Us Against the World
A/N: This is a direct sequel to Me Against You!! This takes place during Spiderman Homecoming, and much of the story is based solely on my knowledge of the trailer! When Spiderman Homecoming comes out, I might consider redoing this series so that it fits in with movie canon ( *whispers* If I get begged enough I’ll definitely consider redoing this based on the movie!! ).
You walk into a hall that’s plastered with Knights Rule posters and majorly congested, kids rushing in every direction, a ( red and blue ) beach ball being tossed around, laughter echoing. You must be walking too slowly, because several people try to mow you down.
In an act of self-preservation, you press into a wall of lockers. Soon the crowd will thin, and you can navigate your way without incident. As you wait, you try not to think about your old school three blocks over, and the fact, that after your last class, you wouldn’t be walking back with …
No way are you going there.
Your gaze shoots up from the floor to a rotund giant of a boy. “Ned!” You blurt out, eyes going glassy with horror.
Normally you would be happy to see one of your dearest friends, but not when you’ve just broken out of Wakanda to head back to Queens. It’s been close to a year since your fight with Peter; you’d hoped that your friends from your old neighborhood would forget about you, but it appears that Ned hasn’t.
King T’Challa had sent papers to Midtown High’s principal, stating that you’d moved to Greenland to be with your ailing Grandmother. Everyone was under the impression that you were in Greenland, playing the dutiful granddaughter. No one knew you were hiding out back home – which makes you wonder how Ned had managed to track you down.
“Oh, God. Oh, God. Please, no.” You chant desperately under your breath, grabbing Ned’s hand and dragging him into the first empty classroom you can find. “What the hell are you doing here? More importantly, how did you find me?”
He, at least, has the good grace to look ashamed. “I saw you heading into McDonald’s with some other kids. I asked around, found out a new student had transferred here. Figured it was you.”
“Did you tell Peter?” Your anxiety swells to a fever pitch. “Please tell me you didn’t tell Peter.”
“I . . . Didn’t want to say anything until I knew for sure that it was you. But that’s why I’m here, actually.” Ned’s face is unusually serious. “Peter’s in trouble.”
You snort to yourself, moving over to sit on the teacher’s desk. “Please. Parker can handle himself.”
Ned stares at you. Initially, you grab your hands to steady them against his intense scrutiny. You’re not scared, no – but uncomfortable, definitely. Wordlessly, he hands you his phone. There’s a live feed on YouTube, already playing on the screen. There, in living colour, is Spiderman – no, Peter – arms and legs outstretched, straining with the effort of holding two halves of a metal ship together.
“Oh, crap,” You breathe. Peter, what have you done?
You quickly flick through Ned’s phone, only to find more videos and articles all talking about how the masked vigilante Spiderman was struggling to keep the Staten Island ferry from collapsing off the coast of New York. There are over two hundred people on that boat. People with lives of their own, families waiting … You feel an overwhelming urge to flee the room. You look to Ned, but he doesn’t say a word. His brow is furrowed. Instead, you hand Ned back his phone, swallowing back the instinct to rush over to Peter, quashing back the hopeful voice whispering that this is your chance to make up with him.
You cross your arms over your chest, fighting to keep your expression affected and superior, though objectively it’s neither affected nor superior. “No, no and no. There is no way that I’m going out to bat for Parker.”
You’ve managed to keep your low profile for two weeks. If you do this, there’s a chance your face could end up splashed all over the tabloids, the very thing that you’ve been trying so hard to avoid. You could be thrown back into – You shudder, fighting to keep your breathing from slipping into hyperventilation. No. No way.
“He needs help!” Ned protests. “He told me about Germany, and Peter said you were amazing –”
Now you want to slap Peter for being a snitch. Nobody likes a snitch. “Newsflash: I don’t do that anymore. I’m never using my powers again!”
And it was true. You’d kept to your word, locking your powers up where they belonged, where you could never use them again. Captain America had been firmly supportive, enveloping you in a warm and tight hug that nearly set you off crying again. Clint, Scott and Sam had all offered you words of encouragement, along with more warm hugs that had soothed you infinitely. Wanda Maximoff had given you odd, furtive looks when you’d announced your decision. You’d gotten the sense that she was sympathetic, that she knew all too well the fear of having powers that you couldn’t control and feared.
“You have to!”
“You can’t make me do anything!”
Shock flits across Ned’s face at your outburst; then, his face hardens and he turns to leave, but not before he tosses out over his shoulder, “He’s never stopped talking about you. Even after the two of you fought. He moped around for weeks after you left, you know. He liked you, he wanted to ask you to the prom. Now you’re just going to abandon him? I can’t believe you!”
“He liked me? Like, just as a friend, right?”
Ned doesn’t reply. But you’ve known him long enough to know his face when he’s screaming internally with panic. It’s obvious that he’s gone and revealed something he wasn’t supposed to. You watch Ned practically sprint out of the room with a twinge of guilt in your intestinal region.
You should be glad Ned’s gone. There’s no one around to bother you anymore.
But your mind is glued firmly on Peter, in over his head, struggling to save everyone.
“You’ve got class,” You remind yourself weakly. “Creative writing.”
But you’re already slinging your Anello pack over your shoulder and running out the door.
You’ve got a ship to catch.
You’ve blown sixty bucks on cab fare, but the cabbie had gotten you to Battery Park in less than half an hour, speeding like a bat out of hell the whole way there.
You’ve never been to the park before; if you were here for leisure, you would take in the sky that seems much bluer down here, the noise of the ferries, the seagulls wheeling overhead. But you’re not here for a relaxing picnic today. Your feet fall into step, heels barely touching the ground, toes pointed forward. You dash down cobblestone paths, pushing past stunned people, some of whom are running and screaming in panic, some of whom stand rooted to the spot, utterly transfixed by the sight of the famous Spiderman holding a crumbling ferry together with a mixture of sheer willpower and his spider webs. Someone elbows you in the back, and you tumble to the ground, scrambling off the ground after a minute of lying there, stunned. There are scrapes on your hands and knees, but it could be worse.
A frantic scream rips its way out of your throat. “PETER!”
He might be hundreds of miles away, but you swear his head turns in the direction of your scream, as though he’s managed to pick it out from a crowd of thousands. His face remains tilted towards the spot where you stand, and you can’t help but wonder if he knows you’re here. Your ribs convulse and your lungs hold tightly to every millimeter of air so that you don’t sob in fear, which hasn’t happened since you were a kid. You’ll let your face turn blue before you let strangers see you cry.
“Peter,” You say again, your voice cracking like an adolescent boy’s, betraying the messy wad of emotions within you. “Peter.”
There’s no way he’ll be able to hold that together on his own.
Fear. It coats your mind like a sticky spider’s web. If word gets out, Thaddeus Ross could very well have you thrown back into that hell-hole of a prison. You could lose your freedom in one fell swoop. It would be so easy to run; to pretend that you never saw anything.
But you can’t. Peter needs you. And you know that if the situation were reversed, he wouldn’t even hesitate to help you. The two of you might have parted on bad terms, but however much you hate him for being Tony Stark’s lapdog, you know that you’ll hate yourself even more if you stand by and let him die.
Okay. Okay. I can do this. Focus.
The power burns beneath your skin, begging to be released. After a year of being locked up in the deepest recesses of your mind it snarls like a wild animal in a cage. You scream and thrust both hands outwards, forcing the powers that sleep deep inside to the surface.
Slowly, but surely, with the screaming of metal, the two halves of the ship start moving towards each other. You’ve taken some of the burden off Peter, but now it feels like you’re pushing and shoving against a brick wall that refuses to budge.
A sharp pain slices through your head, agonizing enough to make you whimper. You wipe at the thick, warm blood that gushes from your nose, wondering if this is the punishment that comes from a year of pretending that you were normal, that you weren’t a freak who should be locked up far, far away, where you couldn’t hurt anyone.
Your hands tremble. The ship groans, threatening to collapse, and more frantic screams split the air. You wonder if Peter’s one of them, screaming with the effort of holding three tons of metal together. Gritting your teeth against the pain, you shove the two halves back into place once again, sweat dribbling down your neck and into your collar. There is only one thought looping through your mind: Don’t let go. If you do, it’ll be the Titanic all over again. People will die. Peter will die.
And you know that if he does, you won’t ever recover.
You and Peter are still holding the boat together when Tony Stark comes swooping in.
Never in your life have you been so happy to see him.