Okay, so here's something I've been thinking of for a while. Short. Influenced by songs...that I should give credit for, but I'm too lazy to do so. Story comes from an outsider's POV, except a very insightful outsider. Like getting in their heads insightful. I try to be realistic but why when dreaming is so much better? Keep dreaming, even if it breaks your heart.

Third person POV. AU, I guess. Pre, during, and post-movie. NO RELEVANCE TO OTHER STORIES. The tenses will change from past to present, just saying.

I also want to thank everyone who reviewed and expressed their feelings about whether I should continue my multi-chapter ASM story. And I will be continuing. Thank you.

Summary: It was complicated, it was heartbreaking, it was a series of calamities. But it was natural, it was passionate, it was infallible. Him, the silent and brilliant rebel, her, the dynamic and bright overachiever; opposites attracting. What they went through could've been just a round of high school crush drama. But it wasn't. It never was, even from the beginning.

~At 4 Hours and 12 Minutes To Go~

"Rick!"

Richard Parker flinched as his wife moaned and held on to the dashboard tighter. Mary Parker's excessive clenching and cold, enraged glares shook him to the bone, far surpassing any mad experiment he's worked on or any wild conflict he's heard of. But that's nothing compared to the verbal abuse.

"Oh, god dammit...oh, no. Richard- oh, you mother fu-"

"I'm going as fast as I can, honey!" he reasoned.

"Just drive faster!" she screamed, suddenly haunching over her distended stomach. Richard glanced at her through the corner of his eye. She said earlier that it was all his fault, but hey, she was the one who wanted a baby.

Being a scientist, and a special one at that, meant that there were a million and one risks possible that could not only expose him but his family as well. The stress and pressure enough was enough to drive him up the wall, and a baby on top of that...Let's just say the pregnancy was the final breakpoint for him to buy that lake house.

"Rick, I swear he's coming now-"

"We'll be there soon, Mary, I promise."

"RICK-"

"We'll get there-"

Whoop-whoop!

Red and blue flashing lights came out of nowhere, casting a sickly glow on the two Parkers as they shine into the car. Mary turned to Richard right as he paled

"Hell, no-"

Gulping profusely, Richard swerved out of the usual 11 p.m. traffic and pulled over to the side of 36th Street. They were so close, too; St. John's hospital was just three blocks down, two blocks over. Mary stiffened again as another contraction wracked through her body, sending waves of pain to every single one of her living cells. Why did she ever agree to a baby in the first place?

There was a knock on the window, causing Richard to jump. He slowly cranked open the old window and flashed a weak smile at the police officer.

"Can I help you, Officer...?"

"Stacy," the man replied, flexing his gloved hand before he took out a pen from his jacket pocket. The cool November night air breezed into the car and Mary shivered. Officer Stacy glanced at her briefly.

"Did you know you were going 45 in a 25 zone?" Richard opened his mouth to speak, but the officer cut him off. "Licence and registration, please." Richard fished it out of his pocket and handed it to Stacy hurriedly, earning a glare. Mary moaned as yet another contraction washed through, and Richard grimaced, sparing her a quick, worried look.

"Officer Stacy, do you think I could come down to the station later to get my ticket? My wife's kind of...well, if I don't get her where she needs to be, you might be taking her in for murder."

Stacy smiled very briefly, writing something down on his notepad, then looked back at Mary. After a quick moment of observing, Stacy curtly nodded his head understandingly. He rolled his eyes a little and snapped his notepad shut.

"Alright, Mr. Parker," he said gruffly, handing back his license. "Forget it. You're just lucky I've got one on its way, too. At least try to go slower, though, okay?" With another flash of a sincere smile, Officer Stacy patted the car's top and headed back to his squad vehicle just as the first snowflakes started to fall.

10 days later, as tiny Peter Parker lay cradled in his mother's arms contentedly, Richard came into the living room with a package. Mary asked who it was from.

"The Stacys...do we know any Stacys?"

They exchanged shrugs but enjoyed their gift of baby bibs and toy cars all the same, oblivious to the lives they along with Officer Stacy just entangled: their children's.

~At 7 Years~

The playgrounds were packed, the teachers were standing with their eyes shielded against the sun, gossiping amongst themselves, and girls and boys were entering that phase where suddenly the girls had been diagnosed with a disease named 'cooties,' and the boys became too obsessed with war-like video games and football. Most boys wanted nothing to do with any of the females, the bratty whiners, and most girls wanted nothing to do with any of the males, the disgusting monsters. Exception of two: them.

His young age blamed it on curiosity and amusement while hers pointed the finger at him as the instigator of her investigations about the opposite gender. Him, with his holey V-necks, soft-spoken demeanor, and constantly confused eyes. He was different from the others, very unlike Eugene Thompson who had just gotten into going around and having kids call him by the name 'Flash,' whatever that meant. And if they didn't, they'd be sent to the nurse with a black eye while 'Flash' got a call home. She called him by Flash, but it was an action simply fueled by the want to understand why he hated the name Eugene and felt compelled to change it to something as moronic and daft as 'Flash.'

Unlike Flash and his followers, which was why she noticed him in the first place, Peter Parker was often shy and reserved, staying mostly to himself as if he was too guilty to trouble someone with his presence. There was something about him, though, that was the real kicker as to why Gwen Stacy was so drawn to him; he had an aura of having once been just like Flash and his posse, with their parents that picked them up with big smiles and hugs after school, or their never-ending supply of new shoes, or their full and content appearances.

Gwen, even at an early age, could see the ghost of it in his smile, if she ever got the privelage to see it. But now he screamed ALONE and DEPRIVED in big, bold words. Sometimes DISAPPOINTED was in there as well. And always CONFUSED.

She had thought about asking him - what was his big deal? Why wasn't he out playing with the other kids? Gwen was a thinker and didn't stop until she got answers, and explainable ones, too, but she soon discovered that this Peter Parker was special, or unordinary, to say the least, and by far the hardest person she had ever tried to figure out. Gwen, even at an early age, could see that this boy would become something bigger than Flash and his cronies, though. As she observed him, however, she always seemed to overlook a very big detail: he watched her back.

Like said before, he watched because of curiosity and slight amusement (the things they talked about - Barbies and fairies and tea parties. Tea parties.). She just happened to be the girl he randomly chose to examine.

He should've picked another girl, however, because Gwen Stacy did not fufill the status quo that Peter had set for the girls of Ms. Kallihan's 1st grade class, room 202. Gwen Stacy, he revealed with mild bewilderment, liked to read, just like him, and no interest whatsoever in the color dress her Malibu Barbie should wear. Peter had never found any entertainment in throwing a ball around, but rather sought after a story plot that contained bad guys and good guys and girls who weren't as bratty as they were in real life. He searched for an exit from his life, be it a brief five minutes or hours long, and kicking a ball into a goal just simply couldn't do that.

And this Gwen Stacy shared the same feelings.

So maybe girls weren't as stupid and pointless as Flash kept telling everyone - except when has he ever listened to Flash?

And yes, he was young, but Peter couldn't help being struck dumb whenever he was near her. One of the first things he noticed about her was that she glowed with a serenity so powerful, it was almost contagious. When given the word 'angel' in the 1st grade spelling bee, she popped into his head so suddenly that he stumbled over the letters and lost - to her. There really was no synonym for Gwen Stacy, except for maybe 'angel'.

Without planning or arranging or consciously collaborating, they switched off every day for watches. Peter would watch her read at recess, then the next day Gwen would watch him draw pictures in the mud and read at recess, too. Simple and easy.

It was Peter's day to watch, that sunny afternoon when everything changed like planned but unknowingly and whether for better or worse, that remained unknown, too. It was one of those days that screamed everything was relaxed and okay, which naturally put almost-OCD Gwen Stacy over the edge. First, she lost her book page. Second, the teacher paid no attention to her raised hand. And third, she stepped in a muddy puddle right as recess started. For the first time ever, Gwen Stacy wanted to cry - at school. And boy, oh boy Hannah Graceland was getting on her nerves.

Gwen and Hannah...never really worked out, the former being too realistic, the latter being too demanding, and both being too stubborn. Verbal brawls would break out between the two even though Gwen was a very mild-mannered person and usually stayed calm in tight situations; Hannah just brought out the worst in her, that must've been it. A shadow loomed over Gwen, darkening her page of Judy Blume's classic, Double Fudge. She loolked up irritatedley, her eyes getting clouded over as soon as they landed on Hannah.

"What do you want?" Gwen asked impatiently, eyes flickering down to her book and back every few seconds.

Peter, having been playing with woodchips not too far away, lifted his head at the sound of Gwen's tone in her voice: pure dislike, maybe even going as far as hatred. From his watching and his experiences, he felt as if he knew Gwen Stacy fairly well, so it was safe to say that this was not her; this was not the open and friendly girl that smiled at him every morning as a greeting, around the same time he got off the bus while all of the other kids got out of their cars. She was the different girl, the one that actually studied for spelling tests and tried her hardest to color inside the lines. She was the only girl who would even look at him.

Brushing the dirt off his hands, Peter stood up, the woodchips piled in his shirt tumbling out.

"Come play with us," Hannah said imposingly, but Gwen barely flinched. She folded the corner of her page down almost reverently, then closed the book shut with a sharp snap and eyed Hannah down.

"No thanks."

"But you just closed your book."

"I have to go talk to the teacher about my test," Gwen's high pitched, sweet voice answered. Hannah looked abashed at Gwen's refusal.

"Why?"

"I need to study the words some more."

"Gwen Stacy, the nerd!" Hannah cackled. "Are you a nerd because you don't have any friends so you read, or do you not have any friends 'cause you're a nerd and you read?"

To Peter's surprise, Gwen flushed an alarming red, and he took an involuntary step towards her. Hannah Graceland was practically the boy version of Flash; she was viewed as perfect and almost always got her way. But Peter wouldn't let Hannah change his Gwen. She is his, ever since he started watching – no, PROTECTING - her.

"I'm not a nerd," she cried out shrilly, standing up. Hannah laughed.

"Yes you are; Gwenny's a nerdy!"

"Hannah!"

"Nerd, nerd, nerd!"

"Stop it, Hannah, I'm not a-"

"What's wrong with being a nerd?" Peter said, coming up next to Hannah. Hannah turned to him, shocked, a disgusted look on her face.

"I wasn't talking to you, Peter Parker," Hannah snarled. "Go and play in the dirt and stay out of it."

"Hey, don't be mean to him!" Gwen shouted, raising her chin defiantly in the air. She took Peter's arm and dragged him next to her, giving Peter a sinking feeling in his stomach - but the good kind. Hannah glared at the two of them, flinging daggers with her hazel eyes. Finally, she huffed and stomped her foot.

"Fine, you two nerds play together!" she said, turning on her heel - slipping a little on the woodchips - and marched off in the direction of her friends. Gwen stared after her, not letting go of Peter's arm until Hannah was out of sight. Peter opened his mouth to say something, but - like always - nothing slipped out. Gwen smiled at him.

"Thanks, Peter," she hummed gratefully, picking up her book. With one last half-curious, half-appreciated look, Gwen headed towards Ms. Kallihan, ponytail swinging behind her in an almost hypnotic fashion. But in that instant, he realized that her and him...they were different. In the same way. (If that somehow made sense.) And as being different people together, maybe - maybe - it was his responsibility to look after her, because it didn't look like anyone else was going to watch out for her. Yes, he was young, but the overwhelming urge to walk with her was hard to miss, even for a seven year old.

Gwen wondered idly, as she approached Ms. Kallihan, why she felt so happy that Peter Parker, the boy she's watched for a while now, suddenly acknowledged her and stood up for her. Could the answer also be the reason as to why she'd like to just turn around and run back to him so they could play together? But Ms. Kallihan spotted her before she could even look behind her.

"Yes, Gwen?"

Peter didn't talk to her after that for quite some time, probably due to the progressing crush he had developed instantly on this girl, or so his blush explained.

~At 11 Years~

Finally, that dreaded but necessary phase wore off, and guys and girls began mingling together casually on the playground or by the swings. Now, girls would style their hair differently every day, often capturing the attention of one boy or another, and the same with the guys. Exception of two: them.

By now, Peter's crush had intensified into something shy of a bashful and almost guilty obsession. The blush that would leap across his cheeks every time she even remotely looked his way, whether it be the teacher or a friend or the lunch menu which was always behind him as he constantly sat in the back of class, nearly gave him away each time. It was just those blue eyes, placed by God's personal hand on her face that was carved by heaven's sculptors.

She wasn't the prettiest in class, though; that title belonged to Mary Jane Watson. She wasn't even the second prettiest; Sarah Fields held that position tightly. No, Gwen Stacy was probably the third prettiest, but that didn't matter; she was the most beautiful human being he had ever seen, and that was good enough.

He hadn't forgotten what happened in the first grade – how could he? That attraction towards her had never faded away. So he continued to watch.

Gwen had been busy. Come third grade, suddenly friends and leisure books seemed childish and a little pointless. She put away those childish things, and left the kingdom of childhood, entering the realm of multiplication tables and fractions and – thank you – science classes. They entertained her enough to the point where she didn't care if she sat alone at lunch or didn't have anyone to email over the weekends.

Except she had always been a very charismatic girl, and when a small encounter with Mary Jane Watson happened quite spontaneously over free time in the fourth grade, she was suddenly sucked into a group of people Gwen had originally thought to be shallow and self-centered, but instead were pleasant and amusing to talk to. With them, she learned the advantages of headbands to keep loose hairs back and the perks of wearing skirts and what they did to her legs and how to correctly operate a mascara brush. Gwen finally felt welcomed and accepted as the nerd, and her friends just helped her out a bit.

What with her schoolwork and speech club and her friends, she barely had time for anything else. Being almost-OCD Gwen Stacy, she had generated a schedule she followed strictly, sticking to each time slot until fulfilled and nearly ripping her hair out if something went wrong. But somehow, although she never wrote it down, she found time each day right around lunch to watch him.

He was one of very few boys who didn't go through an awkward stage. In fact, it might've just been him and Flash Thompson. He had been small and skinny to start with, but as he grew, he only seemed to stretch – not expand. He passed broad-shouldered Flash around the end of fourth grade yet it looked as if he never gained a single pound. She worried – just a little bit – if he ever ate.

Gwen never really noticed before, being five years old and whatnot, but he had been sort of kind of…cute. And now…well, he might have been a contender with Flash, if he wasn't such a wallflower and hated being put on the spot. Sometimes she wished he would talk to her again. They used to talk a little bit in second grade when they had been placed next to each other on the seating chart, and she had always found herself smiling and even laughing; he was funny. But when third grade rolled in and they had been split between two classes, all contact disappeared.

She hadn't forgotten what happened in the first grade – how could she? The attraction towards him never faded away. So she continued to watch.

They both had developed their own interests. Her, a keen liking to public speaking; him, an extraordinary penchant in photography. So she joined speech club. And he took pictures of unsuspecting people. She went all out gave it her best to win a debate. He daydreamed in class what it would be like if his pictures were famous. She got an award for first place in a speech club meet. He got his first camera from his uncle.

Her, the worker. Him, the dreamer.

Summer was drawing near for the fifth graders. May brought sunshine with straggling clouds blowing in every once in a while. Things were starting to wind down. All the tests had been done and submitted, and the educational atmosphere had long since dwindled away. But like all classes, the end-of-the-year reflections were enforced and their fifth grade teacher asked them to share.

Is there anything different about you? one of the questions asked. Do you like to do new things? Do you have any new interests?

Yes, Peter wrote, nodding his head fractionally, thankful that the bell was about to ring and he might not have exchange answers with others. He wasn't good with words. Yes, Gwen scrawled in her loopy, neat handwriting, one of her toes tapping impatiently on the floor. She would rather be talking about these questions; not writing down her answers. She was good with words.

Like what?

Photography, he scribbled. Chemistry, she marked.

Have you made any new friends?

No.

Yes.

Would you like to be friends with someone in particular?

Yes.

Yes.

Who?

…Gwen Stacy.

…Peter Parker.

How would you try to become friends with them?

I'd show them my pictures.

I would help him speak up in class.

Do you have any regrets? If so, what are you regretting?

Yes. I wish I would've talked more.

Yes, I would have liked to talk to someone that I didn't talk to at all this year.

What's your goal going to be when you get into middle school? High school?

In middle school, I will join a photography club. In high school, I will learn more science and take more pictures.

In middle school, I will earn the best grades I can and focus on my schoolwork. In high school, I will be student body president and help other kids and be on the speech team.

What would you like to be when you grow up?

I want to be a professional photographer and take pictures of science stuff.

I would like to be a scientist or maybe a doctor.

"Time to share answers, you guys!" the teacher called out. The students got up from their chairs, Peter rather reluctantly, Gwen rather enthusiastically, and spread out around the room, some students coming up to others. Peter mostly stayed in the corner with pretty much his only friend, Harry Osborn. Harry was never at school much, though, so they weren't exactly good friends. Still, company is company.

Gwen, on the other hand, was bouncing around the room, talking to every person she passed. She was approaching Peter fast, the person who she most wanted to talk to; it was years since…

But before she could step up to him while he quietly talked with that one kid who was never around, Flash Thompson intervened in her path and advanced on Peter first.

"Let's see what you've got, Parker," Flash drawled, leaning against a desk. Gwen came up behind him, head down as she casually waited to talk next. She had already spoken to everyone else.

"What do you mean, Flash?"

Flash was just messing with him, he knew it. Flash always messed with him, especially when Harry wasn't around. So you would've thought he might've been left alone – and on the last day of school – but Flash Thompson didn't cut people breaks, and especially not scrawny Peter Parker.

"Come on, let's hear your answers."

"I don't think you really want to know what I wrote," Peter mumbled, looking down at his sheet.

"Fine, I'll see for myself-" Flash snatched the paper from Peter's hands, and ignoring Peter's and Harry's protests, begins to read loudly.

"Peter Parker tried new things this year, and discovered that he liked photography-" Flash began in a fake proper accent. Harry tried to take the paper back, but Flash held it out of his reach. Gwen watched silently with wide eyes, mind whirling with options of what she could do. She saw Peter try to make a secretive grab, but Flash pulled it out of the way just in time.

"Peter Parker also did not make any new friends."

A few kids surrounding the three struggling boys laughed. Flash smiled at them all, breaking free of Harry's hold and weaving through the desks. The teacher had only just left for the bathrooms a minute ago.

"But Peter Parker would like to be friends with someone…" He trailed off, a slow, sinister smile crossing his face as he read the next answer. Peter, on the opposite side of the desk separating him and Flash, gulped and made a futile swipe for the paper. Please no…please, please no-

"And her name's Gwen Stacy."

The crowd erupted into fits of laughter and squeals and jeers. Girls pointed and snickers, guys hooted and chortled. Like poor Peter Parker would ever get gorgeous Gwen Stacy. Peter's ears burned red and he seized his paper from Flash's hands as Flash was momentarily distracted by the reaction he got. But nobody noticed Gwen Stacy.

The color had drained from her face, and she stood paralyzed next to Peter's desk. Peter stalked off into the corner of the room again, Harry trailing after him. She refused to look at anybody but the floor, and when the teacher came in, the laughing ceased and people dispersed again, idly chit-chatting with one another.

It wasn't until the end of class when they were the only two left in the coatroom, putting the last of their supplies into their bag and working silently two lockers down from each other to stuff everything in. At the same time, they slammed their doors shut. She needed to say something; she should say that she wanted to be friends with him, too, and Flash and those other kids were just idiot jerks. She blocked his way out the door, and he stood awkwardly waiting for her to go. Gwen opened her mouth –

But then her heart started beating frantically, like whenever her father would miss dinner without calling, and then her and her brothers and her mom would wait silently in the living room until he would walk through the door, sweat on his forehead and looking extremely exhausted, yet unharmed. Her heart would beat so fast and so furiously. Like now.

Peter looked at her briefly, just a fleeting glance. Gwen opened her mouth even further, but the heartbeats drowned out the words she had produced in her mind, and she ducked her head, stepping to the side so he could pass her. He did.

For once, Gwen Stacy was not good with words – the boy made her speechless – and thus began the infatuation she had on Peter Parker.

~At 15 Years~

Not much to be said. She grew up, he grew up. Middle school passed and now came the seriousness. She had long ago left the kingdom of childhood, but he wasn't quite yet finished.

She pushed elementary school memories away, focusing on grades and making new memories as one of the best debaters the Midtown Science Panthers have ever seen. She's also had a nice insight when it comes to chemistry, which would look great on her college applications.

He pushed most of elementary school memories away, too. Flash's excessive teasing and bullying, Uncle Ben's floundering for a new job, and embarrassing periods where having no friends meant trips to the guidance counselor. But in high school, nobody was concerned if he sat with somebody at lunch or not. Nobody paid any attention to him if he sat in the back of class with his hood up and skateboard rolling gently across the floor underneath his foot. Nobody looked at him if he plucked up enough courage to speak out in class, giving the teacher the correct answer when the past seven students couldn't. His secret brilliant grades would look good on a college application, but he didn't know if photographer for the school newspaper would.

Peter didn't push away the first grade memory, though – how could he? The attraction towards her had never faded away. But he didn't watch any more.

There was one thing that people noticed; crushes, or attractions, or inclinations on other people. Somehow, somebody would know that Peter Parker had a bashful, guilty obsession towards Gwen Stacy, and words always spread like wildfire across a prairie in the halls. That was all that anybody was interested: who liked who, who was dating who, and who was getting laid.

So he had to let her go, sometimes stealing himself a look or prolonged glance. She never looked back, and that was when he knew she had moved on. In his mind, she'd always be his because he was the one who only ever understood her. But in the real world, guys gazed at her like she was Adrian Peterson: with awe, respect, and admiration.

She was infallible and beautiful and smart and – and not his.

No, she would not look back at him just because something happened in fifth grade that made him trigger something inside of her. She had used the separation from him in middle school as a way to prepare herself for high school. She would work hard in class and be involved educationally. She would not turn into a Mary Jane clone, even though Mary Jane was probably her closest friend; she would not be tripping over her homework as she pines after a boy. That was not her.

So, yes, Peter Parker did turn up every once in a while, with a small, goofy smile, camera slung around his neck, skateboard in his grip, Harry Osborn dutifully by his side. And, yes, Gwen couldn't help but look – glance – at him, the boy that sort of kind of brought out the real girl in her. But then she'd look away because she's better than that; she's stronger.

Elementary memories be damned.

~At 17 Years~

Flash has been around for a while, sneaking up on Peter when he least expects it. But Peter's not dumb; he knows the routine. Ever since Harry Osborn moved away, he's been alone to endure Flash all by himself. Harry had been a good enough friend to make up for others, so Peter hadn't tried bothering to make others. He wish he had, though, because now he's Flash's personal target. Whatever.

Not all students live the glory days in their senior year.

But Gwen's one of them.

Captain of debate team, candidate for student body president, shoe-in for valedictorian, top of all classes, and head intern to Dr. Curtis Connors, Herpetologist, at OsCorp. OsCorp. Oh, the glory days.

Yet, there's a nagging feeling in her mind and in her gut that keeps telling her that she isn't living the glory days; she isn't fulfilling high school the way it was meant to be fulfilled. Something's missing. And she knows exactly what it is. So she tried it with Flash – worst decision she could possibly make. It gives her shivers each time she thinks about it, that horrible date. Except when she felt bad after telling Flash the date wasn't going well, she recommended Mary Jane. At least somebody got something good out of the almost-suicidal event; Flash and Mary Jane have been an item since May.

But it's September, now, and she's in her senior year, boyfriendless and alone – except, screw 'em. She doesn't need a guy. She can get one later. (The nagging feeling in her stomach strengthens as the first week of school passes.) That god-awful date also landed her weekly 'study sessions' with Flash (it's really her tutoring him), so that filled up her schedule, leaving free time unreachable, and when Gwen had despised free time before, Gwen would really like free time for her senior year.

Should she have felt guilty when she found out that he was in nearly all of her classes during the second week of school? But it's her fault he sits in the back corner with his head down, sometimes his hood up, messy hair just peeking out from underneath. For a split second, Gwen wonders what it would feel like as she gives him a quick look one day in class. It looks soft…and thick. Her finger twitches slightly as she thinks about running her hands through it.

On the first day of school, he finds out she's in all of his classes, give or take a couple. It's not hard to miss the blonde ponytail and the modestly short skirts. He doesn't like to think of it as pining, though; it's been too long for that. He'd rather think of it as lingering thoughts about her. ("Oh, yes," a small voice in his head would say, "because you've been through so much together.")

Another thing he notices is that her locker is so very, very close to his. And she also has the same lunch hour. And she also could be seen talking with Flash – a lot.

Peter had heard about their failure of a date, but of course no one actually went up to him and talked about it. Hello, social outcast, here? What he had heard could be false; maybe Gwen and Flash are actually cozier than he thought they were. This causes almost an angry, rebellious streak in him.

Suddenly, he doesn't have the tolerance – or temper – to deal with Flash's insults and teasing. He talks back, he plays the smart-ass, and not just with Flash – with the teachers, too. Sometimes the day ends where he stalks down to the office to retrieve his skateboard, which had been confiscated by a teacher as he glided down the halls on it. Other times he might get reprimanded by a teacher for misconduct with Flash.

The highlights of his days might be photography class, one of the two classes he doesn't have with Gwen, or yearbook club at the end of the day. It's his responsibility to take photos of all of the clubs and teams. When he had to take a picture of the debate team, he had to always remind himself that Gwen wasn't smiling at him; she was smiling at the camera. Not him.

But he still saved the photo to his desktop, anyway.

And with her around constantly, and his camera always hanging from his neck, sometimes – in a non-stalkerish way – he'd maybe covertly snap a photo. He would blame it on the lighting; it just really made her look good, there. (But what was he doing? She always looked good, no matter what lighting.)

:::

Maybe he should've been more careful around Flash. His fist is bigger than he estimated. The pain in his jaw is nearly unbearable; Peter moves it around to make sure it still works – it does, thank God – then pushes off the ground just as Flash screams, "Come on, get up, Parker!"

Maybe he shouldn't have listened to Flash. His fist comes out of nowhere again, getting him right in the chest. His sternum vibrates as he falls to the ground, and just when Peter thought it was over, Flash's foot kicks out, colliding painfully with his gut.

"Get up! Come on…come on! Get up!

Oh, yes. He goes slightly cross-eyed as he rolls on his side to look up at him.

"I'm still not taking the picture," he gasps.

"Stay down, Parker!" Flash shouts at him, then turns to the circle of people surrounding them. But Peter has a feeling Flash isn't done with him quite yet. He clutches at his stomach, catching out of the corner of his eye that his bag and camera are scattered on the ground. Someone breaks free of the crowd and steps forward suddenly, their high-heeled boot nearly crushing the camera beneath them, but they side-step it quickly, nearly tripping on his ankle as whoever it is stomps over to Flash.

"Who wants one more?" he can hear Flash yell. The crowd cheers, but one voice stands out from the rest.

"Flash!"

The crowd dies down suddenly, jeers morphing into murmurs and whispers. Peter slowly sits up, testing the workings of his stomach. His arms shake terribly, and a sharp jab at his stomach tells him he might hurl soon. He looks up at his defender, then blinks embarrassedly when he sees the familiar ponytail. Gwen.

"Flash, are we still on for after school today? My house, 3:30?" she says casually, books held tightly in her arms and head cocked to the side innocently. Peter's stomach sinks a little. Maybe he had been right before; maybe Gwen and Flash are closer than he thought. Flash gives a small smirk, the corner of his mouth twitching up.

"Uh-"

"I hope you've been doing your homework. Last time I was…very disappointed in you." Peter's stomach soars again, despite the pain. He almost smiles as he struggles to keep himself off of the ground, looking up at Gwen's and Flash's exchange. She's tutoring him.

"He was-"

"No, Flash – how 'bout we go to class? Hmm? How 'bout it?" The bell rings as the words leave her mouth, and he sees Flash roll his eyes.

"Whatever," Flash mumbles, turning in the direction of class. Gwen stands there for a moment, sitting on the sides of her feet, then looks over her shoulder to glance at him. And of course, this takes him by surprise. Just when he's finally getting up, he falls to the ground as his arms loose feeling under her blue eyes. She does that to him.

But then her eyes are gone and her ponytail is swishing behind her back as she makes her way to class. The sun peeks out from behind a cloud to shine on her blonde hair, giving her a god-like glow as she walks purposefully to calculus. Heaven in heels. He reaches instinctively for his camera so he can take the picture, capture the moment and keep it hung up in his room with the other pictures he connects with sentimental value.

His hands grapple for the strap. Somebody passes close to him, and he looks up just as a smirking junior kicks his camera away. Peter groans softly, still breathing heavily as the wind fails to return to him, and picks up his camera. The first thing he sees is damage: loose pieces hanging by wires and something's making a clicking noise. He shuts the back of the camera, licking the embarrassing drool off his chin.

No more picture.

Looking up, he sees Gwen's gone.

Later in class, he slumps into his seat, dumping his bag on the floor next to his seat. Gwen's already there, daintily tapping a pen on her desk with her feet crossed underneath her. Peter glances at the back of her head, then gives a soft sigh. He wraps his arms around his camera protectively, chin resting on the top. He'll have to fix it at home.

Students pile into the classroom, taking their seats. Some girl waves at Gwen, but Gwen ignores her. She felt him sit down behind her. She waits a few seconds until he's settled in before she turns her head to look at him, all the while begging to please get her words right this time. This is the first contact in years-

"I thought that was great, what you did out there," she says pointedly. He looks up, a little dazed. She assumes the worst while he's just in shock from her talking to him. "It was stupid," Gwen adds, hoping to make her point clear. "But it was great." He nods slowly, eyes sort of wandering past her and to the floor. She bites her lip briefly.

"You should probably go to the nurse, you might have a concussion."

He blinks at her – is Gwen Stacy actually talking to him? And making sure he's okay? What kind of messed up day is this? Maybe he does have a concussion after all. She smiles at him as if she's suppressing a laugh, and he has an overwhelming urge to smile back.

"What's your name?" she nearly whispers, and his jaw drops open a bit. After all they've been through…(Shut up, tiny voice.)

"You don't know my name?" he barely manages to let out, shaking his head. She gives him a look.

"No, I know your name. I just want to know if you know your name."

She's looking at him expectantly and he purses his lips. So she remembers his name. The question is: does he remember his? What's his name again? He doesn't know; he can't think because she's looking at him and it feels as if he's floating and- Yeah, maybe he has a concussion. He racks his brain for anything. A sunny afternoon on the playground; she's holding his arm…

"Peter," he says softly, his voice maybe cracking just in the slightest. She raises her eyebrows at him, her expectant expression turning into one of mild worry. "Parker," he says more loudly. "Peter Parker."

She smiles and gives a breathy chuckle. "Okay. Okay, good." Producing one last smirk, she turns to the front of the class again as the teacher walks in, and he takes this time to hide his smile. He forces his eyes on the girl in front of him, lips twitching and eyes blinking rapidly. Take it easy, Parker, you guys were just talking.

But then she turns back to him and he looks at her so excitedly he's sure she noticed. "I'd still go to the nurse, though." And because he wants to hold on to his pride – if he even still has it – he speaks up.

"You're Gwen, right?" Idiot – what kind of question is that? You guys have gone to school together for twelve years!

"Gwen Stacy," she confirms, nodding her head. Her pen keeps clicking on her desk.

"All right," he whispers back with a small smile, looking down at his camera again. He notices from the corner of his eyes that she waits a moment before whipping her head back to the front of the room. This time, he can't fight down the smile.

:::

He loves science. He really, honestly does. But of all the excuses he could've come up with, he had to explain to her that he 'loves science'? Already he knows it's a pathetic answer, and he waits patiently for her to rip off the badge from his jacket and shoo him out the door. But instead, she smiles at him as if holding in an incredulous smile.

"You love science?" she repeats.

"I'm passionate about it," he says in what he hopes is a convincing tone, but she still looks ready to laugh at him.

"So you snuck in-?" The hologram she powered up for the interns to watch finishes and she looks around at them. When she looks at him again, she's a little distraught and worried. "I have to lead this tour group."

"I know," he says quickly.

She takes a step back. "So I'm going to ask you more about this later. Do not get me in trouble." Victory. Wait – victory? He's not in trouble? Gwen's still backing away, looking more and more irritated by the second. He'd never thought in a million years Gwen Stacy would be looking at him like this.

"I promise you I won't."

"Stay with the group," she warns, but it comes out more like a threat. What is he doing here? This was stupid and risky enough in the first place, but no that Gwen's here…He just needs to focus on how to get out of here and stop thinking about Gwen talking to him again. He nods swiftly and walks towards the herd of people, all chatting excitedly about – ugh – science.

"All right, guys? I'm going to take you to the bioreactor room now," Gwen says, pointing to the glass dome behind her. Peter starts to follow, but as soon as Gwen's eyes turn to some other person, he starts backing away. Stupid, stupid idea.

Then the spider bites him, and everything changes again.

He should've stayed with the group.

:::

"She looks familiar," his uncle says in a low voice, nodding his head subtly towards someone behind him. Peter makes a face, his neck craning around to look at whoever his uncle was referring to. Immediately, his eyes land on her; they make eye contact for a split second, but then she turns away, probably embarrassed. Oh, God, no. This probably has to be the first time ever he wished Gwen was far, far away. He ducks his head even further, swinging his foot back and forth softly; Peter can feel the blush coming.

"She's the girl on your computer," he says a little louder. Peter starts shaking his head. "Yeah," his uncle says, a smile forming on the face that had been so serious and so disappointed before. And to his utter horror, Uncle Ben doesn't stop there.

"He's got you on his computer –" Uncle Ben, no- "I'm his probation officer."

Oh, he has surely died now.

"Don't forget Aunt May," are his uncle's parting words, leaving Peter to stand awkwardly in the hallway with Gwen Stacy right behind him. He tries to play it cool.

"Okay," he shouts after him, then chuckles nervously. "He's a…character. That's my uncle. He – um…he's a pathological liar. He thought you were someone else." Gwen walks up to him, biting her lip as she fights down yet another laugh, aimlessly tapping her fingers on her books. She hopes he doesn't see how flustered and giddy she is. She shouldn't be, but she is. She's a girl who knows an innocent guy who has a picture of her. It seems wrong, yes. Forgive her, she's new to the lovey-dovey stuff.

It surprises her when the next words that fall from her mouth are playful ones and she rolls her eyes in mock distress, so very unlike the cool and collected Gwen Stacy she knows. She really hopes he can't hear how exultant she is in her voice. "Oh, man, you don't have me on your computer?"

"Yeah, I mean, I have – I took a photo of the debate team and you're in the debate team, so…" She notices he gestures with his hands a lot, obviously trying to cover up for his nervousness. She thinks it's cute.

"Right."

"So, yeah he must've seen – I was touching up stuff."

"Touching up stuff?"

A wide and nervous yet genuine smile stretches across his face and he tilts his head to the side. She can't help but smile back.

"Come on. I was – I was…I'm not gonna answer that."

She's laughing at him, he can see it. He laughs back, but mostly at himself. Of all the things they could be talking about, it had to be sex related? Her nose crinkles up in the cutest way, and he shakes his head, grinding his teeth together. Jesus, Parker.

"Did you get expelled?" she asks once she's calmed down.

"No, no," he says quickly, still smiling even though it's probably time to stop. "I didn't get expelled. I got community service." He probably shouldn't be laughing while he said that. She presses her lips together tightly, then turns away; the least she can do is not laugh in front of his face.

"Um, so- uh, you want to – uh…I don't know. Um…"

"Want to what?"

He exhales – like in defeat – and shakes his head. "I don't know…Just, uh…" Peter looks up at her while biting his lip, inner conflict raging inside of him. "Um…" She smiles at him to go on, but he seems to be at a loss for words.

"I don't know-" he begins suddenly, reaching up to scratch the back of his head. "We could – uh, we could…Or we could do something else, or we could…"

"Oh."

"If you don't feel like, we could-"

"Yeah."

Wait, did he just ask her out? And did she just say yes?

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, either one."

He stares at her openly. "Really?"

"Sure."

Yep, she said yes.

"Okay. All right, good. Sounds good."

"Cool."

"Okay."

She looks up at him, her eye betraying her face; she doesn't know what to do either.

"I – I can't right now, I can't right now."

"Yeah."

"I'm so busy right now."

"Yeah, I know, me too. Ugh." She laughs and looks away again, trying desperately to overpower the smile that's creeping up on her. He's just asking you out, Stacy; you're okay. He plays with his hands a little, awkwardly folding his arms at different angles.

"But, uh, maybe, uh…"

"Yeah, just, you know…"

"Some other…"

Now it's her turn to play it cool. He observes her as she holds up her binder and does a little spin, boots sliding across the floor. Peter fails to hold in the laughter.

"Time, all right," she finishes for him, gracefully landing the spin.

"Okay," he laughs.

"Bye."

"All right."

She gives him a look before walking away. Peter watches her go, wringing his wrists absently, a stunned look of happiness on his face. Gwen turns back to look at him, and he can't see her face in the shadows, but something tells him she's smiling, too. Turning around, he skips out of the school. Literally.

:::

He wanted a hug; his uncle was gone. He needs a hug. He needs one now. Everyone's staring at him, especially since he just pinned Flash to the lockers. But he doesn't care. He needs to get out of here.

But then there's Gwen, looking beautiful as always, and she says his name and she holds her arms open and he accidentally falls into them. Her arms encircle his neck as he stoops down to her, but he's too numb and stupid and emotionally drained to respond, so he slips out of her embrace, side-stepping her worried eyes, and leaves.

He wishes she would've followed.

But then again, he doesn't.

:::

He didn't know her father was the Captain of the NYPD. So, naturally, he didn't know what he was getting himself into. And his stupid rebellious streak – distantly caused by her (not that he'd ever blame her, though) – makes him talk back and be the smart ass, like every other incident.

She's quiet while they stand on the roof, looking out at the expanse of city in front of them. He wishes he could know what she's thinking, and when he takes a wild guess, he groans softly, and leans his body over the railing. He's not afraid of the height; he's got his watches for that.

Wow, he really messed things up at dinner, didn't he? He should tell her. Tell her the truth about him and what's really going on. She's trustworthy; he knows she is because he knows her. She'd understand. He springs up and faces her.

"I wanna tell you something."

"What happened to your face?"

Wait, what'd she say? He's closer to her than he thought, her face a mere 10 inches from his. Peter smiles at her softly.

"Oh. Heh. Okay."

But then his expression hardens again and he purses his lips. How did he say it?

"I've been-…I've been bitten…" he begins, but trails off. No, that's stupid. She doesn't say anything, though. Not yet. When he finally looks back up at her, she smiles, coming closer and closer.

"So have I…"

Oh, he would just love to lean in-

"Okay…okay okay okay okay okay. I gotta tell you about this one thing, I gotta tell you about this one thing, and it's – it's about the vigilante and the car thief."

Now she's looking up at him like he's crazy, and he knows the damage has been done. Blew his own chance.

"Oh, okay," she breathes, stepping away. "What?" He looks at her, pain and distress clouding his eyes.

"No, no no no no. I don't want to talk about that. Forget that. I won't talk about that. I wanna – I'm gonna talk about me, okay?"

She steps towards him again, making him go slightly cross-eyed. "What about you?"

"It's impo- I-I wish I could just – I can't, it's hard to say."

"Just say it," she pleads breathlessly, her eyes shining up at his a little impatiently and most definitely worried. She worried about him a lot.

"I don't know."

"Say it."

He moves away from her again, leaning over the railing once more. Damn secrets. But this is his identity we're talking about, here. She follows him closely.

"What? What?"

He looks up, the words on the tip of his tongue. Just say it already!

"What?" she repeats. He's almost there, he's almost there. He just needs to make his tongue move – but he wusses out and shakes his head back and forth quickly. No, he can't. She snorts softly, then turns away. "Okay, then forget it." Wait, no – he has it.

Impulsively, involuntarily, instinctively, his wrist flicks out and a biocable shoots from him, hitting her right on the side of her waist. She jumps a little and looks down, following the web back to him. Smiling wryly, Peter yanks on it, making her trip over her feet and spin towards him out of control. He catches her forcefully and watches her expression as she rocks back to look at her waist again. The biocable's gone, retracted back into his watch.

They're very close now, but he intended this. Her hands scrape at his neck as she forces air in and out of her lungs vehemently, chest heaving as she comprehends what just happened. Peter's clutches at her waist, loving the feel of her body molded against his. It's like they're puzzle pieces connecting, practically.

She looks up at him, face twisting into one of dignified shock and a little horror. "You…?"

"Shh."

He silences her by pressing his lips to hers, faces mashing together, noses knocking. She seems to resist at first, but another second makes her cave in, and her hands are pulling him closer, and his moves from her waist to her neck. He pushes while she pulls, magnets working together to form the natural.

"You're Spider-Man," she whispers against his lips.

"Shut up," he moans, delving even farther into her mouth. Her fingers tighten around the collar of his jacket, - yes, yes; jacket off – and she opens her mouth to him and he's tingling everywhere-

"Gwen?"

And then it's over, and he goes and saves the people on the bridge.

The next day, she asks him if he's afraid of what he can do. He tells her no because it's his job not to. When she tells him it's not his job at all, he groans inaudibly and rolls his jaw fractionally. It's his job to protect her, but he's not going to explain that to her just yet. So he switches the subject by telling her what an amazing kisser she is.

:::

The injuries he got every night were nothing compared to the three bloody messes of scratches he has crossing his chest. And, shit, do they hurt.

"Ugh," he groans as the wet washcloth swipes along the cuts. Gwen halts from her cleaning to look up him, worry dancing in her eyes. Why did she worry so much? But then the tension grows and he has to do something about it. She smirks at him, worry switching to amusement at the sight of his expression.

Ignoring the pain in his abdomen, Peter sits up on, face pulled towards her as if by a gravitational force. His nose bumps hers, eyes silently asking for permission.

"Easy, bug boy," she whispers. Peter chuckles softly.

"What'd you call me?" his voice a mere breath. She doesn't answer, though, face falling as she concentrates on how his lips are in such a close proximity to hers. She's addicted to them, by now. She can't get enough.

"I'll be alright," he whispers, and that's when she freezes.

"No."

But he plows on, following her head wherever it goes, lips trailing after hers excitedly.

"Yes."

"No."

"Yes."

"I know what this is."

"What is it?"

Gwen leans back, putting a delicate hand to his shoulder. "Every day, for as long as I can remember, my father has left every morning and he's put a badge of his chest and strapped a gun to his hip." She blinks at him, blue eyes releasing their force on him. "And every day, for as long as I can remember, I haven't known if he was gonna make it home."

Peter swallows. He understands what she means.

"I got you…okay? Okay?" The tears are forming in her eyes, and they're triggering the ones in his, but he needs to tell her what's going to happen. She deserves to know. "I gotta stop him, though. I have to, 'cause I created him."

"What do you mean?"

"I gave him an equation…that made all this possible…Something my father had been working on, you know. Secretly. Now I realize why he kept it a secret. Point it, this is my responsibility. I have to fix it." The first tear rolls down Gwen's cheek, and she ducks her head embarrassedly.

"Hey," he whispers. "Let's get out of here. Let's just get out of here. Just for a minute." He presses his forehead to hers, goofy, pleading smile on his lips. "Can we?"

Gwen shakes her head. "No."

"Yeah."

"No."

"Yes. Yes."

"No."

"Yes."

"If my parents see me leaving, I'm dead." Peter looks at her for a minute, smile growing wider and wider.

"Your parents aren't gonna see you leaving."

She cocks an eyebrow at him, but trusts him anyway, and he pulls on his clothes while she pulls on her coat and they jump off of her railing, her fighting down screams and him smiling with the exhilaration, and just when she thinks they're going to hit the ground, he flicks his wrist and they're soaring and she's smiling and he's smiling and they're happy. And free.

:::

It's not always like that, though.

The lizard comes to school, and Peter follows it to OsCorp where Gwen almost dies and where he almost dies, but then he doesn't because of Captain Stacy. Captain Stacy dies, but they don't like to talk about that. There was a time where he had told Gwen good-bye – for her own safety, it was just better – and because it was the Captain's dying wish. But their lives are so intertwined that it's impossible to tell whose is whose.

So they couldn't stay away from each other – partly because of a freak incident with a masked man that called himself the 'Green Goblin,' and a lot of convincing on Gwen's part. But Peter had been dying inside without her in the first place, so while she's yelling at him in the alleyway he put her in after saving her ass from the Goblin, he groans, cutting her off.

She looks worried again, eyes searching frantically all over his body for any injuries, but he's fine. And she sees this too so she starts yelling again, and again he cuts her off, but this time it's different. Growling a feral noise that's so not him yet so him, Peter throws his mask to the ground and uses both of his watches to capture Gwen with the biocables and drag her towards him.

"Shut up," he breathes as his lips fall onto hers, demanding and rough, yet gentle and passionate and déjàvu washes over the both of them but it's a good kind. Gwen pulls him close while he pushes towards her; magnets working together to create the natural, the expected. Like magnets, they couldn't stay away from each other.

It was never a petty high school crush – it was always something more. They were different, in their own way, therefore they needed each other. They were opposites unable to work unless complied with each other; Beauty and the Beast, Positive and Negative, Pepper and Tony, Gwen and Peter.

It's unsure why they're so connected, but a good guess would be that it all came down to Richard Parker's preference to speed.

It was complicated, it was heartbreaking, it was a series of calamities. But it was natural, it was passionate, it was infallible. Him, the silent and brilliant rebel, her, the dynamic and bright overachiever; opposites attracting, they needed each other. She was his rock to the earth, tying him down, and him, well, he was just the boy who snuck in through her window.

Thank you. Enjoy.

my love addiction