the moral of the story @norbury
goodbye and hello

It’s windy out there, Peter thinks distantly as he stares outside. His reflection is barely visible on the big window, it’s almost like he’s looking through a reflection on the surface of clear water, and the wind outside flinging a plastic bag across the street is a current running deep underwater.

He saw the same nightmare last night and it occupies his mind again:

Mr. Norman Osborn clings to his arms. He’s heavy, and it’s hard to move with his almost limp body weighing on him. Peter stays in the shadows when it’s possible, and he can feel Mr. Osborn’s sharp fingernails digging into his suit. His other hand clings to his neck, but he has barely any strength to strangle him anymore. Peter feels him slipping on every upswing, and he has to adjust his hold on him constantly. Mr. Osborn tried to say something when he had first picked him up and set on his way, but now is capable only of hard puffs and almost animal like wailing. 

Mr. Norman Osborn clings to his arms. He’s heavy, and it’s hard to move with his almost limp body weighing on him. Peter stays in the shadows when it’s possible, and he can feel Mr. Osborn’s sharp fingernails digging into his suit. His other hand clings to his neck, but he has barely any strength to strangle him anymore. Peter feels him slipping on every upswing, and he has to adjust his hold on him constantly. Mr. Osborn tried to say something when he had first picked him up and set on his way, but now is capable only of hard puffs and almost animal like wailing. 

It’s not too much further anymore. Peter can already spot the Osborn penthouse in the distance. It’s light as if with a stagelight. The dark cloudy sky stands threateningly behind it, and Peter very much feels like he’s on stage; Everyone’s watching.

But no one is, the city is almost uncharacteristically empty, and the only witness he has is Mr. Osborn, who’s on his way to taking all he knows with him.

Peter lands roughly on the balcony, and Mr. Osborn slips from his hands and thumps on the beautiful, expensive tile floor. When Peter picks him up, he can see the bloody puddle that already has formed under him. The balcony is draped in shadows, but he can see the blood on not just Mr. Osborn, but on him as well. He can smell iron, clearly, even through his mask, and a similar taste rises on his tongue. 

He drags Mr. Osborn’s half dead body inside, and sets him onto the fainting sofa. He places his hands on his chest, and Mr. Osborn looks almost peaceful like that. Peter takes a step back, and he can see Mr. Osborn’s half open eyes deliriously looking for him, until they spot him. He turns, and lets out a sad, horrible wail, but as if gathering one final burst of strength he stops and then breathes in as deeply as his body allows. He doesn’t break eye contact with Peter for one second.

“Look me in the eye like a man, Parker.”

Peter takes a step back.

“Don’t hide behind that thing, you coward.”

For some reason Peter grants him his last wish, and takes his mask off with one shaky hand. Mr. Osborn stares at him, then turns to look at his dying body. He grazes one of his fatal wounds, lifts his hand as if to make sure that he’s bleeding real blood, and then his hand falls limp to the side and his eyes roll back. Peter can see a trail of blood coming from the balcony to the living room, and the big red stain forming under Mr. Osborn.

Peter’s ears ring, and he’s literally stuck on his feet. He can hear that Mr. Osborn is not breathing anymore. 

He should remove his suit, Peter thinks, and somehow steps closer to the body. Mr. Osborn has his green armor still on, but it hadn’t saved him in the end. Peter can clearly see the two piercing wounds on his torso. He stares at them, and almost doesn’t believe they’re real. If he just closes his eyes and opens them up again Mr. Osborn will be alive and just as happy as he was on the day he and Harry had graduated high school together.

His breath shakes as he steps yet a bit closer. He puts his hands on his upper body. He feels perverse undressing Mr. Osborn, but he has to do it. Has to. Every time his gloved fingers even graze Mr. Osborn’s still disgustingly warm skin he pulls his hands away. The Green Goblin mask is where Mr. Osborn had suffered his fatal blow, but Peter doesn’t think he can go back to discard it. The armor, he’ll go throw into the sea.

He’s almost afraid that Mr. Osborn will suddenly grab his hand, but it never happens. 

Peter webs together all the pieces he takes off and carries them as a one big bundle to the balcony. He’s almost off, when he realizes that he doesn’t have the mask anymore. Peter has to go back inside, into the dark living room with the body to retrieve it. He can already see it from the balcony, and picks it up as fast as he can. His hands smell like Mr. Osborn’s death, and it sticks to the mask as he puts it on.

He should leave. But some other force makes him look at his handiwork just once more. 

Mr. Osborn’s body lies almost restfully on the fainting sofa. His eyes are still open, and his fingers are red from his own blood. He looks small and unthreatening in his underwear. Peter goes near him once more to close his eyes. And with that he looks almost like he’s just fallen asleep. Mouth open as if he’s snoring.

“I’m sorry,” Peter whispers and almost expects Mr. Osborn to answer back, but of course he doesn’t.

Peter can hear the lock click in the front door, and suddenly a cone of light runs across the room and splashes on him and Mr. Osborn.

“Spider-Man?” Harry asks, and for a fleeting moment Peter and Harry stare right at each other, until Peter turns away and jumps straight into the blackness outside with the bundle.

His heart has never beaten this fast, and he’s almost afraid that he’ll die from a heart attack right at this moment, with all this blood on his hands. He feels as if he’s going to be sick.

The sea swallows all the evidence with good appetite. It eats both the Green Goblin armor and the filthy Spider-Man suit. Peter weights them down with rocks. He walks home in clothes he had hidden nearby some time ago. It’s just a T-shirt and sweatpants. No shoes or socks. He tries his best to hide his red, stained skin and when he gets home he finally gets sick and when he gets into the shower he can’t clean himself well enough.

In the morning he had woken up cold and sweaty, as if it had all happened just yesterday.

Peter stares out the window, goosebumps rising on his skin. 

“Peter!” MJ huffs out and pokes him not so gently in the arm. “Could you focus?”

Peter blinks.

They’re sitting in a small café. MJ had bought Peter a coffee and a pastry, that still sits untouched on its plate, long cold. It’s a cosy café, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, but it is so out of Peter’s budget that he normally wouldn’t even have glanced at the place.

“Yeah! Yeah, of course… What were you saying?” Peter says. A bit disoriented.

“I was talking about Harry.”


“… That I’m worried about him.”

“Oh… right,” Peter says. 

“Weren’t you listening at all?” MJ sounds annoyed. And rightfully so, Peter had zoned out a while ago. He’s been doing that a lot lately.

“I was!” he says, “But could you repeat it anyway?”

“Sometimes I wonder why I put up with you,” MJ says under her breath, but they both know Peter can hear her full well, “I haven’t seen him in a while, and I’m just worried. It’s the anniversary of his dad’s death soon. I think he might be self-isolating, and I don’t want him to be alone at a time like this. You know how he can get.”

Peter did know how he could get. The problem just was that Harry often unloaded all his anger and frustrations on Peter, and he didn’t have the mental energy to just sit there and take all the abuse anymore. Even if he was more than culpable for his father’s death, not that Harry knew that, or at least he didn’t blame Peter. Peter picks at the skin on his thumb.

Of course, a parent’s death was hard to process, especially one so violent and sudden as Mr. Norman Osborn’s. Peter had lost three parent figures already; he knew exactly how Harry felt, but Peter couldn’t go back in time to fix any of it, it was something Harry himself had to come to terms with. And Peter, too. There’s a limit on how long Peter could try and fix all problems and their friendship and his guilt, but that limit had been long passed. Apparently MJ was still willing to fight for Harry.

Then again, she doesn’t have to bear the guilt and accusations Peter has to. MJ knows Peter’s alter-ego, Harry doesn’t, but MJ doesn’t know about Mr. Norman Osborn and what Harry had seen and what Peter had done.

“We should go check on him,” MJ says.

“I don’t think he’d want to see me, MJ.”

“Come on Peter! He’s our friend!” she argues.

“No, you’re his friend. I haven’t even spoken to him in forever.” It had been months since Peter had even texted Harry. It did hurt to lose such an old friend, but what could Peter even do anymore? He had tried. He had tried so long! But everything was starting to weigh on him.

“Then he’ll be even happier to see you,” she says, “show him you care.”

“MJ,” Peter says, his voice tired, “I just… We haven’t even spoken-”

“I just don’t understand why you two can’t work it out,” she says, “Whatever happened between you two? You were the best of friends in high school and in college.”

“I don’t… know.” Peter picks up his pastry and bites into it.

“Alright. I’ll think about it,” he answers, brushing crumbs from his lips, knowing that he most definitely wasn’t coming with her to check on Harry. Or at least he doesn’t want to at all. Of course, he wants him to be okay, he does care about him after all, but his presence won’t cheer Harry or him up anymore than seeing Harry will cheer him up.

There are three guys. Bulky, very strong looking. The late evening sun splatters into the semi-closed off courtyard as soft lines. Peter had just dropped by to ask where they were heading with those baseball bats, and one had shot at him at sight. Thankfully the bullet hadn’t hit, Peter had dodged to the left almost on instinct.

“Hey!” he yells, swinging above them in a long curve, “That’s not nice!”

One of the men, the one who had shot at him, aims again, his bat lies useless on the ground next to his feet. He’s the smallest of the three, but still considerably larger than Peter. The two other men seem to tighten their grips on their bats, and fix their stances to be more stable and fight ready. None of them answer him. 

One of the men, the one who had shot at him, aims again, his bat lies useless on the ground next to his feet. He’s the smallest of the three, but still considerably larger than Peter. The two other men seem to tighten their grips on their bats, and fix their stances to be more stable and fight ready. None of them answer him. 

Before the man takes another shot, Peter shoots a string of web straight in the middle of his chest and yanks him violently forward. He stumbles and Peter pulls himself flying across the air to collide with him. The man swings at him with the gun. The hit is not accurate at all and there is no strength behind it. Peter blocks it easily and wrestles the gun off of him. He throws the gun further away, and it scatters on the ground. The man huffs a strong coffee smelling puff of air into Peter’s face, as Peter punches his stomach, causing the man to fall hard on his back.

“Stay down,” Peter quips, as he webs the man’s face to stick to the ground. He struggles to pull the webbing off of his face but can’t. He resorts to pat the ground in desperate search for the gun he lost, but it’s nowhere close to him. Peter notes that his new formula seems to be stronger than the last, before he turns his attention back to the two other men.

One of them is a lot closer than he anticipated, and he barely dodges the bat swinging straight for his head. That would have hurt. The man overbalances and almost falls, Peter takes the opportunity to kick his side, completing his fall with a painful crack as the man apparently rolls his ankle on his way down.

Peter gets an inkling suddenly to jump to the opposite way from the man he just kicked. He doesn’t stop to question it, if he had learned one thing as Spider-Man, it was to follow his instinct during fights. And it’s good he does, a bullet hits the place he just stood in and ricochets from the asphalt and almost hits the man stuck to the ground with Peter’s webs.

Peter would say something funny, but before he can even process what’s happening, the man with a rolled ankle tackles him from the right. He’s hanging from Peter’s back, the bat is lodged under Peter’s chin, and he’s almost impossible to shake off. Peter can see the guy in front of him aiming his gun again, apparently not really caring if he hits his buddy also. So much for comradery, Peter thinks. Peter grabs the bat and pushes it away from himself with full force. He can hear the man’s other shoulder dislocate with a disgusting sound.

“Sorry about that,” he says and shakes the man completely off. He flops to the ground to nurse his arm and ankle. Peter spots a gun peeking from under the guy’s shirt, and shoots a string of web to retreat it. 

The other man wastes no time to take another shot, and Peter doesn’t dodge this one nearly as well as the other ones. It scrapes his side, cutting open his suit and drawing some blood. It burns, but he doesn’t have time to attend to his minor wound. He jumps onto the wall, and turns the gun in his hand. He so rarely holds one. 

“Look, now we both have guns,” he says, spinning his one in his hand.

“You don’t even know how to use it,” the man says back. The first thing any of them have said the whole fight. His voice is surprisingly placid. He takes a slow step to the left, the barrel follows Peter as he, too, moves on the wall. 

“I think I can work it out,” he says, and throws it at the man. It doesn’t hit him, but distracts him enough so his shot misses Peter, and he can hurl himself from the wall onto the man. He plans on punching him, but the fight ends almost anticlimactically; The man hits the back of his head hard to the ground, making a heavy sound, and passes straight out. 

“Oh.” Guess that’s that then. Not his best fight. He turns to look at the man with the dislocated shoulder. He’s gotten up to pick up the third gun that had slid to the side. Peter shoots a web to the back of his knees almost boredly. The man trips and hits the asphalt in a painful looking way. Peter secures the passed out guy’s hands and feet with his webs and turns him onto his side. He walks over to the other man who’s trying to rip off the webs from his legs with his good hand. 

Peter nudges him with his boot.

“Care to tell me what you guys were doing?”

The man spits at him, but his saliva is slimy and thick, it hangs from his mouth almost sadly. 

“Yeah, I figured as much,” Peter says, and shoots a web trapping the man’s still working hand to the ground. “Have a nice day, then,” he says and leaves, before the cops show up. 

Peter swings almost on autopilot. He can feel the wound ripping bigger as he moves. He should stop somewhere to nurse it. He can feel warm blood idly soak the spandex around it. 

It starts raining.

Peter swings most of the way to the docks. There are people all over the city. It’s true when they say that New York is a city that never sleeps. And probably, Peter thinks, no one living there sleeps either. He certainly doesn’t. Not a lot anyway. Sometimes it felt weird thinking how everyone else had a life, too. What do they do every day? Whom do they live with? Are they happy? What do they dream about?

Who loves them?

Sometimes Peter feels like no one really loves him. Not anymore at least. MJ only tolerates him; it has been awkward since they broke up. Harry definitely doesn’t like him. Gwen… Uncle Ben… gone. Guess there’s Aunt May. He should text her back soon. Maybe even call her.

The sea looks almost hypnotic. Peter sits down on the ground, turning around to take a good look at the injury. It’s not too bad. The bullet just scraped him, just like he originally thought. He shoots some of his webbing to stanch the blood flow. He turns back to look at the water, crossing his arms over the railing separating the docks from the black sea, his feet hang over. Sometimes a wave licks the bottoms of his boots. The water mills around, it doesn’t seem to have a direction at all. Peter feels weirdly similar. 

An orange light glows softly from the surrounding city, and Peter can see spotlights here and there illuminating the rain clouds hanging over him. The white light from the spotlights catch the raindrops in the air and it looks like there are impossibly long curtains dangling from the clouds.

It looks very beautiful, Peter thinks.

There are people around, homeless kids, sex workers, street dancers, people passing by. He ignores them and they ignore him. He didn’t swing here, he walked the rest of the way. He could very well be just one of those Spider-Man imitators, and not the original one. The wind howls and the rain seem to get only stronger. Peter doesn’t feel cold, he can barely feel the wind through the suit at all. It separates him from the rest of the city. He rests his head against his arms. The wind screams.

It’s a million city, but now it is just Peter and the sea. Black and orange. Just raging somewhere over there. 

Peter distantly thinks about Mr. Osborn and Harry. He’s almost angry that MJ wants to check up on him. If she could just… 

Peter wants someone to just hug him tight. And… forgive him? No. He doesn’t need deserve forgiveness. He should just forget about the whole thing. But it’s not easy, having this yearly reminder that he apparently just can’t delete from his calendar. He truly hopes Harry is alright. If he’s alright then this can just go away finally. 

“Well, aren’t ya having a melancholy moment?” a voice says behind him, completely interrupting his thoughts. The voice has correctly identified him as the real Spider-Man. It’s a raspy voice, teetering somewhere between a really bad cold and having shouted too much at a concert. But nonetheless it is nice enough, warm but a bit cautious. 

“Yeah, well. I need moments like this when they make that movie about me,” Peter says without much thinking.

“You’re right. Every movie needs a moment in the middle where the hero is at the lowest before the last hurrah.”

“How do you know this is the middle?” Peter asks, but the man doesn’t answer.

Peter smiles beneath his mask and turns to look upwards to see who he's talking to. Nothing should surprise him anymore, but somehow, he didn’t at all expect a huge beefy man in a red and black costume standing behind him. The man sits next to him on the ground without saying anything. He has a big bulky belt on his hip, two katanas strapped to his back and his suit has some holes in it. His skin isn’t visible below, having been masked by dark red dried up blood. He smells bad, but the wind blows his smell away from Peter.

Peter lays his head against his arms again, his face turned towards the stranger.

“I don’t know you,” he says.

“I know you,” the man rasps, “Would you believe that this is the third time we’ve met?”

“I think I’d remember,” Peter says. This isn’t the weirdest person he’s run into in New York. And, as bad as it feels to admit, he really would like someone to talk with, no matter how bonkers they are.

“Well, not in this draft, but in the previous ones.”

“I see,” Peter says. Blinking his eyes, full well knowing that the mask on his face looks more than emotionless.

“This is very different from the others.”

“How come?”

“I dunno. We have a very selective knowledge about things,” the man admits and laughs a bit. “I think the setting is different.”

“Is this like a parallel world thing or something?”

“Not exactly, but you could look at it that way.”

“How was I different in those other worlds?”

“I dunno” he says again. He pauses to think and then says: “How old are you in this one?”

“25.” The man looks surprised by that, but doesn’t press it.

“You’re not suicidal in this one, are ya?”

Peter thinks that that is a very forward thing to ask someone you just met. He isn’t. At least he doesn’t think he is, not actively at least. So, he says:

“As much as a vigilante hero who regularly puts himself in harm’s way can be.”

The man nods, clearly thinking about something. He’s weird, Peter thinks. But maybe that’s a welcome change. Peter doesn’t really often talk so frankly about, well, anything really. Not at least after he ruined whatever kind of relationship he and MJ had. Not to mention Harry.

“Are you?” Peter asks back.

“As much as someone who can’t die can be.”

“Really? You can’t die?”

“Yeah. I’m so lucky like that,” the man says, laughing. Peter laughs a bit too with him, but it doesn’t feel like comedy-fun-time laughing.

“So, you obviously know who I am-” Peter starts but can’t finish before the man interrupts him.

“Oh, yeah, right! I’m Deadpool,” the man introduces himself, perking up, “I’m a very big fan of yours, Mr. Spider.”

Peter smiles. It’s probably the first genuine smile he has had in weeks.

“Mister Pool,” he laughs, and offers his hand to Deadpool, who instead shaking it, gives it a gentle kiss. Peter smirks privately to himself. What a weird man, indeed.

“As far as our first meetings go, this has been the most pleasant… I think,” Deadpool says when he lets go of Peter’s hand. Fleetingly Peter feels sad that they aren’t touching anymore, but that feeling gets soon replaced with irritation about being so touch starved that someone like this Deadpool guy can make him feel like that the first time they touch. He needs to get some and soon.

“I always aim to please,” Peter says back and immediately hates himself a bit more.

“As do I,” Dead pool says and winks at him.

“I think I should get going,” Peter says, “The rain…”

Deadpool gets up first, and offers Peter a hand to help him get up, but Peter doesn’t take it. His suit is all wet, and the rain is finally starting to seep into his skin. His legs feel stiff from sitting so long on the cold ground. Deadpool is awkwardly close, and Peter takes a step back.

“If this isn’t our only time meeting for the first time, I probably can expect to see you around?”

“Most likely,” Deadpool says and shrugs nonchalantly. “I hope to, at least, it’d be pretty bad slash fiction otherwise” he adds nonchalantly. 



“See you around then…” Peter says, looking around for a tall enough building to shoot his web string to. He takes a few running steps towards the closest one and jumps high in the air to fling himself into motion. He yelps another goodbye to Deadpool and disappears soon behind the city’s lights.

Deadpool stays bound to the ground. Alas, his superhuman abilities don’t allow him to properly follow Spider-Man, sadly. But the view is pretty good from down here, too. He’s younger than he had thought, but still closer to his thirties than teenage years. That means he must have started in his teens… 

He’s also a lot sexier in person than in photos, Deadpool thinks. That spandex leaves so very little for imagination. We’ll see what this will turn into, a voice says quietly in Deadpool’s head. Something fun I hope, Deadpool answers back. Sexy, at the very least, a second voice adds. They’re being very nice for once, Deadpool thinks, but didn’t they all want to tap that ass.

1. goodbye and hello 4511 0 0 2. take me home 3049 0 0