Us Against the World
A/N: Wow, one more chapter and this story will be done!! Once Spiderman Homecoming comes out, this story will be redone to fit into movie canon, so keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, feel free to send in more requests about Peter Parker!! I just love that boy
and I wish he existed so that I could shower him with love and affection.
“(Y/n)?” Your name is accompanied by your being shaken like a rag doll. “(Y/n)!”
Your eyes fly open, and the shaking stops. Peter’s staring at you, his face pure fear and drained of color, but he looks so, so relieved to see that you’ve woken up. You don’t remember passing out; all you remember is sinking, exhausted, onto a stone bench to catch your breath, keeping a careful eye on the ferry that Tony Stark was pushing to shore.
Either Peter had rushed to find you after Tony Stark had swooped in to save the day – no, you think groggily, looking up at the dark sky, he’d probably gone home first – or Ned Leeds had ratted you out. You know where Ned lives, and you swear you’re going to hunt him down and kill him tomorrow.
With a growl, you try to get your legs under you, but they refuse to cooperate. So it looks like you’re stuck here with Peter. You settle yourself back onto the bench with an exasperated sigh.
At his gasp, your hand flies to your nose, wiping away the wet warmth that trickles out from your nostrils. Peter passes you a white handkerchief, starched and neatly pressed, which you take and press to your nose, watching the white fabric bleed into red.
“What are you doing here?” You mutter, looking at your bloodied hands, at your Converse, anywhere but at Peter Parker.
“Uh, I was about to ask you the same thing,” Peter says hesitantly, arranging himself awkwardly on the bench. “Weren’t you in –”
“– In jail?” You ask primly, arching an eyebrow.
Peter flinches. Face scrunched up in misery, his eyes stay glued to the grass underfoot. You sure have a way of burning people’s pain into them; which, in your opinion, is more useful than your current skills-set. But you can’t very well tell him that you’ve come back to check up on him, see that he hasn’t killed himself swinging off buildings. No, you have too much pride for that.
Much to your relief, Peter does not press you for details – nor does he whip out his phone to call the police.
“I came back for a little bit,” You say instead. “Why are you here?”
“I heard you,” He admits quietly. “I heard your voice. When I was on the ferry. You were screaming my name.” He slides a wary glance over in your direction, probably wondering if you’ll blow up again. “You were helping me back there, right? Thanks.”
You’ve thought so hard about what you’d say to him – I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was angry. I thought you betrayed me. You did betray me. I was scared you were going to die. I would have gone back to the Raft if it meant that you could live. But now nothing comes out.
“Not playing hero tonight?” You quip sourly, when the silence becomes unbearable.
His expression crumples. You’ve never seen Peter like this before. Your sunny, optimistic, energetic Peter. Peter who is a force of nature and who always knows what to do. But now, he looks lost. As if his entire world has been ripped out from underneath him.
His emotions push at you, a strong and tangible thing. There’s helplessness. Guilt. The words – “But I’m nothing without the suit!” – looping through his mind, over and over again. An image of Tony Stark, his eyes redlining with anger as he snaps, “What the hell do you think you were doing?”
There’s a loud crack, and you startle, your eyes open wide, back into the park. Your mouth opens and closes soundlessly, surprised to be back in your body. It’s odd to feel the heavy sensation of arms and legs again. A sharp axe buries itself in your skull. Your stomach flips, but you don’t think you’ll vomit. Your bones hurt considerably, but that, too, is a passing feeling.
“Stark took back the suit,” You guess, wiping at the blood pouring out your nose with Peter’s handkerchief, already stained with red poppies.
His pained expression tells you everything. At first, you don’t think Peter’s going to say anything, but then the words rush from his mouth. “He was my hero. I-I wanted to be just like him. I thought – by helping people, I could, even if it was just a little bit.” He shakes his head. “He wanted me to be better than him. But I don’t know how.”
You tip your head up to stare at Cancer twinkling far, far away. This is your first real glimpse of the night sky, away from the city lights of Queens. You’d never thought you’d miss seeing the sky and stars, but now you long to grab every cubic centimetre of the murky blackness and clutch it to your chest.
Willing your voice not to crack, you speak slowly. “You like chocolate fudge cheesecake. You like strawberry milk. You want to pursue a career in photography when you grow up. You’ve smuggled chemicals out of the lab to take back home. You go dumpster diving with Ned on Tuesdays and Sundays. You wish you could give Flash Thompson a good punch so he’ll leave you alone. And you have a massive crush on the uber-popular Liz Allen.”
Hugging your knees to your chest, you rock back and forth on your tailbone. You still can’t quite bring yourself to look at Peter Parker’s pale, moon-glazed features. “You’re not Iron Man 2.0. You’re Peter Parker. You’re Spiderman. It doesn’t matter what you do, or how you change, suit or no suit. No matter what, you’ll always be a hero.”
You peek through a curtain of hair to find Peter staring at you, studying your features as though he’s never seen you clearly until today. You get a feeling in your stomach reminiscent of free fall.
“You’re Peter Parker,” You say again. “You don’t have to aspire to be Tony Stark. As you are now, stopping robbers and saving people from car crashes and fires . . . You’re already being better than him.”
“You really think so?”
“I just said so, didn’t I?”
“Thank you,” Peter says softly, smiling for the first time since you’ve started talking.
Nod. This time, your legs are steady enough to support your weight. Having said your piece, you sling your bag over your shoulders and stand.
“I’m sorry,” Peter blurts out, pinching his lips together.
You stop dead in your tracks, saying nothing, but willing him to continue. The back of your hand smears the beginnings of tears across your eyes. The last thing you need now is a reminder of what the two of you used to have; it’ll only make it that much harder to go.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let them take you away.” Sorrow deadens his voice. “I should have done something. (Y/n), I know you probably hate me now, and it’s fine if you do, but I just want to you to know that I’m so, so sorry –”
He breaks off with an umph, catching and holding you steady right after you throw yourself into his arms. You crush your face into Peter’s chest, your tears wetting the front of his shirt. It’s a cold night, but Peter’s arms are warm around you as he pulls you closer. His hands are nervous butterflies, moving from your shoulders, to your hips, to your arms, as though he isn’t quite sure where to put them.
“I’m sorry, too,” Your words come in tight bursts, hot tears streaking down your cheeks. “For everything.”
“It’s okay,” Peter whispers, pressing his cheek to the top of your head. “It’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
You can only sob harder into his shirt.