The second Peter’s feet touched the ground he knew that jumping over the fence of his High School had been a mistake. Not because he had hurt himself or something like that. No, that jump was a piece of cake, Peter would probably to be able to do it on one single leg. A challenge for his abilities had to be something else entirely. If there were going to be any new challenges, now that Peter had thrown all care out of the window.
“Mr. Parker, I assume.”
Crap, somebody had seen him. How was he going to explain this to Mr. Stark? It was going to be the training wheels conversation all over again. There was no point in running since the other one knew who he was. Okay, he could still pretend to be a Spanish exchange student…
Lo siento, no hablo ingles?
Better than nothing. Ready to lie through his teeth Peter turned around. Who was he kidding, Peter had no idea what he was doing and he should be calling Mr. Stark right now to…
Oh god. The shock of red hair was visible despite the black hoodie and Peter instantly did a look around. Were there more? Were all of them here?
“Relax, I am alone.” The Black Widow answered and Peter’s mind was racing. No, he was not going to fuck that up. Step by step. Logical thinking. He had to arrest her, back-up would be useful. Peter should definitely call Mr. Stark. Then again, the Black Widow wasn’t an enhanced being. Spider-Man should be able to take her on.
But what if something went wrong and Peter would be responsible for her getting away?
“Don’t be shy, Mr. Parker. You can talk to me.”
Swallowing softly Peter tried to ignore the question of how she had found him or how she knew who he was. “What do you want?”
“We saw what you could do, Mr. Parker. Quite a show that you put on. Cap was very impressed.”
Despite himself Peter felt a tingle of pride inside of him. A childhood dream fulfilling itself. Captain America taking notice of him? On second thought Peter tried to shake off that feeling. Of course Captain America had noticed him, Peter had taken his shield and then Captain America had dropped that container on him.
“You know, you are a criminal on the run and I am a kid going home from school. I shouldn’t be talking to strangers and I think it’s time to call the authorities, so…”
“Cap is very interested in talking to Spider-Man. Stark is not the only one who sees the potential in you. We would like to give you a warning.”
Peter was balancing his feet, so he would be ready for an incoming attack. “Threatening people isn’t nice.”
She suddenly smiled at him, looking almost friendly. “I am not threatening you, kiddo. I am trying to help you. I know Tony recruited you and that’s all exciting and you think you owe him for the suit, but you don’t have all the information. Being dependent on Tony Stark can be highly dangerous. Especially since he doesn’t like to tell his associates everything he knows.”
Peter frowned, feeling ridiculously small beneath her gaze. This was a game of cat and mouse, that much for sure. Honestly he had no idea what was going on. Mr. Stark keeping things from him? Well, naturally. Mr. Stark was Iron Man and has been in the business for over 8 years. Peter was 15 years old and still going to school. Wouldn’t it be incredibly stupid to assume that Mr. Stark was telling him everything?
“What is this all about?”
“We want to talk to you, you’ll find out the things that Stark didn’t tell you before you got involved this fight. When you know everything, you can decide which side you are on or if you even want to get involved into all this further.”
She sounded reasonable enough, but Peter remembered the fight at the airport. He remembered how terrified Mr. Stark had looked when he had found Peter lying on the ground.
Only then his brain seemed to catch up with what the Black Widow was implying. Could see possibly lead him to Captain America? Peter could totally take him in and Mr. Stark would be so…
No, scratch that. Peter promised he wouldn’t do anything that too stupid. A tracker. He could place a tracker on Captain America. Then Mr. Stark could come in with the FBI, the CIA, Interpol and every other secret organisation that Peter had never heard of. Peter could help and Mr. Stark would be so proud of him.
“Cap wants to talk to me? Right now?”
The Black Widow nodded, smiling amusedly. “Yes, come on. He’s waiting.”
There was no abandoned warehouse or hidden bunker. Kind of disappointing. The Black Widow led him on to the roof of an apartment building. Well, that was a bad choice, clearing giving Peter an advantage there. Although he didn’t feel like he was having the upper hand. His heart was slamming against his ribs and he desperately tried to look cool and unimpressed.
Peter was so clearly failing.
They weren’t all there, which was a relief. A minute ago it had dawned on Peter that he was maybe walking into trap. Luckily the only person waiting for them was indeed Captain America. Not wearing his uniform, but normal clothes. He definitely didn’t greet Peter like he would expect it from a wanted fugitive.
Criminals didn’t usually smile in a real friendly way while holding out their hand. “Hello Peter.”
This was an experience from another world. At least it felt like that. Peter was blushing, grabbing his hand and tried not to forget about the tracker. “Uhm… hey.”
“I’m very glad that you decided to come and listen to us.”
“I guess… you should always listen to a second… opinion.”
Captain America nodded, still smiling and Peter had to think of those dumb PSAs. That was a good thought, it helped him to not be that awestruck anymore. This was the same guy who made those ridiculous puns in these videos… and who dropped a container on Peter.
Mr. Stark had been in hospital after he had come back from Siberia… Yes, Peter held on to that thought and suddenly that smile didn’t seem all that friendly anymore.
“Tony is a good man and I am very sorry that things turned out this way, but unfortunately he made a couple of decisions that left us no choice.”
PSA – Container – Mr. Stark’s arm in a sling.
“It makes me very sad that he couldn’t see the whole picture and that he forced things to escalate.”
A collapsed tunnel in Bucharest – a destroyed airport – the bruises on Mr. Stark’s face
“Listen, you have something concrete to say… say it.” Peter cleared his throat and Captain America and the Black Widow shared a look. “Sure, but it’s rather something we have to show you.”
They had a laptop put up on the edge of the roof and indicated him to take a look. “We maybe would have been able to negotiate, find some compromise… but Tony had sold the Avengers out. The Accords forced him to keep Wanda imprisoned at the Avenger’s compound. Like a criminal, because that’s what they are all about. Control and you’re in a position where something similar could easily happen to you.”
Frowning Peter turned to the screen as the Black Widow started the video. It was security footage from the Avengers compound. How had they even got their hands on this? Peter watched the Scarlett Witch and the Vision. Vision was leaving, Hawkeye showing up, telling the Scarlett Witch to come with him because of… Huh? Because of Cap? Then Vision came back, telling them that he couldn’t let her leave, Hawkeye making some foolish, but surprisingly violent attempts to get past him. Now that was uncalled for since Vision wasn’t even putting up a fight or… anything.
Then the Scarlett Witch joined in and…
“Holy shit! What the hell!”
“I know. It’s unfair what she had to go th-“
“She just made him crash through the damned ground! Several floors and…”
“Wanda had no…”
Peter span around, staring at both of them, unable to control his face or the words that were flowing out of his mouth. “She assaulted a guy who didn’t even put a finger on her! The term overreaction doesn’t even apply here anymore!”
Captain America blinked, clearly not ready for that kind of reaction. “She was kept against her will and had no choice.”
“Kept against… He didn’t touch her! Vision didn’t even look at her funny!”
“He wouldn’t let her leave.”
“Obviously for a reason! She used his body as a punching ball!”
“She wouldn’t have had to if not for…”
“What?!” Peter couldn’t believe that he was screaming at Captain America, but he couldn’t stop himself. “After killing several people in Nigeria it might have been a good idea to stay at home for a while! You know, when not signing the Sokovia Accords meant that she was probably going to be charged for that. Leaving also turned out to be a brilliant idea when the first thing she did was dropping an entire parking deck on Iron Man!”
Captain America opened his mouth, but not a sound came out, so the Black Widow had to jump in. “What we meant to show you was how the Accords forced insufferable situations on all of us. Wanda cares deeply for Vision. None of that had had to happen…”
Aunt May flashed in front of Peter’s eyes. Her tugging him in at night when he had still been little, kissing his forehead, telling him that she would always look out for him.
Mr. Stark crouching over him, sending him home, so nothing could happen to him.
“She’s… She cares deeply for him? Jesus, what does she do when she hates your guts?”
“Listen Peter…” She used the same tone as his teachers and that made Peter even more furious, because he already knew that she would only tell him bullshit. “These were extreme circumstances. Something I hope for you never to experience, but you are already getting there. With Stark mentoring you it’s only a question of time until the Accords go after you. It will be the same thing. Complete control, observing every step you go, deciding what you should do.”
Exactly like his teachers, but unlike her most of them knew what they were talking about. “You’re so full of it, aren’t you? We went through the Accords in school. None of which you just said was in there.”
Unimpressed she crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Oh yes? Maybe it’s already happening. That nice suit you got? Do you think it came without a price? Stark can track down every step you’re taking. Can’t find you everywhere you’re going. Now why would he do that if he trusts you? If it wasn’t the first step into complete control and take-over?”
Now it was Peter’s mouth that dropped open. He was completely lost. Mr. Stark had told him that Captain America had gone crazy. Sure, that was just a figure of speech, right? Peter hadn’t actually believed that. As it turned out – Mr. Stark had made a great understatement.
“He needs to know where I am so he can dive into a lake and save me from drowning, you stupid b-“ The b-word was lying on his tongue, but Captain America made a step forward. “Peter, we’re just trying to help you.”
Jerking back Peter held both hands up. “Don’t touch me! If you’re calling what the Scarlett Witch did justified or help me god… self-defence… I don’t want to know what it means if you want to help someone! Stay away from me! And stay away from Mr. Stark!”
“Peter, we just need you to see…”
“I saw! I saw very well. Thank you for clearing this up! Five minutes ago I actually still thought that you couldn’t be all that bad. Captain America and everything… turns out you’re even worse. It’s freaking scary that you don’t even realise what’s wrong with this.” Peter gestured in disgust at the laptop and when he saw the Black Widow only moving a muscle, he snarled. “Don’t approach me ever again! If I ever see again I will kick your ass and believe me, next time I won’t be holding back, because of being awe-struck. Thanks for reassuring me that I’ve been on the right side all along.”
Turning around Peter jumped off the edge of the roof and swung to the next building. The anger that was still pulsing beneath his skin got joined by another feeling. Almost warm and tingly when he thought about the tracker on the laptop.
Mr. Stark was going to be so proud of him.