Now that the whole Lockdown debacle has been over and done with it's time to continue on with the meat of the story.
To the current reviewers who figured out just who it was in the rubble, congrats cause the whole Lockdown arc was essentially an introduction to things to come.
We'll get to Mass Effect 2 in say about…ten or twelve chapter cause I wanna cover the gap between both games as the main character of this story is still Spider-man and there's gonna be a lot of setup for Mass Effect 2.
Really, I just don't have much to say other than let's get on with it cause this is a pivotal chapter going forward and I'm proud to say I had a blast writing this one.
Also THOR RAGNAROK IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE GO OUT AND SEE IT IMMEDIATELY
And my god, sometimes you just meet the best fucking fans from your work, it never ceases to amaze me. If you've noticed, got myself and brand new cover image made by a fan by the name of Ryuki555. I didn't even ask but this guy made an awesome little something for me and this story and it means the world over. Don't care how it was made or how it looks because regardless IT IS GLORIOUS.
Here's the link for the full image
THANK YOU SO MUCH RYUKI, YOU ARE THE FUCKING BEST
If that doesn't work just go to deviantart and look up along came a spider. It should pop up
Rate Read and Review and As Always Have Nice Day
Along Came a Spider Chapter 26: Counting Down the Time
2 year and 6 months
Spider-man was enjoying a calm swing around in the Citadel stopping the occasional small crime where there were no C-sec nearby.
Overall since the whole escapade and battle with Lockdown, commotion around the galaxy had relatively quieted down.
Sure there was crime abound and the pirates and gangs throughout the galaxy and the Citadel but things seemed to have become relatively lax.
Not that Peter was complaining.
The rest of the team was also enjoying the peace.
Sadly though Wrex and Tali had once again had to depart and even though the rest of the team remained relatively intact, they had also become busy themselves.
Liara began dabbling in information regarding the goings on within the galaxy while Garrus had been chosen for potential Spectre recruitment.
It came as a profound shock to the Turian who for so long was comfortable as a C-sec detective and for him to chosen as a Spectre candidate greatly bemused the sniper.
Thankfully Shepard immediately 'volunteered' to oversee Garrus's training and the two had gone on several missions together.
Yondu during the past month had decided to take whatever he had learned and acquired and sail out into the galaxy.
He said it was time to make his mark on the galaxy until it was time to go home. Thankfully, Peter had enough time to make a Normandy ID card for the Kree who accepted and said if they ever needed help, don't hesitate in calling.
So now Spider-man chose to remain on the Citadel whilst Shepard along with the rest of the crew had left to patrol a system where there had been Geth activity.
Only Ashley remained as her three sisters had been visiting the Citadel at the time and she wanted at least one of her friends and teammates to meet her sisters.
Speaking of meeting with family.
"ASHLEY" Sarah, the youngest of her sisters exclaimed heartily, rushing right for her oldest sister.
"Sar" Ash said with a beaming smile as her youngest sister threw her arms around her and the two embraced fiercely
It wasn't a moment later that her other two sisters Abby and Lynn came crashing into the two embraced sister and the four shared a loving group hug.
Ashley soaked it all in, feeling a great sense of joy and relief after seeing her sisters again after such a long time.
"I missed you guys all so much" Ash said sincerely, separating but still having her arms around them
"Us too" Sarah said with a vigorous nod "You would not believe how much mom wanted to see you as well"
"Yeah" Lynn said excitedly "After hearing about everything that's been going on in the galaxy and with your name being thrown around, mom almost had a heart attack after learning what you were involved with"
"I can't believe you actually know Commander Shepard" Abby said with awe
"Shepard is one thing, but you know Spider-man too right?" Sarah added with an amazed whisper
"Both of those guys are some of the craziest dudes I've ever met" Ashley said fondly "But man are they loyal and great to be around. I gotta introduce you to them when I have the time"
"Really?" Sarah said in disbelief "You'd do that?"
"For my sisters? Anything" Ashley said with a nod "Come on, I bet you girls are hungry. I know a great diner we can eat at. My treat"
While Ashley went to take her sisters out, Spider-man sat atop the Citadel tower overlooking the skyline.
He sighed tiredly, his mind once more on the aspect of home. Was everything alright back home? It somewhat comforted him knowing that there was another out there in the galaxy that came from his universe but Yondu up and left, going god knows where.
Feeling homesick, Spider-man once more took to swinging around the Citadel.
He sighed to himself, wishing he had gone along with Shepard, Kaidan, Garrus and Liara on their little patrol. He would have chatted up with Joker and Garrus or just hung around the people he had come to call his friends. At least they were on a mission. It was directly from the council and granted sometimes what they made some Spectres do had a lot to be desired but still at least they did something.
Spider-man began to swing lower to the streets below, catching the attention of many as per usual save for those who were beginning to grow accustomed to see the Web-head high above their heads.
Kids naturally pointed and jumped about excitedly at spotting the superhero of the Citadel. Spider-man waved back at them which made them jump around with joy.
Smiling beneath his mask, Peter kept swinging towards his destination.
Ashley should be back by now and he was wondering if she was down to go grab a bite with him at the Manhattan Shack.
When he landed on the balcony of her apartment, he instantly saw that nobody was home.
"Dang it" Peter murmured to himself, taking out his Normandy ID card
Pressing down on the thumb scanner, Peter contacted Ashley.
"Peter? What's up?" Ashley greeted from her end of the line
"Hey, Ash" Peter said "Just wondering if you were around. Wanna grab a bite at the shack?"
"That's awesome that you mentioned that Pete" Ash said happily "I just so happen to be on my way there with my sisters"
"Your sisters are here?" Peter said pleasantly surprised with a grin
"Yeah been meaning to introduce them to you guys" Ashley said "Come on down to the Shack, we'll be waiting for you there"
"Nice, see you there" Peter said, disconnecting and jumping back into web swinging
No sooner than ten minutes, Peter saw the Manhattan Shack in the distance. Expertly maneuvering through the air, Peter shot himself into an alley several yards away from the shack and managed to avoid detection.
His suit receded so he could be in his normal clothing.
Peter approached the Shack and entered, immediately spotting Ashley sitting in a booth sitting with three other girls who he could easily assume were Ash's sisters.
"Ashley" Peter called out in greeting, then turned to the bar "Hey Alf"
"Peter" The cook and owner exclaimed jovially "Your friends await. The usual?"
"You know it" Peter said with a grin, moving to sit with Ash and her family.
"Good to see you Peter" Ash said with a smile, turning to her sisters "Lynn, Abby, Sarah, I'd like you all to meet my good friend Peter Parker. He's been with me from the start since we joined the Normandy. He's like a brother to me"
"It's such an honor to meet you" Sarah was the first to greet him as she sat right beside him "Ashley has told us so much about you and the Normandy crew"
"Yeah like you and Tail upgraded her suit to do some crazy awesome things" Lynn said with a slight bounce
"It's Tali, Lynn" Ashley corrected good naturedly "And yeah, Peter here along with Tali are two of the smartest people I've ever met. I bet they're one of the smartest in the galaxy"
"Ash" Peter chided in modesty "I'm not that smart"
"No you're right" Ashley conceded with a nod "More like a mad genius. You and Tali both"
Peter only deadpanned whilst the sisters laughed at his expression.
"So, what is it that you do on the Normandy beside helping out with suits Peter?" Abby asked curiously
Peter and Ash shared eye contact and she nodded and assuring nod that they could be trusted. They're family after all.
Peter leaned intently and pulled down his shirt. Beneath was his black suit with his white spider emblem. Ash's sisters all gasped in awe and disbelief and Ashley quickly put a finger to her lips with an amused smirk and glint in her eye.
Since coming here, Peter had not seen a legitimate necessity in keeping his Identity hidden. Thanks to Garrus and later Shepard, his background had all been 'confirmed' and really he had nothing much to lose in terms of revealing himself as Spider-man. It would harry him somewhat as many would probably swarm him in hopes of getting close to him.
Hell Shepard dealt with that several times but it wasn't as bad. And if anything did get to bad he could easily get away and deal with it another time.
And he didn't necessarily need to hide his identity to protect the ones he cared for. To begin with, all of his comrades that he had made since coming here have occupationally hazardous jobs as evident in all their escapades and they are more than capable of looking out for themselves. Really he kept his identity a secret as to not get overwhelmed by the attention the media would place on him.
He'd rather keep his mask on, thank you very much. Only friends and family were allowed that honor.
"You're" Sarah raised a shaking finger in awe and shock
"Yup" Ash said smugly, enjoying the expressions of her sisters greatly "Not only do I know the first human Spectre but also the superhero of the Citadel"
"I know you mentioned working with Spider-man but wow" Lynn whispered in utter amazement "To think…"
"We never thought we'd be able to meet you" Abby bluntly admitted "You always seem so busy, fighting crime every day"
"You're not wrong about that" Peter said, somewhat tiredly
"Yeah, ain't that the truth" Ashley said sympathetically, hand on her friends shoulder "Still I'm glad you're here Peter. Don't think we've actually hung out like this"
"What are friends for?"
Peter and the Williams family spent the next hour at the Shack enjoying a nice lunch together.
Soon after, they were back at Ashley's apartment with Ash and Peter regaling the sisters with their adventures.
They found themselves enraptured by it all, unable to hide their disbelief that their older sisters had survived so much madness in such a short amount of time.
Ash even pulled out her suit showing some of the upgrades that Peter had installed like her flamethrowers and most recently, her own version of flight.
Specifically concentrated flames that allow her to propel from around the battlefield, allowing greater mobility and flow of combat. The leg pieces were reinforced to take the impactful jumps that Ash may encounter to avoid sprains or breaks.
"Wow, Saren coming back to life must have been freaky to see" Lynn commented
"It's crazy to say this but you get used to it" Ash wryly stated "I think our lifestyle can be unhealthy sometimes"
"Sometimes?" Peter snorted "Don't you remember what happened immediately after Saren?"
"Oh god, how could I forget" Ashley groaned, rubbing her temples now "Electro"
"Electro?" Sarah repeated
"An old enemy our ours" Ash answered "Specifically towards Peter here"
"Yeah" Peter rubbed the back of his head "He and I have a long history. Honestly I'm surprised you guys haven't heard about him"
"Then again with all that's happening, a lot may go over people's heads" Ashley said thoughtfully
"Who is Electro then?" Abby asked
"He's an old foe that I've been fighting for years" Peter explained "He was once an ordinary electrician at a high tech facility. I don't want to make it to complicated so what happened was that old Max was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in an experimental grid that went off without him knowing about it and it altered his very being until he was nothing more than pure energy. Of course, becoming something like that warps your mind and since I was his true love on sight, he's blamed me ever since"
"Guys a literal bag of crazy" Ashley remarked "Son of a bitch is no pushover by any stretch of the imagination"
"You can say that again" Peter murmured, the phantom pain of being shocked by thousands of volts brushing over his entire body.
"Anyway" Peter got up and his entire suit materialized around him making the sisters yelp in fright and amazement "It's been fun ladies, but old Spidey needs to hit the patrols tonight. Hey Ash"
"When did Shepard say he'd be coming back?"
"Like in another three to five days" Ash said, her hand doing an 'iffy' gesture
"Guess I'll do what I usually do" Peter shrugged "Feel free to join me Ash, could always use the company"
"I'll take you up on that" Ash said, the two sharing a brief hug with one another before Spider-man went up to the window.
He looked back and waved goodbye.
"See you around girls" Spidey said "If any of you want a tour of the Citadel don't hesitate to call"
And with that, Spider-man jumped out from the window into a free fall before firing a web, swinging away to fight crime and the evils in the night. LIKE A SUPERHERO.
Lynn let out a dreamy sigh from her spot near the kitchen table, cheek resting on her hand as she watched Spider-man depart.
"He's handsome" Lynn said, her expression showing clear fancy towards the web-head
She of course realized what she had just said aloud and looked to her sisters open mouthed in shock as Ashley, Sarah and Abby all held sly, mischievous smiles.
Face turning a flaming red, Lynn wailed out in embarrassment and defeat.
The next day
"So nothing as of yet?" Peter asked the holo-call from his room in Garrus's apartment.
He was with Ashley as the two were hoping to get some updates on the team from their end.
Garrus stood before them shrugging
"We had chased down a Geth ship and destroyed it" Garrus said, voice slightly static like "If we had Tali, we may have been able to salvage something but sadly, we're still in the dark as to why the Geth keep cropping up"
"Well, stay frosty then" Ashley said, somewhat hesitantly "Not exactly comfortable knowing half of my friends are on the other side of the galaxy without us there to help"
Garrus gave a small smile at his friends, ending the transmission with a saluting goodbye.
"Think they'll be alright?" Ashley asked Peter
"They'll be fine" Peter said placing a comforting hand on Ash's shoulder "Nothing they haven't handled before. Besides, it's routine. We've faced off against much crazier odds"
Ashley gave a shaky but appreciative smile
"Hey" Peter said, now giving her a one armed hug "What are friends for?"
Ashley returned the gesture, the two going their separate ways for the time being as Ash was still chaperoning her sisters around the Citadel.
Peter had instead chosen to simply enjoy the place to himself.
Hadn't been able to do it legitimately now that he thought about it. And in doing so made him feel like a sad lonely sap.
"I sometimes forget guilt-tripping is my other super power" Peter said to himself, walking through a shop district on the Citadel.
Deciding to simply browse the local wares, Peter entered a shop selling Omni-tools.
The walls and isles were lined with different types of Omni's and features that can enhance or simply be added to one's Omni-tool.
He walked over to a random shelf and picked up a random chip that said it can enhance the processing speed of an Omni-tool.
Peter stared at the chip with an analytical eye before abruptly letting out a frustrated sigh and putting the chip back on the shelf.
Groaning to himself, Peter quickly left the shop and walked into a nearby alleyway.
For some reason, Peter felt as though the area was secure. As in, there were no prying eyes around him so he could easily shift into his spider suit and take off to do what always helps to clear his mind.
He really needed to find a way to clear his head.
So Peter decided to just go rando and began do flips and feats of acrobatic displays that would make any Olympian jealous at the seamless transition and dexterity.
Eventually, Spider-man settled upon sitting in the middle of a park on a bench, obviously earning the attention of half of the passerby's.
But Peter really didn't mind it all that much.
It was fun to mingle with people sometimes as just Spider-man. Most of the people usually turn out to be kids who were completely enamored at the idea of meeting a genuine superhero.
And that's exactly what happened.
Some kids ran up to speak excitedly to Spider-man and he decided to humor them and created a set of web swings on a nearby tree garnering further attention.
Now Peter laughed to himself, feeling like an old war veteran.
It was these small moments that truly spoke to Spider-man on a more personal level.
Having witnessed so much madness, insanity and conflict over the course of a decade as a superhero, there were times where Peter sought out solace in the most simplest of places.
A diner where people would just interact and eat, reflect on their days and nights.
Central Park ice skating rink
This little tea shop in downtown Manhattan.
It was strange really, always feeling a great sense of comfort when he saw people just living out there lives happily, choosing wherever it is that they wished to go.
He recalled Cap saying to him once that this is what they fight for at the end of the day. So that others don't have to suffer through the hardships that they endure. At the very least, give them a chance to as life isn't all that kind or picky on who it torments.
This thought process ended when a familiar someone caught the eye of Spider-man.
There, way off on the other side of the park was Miranda Lawson who was walking back into the bustling landscape of the citadel.
Peter was about to give chase when his Spider-sense went off.
And not in the imminent danger department, no. More like someone else is in danger.
And this thoroughly confused Spider-man. Looking around, Peter was trying to make sense of just what his Spider-sense was trying to tell him. This had been happening for some time and he hadn't given it much thought up until the moments that his sixth sense acted up.
Peter looked back and forth when he felt a tug when his eyes passed over several individuals.
Blinking, Peter slowly moved his head, focusing on the direction his Spider-sense was guiding him on until it at last blared at him finally facing the direction it was 'telling' him that the danger was coming from.
Narrowing his eyes, Peter saw a group of shady individuals. They were a mix match of species, a human, two Turians, a Salarian and a Krogan.
Wondering why his spider-sense told him that they were the threat, Spider-man noticed they had picked up the pace and were following down the same path as Miranda.
Quickly apologizing to the small crowd of kids he was playing with(gotta do some hero work guys), Spider-man discreetly jogged over to where the men were following after Miranda. There were civilians obviously gasping and pointing at seeing the vigilante so brazenly out in the open, so Peter jumped into the air and started to web swing after Miranda's pursuers.
Thankfully, even with all the attention he had received, the men didn't notice him allowing Spider-man to trail after them high above in the skyline.
Down below, Miranda had noticed her pursuers just a few seconds ago and was now leading them down a winding alleyway down into a secluded area of the area.
These were definitely not Cerberus agents of any agents of any recognizable organization so that would lead Miranda to assume that these were agents of the Shadow Broker.
Now this isn't the first time that she had encountered agents of the most influential information broker of the galaxy. Since joining Cerberus, Miranda had heard and seen multiple interactions with people involved with The Shadow Broker. Both as mutual working partners and as rivals.
Right now though, it seemed to be in the rival/stalker position at this moment.
Discreetly readying her gun, Miranda picked up her pace intentionally in order to single them out. Assurance if you would and it paid off as the men chasing her increased their speed as well.
However, all of that changed when Miranda felt herself bump into a large frame.
Glancing up, she realized it was another Krogan who had successfully pointed a gun at her hip, hidden in plain sight.
"You know the drill" The Krogan rumbled
Miranda mentally chastised herself, glancing back to see her original pursuers not too far behind from her.
Looking back to the Krogan, the large merc gestured his head to a nearby alleyway.
Rolling her eyes at the cliché, Miranda had no choice but to oblige.
Up above, Peter saw all this transpire and sighed.
"Everything is so clichéd now, can't they think of something original" Spider-man remarked.
He then jolted at his choice of words and quickly looked to the skies.
"Not that there's anything wrong with that" Peter said desperately "I mean who can beat the classics? No one I tell ya"
Not wishing to tempt fate any further, Spider-man descended down to see Miranda surrounded by these thug like individuals.
The Cerberus held a calm, almost annoyed expression even though half a dozen well-armed individuals surrounded her.
"What is that you people want this time?" Miranda asked in clear irritation at not only being caught off guard but being in this situation
"Shadow Broker caught wind of one of your recent projects and experimentations" One of the humans spoke, getting right to the point "He's been curious about said project and wants in. For a decent trade of course"
"Well my apologies" Miranda said sarcastically with a dangerous undertone "I didn't get any memo of a meat up. Honestly, I'm frankly disappointed right now. I thought the Broker was more efficient and precise with his methods of gaining what he wants and needs"
"Let's just say other matters concern the Broker at this moment" The other human spoke up
"And thusly, he had no time to enter an exchange of negotiable terms" The Salarian said coldly.
"Then you'll have to send my apologies to the Shadow Broker as whatever it is that he seeks, I do not have it" Miranda stated, preparing to call upon her biotics "And even if I did have whatever it is he seeks, I wouldn't have given it to him in this manner"
"Such a shame" The Krogan that cornered her remarked with a savage grin as he brought out a shotgun "And we so looking forward to having a nice long chat"
"And I was SO looking forward to a nice day at the park" A voice from above said "But sadly, duty calls as it does to a hero such as my stature"
All heads looked up to see none other than the Spider-man casually sitting on one of the walls of the buildings they stood in between.
He waved down to them.
"Now normally this shady business would be conducted much more gracefully" Peter began jokingly reprimanding the henchmen "Then again, bad guys aren't really known for their grace, are they?"
"Listen Spider-man" One of the Turians said "We don't want to cause a scene. We'd rather handle our business and be done with it"
"Right" Peter said pointing at the Turian "And normally I'd allow that had it not been for the fact that A: you guys scream we're up to no good, B: Chasing down a beautiful lady such as herself and C: Drawn out your guns on her. Now tell me, would a good hero like myself ignore those signs?"
"No" The other Krogan now primed a grenade in his hands "Only a DEAD MAN"
The Krogan threw the grenade which Peter casually caught and threw up in the air to harmlessly explode.
Spider-man deadpanned at the Krogan who was now blankly staring at the superhero.
"Did you seriously think that would work?" Spider-man said wryly "No? Thought not"
And then Spider-man jumped down at them, expertly weaving in between the gunfire they now directed at him. Miranda also pulled out her gun and began firing at them.
On his way down, Peter snagged two of the thugs and crossed his arms making them smack their heads against one another, knocking them out.
Miranda had taken care of the other human before turning to face the Krogan who had originally forced her to come here incased in a cocoon.
"And that's that" Spider-man said cheerfully, landing before Miranda who was now staring a bit wide eyed at the hero
"You alright?" Spider-man asked in concern "They didn't do anything to you, did they?"
"N-No" Miranda stammered momentarily, feeling an unusual sense of familiarity with the hero "Thank you"
"No problem" Spider-man said with relief, his shoulders sagging in relaxation
And that was what did it for Miranda. That spark of recognition in her eyes.
It wasn't just the voice, it was the specific movement of this man that helped Miranda connect the dots.
Narrowing her eyes, Miranda stepped forward to invade Spider-man's personal space.
He squirmed at the closeness of the buxom brunette and this only served to further help confirm for Miranda Lawson just who it was under the mask.
Miranda looked around and saw that everyone was unconscious, thus ensuring the privacy of their little exchange.
"Tell me Spider-man" Miranda began slowly "Does the name Peter Parker mean anything to you?"
Peter arched a brow at the question, unknowingly gaining a slightly nervous jitter.
"Uh, yeah sure, he's covered my…uh escapades in the past" Spider-man said like it w as routine
Only it wasn't. A woman with the body and face of a goddess that was WAY to close for his own liking.
"Really?" Miranda said thoughtfully "You must know him quite well for him to have spoken about you"
"Well I'm not that big a deal really" Peter said, trying his best to come off as modestly as possible
Yes he knew that to the rest of the Citadel and the galaxy, he was a one of a kind being that will always be a big deal now. He just can't get behind that. You know how it is with Power and Responsibility.
"Oh, I must say that statement is a great exaggeration" Miranda remarked, now leaning in closer. Peter tried tilting himself further back but this only gave Miranda greater cause to 'pursue'
"You've changed a great deal of things around here, Spider-man" Miranda said, her voice silkily enrapturing Peter as he shuddered in nervousness and anticipation
"For better or for worse, the galaxy will never be the same again because of you" Miranda's face was now a mere inch from his own "Peter"
That snapped Peter out of his trance that Miranda was unknowingly placing on him.
"What? Peter? I…"
Miranda rolled her eyes and shot out her hand to Spider-man's head, using her biotics to keep him in place.
"HEY, That's cheating!" Was all Spidey managed to say when Miranda unmasked him
"Oh come on" Peter moaned "Really?! This is how you find out?! That was a dirty move and you know it Miranda"
"I can't believe I didn't see it immediately" Miranda instead berated herself upon seeing that it was indeed Peter Parker beneath the mask "It should have made sense. It does make sense. I can't believe you didn't tell me that you're Spider-man"
"Oh that's a great opener" Spider-man remarked sourly, snatching his mask back "Hey there pretty lady, I got no material other than me being Spider-man. That's all there is to me"
"That's not what I meant" Miranda said crossly, crossing her arms in front of her
"My identity isn't something I'd throw out so easily" Peter said, slipping his mask back on "Save for my friends"
"I thought you could trust me" Miranda said irritably
"I barely trust myself" Peter exclaimed "Urgh, hang on"
Peter then held her close, eliciting a surprised yelp from her and her face actually turning crimson.
"What are you..?"
"Gonna talk somewhere more private" Spider-man said jumping into the air.
Feeling out of her element, Miranda ashamedly clung to peter as he swung upwards and away from the vicinity.
Landing on a secluded rooftop, Peter went to sit upon an air ventilator, facing Miranda as he removed his mask.
"I can't believe you of all people are Spider-man" Miranda said exasperation
"First of all, 'hey', the hell is that supposed to mean?" Peter sad "secondly, it's not that surprising, and lastly, if I find out your recording any of this…"
"I'm not recording any of this" Miranda burst out, surprising even herself at her honesty "I'm just trying to process all of this. The man I had met on several occasions who I had taken to calling a friend is the Superhero vigilante who apparently has been spotted working and fighting alongside John Shepard who just so happens to be Humanities first Spectre"
Miranda let out a ragged breath, steadying herself after that mini rant she gave off.
Peter only stared blankly and slightly wide eyed at the gorgeous lady.
"I'm sorry, it's just…" Miranda took a moment and walked off to the edge "Let me just get a moment here"
Spider-man could only sit and watch the Cerberus Agent move back and forth in contemplation, constantly muttering to herself about what she had just discovered while at the same time, he internally scolded himself at letting down his defenses like that.
'The hell is wrong with me?!' Peter yelled in his thoughts 'I never let my guard down like that. Spider-sense what the hell? Why didn't you warn me about that stunt? And better yet, where the hell were my reflexes? URGH WHY IS IT ALWAYS GORGEOUS WOMEN?!'
'He's the Spider-man' Miranda mentally repeated for the 50th time 'I can't believe that HE is the Spider-man. Why didn't he tell me? Well I barely know him. You have gone on a date with him. Wait that doesn't count, URGH why is this so frustrating?!'
Peter noticed her head seemingly starting to let out 'steam' and he decided to break the awkward silence.
"Miranda" Peter called out to her, making her freeze up "Your facing is turning blue, don't forget to breath"
Miranda gasped out, not realizing that she had been suffocating herself in her own thought process.
"Thank you" She said with some shame and humility
"Don't mention it" Peter said awkwardly rubbing the back of his head
"I want to know the real you" Miranda said abruptly
"You do know the real me" Peter said incredulously "Well…half of me at least"
"I want to know all of you then" Miranda said, upon realizing what she had just stated "Oh gods"
"Hey I'm not that low on such humor" Peter said with a grin "How's about this then, we'll make it a fair trade"
"Yeah, you wanna know more about me and I wanna know more about you" Peter said "We've really only had passing times so I'd rather make it official"
Miranda momentarily lost her ability to form words
"Are you…Are you asking me out on a date?" Miranda asked just to be sure
In Miranda's line of work, she has been doing this for quite some time. Since childhood, all she could remember was struggling against everything from her status and as her father's daughter to keeping her own skeletons in the closet.
"Yeah" Spider-man said more cheerfully now "A date, between you and me"
"I know what a date is Peter" Miranda deadpanned "I just wanted to be sure"
"Well now you know" Peter said, jumping up, pulling his mask back on "We'll meet near the Council Tower tomorrow. There's this great sushi place I know"
And before Miranda could get another word in, Peter approached her and turned around.
"Grab on" Peter said, looking back at her while gesturing his thumb to his back.
"I don't want to" Miranda said somewhat dangerously
"Do you have another, faster way down?" Peter remarked
Miranda opened her mouth only to shut it. Steeling herself at what she viewed to be a bit of an embarrassing position for herself, Miranda wrapped her arms around Spidey's shoulders and held on tight.
"Alright" Spider-man jumped around a bit slightly making Miranda now wrap her legs around in time just as Spider-man began to sprint towards the edge of the roof.
"You did that intentionally" Miranda shouted at the top of her lungs as they both fell towards the ground
"I have no idea what you're talking about" Spider-man yelled back with a cheer as he shot a web line and swung away
"PETER" Miranda shouted at the top of her lungs
The next day
Peter and Miranda walked side by side on their way to the Sushi bar called the silver coast.
Miranda kept grumbling to herself about her predicament.
"Are you just gonna complain about this all day?"
"I'm sorry, but how would you react if someone you knew had a double life" Miranda actually felt a bit guilty at saying that towards him. After all, she had yet to tell him about her being a Cerberus agent and the unsavory actions she herself had committed
"You'd be amazed at how often I've faced that" Peter whimsically said
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Uh uh uh" Peter wagged his finger "No playing all the cards on the first round"
Miranda only grumbled as they at last made it to the Sushi place Peter told her about.
She blinked in surprise as this was quite the establishment
"Shepard told me about this place" Peter said to Miranda "He took Liara here and apparently we were responsible for helping save the owners son and daughter so he gave out some free voucher passes for the entire team"
"One of the few times my Parker luck actually pays off" Peter joked, guiding Miranda into the bar
Peter brought out his voucher via Omni-Tool and the usher guided them to a specially reserved table nearby the fish tanks.
Miranda couldn't help but be impressed with Peter's choice of place and settled nicely into her seat.
"You look nice" Peter complimented
"You clean up well yourself" Miranda said in turn, meaning it
The two received their menus and ordered their appetizers and meals before facing each other, feeling a sense of slight awkwardness come over between the two.
Peter coughed into his hands to break the tension
"So" Peter said, idly playing with his straw in his drink "How are you today?"
"Do you really not know how a date goes?" Miranda asked, unamused
"Hey, I'll have you know I went on plenty of dates" Peter said indignantly "They just…usually never panned out like they normally do"
"I can't imagine why"
"Of course you can. You just don't want to say it out loud"
'Well, he's not wrong' Miranda mused internally, at the very least having the decency to look a bit sheepish
"So since we're on the topic" Miranda glanced around to see that they were in a pretty secluded part of the restaurant
She leaned in on the table "How long have you been Spider-man?"
Peter held her gaze momentarily before looking back to his drink, a faraway look in his eyes.
"Since I was fifteen, so about 12 years now" Peter said tiredly "Honestly feels a helluva lot longer than that"
Miranda's eyes widened at that information.
Since he was 15? That's pretty crazy to think that he had been a superhero for that long. But that only further served to confuse her. If he was Spider-man for more than a decade, how in the hell had it only been in the recent year had he risen to notoriety?
"You've been Spider-man for twelve years now" Miranda reiterated the info she had just heard "But you've been 'famous' for the past year only. How is it that nobody has heard of you?"
"It's a complicated story" Peter stated "Unbelievable really"
"Unbelievable?" Miranda said in disbelief "After everything that had happened in the past year?"
"Oh yeah" Peter said, nodding sagely "Let's just say, had I had more proof with me, I could explain to you my life story"
He then grinned coyly "But that must come with additional payments"
Miranda only groaned at Peter's lame attempts at playing as a 'shady dealer'.
"You know you could just ask me on another date Peter" Miranda remarked earning a surprised look out of the hero.
"What?" Miranda said, affronted at the expression "If you forgot, we spent time on a number of occasions and I admit, I enjoyed each time with you"
"Ah you really mean it?"
"Make that face again and see how I reply"
"Heh, sorry about that" Peter said with a light hearted grin "One of the nicer things you've said to me"
"I've said…nicer things before" Miranda defended herself lamely
Peter shook his head in amusement
"So what is it that you do exactly Miranda?" Peter asked "You know some things about me where as I barely know much about you"
This was what Miranda was dreading. Without knowing it, ever since she had formed this relationship with Peter, he became a sort of miniature escape between her work and her life. It wasn't until now that Miranda realized just how much she enjoyed all the times she had spent with Peter since their initial meeting.
Sure they were far and few in between but every encounter left a spring in her step with an air of disappointment at not being able to spend more time with him.
But she had forcefully found out about Peter's double life. While she wasn't ready to tell him about Cerberus, she was willing to share something at least.
"My…childhood" Miranda began "Wasn't exactly easy, to say the very least"
Peter was silent, instead opting to fold his hands together and listen.
"My father" Miranda said bitterly "Was a self-centered, egotistical, bastard of a man"
Peter blinked at the venom in her words, now really listening intently.
"I never knew my mother" Miranda said airily with a sense of detachment "I was engineered at a young age by my father. 'Perfect genes'. Perfect skin, blood circulation, even looks"
Miranda laughed hollowly
"You could almost say I was engineered to be a super human or a Superhero" Miranda said, giving Peter a very broken look momentarily
"I was never good enough for him" Miranda continued on "I was always just some pathetic washout who could never live up to his expectations. So when I got the chance to run, I took it. I ran away from home at full speed and made sure to never look back"
Miranda was now trembling when she felt a hand over hers.
She knew it was Peters and she surprised herself at how she immediately intertwined her hand with his own.
"You don't have to say anymore then you want to Miranda" Peter said softly
She closed her eyes and willed herself to calm down. Thankfully she had fought back her tears and was now able to face Peter again with her cool mask.
"I have to ask this one question" Miranda said pointedly
"Just the one?" Peter teased making Miranda lightly slap his hand with her free one, laughing.
"Why?" Miranda asked
Peter was a bit confused at the question as he didn't understand the context before piecing together what it was that she was asking.
"Hmmm" Peter rubbed his chin, simply responding by saying "With Great Power, there must also come Great Responsibility"
Miranda stared at Peter, trying to understand his words
"It's what my Uncle Ben used to tell me" Peter said fondly "He would always say that to me every now and then. Especially when I was unsure of myself. I didn't really get it at the time, you know? Me being a kid and all. Sure I was nerdy and got top notch grades in school, but all the IQ in the world couldn't help me figure out those words and what they represented"
Miranda found herself fully enraptured by the tale, sitting up a bit straight with intrigue.
"But Uncle Ben would always say that to me" Peter said with a small smile "Always. And even when I asked about it, he would just laugh and mess up my hair telling me 'you'll get it in time kiddo'. I pretended to hate it when he did that but I really loved it. Cause in my mind I knew I always had him and Aunt May. And then, I got my powers and man was I excited and happy"
"No more pushing around Puny Parker, no more being the punching bag of the school, no more underestimating Peter Parker" Peter's mood then shifted "And I was such a moron. Using my abilities to earn a few quick bucks at underground wrestling and all that nonsense. Then I got screwed over by not getting the money I was promised after a match I was competing in. The manager just brushed me aside and I left pissed off"
"Then there was this low time mugger that robbed the guy literally ten seconds after I left the office and he ran off, right past me. The manager yelled at me, asking why I didn't do anything. But in my infinite arrogance, I brushed that guy aside the same way he did to me"
Peter's shoulders slumped
"On my way home that night, I saw a crowd gathering around someone. I don't know what came over me but I pushed my way through and I saw that it was my uncle" Peter's eyes became glossy "From there, I found out where the shooter had run off to and I cornered him in an abandoned warehouse. And then I saw who it was. The robber I let run by me earlier"
Miranda couldn't help but let in a slow intake of breath.
"I had him dangling outside a window" Peter clenched his fist with rage "I was ready to kill him right then and there…"
Miranda blinked at the sudden stop to the story
"But?" Miranda said expectantly
"But I didn't do it" Peter said resolutely "Cause Uncle ben would have never wanted me to ever go down that path. To exact that kind of vengeance with my abilities"
Peter looked Miranda dead in the eye.
"It was in that moment that I found out what my Uncle meant. Why with great power comes great responsibility"
A tense silence hung in the air between the two, becoming a bit palpable. Miranda removed her hand from Peter's and sat back , seemingly exhausted.
This was not at all what she expected to happen.
She had not planned on revealing anything personal, yet she spoke of her upbringing with minimal detail but still, her time growing up under her father was not something she would just willingly speak of to anyone.
And then there was Peter's story. Of how he chose to be the hero he is today.
The more she thought about it, the more those words started to really sink in with her.
Great Power and Great Responsibility.
For the longest time, Miranda justified her actions as well as the motives of Cerberus as no more than the betterment of humanity. The Illusive Man placed a lot of trust in her as she had taken it upon herself to learn as much as she could about the Vigilante of the Citadel.
After hearing his origins, after hearing why it is he does what does, Miranda felt she needed a serious revaluation of not just Cerberus but herself as well.
There was still a lot that Miranda wanted to ask but instead she chose to accept what she had gotten right at this moment and actually enjoy the place Peter had taken her to.
Looks like the sushi bar just gained a new daily customer. Just like the Manhattan Shack.
Soon enough, they had departed from the sushi bar and were now simply strolling.
'This is nice' Miranda thought to herself
The night ended with Miranda leaving Peter with light peck on his cheek.
That was the last night for a long time where Peter felt any measure of happiness
The next day
Peter and Ashley could only stare in abject disbelief and sorrow.
Councilor Anderson only held a somber and deeply grief stricken expression.
The three other councilors awkwardly stood to the side as Ashley proceeded to break into tears, falling to her knees with Peter going down with her to hug her tightly.
The Alliance soldier clung tightly to Peter as she wept upon him, whilst he himself was trembling with a few stray tears escaping.
Anderson requested that he be left alone with them and they acquiesced, departing from the room.
It was a somber day for them all as the news spread across the Citadel and the system alliance like wildfire.
Countless humans gathered for a memoriam along with some Asari, Turian, Quarian, even Krogan.
Eventually, several days later. Joker, Garrus, Liara and Kaidan joined them and they were expecting Tali and Wrex soon enough.
During that time, Miranda made a brief appearance for Peter, apologizing with great sadness before leaving.
Peter had a gut feeling he wouldn't be seeing her for some time.
At long last, the Normandy crew had gathered together. From the small memoriam all the way to the Manhattan shack where a sympathetic and kind Alphonse awaited their arrival.
And now it all began to sink in.
Commander John Shepard, N7 marine, hero of the Citadel and the Blitz and the first Human Spectre was dead.
Whew, kinda lost myself for a while on this chapter before finally righting myself.
Yup, Shepard is officially dead now and come the next chapter, the galaxy begins to shift into a further radical direction as the team and the rest of the galaxy at large begins to function without a Commander Shepard.
But fret not for Spider-man still stands with the Normandy crew.
And even if their paths must diverge for a time, eventually they will walk together once more.
For their legends are just getting started
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