A/N Hey guys - I really appreciate the reviews, and I'm glad you like it - I'm sorry this is quite late, I lost my muse for a good while but managed to knock at least half of this out in just over a day so hopefully it's come back ;)
And I sincerely hope everyone reading is enjoying it so far :)
A World Full Of Killing, And Blood-Spilling
It was really quiet.
There was a certain feel to the night air - it felt dangerous to be out. It was getting cold; early October time was already upon them and it wouldn't be long before you would be able to see your breath in the air.
A car parked in an empty lot, devoid of any human interaction - the driver got out, locked the door and left. Almost as soon as he was out of earshot, another man slipped from the shadows, his hood up and his hands covered with black gloves. He smoothly jimmies the lock open and is soon sat in the car, flexing his hands as he sits still for a moment, deciding what to do first.
"Dude, that was smooth!"
He twirled around and hit the back of his head off the window in surprise when he was faced with a red and blue masked vigilante.
"I mean, really - that was quick! How do you do it? Like... that was really good. I'm kinda impressed."
The man went to open the door again to get out, but something shot out of the masked man's wrist, sticking to the window of the car door and slamming it shut again.
"What the hell?" The car thief tried to push the door open again but the webbing stuck tight - nothing he tried could unstick it. In his desperation he wound the window down and managed to climb out. As soon as he was one the floor he turned, his heart pounding - but the figure in the car was gone.
He stood up, backing away before the voice appeared behind him.
"I can be smooth too, y'know."
He turned and saw the guy that had been in the car. He had a full length spandex costume on - the thief didn't even know what he was supposed to be. The blue and red colours interwove and there was a small, tessellated pattern that almost looked like spiderwebs. He was covered from head to foot, and his mask made his eyes look large and spider-like.
"What are you? A cop?"
The spider guy paused for a minute.
"A cop? Really? Wearing this?" He then held out his wrist and shot out more web, this time attaching the thief's hands to the wall with ease.
"Hey, let me go!"
"Nope," the vigilante meandered forwards and pulled his sleeve down, checking his wrist. Apparently he didn't find what he was looking for and relaxed slightly. "Well this could've gotten a lot worse," he said lightly, and the thief could just tell that behind the mask there was a bright grin. "Enjoy your day, Sir. This has been your friendly, neighbourhood Spiderman helping you out and putting you away."
He turned just in time to see a cop pull up on a bike, holding his gun out.
"You in the suit!" He yelled, apparently completely oblivious to the thief stuck on the wall. "Take off the mask, and put your hands behind your head!"
"What? Why?" Spiderman sounded genuinely confused. "I just caught you a..." he gestured vaguely behind him to the car thief before sighing. "Doesn't matter. I'm gonna go - and look; I did your job for you, without any weapon at all," he added brightly, dodging just as the man shot his gun.
"Woah, woah - what was that for?"
The officer quickly spoke into the radio on his shoulder, "Officer in need of back-up, I have the vigilante known as 'Spiderman' and need assistance ASAP."
"Really? You want to arrest me? The guy doing all the work?" His voice was disdainful but as he took a step closer, the officer fired again. He easily dodged and decided to just run. He heard the cop bark something into his radio but quickly webbed a building, soon out of sight and swinging through the city.
Mike winced as he sat down in Harvey's office - after his encounter with the car thief, he ran into several police officers and in his haste to get away had been careless and fallen a few times; his costume could withstand a bit of damage and so he usually just got bruises and didn't scrape his skin. This didn't stop him from somehow managing to have a cut lip, a large scrape down the side of his face and a bruised cheekbone.
Something that Harvey picked up on straight away.
"Didn't we have a conversation about no more fights?" He asked, his eyes exploring Mike's face.
"This wasn't a fight, lay off," Mike mumbled - and it was that tone that made Harvey believe him.
"Well what was it then?"
Mike shrugged. "Bike stuff. I'm clumsy."
"Sure," Harvey said - not believing him in the slightest, but what could he do when the kid was possibly more stubborn than him? "Let me see that," he pushed Mike's forehead so that the kid leant back, displaying his injuries in the light. Harvey sucked in a breath. "You run head first into a wall?" Mike snorted slightly - amused that Harvey was actually pretty close to the truth. He had gotten startled as a cop fired at him and had misjudged a swing, going right into a building.
Harvey carefully took Mike's face in his hands and turned it gently, his thumbs softly touching his cheeks, apologising (exceedingly quietly) when the kid winced as he touched a tender area.
"You might have cracked one of these cheekbones, kid," Harvey told him - not in a concerned way. "You been to the hospital?"
"I can't pay to be looked at - Grammy keeps saying she'll take me but I convinced her I'm fine. I don't need to go to - "
"Donna when's my next meeting?" Harvey said, ignoring him.
"You're scheduled to meet with Curt Connors in two hours," Donna reminded him. "Want me to take Boy Wonder here to the emergency room?"
Harvey eyed Mike critically for a second before standing up. "No, I'll do it - you'll end up mothering him and I don't want that sort of positive reinforcement drilled into him for getting into a fight."
"It wasn't a fight, and I don't need the hospital," Mike weakly defended himself. "And this isn't exactly in the contract for the programme," he said slyly, glancing up at Harvey for his reaction.
The man simply gave him a bit of a glare and straightened his suit, buttoning his jacket and leaving, trusting that Mike would just follow.
"You can come with me to the meeting afterwards," Harvey told him as they left. "It's just after this session's supposed to end, but you haven't stuck to the timetable for over a month."
This was true - it was supposed to be two to three hours a week in which Harvey dutifully 'mentored', but it quickly evolved into two or three hours a day - and now Mike was going in on weekends because he'd finished his homework and was bored.
He left before it could get to evening though. Harvey thought nothing of it - he had to be back home for dinner and his Grandmother must worry now after what happened to James. He didn't even connect it to the odd injuries Mike sometimes appeared with.
"Donna, we'll be back later - please stop sending me links to videos via email," he warned her. "My phone never stops going off."
"But they're amazing!" She told him. "You never seemed to mind when it was footage of what happened in the city last year!"
"That's because if I hadn't seen them, Tony would never let me hear the end of it," Harvey told her. "I don't care about this Spider guy."
"Spider guy?" Mike perked up, getting closer to the adults to talk. "You mean Spiderman?"
"Don't tell me you're obsessed with him too?" Harvey rolled his eyes.
"It must be a hip, young person thing," Donna said sagely, smirking at him. "All the associates go mad whenever there's new footage."
"I'm sorry - any guy who wears a skin tight spandex leotard and swings through the city on a spider web isn't sane."
"Steve wears skin tight spandex," Donna reminded him.
"Donna, there's a difference between Captain America and some vigilante with an obvious grudge against blonde criminals on the lower east side."
"Why are you on first name terms with half of the Avengers?" Mike asked - having felt his face flush when they had been talking about Spiderman.
"Even superheroes need lawyers," Harvey told him.
"Can I meet Iron Man?" Mike begged. "Or Dr. Banner? They're like, my childhood heroes! Please?"
"Maybe if you're a good boy and go to the hospital, I'll think about it," Harvey said patronisingly, before propelling him towards the exit by pushing one of his shoulders. They were getting into one of the elevators when a couple of associates also joined them, talking amongst themselves in a low tone. Thanks to Mike's spider hearing, he had no problems listening in as Harvey idly answered a text on his phone.
"Dude, did you see that footage of Spiderman from last night?"
"It was awesome! The guy nearly gets shot, slams into a wall and faceplants the sidewalk afterwards and he still gets away from the cops? Guy's a hero."
One of them snorted. "Not according to the cops."
Mike glanced over at Harvey, hoping he hadn't heard any of that. The man was smart - obviously he wouldn't be quick to suspect Mike as the masked vigilante, but it would only be a matter of time, if the injuries he was sustaining became consistent.
What if he thought Grammy was hurting him?
He couldn't have Harvey telling CPS about them.
What if the hospital thought they were suspicious?
"Earth to Mike," Harvey tapped him (gently) on the back of the head. "You have concussion as well as a - ?"
"What if they think it's suspicious?" Mike asked worriedly, his lips wobbling as he thought about it.
"What if they see this," he gestured to his face, "and think Grammy's not fit to look after me? Not that I need looking after, I'm 16 - but what if they call CPS or something?"
"As much as I'd like to agree and mock you right now - you really think they'll believe that your grandmother is assaulting you?" Harvey said, rolling his eyes disdainfully as he got into the town car, whilst Mike scowled but got in the other side.
"It could happen, you don't know - people say things!"
As it turned out, he didn't need to worry at all. The doctors were friendly and smiled at him, and chatted to him as they looked at his face and carefully prodded his cheeks.
"So what happened?" A nurse asked him.
"Fell off my bike," he gave her a sheepish grin.
"He's clumsy," Harvey muttered from where he was stood off to the side (his reasoning being that since he was the one paying for it, then he had a right to see what the doctors were doing). Mike gave a small smirk - if only Harvey knew that his balance had become much better since being bitten.
"Well you don't seem to have done too much damage," the doctor told him, before writing something on a piece of paper, tearing it and handing it Harvey. "There we go, Dad - just get this prescription filled for painkillers."
Mike snorted and smirked at Harvey, who put his hand on Mike's shoulder and squeezed (a little too tightly). "Thank you, doctor," he said, squeezing a little harder as he checked his watch. "Come on, son - we have a meeting."
Mike snorted again but stood up and followed Harvey out, taking the prescription off him and saying he'd get it filled later. Harvey knew he was lying - he knew the kid didn't have any intention at all of doing it, and as much as he wanted to force him to - it would be Mike's own fault if he was in pain. He still refused to tell Harvey how he got the injuries - and however much he mumbled 'bike' Harvey could tell that wasn't how it was happening.
Mike crumpled up the prescription and stuffed it in his pocket, knowing that within a few days the bruises will have gone. The pain would stop by tomorrow. Some kind of super-healing powers were going on, he decided. Along with everything else, he seemed to heal incredibly quickly - he used to get migraines (cursed by his mother's side of the family) but he couldn't remember the last time he'd needed his medication.
"Alright, kid - you remember Curt," Harvey drilled him as they were on their way to his labs. Mike nodded. "Good - he seemed to like you so if you have to, you can talk."
"So kind," Mike huffed, sticking his tongue. "Thank you so much, sir."
Harvey swatted his knee. "Don't call me that. And don't wander off this time. You're lucky you weren't taken hostage in one of the labs and experimented on."
Mike gave a small smirk in response, but looked out of the window, not bothering to verbally reply. He still isn't sure whether he wants to tell Harvey or not. Part of him desperately wants someone to know - wants someone else to help carry the burden, but at the same time he doesn't know how Harvey would react.
And yes - it would be Harvey he told, if anyone.
He just doesn't know why.
"Remember - don't talk him to death, but don't be a shy Victorian débutante," Harvey told him, snapping him out of his reverie. Mike realised they were at the labs and scowled at him.
"Good," Harvey said easily, slipping out of the town car's door. "Stop with the pouting - your face is already a sight, we don't want to scare Dr. Connors on top of that."
"I'm not pouting," Mike frowned, slamming his car door slightly.
"You want to just go home instead?" Harvey asked him, tilting his head.
"No," Mike sighed. "I'm just... I'm kinda tired, and my face is hurting and you're not being very sympathetic," this time he pouted.
"This meeting won't take too long," Harvey told him, in a surprisingly nice voice. "You want to just go home now? I can have Ray drive you home?"
Mike shook his head. "No, I want to see Dr. Connors again, but I just..." He sighed. "I'm fine."
Harvey raised an eyebrow but nodded, walking into the labs and not saying anything until their elevator hit the right floor and they strode into Curt's lab. Mike felt his attention being drawn to a hundred different things, but he remembered what Harvey had said and stayed close, only glancing wistfully at the various machines and errant pieces of paper that were settled on work benches.
"Harvey! Good of you to drop by!" Curt's warm voice travelled from his office and into the large area that Mike and Harvey were stood in. "And Mike! Pleasure to see you again," he smiled and shook Mike's left hand.
"Good to see you too, Doc," Mike smiled at him, glancing up to Harvey as if to say, 'See? I can have nice manners and be courteous!'
"Jessica wanted a quick update on the serum," Harvey told him.
Curt's face darkened slightly. "You aren't the only one wondering; many of my employees are beginning to question how reliable my data is," Curt sighed. "I just need more time and to figure out this algorithm," he sighed again, gesturing at the papers Mike was currently reading.
He couldn't help himself and had shuffled away as Harvey and Curt were talking, flicking through the papers lying on the bench. In an instant his brain had started connecting dots, pulling up old memories of things he had read - about Dr. Connors' work, about the algorithm; books he had glanced through and the many things he had just been unable to stop himself learning. He was muttering to himself and scribbling on a spare piece of paper with a pencil.
"What are you doing?" Both Harvey and Dr. Connors asked. Harvey's tone was of warning - Curt's voice was cautious but curious at the same time.
"I'm just..." He bit his lip, thinking, tapping the pencil against his cheek. "This is the decay rate algorithm, right? This is what determines whether or not your serum works?"
"Well there's a great number of things which determine that but... yes. As it stands this is what is in the way of a huge step forward. Why do you ask?"
"And how do you know that?" Harvey couldn't help but chip in.
"Can I just..." Mike tailed off questioningly, ignoring Harvey's question. He kept his gaze on Curt, who nodded for him to continue. Mike turned the page over and scribbled a new algorithm. He picked up the paper and held it out for Dr. Connors, looking down at his feet when the man read it.
"Mike..." he breathed out. "This is... You... How did you do this?"
Mike gave an embarrassed smile and shrugged, tapping his head to indicate his genius.
"Come with me," Curt gave an excited grin and dashed further into the lab. Mike glanced over at Harvey guiltily, but the man simply raised an eyebrow at him and followed Dr. Connors. Mike skittered after them and stood nervously off to the side, watching as Curt input his algorithm.
"You don't need to bother," Mike said quickly, not wanting to be the cause of some sort of horrific accident in the labs. "It's stupid, it won't work."
"You should have more faith in yourself, Mike," Curt told him seriously, pressing a button to test the serum. "This will mix with the lizard DNA I've been working with - I have a somewhat fondness for the cold-blooded." Mike watched on a screen as a virtual software programme ran the algorithm. He saw a three legged mouse on the screen, slowly growing a leg back. He gasped in surprise but it quickly turned into horror as the mouse's leg became too big for it's body, too clawed, and it fell to the floor, dead.
"I'm sorry," he said quickly. "I'm really sorry - I didn't think it would work anyway, I don't know why I bothered, I - "
"Mike; if we never tested our ideas; how would we ever know if they were right?" Curt asked him, although his comforting words lost some of their bearing as a frown appeared on his face as he watched the mouse constantly regrow a new leg; each time coming out slightly different - but each time always ending in death.
"Yeah, but I knew it wouldn't be right," Mike mumbled, looking down at his hands as he twisted his fingers together, picking at his nails.
"It is still a step further than I would have been were it not for your help," Curt assured him.
They both turned to see Harvey staring at the simulation, his eyes wide. The mouse on screen had just regrown it's fourth leg and a mechanical voice was stating that limb regrowth was successful. Mike's eyes widened and he glanced over at Dr. Connors, whose stare was fixated on the screen.
"Mike..." he breathed out. "This is... You did it," he said softly, turning to look at the teen. "This is remarkable..." The man laughed and clapped his hand on Mike's shoulder. "Harvey - whatever you do, don't lose this one," he grinned at Harvey.
Harvey shook his slowly, as if he couldn't believe it. "I guess that's all to the meeting," he murmured, still staring between Mike and the simulation on screen. "I'll tell Jessica the good news."
Curt nodded and grinned. "I'm going to try the serum on our real three-legged mouse," he grinned, inputting the code into a large machine and watching it spin, creating the serum.
Harvey nodded. "Let me know how it goes," Harvey told him, before turning to Mike. "C'mon, I'll give you a lift back to yours."
Mike nodded, still slightly shell-shocked, and walked out of the lab with him, grinning slightly when he heard Curt shouting for him to not hesitate in coming back one day.
The ride back was a quiet one, until Harvey glanced over at him. "How does your face feel?"
Mike shrugged, touching it slightly. "It's okay. It'll be fine soon," the pain was already receding thanks to his healing.
Harvey nodded before looking back at him. "I can't believe you did that," he said. Mike glanced over at him and was relieved to see that Harvey looked close to laughter.
"Me either," Mike confided, his lips trembling before a laugh broke free. Harvey shook his head but laughed as well, and after they rode in a companionable silence; sometimes glancing back over at the other and trying to stifle their laughter.
When the car pulled up outside Mike's house, the teen leapt out. "Thanks, Harvey - I'll see you later."
To his surprise, Harvey got out of the car as well. "Hold up, kid," he said, causing Mike to slow down.
"What are you doing?" Mike asked, his eyes widening.
"I need to talk to your Grandmother," Harvey told him. At Mike's petulant squawk, he rolled his eyes. "I need to tell her I took you to the hospital, genius. She'll make sure you get the prescription filled."
Mike sighed but walked in, letting Harvey follow. This was the first time Harvey had seen his house, and for the first time - Mike was glad his grandmother put her stress, anger of grief into cleaning. Sure it was small and kind of run down, but it was clean, tidy and homely.
"Hey, Grammy!" Mike shouted, walking towards what was presumably the kitchen, if the delicious scent Harvey could smell was anything to go by.
"Michael!" She gave him a warm hug, before clucking at him as she lifted his face. "Look at this," she tutted, running a gentle thumb along his injuries. "Have these been cleaned?"
"Uh, yeah, Harvey uh..." Mike glanced behind him. "Grammy, this is Harvey."
"I know who he is, Michael," she tutted, flapping at him with a tea towel. "He picked me up from work that night, remember?" Edith wasn't shy about talking about it. It may hurt, but she was never one to just shy away from something. "How are you, Harvey?" She asked him, giving him a tired but warm smile.
"I'm good, Mrs. Ross, how are you?"
"Oh, please, call me Edith," she smiled at him. "Would you like to stay for dinner?"
Harvey smiled at her. "Unfortunately, I have other plans - but thank you anyway. Mike," he added pointedly as the teen attempted to sneak upstairs unnoticed. Mike stopped and turned slowly, as if it pained him to do so. "Don't you have something to say?"
Edith marvelled at Harvey's ability to make her grandson do things he didn't want to do. She watched as Mike pouted at Harvey, and tried to hide her grin as Harvey raised an eyebrow, causing Mike to sigh and turn to her.
"Harvey took me to the hospital for my bruises and stuff," he muttered. "I'm fine."
"And?" Harvey prompted, causing Edith to fall slightly in love with him due to the way Mike obeyed his unsaid order.
"And I have a prescription for painkillers that needs filling," he told her, pulling the scrumpled bit of paper out of his pocket and passing it to her. She read it and nodded, attaching it to the fridge so she didn't forget.
"Thank you, Harvey," she said sincerely. "I know what my grandson's like when offered something free - his pride stops him. However, my pride hasn't been seen since 1959, so thank you very much for taking him. I'm never one to look a gift horse in the mouth."
Harvey grinned at her. "If only he took after you," he said.
"Harvey," Mike whined slightly, pushing him. Harvey smirked at him and he sighed. "I'm going to my room," he said in a perfect example of a teenage grunt and left the adults in the kitchen, after a very quick; "Bye, Harvey."
Harvey rolled his eyes before turning to Edith. "I should be going," he told her, before remembering what had happened that day. "Oh, I took him to a client's lab today, Dr. Curt Connors - "
"He was very appreciative of that," Edith told him, nodding. "Last time you went he talked for hours about the different machines and rooms."
Harvey gave a tight smile, not having realised that Mike had wandered last time. "He helped Curt solve an equation that was holding him back in his work today," Harvey told her. "He's been stuck on it for months and yet Mike was able to fix it in a few minutes."
Edith simply had a warm smile on her face. "I wish I could say I was surprised," she beamed. "He's always been like that. Fastest person in the room, and yet also the one you least suspect. You lead him down the right path, Mr. Specter," she threatened him with the spatula she was holding.
"I will," he promised honestly.
"Good," she nodded. "Someone needs to teach that boy how to use what he has for good," she checked on the food she had been cooking. "Would you be a dear and tell him that dinner's ready please?" She asked.
"Of course," he replied.
"And come back down to say goodbye before you leave!" She reminded him as he went upstairs, causing him to grin and shake his head. He was amazed at how well she was coping under the circumstances. Her husband had died only a month previous, and she was now the sole carer for a genius 16 year old, and yet she was acting as though all was well in her world. She had looked tired though. Harvey had seen twin bags underneath Mike's eyes and had felt his heart strings pull slightly when the kid told him he had heard his grandmother crying in the middle of the night. She had confessed to Mike that she couldn't sleep, and Mike had spent five minutes stumbling over his words as he tried to ask Harvey for advice.
Harvey's advice had been an equally stumbled; "That sucks. Tell her to go to a doctor or psychiatrist," (obviously slightly paraphrased but that had been the bulk of his stumbling).
He knocked on what was presumably Mike's door (it had a Star Wars poster on it) and opened the door. "Mike, I'm leaving - your grandmother said that dinner's ready."
Mike nodded from his position at his desk. Whatever had snapped in his brain to give them a small teen tantrum had clearly cooled and he stood up. "Alright. Are you sure you don't want to stay?"
Harvey realised this was Mike reaching out and knew it wasn't very often the kid did that. "Sorry, kid - I have work to do," he gave a glance around the room. "Have you ever heard of a hanger?" He scoffed, grabbing several clothes and throwing them in what he assumed was a laundry basket.
"Oh my god," Mike scoffed, rolling his eyes and opening his bedroom door. "Well this was great, Dad, but I have to have dinner now."
Harvey smirked at him before they both jumped slightly as Mike's backpack - which had been placed precariously on the edge of his bed - fell onto the floor. Harvey leant down to pick it up and place it back on the bed, before seeing something fall out.
"What's this?" Harvey picked it up, holding it properly so it wasn't crumpled. The red and blue spandex was easily recognisable to most citizens of New York with access to the internet and newspapers. "Mike," he turned, looking the teen in the eye. "What's this?"
Mike paled, swallowing. "It's... I just think that spider guy's pretty cool, so I thought that uh... me and Trevor thought it'd be cool if we..." He kept stuttering, drawing blanks in his mind at reasonable excuses. Eventually he just gave up and held out his hand. "Can I have it back?"
"Michael?" Edith shouted from downstairs. Still keeping his gaze fixed on Mike, Harvey walked past him to the open door.
"He'll be down in a minute, Edith - I'm just updating him on a case we're working on next week. It's huge."
"Well if his dinner gets cold I'm blaming you!" She shouted. Harvey couldn't help but give a small laugh before closing the door, not wanting her to hear the conversation.
"Mike what is this?" He asked. Mike huffed at him and sat down sullenly, not replying. "You're Spiderman?"
"Don't sound so surprised," Mike muttered.
"You're the masked vigilante, swinging through the city and beating up muggers?" Mike tilted his head, shuffling slightly as an admission. "Mike - what the hell," Harvey's voice was low and dangerous, there wasn't even a question in his voice. "How are you so stupid? Why would you even do this?"
"Because Gramps' death was my fault!" Mike suddenly yelled at him, standing up so that he was somewhat at eye level.
"Mike," Harvey's voice had softened, but he still looked down at the costume, his eyes dark. "That's not true. And even if it were - there's no reason to go insane and let people beat you up, while you're wearing a pair of tights."
"I saw it happen," Mike told him, his voice cracking. "That night. I'd stormed out the house. And... and he followed, trying to find me. This guy robbed a store I was in and I could've tried to help but I walked away. That guy shot Gramps." He heard movement and looked across to see that Harvey had sat down next to him. "I just... I don't like feeling helpless. I knew I should've done something but I didn't - so now I have to do something, I can't just let Gramps' killer get away, not again - " He was babbling slightly, and tried to quickly wipe away some tears that had somehow gotten through his barrier.
"Hey," he felt a hand on his shoulder and scrubbed at his face, sniffing. "Mike - I know you. What happened wasn't your fault. You did what anyone else would have done. You're sixteen," Harvey reminded him. "You're not a police officer, or a... well, I suppose this now classes you as a superhero," Harvey said, glancing down once more at the costume.
Mike gave a weak laugh and looked up at him (and dammit if those watery eyes weren't going to send Harvey to an early grave). "I have superpowers," Mike confided, before snorting. "I know, it sounds stupid, but... it's true."
"Okay, so I know the motive," Harvey said. "However ridiculous and dramatic it may be. The means?"
"Remember ah... remember when we went to Dr. Connors' lab for the first time and I went to stand outside?"
"Yes?" Harvey said slowly, narrowing his eyes.
"I uh... I kind of went somewhere else..." Mike confessed.
"What did you do?" Harvey asked, his voice low.
"I got bored," Mike defended himself. "So I just went to look at stuff. And I found this room full of spiders and - "
"You idiot," Harvey rolled his eyes. "That's where all of his serum work first began. The cross-species genetics; he started breeding spiders with a range of different abilities."
"Uh, well that might explain some things," Mike mumbled, scratching at the back of his neck. "I uh... I kinda got bitten by one, and - "
Mike glanced up quickly at Harvey's tone. "It's really not big deal, I'm not dying, in fact I don't even have a scar, and - "
"You got bitten by a mysterious spider in a lab and you didn't tell anyone?" Harvey's eyes were wide. "Get up, we're going back to the hospital."
"What? Harvey I'm fine - all that happened was my... superpowers," he said weakly.
Harvey snorted. "Right. Which are? If one of them is anything along the lines of 'amazing powers of vomiting, headaches and fever' I am killing whoever certified you as being a genius and then I'm killing you."
"I can uh... I can climb walls," Mike told him. "And I get this prickling at the base of my neck, about where I was bitten - it helps me!" He added quickly, seeing Harvey's eyes darken and reach for the door. "It's like... my reflexes - remember you commented on them? I feel that and I just... I know what to do. Like, in a fight. And I can heal really quickly too. Look at my bruises," he offered up his cheek for inspection and Harvey saw that the dark blue bruise that had been there that morning was now a sickly yellow colour. "In two days you'll forget I had any."
"I doubt that," Harvey muttered, his arms crossed. "And your reasoning behind this ridiculous suit is...?"
"Streamlines," Mike shrugged. "It doesn't catch on things, it's easy to move around in... It... It helps when I'm swinging."
"That's another thing," Harvey added. "What is that? You throwing rope around and getting through the city like Tarzan?"
Mike shook his head and shot a web at a bottle of water on his desk, pulling it over to him. "Like that." Harvey stared at him, his eyes wider than Mike had ever seen them. "It's really useful," Mike told him. "I uh... everyone I fight have like, guns and knives - mine's very eco-friendly and doesn't leave any lasting damage - "
"They have knives," Harvey stated. "And guns."
"Well yeah, there's a reason they're called criminals," Mike told him, glancing up at him with a small smirk appearing on the corners of his mouth.
"So this is where all of these injuries are coming from," Harvey said. "Fighting with criminals."
"I catch them too," Mike informed him. "Didn't you see the news? I leave loads outside police stations! I'm a hero!"
He must have caught the look on Harvey's face, and sensed what Harvey was about to say. That is was dangerous. That he forbid it. That the kid would get himself hurt or worse and Harvey wouldn't be there to save him. That he was being an idiot and was way too young to deal with the consequences of this.
Harvey was going to say this. He was going to use each and every argument until he effectively closed Mike just like a certain billionaire with more money than sense and who - for example - decided to become a superhero using a robot suit they had created. Because Harvey represented an elite group of people who all shared Mike's motive of doing good and helping society and he has seen first-hand what kind of things led on from this destructive career path.
He was going to cite Mike dozens of situations he had heard this group of people had gotten into, how many injuries had been sustained - because the truth was he cared about the kid, dammit, and he wasn't going to let him throw his life away with something as stupid and reckless as this.
"You lead him down the right path, Mr. Specter."
He should listen to Mike's grandmother. Convince him that this wasn't a good idea.
But Mike genuinely cared. That was thing. He cared so much Harvey could see that he ached from it. He worried about what would happen if he wasn't there to protect the citizens of New York. He could see this had gone on from a personal vendetta - fuelled by teen angst and grief - to a selfless burden; fuelled by the need to do good and be acknowledged.
"Someone needs to teach that boy how to use what he has for good."
And dammit he cared about the kid.
He needed a protector, a mentor - Harvey knew nothing about being a superhero, or having superpowers, but he could at least try to make sure Mike didn't do anything stupid.
And even superheroes need heroes, right?
Especially punk-ass sixteen year olds.
"You make this yourself?" Harvey asked, holding the costume that - as he looked closer - had holes and nicks in it from Harvey didn't want to know what. Mike nodded. "Is this just spandex?"
"I told you, it helps for swinging," Mike told him, fidgeting.
"You didn't invest in anything knife-proof or bullet proof?"
Mike looked at him like he was crazy. "Uh, Harvey I had to give Grammy all of my allowance to fix the glass in the door because I slammed it too hard. I don't have money laying around on the off chance I need to buy kevlar."
"Tomorrow, you're coming with me to my suit guy."
Mike's eyes bulged out of his head. "You want my new suit to be an actual suit? I was trying to be symbolic and... and mysterious - I have a mask!"
"He can work magic on anything," Harvey promised him, a small smirk on his face. "Trust me."
Mike nodded, slowly taking the suit away from Harvey and pulling it into his lap, holding it like a toddler would hold a security blanket. "Thank you," he whispered, "for not making a big deal out of it."
"Oh believe me, kid - this is a huge deal," Harvey growled. "I'm being calm for your grandmother's sake. If she ever heard about this - "
"Grammy!" Mike jumped up. "Dinner! Shit, I need to go downstairs!" He shoved the suit back into his backpack and slid it under his bed. He opened the door and was almost face to face with his grandmother. "I was just coming," he assured her.
"Harvey Specter that meal is now cold - because you've kept him so long, you can eat some too." She glared at him - daring him to protest. He laughed slightly and shook his head.
"It would be my pleasure. I'm so sorry - Mike started talking about what happened in the lab today and wouldn't shut up. I thought if I humoured him it would be over quickly. A mistake, by the way, which I won't be repeating."
Edith shot him a wry grin. "You'll get used to it. Michael - table; now."
He nodded and hastened out of the room, before glancing back at Harvey. "Thank you," he said softly, smiling slightly.
The relief of no longer keeping this secret to himself, of sharing the burden... It felt amazing.
And he was glad he was sharing it with Harvey.
As promised, Harvey took Mike to Rene the next day. "I still don't see what you're hoping to achieve," Mike muttered as they walked in. "He can't fix my suit or make it... better or - or bullet proof, or - "
"Shut up," Harvey instructed, before smiling as Rene walked in from the back room. "Rene," he said warmly, shaking the man's hand.
"Harvey," he sounded surprised. "This is odd. You only came for your new suits last month. If you've damaged them in any way, I will not be happy."
"I'm offended, Rene," Harvey told him, although there was a slight sparkle in his eye. "When have you ever known me to damage a suit? I'm here for him," he jabbed a thumb at Mike, who shyly waved behind him.
Rene raised an eyebrow. "A little young to be affording our suits, wouldn't you say?"
"It's not that kind of suit he's wanting," Harvey said, leaning in slightly and lowering his voice. "We need a repair and revamp. Mike?" Mike hesitantly pulled the ripped suit out of his bag, glancing over at Harvey nervously. On the ride down he had said that he shouldn't worry - Rene would never tell anyone. And if Harvey trusted him, Mike knew he could as well. But it was still daunting having someone he didn't even know be told who he was.
Rene gave a small gasp at the costume and took it from Mike's hands. "Oh this is wonderful!" He exclaimed.
"Uh, thanks - I made it myself - "
"I've been waiting to get my hands on this since he was first on the news! I was just thinking that I would have to wait until SHIELD dragged him in," Rene muttered to himself, walking into the back, prompting Harvey to follow.
Mike tugged on his arm. "What was that?"
"Didn't I tell you? Rene was drafted by the government to work on various superheroes costumes. He has a knack for making them durable, comfortable and stylish."
"Is that how you have superheroes as your clients?" Mike asked. "You met them through Rene?"
"You think I can't close my own clients?" Harvey asked, raising an eyebrow. "When I first got Tony as my client he complimented my suit. I pointed him in the direction of Rene and now he's doing costumes for half of the superheroes in New York."
Mike just nodded, looking around the back room dazedly at the different designs for both stylish work suits and... other suits. He was half way through looking at a design for what looked like Captain America when he was tapped on the shoulder. He turned to see Rene stood there, holding his measuring tape.
"Stand still," he ordered, and Mike did so, not bothering to argue that his suit was his measurements - but apparently that didn't seem to matter. "So you're the infamous Spiderman?" Rene asked, causing Mike to splutter slightly. Obviously the tailor knew, it was just a surprise for him to hear it said out loud by another person. "I'd have thought you'd be older. How old are you? 18, 19?"
"16," Mike mumbled, looking down at his feet.
"Interesting," Rene murmured. "Harvey, how do you know him?"
"Punk got himself caught trying to deal drugs on school property," Harvey spoke up from where he had been a casual yet silent spectator at the back of the shop. "They got him enrolled on mentorship programme as punishment. I drew the short straw."
Mike stuck his tongue out at Harvey and was given a stern tap on the shoulder by Rene. "Stand still," he muttered. He pulled up Mike's ragged costume and examined it closely. "How long have you had superpowers?" The man asked him, pulling at the material to see how durable it was.
"Erm, about a month," Mike replied, fidgeting. "A month and a half?"
"How did you get them?"
Mike glanced over imperceptibly to Harvey. He didn't know whether saying would get Dr. Connors in trouble. "I got bitten by a spider," he summarised.
"Interesting,"Rene repeated. "Do you want to keep the same design?" Mike nodded. Most of the city knew who he was by his suit. And he was really proud of his design. "I'm assuming you're wanting to usual?" Rene asked, although he was looking at Harvey.
"Bullet proof, knife proof, still streamlined - you've seen footage of him swinging around like a mad man," Harvey rolled his eyes. "Nothing that takes in water either - if he gets waterlogged I'm assuming he won't be able to swing as easily."
"Do I get any say in this?" Mike asked, waving his hand slightly.
He was ignored.
"Well I should have that ready for you in a few days. Can you manage without it until then?" Rene asked Mike. "I assure you, New York won't be coming under attack any time soon. We can live without Spiderman for a few days."
Mike sighed but nodded, thanking the man. Harvey paid for it and they left. "Are you sure you're okay with this?" Mike blurted out. "I mean - buying the suit and... and turning a blind eye to the whole superhero thing..."
"The suit is an investment," Harvey told him. "If I have to know about you being a superhero, it's my responsibility to make sure you don't die. So if I have to spend money on that then so be it. And in all honesty? No - I'm not okay with you swinging around town in the middle of the night, fighting guys twice your size who have better weapons than you. But you're not going to stop and at least I know you won't become a criminal. That's one less thing for me to worry about."
"You worry about me?" Mike asked, a small grin on his face.
"Shut up, bug boy," Harvey grumbled, although letting a smirk show on his face at Mike's reaction to the name.
"That's Spiderman to you!" He said, thrusting a finger at Harvey.
"Whatever you say, Spiderkid," Harvey rolled his eyes. "Listen - the whole moral of my story was; don't die. Alright? And don't come crying to me if you get hurt, because I've done my bit to stop that," he gestured towards the shop behind them as they got in Harvey's car, indicating the suit he had just bought.
"Aye, aye, captain!" Mike saluted him.
Little did they both know, that would happen only a week later.
The suit he got back from Rene was much more comfortable than his first one. He hadn't changed the design much, except creating a spider symbol on the chest of it because, in his opinion, 'all superheroes need a logo'. It moved whenever he did - it felt just like a second skin and twice he had been nicked with a knife and not had it go through the material.
Grammy was at her sister's for the night, so he had the house to himself. Trevor had begged him to throw some sort of party but Mike refused, even though he felt bad for doing so. He hadn't spent any time with Trevor and Jenny outside of school - he just hadn't the time between Pearson Hardman and Spiderman to do anything else - even Grammy rarely saw him.
After promising himself for the hundredth time that he would spend more time with them all, he sat down on his desk chair in his room, swinging it aimlessly whilst listening to the police scanner he had constructed. Tonight was a good night for him to be crime fighting - with Grammy gone he wouldn't need to hide or be quiet when he crawled back; usually bruised or bleeding.
The scanner picked up a transmission and Mike scrolled through the numbers in his head to figure out what the one he had just heard meant. It didn't even make sense - it just said 'disturbance' on the bridge, but was requesting as much armed back up as possible, as well as all other rescue vehicles. Hastily, Mike tugged his clothes off, revealing the new suit underneath - he usually wore it under his clothes in case he needed to do something quickly.
He was soon out of his window, swinging through the city and soon coming to the bridge, his eyes widening as he saw the devastation. Cars had been overturned and smashed, and something large and reptilian had just swiped at another one, throwing it over and into the water. Mike quickly swung down, attaching a web to it and holding it as tightly as possible - he had more strength from the spider bite but he was still struggling to hold the car. His muscles burnt but he soon attached it to the bridge, peering in and finding there wasn't even anyone in it.
Another one flew off and he quickly saved it - again finding the people in it had no doubt fled. He did the same without about 5 or 6, finally coming close to what he could only describe as a large, mutant lizard. It roared at him and tried to charge him, causing him to duck and roll underneath it, through it's legs.
It swiped at him with it's tail, hitting him in the arm and trying to grab him with it's claws. He leapt out of the way, ignoring the ache in his arm and shot a web at it's feet, making it trip up and fall. It gave an indignant roar and jumped up, slashing it's claws in the air before appearing to falter, it's arm becoming slightly smaller - as if it were moulting away from it's body.
It howled and turned, running away and smashing a car out of it's way in it's haste. Mike quickly tied it to the bridge as he had with the others, and was about to run after the lizard, before he heard a man yelling desperately.
"Please, you gotta help - my kids are in that car!"
He turned and saw a man stood at the side of the bridge, leaning over the railing and trying to peer inside the car. Mike glanced back to the lizard. He could find out what it was - he could try to subdue it and call the police... but then the kids in the car would probably die.
Making his decision, he leapt down off the railing and hit the car, ready in case the webbing snapped with his additional weight. Thankfully it held fast and Mike smashed at the back window, breaking it. He heard a little boy and girl crying and noticed their screams increased when they saw him.
"It's okay," Mike tried to reassure them. "It's alright - I'm here to help you; I'm gonna get you back to your dad," he promised them. They wouldn't listen to him, terrified at being suspended in mid air, and with a masked man behind them. Mike made the decision to take his mask off, and was relieved they soon stopped crying. "It's alright - I'm just a normal guy. See? I'm just a normal guy. C'mon, what say we get out of here, huh?"
He held out a hand and the little boy - slightly more daring than his sister - held his own out, trying to climb up through the car and towards Mike. The girl was crying and pulling at her seatbelt, causing the little boy to stop and look back at her in horror.
"Here, hold my mask," Mike told the boy, crawling carefully towards the girl. "Hi, what's your name?"
"Daisy," she whispered.
"Hi, Daisy - you having some trouble with your belt?" She nodded and Mike carefully positioned himself so he was bracing against her seat and the front seats. He put his arm in front of her. "Okay - on the count of three I'm gonna let this go; you brace against this seat, alright?" He said, tapping the front seat. She nodded and he counted down, managed to unstrap her and take her in his arms before she hit the front seat.
"Wasn't that easy?" He grinned at her. She gave a weak smile back. "C'mon - let's go back to your dad," he smiled at both children and the boy gave him his mask back. Putting it on, he shifted the girl in his arms before looking at the boy. "I can't carry you both," he said. "I'll take one of you then come back and get the other, alright?"
They nodded and the little boy insisted on his sister going first. However, just as Mike was about to web the bridge and get back up, he heard a whoomph sound. Looking around, his jaw dropped inside his mask at the flames licking the front of the car. The fuel tank must have leaked and because the car was swinging vertically, it would have fallen to the front. He wasn't sure what had sparked it, but looked over at the little boy, who was staring, aghast, at the flames.
"Okay - new plan," he said quickly. "I'll hold your sister, kiddo - you get on my back. Can you do that?" The boy hastily did so, gripping tightly. Mike nodded in approval and turned, shooting a web up to the bridge. He carefully shimmied up - unable to spring up because of the extra weight.
They were nearly at the top and Mike was beginning to breathe again when he felt the little boy's arms shudder against him and slacken their grip. "No, no, no - keep holding on, kiddo!" He gasped.
They were almost to the top...
Suddenly, the little hands were no longer around his neck and he tried to swing around to see where the boy was, and could see him falling - almost in slow motion. Mike could hear his screams - heard Daisy's, heard their fathers, and he could hear his own as well. He couldn't do anything - he couldn't reach out and web the kid because then he'd drop his sister.
He managed to pull himself up and basically throw Daisy into her dad's arms before looking down, about to rescue him but... He was gone. Mike felt his legs drop beneath him in shock, and couldn't bring himself to look at the now devastated family in front of him.
He took a shaky breath and managed to stand up, glancing over at them finally. "I'm... I'm so sorry," he croaked. "I tried - I couldn't make two trips, I had to take them both at once, I - I'm sorry..."
"You tried," the man in front of him whispered. "You tried to save them both. You got my little girl back but... oh my god," he made a keening moan and dropped to his knees, still clutching Daisy in his arms. "My boy!" He started sobbing, burying his face in Daisy's hair.
"I'm sorry," Mike whispered, hastily backing away, feeling pain surrounding his body, both physically and mentally.
The man kept sobbing.
Mike was in shock.
At least - he was pretty sure he was in shock. He didn't know what shock felt like, but he knew he'd had a shock - a pretty big one at that, and he wasn't even sure where he was going. He had at first been wandering aimlessly, feeling tears coming to his eyes before blinking them away. The physical injuries soon caught up with him though, and he finally realised that he wasn't even in his part of town.
There was no way he'd be able to make it back to his house.
He spotted a street name and closed his eyes slightly, conjuring a mental map of New York in his head. One of the streets close to this sounded familiar, and he was struggling to place it - until it finally clicked.
He'd been glancing through personnel files at Pearson Hardman one day for lack of anything else to do and had seen Harvey's address. He hadn't thought anything of it - he only remembered it because he'd read it.
But now it looked like it would come in handy.
He managed to swing most of the way before having to stop - the pain in his arm from the lizard's tail and then carrying children and cars was too much and he struggled to hold onto the web once he had shot it. He limped round back streets instead, and finally crawled up the side of Harvey's building - counting the apartments so he knew which one was Harvey's. He had known he wouldn't be let in through the front - the doorman would no doubt take one look at him and call the police.
Hell, the police were probably already looking for him - he'd murdered a little boy. He felt the tears rise to his eyes again and this time didn't bother trying to stop them, the fear he felt from the police finding him combined with the guilt and horror of what happened was too much for the teen to bear.
He managed to crawl onto the balcony and collapsed onto the ground, catching his breath through his tears before hastily just whipping his mask off and leaving it on the ground next to him, enjoying the feeling of fresh air tendrils around his face. He sniffed and tried to stop crying before standing up and knocking on the glass window, before pulling it open and slipping inside.
The lights were on, so Harvey was undoubtedly home. "H - Harvey?" He whispered, rubbing at his eyes and trying to stop making the embarrassing noises of loud crying he was making.
He heard a noise and soon saw the man himself peer cautiously around a corner - his guard soon dropping when he saw Mike. "Mike, what the hell happened?" He asked, walking over and placing his hands on the teen's shoulders, bending slightly to look him in the eye. "Are you alright?"
Mike shook his head, but was overwhelmed with a feeling of safety at being the condo and felt himself falling forwards, leaning his forehead against the man's chest and sobbing slightly.
"Mike what's wrong?" Harvey asked, in a gentler voice than Mike had ever heard the man use. "Is this something that happened on the bridge? It was on the news," he informed him, slowly moving his arms to encircle the distraught teenage boy. "They said you were there, that Spiderman was there - what happened?"
Mike gave a huge sniff and moved his head so that his ear was against Harvey's chest, his face free for him to talk but he didn't stop clutching onto Harvey. "There was this... this big... lizard thing... I don't know what it was but - but it kept throwing cars off the bridge and... this one car I'd attached to the railings to stop it falling but it," he hiccuped. "It had two kids inside. I went down to get them but I had to take them both at once and... and I had to have the little boy on my back but... but his arms weren't strong enough and he lost his grip and..." he sniffed, refusing to say anymore.
Harvey didn't speak for a short time, simply slowly rubbing Mike's back comfortingly, rocking them both slightly on their feet. He wouldn't say he was good at comforting people, but having a little brother who used to suffer from night terrors had certainly helped with his comforting skills. "It wasn't your fault," Harvey said softly. "You tried to save them - it was just bad luck. You weren't to blame for this, Mike," he whispered, cupping the back of the teen's head and sighing. "It wasn't your fault," he repeated.
Mike gave a small nod and hiccuped again, pulling himself away and wiping at his eyes embarrassedly. Harvey graciously waited until Mike was ready, before walking further into his condo. "Come with me - what did you do, get hit by a semi?"
"Lizard," Mike corrected wearily, following him and collapsing onto his couch, rubbing at his nose. "And I think I burnt my suit when the car set on fire."
A car had set on fire?
Harvey managed to stop himself pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration but it was a close-run thing. He would ask Mike more questions about the bridge incident another time. Now though, all he could do was to be there for the kid.
He wasn't used to being there for people, but he would have to be because - by the looks of the kid - he didn't have anyone else in the world to share his burden with.
Harvey resigned himself to being that person. He knew this wouldn't be a one-time thing; he decided to have his first aid kit stocked up in a more detailed manner for the next time the kid turned up on his balcony.
"Show me this burn," he ordered gently, holding out a hand. Mike wiggled down and let Harvey pull his costume down past his shoulder to see the injury. Harvey tutted and hesitantly cleaned it, taking his time. He kept looking at Mike's face whilst he did it, frowning when he saw the teen was just staring into the distance, his eyes clouded with sadness and his face pinched and pale.
He worried about how much more pain this kid could take.
A/N Well at least it was slightly shorter than the last chapter XD I hope you enjoyed it - I've changed details from the film to make it more of an angst-fest, I hope none of you lovely lot mind :) Please review and let me know what you thought!
Oh and anyone who's wondering - this won't actually feature any of the Avengers. They just get mentioned because Harvey seems the type to be friends with Tony Stark and some of it is good for plot direction ;)