely aware of everything, every sense attuned to the sobs and heavy breathing on the other end of the phone.
“Dead on impact,” the crackly voice said. She’d heard it. Processed it. Internalized it. She understood from the moment that the words slipped out of that trembling, crying mouth. Gone. Forever. And then she hung up, booked a train ticket, and packed her bags. She didn’t cry.
The loud honking of a horn disrupted her from her reverie, causing her head to snap up from its buried position in her book. A smiling face greeted her through the open window of the car, beckoning her towards him.
“Hey, babe! What’re you doing out here?” Peter asked, leaning over the empty passenger seat.
“Studying,” she hummed, peeking through the window, her arms rested against the car door.
“In the rain? At eight in the evening?” he asked incredulously, eyeing her raincoat and dripping hair.
“I like the smell. It also means that nobody else is out here today. Plus, it’s not dark out yet,” she smiled, gesturing with a nod towards the indeed empty park where she’d just been sitting.
“You’re gonna catch a cold, crazy. Come on, get in. We can grab some coffee on the way home,” Peter offered, leaning forward even further to open the door for her.
“Fine,” she agreed, sliding into the heated car. “But make it a tea.”
“You got it, boss,” he grinned, pulling away from the curb and accelerating in the direction of their apartment.
Twenty minutes later, they were shaking their umbrellas out just outside their front door, making sure they were as dry as possible before they stepped inside.
She dropped her bag by the door, waiting for Peter to shut the heavy wood behind them before helping him out of his jacket, a routine they’d performed countless times since she’d moved in a year earlier.
Though she’d been adamant about living separately from Peter while still in school, she found herself accepting his offer to move in the moment she graduated.
“Only because I’d have nowhere else to go, though,” she clarified, and Peter laughed and pulled her into a tight hug.
Nothing had changed much from before she moved in. Now, though, she was expected to help with groceries and chores- beyond picking up after herself, of course- and most importantly, she had her own room.
It was the small back room that used to hold Peter’s punching bag but had since been transformed into a white-walled sanctuary with plants and candles lining her desk and windowsill.
At first, Peter protested that she didn’t need her own room. “You can just stay in my room like you always do,” was his reasoning.
“Peter, I’m not living in your room,” she frowned.
“But you always stay with me, anyway,” he argued, mimicking her crossed arms and defensive stance.
“Yeah, but that’s because I had my own room and my own apartment to go back to. Trust me, you don’t want me staying in your room for the foreseeable future.” And that was that. Two weeks later, she was moving into her own room, and suddenly, what once was Peter’s space was now hers, too.
There was an ease, she found, in living with her best friend. They knew each other better than the back of their hands, and so they were able to work together in harmony to keep their little home running.
She knew that Peter, as smart as he was, was completely inept when it came to anything that had to do with plumbing or heating or any sort of repairs their apartment needed, and he knew that she couldn’t cook something as simple as a grilled cheese to save her life, and so she took care of mending their home while he made sure they were both fed.
“We’ve got this whole ‘gender role’ thing all turned around,” he remarked once after she’d fixed a busted pipe underneath the kitchen sink.
“Hmm. I guess we do,” she agreed. Then she brushed a lock of hair out of her face and said, “Now go make me a sandwich” and he laughed, but complied.
Back in the front hall, she was shaking her wet hair out so that she could pull it up and out of her face when Peter called from the kitchen “What do you want for dinner?”
“Uh, do we still have that pasta from last night? ‘Cause I’ll just heat some of that up,” she replied, making her way to the small kitchen. She found Peter placing a bowl of cold noodles into the microwave before she was able to do it herself. “Oh, thanks,” she smiled, sitting heavily at the small round table.
Peter sat down in his usual seat across from her and she picked her socked feet up and rested them on his lap. “Long day?” he asked, watching her drooping eyes as she fought exhaustion.
“No, just tired. Med school sucks,” she groaned, propping her head on a clenched fist. “Why did I have to choose a medical major, again?”
“Because you want to help people? Especially people like your sister who need prosthetics to go about their daily lives? Stop me when I get any warmer,” Peter chuckled softly.
“Right,” she sighed. “I guess that’d make this all worth it.”
“Don’t sound so glum, smarty pants. In a few short years, you’ll be out there changing lives and you’ll hardly remember how much you hated all eight years of higher education,” he grinned.
She smiled, nudging his stomach softly with her foot. “Thanks, Peter.” Somehow he always knew what to say.
“Y/N, are you going out tonight? I need to know whether or not to let Ned and MJ over.”
She was sitting at her desk, letting her eyes pore over the medical article she had pulled up on her laptop when Peter’s question pulled her focus away.
“Uh, no, I think I’m staying in,” she replied, clicking out of the website and shutting her laptop.
She heard his footsteps draw closer to her door then stop. Peter knocked then peeked his head through the doorway. “Studying again?”
“Yup,” she responded, pulling her legs underneath her and beckoning him inside. “Crazy Friday night, am I right?”
“Oh yeah, total rager. Everyone’s either gonna end up passed out or throwing up,” he said seriously, only breaking when she laughed at his expression. “Nah, Ned and MJ wanted to try out a new recipe, and they claim that we have the better oven, so I said they could come over. Sometimes I really regret buying them those best friend cooking lessons.”
“You’re right. I better study out there and make sure they don’t accidentally burn part of the apartment down. Again.” She got up, gathering her necessary books and her laptop, and she followed Peter into the living room.
“What about you? Any plans tonight?” she asked once she was seated comfortably on the sofa.
“Just the nightly rounds for me. Probably won’t stay out too late unless something big happens,” Peter shrugged, moving to the kitchen to grab the bowl of popcorn he’d set out.
“Okay. Be safe,” she reminded him, watching his reaction over the top of her computer to ensure that he was being sincere when he agreed, and not just saying so to appease her.
“Always am, babe,” he smiled, throwing a handful of popcorn into his mouth.
The sound of the front door unlocking caused them to look in its direction, watching the knob turn until it opened to reveal the other half of their rather motley crew.
“Hey MJ, Ned,” she waved at their smiling faces. Both were carrying full plastic bags which they immediately dropped in the kitchen before collapsing into their usual seats on the sofa next to Y/N. “What’re we testing tonight?”
“Pumpkin bread. Just in time for Halloween,” Ned beamed, stretching an arm over the top of the cushions and pulling her into his side.
“It’s halfway through September, Ned,” Peter frowned from across the room where he lounged on the creaky recliner.
“Exactly. I’m behind this year,” he groaned. Y/N and MJ laughed, knowing full well that any holiday at all may not have even been celebrated if it hadn’t been for Ned.
“Yeah, I just agreed to the recipe because he begged,” MJ shrugged, a smile still shining in her eyes. “Anyway, we’ll start now so we don’t keep you guys up too late.”
“Wait, let me get out of here first. I don’t want to have to bear witness to the destruction you’re about to cause in my kitchen.” Peter pushed himself out of his seat and retreated to his room only to emerge a minute later in his telltale red and blue suit. “See you guys soon.”
“Be careful, Spidey,” MJ called from inside the kitchen, hardly looking up from her mixing bowl.
“Yeah, what she said,” Ned agreed.
Peter smiled, feeling a familiar warmth in his chest. The support his friends gave him made the bad parts of the job much easier. He was struck, not for the first time, by how thankful he was to have them.
“Later, gator,” Y/N declared from her seat.
“In a while, crocodile,” he responded with a smile and a little salute before checking both ways out of their open window and shooting a web at the building across the street when he saw that all was clear, pulling himself up and out with a loud whoop.
“Honestly, I don’t know how nobody in this building knows his secret. That kid is the furthest thing from subtle,” MJ stated, mixing her batter vigorously while Y/N and Ned laughed in a silent agreement.
It was after one a.m. Peter still wasn’t home. She knew she shouldn’t be worried. He was Spider-Man, for God’s sake. He was perfectly capable of taking care of himself.
Still, no amount of reasoning could quell the raging storm in her mind as she watched the flickering lights of the city from the fire escape, hoping that she’d catch a glimpse of the familiar bright suit that would indicate his safety.
This had become a nightly routine for her since he’d come back several months ago at the crack of dawn with a broken arm and mild concussion.
“I’ll be fine,” he’d said. “I’ll be good as new by tomorrow morning, don’t worry about me.”
But that’s all she ever seemed to do now. Worry. Her mind took inklings of horrible thoughts and ran with them, which led to her thinking of every possible terrible thing that could be keeping him from coming home.
Most days, he’d come back a little after midnight without a scratch and a little spring in his step as he prided himself in his success. Sometimes, though, he’d come back later after a particularly bad fight, battered and bruised and looking for his best friend to patch him up.
She always did it without a second thought, not asking him for the details. She knew he’d open up if he wanted to, so she didn’t push.
Tonight, though, her heart constricted in her chest. She’d had a bad feeling all day, like a little whisper in her mind was saying “look out, look out, look out.” And so she sat on the fire escape and she looked out.
She watched as lights in the apartment building across the street blinked out one by one until every window was dark. Most people, she knew, were asleep without a worry in their mind. MJ and Ned certainly were after leaving about an hour ago.
It was these moments where she felt the most alone. Her best friend was out until ungodly hours of the morning saving the city, and her other two friends had their own separate lives from hers. All she had now were her thoughts which pounded relentlessly against her skull, like waves crashing and crashing against a sandy shore.
He better be okay, she thought sullenly, squinting at a slight movement on the street below. Nope, just an alley cat. She sighed, leaning her head back against the cold metal of the narrow steps.
She checked her watch. 1:45. She sighed again, closing her eyes tightly in an attempt to ignore the rising panic in her chest. Now was not the time for an anxiety attack. She hadn’t had one in quite a while, especially after meeting Peter who somehow always knew how to keep them at bay, but there were times when she knew that the dark little monster hiding in her shadows would win and she’d be out of commission for at least five minutes as she tried to calm herself down.
She checked her phone for the umpteenth time in the past few minutes. Still no text from Peter. With a groan, she shot him a message of her own in hopes that Karen would notify him of it and he’d respond.
Two minutes later, her phone chimed, and she picked it up quickly, seeing the Incoming Call notification. She swiped her screen to answer, speaking worriedly into it.
“Peter, are you okay? Why haven’t you been answering me?” she demanded, an unprompted scowl gracing her features.
“Y/N, this isn’t Peter,” the voice on the other end spoke. She frowned, pulling it away from her ear to check the caller ID.
“Oh, sorry dad. I was expecting him to call. What’s going on? Why are you calling me at two in the morning?” she asked, digging a finger into a hole in the blanket she had draped over her shoulders in an effort to combat the biting wind.
“Y/N, something bad happened,” her father’s voice shook, and she knew he was fighting off tears.
“Dad, what happened? Are you okay? What’s going on?” she repeated, sitting up so she was no longer leaning against the cold metal.
“It’s your sister. She was in an accident. Someone hit her car when she was on her way home from work. The police said…” a sob cut his sentence off prematurely as her eyes widened in disbelief.
“What? What happened to her? Is she okay? Dad, you need to tell me what happened!” She was hysterical by now, pleading with her father to tell her whether or not her sister was alright.
“She’s dead,” he choked through another sob. “Died upon impact, they said.”
“No. There’s no way. She’s not. Dad, tell me you’re lying,” she ordered him, but she knew. She just knew. “Dad. I’m coming home. Tomorrow. I’ll be there, okay dad?”
She could hear his sound of approval, a tiny thing that cut through the sound of his crying. Her heart clenched when she thought about her poor younger sister who she’d left behind for the city, who always knew the right things to say and had a heart big enough to love everybody.
Why? she thought, clenching the wool blanket as she hung up the phone in a daze. Why her? She’d already gone through so much since the first accident. Why did she have to suffer even more? It didn’t make sense.
A clang from somewhere above her startled her out of her stupor and she looked up to find Peter in his tight suit climbing stealthily down the stairs until he was in front of her and pulling his mask off, allowing his too-long brown curls to fall in his face.
“Y/N? What’re you still doing up?” he asked, his eyebrows furrowing at her unfocused eyes.
“Peter,” was all she said until she collapsed in his arms, eyes still wide and unseeing and free of any tears. Cry, she thought. What’s wrong with you? Why won’t you just cry?
Peter pulled her closer without a word, arms clenching around her trembling figure. “What happened, Y/N? What’s wrong?” he asked the same questions she had just minutes earlier.
“My sister died, Peter,” she spoke into his chest, squeezing him tightly to ground herself, scared that if she let go, she’d float away into nonexistence.
“What! When? How? Are you serious?” He pulled back, holding her at arm’s length to stare into her empty gaze.
“Car accident. Dead upon impact. There was nothing they could do,” she replied, her voice sounding hollow to her own ears.
“Oh my God. Y/N, I’m so sorry, what can I do?” he asked, gripping her hands tightly in his own.
“I need to buy a train ticket. I need to go home, Peter,” she looked up at his face which was twisted into a frown, concern shining in his eyes.
“Of course, Y/N, but do you need anything right now? Do you want to talk about it? She’s- was- your best friend. I know this is so hard for you,” he said, pulling her back into his embrace.
“I can’t talk about it right now. It doesn’t feel real. It feels like she’s gonna be meeting me at the station with that huge smile once I get there. I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to think. I mean, I can’t even cry, Peter. What is wrong with me? I loved her more than I could’ve loved anybody else, but I can’t even cry for her,” she whispered worriedly.
“Just because you’re not crying doesn’t make you a bad person, babe. You’re just in shock, I think. I know that my uncle’s death isn’t even near the same as this, but I was the same way. But once I got past the shock, I was able to grieve with May, and eventually it got better. Trust me, Y/N, I know it seems like the entire world is fighting you right now, and that nothing will ever go right again, but it will get better, I promise you that,” he assured her, rubbing a soothing hand over her back. “Now come on, I’m staying with you tonight, and then first thing tomorrow, we’re buying two train tickets home, okay?”
“Two?” she asked, peeking at him through her eyelashes.
“One for me and one for you. You’re not alone in this, Y/N. I’m here for you. Always,” he promised, pulling her until she was through the window and collapsed on her bed with his body wrapped tightly around hers.
She stared blankly into the darkness as Peter drifted off, soft snores escaping his upturned nose. He pulled her close, nestling his face into the crook of her neck, but she couldn’t sleep. She just stared and stared and didn’t- no, couldn’t- think. She stared until the dark became light, and she started as Peter bought her their train tickets, and she stared through the window of the moving train, and she stared through her dad’s car window, completely unable to speak, no matter how much Peter prompted her to.
She couldn’t stand to admit to him that she was not his Y/N anymore. She was not even her own. As far as she was concerned, she died in that car accident too, and nobody, not even Peter, could bring her back.
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