Fandom: Spectacular Spider-Man animated series
Characters: Peter/Gwen, MJ, Flash, Liz, Captain Stacy
Word Count: Part 11: 1,775 words
Betas: northern_star, mark_clark
Summary: Peter still hasn’t talked to Gwen about that fateful kiss - he keeps getting distracted. Between his personal life and his spider-life, can he make it work?
Author’s Note: Set at the beginning of season 2, using episode 2.03 as a jumping off point. Not terribly spoilery, if you haven’t seen the first three episodes of season 2.
Previously: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5 // Part 6 // Part 7 // Part 8 // Part 9 // Part 10
“As of last night, Sergei Kravinoff -- otherwise known as Kraven the Hunter -- has been apprehended and put into custody,” Captain Stacy addressed the cameras at his mid-morning press conference.
At Peter’s house, Gwen squeezed Peter’s hand in warm congratulations where she sat beside him on the couch. Peter gave her a smile, gently caressing her hand with his fingers, and then turned back to the television.
“We have full confidence that Kravinoff will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Stacy continued. “He is a true public menace, and his wanton destruction this Christmas season will not go unpunished... not if I have anything to say about it.”
A reporter’s voice rang out from the press contingent in front of the podium. “Is it true that Spider-Man played a part in Kraven’s capture?”
“Not only that, Spider-Man played an integral part in Kravinoff’s capture. In concert with the genetics laboratory at Empire State University, the police department and Spider-Man were able to set a trap for the criminal. I am certain that Kravinoff would still be at large without Spider-Man’s help.”
A new questioner asked, “So is the department now actively working with Spider-Man? A person considered to be no better than a vigilante?”
Peter tensed. He recognized the voice: Ben Urich of the Daily Bugle.
“Mr. Urich,” Stacy said, meeting the investigative reporter’s eyes, “should we work at cross-purposes? Are you implying that we would be more efficient if we failed to share information -- or failed to employ skills offered willingly?” Stacy held Urich’s eyes a long moment, letting the question hang in the air. “I am interested in the safety of the people of New York City. And I believe that Spider-Man loves this city as much as I do. As we all do. Should I not employ all resources at my command?”
The press was silent for a moment. But suddenly the video cut to the studio to avoid any dead air. Peter never got to hear Urich’s response, if there was any.
“An historic event it seems -- the first time the police department has cooperated with our city’s own vigilante superhero. Is this a good thing, as Captain George Stacy seems to believe, or a dangerous thing?” Peter’s free hand tightened in the fabric of the couch cushion. He hoped that Captain Stacy wouldn’t suffer too much of a backlash by coming out publicly in support of Spider-Man. “Here in the studio, we have J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle, one of Spider-Man’s most vocal detractors.”
The camera cut to Jameson, who didn’t even give his interviewer a chance to ask him his thoughts before launching into a tirade. “Of course it’s dangerous! The police department is crazy to think that they can trust that menace for even an instant! Doesn’t it seem patently obvious the wall-crawling freak was working with Kraven? By turning his accomplice in, he was covering his own a--”
The set clicked off then, and Gwen tossed the remote to the side in annoyance. “That’s enough of that,” she said with a huff. “How can you stand to work for him, the way he treats you?”
“I don’t really have a choice... he’s the only one who wants to buy my pictures on a regular basis.” Peter grimaced. “It’s sort of a Catch-22.”
“Peter,” she said, placing a hand on his arm and rubbing it lightly, “you have to know that not everyone thinks that about you. Most people know that Jameson is a big blow hard.”
“But enough do, or the Daily Bugle wouldn’t sell so many papers with my alter-ego’s picture on the front.”
Gwen frowned, but she didn’t really have a rebuttal. “Well, the people who care about you don’t think that. And that’s all that matters, right?”
Peter felt a little grin come to his face. Gwen cared about him. That fact was still sinking in. “Right.”
She snuggled up closer to him, and laid her head upon his shoulder. “I’m glad it’s a slow day for you. We go back to school tomorrow, and I want to spend as much time with you as possible.”
They sat like that, not speaking, for several minutes. Peter closed his eyes and just breathed in the scent of her shampoo, enjoying the feel of her arms around his waist. He dropped a gentle kiss on the top of her head, and he could feel her relax even farther into his arms.
“Don’t go to sleep, now...” he teased.
“Oh, I’m not sleepy at all,” she said, lifting her head to look at him. “In fact, I...” She trailed off, eyes darting to his lips.
He found his gaze drawn to hers as well. An intake of breath, and their mouths came together. The kiss was gentle at first, but quickly deepened into much more. Gwen leaned him back into the cushions of the couch, kissing him more aggressively than she ever had before. He responded by pulling her even closer, wrapping his arms around her.
Peter’s thoughts and emotions swirled. He almost couldn’t believe he was on the couch, in his own house, making out with Gwen. Oh, they had kissed before. Several times a day since the day he had told her his secret. But not like this, not with this abandon. It was almost too good to be true. He was almost expecting Aunt May or Captain Stacy to come walking through the front door at any moment. That was his usual luck.
But he was really kissing Gwen. Gwen, his best friend. Gwen, the girl who stood by him day after day at Midtown High. Gwen, the girl who knew all about his double life and seemed to love him for it all the more.
Gwen, the girl he loved.
It almost made him freeze in place when he thought that, but instead he kissed her even more thoroughly. She made a sound in her throat in appreciation, and brought her hands up to rest on his chest. She pulled away for a moment to look at him and smiled.
“What are you thinking?” he asked. His insides warmed as he looked up at her. He loved the way her hair had begun to escape her headband, wispy golden strands framing her face.
“Just how much I want to keep doing that...”
He completely lost track of time after their lips touched again. His focus was completely on the pressure of her lips, the softness of her hair, the feel of her hands grasping his shirt.
All too soon, Gwen pulled away again. “We’d better stop, your Aunt will be home from the store any time now.”
“I’d know before she caught us...” He pointed at his head. “Spider-sense, you know.”
She laughed and punched him lightly on the arm before sitting up. She tucked the loose strands of hair behind her ears. “Still, if I look like a mess...”
“You never look like a mess, Gwen,” he said, reaching up to tuck a strand she’d missed. “And there’s nothing wrong with a little kissing...” He leaned forward to capture her lips again...
This time, his spider-sense did go off, and he veered away at the last moment.
“What...?” she began to ask, but the doorbell’s ring answered her question.
I wonder who that is? MJ, to say hi? Liz, to be sure she hadn’t been seeing things? Flash, to play some kind of prank? Peter got up and glanced out the window -- there was a fancy convertible he didn’t recognize parked in front of the house. He suddenly had a thought -- one that both scared him and filled him with hope at the same time. He walked to the door and peered out of the peephole...
“Wow,” he said quietly, and then opened the door.
Harry Osborn stood there, a wide grin growing across his face as soon as he saw Peter. “Hey, Peter. I’m back.”
Peter opened his mouth to answer, but Gwen pushed from behind him to bowl Harry over in a big hug. “Harry! You’re home!”
Harry’s eyes opened wide in surprise as he reacted to Gwen’s tackle, but then they closed in happiness. “It’s so good to see you again, Gwen.”
She let go and stepped back to look at him. “You look great! How was Europe? Are you...?”
“Clean? Yeah.” He ran a nervous hand over his curly red hair. “I’m myself again.”
All the while, Peter watched the two of them, trying to sense any sort of ‘wrongness’ from his prodigal friend. Harry said he was ‘himself,’ but did that mean the old Harry? Or the Green Goblin Harry? Peter waited, but all he could feel was peace.
Peter smiled finally and held out his hand. “Welcome home.” Harry took it and Peter pulled him into a tight hug, patting him firmly on the back.
“Thanks, bro,” Harry said, warmth in his voice.
Peter stepped back and put an arm around Gwen’s shoulders. No point in dragging out the news. “There have been a couple changes since you’ve been gone...”
Harry looked from Peter to Gwen and back to Peter again. “You... Gwen...?”
Peter tensed, worried that Harry would erupt in shock or anger.
But instead, Harry’s eyes brightened. “That’s awesome! Congratulations! You guys finally figured it out.”
Peter and Gwen looked at each other in surprise.
“Oh, yeah, we all saw it, guys. Only a matter of time before you big brains realized it, too,” Harry teased. “Anyway, I came over to see if Peter wanted to go out, maybe see a movie, celebrate our last night of freedom before school. And I was gonna come pick you up next, Gwen.” He bounced on his toes, looking hopefully between his two friends. “So whaddaya say?”
“Well... I’d better leave a note for Aunt May...” Peter started.
“And I have to call my Dad...” Gwen added.
“But that sounds great!” Peter finished. And it did. The three of them together again, no worries, no issues, no awkwardness. It really felt like a happy new year.
After calls had been made and notes had been left, the three piled into Harry’s convertible. Harry started the car. “Now that you two are a couple, I’ve got to find me a girl. Got any ideas?” He winked.
“I’m not...” Peter began, but then a face swam in his mind. The face of a girl who deserved someone who would treasure her sweet spirit -- and not run out on her or treat her like a trophy. Liz Allan. “You know what, buddy?” Peter said with a pat on his friend’s shoulder. “Maybe I do.”
A/N 2: Thank you for all of the comments, reviews and favorites on this story. If you’ve made it all the way to the end (no matter when you read this), would you please leave me your thoughts?