A/N: Short one-shot of the scene when Peter returns, wounded and battle-worn, home and makes good on his promise. All belonging to the guys behind the Amazing Spiderman (Marvel, DC, Sony, whatever).
Hope you like it.
The man in the store gave him a suspicious look when he stumbled through the door, his face streaked with grazes and cuts and the beginnings of bruises, but he pulled his hood up and tightened his grip on his backpack and turned towards the back of the store. He was limping; the webbing, while stopping most of the bleeding, hardly provided an adequate bandage for a gunshot wound. Luckily, the item he was looking for was only part the way down aisle two.
He winced as he reached up to the third-top shelf and gripped the carton, his hands shaking as he brought it back down to waist-height. A drop of blood splashed onto the lid from the tip of his nose (broken, he thought, or hopefully just grazed) and he wiped it off with the sleeve of his jumper before shuffling, head down, to the cashier.
He slid the carton onto the counter and fumbled in his jeans pocket for some change; his hand went right through to scrape over a cut on his thigh. The pocket had been ripped out. He sighed, then slowly reached around to bring his backpack off his back and onto the ground.
The man behind the counter warred between disapproval and pity; the poor guy was obviously not too well off. Gang bashings, no doubt. Or a mugging. Either way, the young kid with the blood-matted brown hair poking out from under his hood and the red-encrusted knuckles was obviously having trouble getting out the coins from his backpack – it looked like it caused him intense pain to even bend down to unzip it.
"Look kid," he sighed, running a hand over his bald skull. "Just this once." He leant down and grabbed the kid's backpack off the ground, unzipping it and moving the other clothes he had in there around to make room for the carton; they had a strange texture, almost like rubber mesh, and caught the light in brief flashes of red and blue. The cashier thought nothing of it, and zipped the bag back up over the carton and held the backpack back out to the kid.
He straightened up painfully, biting his lip to keep from groaning, and gave the man a grateful nod. He took the backpack and carefully slid it over his shoulders again, turning to leave just as the television sprouted the nightly news.
'...Oscorp Tower almost completely destroyed, many citizens injured in the collapse of the signalling tower, the masked vigilante known as Spiderman has been placed at the scene, possibly implicated in the death of Police Chief George Stacy, having been shot earlier by one of Stacy's men...'
The man behind the counter looked back at the kid limping through the door in shock, his mouth gaping open, and the kid was staring at him, eyes wide, looking slightly panicked. The cashier looked at his hands, making the connection between the red and blue mesh and the blood and the cuts and the limping leg, maybe the kid had been shot, that was why he was limping, he was –
"Thanks for the eggs." And then the guy was gone, leaving the man to wonder whether he'd just met the kid – no, man – who'd saved his wife from being mugged and raped in an alley three nights ago.
The door creaks mercilessly when he pulls it shut behind him, fingers turning the handle to pull it closed with a click. He limps slowly up the hall to the kitchen, biting his lip to stop from screaming in pain.
"Peter? Peter, is that you?" His aunt comes around the corner from the sitting room, her dark hair frazzled and spilling out of its band. She is wearing her dressing gown, and her fingernails are bitten down to the quick. He immediately feels horrible for making her worry this much. It's a sick feeling to his stomach, something other than the nausea he feels from the pain of the gunshot wound and his whole body aching, something more similar to what he felt when he saw his uncle lying on the footpath across the street and when the police captain Stacy was making him promise to not get Gwen involved (he knew that Peter would never be able to leave this life behind, not now).
He can see her taking him in: his hood has fallen off, revealing the graze on his left temple and the slash on his right cheek, the graze on his jawline and the nitrogen burn on the side of his neck. He can feel the cut across his left eyebrow dripping blood down the side of his face, and he knows that his knuckles are a blood-encrusted mess.
He gives her his best smile; it comes out more as a pained and cheesy grimace than a reassurance, and he can see tears in her eyes.
She brings her fingers to her mouth. "Oh, my word."
He limps into the kitchen and tugs his bag of his shoulders, hissing in pain as he brings it around ever so slowly to drop it onto the kitchen seat. He unzips it and his aunt watches as he reaches in and grabs the carton, pulling it out in one quick movement that sends jolts all the way up his arm and down his back.
He hands her the eggs. A dozen organic, just like he promised.
She stands there, just holding them and staring at him as if she still can't believe her eyes.
He shuffles over to her, wrapping his arms around her smaller frame and burying his face in her hair; she is warm and comforting and not hurt and smells like lavender and soap. He can feel her shaking against his chest, feel her fingers tracing the three long slashes cut into the material there. She is sobbing, sobbing that he is here and he is hurt and oh, thank god he is alright well not alright but alive.
"Rough night." He mumbles against her neck.
She lets out a strangled and absurd laugh; more of a drawn-in gasp, but a laugh nonetheless. The corners of Peter's mouth turn up and pull at his injuries, but he's smiling too. And May is relieved.
Because she knows that they will be alright. Richard and Mary are gone, Ben is gone, and Peter spends the nights in street fights and saving people from burning buildings and destroying half of Manhattan and who knows what else, but they will be alright.
She hugs him to her tightly, hearing the hiss of pain that escapes from clenched teeth but ignoring it in light of the fact that he is not a little boy anymore. Not a little forgetful boy, but a man.
He brought her eggs. He kept his promise. And that was the important thing.
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I don't think I need to rant about how much I love Andrew Garfield/Peter Parker now.