"Harry?" Peter leaned over his friend whose transformed body had collapsed onto the deck.

"Heeyyy Pete…" He croaked, a growing sound now that he was in full-fledged goblin form.

"Are you okay?"

"Nnnoooott really…" He drew in another shaky breath when the lapse in battle was suddenly disrupted.

Norman Osborn's feral scream carried out the scorching air as he came stomping through the flames that surrounded him. Danvers ordered her men to fire again and Peter rushed to engage Osborn. They had barely exchanged blows when an explosion from the artillery blew Peter free. He shot a line of webbing and scrambled to climb back on the deck as Harry leapt to engage his father.

"Nooo!" He heard his friend scream and fought to pull himself over the railing. Harry was begging his father to stop.

The monster would have none of it though. As Peter dragged his body up, he saw Norman whaling on Harry, berating him for his ingratitude, his lack of filial loyalty. Sickened Peter got to his feet, ready to assault the Goblin again.

Then he saw Harry, de-transforming, with Norman ready to strike again, heedless of the damage it would cause to Harry's fully human body.

"No!" Peter screamed and shot out lines of webbing, pulled Harry's body across the deck.

There was a smashing sound as Norman's fist hit the metal instead of Harry's body. Peter yanked the body into his arms, momentarily winded by the sudden weight. As Norman's glowing eyes turned towards him, however, adrenaline rushed through his system and he lifted Harry as gently as possible, shooting a line of webbing high and leaping, hoping to get them both to safety.

Another spray of fire from Danvers' men distracted Norman as Peter frantically carried Harry below. Armored doors closed behind them though the sounds of the battle that was raging above them still managed to penetrate the bunker. People rushed towards the pair, medical staff from what Peter could tell. He pushed the bleeding body of his friend towards them.

"Help him!" He begged as they loaded Harry onto a stretcher.

"Pete… Pete… stay, please stay…"

"I'm right here Harry!" He yanked off the mask – it wasn't as though it matter amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives – and ran alongside the stretcher, struggling to remain in his sight as the medics attached IVs, desperate to get blood back into his system. "I'm right here, I'm staying right here! You're going to be okay!"

"Get him into the OR! He probably has organ damage…"

A white-suited technician stopped Peter at the door. "You can't go in there."

"I'm his friend!" Peter pleaded. "I promised!"

"You have to wait out here. The environment has to be sterile and there's nothing more you can do to help him."

They disappeared with his body into the room, leaving Peter standing outside the doors. "I'll be waiting Harry!" He screamed. "I'll be right here!" There was only silence, broken by the sound of a distant explosion. Peter shuddered, wondering if he ought to go up to help them fight. He looked towards the door and slumped against the wall.

He had made a promise; and damned if he'd break it to help the people who had used Harry as bait and nearly gotten him killed.


By the time the light indicating a procedure was going on flickered off, Peter was nearly falling asleep. At one point Danvers had descended to bring him a chair, assure him that Norman had been killed and ask him if he needed anything to eat or drink; she even offered to show him the corpse. All his did was glare at her and turn away.

"I understand you must be upset…"

"Ask me again when Harry comes out of that room, one way or another," was all he replied.

She left him alone after that. He was nearly falling asleep when he saw the light shut off; before he made it to the door one of the medics came out.

"Keep it quick. He's been though a lot."

"A lot that you all put him through," Peter muttered, pushing past the man. "Harry?"

"Peter!" He looked like hell, Peter thought, bruised and bandaged. But he was alive. "Peter… my dad…"

"He's dead, Harry." Peter went to his side and rested his hand on Harry's shoulder, pulling it away when the other boy winced. "He can't hurt you again. Danvers' men killed him. He's dead, I promise."

"I just wanted him to stop…" He started to cry softly, tears streaking his battered visage.

"I know. I know."

"He made me into a freak Pete…"

"No!" Peter interrupted, vehemently. "You're a hero Harry. You helped bring him down, you tried to protect people – you're a hero." He swallowed. "No matter what you look like, no matter how you change, inside you are Harry. The same Harry who stood up for me when Flash got after me at school, the same Harry who would have sacrificed himself to stop his father tonight – that's who you are."

"They can't cure me Pete." He looked up into Peter's eyes, his own hollow and haunted. "They can't fix me. I'm going to be like this forever, always isolated, always alone, kept in some underground hole to be analyzed and used. That's going to me my life thanks to him."

Peter shook his head. "No Harry." He took his hand. "I won't leave you alone again. And if you insist on calling yourself a freak, then hey – OZ made me too. We'll be freaks together."

"It's not the same. You're not a monster, you don't look like a monster, you're not crazy…"

"I'll repeat it until you listen Harry. You aren't either."

He leaned over his friend, watching him fall asleep and wondering where the turn of events left them both


A/N: So for those of you unfamiliar with it, this is a fic set in an AU based on the Ultimate Spidey-verse, diverging at issue #117 (where Harry gets killed by his father) – the quotes at the very beginning come from there and the description of the battle is based on that episode. This fic will probably be like "Deserving" – just a set of short, quick chapters that offer a brief look at a 'what might have been' universe. Basically a chance for me to mess around a bit before getting down to lengthier projects.

One question, though – should I make this slash like most of my others? Or keep it a gen friendship fic? I could see it going either way, so I'd like to hear other thoughts on it.