1 CH1: Origins

I read Witches Abroad as the bus full of idiots rode merrily towards a lab filled with potential lunatics. Somehow, I got the feeling my day would only go downhill from there.

Peter Parker, my best friend since diapers, sighed as he sank down in his seat and pulled a paper airplane from his hoodie.

"You know, I almost admire their dedication," I comment, putting my bookmark in place and pulling my own airplane out of my ear (another thing I could admire was their aim). "They brought a lot of paper just to annoy us. They don't do that just for just anyone, you know?"

"If I didn't know better, I'd call you an optimist, Jake." Peter smirked at me, pulling a binder out of his bag. "By the way, I almost finished with the kinetic goo."

"I still say we should have come up with a better name than 'kinetic goo', but continue."

"I think that if I can figure out what to do about this," he pointed at something I absolutely didn't understand on the latest page, "Then I can finally get a stable batch."

"Awesome," I punched his shoulder lightly. "I still can't believe you started this a week ago, dude. You should be in college already, instead of slummin' it with us feeble-minded mortals."

"And miss out on making you look bad? Please," Peter replied easily.

Honestly, befriending Peter was probably the best thing I had going for me. Despite being reborn into a fictional universe I was somewhat familiar with, I didn't have much in the talents department, aside from a pre-packaged taste in literature, music, and fashion.

We stopped in front of Oscorp and I grimaced at the building.

"C'mon, man, it's not that bad." Peter bumped my shoulder. "We get to see all the latest in genetic engineering!"

"… Right," I sighed and followed Peter out. Spider-Man had always been my favorite superhero, especially on account that he just never gave up. Peter… he would benefit in some ways from becoming Spider-Man, sure. But he'd also be stuck with an endless parade of horrible shit-storming.

Did I let him become a hero, or not? How could I make a choice like that for someone's future?

"Ah, the Midtown group, right?" the tour guide gave us a practiced smile and gestured for us to follow. "Right this way."

We walked along, and I barely paid attention as I looked around the building. As we got deeper into the building, we saw more and more people in lab coats running around, carrying papers and colorful liquids in test-tubes.

"You know, this place looks like it produces Supervillains by the ounce." I whispered to Peter, who shushed me and elbowed me in the ribs.

Eventually, we made it to a room filled with glass. And inside the glass, there were bird, lizards, and spiders.

I shuddered as I looked at the last one. There should never be that many spiders in a single place.

Yes, I'm well aware of the irony of an arachnophobic Spider-Man fan. Hilarious, I'm aware. I'm cracking up as I think of it. Hah.

Well, I wouldn't really call myself arachnophobic. I'm not scared of spiders as much as intensely creeped out by the way they moved, breed, and generally exist.

So, only mildly arachnophobic, I guess.

Someone tapped my shoulder and I jumped slightly. I turned and found Peter giving me that puppy-dog worried look he does.

"Hey, you okay?" He pointed over his shoulder. "Maybe you should focus on the birds or something."

"I think I'd rather know where the eight-legged spawn of Satan are, Pete." I smiled shakily. "But thanks, you're a bro."

He smirked and went back to looking around the room, occasionally taking a picture. Heh, he's a regular camera fiend, that guy.

Shaking my head, I turned back to the spiders, and looked around their chambers. Each one seemed full, so where was…

Ah, there: the empty glass box that would set off everything. I seemed to be the only one that noticed it, so…

This is the moment of truth, then? I'm in some kind of 'what you are in the dark' situation, maybe?

I looked at Peter over my shoulder and sighed. Fuck it, the universe will figure itself out.

"Excuse me, miss?" I raised my hand and pointed. "One of these glass thingies is missing a spider."

The tour guide gave me an alarmed wide-eyed look, before smiling nervously. "Not to worry! I'm sure it'll turn up somewhere around here, our staff is very competent."

The other students looked around, nervously. Then Flash laughed and pointed at me. "Maybe they should hire Fletcher, he found it already."

I made the connection instantly and closed my eyes.


"Yes Jake?"

"Please tell me the spider isn't where I think it is."

"Um… I'm not a good liar," Peter gave me a nervous chuckle. "Maybe you'll be okay if you don't move?"

I opened an eye and looked down. There, on my right shoulder, sat a blue and red spider with yellow rings around its eyes. Slowly, I raised my left hand and started moving to grab it.

"Don't bite me, you fucker, I will smack you." I softly whispered at it. "You know I will."

The spider, rather rudely, ignored my warning, climbed onto my neck, and bit me.

"SHIT!" I shouted, smacking the spider away.

It kinda figures that the first hickey I got was from a spider.

"JAKE! Are you okay?" Peter came running, fussing over me.

"Yeah, hurts like a bitch, tho." I touched my neck gently and found that my fingers came back with blood and something green.

Peter and I looked down at my hand, a few other students looking over his shoulders and making gagging noises at the green funk, before I looked up and muttered, "That can't be good," and passed out.

/ E\\\

I woke up in a hospital, feeling sick to my stomach and like everything was shaking.

"Ugh," I eloquently stated. I turned my head and found a blur to the left of my bed, "Guh."

I fell back asleep before the blur could answer.

This went on for a while, with me coming in and out of awareness, and finding different kinds and amounts of blurs at my bedside.

Eventually, lucidity stuck, and I managed to stay awake for good.

Blinking heavily and cleaning the gunk from my eyes, I sat up in bed.

"Where the fuck…?" I started, before everything that happened came back to me.

Including the spider; or rather, especially the spider.

I leaned back and poked at my body. I'd taken the chance that this second life granted and started Muay-Thai lessons as soon as I could, so I was already fairly well-built. However, what I found under my hospital gown was nothing like my body.

Before, you could say I was alright; healthy even. Now, I was a lean Hercules, with muscles carved out of marble and sheer testosterone.

I flexed an arm experimentally, and was pleased at the result.

"Best damn hospital stay I ever did," I muttered half-heartedly, before leaning back and staring at the ceiling.

… So, I was Spider-Man now.

I wouldn't say it was a choice, honestly. With great power comes great responsibility. I got to hear those words more than once from the mouth of the great Uncle Ben himself more than once, when I tried to get Peter to flex his intellect or when I got in trouble for beating the ever-loving crap out of some bullies that tried to pick on Peter and I.

With great power comes great responsibility. The measure of a man is in what he does with power. Nobility obligates.

The idea is the same, and it's one that I've believed in for some collective thirty-one years.

…this was gonna suck. But maybe I wouldn't have to do it alone. God knows I can't design my own web-shooters.

Peter wasn't going to be Spider-Man if I had any say in it, but I wasn't too proud to ask a friend for help.

Speak of the devil, Peter walked in and smiled brightly upon seeing me awake.

"Jake! You're up!"

"Only halfway," I deadpanned, smirking with an internal frown. Shouldn't my sight be better now? Why the hell is everything more than a meter away still blurry?!

"Here," Peter handed me my glasses, and I nodded my thanks before asking what happened after I passed out.

"Well, after you went down, the tour guide panicked and hit a red button, while everyone else freaked out that the spider was still alive, so they jumped on anything that was even slightly off the floor."

"Including you?"

"Including me," he admitted shamelessly. "Eventually, scientists in hazmat suits came in and scanned the room. Turns out the spider died after it bit you."

"Did they splice it with bee DNA?"

"Hah, nah, I think it was the smack. Anyways, eventually an ambulance came around, the school called your parents –fat load of good that did," Peter added with a venomous tone. I swear the Parkers were the only people that liked my parents less than I did. "You were bed-ridden for three days, and Aunt May baked around five cakes and three batches of cookies to relax."

"Did it work?"

"She's making a sixth cake as we speak."

"Your aunt's a saint, Peter."

I smiled and leaned back. The thought of May's pastries waiting for me once I got back made it all worth it. I'd go back and swim in spiders- NOPE NO BAD THOUGHT CAN'T STOP PICTURING IT NOPE NUH-UH NOTHING IS WORTH THAT.

I rubbed my forehead. "So, can you call a doctor or something? I'm eager to get the fuck out of here and into your kitchen."

"Oh, right!" he rushed off to do that. When he was gone, I experimentally put my fingertips flat on a glass vase on the table next to my bed, and lifted without grabbing.

Unsurprisingly, the vase stuck. I small movement of my fingers, and the vase fell back on the table.

Oh well, at least it seemed I wouldn't have to deal with the obligatory 'discovering my new powers' scene. I always hated those.

/ E\\\

I gorged myself on lemon pie and chocolate chip cookies (a surprisingly good combination) as Ben poked me and chuckled. "Two days in the hospital and you come out looking good as new. Healthcare really improved since my day."

"Give it a while," I joked after forcing down the food with a glass of orange juice. "I'm sure it'll get screwed up again the next time someone that wasn't hospitalized by a million-dollar company gets hurt."

Ben shrugged with cynical humor and May scowled. "I still can't believe they think they can just hurt you like that and do nothing!"

"They paid for my treatment. Granted, it was probably so that they could steal my blood and test it to see what happened after the spider bit me, but still." I shrugged, reaching for another cookie and waved it over to Peter. "Can you help me with whatever homework I missed, by the way?"

"Sure, you only missed Friday, anyways." Peter grabbed a piece of 'Chocotorta' (a recipe I introduced to May, I'm proud to say) and scarfed it down. He tried to speak with his mouth full, but a look from May and a kick under the table from me got him to swallow before continuing.

"Flash was a dick about you being sick. He spent the whole day making impressions of you getting bit and passing out, like he'd do better."

I shrugged. "Flash will be Flash. It's only to be expected."

Ben smiled proudly at me. "Well said, Jake."

"Plus, I can always kick his ass if he gets too annoying."

"Never mind," Ben sighed, shaking his head.

I chuckled, Peter laughed, May tittered, and Ben smirked with fondness.

The Parkers… they were family. More than family ever was. My parents were extremely Anti-Mutant, fairly sexist, and severe workaholics. I was Pro-Mutant to the point that I once threw a bottle at a cop in a protest, I once knocked out someone that was harassing a girl in school, and I was reasonably independent.

We had an unspoken agreement of minimizing contact until I was eighteen and could leave. Or at least I think we did. Like I said, it was unspoken.

Eventually, we headed to the basement, where we usually hung out. It's also where Peter's lab was.

I waited until May and Ben left for the living room, then I turned to look at Peter and spoke with all the seriousness I could muster.

"Pete, I need your help."

"Uh, yeah, I was just about to get my-"

"Not that! I need your help with something way more important than History homework."

"What is it?" Peter looked concerned. I guess I was being a bit dramatic.

I took a deep breath, walked over to the table, put my fingers flat against the paper there, and lifted my hand.

Nothing happened.

"Uh, hold on, I got it right before," I said quickly and embarrassed. I pressed my fingers hard again, and tried to think of it as lifting everything, not just my hand.

The paper stuck to my fingers.

"So that's how that works. I should keep it in mind." I thought out loud, before stretching my hand to show Peter.

"So… you've got sticky fingers?" He asked, pulling the paper and looking surprised when he got it with five holes in it.

"No, I don't think so," I walked over to the wall, kicking off my shoes on the way, and put a hand on the basement wall. Experimentally, I put the other hand above it and one foot on the wall. Slowly, with decreasing hesitation, I performed my first wall-crawl, and kept going until I was upside down and facing Peter.

We stared at each other in silence until I broke it.

"I think it'd be fair to blame this one on the spider."

"Agreed," whispered Peter.

/ E\\\

After a while, we were doing our homework. I was sitting on the wall in a squat, because I couldn't exactly sit cross-legged and have my feet touch the wall at the same time. It was strangely relaxing, to relax in surfaces man was not supposed to sit on.

"So, what's next?"

"Hmm?" I was trying to recall what the teacher said about the French Revolution, so I barely paid attention to the question.

"What are you going to do with your powers?" Peter insisted. I capped my pen, left it in my closed notebook, and dropped it on his table.

"I guess I'll be a superhero," I shrugged.

"You don't seem enthused about the idea."

I shrugged again. Peter frowned at me as I stood up and stretched my back, letting loose a few popping sounds.

"I don't really see what else I'm supposed to do. I got powers and I'm not that evil, so I guess I'll be a hero." I walked down the wall and back onto the floor. "With great power comes great responsibility, you'll recall."

"Yeah, but you could do some more stuff!" Peter stretched a hand towards the washing machine I had lifted with one arm. "You're super strong, right? Why not be a wrestler or something?"

"So my options are to put on a mask and beat up other masked guys in the streets, or do the same thing on a cage?" I asked dryly, with an eyebrow raised. "I think I'll take the one that gives me a lot of space, thanks."

Peter crossed his arms and huffed. I scratched my head, wondering how I should phrase my request, before settling on being direct.

"Actually, I was hoping you could help me with this whole… hero thing?"


"Uh, see, I had this thought that you could, maybe, if you found the time, build a pair of-uh web-shooters? You know, that go on my wrist? That way I could move around New York easily?" I rambled through my explanation, eyes firmly planted on my feet.

"I… Jake, I…" Peter started, before sighing, and massaging the bridge of his nose under his glasses. "I'll cover for you if this is what you're set on, but I can't go around building your stuff. I'm not gonna be your 'guy in the chair' or whatever. I… what if someone tracks me? What if someone tracks me back to May and Ben? I can't…"

And suddenly, I was struck with how incredibly selfish I'd been. I frowned, making Peter stop talking (I'd been told I have a hell of a glare) before I strode forward and put a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm not gonna force you on this, Pete," I forced a smile, which probably came off as creepy. "I'm sorry I brought it up, I was being selfish."

Relieved, Peter sighed and returned a weak smile. "It's okay. Honestly, it'd probably be cool to be your 'guy in the chair', but…"

"I know," I punched his shoulder softly, although it pulled a grimace from him, so I apologized and promised to control my new strength, before adding, "I should be getting home, anyways. Take care, Pete."

"You too, Webster," he smirked, until he saw the face of utter disgust that graced my face. "Bad name?"

"Let's go with Spider-Man for now, hm?" I said with a strained smile on my lips.

"Oh, that's better."

/ E\\\

I put the two cakes that May forced me to take home in the fridge and the jar of cookies that I snuck past Ben in the pantry, before making my way into my room.

… I think that, in all honesty, I was always sorta prepared to do this. Peter's one of those people that you either love unconditionally or hate on sight, and the little bastard got under my skin pretty much as soon as I saw him.

When I learned his name, and when I figured out what universe we were in shortly after… I always tried to push Peter to be his best, and he returned the favor. I always looked after him when bullies attacked, and he always helped me when school or people proved to be too much for the day.

… I wasn't going to ask for help with Spider-Business again. I could just parkour through the city.

He could do great without getting into any of the problems that came with the webbed mask. He would do great.

Peter looked after me, and I was gonna return the favor, any way that I could.

I put on a ratty old blue hoodie and a balaclava, before taking to the rooftops.

Spider-Man was starting today.

/ E\\\

"SOMEONE HELP! PLEA- uff!" The lady's screaming was cut off by a fist to the stomach by the brute trying to snatch away her purse.

"C'mon man, we gotta hurry!" the brute's accomplice hurried him up, looking nervously for cops.

"I would, if this bitch would just. Let. GO!" With a final pull, he got the purse.

For all of two seconds before a foot fell on his face and broke his nose, making him drop the purse in shock.

"Didn't your mother teach you to treat girls nicely?"

Oh man, I bet you could just hear the smirk in my voice. I grabbed the purse off the ground, and with great flourish, I presented it to the lady.

"Sorry I didn't catch it before it hit the ground, miss."

"… That's fine." She whispered, clearly shocked and scared.

"Don't worry, I'm friendly," I winked, though the gesture was probably lost under the balaclava and the hood. I walked around her and glared at the other criminal. "Well, most of the time, I'm friendly."

He pulled a pocket knife from, well, his pocket, and aimed it at me inexpertly. "W-watch it, freak! I'm not afraid to use this!"

"Oh no, a tiny knife, my only weakness," I said dryly, rolling my head along with my eyes for added dramatic flair. I looked over my shoulder at the lady and pointed my thumb at the crook, like I was saying 'can you believe this guy?' which got a surprised giggle from her.

The crook rushed me, and suddenly it was like I was hyper-aware. It was startling, but somehow that didn't stop me. It was like I was seeing the world through a lens that clarified everything, but also like I was looking through a tube?

Everything was clear and easy to understand, but at the same time, I was super-focused in something.

My Spidey-Sense, I'd found, was pretty weird, but pretty awesome.

As the crook rushed me, knife in his right hand, I used my left one in a relaxed move, pushing the knife hand away to the left, grabbing it when it wasn't aimed in my direction anymore, and using it to throw the guy against the wall.

The air left him forcefully, and he fell on the ground in a groaning mess.

"Well then!" I brushed my hands off in a satisfied manner, before putting them on my hips and turning to look at the lady. "If you'd be so kind as to call the police and tell them that this was a service from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, that'd be wonderful!"

"Wait! What if they get back up again?"

Hm, she had a point. Luckily, there was a readily available solution in the alley.

I put them both in dumpster and smashed it closed.

"If a few cops team up, they should be able to open it," I said to her cheerfully, before I jumped off the dumpster and into a wall, holding myself up with just my hands. I turned back, gave the lady a two-finger salute and a wish of good luck getting home, before climbing out of the alley and running out.

That'd been my third take-down of the night.

Wanna know the upside of New York being a criminal hive of scum and villainy? No shortage of petty criminals to try myself against.

The next month and few weeks went like that. Basically just me running around whatever parts of New York I found myself in that night, looking for crime to stop. My schoolwork wasn't too affected, as I was already an insomniac and running around was actually making me sleep better, in one of those funny twists of fate.

The only downside was that I did get a few headaches from going around without my glasses. Other than that, everything was great.

Of course, it didn't last and everything changed.

/ E\\\

I was making one of my usual runs through New York's rooftops (and I got to admit, it felt pretty cool to be able to say that) when I stopped for a break in front of a store. I'd saved the owner, Vito, from a robbery a few days ago, so he gave me a discount on juice, soda and candy.

Vito was officially my favorite New York store owner after he did that.

I was enjoying a couple of gummy worms and a can of Coke on the wall facing the store, with my shoes on the roof and my can nested between my legs, when I saw a familiar face enter the store.

Ben was smiling and laughing with Vito, probably something about May sending him to buy yogurt at the ass-crack of the night. Then I saw another person approach the store, a guy in a ratty grey hoodie (not that I was in any place to judge) and a mysterious object poking out of his pocket.

'Oh shit,' I thought, slightly detached, as the man entered the store and looked around, 'This is the part where Uncle Ben dies.'

It took me two seconds to get down from the wall and start running across the street towards that fucker.

In those two seconds, the man had pulled his gun and was waving it around. Vito was saying something confidently, but Ben had That Look on his face. The same Look he got when he was about to get serious with someone.

He took a step forward, but I was already there, slamming the door open.

They all turned to look at me: the owner with a smug smile, the robber with shocked wide eyes, and Ben with something I couldn't place.

Growling, I stalked forward. "You picked the wrong store and the wrong night to be you, buddy."

He pointed the gun and shot, but I wasn't there anymore, having taken a step to the side between him aiming and him pulling the trigger. Spidey-Sense was awesome like that.

I kept walking forward, and he walked backwards.

Then I realized that he had grabbed Ben and had a gun to his neck. I stopped and actually took a step back, like a fucking amateur!

"Heh, not so tough now, eh?" the robber gave me a smug smile, and I had to hold myself back from rushing over and breaking his teeth by looking at Ben's eyes.

I… I had nothing but admiration for Ben Parker. He was to me in this life what my father had been to me in my former life: a figure that seemed eternal in its sardonic smiles, constant joking, and confident swagger.

I saw none of that in Ben's eyes. He was scared, and so was I.

But then his eyes focused on me, and his fear melted away. He grinned at me.

"Don't worry about me, kid. Show this punk what for!"

Ben Parker is the most amazing old man you'll ever meet in your fucking life. Don't forget that.

"Yeah, what he said, Spidey," Vito said, pulling a shotgun and putting it to the robber's head from the side, effectively getting Ben out of danger. "Don't worry about him."

Vito is also really cool. Don't forget that either.

The robber, thinking annoyingly quickly, pushed Ben forward with the hand holding the gun, while he grabbed Vito's shotgun and pulled it upwards, aiming it away from him.

While that happened, I took my chance and rushed forward. I jumped over Ben's head as he still stumbled forward, landed right behind him, and was about to rush forward when a gunshot rang through the store.

A stinging line of pain crossed my hip, but my eyes were focused behind me, where the bullet had landed.

There, on Ben Parker's back, was a hole right on his spine, from where blood was flowing freely. Ben stood for a second before he crumbled forward.

We all stood in shocked, horrified silence. Then I snapped.

I… I wish I could say I can't recall the next few moments. That I saw red came back to reason later.

No. The ensuing beatdown was performed while perfectly lucid and aware of my actions and their consequences.

I rushed forward faster than the scum could blink, grabbed him by the neck, and smashed him against the floor hard enough to break tiles. I punched him, over and over and over and over again.

Soon, the entire front of my glove was covered in red, and the robber's face was unrecognizable. And yet I couldn't stop. Not even though Vito was screaming my name.

No, not my name, he was yelling out for Spider-Man. I didn't deserve the name. I was a fraud, a failure, I got Ben killed he was dying because I failed I failed I failed I-


And like that, I stopped. I looked behind me and saw Ben pushing himself up to look at me over his shoulder.

"Let him go, son. We've more important things to do."

I didn't bother questioning how he knew. The man had been caring for me since I wore diapers, he could recognize me with a stupid balaclava on.

I nodded to Vito and apologized after he called two ambulances and the police, but he shrugged it off and said that I wasn't the only idiot with anger issues in the world.

He gave me a free can of soda and sent me home; saying that he'd make sure everything went smoothly.

I still sat on the roof looking over the store, watching as Vito cared for Ben and the bastard that shot him.

I couldn't get my hands to stop shaking, not even as I lay in bed, thinking about Ben's immobile legs as he was carried in a stretcher to the ambulance.

/ E\\\

I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, tapping my foot nervously with my hands crossed and holding my head.

I was staring at a fixed point in the floor, listening to nothing but my rushing thoughts and the tapping of my foot.


"Sir?" I jumped as a nurse touched my shoulder gently. "You're bothering the others. I understand you're anxious, but please try to keep calm."

I nodded and offered a forced smile before going back to staring at the floor and twitching in place, hands now crossed on my lap. I softly whispered "Sorry," which seemed good enough for her, as she walked away.

"… He's probably a teenage father," a woman stage-whispered to the man sitting next to her (her husband, if the matching rings were any indication), giving me a side eye and smirking under her hand, "Should've used protection if he was gonna be this annoying."

"My uncle was shot." I replied loudly, making sure everyone that was pretending not to hear her couldn't pretend not to hear me. I looked her dead in the eye and glared as hard as I could. "I'm sorry if my worrying for my family is inconvenient for whatever the fuck you're doing in a hospital, you cock-sucking bitch-goblin."

I get creative when I'm pissed.

The woman sputtered, but I wasn't paying attention to that. May and Peter came through the door, and I was rushing over to give May a hug as fast as I could without giving away my powers (and I wasn't that hard to be discreet).

"How is he?" I whispered into the embrace. The question wasn't aimed to anyone in particular, but it was obvious that it'd fall on Peter to answer, since May was crying on my shoulder.

"… The doctor said he'll live, but…" Peter glared at nothing, fists balled up and shaking in anger. "The bullet went straight into his spine. He'll never walk again."

May wailed into my shoulder, and I tried not to let my anger get to me. She wasn't young; she couldn't take me squeezing like an idiot because I was pissed off.

Gently, I guided her to a chair, where I took her hands and promised we'd be right back, we were just going to get a cup of coffee.

Peter followed me as I put a few bills in the machine and served a hot cocoa and two coffees into three small Styrofoam cups. I handed Peter one of the coffee ones and made to get May her coffee, when Peter spoke.

"This is my fault," he whispered, glaring at his coffee like it was the source of all his problems.

Frowning, I left the cups on top of the coffee machine and put both hands on my friend's shoulders. "Pete, you couldn't have-"

"Don't tell me that!" Peter hissed, glaring up at me and taking a step out of my reach, before going back to glaring at his coffee. "You asked me for help. You asked me for webshooters, and I said no. If you had had some, you could have taken away the gun, but I didn't make them!"

"You had a right to. You could've been putting your family in danger if you had-"

"My family is in danger anyways, Jake! Uncle Ben got shot, Aunt May's heart broken, and you…" He hiccupped, and I realized he was crying. "You asked me for help, and I refused, even though I knew you'd go out anyways."

"You're not responsible for me being an idiot, Peter."

"Yes, I am." He threw the cup in the trash and grabbed me by the shirt. "I figured out the webshooters five minutes after you left, because the idea wouldn't leave my head. We'll see what we can do for your suit when we get home."

I thought about stopping him. But I knew Peter better than that. I didn't want him involved in anything as dangerous as being Spider-Man; but nothing could stand between a Parker and whatever they desired. I speak from experience.

"Fine," I sighed, before giving him a stern look and putting a finger to his chest. "But we set a few ground rules. Number one, you're tech support, and only tech support; and maybe also my guide, if strictly necessary.

"Number two, no running yourself ragged trying to help me out. Keep the tools in tip-top shape, fix the suit, and that's it. You still have a life, and so do I. We'll have to keep a balance.

"Number three…" I thought about it, before settling on it. "If something happens to me, don't do something stupid like making spider powers for yourself and running around to carry my mantle. If Spider-Man dies, he dies. Understood?"

He grimaced at the last part, probably realizing as I did that it was the kind of noble, stupid thing he'd do, before nodding.

"Good," I stepped back and grabbed the cooled beverages, "Let's go keep May company first, though. We've left her waiting long enough."

/ E\\\

Three days after that, I had webshooters. It took a while to get used to them, but I have to admit, I understood why they always whooped with joy in the movies when they did it for the first time.

Do you have any idea what a rush it gives you to jump out of a building with only a string to keep you safe, then letting go and having to trust your Spidey-Sense to aim the next shot?

Of course you don't. So you'll have to take my word and accept that it's freaking amazing.

A few days after getting my webshooters, Ben came out of surgery and arrived home in a wheelchair to a ramp I helped build and a cake I helped decorate.

He didn't say a word about the incident. Not anything that involved me, anyways. He didn't even send me a knowing look throughout the party.

Unless he did send a knowing look and I missed it. That would me typical of me.

And, five weeks after that, I got my suit.

Peter and I had had several disagreements over the designing process, and getting the materials, even with the savings I started keeping when I was six.

(Nine years of allowance, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and cleaning windows, gone just like that. My inner Orange Lantern was screaming at me the whole time (DC references in my Spider-Man adventure, that's like… being a nerd squared! Wait, math reference in my comic book reference in my comic book adventure, that's being a nerd cubed!))

The suit was made as a mix from my two favorite suits, with a few of my own touches thrown in.

The design was mostly classical Spider-Man, except with the blue parts in a darker shade, and the red parts changed to black. I justified it as being better for stealth while not being overly threatening. I honestly did it because it's my favorite color combination

The spider symbol on the chest was like the one from the original movie, except it and the webs that came from it where white.

The mask was different than the original, though. It had no webs on it, and the lenses were surrounded by white circles. It was inspired by Spider-Gwen's own mask, and so was the hood that went with the body of the suit.

The webs bent around the neck, to go on the inside of the hood, which was a brighter shade of blue. There were also webs on the outside of the hood, unlike with Spider-Gwen's. The webs on the outside were still white, while the ones on the inside were black.

Right now, I was standing in front of a full-body mirror that hung from the inside of my closet's door, wearing everything but the mask.

I looked down at said piece of headwear. Are masks headwear? I think they count.

Not important. I look back and saw my stupid, fifteen year old self wearing an OC-interpretation of the Spider-Man suit.

I looked, and saw myself. A bit taller and more muscular than I used to be, but it was still the same thin eyebrows, the same sharp blue eyes, the same messy brown hair, the same resting bitch-face, and the same impulse to make faces at the mirror to prove to myself that I can make faces.

… I was still the same me that let Ben get paralyzed.

I didn't feel like a hero, I felt like a dork wearing cosplay. I felt like a loser that talked himself into doing something insane. Like any second now, I'd realize I can't wall-crawl, or use my Spidey-Sense, or save anyone.

I felt like the mask was the last line between me and doing something completely stupid and suicidal.

My hands shook, and I thought about throwing it all to the garbage.

Then I put the mask on.

I have power because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have responsibilities because I chose to have them.

I will be Spider-Man, no matter what.

Because nobility fucking obligates!

I looked at myself in the mirror, and didn't see me.

I put on my hood and grinned under the mask.

I saw a hero.

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