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How Did We Get Here?

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“Miles,” Rio Morales narrowed her eyes as her son stopped in his tracks on the steps leading up into their home. There was a tall, white man behind him with an unshaven face and a faded green jacket over an even more faded gray hoodie. He looked like he had slept underneath the Brooklyn bridge and for once Rio Morales cursed her son’s kind heart for his attempt to bring a homeless man into their home. “Who is that?” Sure she was concerned that her son had been gone all night, but like any rational mother, she had suspected that this was just her son’s first time sneaking out underneath his parent’s supervision. She didn’t expect him to have some stranger standing behind him.

“Uh,” Miles was sweating bullets at this point, his mom and dad giving him every black teen’s worse nightmare. The judgmental stares that threatened to raise the spirits of ancestors to give him a whooping of his lifetime. He hooked a thumb over his shoulder, pointing it at Peter as his mind quickly tried to create a lie. It’s not like he could tell his parents that this Peter Parker behind him was Spiderman and not even their universes own Spiderman. “This is my uncle Peter!”

The look of shock on Peter’s face nearly rivaled his parents' own.

“What?” Rio’s mouth slightly widened in shock, her head jerking back as her a nervous smile stretched across her son’s features.

Shit . Miles cursed in his head as his parents glanced skeptically at each other, a thousand emotions flitting across their face like they were trying to weigh whether Miles was telling the truth or lying.

Feeling a hand on his shoulder, Miles turned his head to see Peter nervously scratching the back of his head, his gaze flitting from his mom and dad’s faces before settling on his own. “I’m, uh, married to his uncle Aaron. He just...never let you guys know.”

Somehow his parents believed it as they let Peter and Miles into the house, directing Peter to the phone so that he could call Aaron after he told them a bullshit lie about losing his phone on the subway after going out to look for Miles. Rio and her husband shared a nervous glance with each other as Rio leaned back in her seat to glance at Peter who was using their phone in the kitchen.

“Do you think Aaron never told us because Peter’s…” Jefferson trailed off, trying to find the word to describe Peter as Miles was sitting beside him.

“Tall?” Rio offered to the nod of her husband.

“Yea, I didn’t think Aaron liked...tall people.”

“Am I the only one who realizes that Peter is white?” Miles questioned his parents with a raise of his brows. They both stared at him in shock as if they’d just notice that for the first time since Peter stepped into their home. “Oh, sorry, that’s he’s tall ?”

They didn’t say a single word when Aaron showed up later to pick Peter up. He shared a knowing glance with Miles and bid his brother and sister in law goodnight as he and Peter left.

Later that night Jefferson and Rio found themselves in their bed. Jefferson was staring at the ceiling, his mind still unable to wrap itself around the fact that his brother had married a white man.

“But listen,” Jefferson hissed into the still air of their room, “Aaron might have married a white boy just to annoy me, specifically! It’s a thing he’d do!”

Rio rolled over onto her side, her hair tied up into a silk headwrap as she sleepily glared at her husband. “I can hear you, dear, but boy, if you don’t let me sleep when you know I have work in four hours it’s going to be me and you!”

He bid her goodnight, listening to her roll onto her side and quickly fall asleep.

 

Aaron breathed deeply, his hands pressed together as his nephew ate his hotdog like nothing was clearly wrong in the world. “...Miles...I love you, and I am proud of you...but you are somehow the smartest and dumbest boy I have ever known.”

Miles paused mid-chew to give his uncle a blank stare. “Says the man who used his big brain to become a criminal when he could’ve been a black Tony Stark with that gear he made. And thought working for the Kingpin, who everyone knows will throw his minions away like tissues, was a good idea!” He angrily took a bite out of his hotdog as Peter who was on the other side of his uncle pipped up.

“He makes a good point, babe, you did kind of mess up first—”

Aaron glared at him, disgust burning in his eyes that he had been dragged into this convoluted mess. “Call me babe again and see what happens,” he threatened the superhero. “I’ll whoop you with a collapsed lung.”

A smirk settled onto Miles’ face as he took another bite of his hotdog.

Chapter Text

"So," Jefferson started, his eyes glancing around his brother's apartment. If Aaron Davis hadn't taken that ibuprofen just minutes before his brother had shown up, he'd have one raging headache over having to continue and play along with a lie his nephew had started. "Where's Peter?"

"Work," was the single word reply that came. Aaron praying that his brother would just accept it at face value and not attempt to dig any further. But just like the cop he was, he just needed to dig.

"He's a photographer right?" That little tidbit of knowledge resurfaced to the forefront of Jefferson's mind as he recalled that news reporter so long ago that alerted the world to Spiderman's death.

The hidden microphone that he had in his ear crackled to life as his nephew spoke in the receiver he had given him. If Miles was the one to have started this convoluted his mess, he sure as hell was going to help Aaron through it. "Yea," Aaron shrugged his shoulders. "Works part-time for the Daily Bugle as he finishes up his grad work."

"Cool, cool, cool, cool," Jefferson chanted over, his nerves boiling beneath his skin as he continued to glance around an apartment that had so much of Aaron's own personal tastes written all over it and nothing that seemed to scream Peter. "So I don't really see any photos of you and Peter—"

Aaron groaned, pressing his hands against his face as he slunk further into the loveseat.

It was later in the week when both Peter and Aaron found themselves reluctantly sitting side by side at Morales' dinner table. The only one who seemed to really be digging into the bowl of mashed potatoes, brown sugar-coated sweet potatoes, fried plantains, mac and cheese, and a bowl of fried chicken was Miles.

Inhaling down his mother's baked seven-layer mac and cheese, Rio glared at her son. Shouting at him in Spanish to slow down on the food or else he'd stop breathing.

"So, Peter," a nervous smile stretched across Rio's face as she did everything in her power to not look confused by her brother in law's newly discovered relationship. "How did you an Aaron—" she glanced her husband, her eyes pleading with him to somehow bail her out on this one.

"Why are you looking at me?" Jefferson frowned at his wife, looking more concernedly at filling his plate with food rather than getting answers to some questions. She smacked him in the arm and yanked the bowl of mashed potatoes that he was attempting to spoon into his plate from his hands. Sighing, he stared at Peter from across the table. "I think what my wife is trying to say is that we're just a little confused here, Peter. Suddenly we find out you and my brother are married when just last week all of New York was morning your death." He frowned, glancing at Peter's features as he took the slight wrinkles around the corner of his eyes and his dark hair color that looked nothing like the memorial pictures that had been plastered up around New York for days.

"Oh yea," Peter glanced nervously at Miles. "It was a super old photo. You know how it is, they say that the camera makes you look ten years younger." He nervously chuckled. "A lot of the information floating out around there was a little fabricated; different heroes do this all the time you know."

"Do what?" Rio asked with an arch of her brow as she stabbed her fork into her sweet potatoes.

"Fake their own deaths!" Everyone's attention snapped to Miles whose cheeks were full of food, small particles of mashed potatoes flew from his lips.

"Yea!" Peter nodded his head at another one of Miles' lies. "Iron Man's done it before—a great guy by the way—Bucky did it once—"

"Sorry, 'Bucky'?" Jefferson blinked at Peter.

"Yea, one of Captain America's friends. It's a long story," he chuckled, letting out a mental sigh of relief when Miles quickly changed the flow of the conversation to some of his recent achievements at school.

"That's nice, Miles." Rio smiled at her son, quickly turning her gaze back to Peter. "But Peter, you really should tell us how you and Aaron met. Everyone thought you were married to Mary Jess, I think her name was?"

"Mary Jane," Peter corrected her, he shot a nervous look at Miles as if to ask him how the hell they were getting out of this one? Miles shrugged his shoulders, hunching his shoulders down to shovel more food into his mouth as if to tell Peter he had to solve this problem on his own. "I uh—we uh—" His brows nearly shot up into his hairline, mirroring the reaction on Miles's face whose jaw had stilled mid-chew. His gaze flickering between Peter and his uncle Aaron's.

Glancing down at his hand, Peter was surprised to find Aaron's own covering his. A fake smile was stretched across Aaron's face as he quickly came up with an answer for this newfound lie they found themselves in. "Peter and Mary Jane divorced before we started dating, they just didn't want the public to know yet, but here we are."

Rio and Jefferson glanced at each other, seeming to find that a suitable answer they nodded and changed the conversation to more lighthearted topics.

Later in the week and Aunt May threw open the front door to the family home to find a pissed MJ standing on their door.

"Peter Parker!" MJ hissed upon seeing him on the couch. "Why are their reporters calling my phone to ask when we got divorced and how I feel about you being married to a man!?"

Aunt May's eyes widened as she turned her head to stare at her nephew. Shaking her head she held up her hands and retreated into the kitchen. "You two can deal with this one."

A few days later and the Daily Bugle had uploaded a new article online, chock full of quotes from MJ about her husband—her ex-husband to be exact—and how they had divorced years before due to realizing they were on two different paths in life but remained close friends. Even after Peter Parker had faked his own death; she had assured the public that some of more Peter's personal information that had floated around leading up to his funeral had been changed to protect his identity and life.

Is Peter Parker even his real name? The author's article had written. Or has Spider-Man hidden more about his personal life from the public than anyone even knew? The Daily Bugle has some anonymous sources that have hinted that the reason for MJ and Peter Parker's split has been due to a passionate affair that took place during the marriage. The real shocker? The duplicitous lover of Spider-Man was a male!

Was MJ just posing as her husband's beard? Or is there more to this story that the public isn't being made aware of?

Further down in the article, the reporter includes a quote from MJ, who states that she's quite happy for Peter in his new marriage.

The moment when the article gets uploaded Peter gets one angry phone call from MJ for roping her into his lie and making him do to this favor for him. A favor he better pay her back with via a tray of chocolate fudge from her favorite bakery.

He keeps his promise and she later finds a webbed box of chocolate fudge hanging outside of her apartment window with a nice little note on it from Peter.

Three weeks after the article goes up and Aaron throws open his apartment door after some very incessant ringing. If it's a telemarketer, Aaron had sworn to himself, I'm throwing them out of the window.

It wasn't, he found when he opened the door and was greeted to a camera pointed in his face and a reporter quickly blurting out that she was from the local news, before asking him if he had any time to talk about his marriage to New York's own superhero. Aaron cursed, he was going to need to move.

At the Morales' home, Miles screamed out for his mother. "Mom! Uncle Aaron is on the news!"

Correction, Aaron was going to need to move and preferably ask his brother to ground Miles for life.

Chapter Text

The doorbell to the Parker home rang, forcing May Parker to get up from the couch she'd been sitting on.

Throwing open the door, the look of surprise on her face was brief as she caught a glimpse of who exactly was standing on her porch. Sizing up Aaron Davis, he almost thought that he'd shown up to the wrong house. That this elderly lady couldn't have been in any way, shape, or form related to Peter. But she quickly disproved that by turning her head to call over her shoulder, "Peter! Your fake husband is here!" She turned her head around to take Aaron Davis in with a blank stare.

"Can I come in?" Aaron coughed uncomfortably.

"Are you going to destroy my house again?" The sass that lashed out of her mouth was enough to make Aaron blink as if he'd just been slapped. He wondered how this woman possessed all of this spunk and Peter...only got half of it.

"No, Ma'am. I promise I won't." Narrowing her eyes, May stared at him till Aaron thought her stare alone would be enough to melt him into nothingness against the pavement, but with a sharp incline of her head, she stepped to the side and let him in. Just as Peter rushed in from the kitchen, looking like he'd had the wind knocked out of him.

He seemed almost surprised to see Aaron in his family home. Without any tact whatsoever, Aaron got right to the point to tell him why he was there. "We're moving in together." Honestly, he couldn't tell who was more surprised at the news. Peter with his open-mouthed gape, or May who slammed the front door shut, her eyes burning with displeasure.

"Just to be clear, who's moving in with who?" May asked, her hands pressed against her hips.

"Peter—" Aaron pointed to the suited-up superhero, "—is moving in with me." He pointed his thumb at himself.

'Woah, woah, woah," Peter chanted. "I don't think anything like that is going to happen without some explanation."

Aaron glared at him. "The lie you and my nephew oh so conveniently decided to continue has come to bite me and my ass. Reporters found out where I live and let me tell you it looks weird when the whole world is supposed to believe that we're a couple but you have a couple of reporters who are questioning why we don't live together and why my apartment looks like a bachelor's pad."

"And that's a problem how?"

Rolling his eyes at the fact that Peter didn't seem to get it, Aaron pointed it out to him. "How do you think Spider-man's public reputation is going to be like when the whole world finds out he was lying about being married to a man and living a sham."

Peter could almost see it; the whole public turned against him, sponsorships, merchandise deals, all of them down the drain. "How do we prevent any of that from happening? I don't know about you, but I have a public brand to protect."

Aaron rolled his eyes. "We find an apartment. You pay half the rent I pay the other half. We get some pictures taken, make it seem like we actually are a couple."

Frowning Peter scratched the back of his neck as he glanced at his aunt. She shook her head, a wry smile on her lips. "You got yourself into this mess, Peter Parker. You see yourself out of it without my help."

"This is only for a short while," Peter pointed out, "Just long enough that the public can't get enough of us and when they're tired of us, we'll stage a fake divorce and go our separate ways. Deal?" He crossed the room, until he stood a few inches away from Aaron, sticking his hand out he waited for the man to take it.

"Deal." Aaron nodded, reaching out he grasped Peter's hand and shook, sealing their fates together.

A few weeks later and Peter and Aaron went apartment hunting. Who knew the both of them had totally different tastes.

Every apartment that Aaron liked, Peter had a bone to pick with. Every apartment that Peter was in love with, Aaron hated every inch of.

"Ok, come on! The cabinets have lights in them!" Peter pointed out, throwing the glass doors of the cabinets open, causing the lights inside of them to flare to life.

"The kitchen drawers also have lights built into them as well," the realtor pointed out, forcing a giddy Peter to open a cabinet and watch that light up as well. "This apartment is also affordable for the area and all the appliances were just replaced."

"I love it!" Peter gasped, causing Aaron to frown.

"I hate it." Peter glared at him. "The kitchen can get dirty too quickly not to mention it looks boring."

Rolling his eyes at him, Peter pointed out that clean, minimalist aesthetics were all the rage now. They began to bicker only stopping when they noticed their realtor chuckling. "Sorry," she hiccuped with laughter. "I just didn't expect Spider-man and his husband to be so down to earth."

"Yea that's us," Peter laughed, coming up to Aaron's side, he pressed a peck against his cheek, causing the ex-villain's eyes to slightly widen in surprise. "Super down to earth."

As revenge, Aaron asked the realtor to show them other 2 bedroom apartments that had more of an industrial feel to them. Peter groaned.

Hours later and Aaron and Peter both looked around the apartment, it was a combination of exposed brick and more modern materials. With nice, lengthy windows and a balcony that had a pretty great view of the local park. The kitchen was a mix of industrial meeting a modern feel.

It was perfect.

As one single person, Aaron and Peter turned to their realtor. "We'll take it."

Chapter Text

"Hell no," Aaron growled upon seeing Peter pick up a square table lamp with a flared bottom that looked like a lightbulb. "You're not putting that in the living room."

"We're not putting it in the living room," Peter corrected him, "really, if you want to make this whole thing work you've got to learn how to say  we  a lot."

"Fine," Aaron rolled his eyes, "we're not getting that ugly ass lamp."

Pouting at him, Peter placed it back, lifting his head back up to see a pair of young women giggling as they snapped a quick pic of Peter and Aaron. He was sure they were going to end up in a gossip article before they even left Ikea.

"You know we're going to have to agree on at least some furniture."

Aaron leaned close to the cart, his voice dropping in volume so that Peter would be the only to hear him. "Listen, you're free to decorate the guest bedroom to how you want it, especially since that'll be your room when we aren't pretending to be a couple."

"Then," Peter said with a smirk, picking up the lamp he had just placed down, "I'm getting the lamp." He placed it in the cart, ushering Aaron to come to look at coffee tables next.

They spent what seemed like an eternity in Ikea, bickering over furniture and design tastes. It especially got worse when they got to the kitchen section and Peter picked up a steel pan.

"Put that back!"

"Why?" Peter frowned. "It's on sale."

"If you're looking for a good pan that'll last forever grab that teflon one," Aaron pointed to a nonstick pan with a speckled surface. "It'll last for a lifetime if you treat it properly. Besides—" Aaron gave him a pointed stare, "—do you even know how to cook?"

"I can make a mean spaghetti with a little friend I like to call Ragu."

Aaron groaned, banging his forehead against the handlebar of the cart. Already starting to regret the decision he found himself in. He almost killed him when Peter picked up a plastic cutting board.

"Unless you're gone chop meat on that, put it down." Aaron had hissed.

Somehow they managed to get through their little shopping trip. The larger items they ordered to arrive later in the day. By the end of the week, they had their apartment fully furnished. They were both in the living room when a black-suited figure dropped out of the sky and onto their balcony, throwing open the balcony doors as Miles shoved up the mask of his suit.

"Hey! Little man!" Aaron shouted, gripping his nephew's hand and pulling him into a hug.

"Hey, Uncle Aaron." He chuckled nervously, he shot Peter a double pair of pointed finger guns. "Peter! Can I ask you guys a favor?"

"Sure," Aaron suggested, placing a hand on his nephew's shoulder. "What is it? You need advice on how to get a girl again?"

"Ha," Miles nervously chuckled, "yea...about that...can Gwen stay here?" Just as Miles asked that question Gwen Stacy dropped onto their balcony, giving them all a half-hearted wave.

"Hey."

Peter and Aaron stared at each other, their gazes swiveling back to Miles. "What!" They shouted.

Later in the day at another Morales dinner, Jefferson and Rio stared at the young girl sitting at their dinner table. Gwen was busy ladling food onto her plate, looking nonchalant about the entire situation.

"So...who is this?" Rio pointed the salad spoon at Gwen.

"This is Gwen," Miles answered, "we go to school together."

"Uh, huh." Rio nodded. "And where do you live, Gwen?"

Looking up from her plate, Gwen motioned to both Peter and Aaron with her thumb. "With these two." The look on all of the adults' faces was one of shock, with only Miles and Gwen subtly smiling at one another as Gwen used the cover story they had made up on the way over to Peter and Aaron's new apartment.

Aaron and Peter looked like they wanted to kill Miles in that one singular moment. 

"We're fostering her." Peter ground out through gritted teeth.

Rio and Jefferson could only nod. And that's how Gwen ended up staying with them; from the story she gave them, her universe had gone to shits. Essentially most of the heroes were dead and there was no way to save it. 

"Think about it like it was the Thanos snap 2.0," Gwen had tried to explain, causing Aaron to wrinkle his brows together as he glanced at Peter.

"Am I supposed to understand what that even means?"

"It's an avengers thing, you wouldn't understand."

"Right," Aaron drawled out as Gwen continued her explanation that nothing could be done to save her universe so she had come here and was essentially stuck forever.

"So," she glanced at both of them. "It's going to be fun living with you—" She smiled wickedly at Aaron. "Pops—" her gaze swiveled to Peter. "—Dad." Standing up, she bid them both goodnight and headed off to bed.

"I swear if there are more spider people out there in other universes I'm filing for divorce immediately."

A knock on the balcony door forced Peter and Aaron to look in the direction of the noise. On the balcony stood Miles surrounded by Penni Parker, Spider-noir, and Spider-pig.

"Look who I found!" Miles shouted, cupping his hands around his mouth as he motioned enthusiastically to the other Spider-people behind him.

Aaron groaned, smacking his forehead lightly against the wall.

Chapter Text

It had been almost a week since Gwen had appeared in both of their lives. A week since Peter had given up his bed and taken the couch. If some kind soul had asked Peter how he felt about it, he would have smiled, placed his hand against his heart and told them that he was doing what any hero would have done.

But when New York city was yet again under attack by some big bad villain that wanted to take over the world, take control of New York, destroy some politicians that turned out to be real bags of shit—who was keeping track of these villains goals at this point? Unless some villain took control of New York for the sole purpose of reducing pollution and increasing vegetation, Peter wasn't paying attention.

The lack of sleep was getting to Peter. Who knew that sleeping on a couch for a majority of the week was bad for your back and health? After failing to dodge an attack and falling into a pile of trash, Peter lied in it and contemplated his life until Cap was standing beside him, holding an outstretched hand in his direction. "Need a hand there buddy?"

Peter grasped it and was pulled up to his feet. It took nearly half an hour for the avengers to finally defeat the villain, only for them to discover from Thor himself that the being was some sort of important figure in Norse Mythology—honestly, Peter wasn't paying attention—that he needed to return to Asgard so that it could be properly imprisoned.

Despite New York being a bit of a mess afterward, Peter ended up at the Avengers tower. Takeout Chinese food covering the long table as avengers both native to New York and not began to dig into the food, bought via the generous heart of one Tony Stark.

"You alright kid?" Peter turned his head at the soft touch of a hand upon his shoulder, his mask was pulled up just enough to expose his mouth. Even if the avengers knew what his face already looked like from that news report oh so many months ago, it was still a force of habit. One that he was comfortable with. "You looked a little worse for wear out there."

"Yea, sorry," Peter mumbled. "I've just been a little tired lately."

With an arch of his brow, the corners of Bruce Banner's lips turned down into a frown. "If you're not getting enough sleep, taking an increased dose of melatonin helps."

"No, that's not it," Peter replied with a chuckle. "I've just been sleeping on the couch for most of the week." He groaned as he sat up straight, pressing a hand behind his back causing a satisfying cracking sound to come out.

"Ah," Thor nodded his head, having returned nearly 20 minutes ago. He had abandoned the delicate chopsticks that had come with the meal; having called them a barbaric instrument of torture until Natasha had grabbed him a fork. "The man of spider has been forced out of his marital bed."

Everyone tried to stifle the laughter that seemed to threaten to come out, though Clint pressed his other hand on Peter's shoulder. "If you want a bit of advice or two about being kicked out onto the couch, I can give it to you if you want." The whole table seemed to burst out into laughter then.

Peter's cheeks were dusted with a faint hue of pink as he pressed his hand to his face and tried to convince them that it wasn't like that. 

"Sure it isn't," a rare smirk pulled at Natasha's lips, "it's just hilarious to think that the  Spider-Man would mess up so badly that his husband has to kick him out onto the couch."

Peter groaned, sliding down into his chair. "You know, you would think that for a group of superheroes who constantly are on the move having to defeat one enemy to some other world-ending calamity that you guys wouldn't have time to watch the news."

"What?" Cap's brows rose in faux surprise. "Spider-Man's married?" Another round of laughter rose up in the room.

"So about this daughter, I heard you're fostering—" Natasha began just as the signal in the Avenger's tower that alerted them to any major crime in the city that couldn't be handled by the police went off.

They all rose, just as Tony pulled up a holographic report of what sort of crime now needed the avenger's attention. "There's a heist in the Bronx. Some sort of gang of criminals trying to break into an Oscorp affiliate and make off with a bunch of advanced tech."

Thor quickly shoveled more food into his mouth as the team got up and quickly made their way up to the Bronx. Peter groaned upon seeing just who the gang of criminals was made up of. 

"Know these guys, Pete?" Tony asked, floating down beside him in his newest iteration of the Iron Man suit.

"Yep, " Peter sighed upon seeing Doc Ock working with the Vulture, Sandman, Electro, and Kraven. "They're a bunch of the most annoying villains—"

"Uh, huh," Clint hummed, quickly drawing an arrow out of his quiver. "So who's that then?" Peter followed his line of sight, annoyance flooding his veins upon seeing one very familiar Prowler costume.

"I'm going to kill him," Peter sighed, shooting a web out to swing down onto the street below. 

Sandman laughed upon seeing him. "Prowler! I think your  darling  came to give you a kiss goodbye." The rest of the villains laughed, the one thing that the villain community had going for them was that everyone knew each other's real identities. There was just a silent agreement that they all had that none of them would allow their business to cross over into their personal lives. If they saw each other on the street, then maybe they'd give each other a slight nod, hello, but that was that. Until this moment, of course, the roar of laughter caused Peter to point at Sandman and threaten to turn him into mud.

"What are you doing here, Spider-Man?" Prowler asked upon seeing New York's most prolific hero and then glanced behind him to notice the other Avenger's as well.

"I could ask you the same question." Peter tapped his foot impatiently against the ground. "What would our nephew think about if he saw you stealing—" Peter paused to glance at the machine Prowler was carrying in his hands—"medical equipment?" He blinked. "Okay, have you seriously stooped this low?"

"Go home, Spider-Man," Prowler warned, "this isn't something you should stick your nose in."

"Actually it is!" Peter huffed, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Especially when you're stealing!"

"Enough talk!" Sadman yelled. "If we're going to fight, then we're going to fight!" He roared, charging toward Spider-Man only to be sent flying into a lampost by a swift kick to his jaw from Prowler.

"What are you doing!?" Vulture hissed, eyes widening as he glanced between a shaken up Sandman and Prowler.

"I didn't come here to fight with anyone," Prowler growled. "We came here to get what we needed to get."

"Yes," Vulture hissed, "and it'll fetch us a good price too."

"Who said anything about selling it?" The smile on the Vulture's face dropped.

"What!?" Flying toward Prowler, he was stopped by an exploding arrow to his side.

"Avengers!?" Tony called out to the team, confusion threaded through his voice that mirrored the looks upon everyone's face.

"Kill Spider-Man!" Doc Ock yelled above the ensuing clamor. 

"Oh, great," Peter muttered as he slipped into a fighting stance to prepare for the oncoming fight. One of Doc Ock's tentacles darted toward Peter's face only to be kicked out of the way by Prowler. "Whose side are you fighting for!?" Peter shouted, his eyes going wide.

If he could see Aaron's face right now, he wouldn't be delighted by the exaggerated roll of his eyes that he was being given. "My side."

A fight ensued. One that the Avengers and...somehow Prowler also came out on top on. Once the dust had settled, it turned out that Prowler had assembled the team of villains to steal medical tech that Oscorp had promised underfunded hospitals to better serve New York's residents. That was until Oscorp hid their medical tech behind a paywall that none of the hospitals besides the wealthy ones could afford. Prowler was merely stealing the tech that had been promised to these people and was planning on giving it back to the people it was meant for.

"So what!?" Peter had shouted as Aaron strolled into the Avenger's tower like he owned the place. "You're some sort of morally conscious villain now!?"

Aaron had taken off his helmet, glancing around the place until his gaze had settled on one confused Tony Stark, who stood beside the rest of equally confused Avengers. All of whom were confused that Peter Parker's husband just so happened to be the Prowler. "Nice place."

"Thanks?" Tony replied, glancing at the other Avengers, who shrugged their shoulders.

"Prowler!" Peter had growled his name, causing Aaron to quirk jerk his head in the direction of the Avengers.

"Maybe we should drop the superhero names,  Spider-Man , seeing as this is a personal issue."

Peter angrily let out a huff. His index finger shot up and curled as if he couldn't determine whether to be shocked, angry, or both. "This is not just a personal issue! "

Rolling his eyes at him, Aaron told him that he'd meet him at home, before turning to the balcony that jutted out over the city and running toward it. "How are you even going to get down!?" Peter shouted angrily, quickly checking to see if he had enough web fluid on him to catch Aaron from the fall.

"You're not the only one with new tech!" Aaron called out to him, his cape spreading as he dropped from Avenger's tower and out of Peter's sight. The telltale sound of his motorcycle roaring through the streets below, let Peter know that he was safe.

Turning toward the rest of the Avenger's Peter sighed. "Sorry, but it looks like I have to web home."

"Good luck getting home Pete," Tony reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder. "You know, if you need any help, Pepper is friends with a great marriage counselor—"

"I—I think I'm good," Peter muttered, bidding the Avenger's goodbye before running off of the Avenger's tower. He was glad his mask was over his face so that none of them could see the blush of embarrassment on his face.

Chapter Text

"Aaron!" Peter landed on the balcony of their apartment, he was already tugging his mask off of his face, when he stopped to notice Gwen and Miles sitting at the kitchen island.

"Kids," Aaron leaned against the island, a slightly soggy dishtowel in one hand and a dripping wet plate in the other. "You might want to run up to the roof. The adults need to talk."

Packing up their homework, Gwen rolled her eyes as she and Miles stood up from the island. "Oh, no!" She cried out with very little emotion in her voice. "My parents are fighting." If Peter's face hadn't been already been pink from embarrassment after leaving the Avenger's tower, he would have been blushing all over again.

"Race you to the roof!" Miles cried out, trying to ease some of the tension that seemed to thickly roll into the apartment. God bless the kid's enthusiasm, Peter thought to himself as Miles and Gwen rushed out of the apartment to take the stairs up to the roof like normal teenagers.

It was either that or they knew it'd be better to take their time considering Peter and Aaron had a lot to talk about.

Come up with something smooth and intelligent to say, Peter thought, you want him to know how angry you are. "Really?" He winced at the single word, his mouth moving far more quickly than his brain. 

Aaron cocked an eyebrow in his direction, pressing the dish towel to the plate he resumed his efforts at drying it. "'Really,' what?"

Narrowing his eyes at the man, Peter frowned. "Don't do that. You know exactly what I'm talking about here."

"Sorry, Spider-Man, but some of us realized that life isn't all black and white and that you can do good things for others without being a martyr all the time."

"But this isn't the right way to go about it!" Peter frowned, the grip on his mask becoming tight as Aaron gave him a dark look.

"Alright then, Spider-Man," there was aggravated spin on his superhero moniker like Aaron was trying to mock the very ideals his secret identity had been built on. "What would you have wanted me to do?"

"Maybe not have gone and broken into a building and stole medical equipment for starters! Listen, I get that it's unfair, but you could have just brought attention to this, someone would have done something about it."

"Like who?" Aaron set the plate down on the island, cocking his head to the side as his brows pinched together. "The Avengers? Because I sure hope one of you guys has time to deal with helping the poor between all of those world-saving missions you guys do every day." Snorting derisively, Aaron picked back up the plate to make sure it was dry, before turning his back to Peter to put it away. 

"That isn't fair," Peter snapped at him, "just because the Avengers are out there taking care of problems that never end, doesn't mean you get to decide what's morally right and what isn't." Aaron ignored him, keeping his back turned to Peter, it pissed the hero off. "Are you even listening to me?"

"I'm listening. Just choosing to ignore you." Tossing the dishtowel over his shoulder, Aaron rolled his eyes. "Has anyone ever told you heroes that you guys can be so insufferable?"

Peter's mouth flew open, his forehead wrinkling in frustration. "I feel like you're not getting it!"

"What is there to get ? The situation is over and done with, Spider-Man. As you can see we're back in the apartment. There's no need for you to uphold some elementary school moral code, here."

He knew Aaron was calling him by his superhero name to get a rise out of him. He knew he shouldn't have let it get to him, but Aaron just had a knack for getting beneath people's skin like that. "Call me Spider-Man one more time."

Aaron's eyes widened, surprise and intrigue painting across his face as he noticed the way Peter's dark hazel eyes seemed to burn with a challenge that warned him not to push him further. But it was rare to see New York's most beloved hero pissed, so Aaron decided to push him anyway. 

"Spider-Ma— " Aaron barely had time to get the last letter out, when his eyes widened in surprise to see some of Peter's web covering his mouth. 

Smirking, Peter turned on his heels to tug his mask over his head. "If you need me, I'll be at my Aunt's for a couple of hours." Racing toward the balcony, Aaron watched him fly over the edge, his web rocketing up to the sky to swing from one building to the next.

His brows pushed together just as Miles and Gwen chose that as the best time to come back into the apartment. Both of them stopped in the doorway to stare at him, then at each other, before back to him again.

"You know, if this is some weird adult thing  that you two are into, we can leave for longer." A playful smirk stretched across Gwen's face as Aaron's glare seemed to deepen.

"Uh, what adult thing?" Miles asked as Gwen dragged him back out of the apartment, her soft laughter echoing around the halls as Aaron set about devising a way to get the web off of his mouth.

 

"Peter."

Lifting his head up from the bubbling web solution that he was making, Peter turned, unsurprised to find his aunt inside of his—he still didn't even know what to call it. His spider cave? God, he needed to ask Aunt May what the other Peter had called it one of these days.

"Hey, Aunt May." She smiled at him, though her smile didn't quite reach her eyes and her fingers were pinching the skin of her other hand in that way she did when she knew something was wrong with him but didn't know how to delicately approach it.

"Peter, is everything... okay?"

"Yea," He sighed, turning back to the solution to make sure it didn't spill over the desk. "Everything's peachy."

He could hear her sigh from behind him. "Peter." Pouting, he turned his chair around to peer at her. Her eyes were buzzing with that softly motherly warmth that he had grown up with for years. "Why don't you abandon your project for a few minutes and come upstairs to eat something."

He was going to lie to her and tell her that he wasn't full; that the Avengers customary post-mission meal had filled him up, but just then his stomach decided was the best time to let out the loudest gurgle it had ever let out before.

"Come eat." Were the only two words she had to say for Peter to rise from his chair to, head into the house, and find himself eating his Aunt's cooking again.

He'd had three spoonfuls of her beef and potato stew—for her, it was three sips of her coffee—before she broached the subject he'd been wanting to avoid. "So, how's married life treating you?"

"Aunt May."

"I'm just teasing you." She snorted. Taking another sip of her coffee, created an ample bit of silence between them before she filled the void of it. "You know, just like the former Peter, he would only ever come over to the house if he needed to fix something, creating something, or needed some time to think." She took another sip of her coffee. "Something tells me you didn't come over here for the first two things."

"I needed to make more web fluid." Peter lied.

"Mmm-hmm," May hummed. "So you're telling me you somehow burned through a six month supply already?" A sheepish look washed over his face. "So really, what happened?"

He explained everything to her, his aunt nodding her head in time to Peter's exasperated rant about Aaron's bullheadedness. May merely smiled; that smile that she always gave when she knew Peter was somewhat in the wrong in a given situation. A situation that could easily be resolved with a bit of communication.

"Peter—"

"Aunt May," He cut her off with a sigh, but she was having none of that.

"Go back there and talk to him; the both of you have different experiences when it comes to the world of heroes and villains. The both of you may have different experiences, but that doesn't mean it ends at communicating those things to each other."

"What are you saying?"

Placing her mug down, May reached out to touch Peter's shoulder gently. "Go home. Talk to him." She pointed to the bowl of stew in front of him. "But after you finish that."

It was nearly midnight by the time Peter finally returned to the apartment. He'd ended up working on some new tech before bidding May goodbye. Walking through the front door of the apartment, instead of swinging down onto the balcony, he was almost surprised to see Aaron sitting on the couch in semi-darkness. The only source of light coming from the lamp in the corner of the room; he had a book in his hands, Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design

"What are you doing up?"

"Reading," Aaron motioned to the book in his hands.

Glancing nervously around the room, Peter asked him if Gwen was still up. Only for Aaron to respond that she had passed out some hours ago "like a light." 

"She's a good kid," Aaron muttered softly, something that Peter nodded his head in agreement to.

Licking his lips nervously, Peter asked if they could talk, causing Aaron to lift his head and stare at the superhero. "Sure," he finally responded after a long pregnant pause of silence. Slipping a bookmark out of a random page in the book, Aaron placed it between the pages he was reading and set the book down on the couch before standing up. "Where do you want to do this?"

Peter requested that they grab some coffee if they were going to talk he wanted his head to at least be somewhat clear as they talked. They went to a local coffee shop that was open 24 hours; knowing that much of New York's citizens had an unconventional sleep schedule. They grabbed some coffee; black for Aaron—in Peter's opinion he was a heathen for this—and for Peter one with milk and two sugars. They headed to the local park, sitting down on a random bench.

To any odd observer, they'd look like a couple on a late-night date. But for Peter and Aaron, it was a discussion of business. 

"Listen, Peter." Aaron started. "You and I did our business in the past in two different ways; I'm not going to shy away from the fact that I got myself caught up in some awful shit, but I'm trying to change for Miles." He sighed, leaning forward on the bench to pinch at the bridge of his nose. "After I got shot by Kingpin and taken to the hospital I realized that living life a certain way was either going to land me in prison or in a coffin and I don't want Miles to have to see either one happening."

Letting the hot coffee warm his chilled hands, Peter twisted his body so that he was turned to face Aaron. "I get that." And Peter truly did. "I realized while I was away that you're not going to immediately turn good or become a hero, yea, you're going to do things the way you want to do them because you're stubborn like that."

Lips parting, Aaron looked like he was ready to verbally fight Peter on that fact, but was cut off by his soft laugh. "Trust me, you're stubborn when you want to be."

A wry smile worked its way on to Aaron's face. "I could say the same thing about you."

Taking a sip of his coffee to buy him some time before asking him what he wanted to say. "So...how are we going to do this?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Aaron glanced at him. "I guess we do it like we would have even if we weren't in a sham marriage. We see each other in the streets in our costumes, we fight like we usually do. Once we walk through the door of the apartment, anything super-hero, anti-hero, or villain related gets doesn't even enter the apartment."

"So go to work like normal and leave work at the office, is what you're suggesting?"

"Yep," Aaron nodded his head, taking a sip of his own coffee.

It sounded like it would work. Both of them would make it work. "I can work with that," Peter sighed, a grin tugging at his lips as he stared at Aaron. "Just make sure you don't pull any soft punches when we see each other."

"I don't plan on doing that." Peter was surprised by the genuine smile that he saw on Aaron's face. A thought...well more like a feeling rumbled in the back of his mind, one that he quickly mentally stomped on until it was nothing more than fine particles of nothingness in his mind. He didn't know what the feeling was, but he wasn't going to let it even begin to fester in his mind.

Feeling awkward about the matter, Peter turned slightly, avoiding so much as staring at Aaron, until the man called out to him. "Hey." Peter gazed at him from the corner of his eyes. "You can sleep in my room tonight."

It was that exact moment that Peter decided to choke on his coffee, the cup dropping from his hand and into his lap, the lid flew off, dumping lukewarm coffee all over Peter's clothes. "Shit," he muttered, grabbing the coffee cup up into his hands before standing up to look down at his now ruined clothes.

The silent night was broken by Aaron's loud and intoxicating laugh. Tears were bubbling in the corner of the man's eyes as his laughter seemed to stretch across the park, in the distance, Peter could hear their upstairs neighbor opening her window to yell at them both that people were trying to sleep at this late hour and for the both of them to shut up.

"Sorry!" Peter shouted up at her, trying to pacify her which seemed to work as she shut her window.

"You're taking the floor though, I feel bad that you've been sleeping on the couch since Gwen has your room now," Aaron somehow managed to spit out through the tears. "But I'm not giving up the bed." Peter prayed that Aaron could see the blush on his cheeks in the darkness as both men got up and returned home.

Changing out of his soiled clothing and for the first night in many to come, Peter slept on the floor of Aaron's bedroom. He felt like a giddy teenager all over again as he stared up at the ceiling in the pitch dark blackness of the room that Aaron preferred to sleep in. Blackout curtains draped the window, shielding any sliver of moonlight from penetrating into the room, but it didn't stop thoughts from churning in Peter's mind until he found himself drifting off to sleep, the sound of Aaron's snoring becoming a melody to his ears that pulled him under.

His last conscious thought before sleep pulled him underneath its depths was a warning to himself. Remember Peter, this is just a sham marriage till you both can get a divorce. Don't you dare catch any feelings.

It was the one advice Peter wished he had listened intently to before his whole life become a clusterfuck of emotions.

Chapter Text

A Saturday morning was meant to be peaceful, but for Peter, he was finding anything but tranquility burning through his brain right now.

The smell of bacon and butter radiated in the air. Beside him, Gwen was fruitlessly trying to blink the remnants of fatigue from her eyes, her hair sticking up wildly in all directions as she used the sleeve of her pajamas to wipe at a spot of drool on the corner of her mouth that was drying.

"Are you sure you don't want help with anything?" Peter asked, his eyes focused intently on the muscles of Aaron's back that were highlighted by the plain white t-shirt he had woken up in.

Turning his head ever so slightly as he was busy flipping an omelet in a pan, Aaron snorted. "I trust Gwen with the cooking more than I trust you and I can't exactly ask her for help as she's half asleep."

Gwen grumbled, a look of affront lazily painting itself across her still fatigued demeanor. "Hey! I'm not that tired." She bickered, wrinkling her nose in teenage disgust as Peter reached out to ruffle her already messed up hair.

He wondered when it had become so easy for the three of them to slip into this eased role of familial domesticity.

"Alright done!" Aaron called out, plating the omelet he had been busy flipping onto a plate. Fluttering around the kitchen like it was second nature to him, he went about adding on the bacon and the toast before setting their plates down in front of them.

Gwen let out a pleased hum as she quickly cut into her steaming hot, spinach and cheese omelet and shoved a piece into her mouth.

"What?" Aaron asked his own fork halfway through cutting a piece off of his omelet when he noticed Peter staring at him.

An uncomfortable feeling had crawled up the base of Peter's neck and settled there as Aaron gazed at him intently. Shaking his head, Peter mumbled that it was nothing as he settled on eating the breakfast before him with a fascinated gusto as if it was his last meal on Earth.

Finishing before the other two, Peter used that as an excuse to grab the shower before Gwen could even take it. Still astounded by the fact that a teenage girl somehow could take thirty entire minutes in the bathroom just to get ready. Letting the shower steam up until the water was near scalding hot, Peter climbed in, letting the water cascade down his temples, shoulders, and back as he submerged himself underneath the water like it'd carry the weight on his shoulders down with it to disappear into the drain forever.

Pushing wet locks of hair from his face, he finally allowed himself to dwell on the thoughts that'd been plaguing his head since last night. Lips turning down into a frown, Peter shook his head, the droplets of water that clung to his hair swinging away into the shower as he quickly burned the very bridge his mind was attempting to lead him down.

A quick flash of a memory of the taught muscles of Aaron's back that were highlighted by the shirt he wore flashed into his mind. Peter nearly jumped out of his own skin when a series of soft knocks came against the bathroom door.

"Peter," Gwen called out, "are you almost finished you've been in there for half an hour."

Peter cursed to himself, yelling back a reply that he'd be done soon. Quickly finishing his shower, Peter got dressed and as soon as he entered the hallway, Gwen was already running past him, slamming the bathroom door shut as soon as she entered. Sighing to himself, Peter realized he needed to clear his head and was intent on heading out for the day to do...anything, until the weather app on his phone and a slight crick in his knee told him that it'd be pouring cats and dogs for much of the day and well into the night.

Sighing to himself, Peter found himself curled up on the couch with Gwen. They were watching reruns of CSI: Miami where the team was investigating the electrocution death of a model. 

Aaron was in the shower, having need of it after Gwen had finished her lengthy morning preparation in the bathroom. He'd only been in there for a couple of minutes when the both of them could hear him yelp from the living room. The pipes of the shower squealing as they were quickly shut off, and the bathroom door being thrown open.

"Next time can the two of you not use up so much hot water." Lifting his head Peter's eyes went wide as he noticed Aaron had only wrapped the towel around his waist, leaving every other inch of his skin exposed to the slowly chilling air of the apartment. Water droplets dripped down the smooth expanse of his skin as Peter's brain functions all shut off at the same time, leaving his unable to even form a single vowel in his mind.

"You got it, Pops," Gwen called out, giving him an awkward one-handed salute.

Aaron barely rolled his eyes, having quickly adapted to the familial title Gwen had bestowed upon him. Walking back into the bathroom, the two of them didn't speak to each other until the familiar shut of the bathroom door and the squeak of the bathroom pipes that let out a blast of water that drowned out any sound that wasn't in the bathroom itself.

It was at that moment that Peter's brain decided to start working again. His mouth was unnaturally dry as he turned his head to find Gwen staring at him and not at the commercial for Axe body spray that was playing on the tv. "What?" Peter croaked out, only for Gwen to roll her shoulders in a half effort shrug.

"Nothing," she replied back, an all-knowing smirk upon her face. "Can Miles come over tomorrow?"

Peter told her sure, causing the teen girl to stand up from the couch. She told him that she'd be in her room, Miles and his friends needed her in some team effort game that he'd heard her and Miles refer to as  League . Though admittedly he didn't understand any of the terminology they through out whenever they were around him and talked about anything to do with the game. Leaving him alone on the couch, Peter aimlessly flipped through the channels without anything in mind. Only pausing when Aaron walked back into the room, dressed up in a dark button-up, pants, and a dark faux leather jacket thrown over the entire thing. From where he was sitting, with Peter's heightened senses he could smell the cologne that cloaked itself to Aaron's skin. His brows shot up as he glanced over at Aaron who was busily swiping his thumb across his phone.

"Going out?" He questioned, forcing Aaron to look up from his phone.

"Yea. Do you want anything while I'm out?" Peter shook his head, watching Aaron slip on his shoes and tell Peter that'd be back before 11 at the latest before slipping out the door.

Frowning Peter glanced at the clock. It was barely 2—they all had slept in late—and Aaron was just going out. Dozens of scenarios were forming in the back of his mind, an uncomfortable amount of them coming to the conclusion that Aaron was heading out on a date.

Chewing on his lower lip, a plan formulated in Peter's mind. One that he pushed back on until he found himself standing up from the couch, quickly rushing around to tug a thick sweatshirt on and a pair of comfortable jeans that he didn't mind getting a little wet in this weather. Knocking on the door of Gwen's room, he told her that he'd be going out for a little bit and to not let any strangers in, to which he got back a half mumbled reply in response.

Heading out, Peter already had his phone in his hand. Tony's smiling face on the middle of his screen. "Hey, Tony could you do me a favor—"

 

Peter found him upstate. Currently trying to hide behind a hot dog vendor's cart, Peter peered around the corner to see Aaron and some well-dressed woman laughing amidst the conversation. They were in a swanky restaurant having dinner and it made the blood in Peter's veins heat up as from even far away he could see the woman leaning across the table to gently touch Aaron's hand.

Feeling bile build in the hollow of his throat, Peter launched up, quickly rushing to the subway to catch a train downtown where MJ's apartment was located.

She seemed surprised to see him when she threw open her front door, her gaze flickering over his face. She saw something that made her hold the door open a little wider, her eyes narrowing as she invited him in.

He sat down on her couch, his lips pursed together as she came over with two steaming mugs of hot cocoa. Handing him one and keeping the other for herself.

"Is everything okay, Peter?" MJ asked after blowing on the steaming contents within her mug.

"Yes, why are you asking?"

She hummed, her lips pressing together. "How's Gwen then?"

"She's doing well. Got an A on her last test," his lips curled upward into a smile. "Aaron went out and bought magnets just so he could put it up on the fridge."

Tapping her fingers against the side of her mug, MJ hummed silently to herself for a brief moment. "Speaking of Aaron..." she paused, "is that why you're here?"

"What are you talking about?" Peter stared at her out of the corner of his eye. He knew he could never keep anything from her, but damn if things weren't complicated right now.

Cocking her head to the side, she let out a small exasperated sigh. "Peter. Come on." She leaned over, setting her mug down on the coffee table so she could drape a hand over his arm. "You were always bad at keeping things from me. So what's bugging you."

Groaning, Peter slunk down in the couch. "MJ...I might not be straight." His eyes narrowed as MJ let out a bark of laughter that had her quickly apologizing.

"Sorry, sorry," she muttered, "this just feels like I'm in a Lifetime movie where one side of the fake marriage starts to have feelings for their fake spouse."

Peter thought that they might as well have been in a movie. Hell, even a story that some human being out there in the world was typing away about on their laptop. He snorted at how far fetched the idea sounded.

"Okay, you have to tell me more about this situation though." Peter caught her up on everything that had happened since their last text, how there'd been sort of a tentative peace in the apartment ever since Peter and Aaron had agreed upon keeping their work and personal life separate. There had been a few occasions in the past week where Spider-Man had gotten in a tussle with the Prowler, causing his suit to have rips all over it as the Prowler's reinforced claws cut through the material.

But that was beside the point, he told MJ how Aaron and he were now sharing a room.

"Are you two sleeping in the same bed?" MJ gasped her eyes wide.

"No," Peter shook his head, "that'd be weird. I'm sleeping on the floor." She nodded letting him continue as he told her about these strange feelings that were bubbling inside of him, how he'd been staring at Aaron's back just this morning.

"Hmm," MJ hummed taking a sip of her now slightly cold hot cocoa, "Peter I think you just might have feelings for Aaron."

"Please don't say that out loud," Peter groaned, pressing a hand against his face.

She couldn't help but snort as she reached out with one of her feet to tap it against Peter's leg. "I'll paint it in the sky if I have to Peter Parker. You're clearly feeling some type of way about Aaron or else you wouldn't be  dreaming  about his muscles."

"I wasn't dreaming," Peter hissed though the embarrassed blush on his cheeks betrayed his inner thoughts. "I don't know what to do MJ." Peter slumped into the couch as MJ leaned her head against his shoulder, patting his arm reassuringly. 

"Let things run its course...at least that's how it works in Lifetime movies."

He argued that his life wasn't a movie, a feral grin stretching across MJ's lips as she jumped up to grab the tv remote and switch the channel to a lifetime movie that eerily seemed to be exactly like how his life was going.

He didn't return to the apartment until close to midnight. The kitchen light was on, Peter noticed as he kicked off his shoes. "Hey," Peter nodded at Aaron who was seated at the kitchen island, a book in his right hand while his left was curled around a steaming mug of tea. It smelled herbal from where Peter stood. "Can't sleep?"

Aaron grunted, shaking his head slightly. "I have a job in a couple of hours, so I have to be awake for that."

Peter chuckled, crossing the few steps that it took him to lean against the island. "I take it that that also means Spider-Man should stay awake if that's the case."

Aaron smirked at that, gesturing to the empty seat beside him. "I won't say what Spider-Man shouldn't do or should. If he feels the need to stay up then..." Aaron shrugged his shoulders, silently telling Peter he was free to do what he felt was best.

Pulling the chair out, Peter sat down in it, letting his chin rest in the palm of his hand, he glanced at Aaron from the corner of his eyes. "So, I saw you across the street today."

Peter's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Mhmm," Aaron hummed, "so that wasn't you today that I saw today? Hiding behind a hot dog cart?" He clucked his tongue in disappointment. "I didn't realize heroes could lie."

"God," Peter groaned letting his forehead slid into the palm of his hand. "I can't believe you noticed."

"Pays to be hyperaware of your surroundings," Aaron said with a smirk, he polished off the rest of his tea, snapping his book shut he went about washing the mug out.

"Aren't you going to ask me why I was out today?" 

"Nope," Aaron shook his head, shutting off the tap so that he could swivel around, leaning his back against the sink. "Listen, whatever your reason was for watching me today, I'm not going to ask you about it."

Eyes narrowing, Peter frowned at him. "Why?"

Rolling his eyes like the answer was so obvious that Peter should have gotten it. "You saved my nephew, Peter. More than once apparently. I'm not going to question why you do things."

"What are you saying."

A smile stretched across Aaron's face, his dazzlingly white teeth shone in the semi-darkness of the room. "I trust you, Peter." Just then Aaron's phone vibrated on the island counter. He snatched it up and Aaron tapped at it.

"Heading out already?" Peter asked him, his cheeks warm as he stood up. 

"Yep, got to head upstate to the Avengers tower." Peter's brows nearly shot up to his hairline causing Aaron to chuckle softly. "You know you're not the only one with Tony Stark's phone number."

"When did you even get it?" Aaron refused to say as he waved goodbye to Peter heading out of the apartment as the hero sank back down into his seat. His mind reeling as he had to remember later to text Tony how the heck he'd given his number to Aaron without him knowing.

I trust you, Peter . Those words rang in his head, he could feel his cheeks heating up even further as he let his forehead rest upon the cool marble surface of the countertop of the kitchen island.  I trust you, Peter.

The thought of going to sleep now alluded him, especially when he could feel every cell in his body vibrating in a quiet hum of...happiness? Honestly, he didn't even want to put a particular name to the emotion. Instead, he resigned himself to the couch, the tv tuned to a home renovation show with a group of people renovating abandoned properties in Florida. The sound was on low, setting a soft buzz of noise in the apartment that was low enough for him to hear even with his heightened senses but not enough to disturb Gwen's sleep. Aaron's words rattled around in his head like a record that kept repeating itself. His face heating up till his skin was red as he remembered the smile Aaron had flashed him.

"I'm so screwed," Peter groaned into his hands.

He liked Aaron.  He fucking liked Aaron .

Chapter Text

Nearly a month passed by and despite Peter's life having changed dramatically in the past year, this month seemed to bring the most changes with it. Aaron and Peter had grown used to Gwen's presence in their apartment, though neither was willing to admit it they began to view her as a member of their strange family. They'd taken her out to see movies at the big chain theatre, bought her overprice and over buttered popcorn. Aaron had snuck in a bunch of candy in his coat much to Peter's chagrin, but he ate some of the Twizzlers Aaron managed to stash in his coat anyway.

They had movie nights at home too, Miles sometimes coming over with a smile on his face as his gaze darted from Peter to Aaron and back again. They'd binged the entirety of the Star Wars series, Peter's brows shooting up into the sky when Miles had casually mentioned there four other Star Wars films that'd been made after Revenge of the Sith. Or the fact that there was currently another in production.

"What they didn't make the others in your universe?"

"No, thankfully my universe had the right mind to know when to stop." Ironically they watched Rogue One as their second film in the series, Miles arguing that it was the best order to watch the films in their entirety. Peter ended up loving it.

They ended up coming across the scene with Darth Vader ready to reveal to Luke his true parentage.

"Ooh," Gwen hissed, tossing some popcorn into her mouth. "I know this scene." Her mouth wrinkled as she straightened her back, putting on a grave look on her face as she recited a line that Peter and Miles would never forget for years to come. " Luke, I am your mother ." Turning her head, she saw Peter and Miles staring at her in utter shock. Their mouths half open as they just blinked at her. "What? Darth Vader is Padmé isn't it?"

"What's wrong with your universe!?" Miles had cried out in near panic as Peter had thrown his head back and laughed.

Honestly, the three of them had become a sort of a family. With Peter somewhat raising a teenager that he never expected to have in his life. They had their ups and downs, but more often than not Gwen put her trust in them both, just enough that she was comfortable enough to ask Aaron to take her clothes shopping. When Peter had asked her later why she didn't both asking him, she had glanced at Aaron before staring at Peter point-blank to tell him he wouldn't know what a fashion sense was if Venom punched him straight in the face.

Even if she couldn't rely on Peter for his taste in fashion, she relied on him in other ways. Like the morning Peter found her curled up on the bathroom floor, the back of her head pressed against the wall. A hand pressed over her stomach. He nearly freaked out, considered calling an ambulance for her, but she waved his concern away dismissively, wincing as she muttered out. "Just having a bad period." Honestly, Peter didn't even need to be asked. Running out of the apartment and returning half an hour later, he came back a bag of sugary snacks and those spicy Korean noodles that Gwen loved in one hand and pads and tampons in the other. He didn't know which Gwen preferred so he got both.

Their lives had seemed to change when all three of them had come together. Life just seemed to work in such mysterious ways.

Though the changes in all of their lives had been confined to nothing but good and happy moments, over the last couple of days Peter had noticed a different change going on in the household. Aaron seemed much nicer to him—for starters Aaron actually sat around the kitchen island, looking content and somewhat stressed when Peter had offered to make dinner for the night. It wasn't much, just pizza made from scratch, he knew how to do that much, but it was nice producing something with his labor and hard work that had fed Gwen and Aaron for dinner.

But despite all of those happy moments, lady luck was quick to change her tune based upon whatever whim she was feeling. Peter had learned that the hard way years ago.

Muscles weary from his most recent fight with Sandman, Peter dropped down onto the balcony of his apartment. Stepping inside, he found the apartment was quiet now that Gwen was back at Visions Academy for the week. The scent of rapidly fading cologne that he knew Aaron used frequently drifted through the air. As Peter was pulling off his mask, the door to the apartment was pushed open. Aaron's back was the first thing to greet him as he spun on his heels, displaying arms loaded with groceries.

"Hey," Peter greeted him, throwing his sandy mask down onto one of the island chairs, Aaron wrinkled his nose at him, his eyes flitting from the fine granules of sand that now covered the chair to Peter's costume that was visibly flecked with the fine material. Raising a single brow, Peter glanced down at himself, lifting his head to stare at Aaron he promised to clean up after himself later.

"You better," the low drawl of those two words had Peter's skin crawling as if he was back on the streets of New York, his spidey senses activating just in time to alert him to incoming danger. Even though he knew Aaron was lightly jesting, the way those words had come out of his mouth buried beneath Peter's skin, sinking into his spine as they clawed up to the nape of his neck, causing a pot luck of emotions to crawl across his skin in a red glaze.

"Peter!" Eyes snapping to where Aaron now stood in the kitchen, he noticed the odd look Aaron was giving him. His right hand clutching the box of frosted flakes as his left hand was buried deep into the tote bag that was resting on the countertop. Peter must have been space out for longer than he thought, he watched Aaron's brows wrinkle with thinly veiled worry. "You alright?"

"I'm fine," Peter muttered averting his gaze from Aaron's face to stare at the ground. "I'm going to go take a shower."

"Alright," replying with a shrug of his shoulders, Aaron turned back to the tote bag to take out the remaining goods that were in there. "I probably won't be here when you're finished."

Eyes narrowing, Peter's body jerked back slightly, the corner of his lips twitching as he regarded Aaron with a questioning look. "Why? What's going on?"

A contemplative look flashed across Aaron's face, a look that seemed to weigh if it was beneficial to tell Peter the truth or leave it at an unresponsive shrug. "I have a date," Aaron replied, committing to the former action of the two.

"Oh," Peter breathed out, his lungs burning like all the air had been forced out of him in one go. His chest was hurting, for a second he was tempted to press a hand against the flesh to see if maybe Sandman had given him a harder time than he'd thought originally. Aaron was staring at him, his face unreadable as if he was trying to read Peter's emotions; forcing himself to put on a genuine smile, Peter almost wanted to wretch. The sugary, sweet lie of happiness burning onto his tongue as he asked Aaron if his upcoming date was with someone he knew.

A deep chuckle filled the air between them, causing Aaron to shake his head only to reply that it was someone from work. Peter couldn't tell if he meant it was someone he had met while doing his anti-hero work or the frequently increasing favors he seemed to be helping Tony with at the Avengers Tower.

That burnt sugary sweetness clawed its way down Peter's tongue and into his throat. It burned with a sensation that made his stomach clench and unclench. "I hope you have fun then."

He wanted to believe his own words, even as he grabbed up his mask and headed into the bathroom. Stripping himself out of his suit, he dumped the sand-covered material into the dirty hamper basket that was in the corner of the bathroom. He played Aaron's words over in his head. I have a date.  I have a date. As Peter stepped into the shower he couldn't tell whether the water sloughing down his cheeks was from the shower or which were his tears.

Chapter Text

Weeks had passed since Aaron had told Peter about his date. The frequency of the dates that Aaron was having with this mystery woman had started to increase to the point that even when Gwen was home for the weekend that she started to notice the way Peter would stiff up tightly, a plastic smile carving its way onto his face. Even Miles took notice of the situation.

"Peter," Gwen was sitting on the couch beside him, a rom-com movie playing on the tv and a bowl of buttery popcorn resting in her lap. "Are you okay?"

Glancing in her direction, Peter could see the worry written all over her face.

"I'm fine," Peter told her, his words doing little to assuage the genuine concern that was plastered on her face. She knew that he was lying, her lips pinching together as her gaze studied him.

With a defeated sigh she shrugged her shoulders. "If you say so."

Luckily for Peter, he didn't have to spend much time at home in the few coming weeks as the Avengers had gotten a request from T'challa to help out on an international smuggling ring that primarily focused on humans with powers and mutant genes. From what Tony had told him it was to be treated as a "hush, hush" mission since a lot of powerful and influential politicians were involved. But knowing how Tony felt about people using their status for their own immoral gains, he'd find out who these politicians were, leak their names, and make sure they'd crumble despite the fact that doing such a thing would earn the Avengers some flack from multiple government agencies.

All of them were willing to take it though.

"Are you leaving?" Aaron had eyed him up and down on the evening that Peter was preparing to go upstate to catch the private jet that Tony had prepared for the Avengers. He was eyeing the duffel bag that laid at Peter's feet.

"Yea," Peter nodded. "Official Avenger's business. I might be gone for a couple of weeks."

"Oh yea, Monica mentioned that a good number of you guys were heading out." Aaron casually brought up the name of the woman he was currently seeing, his eyes focused on chopping up a stack of pancetta as casually as if he and Peter were talking about the weather.

If he noticed the way Peter tensed up at her name he didn't say anything about it. He had a vague recollection of the name being familiar to him, but not a single identifying feature or face popped into his head. "Now you'll actually get to have some peace and quiet in the apartment without my presence." Peter joked, attempting to soothe his own fraying nerves.

Knife becoming still mid-chop, Aaron wrenched his eyes up from the cutting board to stare at Peter. "I wouldn't exactly say that...Gwen's going to miss having someone to talk to about Catfish." It was an MTV series the two of them had recently been watching together, even though Gwen was caught up with the latest season, she refused to watch any more episodes without Peter curled up on the couch beside her and some dessert treat stickly coating their fingers.

"What you're not going to miss me?" Peter chuckled, a snort rolling its way through the hollow of his throat but died in the confines of his chest when he noticed the nearly blank look that Aaron was giving him. Though his expression was unreadable, his eyes were dark in a way that Peter had come to memorize. He'd been dreaming of such an expression lately, late at night when his mind was churning and he couldn't comfortably sleep on the floor of their bedroom. When it found Peter going on a late-night patrol around New York, hoping the rapidly frigid air would force the heatedly tormenting thoughts out of his mind.

Like a calculated server hack, the expression across Aaron's face changed so quickly that Peter almost wasn't certain that what he had witnessed had been real. "Yea, I'll miss having someone to bug."

"Isn't that what Miles is for?" Peter smirked, his lip trembling slightly as the sharp ring of his phone saved him from the depths of his own stormy emotions. Pulling his phone out of his pocket, Peter gave it a quick glance. "It seems like Tony's almost ready to leave so—" he hooked a thumb over his shoulder, causing Aaron to nod his head in understanding.

"Good luck!" Aaron called back, forcing Peter to mumble back a response that Aaron didn't quite catch.

The mission went successfully—well if you call the Avengers being reamed out by ten different foreign leaders for exposing their own politicians' connections to the trafficking ring, then it was successful. The jet touched down at the private airport that Tony owned when the Avengers feet finally touched solid ground, Peter couldn't help but laugh as Thor complained that somehow flying on a man-made machine was much worse than simply using his powers of flight to take to the air.

"Tony!" As one the Avengers turned their heads to see a dark-skinned woman walking toward them, her braided hair was pulled up into a ponytail, a white hairband keeping the entire ensemble into place. She wore a black and white leotard with the middle emblem on her chest forming the shape of a bursting star. Peter must have been staring at her as she smiled warmly at him, her gaze swiveling over to Tony. "You going to introduce me to the team?"

"Guys!" Everyone turned their attention to Tony. "This is Spectrum. A close friend of mine, as well as a detective, turned hero from New Orleans who was making sure New York didn't burn down while we were away."

She laughed, tipping her head back to allow a bright and wonderful sound to spill from her lips. "You're giving me too much credit. All I did was make sure that a couple of escaped prisoners didn't cause more damage than they could have."

"Welcome to New York," Tony told her with an ecstatic smile. "I'll introduce you to the rest of the team." He introduced everyone, coming to Peter last. "And this—" Tony reached out, grasping Peter's shoulder firmly. "Is Peter Parker, New York's finest Spider-Man."

She stuck out her hand, waiting for Peter to take it. He did and came to the conclusion that she looked a lot stronger than she looked. "Your reputation knows no bounds, Peter, you're just as famous in New Orleans as you are in New York."

"Hmm," Peter hummed, "well now I'm glad to know that if I ever want to leave New York that I can always find work down in New Orleans."

She laughed at that, pulling her hand away from his grasp, as Tony continued the introductions. "Everyone this is Spectrum." She wrinkled her nose at her hero name, scowling playfully in Tony's direction.

"Ugh, I always felt that was so stiff in terms of introductions. Please everyone just call me Monica."

Underneath his mask, Peter's mouth wrinkled slightly, her name sounding so familiar to his ears but he couldn't quite place it.

"Why don't you meet us back at the tower," Tony offered, "this time we're having Mongolian and it's my treat."

Pressing her thumb against her lip contemplatively, shrugging her shoulders, a bright smile stretched across Monica's face. "Sure, if it's on someone else's dime I can't turn down the offer."

Thor was overjoyed to have another hero on their team who could take to the sky with ease. Arguing that Tony just couldn't quite "understand the feeling of the wind whipping at his skin." Something that the genius had to argue that he could do, but chose not to for the sake of not wanting any bugs to wack him in the face.

Everyone arrived at the Avengers tower just before dinner. Peter shot off a quick text to let Aaron know that he was back in the city but would be having dinner with the Avengers and wouldn't be needing dinner once he returned home. To his surprise Aaron texted him back that he wasn't at their apartment either as he was going to meet up with his—honestly, Peter didn't even know what to call this Monica woman that Aaron was dating. His girlfriend? His love interest? Either word just left a bad, sugary taste on his tongue.

The Mongolian food was already laid out on the table when the Avengers reached the penthouse suite of the tower. Sweet and delicious smells entangled themselves in the air, causing each Avenger to take their seats at the table. Peter was busily stuffing some fried chicken coated in a sweet yet spicy sauce when Monica glanced down at the sharp trill of her phone.

Eyes slightly widening in surprise she glanced up at Tony. "Seems my little dinner with you guys is cut a little short. My boyfriend's downstairs and I kind of promised to have dinner with him."

"Nonsense," Tony shook his head, "we have plenty of food here. Even if Thor eats half of it." The God of Thunder shot the hero a sharp look. "You can invite him up."

"Are you sure?" Monica questioned with a crook of her brow. Tony nodded his affirmation, causing Monica's thumbs to fly over the screen of her phone as she sent out a quick text. "Okay, he's coming up."

Nearly a minute passed before the Avengers heard the elevator door to the suite release a shrill chime.

"Babe!" Monica looked as giddy as a young girl as she launched up from the table to run over and greet her boyfriend.

Instead of elation at meeting Monica's boyfriend, a hushed sort of shock swept through everyone—except for Monica that is. All eyes seemed to swivel toward Peter; under his breath, Hawkeye whispered, "Oh shit." The sound amplifying in the hushed silence.

"Everyone," Monica swiveled on her feet, "this is my boyfriend."

"Oh, Peter," Tony reached out to squeeze Peter's shoulder, everyone's eyes swiveling from Peter to the man standing beside Monica back to Peter again.

Peter's entire face was burning with embarrassment and rage. His eyes skirting around the room to avoid the gaze of one singular man that he was avoiding. His embarrassment gave over to rage until Peter lifted his gaze to stare at the one man he wished wasn't standing before them all...

...Aaron.

Chapter Text

"Peter!" Aaron burst through the apartment door as if the entire building was on fire. After he showed up, Monica's arm draped around him lovingly, the smile had dropped from her face upon seeing the rest of the Avengers avoiding her gaze. Their lips pressed together and a collective silence that not even Deadpool would have felt appropriate to crack a joke in.

Worry had painted its way across her normally jovial features. "What's wrong?" She had asked, even as Peter rose up from the table and mumbled some poor excuse about needing to leave. He was already running and hopping off of the balcony down into the city below before anyone could say anything to stop him.

"Monica, I'm so sorry, but I think it's better if I just go." Keeping his head down so that he avoided the burning glares of the other Avengers, Aaron couldn't help but feel the stab of guilt as Monica turned her body toward him. 

"Aaron, what? Why? You just got here."

"I'm sorry, but I really have to go."

She turned toward the Avengers and bid them goodnight before assuring Aaron that she would see him out.

As Aaron burst through the apartment he shared with Peter, he was surprised to find that Gwen nor Miles were there despite it being a Friday night. "Peter!? He called out again, just as New York's finest hero came out of the bedroom, a beaten-up backpack tossed over one of his shoulders. "Peter, where are you going?" He questioned as Peter walked right past him and headed for the door. "Most importantly where's Gwen?"

Barking out a bitter laugh, Peter swiveled on his heels to glare at Aaron. "If you really need to know, I sent Gwen away to spend the night with Rio and Jefferson. I didn't want her here if you were going to do—" he waved a hand in Aaron's general direction, "—this."

"This?" Aaron hissed, his eyes narrowing causing Peter to chuckle bitterly. "You still haven't even told me where you're going."

"Why do you care where I go or where I don't go? Why do you even care at all when we both agreed that this  marriage  was just a sham from the beginning?"

"Is this what this is about?" Aaron sucked his words through his teeth. "This is about the marriage—" eyes narrowing in thought, they widened as if he realized what Peter was truly angry about. "Is this about Monica?"

"It's not about Monica," Peter spat out, even as Aaron was shaking his head.

"You and I both agreed that this marriage would only last as long as the public didn't give a damn about us. What better way to end it quicker than for Spider-Man's beloved husband to be dating someone else on the side? The public is going to hate me after it gets discovered, and no harm no foul is done if I and you get a divorce sometime after. It's a win-win situation for us both!"

"Is that what you really think!?" Peter shouted, crossing the few steps it took him until he was toe to toe with Aaron. "Does Monica even know that she's a pawn in your plan?" The look on Aaron's face told him all that he needed to know. "She doesn't does she," he hissed, a tired smirk stretching across his face. "I honestly can't believe you right now. I really can't." He shook his head, shoving his shaking feet into his shoes near the front door of the apartment.

"Where are you going?"

"Somewhere that isn't here."

Rushing out of the apartment, the cool autumn night air that brushed through New York did little to cool down Peter's heated face. He wasn't in the mood to swing through New York on his way through the city and into the suburbs. He wasn't sure he could even keep his emotions in check if a Spider-Man fan tried to usher him down from his journey to take a photo with him or get a random shirt signed by him. He just...didn't feel emotionally stable for any of that.

Instead, he opted to take the train from Red Hook up to Forest Hills. The old, dilapidated train system was somewhat of a comfort to him as he took it. No one really bothered him as he hopped on one train to the next until he arrived in the Forest Hills area. Choosing to make the trek from the station to his Aunts house instead of hailing a cab at this late hour, he found some comfort in the quiet neighborhood as he walked up streets that were fairly lit at this time of night. The cool air felt much more cleaner and refreshing compared to the slightly salty tang of the air in his Red Hook apartment. A scent that competed with the nearly million others from the various eateries and unique distilleries that littered the neighborhood. Pressing his finger against the doorbell of his Aunt's home, May Parker was surprised to see just who it was standing on her doorstep at nearly 10 at night when she threw open the door.

"Peter?" Her brows wrinkled together as the dam that Peter was using to keep his emotions walled up broke in front of her.

"Aunt May," he hiccuped just as the first of his tears were streaking down his cheek.

"Oh, Peter." She whispered, reaching out to pull him down into a warm, motherly embrace. She held him close, even as his tears wet the shoulder of her shirt, even as the chill autumn weather slowly seeped its way into both of their bones, even as the tears on Peter's face continued to flow.

They stood there until Peter had nothing left to cry from his eyes.

 

At some point—with a warm cookie or two—May had managed to pry the entire story out of Peter. Or at least as much as he was willing to tell his elderly Aunt.

She comforted him; while she couldn't understand the depths of hurt his heart was going through she could sympathize and allowed Peter to stay with her as long as he needed to.

"I can't Aunt May. That's putting a lot of burden on you."

"Peter," she cocked her head to the side in that manner she would do a lot that told Peter she wasn't having any of his arguments. "This place is always going to be your home. So stay for as long as you want to."

And that's what Peter did. Saturday came and Peter found Gwen standing in his childhood home—honestly, the thought of this not technically being his reality had long ago left his head. 

"You okay?" She grumbled, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket.

A warm yet tired smile stretched its way across Peter's face. "Why do you look and sound more tired than me?"

"This isn't fair," Gwen whined, "if anything you shouldn't be the one that's this upset, it should be—"

"Hey," Peter cut her off, seeing that Gwen was growing more and more stressed. Standing up from where he was sitting at his desk tinkering with a new bit of tech, he made his way over to Gwen and reached out to ruffle her hair. "This is an adult problem. So let me worry about it alright? You just keep focused on school and whatever else it is that teenagers concern themselves with."

"I don't know if any of you guys are hungry!" Peter and Gwen looked up to see May coming down into the spider cave via the elevator, a plate of steaming hot cookies was balanced in her hands.

A few more days passed after Gwen's visit and truth be told as much as Peter loved his Aunt he felt that it was best for him to go back to the apartment. He needed to confront Aaron even if he wasn't looking forward to such a task.

Peter," his aunt had whispered his name, leaning her body forward slightly so that she could pat Peter's hand from across the kitchen table. "You don't have to go if you're not ready to."

Shaking his head, Peter glanced down at the backpack beside his feet. "Who's the person that told me all my life growing up that it's better to confront my problems rather than avoiding them?"

Ruefully May smiled, she patted Peter's hand lightly. "If you think that's what's best for you."

Standing up Peter snatched his backpack from off the floor, kissed his Aunt's cheek and promised her that he would call to let her know when he arrived safely home. 

The same journey that Peter had taken from Red Hook to Forest Hills, he repeated in reverse. Enjoying his time on the subway system, drawing out what he felt was an inevitable confrontation.

Taking a deep breath upon standing in front of his apartment door. Peter plunged the key into the lock, beating his emotions down into a corner of his soul in synchronization with the heavy thumps of his heart. 

Turning the key in the lock, he reached out to twist the knob and pushed it open to confront whatever was waiting to face him on the other side of the door. 

"We need to talk."

Chapter Text

"Peter."

Peter turned around to see Monica standing just behind him. The bottom half of his mask was pulled up uncovering his mouth, a chili cheese dog resting in his hand and the unwitting hot dog vendor who sold it to him glancing nervously between them both.

"Can we talk?"

Gesturing to the hot dog in his hand, Peter glumly sighed. "I'm kind of a little busy."

Grinning unconvincingly, Monica glanced at the hot dog in his hand. "Right...I can...come back later?"

Sighing, Peter shook his head staring longingly at his hot dog he scarfed down half of it before turning to Monica, raising his brows to ask her where she wanted to go. Monica led them to a secluded rooftop that doubled as a garden for the tenants below them. Sitting down on the ledge of the roof, Peter licked off the remaining bits of cheese and chili that clung to his fingers. "I'm usually very busy so what did you want to talk about?"

"Ouch," Monica playfully winced, a tired smile pulling at the edges of her lips. "I knew Spider-Man was considered New York's friendliest hero but dang what did I do to you to make you this cold."

Mouth flying open to push out some lie that it wasn't her, that he had merely taken one hell of a beating earlier in the day fighting the Green Goblin and that he was just tired and would like to go home but nothing came out. He wanted something to, but Monica merely raised a single hand and shook her head.

"It's okay, really, I—uh—I got filled in by Aaron."

Even though Monica couldn't see his face, the mask helped express how he was feeling on the inside. 

"Yea, I know it doesn't seem plausible, but I really don't spend much time getting my news from gossip magazines and between the move from New Orleans to New York and dealing with all of the problems you guys seem to have, I really didn't know Aaron was your husband."

Peter wanted to laugh bitterly at that, but Monica continued.

"Aaron and I are taking a break." Monica almost seemed shocked at the look of shock on Peter's face.

He didn't know what to say, only letting out a croaked, "Why?"

"I have to admit that wasn't the reaction I was expecting."

"Sorry," Peter muttered, "it's just...I assume Aaron didn't tell you that we're getting a divorce?"

Monica's eyes widened at that revelation. "No...he didn't." She hissed through her teeth, pressing a single hand to her face as she muttered, "ugh, Mama said never to mess with a stupid man, but here you are Monica." Pulling her hand away to stare sympathetically at Peter, she frowned. "Looks like we both got the shitty gold at the bottom of the pot, huh?"

Snorting at that Peter nodded his head. "It seems like that."

She sighed, coming over to sit on the edge beside Peter.

"You know I don't blame you right?" Peter spoke up. "I did at first, but I realized that you probably didn't know. I mean if you did you'd probably put him in the hospital first."

"Your damn right I would have." Monica tipped her head back and laughed. Her laugh died down as she tipped her head forward to glance at Peter from the corner of her eyes. "What are you going to do?"

"Aaron offered to move out. I plan on staying in the apartment with Gwen."

"Gwen?"

"Adopted daughter."

"How old is she?"

"16."

"Jesus Christ, Aaron." Monica sighed, throwing her head back to pinch at the bridge of her nose."

"You look like you want to kill him."

Pulling her hand away from her nose, she stared at him incredulously. "Are you kidding me? After this, I just might go put him in the hospital!" She shook her head. "I mean it's one thing for him to lie to me as a married man, but god having a teenage daughter and roping me into a lie like this? It's beyond messy and stupid. Peter, I am so sorry."

He waved her apology away. "You don't need to apologize. It isn't your fault."

"I know that but I still can't help but feel guilty about it." A minor silence built itself between the two of them as Monica bowed her head a little to stare at her feet. "This whole situation is weird, huh?"

Peter shrugged his shoulders. "It's New York. You get used to it pretty quickly."

Beside him, Monica's wristwatch released a high pitch beep forcing her to stand up from the ledge she'd been sitting on. "Well, it seems like a bank robbery near the Heights is calling my name. I'll see you around Peter."

He nodded as he watched Monica take off from the rooftop. Sighing to himself, Peter stood up and turned to stare out at the stretch of New York that he could see.

The city wasn't going to protect itself.

 

"Ohhh, Prowler~" Sandman whistled provocatively in the man's direction. "It seems like Spider-Man decided to come and give you a lunchtime kiss."

"God fucking dammit," Aaron grumbled beneath his mask, turning just in time to see the bright red and blue coloration of the hero's suit as he dropped down onto the sidewalk.

Pressing a hand to his hip, Spider-Man pointed at Sandman's hulking figure. "Shouldn't you be in jail right now? I thought I threw you in there myself the last time we had a scuffle."

"I broke out." The man said with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders. His right fist pounded into his left palm repeatedly, granules of sand pouring off the both of them. “I didn’t want to miss my little princess’ birthday party.”

“Mhhm,” Spider-Man hummed, leaning to the side as he dragged his finger away from the Sandman to the toy store behind him. “And is that why you’re robbing a toy store with—” he immediately saw who was serving as Sandman’s partner on the job. “Oh, great….this is just great.” He muttered to himself as Sandman launched a swing in his direction. Something that he easily dogged as he landed on the man’s oversized fist.

“Ha! You must be getting rusty! They do say the older a kid gets the older the parents become!” Spider-Man taunted the man as he leaped into the air, a web-shooting out of his wrist that he stuck on to a lampost behind the Sandman. The man brought down his other fist down onto his own hand, smashing it into a pile of sand that quickly reformed into his hand. Just as the hero used the momentum he gained from swinging toward the lampost to swing around and plant a solid kick on the villain’s head.

“Come back Spider-Man!” Sandman roared, launching a jet of sand in the heroes direction. “I think I found the perfect gift for my kid! Spider-Man’s corpse.”

Spider-Man’s eyes narrowed slightly at the morbidity of Sandman’s present suggestion. “A little morbid for a kid don’t you think?” He snapped his web apart, dropping down onto the street below. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a fire hydrant. Using his web, he attached it to the fire hydrant and groaned with all of his strength as he ripped the thing out of the ground and swung it in Sandman’s direction, spinning on his feet slightly he was almost satisfied to hear a solid thunk as the heavy metal instrument collided with the villain’s skull. It knocked him out cold. “Alright big guy, just going to keep you safe until the police can come and take you to jail.” He webbed Sandman up onto another lampost keeping him safe until the police could come for him.

“Now to deal with someone else—” Spider-Man muttered turning on his heels to see the Prowler coming out of the store, with what looked to be the owner cowering in his grip as he was dragged out onto the street. “Don’t you think robbing toy stores is a little beneath you?” He shouted out, just as Prowler shook his right hand, letting the claws of his weapon descend threateningly.

“You tell me? I thought the plan was not to interfere with each other’s work when possible.”

“Oh right!” The hero tapped a single finger against his cheek but sassily pointed it in the man’s direction. “We were supposed to do that, but I don’t think that point included any time you do something villainous like I don’t know working with Sandman or terrorizing an employee.” He pointed to the man who was desperately wiggling in the Prowler’s grip.

“Spider-Man help me! This lunatic is trying to kill me!”

He sighed, rubbing a hand on the back of his neck as he continued to point at him. “Look, can you just release him and we both can go on with our lives here? I know you don’t want to spend a lot of time talking to me just like I don’t want to have to do the same with you.”

“No can do, Spider-Man.” The Prowler tensed up like he was getting ready to lunge at Spider-Man on a moment’s notice.

Sighing, Spider-Man rolled his head back to stare up at the bright blue sky. “Great, this is just my day.”

He yelped as the Prowler launched himself at him, his claws extended and pointed at the hero’s neck. Pressing his hands against the ground, Spider-Man twisted his body, using his legs to throw the man off of him. Prowler slid against the street, digging his claws into the sidewalk to slow down, raising rubble and dust around him.

“You’re being ridiculous!” The hero shouted, dropping to the ground to avoid another lunge at his head, twisting just in time as Prowler delivered a swift yet heavy kick at his head that had stars swimming in the hero’s vision.

“I’m being ridiculous?” Prowler questioned, just as Spider-Man launched himself up onto his feet, using the kinetic energy of his momentum to launch himself over the man in a somersault. He dropped down on the ground, the palm of his right hand pressed against the ground as his left leg extended outward. “Which one of us couldn’t even turn our head the other way when it came to sticking to one basic rule.”

“Right.” Spider-Man scoffed. “You mean the rule one of us came up with while only one of us did the talking last night? Who was that? Right the only one of us who apparently grew up emotionally to handle our problems like an adult.”

“Hey, Spider-Man!” Both of them glanced up in time just to see Miles dropping down onto the street next to them. “I heard you could use some help and—” noticing that Peter wasn’t the only one there, Miles glanced from him to his uncle Aaron and then back again. “Umm, should I leave whatever is going on between you two or should I just go back to school?”

Spider-Man grunted as he dodged a punch being thrown at him. “Go back to school!” Both of them shouted as Spider-Man dropped down onto his hands, spun, and delivered a swift kick to the Prowler’s chest that knocked the wind out of him.

“Right….” Miles finger gunned at both of them before turning and webbing his way away from the block quicker than any hero could have.

Panting, Spider-Man and Prowler stared at each other; their chests rising as falling as the Prowler growled out in frustration. They both stared at each other, a frustrated yell ripping itself from their throats. They both launched themselves at each other, their fists cocked back and primed for a punch.

 

Aaron hissed as he gingerly touched the already forming black eye that he was sporting. His face throbbed like he’d been hit by a truck. A scowl was on his face as he dumped a four-pack of his favorite IPA into the basket he was carrying.

“Aaron?”

He turned at the sound of his name, spying a white woman with vivid red hair staring at him a bottle of Barefoot Peach Moscato in clutched tightly in her right hand as if it was some sort of comical lifeline.

“I’m sorry but do I know you?”

“I’m Mary Jane—MJ for short.” She stared at the confusion still rampant on his face as if her short introduction should have been enough for him to recognize her. “I’m Peter’s...friend.”

“Right, so you are.” Aaron sighed out, grabbing another case of beer as he turned and stalked away from MJ who seemed to take that as some invitation to follow after him.

“So it’s a coincidence that we ran into each other here.”

“Sure, just enough of a coincidence that you happen to run into me at one of New York’s only liquor stores apparently.” He nodded a greeting at the cashier, placing his beers on the counter so that they could scan them. “Not like there aren’t a million more in this city.”

“Right,” MJ mumbled, glancing down at the label of alcohol in her hands. “So...Peter told me what happened today.”

“Listen,” Aaron hissed, snapping his gaze in her direction. “If Peter sent you here—”

MJ jerked her head back, the skin around her nose wrinkling in a mixture of shock and annoyance. “If Peter sent me here?” She scoffed, turning her head away to mumble, “Jesus, I knew Peter said you could be an idiot but I’m beginning to think he is too.” She sighed, forcing her gaze back to Aaron’s face. “Look. I know what happened alright. Peter told me everything. Especially your—” She looked almost pained to say the next word that came out of her mouth. “— Affair .” 

“It wasn’t like that,” Aaron grumbled as he pulled his wallet out of his back pocket.

“Oh I know,” MJ purred as she eyed the bottle in her hand. “I just wanted to see you squirm.” Her eyes were half-lidded and if Aaron didn’t know any better he would have guessed that she was a villainess that he had never encountered based on the cold and clipped tone she was taking with him. “You have a second to talk in private?” She cocked her head at him, just as he was about to tell her no and point to the several bottles of beer that he had and remark that he had a date with a woman named hangover. “I won’t take no for an answer and trust me, Aaron—” reaching out she place a hand on his arm and squeezed it tightly. “—I never get a no as an answer.”

Aaron paid for his drinks and let MJ pay for her bottle of Barefoot, to where the cunning redhead directed Aaron to a local late-night cafe that was still open at this time of the hour. It was a few blocks away from the liquor store. Ordering a chai tea, MJ wrapped her freezing hands around the cup and pressed the lip of it to her own mouth as she eyed Aaron from across the table. Taking a slow and steady sip, she never took her eyes off of him and smiled warmly at him as she placed the cup back on the table. “Peter wasn’t lying when he said you were good looking.” She took another sip of her tea as Aaron’s eyes narrowed slightly at the off-colored joke.

“If you’re going to waste my time—”

She held out her hand at him, forcing him to remain seated. “Why would I waste your time when I could be at my apartment downing my entire bottle of Barefoot with Peter right now?”

“Does your Peter know you’re here?”

“I could ask you the same question.” MJ’s smile widened enough that she showed her teeth to him. She glanced at her nails, her gaze sharply pulling up toward Aaron. “Why do you think I was joking?”

“Peter would never say something like that he’s not…” He glanced around, noting that he and MJ were the only patrons in the cafe; flurries of snow were beginning to drift down into the city. The only barista working this late at night had her earbuds shoved into her ears, loud rock music blasting into them as she wiped down some of the equipment. 

“What? Attracted to men?” MJ hummed to herself as she squeezed her cup a little tighter. “It would surprise you to know that you’d find out about Peter if you were a little more observant.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Aaron bristled as MJ chuckled to herself a little.

“I’m not one to reveal my friend’s secrets, but jesus,” she muttered, “god you and Peter are both going to send me to the hospital.” She rolled her eyes. “Come on Aaron,” she leaned forward slightly. “Tell me you didn’t see the signs. The longing glances Peter would have given you? The small smiles if you’re hands just happened to brush together? Him bumping his shoulder against yours?” As MJ brought those things up, she could see the dusty cogs in Aaron’s mind struggling to churn. “Or maybe the times he seemed to avoid you? The times he seemed to blush when you complimented him on his hero work or new inventions?” She could see the cogs snapping their webs off as they spun wildly in his head. Aaron’s eyes widened with realization.

“Finally!” MJ cried out. “Your brain’s finally working!”

“Oh my god, Peter—”

“Yea, you giant walking brain cell.” MJ rolled her eyes as she took another sip of her tea. “My best friend is in love with you.” It didn’t slip past Aaron that MJ used the present tense for the situation.

Brows pinching together he stared at her. “ Is?

She shrugged her shoulders. “Was. Is. Used to be. Who knows. Whatever the case, Peter caught feelings for you and what do you do? You go and hurt him the worst possible way in the universe without realizing it.”

“This wasn’t—” Aaron shook his head, his words failing him.

“This wasn’t supposed to be real?” MJ’s words softened slightly as the edge of her lip tugged into an empathetic scowl. “Yea and you don’t think Peter didn’t realize that? He really tried to kill his feelings, but—” she shrugged, “—the heart wants what it wants.”

Aaron’s head snapped up, his gaze shaky as he stared at MJ. “I’m not even—” he shook his head again, his lips dry and his mouth parched. “—I don’t even like guys like that. Does Peter not realize that?”

“You think Peter thought he was attracted to guys when we were still married?” MJ’s brows pinched together. “Listen, I don’t make the rules of life okay. Peter feels how he feels now. And you were a dumbass to not be able to recognize that.”

“What am I going to do?”

“Do what you should have done from the beginning,” MJ smiled leaning forward slightly. “Talk to him.”

 

Chapter Text

The scent of burning eggs snapped Peter into attention as Gwen sleepily eyed him from her seat at the kitchen island. “Your eggs are burning,” she managed to chew out around the droplets of milk that dripped down into her bowl from the spoon in her mouth. She had opted on eating a bowl of frosted flakes with some chopped up strawberries the moment Peter had announced that he was going to attempt to make breakfast.

“No thanks,” Gwen had muttered. “I’d rather risk my chances with a frosted flake choking me.”

“Shit,” Peter cursed as he hurriedly turned off the stove and rushed to the balcony, throwing it open as well as the windows. Letting it a rush of cold autumn air, Peter bounced from foot to foot as he rushed back to the kitchen to see if he could try and salvage what was supposed to be scrambled eggs. Groaning as he looked at the mess in the pan, he decided that there was nothing in the world that could save his eggs and was preparing to dump them in the trash when a firm knock on the door had him glancing at Gwen and requesting if she could see who it was.

“Sure,” Gwen muttered as she headed toward the door, throwing it open she was unsurprised at the fact that it was Aaron standing on the other side. She blinked at him and before he could say anything she closed the door in his face, turned back to Peter just as he asked who it was. “A telemarketer.”

He stared at her, a blank look on his face. “Gwen, you can let Aaron in.”

She frowned at him but shrugged her shoulders before letting Aaron into the apartment. “I’ll be in my room.” She muttered, grabbing up her cereal bowl and heading to her bedroom. The soft click of her door served as a single for Peter to let out a sigh. Dumping the pan in the sink, he turned the tap on to let a stream of cold water hit the metal. 

Sighing again as his eyes pressed shut, Peter leaned against the skin, his palms pressing against the cool metal as he refused to even look in Aaron’s direction. “Why are you here?”

“MJ told me.” Peter stiffened slightly. Knowing that MJ could have said a number of things to Aaron, but she would never—“She told me you’re in love with me.”

Goddamit MJ .

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Peter bitterly chuckled as he went to the bread box and flipped it open, settling on the fact that he would have to make do with toast for breakfast.

“Peter—” Aaron began only to be cut off when Peter slammed the bread box shut, whirled around and glared at him. 

“Don’t. Please.” Peter held up a single hand in his direction. “Whatever you came here for...I just don’t think this time around I can deal with it.”

“I really don’t want to have this talk either,” Aaron darkly chuckled, “but I don’t think Mary Jane would let both of us live if we didn’t.”

Sighing, Peter turned his attention back to the bread before him, knowing that Aaron was being truthful about MJ’s possible wrath. He chewed on the interior of his cheek, cursing mentally to himself as gave Aaron the chance. He motioned to the kitchen island and watched Aaron as he took a seat.

“Peter...I was an idiot.”

Blinking, Peter raised his shoulders slightly. “Tell me something that is new.”

“Alright,” Aaron rolled his eyes in a way that Peter was all too familiar with. “I admit that when Mary Jane informed me about how you feel I didn’t know how to react. Did I mess up with Monica? Yea, I dragged her into a situation that I didn’t realize was as complex as it was.”

“Is that it?”

“No.” Aaron sighed, staring into Peter’s eyes it made the hero squirm slightly where he stood. “I’m sorry, Peter. I’m really sorry for what I did to you—”

“—and me!” Gwen shouted from within the confines of her room. It broke the tense bubble that had been building between Peter and Aaron causing Peter to laugh at her outburst.

“—and Gwen too.” Aaron continued. 

Scrubbing a hand through his hair, Peter sighed and stared at Aaron. “What do you want to do?” There was a hope buzzing between them as Aaron opened his mouth.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to feel for you how you feel for me. But I was starting to enjoy this odd little family we had going on.”

“What are you saying, Aaron?”

“I want to give this another shot.”

Peter’s cheeks warmed up just as the door to Gwen’s bedroom opened up. “So are we back to being an odd family again?”

Peter glanced at Aaron, a warm smiling slipping across his face. “We’re a family again.”

 

Nearly a year had passed since that moment with Aaron in the kitchen. A year in which the various gossip magazines, blogs, and news sites still seemed to be as enamored with Peter Parker, the notorious web-slinger of New York’s relationship with his “husband.”

Not much changed in Peter’s life; sure he found himself in insane adventures that often time saw to some interdimensional trouble or him teaming up with various Spider-People to save whatever trouble threatened multiple dimensions. Even at some random point, he teamed up with Johnny Blaze and his brother Danny Ketch to fight a war against demons that threatened to take over New York. A request that saw Peter teaming up with Doctor Strange and surprisingly Deadpool who seemed knowledgeable about taking down the demons only to shout during the midst of the battle that he “learned it from Supernatural!” 

Peter had no clue what that even meant.

But surprisingly a lot changed in Peter’s personal life. He and Monica began to hang out a lot more. They would often get beers together whenever they had the chance. Who knew that Peter would end up becoming friends with his husband’s mistress? It was a joke she had cracked one evening that had both of them in tears by the end of it.

For Peter life had changed a lot and he wasn’t sure what the horizon would bring but little did he know that the biggest change in his life was just around the corner.

Chapter Text

Reclined on the sofa, the soft bluish glow of the tv lit up the darkened room. A nice breeze was floating through the window, carrying with it the scents of summer into the living room. Aaron was reclined back on the couch, the sounds of the tv low enough that he could hear Peter’s soft snores.

Peter was pressed against his side, his head resting against his shoulder as Aaron’s left hand was draped across the back of the couch. Eyes furtively glancing at a sleeping Peter, he couldn’t help the ghost of a smile that pulled at his lips as he fished around for the tv remote. Carefully to not jostle Peter’s sleeping form. He must have not been as careful as he thought as he felt Peter slowly stir against his shoulder, just as his fingers wrapped around the remote.

“What time is it?” Peter mumbled, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Arching his back, Peter stretched his arm into the air, letting out a groan of satisfaction at the feeling of a knot in his back popping. “Gwen staying at Rio’s and Jefferson?”

“Yea,” Aaron nodded, confirming that Gwen was staying at his brother and sister-in-law’s place after spending much of the day with Miles. It was summer break so the two of them allowed it since Miles was practically over their place or vice versa. The two teens working on tech that Aaron quite couldn’t comprehend. “You fell asleep after the first hour.”

Peter squinted at the tv that was now playing some parody of a horror movie. “It was boring anyway,” he grumbled. Rising up from the couch and heading to the kitchen, Aaron watched him throw open a cabinet to pluck a glass from within it.

“It wasn’t boring,” Aaron pointed out with a chuckle, “you just didn’t understand the underlying metaphor that was being made throughout the film.”

Rolling his eyes as he grabbed the water pitcher from the fridge, Peter shook his head, tipping the pitcher toward the glass. “If a film needs to make me think deeply and still doesn’t make sense I don’t think the director did an amazing job at that point.”

“And that’s why you like films aimed at children.” Aaron pointed out as he grabbed the empty bowl off of the coffee table that had once been filled with popcorn. Now streaks of butter, unpopped kernels, and random crumbs remained in it. Rising up from the couch he walked toward the kitchen, dumped whatever remained in the bowl into the trash, and set it in the sink to be dealt with later. 

He turned, watching Peter shrug his shoulders as he pulled the glass of water away from his mouth. Droplets of it curled down the side of Peter’s mouth and Aaron couldn’t stop the temptation that flooded his veins as he watched the droplets of water curve against Peter’s skin and instead imagined the curve of water was replaced by his own mouth. He didn’t hear Peter mumble a single word about enjoying children’s films and how he’d force Aaron one day to sit through every single Shrek film that was made in existence. Instead, his gaze switched to the Adam’s apple of Peter’s throat and watched it bob up and down as he spoke.

His own feelings towards Peter had started to shift over the past few months. Months after they had reconciled and settled back into a pattern of their own making. Months after Aaron had time to dwell on MJ’s words as wells as his own.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to feel for you how you feel for me.

Aaron almost wanted to ask Peter if he figured out or knew of a device that would allow him to go back in time and smack his past self upside the head. He’d thank his future self for it later. Those words had rung in his head for months as Aaron swore that even though he liked Peter in a “we live together because of a dumb lie my nephew made up” way that he’d never feel anything romantically or sexually for the man. 

Now months later? Well as Miles had once put it before, a hand on Aaron’s shoulder and disappointment in his nephew’s eyes: “Uncle Aaron...say it with me. But you are...Bobo the Clown.”

Aaron may not have been on top of his teen slang speech, but he got the gist of what Miles was trying to convey to him. And Aaron was convinced that the past version of him had definitely been as Miles had described a…Bobo the Clown.

“Hey, Aaron!” Aaron was snapped out of his thoughts to one of Peter’s brows arched as he stared inquisitively at him. “Did my Shrek jokes fry your brain or something?” A warm chuckle fell from Peter’s lips as Aaron focused on the curve of his mouth and lunged forward, watching as Peter’s eyes widened slightly the moment Aaron’s hands cupped his cheeks. The way his breath hitched in the hollow of his throat the moment Aaron leaned forward or the way Peter’s entire body tensed the very moment Aaron’s lips connected with his.

The very air around them felt still as what seemed like an eternity later Aaron pulled back, he could feel the warmth of Peter’s cheeks radiating into the tips of his fingers. Peter’s eyes were half-lidded, his breath coming out in little puffs as if he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Tongue darting out between Peter’s lips, Aaron sucked his bottom lip into his mouth to stifle a bubble of laughter that begged to drum itself out of him. “If I’m still dreaming,” Peter huffed out, “please don’t let me wake up. If this Doctor Strange playing a weird joke then I want him to know I hate him.”

Laughter bubbled out of Aaron’s mouth, causing him to lean forward and press his forehead against Peter’s own. “God, I hate you.” He grumbled between bubbles of laughter that caused tears to burn in the corner of his eyes.

“I don’t think you do,” Peter mumbled back, still blinking as if he couldn’t believe what had happened had just did. “But please tell me I’m not dreaming...or I am...because I don’t want to wake up.”

“Pretty certain if you were dreaming,” Aaron pointed out, “something weird would be happening.”

“Yea,” Peter mumbled, “like Deadpool lying on a tiger skin rug with a burning fireplace behind him and romantic music playing.”

Well, that sobered Aaron up real quick. “That sounds...oddly specific?”

 “You’ve clearly never met Deadpool...or Gwenpool...or Kidpool.”

Blinking at him, Aaron was at a loss for words. “How many versions of Deadpool are out there?”

Peter blinked, staring up at the ceiling as if he was trying to legitimately calculate just how many versions of Deadpool that he knew of. “Actually don’t answer that,” Aaron pointed out, “remind me to leave multiverse traveling to the heroes and to never go with you if you get pulled into a mission involving one.”

“Don’t be like that,” Peter chuckled, “you’d definitely come after me to save my butt.”

“Hmm,” Aaron hummed, leaning close enough to Peter that their lips were mere inches apart. “I don’t know. Your butt’s like am 8 out of 10 on my scale.”

“Still high enough,” Peter pointed out as Aaron kissed him firmly yet again. The anti-hero pulled back away from the kiss, a smile on his face as he observed New York’s finest hero. “Alright, Aaron, what happened to you and what universe are you from for this to be happening?”

“Whatever universe this is,” Aaron pointed out, “and I realized feelings are overrated.” He tried to lean in for another kiss, but Peter stopped him with a hand pressed against his mouth.

“Let’s be serious for a moment,” Peter pointed out, “this was only supposed to last long enough until we could get a fake divorce and go our separate ways. What’s changed that?”

Aaron sighed, pulling away he let his hands slip from Peter’s cheeks. “I realized that even if the public fell out of love with us that I didn’t want us to end.”

Peter’s brows pressed together in confusion. “What are you trying to say?” He asked just as Aaron started to lean forward.

“That I want this to be a thing. I want us to be a thing.”

“Are you being serious?” Peter whispered in a hushed breath.

“Very. What do you say, Peter B. Parker? How do you feel about getting married a third time?”

Bursting out laughing, Peter leaned forward and stole a kiss away from Aaron. “Take me out to dinner first and I’ll think about it.”

“What do you say we do something else besides dinner?” Aaron suggested causing Peter to laugh once more as Aaron cupped his cheeks yet again, pulling the hero toward him as Peter’s hands rested against Aaron’s waist. Their lips coming together like a jigsaw puzzle that had found it’s matching pieces.

 

“I don’t know.” Peter sighed, squinting his eyes at the picture he just hung up in the living room. Forming a square with his fingers he peered through at the framed picture, pouting her turned to Aaron who placed an arm around his shoulders. “I think it looks crooked.” 

“It looks fine.” Aaron sighed, the front door wide open as Miles came in juggling three heavily taped up boxes in his hands.

“Where do you want me to put this!?” Miles shouted from across the room just as Aaron pointed to the formal dining room space that was just across from the living room. “It looks fine, Uncle Peter!” Miles shouted as he carried the boxes away.

Aaron’s brows rose up as if to tell Peter, see I told you so .

Both of them could hear Rio standing in the yard, telling Jefferson how nice and quiet the neighborhood in Peter and Aaron’s newly bought St. Flushing home seemed to be. She made a joke as she called in for Miles to come and help his father lift some of the heavier furniture. “I swear,” Rio pointed out, “that kid just magically seemed to get stronger.”

“He’s just getting as strong as his old man and uncle,” Jefferson pointed out much to Rio’s disbelieving scoff.

“I don’t know,” Peter murmured still staring at the picture. “It seems off.”

“Ugh, it’s fine!” Gwen groaned, dropping a box that was labeled, Gwen’s stuff , on the floor before coming over to the two. She wrapped an arm around their midsection and pulled them into an embrace as she threw her head back and groaned. “Now can you two stop staring at that picture and come and help me and Miles get the rest of the stuff. Our arms are already burning!”

“You only lifted one box so far.” Peter pointed out as he turned to ruffle her, the shaved down parts of it had grown out so that her hair was now down to her shoulders. 

“Exactly!” Gwen hissed, releasing her hold on the two so she could shove her hands into the pocket of her jacket. The two of them watched her leave and head outside.

Placing a hand on Aaron’s shoulder, he chuckled as he lead Peter outside. “I think it looks fine.”

“If it looks crooked I’m forcing you to fix it,” Peter grumbled just as the both of them stepped out onto the porch. The rays of the sun bouncing off the tips of Peter’s hair.

“Whatever you say,” Aaron chuckled just as his husband leaned toward him to press a kiss into the side of his mouth.

Inside of their new home, the picture Peter hung up on the wall had a handful of smiling faces in the framed photo. It was family and friends. Rio, Jefferson, Miles, Gwen, MJ, Aunt May, the Avengers, and even some villains that Aaron had invited to the event surrounded Peter and Aaron on either side. All of them dressed nicely as they smiled at the camera. Peter’s hair was slicked back with gel, a plain ring shining on his finger that matched the one Aaron was sporting on his own hand. Their hands were overlaid on top of each other, a knife resting in Peter’s hand that just sliced through the first layer of the wedding cake before them.

For the years to come, despite all the photos that would soon fill the wall around that one photo, it would always be Peter and Aaron’s favorite.