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Acts of stupidity often lead to discovery

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For Peter it was a right place right time kind of thing. For Harry it was more of a not looking where he was going thing.

Peter had been looking for something to do when he saw a car speeding towards someone crossing the street. He did a double take when he noticed that someone happened to be his roommate.

He shot a web to the building across the street and swung down, grabbing his friend around the waist and bringing him to the top of the building with him.

“You should really watch where you’re going when crossing the street.”

“Cars should really stop when someone is walking.” Harry countered, brushing himself off and looking Peter up and down. “So, you’re the guy who the newspapers can’t shut up about. Don’t you have better things to do than make sure college kids know how to cross a street? People to save, roommates to model for and all that?”

“Roommates to model for?” Peter asked, tilting his head slightly.

“My roommate, Peter, takes your pictures for the newspaper. Do me a favor and try to swing a bit lower when you see a skinny guy with messy hair and glasses holding a camera. I’m convinced half of those cuts and bruises he shows up with are from trying to get shots of you. That or I need to kick someone’s ass.” Harry replied.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Peter told him with a frown that was hidden by his mask. So, Harry wasn’t buying his excuses for that then. Peter didn’t really know what to do about that problem.

Harry nodded. “So, any chance you’ve got the time to get me back on ground level, or do I have to find my own way down?” Harry asked.

“Where were you going? I’m sure I’ve got time to get you there.” He offered.

“The Amazing Spiderman making time to take little old me home?” Harry asked sarcastically. “Why, it must be my lucky day.”

“Well, not with that attitude he’s not.” Peter said. “The webs can only hold so much sarcasm, and I provide enough of that as is. So, where is home?”

“Columbia.” 

“I certainly hope you mean the college or this could be a long trip.” Peter said with a grin.

“Yes, the college. Near the dorms.” He said in what was clearly more demand than request. An attitude Peter had gotten quite used to after nearly a year of living with Harry.

“Hang on.” Peter said by way of warning before wrapping an arm around Harry, shooting a web, and dropping them off the roof. The wide eyed surprise on Harry’s face made Peter have to hold back a laugh.

Harry stayed quite on the ride to the college. The look on his face suggested it was more out of him thinking than a fear of falling or being dropped.

“Well, this is your stop.” Peter said, setting Harry down at the college.

“That it is. Do you think you can stop by my dorm for my roommate to get a picture of you? That way he doesn’t have to go out and put himself at risk to get one for less than he really should be getting paid. If he’s not there I’ll just take it and he can yell at me about angels and all that photographer crap that I’ll be getting wrong. ”

Peter thought it was kind of sweet of Harry to ask that for him. “Um, I should really get going actually. If you want to take one on your phone really quick that would be okay.”

“Nah. He says phone pictures are a monstrosity. Not really worth the bother that way. Photo snob that he is. I’ll just leave you to it then.”

Peter gave a little two finger salute and swung off.

While he was out he was mostly weighing the pros and cons of Harry finding out. Because he was rather worried Harry would. He had been relieved not to be called out on his voice alone.

Pros: Peter wouldn’t have to keep making excuses for showing up looking like someone who had lost a fight with a brick wall. He wouldn’t have to make excuses for disappearing randomly. He wouldn’t have to keep hiding his suit. He could actually be honest with Harry.

Cons: Harry would be in danger.

And really that was enough for Peter. He didn’t need to start seeing Harry everywhere like he had with Gwen’s father after he died. He still sometimes woke up screaming from nightmares about that, and Harry was always quick to run over to him and make sure he was okay. Always asked what the hell Peter was dreaming about.

Gwen had told him so many times that it wasn’t his fault that her father died. She still told him that when they talked on Skype and he brought up some lame excuse he’d made to Harry about something and told her he couldn’t just tell him. Although, since she was in England they didn’t get to talk much. Time zones and all. Which kind of sucked because he missed having her around. She was a good friend of his after all.

He went into their dorm and went straight to the kitchen to wash the cut running along his jaw. Lesson in that is to not bring webs to a knife fight. At least not one with so many people. It was just one cut though, so he wasn’t worried about it. He was more worried about what to say to Harry about it if he asked. Which Harry always did. Peter was pretty sure to see just what the hell Peter would come up with as an excuse this time since apparently Harry didn’t believe any of it.


 

“Harry, you home?” Peter called as he rubbed a wet paper towel along the cut to get rid of the dried blood.

“Yeah, I’m in the TV room. You had better not come in here looking like you just lost a fight.”

“You should see the other guy.” Peter shot back. He could practically hear Harry rolling his eyes at him.

“Right. Let’s see the damage then.”

“Can’t. You said not to come in there. Which is going to be a problem when I try to go to bed since I have to cut through there.” Peter said.

“Idiot.” He heard Harry mutter before he entered the kitchen. “So, how did you manage that one?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Had a disagreement with a fire escape.” Peter said with a shrug.

“You should see a doctor then. Those things are usually covered in rust.” Harry said, sounding mildly concerned.

“This one looked new. I think I’m good.” Peter told him, giving an easy grin to try and convince Harry, who simply frowned at him when the grin moved the cut and caused it to start bleeding again. “I’m fine. Seriously.” Peter said, pressing the paper towel back to the cut.

“Uh-huh. So, why were you on a fire escape?”

Peter just held up his camera in explanation.

“Speaking of your favorite wall crawler, I met him today.” Harry said casually as he pulled some pizza out of the fridge to reheat.

“Seriously? Then I’m the one who should be worried about you. He seems to show up when bad things are happening.” Peter replied, trying to sound surprised.

“Some car didn’t see the need to stop. Not a big deal since I was pulled out of the way. You know, he kind of reminds me of you actually.”

“Me?” Peter asked, feeling himself tense slightly.

“Yeah. Something about the way he talks. I think you two would get along pretty well. If you have a problem with rollercoasters I don’t recommend traveling the way he does though.” Harry told him.

“You got to ride with him?”

“He took me back here. Is that normal, Pete? I don’t think I’ve heard any news of him doing that before.”

“Um, I’m not sure.” Peter told him.

“He seemed familiar though. I’m sure I’ve met him before. I know that voice.” Harry told Peter with a frown. The same frown he always got when he couldn’t figure something out, which wasn’t very often and usually meant he intended to figure it out. Which he almost inevitably did.

“Maybe he goes here.” Peter said, trying not to tense further so that Harry wouldn’t notice anything was wrong.

“Maybe.” Harry said thoughtfully. “We should figure it out.” He declared a moment latter.

“What? Harry, I don’t think that’s a good idea. He probably wears the mask for a reason.” Peter said.

“Sure, but aren’t you even a little curious whose photo’s you put yourself in so much danger for?”

Peter bit his lip. “I still think that someone who wants to protect their identity to the point of covering their entire face has a right to their privacy.”

“Well, I’m going to figure it out. I’ll let you know when I find out. It’d be a lot easier with your help though. Two geniuses are better than one.” He said, handing a slice of the newly heated pizza to Peter.

“Thanks, but I think I’ll stick to studying for school instead of studying a superhero.”


 

A few hours later he was listening to his iPod while he studied, tuned into a news station instead of music, and sighed when he heard a report of a high speed chase. ‘Duty calls’ he thought as he got up and told Harry he needed a break from studying and was going for a walk.

He caught his reflection in his cellphone on the way back as he checked the time and decided Harry was probably going to kill him. That slam into the side of a truck was showing. He turned it to a camera setting so that he could get a better look and winced. He had a rather impressive bruise on his right cheekbone, some scrapes and bruises on his temple. The scratch on his chin was still bleeding and likely to have a bruise around it in the morning judging by how it felt when he poked at it. Yep. Harry was going to be pissed.

Harry appeared to have dozed off on the couch reading, and Peter tried to creep past him, but his eyes blinked open when Peter came in. The sleepy look didn’t last for long, because he seemed very awake when his eyes landed on Peter’s face. “And just what in God’s name are you going to come up with to explain that away?” He asked.

“Walked into a brick wall.” Peter replied.

“I’m sure.” Harry replied, his tone dripping sarcasm. “Peter, what the hell is going on? I can help you with whatever it is. I’ll pay for fighting classes, a weapon, hell, even a body guard. Or if you owe money, however much it is, I’ll pay it off. Just something to make this stop.” He said, more seriously, getting to his feet.

If it were about anything else Peter might have smiled at Harry caring, but he just bit his lip, shaking his head. “I’m fine. Really. You don’t need to do anything.”

“Like hell I don’t!” Harry shouted. “If I didn’t need to do something, it would be fixed already. Is this a pride thing, Peter? Is that why you won’t let me help you with this?”

“No. It’s a pride thing when I say I won’t let you pay for my text books, or insist on letting me buy my own food.” Peter told him.

“Then what is this? Because you are the one person who doesn’t seem to want something from me. Fame, money, power. But you’re the one person I’d be willing to give it to. And you clearly need help since you haven’t handled whatever this situation is! So why can’t I help you with this? Why can’t you even tell me what ‘it’ is?”

“Because I don’t want people involved. It’s not good for them.” Peter tried to explain.

“Does Gwen know what’s going on?” Harry asked, glaring.

“Yes, but-“

“Right.” Harry muttered, cutting him off. “I just want to help you, Peter. But you have to tell me how first.” Harry said, before turning and storming into their room. The door slamming seemed to indicate that Peter would be sleeping on the couch that night.


 

Peter nearly fell off the roof he was standing on when he saw Harry. Standing in the middle of the road. Staring down an oncoming truck with what could only be described as a challenging look.

Again, Peter swung down and grabbed Harry, dragging him to the top of another building. “What the hell was that?” He nearly shouted as he put Harry down and stared at him with wide eyes from behind the mask.

“An alternative to a cell phone. You show up when there’s trouble, so I had to cause a bit to make an appointment.” Harry replied. He had dark circles under his eyes, which indicated that he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. Peter felt kind of bad for that.

“And what was so important that this appointment had to be made via standing in front of a truck?” Peter asked.

“Nothing in particular. I’m just trying to figure out what it is about you that seems so familiar.” Harry informed him with a smirk.

“You sure do go to some extreme lengths to satisfy your curiosity.” Peter muttered. “Did it ever occur to you that I don’t want people to know who I am?”

“I wouldn’t tell anyone other than my roommate. He’s convinced you’ve got a good reason for hiding behind that mask. Personally I think it’s because you just don’t want to get arrested. He’s always so sure that people have a reason, and almost always as sure that it’s a good one though.”

“An optimist and a pessimist living together. There’s a joke about a realist in there somewhere, but you’d both have to find some middle ground to figure it out.” Peter told him with a grin before he remembered he’d used that one just a week after he and Harry got roomed together. He’d been pretty proud of it too. For weeks they had made jokes about finding their secret realist roommate, and confused the hell out of everyone around them.

“I should go. It was nice to see you again, but I really don’t want to be found out. There’s a fire escape on this building you can use to get down.” He told Harry before quickly taking a running start on jumping off the building before shooting a web and swinging out of view.


 

“He knows, Gwen! Oh my God, I’m such an idiot!” Peter said as soon as she answered her phone with a groggily hello. He was pacing around their dorm anxiously, running a hand through his hair repeatedly, which caused it to stick up even more than usual.

“Peter, slow down. I just woke up. Who knows what?” She asked, and he could hear her bed moving as she sat up.

“Harry knows I’m Spiderman. He got some mission to figure out who Spiderman is after I saved him from getting hit by a car, and today he decided the best way to find Spiderman was put himself in front of a car again. It worked, but I made this joke, the one about the optimist and the pessimist that you made me explain to you after you got tired of hearing about the realist. Gwen, that went on for weeks, he’s going to know. He’s smart; that’ll just be the last piece he needs to make the connection. And – Oh God! I’m a horrible person. Gwen, I left him on a roof! I panicked! I mean there was a fire escape, but I left Harry on a roof! And Harry knows I’m Spiderman! And-“

“Peter!” Gwen said loudly and sternly to get him to stop rambling. “Peter, calm down. Breath. In. Out.” She instructed.

Peter nodded, despite her not being able to see and forced himself to take in air.

“Now. I know I’ve said this before, but maybe you should consider that Harry knowing isn’t such a bad thing. It will make your life easier.”

“But he’ll be in danger.”

“His last name is Osborn. He’s always in danger.” She pointed out.

“And I don’t want to add to that. I can’t be responsible for his death too. I can’t see his ghost following me around. I can’t do that, Gwen.”

“Well, Peter, if he knows there isn’t much you can do about that. It’s harsh, but true. It was all speculation when we discussed this before, but if he knows now there isn’t anything you can do about that, so you might as well start looking at the positive. Maybe you can finally ask him out. You told me you couldn’t do that because you were constantly lying to him, but now you don’t have to lie to him.”

He ran his hand through his hair again, shaking his head. “Maybe I should move. Go away so that he can’t be around me, and thus I can’t put him in danger either.” He said thoughtfully.

“And you can’t protect him from cars or people after him for his last name either.” Damn. She made compelling arguments.

“I never wanted him to be a part of this.” Peter whispered.

“I know. I know you didn’t, but we don’t always get choices in what other people do.”

“I’ve got to go.” He said before hanging up when he heard the door opening.

“So, I think I found our realist roommate. He happens to be part spider.” Harry said, glaring at Peter as he entered.

“Harry, I –“

“So, when were you planning on telling me?” He could hear the hurt and betrayal in Harry’s voice, and despite him trying to make it look like anger, he could see it on Harry’s face too. 

“I wasn’t.”

“Of course not. I suppose that explains why you come home looking like you got your ass kicked all the time. Although, there’s got to be some truth to your ‘you should see the other guy’ jokes what with the superpowers and what not.”

“I didn’t want to put you in danger.”

“You told Gwen!” Harry said accusingly.

“You’re damn right I did! And do you know what Gwen got for that, Harry? Her father died! She was going to help me because she cared about me and she knew I was Spiderman. Her father found out and he couldn’t let his daughter go into that much danger, so he did it for her. If he hadn’t gone she would have been dead. And then I just saw him everywhere. Every time I was near her, I could see him, hear him making me promise not to get her involved in this. Because he didn’t want the same thing to happen to her that happened to him. And so, even though I miss her, I’m glad she’s in England. She’s far away from me, so I can’t put her in danger. I’m not breaking my promise and so I’m not seeing her father anymore. Except in nightmares where I watch him die in front of me again and again. So, I’m not going to apologize for not wanting to tell you. I can’t lose you too, Harry, and I just wanted to protect you. That’s why I didn’t tell you.”

Peter was shaking by the end of that, biting on his lower lip. “I just . . . I care about you. That’s why I didn’t tell you.” He said quietly.

Harry sighed, and walked over to Peter pulling his shaking body into a hug. “Calm down. No need to start freaking out this much. We might discover a panic disorder we didn’t know you had at this rate.” He said, putting aside his anger to try and make sure that Peter was okay.

“I’m sorry I lied to you.” Peter mumbled against Harry’s shoulder. “I really just wanted to help.”

“Yeah, Pete, I got that. I’m serious. Calm down. Take deep breaths, and try to relax.” Harry replied. He was still a bit irritated at being left out of this knowledge, but he could acknowledge that Peter had some justifiable reasons for keeping it to himself. He supposed this reaction was all of that worry that Peter had been bottling up finally spilling out now that Harry knew, but Harry wasn’t really good at calming people down. He didn’t know how. Somehow though he figured he must be doing an okay job because Peter wasn’t shaking anymore. His hands were, but it was just that at least.

“I never even told Aunt May. I think she knows though. My best excuse for turning all of the laundry red and blue was that I tried to wash the American flag. Apparently that just isn’t done.” Peter said after a little while.

“Only you. You’re just lucky everything didn’t turn purple with that color combination.” Harry said with a light laugh.

“Like you’re one to talk. I had to teach you how to use the washing machine when you first got here. You still managed to turn all of our socks pink.”

“And suddenly we were supporting breast cancer awareness until we could be bothered to get new socks.” Harry remembered with a grin.

“You might have been. I was apparently coming out.” Peter told him. “Wasn’t aware I was in, but that was how my socks were taken. You’d think with both of us having the messed up socks they would figure out that we fucked up the laundry.”

“What, you mean you don’t try to figure out peoples sexualities by their socks?” Harry teased him, glad to see that Peter’s hands had stopped shaking now too. Apparently the way to calm him down was to act like there was nothing to be freaking out about anyway. Harry made a mental note of that in case he ever needed it again. “Those are the first thing you check if you don’t have a built in gaydar.”

He thought about what Gwen had said about maybe just doing something about his feelings for Harry. He’d been reluctant before because it was bad enough lying to Harry when they were close friends, but he didn’t want to do that in a relationship. But Harry knew. Which meant Peter would have to make extra sure he was safe, but he could try to focus on the pros of the situation.

“Well . . . usually I just ask. Or maybe try this.” He moved his head so it wasn’t resting on Harry’s shoulder –which was a bit of an awkward position anyway since he was taller than Harry- and pressed a light kiss to Harry’s lips.

“I think I like that second method a bit better. Best not try it on anyone else though.” Harry said when Peter pulled back.

“Not sure I got a good reading. I think I’ll have to try again.” Peter replied with a small smile, leaning down again.

Yes, he was still really worried but there was almost nothing he could do about that, so he was going to have to just roll with the punches and just try to keep Harry as safe as he possibly could.