As some of you may know(my YJ fans out there) I am putting The Legend of the Black Jaguar on hold due to inspiration loss. That doesn't mean I'm gonna stop writing though. If you haven't guessed, this is an avenger/Spider-Man crossover fic. Buckle up, I've never written peter Parker and this is a complete testrun. Watch the fluff, it gets aggressive. On with the trash.
Peter bounced in his chair excitedly while eyeing the six lit candles on his birthday cake. Uncle Ben and Aunt Alexandra stood on the other side of the table. Ben held a genuinely happy and proud smile on his face, in contrast with the doll-like grin of his aunt. Her expression was that of an inanimate object; it was unemotional. She wasn't angry about being there, but rather looked like she'd rather be doing something else, like catching up on her crocheting. Of course, little peter didn't notice this about his aunt. He was too naïve.
Uncle Ben gently told Peter, "Make a wish, Sport."
The child seemed to think deeply on the subject, as if his choice was a crucial decision that everyone depended on. After a few more contemplative seconds, he thought to himself: 'I wish Mommy and Daddy would come back soon.'
With this hopeful thought, Peter blew out his candles in one big breath. The boy glanced proudly back up at his uncle, but the scene had changed.
Uncle Ben's face was twisted into that of pain and sadness. Honking cars, city lights, and a whispering crown surrounded them. Uncle Ben lay in the middle of it all, his life blood gushing from his torso. The 14 year-old Peter kneeled beside his Uncle and cried in despair, desperately clutching the older man's hand as if to anchor his to this life. If he loosened his tenacious grasp, his uncle would slip away.
"Petey..." his uncle gasped out,"I want you to remember..."
Peter shook his head furiously, "Uncle Ben, please, don't speak. Save your strength." Even with these encouraging word, traitorous tears fell from his eyes, fleeing as if knowing the inevitable truth.
Uncle Ben gave a tiny smile and minutely shook his head, "With great power... comes great... responsibility."
Ben's eyes closed and his hand went limp. The body Peter held suddenly became lighter and colder. The teen's eyes widened in realization and fear as tears now poured. His mouth opened wide and a shriek of anguish and despair filled the night.
Peter was suddenly alone both physically and mentally. He curled in on himself and sobbed. The oppressive air around him was suffocating.
A shadow loomed over him with glowing red eyes. He looked up in fear at the new presence. Even with the demonic features, he could easily recognize his aunt, Alexandra.
"It's your fault! He died because of you! You deserve what you're getting!" The shadow screeched malevolently before lunging at the cowering child. Peter screamed as his vision turned red and he was swallowed up by the shadows.
Peter woke up with a gasp as his body made contact with the bedroom floor. The young teen groaned in pain and sat up, rubbing his sore shoulders. Last night had been a rough one for the boy. He was so tired when he got home, he hadn't even taken his entire costume off. Now he sat tangled in sheets at the side of his bed, clad in only the pants and shirt sections of his black and white costume.
Peter glanced up at his alarm clock: 7:00 AM. Time to get up. It was a Monday morning and he had to get to school in 50 minutes. He begrudgingly stood up and stretched briefly before going to his bathroom and washing any traces of sleep from his face. The teen then slipped into a black and red stripped shirt and a pair of darkly colored jeans. He grabbed his book bag and skateboard as well.
Peter was about to leave his room to go downstairs when he stopped, "Ah, almost forgot..." he commented to himself offhandedly before going back to his discarded costume and reaching into a hidden pocket in the suit. He pulled out a roll of cash and slipped it into his jeans pocket before continuing out of his bedroom.
As peter descended the stairs, he listened for any trace of his aunt. Satisfied at hearing nothing, he completed his journey and made his way through the kitchen and to the front door, hoping to completely avoid any confrontation.
He was so focused on escape, he didn't see the foot stick out from beside the refrigerator until he was upon it. The fall was so quick and unexpected, Peter found himself lying dazed on the ground, uncomprehending of what had just taken place. He was snapped back to his senses by the food being dug into the center of his back. He held back a whimper of pain, and only squeaked when a hand gently sifted through his soft, brown hair.
"Think you're getting off that easy, don't cha, Brat?" They harshly clenched the hair in their hand and roughly pushed Peters face into the floor. "You've got another thing coming, let me tell you. Now where's my money?" The female voice demanded as they went back to affectionately petting the teen's head.
"Y-Yeah, I have it..." Peter mumbled timidly. When he was in these situations, he found it was best to be compliant, silent, and straight to the point.
"Good, where?" She removed the foot from peters back and he reached into his jeans, grabbing and handing her the cash from earlier.
She counted it quickly before slipping in into her bra. She wore too little clothing, revealing her big breasts and smooth skin, both products of medical treatment. Her bright red hair along with her appearance did not reflect her actual age of 45. In short, she didn't look like she is very good a adulting, which hits pretty close to home.
"Good boy, keep it up now, ya hear? Your a real lifesaver kid, your uncle would be so proud you're stepping up as the breadwinner in his place. Now scram." The woman's sweet voice contrasted with her malicious personality. The personified sin turned around and with a steady gait went back upstairs. Peter watched her the entire way, sighing in relief once she was gone. At least she wasn't drunk, the last thing Peter needed was to miss any more school, and Monday's are her worse days.
The teen darted up and out the door. The faster he was gone, the better it was for his luck, he figured. Peter sighed in an attempt to ease his nerves. Deep down, he knew he shouldn't be taking this abuse, but even deeper down, he blames himself for it. It's his fault his uncle died. His fault this woman has no money, and his fault he was in this mess.
Meet aunt Alexandra, Peter's only living family.
Peter got to school with fifthteen minutes to spare. As soon as he entered the main lobby of his High School, Peter glanced around searchingly. He was anticipating the arrival of a certain black haired, pale skinned, blue eyed woman. Layla Bateman, the school counselor's fill in. Apparently the old one got together with a rich boyfriend and went AWOL so they found a substitute until they could get another permanent applicant. Since it's so close to the end of the school year though, just starting the third Trimester, it's likely they won't find that permanent stand in until next year. So Layla is stuck with us.
Or perhaps it's safer to say, Peter is stuck with her.
Between Peter's aunt, his 'job', and the bullies, Peter is constantly injured and thus weekly sent to the counselor's office. He was well acquainted with her, and she became a bit protective of him. It's obvious she suspects these injuries are from more than just bullying. But what exactly she thinks is happening is yet uncertain to Peter. There is a number of things the women could suspect. Peter just hoped she didn't ever learn the actual ones.
Speak of the devil.
Layla had been leaving her office with a taller man with impossibly darker black hair, paler skin, and deeper blue eyes than the woman. It took a matter of seconds for her to spot Peter. When Peter looked at them, it was like seeing identical twins with different genders. Peter shuddered. He couldn't handle another Layla, one was enough.
Even so, Peter decided to comply to her call and went to join the two adults by the office doors. Layla rushed up to meet him halfway, being the ever excitable and impatient person she is. "Come on, we don't have all day Peter! Get a move on! I wanna introduce you to someone." Layla pressed him forward, lightly pushing him by his back. The woman's hands brushed against the bruise forming where his Aunt had stepped this morning and he flinched forward enough to be just out of her hands reach. Peter played it off as a sudden obligation to Layla's sense of haste when he said, "Okay, okay, I'm going." The teen added a humored smile to the guise for good measure. Layla showed no sign of noticing his discomfort, but Peter noticed a flicker of calculation in the man's eyes, which sent a pang of fear to his heart. He quickly pushed it away and completed the short walk to the taller man, Layla running up ahead again to sling an arm around the strangers shoulders.
"Peter, I want you to meet my husband, Richard Bateman." Her face shone brightly with an ever dazzling grin.
Mr. Bateman gave a warm smile as well, briefly comforting Peters former concerns. The brunette must have imagined the glimpse of analysis.
"It's very nice to meet you Peter, I've heard a lot about you. My wife has told me you are a very bright young man." He stuck out a hand for peter to shake.
"Thank you, sir, the pleasure is all mine." Peter exchanged the pleasantry while shaking the man's hand.
"I also hear you're being bullied. There's no shame in telling an adult you know. Any trusted grownup will help you, including myself if need be." Mr. Bateman said sympathetically.
Peter flushed at being called out, "Y-yes, Sir. I am aware."
"Don't forget that pesky clumsiness of yours, Peter. Speaking of, your nose is looking a little swollen. You haven't gotten into any fights today already, have you?" Her voice, while kind, firmly demanded an accurate answer. Not that it was a surprise, since Layla usually spoke in such tone.
"N-No. As you said, my clumsiness is legendary. I fell off my skate board on the way to school today." Peter gave the two older people a sheepish grin while rubbing the back of his head.
Layla took a minute to give Peter a long, curious stare. The younger have a nervous chuckle, which seemed to magically snap The woman back to normal. She made a 'hmm' and gave a satisfied nod and grin. "Well, be more careful. No need to mess up that big brain of yours with a concussion! Now get to class brat, before your late!"
Peter checked the time and gave a quick nod with a hasty goodbye before speeding off.
The two lovers were left in a quickly emptying hall as students scurried off to their respective classes. They waited for it to clear in silence. Once the only movement that could be seen was the closing of the last classroom door, Layla spoke, "Did you see that?"
"You'll have to be more clear." The atmosphere had gone completely serious.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about." Layla rolled her eyes while she turned to fully face her husband.
"That flinch? Yeah, I saw it. But that could have been anything. This mornings accident perhaps."
"So what, he face planted on the street they suddenly did a 180 and managed to hurt his back as well? Yeah right." She placed a hand on his hip.
"You don't know if he had a different accident
though. And it could be from bullying as well."
"Quit making excuses!" She shot a short glare at the taller man,"I've seen how he moves around. He's a bit agile and fast, he just doesn't show it. There's no way he could be as clumsy as he says. And for all those injuries he's always got to come from just bullying? I don't think so. Not unless the kid invites his bullies over for tea parties and says, 'hey! Why don't you all beat me to a bloody pulp! Sounds fun, right?'"
Now it Was Richard's turn to roll his eyes,"You're assuming a little to much, don't you think?"
"With that beaten down attitude he always walks around with? That's not the type of submissive air a bullied kid gives off, Richard."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" He glared.
"I don't know! It's hard to explain." Layla gave a frustrated huff.
"You can't go jumping to conclusions like this Layla. It would be bad for business if you turned out wrong."
"Psh, what's S.H.I.E.L.D. care about what I do anyway?"
"An agent loses credibility when they go off on inaccurate assumptions."
"This isn't a mission, Richard."
"Exactly!" He threw his hands up in exasperation, "I don't understand why your even doing this, Layla. This isn't like you. You took this vacation to relax, not become a substitute counselor and get mixed up in the problems of some random teenager. Which is another thing I don't understand. I know your sense of heroism and justice. You always wanna look at the bigger picture. You would rather save the city than one random person. If you had to choose between saving a burning orphanage or a person being mugged, you'd choose the greater sum of people in a heart beat. You're always trying to make a significant difference with your skills. So I ask again, why are you so interested in this one teenager."
Layla glared off into space for a minute, "He... reminds me of myself."
Richard swallowed. "How much exactly?"
Layla stayed silent.
The one word was enough to silence Richard. His wife only used that nickname when she had to get a point across. She didn't need to say any more. He read the message loud and clear. If that was the case, this is something Layla had to do. For her own minds sake, and the sake of the kid. She wouldn't let anyone else have to suffer like that.
"I see. So what do you plan to do?"
"He's a good kid. If he's doing anything illegal like I suspect, I'm sure he can get off with a warning, with the living conditions I suspect he's in."
"You really think an abusive household will get him off Scott free in court? Besides, what makes you think he's doing anything illegal?"
"Just a hunch. That, and I once found a popular mob's business card on him."
"Is that really sufficient enough?"
"So basically you're grasping at straws." Richard crossed his arms and raised a brow.
"Yep!" Layla said with fake cheer.
Richard sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I guess we'll just have to deal with that later. What's your plan for getting his guardian charged for abuse and or neglect in the first place?"
"Peter's been to my office enough in the past couple months to raise suspicion. I've already called protective services. They'll do a check in within the week."
"So all that can be done now is wait?"
"Guess so. Everything now depends on what the service finds in that household."
"And the kid?"
"If we're lucky, and my assumption is right that whatever illegal business he may or may not be doing is forced, then he'll get away with a slap on the wrist and a spot in an adoption agency until he's taken in or gets old enough to go out on his own."
Richard nodded, "let's hope for the best."
"Look, I'm tellin' ya now, an' I'm not gonna say it again. Yer bein' let go."
"Please," a black costume clad Peter begged, "I really need this place."
"I ya needed us that bad, ya wouldn't have done everything so half-assed! I can have a weakling in ma crew. The boys have told me how you're never forceful with the hostages, and even have gone so far as ta protect people from your own on the jobs I send you on. I'm not running a Girl Scout regiment here. If ya can't be ruthless enough to do the job at any cost, ya have no business here. I especially can't have a lilly-livered kid blabbing on me to the police because you got a sudden sense of justice. Havin' ya here is more of a threat than it's worth." The Boss emphasized his point by smacking the rolled up newspaper in his hand on the desk he sat at. The office room Peter was in suddenly dropped in degrees.
"B-but-" Peter stuttered before being cut off.
"None of that. Yer lucky I'm even letting ya live. If ya wanna keep it that way, ya better keep yer trap shut." The man now unrolled his paper, showing Peter they cover page.
"Look on the bright side," The older man chuckled,"At least with all this popularity yer getting', findin' a new gig'll be easy."
The headline read: Mysterious Menace Strikes Again! : The Unseen Phantom of Crime Robs City Bank
Peter dejectedly gazes down at his feet covered in black cloth. His former boss excused him and he was led out of the hideout by two armed guards. Once he was left a block away from said crime base, he sighed.
That paper was news from yesterday. He had helped rob a bank the night before this one, or rather, 'Phantom' had. 'Phantom' is what the general public have taken to calling his bad alter ego. Peter didn't think calling him Phantom with the powers and costume he had was appropriate, but then he figured it made sense. Nobody had ever seen, heard, or taken any pictures of Phantom before. It's not like they could name him after his costume or powers if nobody knew what they looked like. Perhaps a ghost was the best namesake for him after all. It's not like Peter even wanted to be infamous at all anyway. He hated this job, and he would much rather be doing good with his abilities, but that wasn't an option. Peter had to get fast, over-the-counter money. If he didn't, his aunt would... he didn't like to think about it. Besides that, Peter was guilty. His aunt was never like this before Uncle Ben died, and if it wasn't for him, his uncle would still be alive. It was his fault Aunt Alexandra was like this now, and Peter was the one who had to take responsibility.
But now... Peter was out of a job, and tomorrow, or rather later this morning, was payday.
Last time Peter couldn't pay on time his aunt beat him. He hadn't been able to got to school the next day, even with his healing factor. It was thanks to his fast healing that he didn't miss the rest of the week.
Peter gave a shudder at the thought. He hated beatings. He hated not being able to defend himself from them. He couldn't risk being found out by his aunt. Nobody could ever know about these powers. No one could ever know about his unfulfilled responsibilities.
Peter of course wasn't broke though. He did have a large sum of money stashed in a secret spot a ways away. But he was exhausted. Peter doubted he would be able to make it there and back home without passing out, and it was already 2am. He figured if he made sure to avoid his aunt in the morning he could get to his stash after school and be fine.
With this plan in mind, Peter went home quickly. A long rest was in store.
Upon arrival, the teen noticed a black Dodge parked in the driveway. He also saw the living room lights on. Peter knew his aunt would not be happy if he disturbed her while guests were over, so he circled around back and stepped behind a tree that was placed right under his window. Peter changed back into his school clothes as fast as possible and with his backpack slung over his shoulder, began climbing the tree, using his powers as little as possible. He jumped into his open window as soon as he was close enough and was met with pitch black darkness. The boy threw his bag to the floor and started deeper into the room, only to flinch and stop when the light was turned on.
Aunt Alexandra was leaning against the doorway, her hand still on the light. She looked terrible. Her hair was a mess, mascara smeared, and face bright red. She glared and scowled when she saw her young charge. "Hey, Brat, where's my money?" Her voice was a nasty combination of venomous and scratchy. She was obviously higher than a kite.
"Uh... Aunt A-Alexandra, isn't it a little early for-"
Peter was cut off by a loud pound as his aunt hit the wall she had her hand on,"I don't give a f*ck, just give me the money! I have to pay my dealer and I'm short." The words were shouted.
Peter cringed away, knowing he was in for it now. "I-I'm sorry, I don't have it yet."
Her eyes flashed in anger, "The f*ck have you been doing all night, ya little sh*t?! Whatever, doesn't matter, Ricardo is gonna be p*ssed. This is all your fault! Now what the hell am I gonna do..." she suddenly trailed off in thought.
Peter saw her quickly glance him over, "He did say he had a thing for young brunettes... as long as orientation doesn't matter..." She muttered to herself. Peter, even with enhanced hearing, barely picked it up.
"F*ck it, you-" she pointed at Peter, "Keep your a*s put. Your gonna get me that money one way or another." As she stormed off, Peter swallowed nervously, almost letting out a whimper.
He did not like the implications of that statement.
So, what do you think? Continue? Don't? Feedback is always welcome! Also, I'm looking for a beta willing to tell me when my plot, grammar, wording, or otherwise is crap.