~*~

The hospital didn't keep him long, only over night. But it was enough time to make Peter worried about Harry's condition. He hadn't been there when Peter was released, so he spent the entire cab ride home wondering what he'd found out about Norman. As the driver maneuvered them through traffic, Peter felt his throat grow scratch again and he coughed, hauling up memories of the smoke filled building.

he'd saved Harry, hauled him out of the way…

Peter rolled down the window and shook his head to clear it. Harry had to be going through hell and he hoped he could get there as quickly as possible. He instructed the cabbie to go to their apartment's address rather than the Osborn penthouse, and found when he ascended the stairs that he'd guessed correctly.

Harry was there, passed out on the couch in the middle of a pile of beer cans and Kleenex. It looked like he hadn't gotten up at all and stubble was begging to grown on his chin. Peter tiptoed over the cans and shook him, hoping Harry hadn't done something stupid.

"Har? You awake?"

"I told you, 'm not answerin' questions," Harry mumbled and twisted away.

"Harry, it's me. Peter."

"Pete?" He turned back and his eyes cracked open. "Pete!" He clumsily flung his arms around Peter who hugged back. "You're alright!"

"Just a little smoke inhalation," he assured him. "Do you want to talk?"

"No," Harry whispered.

"Well that's okay. Do you want some water? Something to drink. Something not alcoholic," he amended.

"Yeah, water would be nice. And an aspirin. Maybe a few."

"Alright. Wait here and I'll be back."

When he returned, he found Harry picking up the cans and tissues, tossing them into a wastepaper basket. "Sorry about the mess," he apologized, shoving more garbage into the plastic bag.

"Don't worry about it. Here's your water and some Bayer."

"Thanks for that." Harry took the medication and washed it down as they sat on the couch. "I meant to come get you," he said, apologetic tone still present. "But I got a little smashed."

"It was fine. I got a cab." Peter looked at him, unsure. "What did you do last night? If you don't want to talk…"

"I gave a statement. I don't know anything, but I talked to the cops anyway. They're ransacking the house. God only knows what they're going to find." He exhaled, finished his water and closed his eyes. "He's dead Pete. I can't believe he's dead, but…"

"I know." Peter leaned against him, feeling like his throat was closing again but not from any smoke damage. "He was really good to me, your father. I really appreciated it."

"He loved you."

"And you."

"You really think so?" Harry's eyes were rimmed with tears.

"You know he did," Peter said, kissing him. "In the end, he did. And he accepted you for who you were."

Harry nodded and swallowed thickly. "This is all that bastard Stark's fault," he said with a sniff. The tears were starting again, but his face was creased with anger in addition to sorrow. "He didn't have to kill dad. Dad needed help, he wasn't… the stress of this job and who knows what he might have been exposed to in his labs!" He turned, still crying. "This wasn't his fault, Peter!"

"It's okay," Peter whispered and rubbed his back, trying to reassure him.

"It's not!" Harry jerked away. "He kills my father and everybody treats him like a hero! Sauntering around like he owns the whole damn city, smiling that stupid, shit-eating smile of his, thinking he's so fucking untouchable he doesn't even need to hide his identity. And I can't do anything about it!" He slammed the glass from his water down on the coffee table and his body shook. "I can't even do anything to get him back for that! And nobody will ever punish him."

Peter watched as he dissolved into sobs once more, a sick feeling growing in the pit of his stomach. Harry was right; Norman needed help, not to get smashed through several floors of a building.

"What about everything else, Harry?" Peter nervously pressed. "What about Otto? What about the company?"

"Otto?" Harry turned his head, looked confused.

"Otto. Otto Octavius," Peter pressed. "The man I was with when… when everything happened."

Harry's mouth hung open for a moment. "I don't know," he finally admitted. "I haven't heard anything since they drugged and dragged him off to the hospital."

"So he could be dead too," Peter muttered, feeling sick and helpless.

"I guess." Harry's body fell onto Peter's. "Dunno 'bout the company either. But I can guess. I'd be surprised if it's not well on its way to going under by now. The CEO goes nuts and kills a bunch of people?" He laughed humorlessly. "That's gonna go over well with shareholders."

"Isn't there anybody in PR who might be helping to keep this low key? Put a spin on it?"

"Maybe? Shit, Pete, I don't know," he groaned. "Dad always took care of this stuff. I have no idea how it operates, who does what or how anything gets handled." Without another word, Peter stood up and grabbed his jacket. "Where are you going?" Harry asked, distressed. "Shouldn't you be resting or something? You just got back from the hospital." He went after him and managed to get a hold of his arm. "Besides, Pete, I would… I'd feel a lot better if you were around."

"I just need to check on something." Peter spun around and gave Harry a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll be right back, don't worry. Less than an hour." He looked at Harry warily. "You won't start drinking will you?"

"I think I drank everything we had to drink and I don't feel much like going out," Harry admitted a little shame-facedly. "Ugh. I can feel the headache coming on already."

"No more of that," Peter gently warned as he reached the door. "And don't worry. I'll be back before you know it and you know I'm here for you 100% once I get back."

"Alright." Harry nestled into the couch, still looking anxious. "But hurry."

~*~

If the odds had been calculated on the two events happening simultaneously, they would have probably been astronomical. The heat had been unlike anything the tiny spider brain had been unable to remember or understand anything so dangerous. Driven by instinct, it ran as soon as its glass was shattered, finding safety only by chance.

In another lab two stories up, a sample from a landing site miles away was writhing in absolute agony. It impervious to many forces, but fire was one of the few things that could utterly destroy it. But here, as with the shuttle, there were crannies in which to hide and ride out the proverbial storm. Even with all the destruction, it would do anything to find a way to survive, even if its mass was greatly reduced.

Once the entire building came down, a spider scuttled out from the wreckage and into a small splotch of good, panicking again as soon as they combined.

~*~

Moved by impulse and a drive he couldn't explain or understand Peter made his way to where Oscorp's laboratories had been. The site was nothing but rubble by then, still cordoned off by police tape even though nobody was there anymore. The twisted metal hulks of equipment that had fallen all around him had been hauled away and all that was left were a few scraps. Even the building had been hurriedly imploded, the tottering structure being a danger to the city he presumed.

He sighed uneasily, not sure why he'd been drawn to the spot. It didn't exactly hold a lot of good memories; for every recollection of scientific fascination or success, there was an incident of Harry's humiliation or embarrassment to dampen the idea. The labs and experiments had fascinated him, but they'd always drawn away Norman's attention more than Harry would have wished.

a field trip, students jostling around each other, Harry defending…

"Sorry, Harry," he sighed to himself, stepping a little closer to the wreckage. "Don't know what I was thinking, coming here."

He turned and left, not noticing the frantically scrambling little creature that latched on to his leg. He remained uneasy, however, a feeling that followed him all the way back to the apartment. When he got returned, Harry was shrouded in a blanket with his eyes fixed to the television.

"Harry? Something wrong?"

"You'd better come see this Pete." He clicked so that the volume grew louder. "You were asking about Otto?"

Peter sat down next to him, feeling a tickle on his neck, and paled as a reporter standing in front of a shattered operating room explained.

"…where earlier, renowned scientist Otto Octavius was apparently driven to homicide in the wake of a devastating accident. Doctors were attempting to removed a series of arms that had become welded to his spine when…"

"Is he dead?"

"No. It's on every channel." Harry gulped. "He's escaped. He's somewhere out there, Peter, but when they find him…"

"This is all Stark's fault," Peter snapped, echoing Harry's earlier words. "Stark did this!" He turned to Harry, whose eyes had gotten wide. "I was there, Harry! If he hadn't been so violent, so eager to show off, then we could have shut down the machine before anything happened and he caused it to destabilize. He made it worse!"

"I know!" Harry screamed, anguished. "And he killed my father and he's probably going to take all the business we…" Harry trailed off and punched the side of the couch. "And there's nothing we can do!"

"I'll find something to do, I promise Harry." Peter took him by the shoulders. "Do you hear me? I promise!"

"I promised you…" Harry whispered.

"I owe you and your father everything. I won't betray that," Peter assured him, feeling something well inside him, terrifying and exhilarating. "I will do whatever I can to save your father's company and protect his legacy, and then after that, once time has passed and he thinks nothing more of it, when all the ghosts are quiet and when he assumes the fires are cold, I'll see that Stark gets his."

"You really think you can?" Harry asked quietly, unused to seeing such fervor in the normally placid Peter.

"I will," he promised again and pressed up against Harry, hands against his face, fingers sliding against his curls. "You wait and see. I will."

"I believe you," Harry murmured, letting the distance between them close.

~*~