"May!" He shouted as his wife left the bedroom abruptly, after setting down the phone that she had been using. "May, talk to me! Think this through! You don't need to-"
"I do, John," May replied with courtesy as she grabbed her suitcase, which was by the door into the hallway. An hour ago, the two of them had their dinner interrupted by a phone call from New york. Apparently, something was wrong with Peter, and May had decided to drop everything and leave immediately, which he couldn't fully understand. "I have to go, my flight leaves in two hours. I'll call you when I get there," she said calmly, not raising her voice at all, something which both endeared and upset him.
"May," he said as he tried to re-gain his composure. "May you can't keep doing this to me. You can't just leave at the drop of a hat because something might be wrong with-"
"Something is wrong, John," May replied with a brief snap, as she turned around to face him. "Something is wrong with him. They told me that. And I want to make sure that he gets the best care in the world, because he needs it right now."
"He's got it already," John said, as he tried to not let his anger get the best of him. "There's nothing that you can do for him that those people can't. It's a waste of time and money, May. We-"
"John," his wife said sternly as she gave him a hard look. "What if it was your son dying?"
"It's not," John scoffed with a shrug, "but-"
"I'd expect you to go," May replied as she picked up her purse. "I'd tell you to go, because he's your son. And right now," she sighed as she turned around, and grasped the door handle, "the closest thing I have to a son might be dying. And I need to be there," she finished before calmly exiting the apartment, locking the door as she did so, leaving him alone. He sighed as he came to a final realization that his wife would always love her nephew more than she loved him. He would always be second-place compared to the wondrous Peter Parker.
"What're you looking at?" he muttered as his gaze glanced over a picture of her nephew and deceased husband. Both faces stared back at him with blank expressions of pure happiness, not a care in the world. Which was far from his state of mind, as he angrily slammed the picture down, so that he wouldn't have to look at them anymore as he lamented his current position.
"So," Wanda Maximoff said, trying to break the awkward silence in the room, which was currently occupied by only herself, Steve Rogers and Thor. The latter two where engaged in a game of chess, which the Thunder-god claimed he would be able to smite the Captain in. They had been slowly moving their pieces for half an hour, with Thor making bold moves and blunt captures of Steve's pieces. But even from where she was sitting, and with her limited knowledge of the game, Wanda could see that the Captain was winning the game. "Did anyone else know how Peter suddenly froze up when he saw that dead body?" she asked casually as she picked up a book that was lying on it's side on the nearby table. It had been a few hours since they had returned from the abandoned Warehouse, and they where all enjoying some down-time. Except for Beast, who was shedding his fur over equations that would help save Peter Parker's life.
"I did," Steve said as heard the sound of a chess piece moving across the board.
"And?" Wanda asked as she opened the book casually to the first page. She sighed as she heard the sound of another piece moving across the board, followed by a loud, boastful chuckle, telling her that Thor had made another move. One which most likely would lead him towards an inevitable defeat for the Thunder god.
"I too noticed our friend's reaction," Thor chuckled as his chair creaked, "to the one called the Goblin. I never have seen him so enraged over a single opponent," the Thunder god continued as another piece was moved across the book, and Wanda flipped to the second page of the book. She smiled as her thoughts turned to Peter Parker for a brief second, remembering the very moment when he had fallen against her body, because of the pain. She was slightly ashamed to admit it, but she had always harboured a secret attraction towards him, something which she would never admit now that he was in a steady relationship with one of her fellow Avengers.
"I know," Wanda said with a heaving breath. "He was really pissed off. Hell," she continued as Steve made his move. "The only people I've seen that angry are Logan and Hulk," she finished, with a half-smile at her own joke as she delved deeper into the book in front of her. A casual motion of her hand brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes. She let out a sigh as her eyes glanced up, towards the chess game between the two Avengers.
"Verily," Thor replied as he made another, seemingly winning move. "I believe that you are beaten, Captain. Do you wish to continue?" the Thunder-god boasted as a smile cracked at Wanda's lips. No one that she knew had ever beaten Captain America in a game of chess, except for Reed Richards. And that had been a very close game, from what she had heard. Others, like Wolverine and Tony Stark had tried, but they all failed miserably.
"Game's not over yet," Steve said with confidence as he moved another piece. "And cut him some slack. He had some good reasons to be worried like he was," the Captain finished as Wanda flipped another page of her book.
"We all had a good reason," Wanda said with a slight sigh as she recalled recent events. "Carol's our friend. He, on the other hand, completely froze up before going nearly insane and-"
"Give him some slack," Steve repeated as Wanda hear the distinct sound of another chess piece moving across the board. Her eyes flickered upwards as she noticed that Steve was even closer to winning than before, and Thor didn't realize it yet. "He's got a lot of history with that maniac."
"Yeah," Wanda replied as she leaned backwards, "That whole 'Dark Avengers' thing," she mused as she turned another page and listened as Thor made another move. "I heard about that. Osborn took over the team," she continued as she let a full-blown smile cross her lips, waiting for the inevitable cry of defeat from the Asgardian prince.
"More than that," Steve said with a tired sigh. "More than most of us know. Norman's one of Peter's most persistent enemies. He's ruined his life," Steve said as he moved another, final chess piece, "checkmate." With that, the First Avenger got to his feet and rolled his shoulders in victory. Thor's expression was priceless, as it went from pure ecstasy to shock, as he tried to figure out how he lost. His eyes flickered around the board, looking for a way out of the Captain's trap. Unfortunately, there was none for him to use, and his fists tightened into balls as he stormed out of the room.
"You awake?" he asked the divine goddess beside him, who nodded groggily.
"Yeah," Carol replied as she gave a long, thought-out blink, "yeah, I'm awake. How long has it been?"
"A few hours," he replied as the two of them got to their feet. They where still in the white-walled hospital room of Avengers tower. It had been a while since anyone had come inside to see them, the last of whom being Jessica Drew checking up on him and Carol. The latter of whom was asleep at the time. That had given the two arachnids some time to talk in semi-private, as he was more than aware that there was someone on the other side of the observation glass, and that someone else was watching them from the security room. She had told Peter what he already knew in his heart, that the serum which had rejuvenated his entire body was now killing him from within. But he wasn't about to tell Carol that. "You wanna get something to eat?" he asked her as he rubbed her shoulder.
"Aren't we under orders to stay put?" Carol replied with a sly grin as she rested her head on his shoulder.
"We're under orders to stay in the building," he corrected as he twirled a lock of her hair. "Not just this room," he said as he looked around. According to Jessica, she had called his Aunt several hours ago, and she was now on her way to New York. Definitely not the best idea, in his mind. He knew that John Jameson was still mad at him for not letting him in on the secret, and that would only add to the existing tension between them.
"Okay," Carol said softly as she lifted herself off of his shoulder. "Okay, I think we should get something to eat. I'm starving...and I might go crazy if we have to stay put," she continued as they both got to their feet, and made sure they where dressed decent enough. Because even in a building full of spandex-clad individuals, there was such a thing as decency.
"After you," he smirked as he ushered Carol through the door, earning a smile as he did so.
"Whoa," Carol said as she suddenly swayed on her feet, losing her balance. Fortunately, he managed to catch her gently before she hit the ground, courtesy of his reflexes. He guessed that her unsteadiness was a symptom of the drug that had deprived her of her powers temporarily. Beast had told them that the drug would work it's way out of her system within forty-eight hours, and there where no expected side-effects that would last. "My legs feel tired for some reason...like I've been walking all day or something."
"Well," he surmised as they rounded the corner, "your body is used to a higher energy input and output. So I'd say it's your muscles trying to compensate, so that your body operates at a normal...or semi-normal capacity."
"Well look at you," Carol giggled as she traced a finger up and down his chest. "Mr Expert of everything," she continued as they came around another corner.
"Maybe I'll let you examine me later..." she continued in a deep, huskier tone which sent shivers down his spine as they walked down the hall, and entered the common area. As the entered, Thor brushed past them, muttering incoherently about a lost game of chess.
"Tony?" A quiet voice called to him from the darkness, bringing him out of his stupor. He glanced around, looking for the speaker, and finding her standing in the doorway to the armoury. He looked down in front of him, and saw a series of papers on his desk. All of them where S.H.I.E.L.D files that he had managed to get his hands on. And all of them where about the prisoner that Nick Fury was so keen on keeping a secret from them. "Are you awake?" the speaker, Jessica, asked as she sauntered into the room, swaying her hips as she walked.
"Yeah..." he half-yawned as he leaned back in his chair, and stretched his arms.
"Still on the fence about telling the team about you-know-who?" she whispered as she wrapped her slender, but strong arms around his shoulders. He felt her luscious raven coloured locks brush against the side of his head, a sensation which he enjoyed greatly.
"Yeah," he muttered as he reached back and grasped her hand.
"Well I can't help you," Jessica whispered softly. "I'm on the fence as well..."
"Well," Tony half-smirked as he spun around in his chair and got to his feet. "I think we can both forget about it," he continued as he pushed her back, against the adjacent workbench, where a dismantled prototype suit was lying. He braced his girlfriend against it as he began to run his hands up and down her toned body, paying special attention to her bared legs. This served as enough to distract him long enough for Jessica to spin him around, and place his head on the table, gently.
"I'd love to do you right here," Jessica cooed into his ear, using a seductive tone. He also guessed that she might be using her pheromones to a small degree, even though she swore she never used them on him. Not that she needed to, as she already had the body of a supermodel combined with the body of an athlete. More than enough to get his engine going, when the occasion called for it. "Like that night three months ago...when I put the mask on and you well..." she smirked as she let him go.
"We could do that again," Tony said with confidence as he tried to grope her sides, but she stopped him with firm hands.
"I have a feeling we need to be downstairs," Jessica replied with a wink. "They left the infirmary ten minutes ago, if you know what I mean."
"You want something to drink?" Peter asked casually with a wave of his hand.
"I don't think your mind tricks will work on me," Carol replied with a slight giggle as she clasped her hands together. "I'm not weak-minded, after all," she continued as the two of them stared into the others eyes, soaking in the moment that they shared, "I'm a woman! Your mind trick will not work on me! Only chocolate." She smiled as she gave a cheesy, science-fiction voice impression. They shared a laugh together as their fingers intertwined, relishing in the simple contact they had with one another.
"Well your mind tricks won't work on me, either," Peter replied with a smirk as he ran his thumb over her palm.
"I don't need any mind tricks," she said with absolute confidence. "I've got something better. Two things, actually," she finished with a sly wink.
"Those sparkling eyes," he chuckled, and she joined in with an even heartier laugh. "Just make me melt away," he said as he heard the sound of footsteps in the hallway. A smile tugged at his mouth as he began to form a plan in his mind. It was simple, but still efficient and romantic. He looked for a way to leave the room, even for a brief second, and found one embedded in Carol's words. "As you command," he said in a cheesy monotone voice as he got to his feet, and headed in a straight line for the exit. "One chocolate platter coming right up," he continued as he entered the hall, and saw Steve walking casually in the opposite direction. Captain was smiling to himself, even as Peter's arm blocked his path.
"You're not supposed to be out of-" Steve began to say with a raised eyebrow, "Hank's gonna be-"
"I know," Peter replied with a low whisper as his heart began to race. "Listen, Cap," he said as he lead the super-soldier away from the common room, where Carol was waiting. "I have a favour to ask you. A big favour and-"
"I'll do it," Steve replied with a chuckle as he clasped Peter's shoulder. "Whatever it is, I'll do it."
"Thanks," Peter sighed with relief, "I need you to go up to the infirmary, and grab the box from my jacket pocket." He continued as his heartbeat continued to speed up, "and bring it back to the kitchen, I'll be waiting there." He shifted his feet as he looked around nervously, hoping that Carol hadn't overheard him.
"Relax!" Steve said as he slapped Peter across the shoulder, "I've seen criminals who shake less than you right now!" he finished before turning around and heading back the way he came. This left Peter to his own devices as he turned towards the kitchen, which was on the opposite end of the hallway. The light was already on, and he could hear someone inside. Someone who turned out to be Wanda Maximoff, enjoying a a glass of wine.
"Evening," the Scarlet Witch said in a soft tone as Peter moved towards the fridge, where he knew that there was a piece of cake that he felt Carol would enjoy. He opened the fridge door, only to find a series of empty shelves. "Looking for something?" she asked casually.
"Yeah," Peter replied as he calmly shut the door. "Yeah, I thought there was a piece of marble cake in there. Turns out there isn't," he shrugged as he looked for another solution that would please Carol. The fridge had been empty, aside from a few fruits that looked like they where past their prime. Not prime proposal material for the love of his life.
"Oh," Wanda said with a sigh. "I think Thor took it after loosing to Cap," she continued with a shrug and another sip of her drink. "You tired of hospital food? I know I would be," she finished as she set her glass down on the counter.
"It's not for me," Peter replied.
"Hm?" Wanda asked as Steve entered the kitchen.
"The little devil's hard to find," Steve said as he brought the small box to bear.
"Oh!" Wanda exclaimed as she looked from the box to Peter, then back to the box. "You're gonna-"
"Yeah," Peter smirked with a shrug, "I am. I just need-"
"Let me see," Wanda cut in as she raised her arms into the air. "I think I might be able to do something here..." her voice trailed off as scarlet light began to gather around her hands in swirling clouds. She closed her eyes and muttered to herself, before pointing her hand at the nearby counter. A single beam of light hit it, and formed into a plate, with a small slice of a cake on it. As soon as she was done, Wanda opened her eyes and let out a sigh.
"What did you do-?" Steve asked, with a slight look of disbelief.
"Made it so Thor never took the piece," Wanda answered with a slight sigh as she turned towards the Captain, "he's a sore loser, by the way." She continued as she turned back to face Peter and said, "go, make you move, stud."
"Thank you," Peter replied as he moved in and gave Wanda a swift hug, which she graciously accepted.
"Might wanna back off a little," Wanda smirked as he let go of her, "might make someone jealous, if you know what I'm saying." Peter smiled as he picked up the plate, and accepted the box from Steve, before exiting the room. Still, his heart beat continued to speed up. It beat harder and faster with every step he took towards happiness. He inhaled deeply as his hand brushed against the door handle. His heart skipped a beat as he turned the handle fully, and he stepped inside. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Steve and Wanda be joined by Jessica and Tony. They all remained in the hallway, however, as he slipped the box behind his back.
"You're back," Carol said as she got out of her chair, smiling as she did so. "Cake!" she exclaimed as she readily made a grab for it, but he pulled it out of reach and took a playful step back. She made another grab for the plate, grinning as he continued to keep it out of reach with subtle movements. Their elation grew as Carol tried to back him into a corner. "Gimmie!" she exclaimed as she made a huge lunge, which he side-stepped.
"You want it?" he chuckled as Carol re-gained her balance.
"Yes!" Carol cried out excitedly.
"And not what's in my other-" He began, only for Carol's attempts to grab the plate finally succeeded as she gained a greedy look in her eyes.
"Delicious," she smirked as she used her bare hand to scoop a piece into her mouth. He didn't reply, as the words he wanted to say became caught in his mouth as he stared at the wanton Goddess before him. Te one who he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He blinked in an attempt to compose himself, which was made all the more difficult by her beaming, radiant smile. "Cat got your tongue?" Carol smirked as she took another bite, "you want some? To bad!" she cackled with glee as she stepped out of his reach, and he decided upon a course of action. Simple, but elegant.
"No," he replied with a smirk, before bringing the box around. "I think I'll take this instead," he continued, earning a expression of pure dumbfound stupor as Carol set the plate down on the table. She was completely speechless as she took a step forward. "Unless you wanna trade?" he asked her as he got down on one knee, in a traditional pose. He did that because he knew that certain things must remain in place, for the sake of tradition.
"Is..." Carol began as she took a step forward, "is that...are you...?"
"Carol Jane Danvers," he said with complete honesty as he took in a deep breath. "I...I can't live without you. I...literally can't. I'd be dead right now," he continued as he took in another deep breath. "Eaten. Dismembered. Shot. You get the point. I literally can't live without you. And..." he found himself becoming short of breath as he slowly opened the black box, revealing the glimmering jewel within. The diamonds sparkled brilliantly, but where outshone by glistening blue orbs that took in everything. "And I want to know it-"
"Stop," Carol cut in with a choking sound as tears fell down her cheeks. "Just stop. Peter, I..." she continued as more tears fell down her cheeks, hitting the floor. More choking sounds followed as she knelt down in front of him, taking his hands in hers. "Yes..." she whispered softly.
"You will?" Peter replied, with absolute elation as he felt her hands against his cheeks.
"I will!" Carol cried as she thrust her head, followed by her entire body, forwards and clashed against him. Together, they rolled onto the floor as they shared a deep, passionate kiss. She wound up on top, holding his cheeks with her hands as they kissed harder and harder. Their tongues intertwined as the passion continued, and he managed to topple her, and forced himself over-top of her body. He felt to hands groping his hair, forcing him down even harder. He could feel that her strength had returned, to a small degree. She was pushing on him harder than any human could. They where both losing themselves in the moment of passion.
A moment which only ended when he felt something hot begin to trickle across his lip.
"Oh my god-" Carol gasped as she broke the contact, and wiped the blood from her cheek. In an instant, he knew it wasn't hers. It was his own. His nose had been broken by accident during their kiss. Something which she knew as well. "I'm so sorry I-"
"Does it matter?" he replied with a giddy tone as he wiped the blood from his nose, while he took the ring out of the box with his other hand. Gently, he slipped it onto her finger, completing the proposal.
A/N: Anyone else catch the 'Marvel: Assembling a Universe' T.V special? What did you think?