Norman Osborn raised his head and looked at Peter one final time.
"Don't tell Harry," he whispered as his mouth and torso dripped blood. Slumping over onto the glider, he died, leaving Peter to stare numbly at the body of his best friend's father.
Swallowing his pain and nausea, Peter looked at the body and shook his head. "No," he replied, though he knew Norman was gone and could not hear him. "I'm not going to do that." He sucked in the polluted air, filling his lungs to scream. "Do you hear me?! I'm not going to do that!" His eyes were clouding with tears. "You get off free and clear, get to have Harry weep over your memory when you tried to kill him and Aunt May and MJ and a ton of other people?"
Peter made for the exit of the gutted building, backing away slowly as he stared at the corpse.
"You'll get what you deserved, and it's not an honored memory."
Then, on the precipice of a window sill, about to web away, Peter paused. Having his father unmasked as a super-villain would be painful enough for Harry. Peter could only imagine what the social and legal ramifications would be for his friend if the rest of the world knew as well.
Heaving a sigh, he walked reluctantly over to Norman's still warm and dripping body and pulled out the glider. He couldn't carry both the body and the glider so he set the machine aside and, replacing the hideous mask over the man's deadened features, slung him over his shoulder and swung away in the direction of the Osborn penthouse.
Once Peter arrived he was disappointed, but not much surprised, to find his infamous 'Parker luck' kick into action. Bad enough that he'd had to fight a psycho and nearly saw him kill Mary Jane and a bus of kids. He thought he might catch a break if he did the right thing, brought Norman's body home to hide his crimes and give a decent burial. Ideally, Peter wanted to find Harry before Harry found Norman, maybe slip out of the costume, and explain matters slowly to him so that he would understand.
Which, given Peter's track record, meant that Harry would walk into the room right as he was laying the Goblin's body down on a chaise.
At first, they both stared at each other, frozen in mutual panic. Then Harry scrambled to open a drawer and pointed a gun towards Peter. His hands were shaking as though he'd never held a firearm in earnest before, but that did nothing to calm Peter or dampen the frenzied signals he was getting from his spider-sense. Knowing how badly this must look, and that it could only get worse once Harry took the Goblin's mask off, Peter gambled on their friendship and Harry's understanding.
"Harry! Stop!" He tugged his mask off. "Please! It's me, Pete!"
"Peter?" Harry looked dumbfounded but some of the fright was fading from his eyes. "Peter, you're Spider-Man?"
"I can explain," he replied, swallowing nervously. "But you have to listen. OK, Harry? Can you do that? For me? Can you listen and wait until I've explained everything?"
For a moment, he wasn't sure what Harry would do. Ultimately, though, he lowered the gun, set it on the table and went over to embrace Peter.
"Jesus, Pete, you scared me, breaking into the house!" Peter could feel Harry's chest expand as he took deep breaths. "I can't believe you never told me this before. But why now? And… and what about that?" He stepped past Peter and looked at the Goblin.
"Harry, I have something to tell you and it's not going to be easy." He touched Harry's arm. "Maybe you'd better sit down…"
Harry looked at the corpse, transfixed for a moment, then turned to Peter. "That's the thing from the festival, the thing that attacked Aunt May!" He brushed off Peter's grip and drew closer. "It's OsCorp technology, isn't it?" He asked, a nervous quiver creeping into his voice. "That's the armor that went missing along with that flying machine. And the person inside it… Oh God, no, Peter…" He covered his mouth as the dots began to connect.
"I'm so sorry," Peter whispered. "So sorry. He didn't want you to know. But a secret like that, it isn't fair to you. I know it's hard, but better this than deceiving yourself, better that you know what happened, better I be honest. At… at least that's what I keep telling myself," he finished weakly, staring at the carpet.
"I don't want to look!" Harry cried out and turned around. "I don't want to see! If I see…" He steadied himself on the table. "If I see it will be real." He looked up at Peter. "Did you kill him?"
"Not exactly," Peter admitted in a small voice. "Have you been watching the news?"
Harry's eyes widened, making the connection. "Shit! That bus of kids and that girl…"
"It was MJ, Harry." Peter met his gaze, emotional. "He tried to make me choose and then he came after me. There was a bout of fighting and in the end… in the end he tried to impale me with the glider. I jumped. It hit him." Unsure of whether or not Harry would freak, Peter gambled again and approached him, taking his hand. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to. But Norman was mad, Harry. He took something, I think, he went completely mad, wanted to kill half the board, and somebody had to stop him…" His voice hitched.
Still refusing to look at the corpse, Harry hugged Peter and wiped his face off. "Come on Pete. Pete, Pete, you gotta calm down. OK?" Harry nearly laughed at the absurdity of it all and then began shuddering himself. "Because if you're crying, how are you going to keep me from crying? Especially when this is my fault…"
"No, Harry, no. How could you even think that?"
"Because I told him Pete!" Harry bellowed suddenly, making Peter start. "I told him! I saw you and MJ and came back and found him, told him that he was right. Told him that you cared about MJ more than anything else. I didn't know you were Spider-Man or that he was the Goblin, didn't think it would lead to anything! But if he went after her right after I told him about you – who's to blame for that?" He leaned into Peter's shoulder, gripping Peter's arms. "I thought we were bonding but all I was doing was giving him ammunition."
"It isn't your fault Harry. Don't think like that. It's his; he was the one who made the attack. You didn't know anything about it, Harry…"
"That doesn't fix anything Pete. And it doesn't make me feel any less shitty about it." He closed his eyes and rubbed them. "Fuck. I need a drink."
Not wanting to be left in the room with the body, Peter ran after him, taking off his gloves as he went. Spider-Man wanted to chastise Harry for thinking that alcohol would help in any way, that it was delusional to think it was anything more than a temporary escape from his problems. But Peter Parker wanted a temporary escape. So when Harry pulled out the scotch, Peter pulled out a second glass.
Six glasses later Peter sank into the couch and looked up at Harry who was pouring himself a seventh.
"We gotta go back in there," Peter whispered.
"I know." Harry groaned. "Where the fuck is Bernard? What the hell do I keep him around for?"
"The butler?" Peter looked down into the empty glass. "D'ja call 'em?"
"No." Harry downed the scotch. "I should. I should but… I'm his son. I should do this, shouldn't I?" He looked at Peter blearily. "You know, clean him up myself and all that?" He poured as he talked.
"You don't have to look. Don't look. Wouldn't make you do that," Peter mumbled and fiddled with the empty glass. "I had to. He took off the mask. Looked me in the eye, told me I was like a son to him…"
"Didn't want his own," Harry sneered as he opened a new bottle and poured a ninth, sloshing most of it onto his hand. "Never good enough for him. Never smart enough. Responsible enough."
"Responsibility sucks, Har." He held the glass out and Harry poured, dripping on the carpet. "A never ending guilt trip. Too many secrets to keep and you're always letting somebody down. Sucks."
"I'll keep your secret. Would have kept it. Could have trusted me Peter, I would have kept it."
"Trusting you now," Peter pointed out with a whimpered reproach. He lifted the glass and managed to gulp half of it down. "Harry, I think we're drunk."
"Yep." Harry flopped down in the seat next to him. "That's the point." He filled the glasses again, both of them. "Drink 'til it's funny or you forget or you die."
"That's awful Harry."
"Better than a glider through the chest," he pointed out, tipping the glass back.
The part of his brain that was still functioning told him it was terrible, but Peter laughed until his sides ached. "You're horrible!" Tears leaked from his eyes and he leaned back, dropping his glass behind the couch.
"No, what's horrible is my dad's fashion sense. Seriously – that mask! What was he thinking?"
"That isn't funny!" He protested and laughed harder, Harry joining in.
"I know! My father's fucking dead." He jumped up, unsteady. "Hey you know what?" He set the bottle down and clapped. "I should call MJ! Now that dear old dad's dead and gone, things will be perfect!" Laughing, he fell back on the couch next to Peter, but then grew sullen. "Except she's in love with you. Not me. Nobody's in love with me."
"Oh don't pout. Here, have another." Peter filled his glass and passed it to him. "Your dad wanted to screw her you know," he babbled, searching for his own glass. "Said they were going to have, and I quote, a lot of fun together."
"You think she likes me?" Peter gave up the search and drank from the bottle.
"Everybody likes you Pete." Harry poked him in the side, causing Peter to twitch and giggle. "You're too sweet and nice not to like." He reached over and played with Peter's hair.
"That's not true, my boss hates me!" He grinned stupidly and leaned in. "And I don't think your dad likes me much anymore either," he whispered.
Harry cracked up again and twisted around, chuckling into Peter's neck. "God Pete…"
"I think MJ likes Spider-Man." He looked at Harry, grave. "I rescued her. Twice. We kissed in the rain you know."
"She told me. Said you did it upside-down."
"Yeah. See, I can hang from webbing like this," he said, shooting two lines from his wrists onto the ceiling. "And I was flipped like this," he said, managing to flip despite his inebriation. "And I threw my head back like this… and it was raining…"
"I've got it!" Harry laughed threw a shoe up in the air. It smashed a glass sprinkler attachment and the sprinklers started. "Rain!"
"Exactly! And then MJ held my face and pulled my mask down and she kissed me…"
"…like this?" Harry murmured as he stumbled over and bent towards Peter, imitation gone too far.
He pressed his mouth against Peter's and opened it almost immediately. The difference was palpable, even through the haze of alcohol; Harry was thicker, warmer, more aggressive, and smelled like he'd downed most of a liquor store. When they finally broke apart, Peter panted and swallowed, frightened again.
"What was that?"
That was…" Harry flushed. "I said that everybody liked you. Weren't you listening?"
"We're drunk Harry," Peter whispered, his brown eyes blood-shot and wide. "You're drunk. You're not thinking."
"Aw, shut up Pete." Harry rolled his eyes, his grin wavering only slightly. "You're wearing spandex and I've got eyes. I can see you, you know." He reached up and gave Peter's crotch a stroke. "Like that."
Aroused and confused, Peter let go and fell in a heap onto the floor, joined by Harry, laughing, a moment later. The sprinklers were still going, matting down Harry's curls and causing the cotton turtleneck he was wearing to cling to his body. Not that it mattered much; another moment and Harry had clumsily stripped off the sopping garment and tossed it aside. Hovering above Peter, he shielded the lither boy's body from the water sprinkling down, looking at him with an excited intensity Peter had never felt directed towards him.
"God, but you drive me crazy," he growled. "You know that?"
"Harry!" Peter nearly choked as Harry started to kiss his neck and work his pants down. "Get off, Harry!" He kicked in a flurry and scrambled backwards.
"I will if you let me!" Harry, hot and panting, retorted, unfastening his own belt.
"I'm serious, Harry! What do you think you're doing?" Peter gulped, wiping water off his face and pointing to the next room. "Harry, there's a dead body in there! Your father's dead body – in case you'd forgotten!"
He threw Harry back and the other boy looked at him, hurt.
"I'm sorry, Harry," Peter apologized, tugging his shirt back down. "I don't want you to do anything you'll regret tomorrow.
Harry shook his head and looked at Peter, crestfallen and chastised. He rocked back onto his ankles, running his hand through his hair. "Fuck, Peter. You really know how to bring a guy down, you know that?"
"Call Bernard," Peter said, wrapping Harry in a blanket and drying him off as best he could. "We need somebody sober." He shuddered and held his stomach and caught Harry's eyes with a mortified look. "And I think I'm going to be sick."
A/N: This fic will be short. Probably only one or two more chapters. Pretty much a divided one-shot. As always, I don't own the characters but I had fun writing with them and hope you enjoyed reading with them.