Disclaimer: title goes to Taylor Swift, as it's a lyric of her song 'Haunted' which I was listening to when I decided to write this story. Anything else that you recognise belongs to Marvel, and all other people who have rights to the Spiderman 'verse'.

Nb. This is, essentially, a Gwen Stacy fic. Peter will, of course, feature, but so will a lot of OC's that I've decided are a part of Gwen's life, as well as a new boyfriend, her work and her family. If that gets too tedious for you, then you might want to just jump ship now. But I ask you to give it a chance because I've been working on it for some time.

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prologue

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Gwen is standing on a bridge.

The wind is biting at her neck and her eyes are watering. There's a cackling in her ear, loud and shrill and painful and Gwen can't figure out if she's crying because of the cold or if it's the fear that's pounding through her body, in and with her blood. There's a solid, icy hand digging into the flesh of her arm, holding her in place.

The thing is that she loves Brooklyn bridge. She runs across it every morning with Lou, and it feels complicit in her exercise. It's a brilliant New York landmark and people have pictures of it in their rooms and wish to see it.

But she doesn't like it now. To make matters worse it's raining, and the water feels harsh and stings as it pelts her skin. Her graduation gown is soaked through and her mascara is running and she errantly wonders what her mother thinks about where she is.

Spiderman's not here yet, so the cameras and reporters haven't arrived either. Gwen really hopes her brother's aren't watching the news because this could be one of those things that really scars them for life.

This is the part she's supposed to be brave for. The madman has her—has kidnapped her, like that's not six kinds of cliché—and he's practically dancing around her he's so excited now. His nails are still digging into her arm and she can smell explosives on him. It's a trap, this whole thing is a trap and it's such a trite storyline that she knows that Peter must get it. He has to have a plan because not having a plan could result in something very bad. (There's a feeling in her gut. A feeling that makes her want to vomit. She holds it in because she knows her captor with only laugh some more). Even in the cold it's hot because he's set some fires—a trap, she can tell, because she's not an idiot. She feels like crying and she wishes someone were here.

(Even though, yeah, she's supposed to be an empowered woman and crying for a rescuer doesn't really fit that stereotype).

So she cries some more, because she knows as well that as soon as he comes, because he will and he'll do it soon, something bad is going to happen.

Something really, really bad.

When Peter does come she's not sure if she's going to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and horror—shock and fear and panic—or relief because he'll be there, in front of her. She feels horrible thinking about it—because Peter is putting himself in danger because of her. Which is kind of why her father told Peter to stay away from her.

Well no. George told Peter to stay away from Gwen to keep Gwen safe. And Gwen had disregarded it, thrown it away and thought that that was totally irrational. It wasn't her father's decision to make, he wasn't allowed to tell her who to spend time with and who not to spend time with, even from beyond the grave.

But if she'd known that Peter would get hurt because of her? She would have never spoken to him again.

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A/N: Future chapters will be much, much longer. Nonetheless, review?