Lonely and alienated and sad, Mary Jane Watson kissed Harry. Already she knew that it had gone too far, already some internal voice, some vestige of conscience, was berating her for betraying Peter with his best friend. That sensible part of her mind told her that she should be pulling away and ending the whole affair now before it got any worse.
Her hesitation lasted a moment too long, however. Harry's hands had started to wander down her body, sliding to her back and easing her body lower onto the couch. He was warm and eager and Peter was always busy, so busy, and when they did it was awkward and not like Harry, smooth and confident, nothing like Peter…
When the voice was finally loud enough to rouse her, she was tangled up in Harry's sheets. She left with as little explanation as she could, overcome with guilt and wondering how she could ever make it up to Peter.
In Harry's mind, the voice of the Goblin crowed. He drove the two apart, let Peter in on their secret without much regret. And when Peter eventually came over to confront him, as he knew he would, Harry smirked, told him how her kisses tasted, told him how beautiful he thought she was naked, told him how he'd fucked her.
Peter punched him for that and everything went rapidly downhill as their mutual fury escalated.
Seeing Harry's disfigured visage made Peter want to bolt, the sight of what he'd done nearly making him ill. Harry watched out of his one good eye as Peter struggled to clamp down on his horror and shame, forced himself to plead for Harry's help. Steeling himself, forcing himself to pretend he felt no pain, no empathy with the man who had once been his best friend, Harry turned his back literally and metaphorically.
"Get out," he hissed.
He had counted on Peter's guilt to cause him to leave, to go on his fool's errand trying to rescue Mary Jane yet again. Harry wanted him to leave, thought that he had put enough finality into the sound of his voice that Peter wouldn't be so stupid as to press him further.
Harry never expected Peter to come up behind him, touch his shoulder, cry.
"Please Harry. I know I've no right, but I need you to help me, please, I'll do anything… I need your help; I can't do it without you…" Peter tugged on Harry, as if his feeble touches could be enough to pull him along. His words, however, resonated the most.
Peter needed him. Needed him like he'd always had – or at least like he'd had back in high school, back when he was getting stuffed into lockers or having his head shoved down a toilet. There was no more arrogance, no more cruelty, nothing of the Peter that had scarred him. There wasn't even much of Spider-Man in his demeanor.
There was only nerdy Peter Parker, come to his best friend, his only friend, begging.
So when Bernard came in with his too-late explanations and took away his last excuse, Harry did what he had rather wished to all along and grabbed his suit. And if he basked overmuch in the smile of gratitude that Peter gave him or explained away ulterior motives for helping Peter out, there wasn't anybody to say anything about it.
By the time the fight was over, Harry could have sworn that every bone in his body was broken and every muscle bruised. Mary Jane had wadded up a piece of her dress over his worst looking wound, but that was the only treatment he'd had. No matter how much he coughed, he couldn't expel the taste of blood from his mouth and his vision swam. A red and blue form landed next to him and, with a great deal of effort, he turned his head towards Spider-Man.
"Last time I ever help you out," he croaked.
"Harry? Harry, I'm going to get you out of here, I promise." Peter looked the other's body over, as if checking for anything he could do to help. "We'll get you back to the penthouse and then we'll go from there."
"Fuck, this hurts…" He sucked in a breath. "What about you?"
"Pretty sure my ribs are broken," Peter said, wrapping an arm around his midsection. "They might just be bruised though. I won't be going to the hospital, however."
"What? Why not?"
"Mask, Harry?" He staggered to his feet. "And speaking of which, we need to get out of here."
"Pete… I'm not sure I can move…" Harry struggled to sit up. "I don't think my legs are working. I don't think I can use the glider." Suddenly, as if a thought had just occurred to him, he looked around. "Pete? Where's MJ?"
"I lowered her down to get checked out and get home. We need to go soon, though, or they'll come up and find us."
"And that's bad because…?"
"Because I'd have every bad guy in the world after me once they knew my identity and you'd have to pay out of pocket for all the damage here tonight. This whole mess only happened because Eddie knew who I was."
"Eddie? You mean that goo-thing had a name?" Harry's body seized up with a fresh jolt of pain and he bit down on another scream. "Oh God, Pete…"
"Come on." Peter lifted him up. "I'm going to put you carefully across my shoulder, alright? I'll carry you back and then… and then we'll think of something."
With a grunt he hoisted Harry up and swung to the familiar penthouse, leaving behind the glider tucked away behind a girder. He did his best to keep the right smooth for his injured friend, all the while disturbingly reminded of the night Harry had first come after him, the night he'd hit his head, had forgotten who he was and yet somehow become himself again.
"Ow!" Harry sucked in a breath as Peter dragged him through the balcony windows. "Peter!"
"Sorry, Harry, I'm doing the best I can." He carried Harry over to the couch and eased him onto it before pulling off his own mask. "Sit tight, Harry, I'll be right back. Where do you keep the first aid stuff?"
"Bathroom down the hall, medicine cabinet." He pointed with his free hand.
"Good. Just keep the pressure on that wound and we'll get it taken care of."
By the time Peter came back, Harry had managed to divest himself of his helmet and shoes. He was still pressing a torn off wad of Mary Jane's dress against a gash in his side, his fingers stained vermillion. Nudging the hand aside, Peter daubed water on it to clean it off then pressed fresh gauze from the kit against the wound.
He dressed and taped it up before moving on to other concerns.
"What if one of us has a concussion?" Harry asked as Peter stripped off his shirt and began daubing alcohol on Harry's lacerations, wincing at the sting of the disinfectant. "What if we're bleeding internally? What if something's really messed up inside of us?"
"I don't know Harry." Peter bit his lip. "I haven't really ever gotten hurt this badly before. I mean, not that I know of. Whatever is in me, it kinda… it takes care of it. That's the only way I can explain it."
Harry nodded and seemed lost in thought for a moment. "You think the formula will do that for me too? You think I'll be alright?"
"Maybe." He looked up at Harry. "You want me to concoct some type of cover story, call over an ambulance?"
He scoffed. "And what cover story would that be? That we decided to beat the hell out of one another for fun? Besides, don't you think the cops are going to get suspicious if I keep coming in with mysterious, horrifying injuries?"
He cracked a smile and, despite the pain they were both still in, Peter returned the grin. It only lasted a moment, however, before his expression grew serious.
"I really don't know what to do, Harry," he fretted. "I don't want you to get permanently injured. And what if something gets infected?"
"Hell, Pete. I've got no idea either. Wish it would stop hurting, though."
"Here." Peter passed him a bottle of aspirin. "I grabbed these too. I'll get us some water."
By the time he returned with a couple of glasses, Harry had already taken several pills. Reaching for the water he washed them down.
"Do they ever help much?"
"Sometimes," Peter shrugged before medicating himself. "I suppose I could try to get something stronger."
"You know. Sneak into a hospital or something like that."
"Nah." Harry shook his head. "Don't bother. Too big a risk you'll get caught. You're a hero," he said with a wry smile. "You can't be seen pinching percoset or something. Besides, I've heard how addictive painkillers can be and, to be frank, given my record with alcohol, I'd rather not risk it."
Peter looked at him, nervous. "You're not going to do that anymore, are you Harry?" He asked timidly. "You shouldn't, it's bad for your health and you're not the same and it will…"
"No, Peter." He leaned up against the pillows of the couch. "I'm not going to do that."
The look of relief that washed over Peter's visage gave Harry a little thrill, something that only grew when Peter draped himself on Harry's torso, resting his head on his chest, as if he needed to hear Harry's heartbeat to prove that he was alive.
"I'm so glad you aren't dead," he breathed. "I'm so glad I didn't lose you again."
"I'm glad I didn't lose me too," Harry spoke sardonically then softened when he saw the look on Peter's face. "I'm really am glad, though. Glad that there are no more secrets between us. And I'm sorry about so much. About hunting you, doubting you, about MJ…"
"Never happened, buddy," Peter assured him. "As far as I'm concerned, it never happened."
"We just forget?"
"Voluntary amnesia," Peter told him with the hint of a smile at his lips.
Harry closed his eyes and thought of the previous months and years, the time gone by that he regretted and the times that he deeply missed.
"You know," he murmured, "I used to…"
Before he could go further, however, he heard a soft inhale-exhale pattern and opened his eyes to find Peter asleep using his chest as a pillow. The pressure ached in a dull sense, but not too badly; since his lower body was still out of commission, Harry wiggled a bit to get comfortable before clumsily draping the afghan from the back of the couch over Peter. Resting his hand on Peter's head, he closed his eyes again, this time for good.
"Good night, buddy," he whispered.
A/N: A long time ago I promised a DatG length P/H/MJ story. This is that story.