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Stuck Together

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“You make that…like inside of you?”

“I mean…yeah.” Peter-2 blushes, embarrassedly rubbing his wrists.

“Does it-um-just come out of your wrist or…” Peter-1 trails off. He’s got that look in his eyes that is so familiar to the other Peters. It’s the look they get when they get so caught up in scientific curiosity that they put their foot in their mouths. “...does it come out of other places?”

“Are you teasing me?” Peter-2 asks. He looks like he’s either on the verge of laughter or tears. Which, given their history with bullies, is a fair reaction.

“No, we’re not teasing you.” Peter-3 moves closer to Peter-2, gently shaking his shoulder. “We’re just curious because we can’t do that and, you know, we want to know how it works.”

Peter-2 hesitates but then takes his hand off his wrist. “No, no it doesn’t really come out of anywhere else.”

“Hmm, yeah that makes sense,” Peter-1 says, then swings off to talk to Ned and MJ.

Peter-3 tightens his grip on Peter-2’s shoulder, a shit-eating grin on his face. “What do you mean ‘really?’ it either comes out of other places or it doesn’t.”

“Oh my god.” Peter-2 buries his face in his hands. “This is definitely teasing now.”

“Yeah but like a friend teasing.” Peter-3 punches him in the shoulder. “But seriously, I’m dying to know.”

Peter-2 drags his face out of his hands and Peter-3 is struck by how different they look. He’s got this dorky nervous smile that changes the shape of his face and earnest blue eyes. He’s handsome in all the ways Peter-3 isn’t and that’s a very strange thing to think about yourself from a different universe.

“I-I’m just a little-uh-” Peter-2 gestures below his waist “-sticky…down there.”

“W-what?” Peter-3 breathes in amazement. He does that grabby hand gesture that he does when he’s excited. He has to resist the urge to pull down Peter-2’s pants and investigate what the hell that could possibly mean, but like in a scientific way, not in a weird attraction to his alternate universe self way. “What-What does that even mean?”

“It’s not like webs from my wrists, you know, it’s just a little extra sticky.” Peter-2 shrugs. “It might not even be related to the spider thing.”

“Huh.” Peter-3 sucks on the inside of his check, trying very hard not to look at Peter-2’s dick. If they had more time, he’d love to run experiments or take some DNA samples. Why is this Peter, who got bitten by the same spider, different from the other Peters? And why would that affect his dick? Spiders don’t have particularly weird dicks, Peter googled it right after he got bit. 

“Ready guys?” Peter-1 calls and the other two jump into action. Like most things Peter-3 learns, this observation from Peter-2 will slip into the back of his mind, not quite forgotten, but not present when he needs it.

Things got complicated after that. Of course, knowing with certainty that there are alternate universes does complicate one’s worldview. No, it got complicated in a more physical than metaphysical way. And it was all Peter’s fault. When the fight was over and it was time to go home, he just couldn’t help himself. He was just going to say goodbye, throw up a peace sign, and dissolve back into his own universe. 

But that was so casual, so distant. He was never going to see this Peter again, this goodbye should be special. So when he and Peter-2 were dissolving into glowing light, Peter-3 closed the distance between them with two steps and hugged him. The hug was only supposed to last a second, but Peter-2 hugged him back, hugged him so tightly.

And then Peter-3 felt a lot more solid and the air smelled a lot more familiar. And Peter-2 still had his arms around him. Peter-3 pulls away and looks around. Yep, this is definitely his house. He looks at Peter-2 and can tell that he knows that this is definitely not his house.

“I can fix this,” Peter-3 says.

Peter-3 could not fix it, but that didn’t stop him from trying. Every minute that he isn’t working, sleeping, eating, and spider-man-ing, he is researching string theory, alternate universes, and wizards in his area. He’s not having any luck.

Peter-2 doesn’t seem to mind. It’s hard to get a job or a lease when he technically already has one, so he is more than thankful to live rent-free on Peter-3’s couch. It’s kinda nice actually. There’s always a friendly face to come home to. If Peter-3 is busy, Peter-2 could be on spider-man duty. Peter-2 even cooks most nights and he is a really good cook.

“I’m sorry man.” Peter-3 slams his laptop closed, burying his head in his hands.

Peter-2 sets two plates of pasta on the coffee table that doubles as a dining table. “Sorry for what?” The apartment is too small for a proper dining table with chairs so the couch is the only place to sit and it’s more of a loveseat than a couch.

“That you’re stuck here.” Peter-3 pushes his laptop to the side then collapses on the couch next to Peter-2. “That I’ve got zero leads on how to get you home.” He frowns at his plate, biting his lip as if trying to think through complex algebra and not dinner.  He leaves it untouched on the table. “I’m sorry that it’s my fault you’re stuck here in the first place.”

Peter-2 presses his mouth into a straight line. “It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have known.” He gestures with his fork, his expression changing to a curious frown. “I mean it’s magic, not science.”

“Stupid wizards,” Peter-3 mumbles. “But don’t you have a life to get back to?”

Peter-2’s face goes dark, those beautiful blue eyes suddenly gray and stormy. Peter-3 wants to close the distance between them, wrap him in a hug, and let him know that it’ll be okay. He’ll make it okay. But that’s what got him stuck in the first place, so hugs are strictly off-limits, at least in Peter-3’s mind. Every touch anchors Peter-2 to this world pulls him further and further from his universe. It’s not logical, but it feels right, feels like penance. 

“I mean…yeah.” Peter-2 slumps into the couch. “There’s aunt May and-and well things are complicated with MJ and there’s uh…” He trails off, biting his lip.

“What about friends?” Peter-3 is perched on the couch armrest. Being spider-man has given him weird habits of placing himself, he can never sit normally. And even if he allowed himself to sit normally, he and Peter-2 would be close, it’s a small couch. So close that their knees would touch. 

Peter-2 shakes his head. “Not anymore.” He scratches the back of his neck. “But you know… it’s on my to-do list.” He sits up and forces a smile, turning towards Peter-3. “What about you? I’ve been here for a week and no one’s come over. I can get out of the house if you want, if it’s weird, but we don’t look alike so why would it be weird um unless you just uhh-”

“No, no it’s fine!” He cuts off his rambling with a wave of his hands. “I’m kinda alone right now, ever since…” Since Gwen. Peter doesn’t say that but he might if Peter-2 doesn’t say something soon.

“Is the kid cooler than us?” Peter-2 says, a look of genuine horror on his face.

“What?” Peter-3 moves closer, coming off the armrest, but still curled up in the spider-squat so that their legs don’t touch. “What kid?”

“Peter-1!” Peter-2 sighs. “He had a girlfriend and a friend and apparently he was in a band or something.”

“Oh my god.” Peter-3 matches Peter-2’s expression of horror. “Did we peak in high school?”

“I definitely didn’t peak in high school.” Peter-2 presses his fist to his mouth. “But now that you mention it… things haven’t really improved since high school.”

“Tell me about it,” Peter-3 sighs. 

For a moment, they just sit there in silence, eating box pasta and contemplating the fact that they’ve gotten old. Fuck, Peter-3 is almost 30 and he still doesn’t have a great career, a house, or a partner. How old is Peter-2? He looks close to 40 and apparently he doesn’t have his life together either. But he looks like he does, he has this serene handsome youth-pastor vibe to him. It’s comforting, it’s…another feeling he shouldn’t be feeling for himself. His alternate universe self? He needs to stop getting hung up on that. Maybe he needs to get more hung up on that.

“Speaking of Peter-1,” Peter-3 says, knocking Peter-2 out of his thoughts, “I think I should be the new Peter-1 because this is my universe and you can still be Peter-2.”

Peter-2 thinks this over for a minute, his face scrunching up as he turns the words over in his head. “I don’t like the numbers,” he finally says, “It feels like we’re lab rats or something.”

“Yeah, I don’t like the numbers either.” Peter-3 chews his lip, thinking. “What about middle names?”

“Benjamin.”

“Yeah, same.” He pauses. “What if, since I’m younger-”

“Hold on,” Peter-2 cuts him off, “Who says you’re younger?” Peter-3 raises an eyebrow. “Okay, yeah that’s probably a fair assumption, continue.”

“I could be Peter and you could be Parker.”

Peter-2, or rather Parker, thinks it over for a minute. “Yeah okay,” he smiles and reaches over to playfully punch Peter’s shoulder. Peter’s not sure if he should pull away from the touch or lean into it. “It’s more personal, anything is better than numbers.”

“Haha, yeah.” Peter swallows nervously. More personal, what could go wrong?

It went pretty wrong after that.

Because Parker suddenly didn’t have the distance that a number afforded. Suddenly Parker wasn’t another him from another universe, he was just a guy living in his apartment that understood why he was out late at night and took interest in his photography equipment and was just… really hot. They are the same in all the ways that made it easy to fall into a rhythm of life. They are the same in all the ways that made Peter feel less lonely. It’s driving him crazy.

Peter returns home from work late at night, absolutely exhausted. He slams the door with a dramatic sigh.

“Long day?” Parker asks. He’s sitting in front of the computer surrounded by papers. It’s been almost a month now and they still haven’t given up on finding a way to his universe, but the trail is getting colder by the day.

“Yeah.” He scrubs his hands over his face. He should help Parker with the research or check the police scanner. “I think I’m going to turn in for the night.”

Parker shuts the laptop and stands up from the table. “No, you’re not. Go put on your suit.” He goes to the bedroom and comes back with both of their spider-man suits. There’s only one bedroom, but there’s also only one dresser so they’ve just been keeping their clothes together even though Parker is still sleeping on the couch. (Even though Peter suggested that he should just take the bed or at least switch off every week because he has a back thing. Parker says that they both have a back thing and he doesn’t want to impose. And then Peter says- well, it’s a whole thing.) At first, they each claimed a set of drawers in the dresser, but the clothes started mixing and Peter finds himself wearing Parker’s clothes more often than not. He likes smelling him on himself during the day, it smells like home. Isn’t it weird that they’re the same, but different enough that they have their own smells?

Peter frowns at the spider-man suit in Parker’s hand. “Not tonight, man.”

“Peter-” He tosses the suit on the couch and starts to put on his own. Peter turns red when he sees Parker take his shirt off and turns around as fast as he can.

“D-don’t-” Peter coughs into his fist, trying very hard not to look at Parker as he’s changing “-don’t give me that great responsibility speech right now, I just can’t tonight.”

“Pfff what? That's not what we're doing.”

Peter turns around with his arms crossed over his chest. Thankfully, Parker is all suited up, otherwise, it would be very hard to look frustrated with him. “So, we’re not going out crime-fighting?”

“No.” Parker motions to the suit lying on the couch, but Peter doesn’t budge.

“Okay, so what are we doing?”

Parker has one of those stupid goofy smiles on his face. The kind of smile that makes his heart jump and his knees weak and then makes him guilty because surely those kinds of feelings must be some weird narcissism. “It’s a surprise,” he says.

Peter stares at the suit then at Parker. He wants to go along with whatever stupid sweet plan he’s cooked up. He wants to swing across the city with him. He wants to let all the stress of the day melt away with the first real friend he’s had in a long time. He also wants to send Parker back to his own universe, back to his home, and he doesn’t want to give himself any reason to not want that. At least, not any more reasons.

“I’m just-”

“Please!” Suddenly, Parker’s arm is around his waist and they’re standing next to the open window. The weather hasn’t turned to the crisp cold typical of New York falls, the idea of summer is still in the air. Peter wishes that it was cold so that he could have an excuse for why his face is turning red.

“I-I uh I’m out of web fluid.” It’s a lame untrue excuse, but it’s all Peter’s brain can come up with when Parker’s hand is resting on his hip and it would be so easy for his fingers to slip underneath his shirt.

Parker lets go of Peter and he instantly misses his touch. He climbs out the window and onto the fire escape. “Listen if you want to make more web fluid or sleep that’s fine.” He extends his hand to Peter. “But I’m going swinging, just for a little bit, and you can come if you want.”

Peter bites his lip. How many times has he said something to that effect to some fling he’s trying to impress? He shouldn’t, but he takes Parker’s hand. He’s pulled through the window and Parker’s arm is around his waist again and suddenly they’re swinging through the air. Peter panics and throws his arms around Parker’s neck. His spidey sense is going crazy right now, it always does when he’s swinging because of course it does. What’s not dangerous about swinging through the air at a million miles per hour? But this is way worse because he doesn’t have his web-shooters and if he falls he can’t catch himself. Oh god, he’s an asshole for doing this to anyone, this is terrifying!

Parker clutches Peter a little closer as they round a corner and Peter grips his neck a little tighter. Peter realizes that he’s buried his head into Parker’s shoulder and god, that’s embarrassing. If he’s going to die, he’s going to at least look cool. He pulls his head up and wow… 

The city is beautiful without his mask on. The mask is great but it’s like wearing sunglasses and blinders at the same time, it keeps him focused and hidden, but it’s hard to appreciate the city like that. New York City shimmers and glows from up here. All the lights and sounds blur together as they swing past. All his time saving this city and he’s never stopped to appreciate it.

Peter turns to look at Parker. At some point, he must have put his mask on and Peter is even more aware that he’s not wearing one. Suddenly Peter isn’t a superhero swinging around the city, he’s just some guy being held by another guy. His spidey sense is still going crazy, picking up on every strong gust of wind and too far drop that could kill him, but he feels safe. Parker makes him feel safe.

Peter doesn’t pay attention to where they’re going, just watches the city swing by. It's weird, but nice to just be along for the ride. Eventually, Parker takes them higher and higher, and then they stop. Peter’s still clinging to him, still kinda thinking about how he doesn’t have his web-shooter and they’re really high up. Parker doesn’t take his arm off his waist, just lowers them down until they’re sitting on the ledge of a building. Peter looks across the city. The barges in the East River are just specks of light against the dark water. The skyline is lit up below them. It feels like Peter’s been punched in the chest. He swore to protect this city and suddenly it feels more like an honor than an obligation. 

He looks down and sees that the ledge they’re sitting on is a statue of an eagle. “The Chrysler building, really?” Peter looks over to give Parker a playful glare, but he’s taken his mask off. His hair is all messed up and he has that goofy grin. And his face is only inches from Peter. It would be so easy to close the gap between them.

“Hey, if you wanted to choose the designation, you should have been the one swinging.” He laughs and Peter’s heart lurches in his throat. “Next time we’ll do the Empire State.”

“Next time,” Peter says, suddenly out of breath, “yeah, next time.”

They sit there on the Chrysler building eagle, staring over the city. For once, they’re not worried about what’s going on down on the street. Just for a moment, there’s no crushing weight of being spider-man. For a moment, they can just be Peter.

Then it dawns on him what exactly they’re doing. Peter has done this before. He’s done this with Gwen. He’s done this with people he’s used to fill his aching loneliness for just one night. Parker has to know that he swings pretty girls (and guys) across the city to make their hearts race. Peter doesn’t do this with friends. But maybe Parker does?

“You asshole!” Peter punches Parker in the arm. It’s not as hard as it could be, but it’s also not as gentle. “I could have died!”

“What?” Parker rubs at his shoulder, looking very confused. “No, you couldn’t.”

“I didn’t have my web-shooters!” Peter motions to his bare wrists. “I couldn’t catch myself if you dropped me!”

Parker scoffs with that stupid grin back on his face. “I wouldn’t drop you.”

“But, you could have!”

“But, I didn’t.” Parker wraps his arm around Peter’s waist again, pulling him closer. “I’ve got you.”

Despite Peter’s better judgment, despite every bone in his body telling him that Parker is off-limits, he leans his head onto his shoulder. Parker leans back, resting his head on top of his.

“I’ve never done that before,” Peter says, his voice barely a whisper.

“Yes you have,” Parker chuckles, “you do it all the time.”

“You know what I mean.” Peter rolls his eyes. “I’ve never been the one not shooting the web. I’ve never been the MJ or the Gwen, you know?” It’s strange to compare himself to their exes, but he means it as a test, almost a proposition. It’s a chance for Parker to dismiss the idea of any romantic or physical attraction between them without Peter confessing to any attraction. It’s the perfect opportunity for Parker to laugh at the idea of them together without laughing at Peter.

Parker does not take the opportunity. “Did you like it?”

Peter lifts his head to meet Parker’s eyes and any witty quip he could have said dies on his tongue. His eyes are so bright and beautiful and blue in the sparse light of the night. He wants to be the kind of spider-man that swings a friend around the city after a long day. He’s so tired of being bitter and angry. He’s so tired of running himself ragged and pushing and pushing till he breaks.

“Yeah.” He pulls away from Parker because if he doesn’t he’s going to close the distance between them. “Yeah, I did.”

“Good.” Parker runs his hand through Peter’s hair. It is supposed to be brotherly teasing, but he lingers too long and his touch isn’t playful so it’s something else entirely. “Good, you deserve a break.”

Peter wants to stay in this moment forever. Wants Parker’s hand tangled in his hair and his arm wrapped around his waist. He wants to build a life in this universe with him. But wants are what got him in trouble in the first place, wants are what got Parker stuck with him.

He untangles himself from Parker’s grasp, standing up. Maybe the weather is turning after all because the air is suddenly so cold. “What do you say we swing by the Empire State building?” Peter forces a smile. “The view’s amazing.”

Parker frowns, furrowing his eyebrows. “Are you sure? It’s really windy, it’ll be hard to talk and it’s kinda cold and you’re not exactly dressed for it. Maybe another night?”

“No, no it’s fine, let’s go right now.”

And they do. And it’s too windy to talk and it’s freezing and the height of the building is a lot scarier when Peter doesn’t have web-shooters. But the important thing is that once they get there, Parker doesn’t touch him. No cuddling up on a ledge to admire the view. Peter is not going to let himself even consider the idea of liking Parker in that way. And even if he did, he’s not going to be the one to start anything.

In Peter’s defense, he technically didn’t start anything. His life is built on dubious technicalities at this point. He and Parker aren’t technically the same person. He technically hasn’t reached a dead end on how to get Parker back to his own universe. He technically has a balance between work, life, and Spider-Man.

It’s movie night. Movie night started with watching documentaries about string theory and alternate realities with both of them taking notes, But eventually, they stopped taking notes because there was no new information and then they ran out of documentaries. It spiraled from there. Currently, they’re watching a biopic about some social media site. It's more fiction than reality, but it’s pretty good.

Parker is leaning against the armrest of the couch. He’s comfortable and spread out and he’s not watching the movie. He’s watching Peter watch the movie. Peter is perched on the other armrest, careful to maintain the usual couple inches between them.

“Why do you do that?” Parker asks.

“Do what?” Peter takes his eyes off the movie and is surprised to meet Parker’s eyes staring back at him.

“Sit like you're afraid to touch me?” Parker leans forward and Peter wants to lean closer to meet him. He wants to let their foreheads touch, wants to feel their hands brush together, wants to feel the warmth and safety another person affords. But he promised himself he wouldn’t give himself more reasons to hold onto Parker.

“I’m not radioactive,” Parker says, “or at least, not more radioactive than you.”

Peter chuckles at that. It kills him that Parker is funny and clever and witty. It’d be so much easier if he was boring. He could answer the question with a sarcastic joke and Parker would drop it. He could give him some excuse about how this is just how he sits. He could say that it’s weird that Parker wants them to touch. He could build a wall between them because it would be so much easier than honesty.

“I guess I can’t forgive myself for trapping you here.” Peter bites his lip and turns back to the movie. It’s easier to say it when he’s not looking at Parker. “I couldn’t let you go, I had to hug you because I was just so lonely in this universe. And now, I’m not lonely, but I just feel like every time I touch you, I’m just pulling you deeper into this reality. That’s not fair to you.”

Peter presses his lips together to stop himself. He didn’t mean to say all that. It sounds silly and emotional now that he’s said it out loud. There’s a hand on his wrist and Peter looks back to Parker. He’s not looking at him with pity or anger, no that would be too easy. He’s looking at him with that goofy smile that makes his heart leap into his throat.

Parker tugs on his wrist and Peter is pulled off the armrest and onto the couch. The angle is awkward because he didn’t so much as sit but fall. Parker’s hand is still wrapped around his wrist, but the other is on his side to make sure he doesn’t slip off the couch. Peter has his free hand braced against Parker’s chest. His brain is screaming “off-limits” and “it would be so easy to close the distance” so he’s frozen in an almost embrace.

“You’re so stupid,” Parker laughs and for a minute Peter’s worried that he can read what he’s thinking plainly on his face. But he’s not laughing at Peter, at least not in a way that stings. “This isn’t like that episode of Doctor Who. This universe isn’t rubbing off on me, you can touch me.”

Peter’s mouth goes dry. His brain doesn’t even register that Parker compared Doctor Who to their real lives. He’s stuck on the “you can touch me” part. 

“O-Okay,” he says like an idiot. He doesn’t get up and sit as two friends would. Instead, he just relaxes into Parker, his hand no longer braced on his chest, but resting there. And Parker lets him. He does more than let him, he pulls him closer. Peter’s head is tucked into his shoulder and Parker has taken his hand off his wrist and moved it to his hair.

“Do you still want to watch the movie or um…” Peter trails off, trying to find the words to express how good this feels. He’s been so alone since Gwen and he’s missed having someone just hold him. Does Parker’s MJ know how lucky she is? She could hold him and be held by him and he wants that for himself. Oh no, that is not an okay thing to think. Parker is not his to keep. But all that emotional turmoil is background noise to Parker’s hand in his hair and on his hip and his heartbeat in his ear.

“...or umm, talk?” Peter finishes lamely.

Parker looks down at him, a confused half-smile on his face. “Whatever you want to do.”

Oh, Peter wants to do a lot of things right now. But he won’t. This could just be platonic cuddling. So they go back to watching the movie. Neither of them are really watching the movie. Parker’s eyes are trained on Peter, one hand absently playing with his hair and the other tracing circles over his hip. Peter’s eyes are fixed on the movie because if he looks at Parker it will all be too much.

Peter thinks over and over to himself that he’s not going to start anything. But his head is resting on Parker’s shoulder and if he just turned, his lips would meet the bare skin of his neck. If he pulled himself higher and Parker turned his head ever so slightly, their lips would meet.

In the end, Parker is the one that starts something. Because he’s the one to dip his head and press his lips to Peter’s hair. It’s not a kiss, but it’s something. It’s enough for Peter to give in to temptation, tilting his head and pressing his lips to Parker’s neck. The skin there is so much softer and delicate than he expected. He wants to open his mouth and taste the expanse of him, but that would be too much. Then Parker’s breath hitches at his touch and he makes a noise that’s something between a moan and a whimper. And that action suddenly doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

Peter presses his lips against him again, this time an actual kiss, an actual taste of him. Parker tightens his grip on his hair, it’s just the right side of pain, and he pulls him away. Peter’s stomach drops, suddenly overcome with worry that he misunderstood or went too far, but Parker is looking at him like no one ever has. Then he kisses him.

It’s gentle, chaste even, at first. A slow touch of lips that says so much. Maybe this would have been enough back at the Chrysler building, but Peter has been so patient. He grabs Parker’s face, pulling him closer so that he can deepen the kiss. Parker moans into his mouth and Peter is past wanting, he needs him closer. Parker keeps his hand fisted in his hair, but uses the other to press Peter closer to him. Oh god, Peter’s in his lap and he’s hard, they both are.

Peter, despite every part of himself that doesn’t want to, pulls back. “I-Is this alright?” He didn’t realize he was out of breath until the words spilled out between panting gasps.

“More than alright.” Parker presses his hand to the small of Peter’s back, pulling him closer till they’re chest to chest. That contact is even more electrifying than the kiss.

“No, no I mean like- is this alright?” Peter feels silly even talking when they could be doing so much more, but Parker is grinning at him so it’s alright. “Like we’re the same person so is-”

Parker cuts him off by burying his head in his shoulder as laughter shakes his whole body. It should be a turn-off to be laughed at while making out, but it really isn’t. It’s nice to have someone that isn’t all hands and teeth and can’t wait to get to the main event. Peter can’t shake the feeling that they’re still going to be friends after this.

“Do you really want to argue about ethics, right now?” Parker whispers, his breath hot against Peter’s ear.

Peter doesn’t answer, just goes back to kissing him. Parker’s hands find their way under his shirt and that touch of bare skin to skin suddens shivers down his spine. Fuck, they’re wearing way too many clothes. Peter wants to rip his own shirt off, wants to rip Parker’s shirt off, but he doesn’t want to stop kissing him.

“Bedroom?” Peter gasps. 

“Yeah,” Parker says, but he doesn’t stop kissing him. He doesn’t let go of Peter so that they can walk to the bedroom, but simply takes him with him as he stands. Peter’s stomach drops, he’s usually the one doing the hold and carrying, but he can’t say that this isn’t a welcomed change.

Parker places him on the bed, so gently it aches. Peter almost cries out when he lets go of him. He doesn’t want Parker to stop touching him, stop holding him. He’s denied himself this for so long and now that he has it, he can’t let it stop. But clothes need to be off first.

Peter should be stripping as fast as he can, but Parker is standing by the edge of the bed with his hands holding the hem of his shirt and all Peter wants to do is watch. Parker tugs off his shirt and gives way to a powerful figure. He doesn’t look strong in the sense that he has rippling abs or massive biceps, but his skin is taut and healthy over a layer of fat that hints at the idea of muscle. He doesn’t have the body of a Greek god, it’s better than that.

Parker turns and sees Peter frozen on the bed, mouth agape. “Need some help?” Parker unbuckles his belt, kicking off his pants quickly, and leaving only his boxers on. Peter could undress himself, it’d be faster that way. Or he could let Parker take care of him.

“Yes, please.”

Parker laughs at that. He only offered as a joke, but now that the opportunity presents itself, how can he refuse. The bed sags and squeaks under his weight, the second-hand mattress barely strong enough to support one Peter, much less two. His fingers ghost over Peter’s skin as he pulls his shirt over his head. His hands hesitate at his pants, thumbs rubbing circles into the skin above his hips. Parker’s breathing is slow and steady but labored as he licks his lips.

Peter squirms, the pressure of Parker’s hands is too much and not enough at the same time. Finally, Parker shoves his pants down, taking his underwear with them, and tosses them to the ground. Peter doesn’t like this part of sex, the tiny moment where he is naked and vulnerable. His brain kicks into overdrive, noticing subtle movement and sound in the room, picking up on every single look and gesture of his partner. It’s an avalanche of information and he’s only armed with a shovel. His spidey sense is in combat mode when he really wishes it would just turn off. It’s overwhelming.

It’s not like that this time.

Every sense zeroes in on Parker. His hands are warm and calloused on his hip, but gentle with only feather-light touches. They haven’t even done anything yet and he smells like sweat underneath his usual smell, the smell of home. He can hear his heartbeat jackhammering in his ribcage. The main detail his brain brings to the forefront is the way his eyebrows are furrowed nervously, but he’s still grinning like an idiot. 

“Woah,” Peter breathes. He’s not sure if he should relish in the moment of all his sensations being balanced or pull Parker into another kiss. “Is your spidey sense going like good crazy right now?”

“Yeah.” Parker takes a shuddering breath. He places his hand on Peter’s face, lovingly tracing the outline of his face until his hand is back in Peter’s hair. “Usually sex is-”

“Overwhelming,” Peter finishes.

“Yeah.” Parker nods. For a moment they just stare at each other. Parker is waiting between Peter’s legs, eyes scanning up and down his body over and over again like he’s not sure where to start. Peter is enraptured by the feeling of Parker’s hand in his hair. There’s no pressure to it, but it’s enough to remind him that he’s there. Parker’s got him.

Parker leans down and captures Peter’s mouth in another kiss. He pulls his hair, maneuvering him into the perfect angle so that there’s lips crash together perfectly. Peter’s hand sneaks between them to palm at Parker through his boxer.

“Lube?” Parker asks as he pulls away with a gasp. He’s breathless and doesn’t take his eyes off Peter.

Peter motions weakly towards the desk on the other side of the room. He doesn’t want Parker to let go of him for even a second. They don’t have to go all the way, it could just be hands and mouths and it’d be just as good. But Peter wants him as close as possible.

Parker looks towards the desk and sees a small bottle sitting on top of it, but doesn’t move to get up. He lifts his hand, shoots a web, and pulls the bottle into his hand. Peter stares wide-eyed and mouth open.

“You are…” He trails off.

“Weird?” Parker finishes with a sigh.

“So fucking cool!” Peter pushes his boxer off with one hand and wraps the other around his neck, pulling himself close enough to whisper in his ear. “Now, fuck me.”

Parker doesn’t need any more encouragement. He pops the lid off the bottle and squeezes a generous amount onto two fingers. He circles Peter’s hole, letting the lube warm up before pressing inside. Peter lets out a tiny whimper but bites his lip to choke it down. Parker takes his time, takes way too much time, letting Peter adjust to just that one finger pressing deep inside him, but not deep enough. Peter digs his fingers into Parker’s back, trying to spur him into motion. 

Parker smirks at him, actually smirks, then adds a second finger. It burns and stretches, but it’s amazing and exactly what Peter needs. Parker waits another moment before starting to slowly scissor him open. His fingers stretch him wider and wider, going deeper and deeper. Parker hits that sweet spot inside of him and Peter nearly sobs, but instead lets out a wanton moan. Shit, did that sound actually come out of him? Parker’s eyes light up and then he’s hitting that spot over and over again, pressing and twisting his finger around it. 

“Stop,” Peter cries between moans, “if you-you don’t put your dick in me right now, this is going to be over way-way too soon.”

Parker swallows and nods. He pulls his fingers out and Peter aches at the loss of them. He’s so empty and open without him. Parker pulls Peter into another kiss, a kiss that is disgustingly sweet and heartfelt given the situation, then squeezes more lube onto his hands for himself.

Parker keeps his lips on Peter’s as he presses inside and he can feel every moan and whimper. He pulls away from the kiss as he bottoms out, pressing their foreheads together and watching Peter’s expression with a worried excitement. He waits frozen, letting Peter adjust.

“Is this alright?” He asks and his voice is so small. Peter’s reminded that Parker is just as fragile as he is. It makes his chest ache, he needs Parker closer, but he’s already as close as they can be.

“More than alright.” Peter clenches and rolls his hips. Parker’s face goes tight and a low groan spills from his throat. The hot pressure in Peter’s stomach only grows at that. “Can you, uh, get on with it, please?”

“Y-yeah.” Parker’s words are something between a breathy pant and a laugh. “Yeah, I can do that.”

He thrusts in and out, creating a slow even rhythm that drags against Peter’s insides in all the right ways. Peter wants it faster, harder, but he doesn’t say that. Something about the way Parker’s trying to slowly take him apart makes him flushed all over. Peter can anticipate his thrusts and he meets each one by grinding down his hips or clenching tight around him.

“O-oh g-god, Peter you-you’re so perfect,” Parker moans and his grip tightens in his hair. Peter can’t say anything in response to that, just dig his nails deeper into Parker’s back.

Parker finds that perfect spot inside of him again and Peter cries out a loud wanton moan. Parker bites his lip, swallowing dryly, then increases his pace, hitting that spot with each thrust.

Peter should say something, say how good he feels inside of him, but now is not the time for full sentences. Now is the time to moan his name in that high breathy voice that can only be achieved through awesome sex. But he can’t moan “Parker” because if someone moaned his last name during sex it’d be an absolute mood killer. But Parker is hitting him just where he needs with every thrust and he’s so hot inside of him and he’s on top of him panting like he’s running a marathon despite his super strength and stamina. 

Peter’s cock is spilling pre-come, soaking both of their stomachs, and he’s so so close. Parker is too, judging from the way he’s thrusting faster and his rhythm is stuttering. He hits that spot again and Peter grinds down against him and Peter can’t take it anymore.

“Ahh P-Peter,” Peter moans as he explodes, come covering both of their stomachs and chests. It should be weird to moan his own name, but it’s not, it’s really not. Suddenly all the formality and distance that comes with calling Parker by his last name is gone. There’s no more distance, they’re as close as any two people can be.

Peter clenches around Parker as he comes and Parker continues to move, working him through his orgasm. He buries himself deep within Peter, groaning as he finds his own release. Peter pulls himself up to kiss him, messy and wet as they’re both strung out. It’s perfect.

For a moment, everything is still. They lay in bed breathing each other’s air. Peter is still gripping Parker’s neck like a drowning man grips a life-saver. Parker is still bracing his hands on the bed next to Peter’s face, still hovering over him, still buried deep within him. Peter’s come is drying on both of their stomachs. Peter distantly thinks that they should get cleaned up, but he doesn’t want to move. He wants to stay in the moment for just a little bit longer.

“That-that was… amazing,” Peter pants, a blissed-out smile on his face.

“You’re amazing,” Parker says, his voice low and quiet, his breath hot against Peter’s face.

If it was anyone else, the compliment would feel cheesy and shallow. Peter would roll his eyes, maybe even roll out of bed. But coming from Parker it feels like he means it and Peter wants to believe it. “Shut up,” Peter says. He’s blushing a deep red. Oh god, after all of that, that’s the thing that makes him embarrassed and flustered.

Parker leans down and presses a soft kiss to his lips. “Say it,” he says into Peter’s mouth. Peter’s too old to go another round this quickly, they both are, but fuck does that make him want to.

Peter pulls away from the kiss just long enough to say, “I’m amazing. There, happy?” It’s meant to be sarcastic and biting, but that’s really hard when Parker’s lips are still brushing over his.

“Very,” Parker says and Peter laughs because if he reacts how he wants to, they’ll have to go again and he’s pretty sure neither of them can do that.

Parker starts to pull out and an unfamiliar sensation shoots through Peter. It hurts, but in a way that’s alien to his frame of reference and he’s feeling it right next to that spot inside of him that it’s almost good. It’s like the drag and burn of not enough prep, but like… opposite? It’s like being pulled inside-out. It’s like Parker is stuck…sticky even. 

Oh no.

“Stop, stop, stop!” Peter digs his fingers into Parker's back, gritting his teeth. From the look of horror on Parker’s face, he’s also feeling something very weird.

“Shit,” Parker hisses through his teeth. It’s not a bad hiss, exactly. It’s the kind of noise one makes when a good feeling is so much that it’s painful. “I-I uh I don’t- what’s happening?”

“Just don’t move,” Peter says, trying very hard not to think about how he wouldn’t hate it if Parker moved a little bit. Fuck, he’s pretty sure he’s halfway to hard again and that’s not the reaction he should be having right now.

They just lay there, frozen in panic. Peter is staring at Parker like he’s some kind of alien and that’s kinda hot, but also he shouldn’t be thinking that right now because they have to figure out what this is. Parker is staring down at his dick, still buried inside Peter, wishing that he could just disappear from this universe. Because why is he stuck!

Peter’s brain kicks into gear, finally providing him a detail that was filed away for later use. It’s only one sex scene far too late. “Hey, um, so remember when you said that your webs don’t ‘really’ come out of anywhere else?”

Parker stares down at Peter like he’s lost his mind. “What? Yeah, I guess? What does that have to do with-? oh. Oh no.”

“Yeah.” Peter nods his head slowly. Parker looks like he’s about to have a breakdown. “Hey,” Peter forces a laugh, “at least I didn’t blow you.”

“I’m so so sorry.”  Parker collapses on Peter’s chest, burying his face in his shoulder. “This has never happened before, I wasn’t thinking and-”

“Wait-” Peter cuts him off “-wait, so you’re telling me that in all the years after being bit by that spider, you never-?”

Parker weakly pushes Peter away, or as far away as he can be. “Are you seriously accusing me of being a virgin? After that!”

Peter laughs at that. Parker’s dick is stuck inside him and he’s laughing. Hell, they both are. Peter can feel the vibrations of it against his chest. They’re chest to chest, skin to skin, and he can feel every rumble of Parker’s laughter, voice, and breathing. It sends a shiver through him better than any sex.

“I don’t know-” Peter grabs Parker’s chin to force him to meet his eyes “-were you?”

“No!” Parker frowns but there’s no anger in it. “It’s just never been a problem before, I usually use a condom or pull out, but…”

“But?” Peter bites his lip, eagerly waiting for Parker to finish that sentence.

“But you’re…distracting.”

Peter gasps, a too wide smile on his face. “So what I’m hearing is-” he smirks, pausing for dramatic effect “-I’m the best sex you’ve ever had?”

“Don’t push it.” Parker grabs his face and pulls him into another kiss. “I’m really sorry, this is so weird. I should have-I don’t know-been thinking.”

“It’s okay.” Peter resists the urge to roll his hips because it probably would feel really really good, but they have to figure this out. “How long until-uh-you know?”

“I’m-umm, I’m not sure.” Parker worries his lip between his teeth and Peter wants to be the one to take his lip between his teeth, but he has to stay focused on the problem at hand.

“Okay well, your webs aren’t synthetic so that must mean that they’re carbon-based, so they’ll degrade eventually. How long does that usually take?” Peter designed his web to degrade overtime after he got himself stuck on his first prototype. He’s gotten himself stuck on his own web too many times to not have that back-up.

“Like an hour?” Parker says. He’s grimacing like he’s gearing up for Peter to yell at him, but Peter can’t bring himself to be frustrated. An hour of laying in bed together? It sounds great.

“Just an hour?” Peter nudges Parker until he can put his lips on his throat. Parker makes that noise, something between a moan and a whimper, and tilts his head to give him more access. 

“You said this has never happened before?” Peter asks. “Well, maybe we should run some experiments, get some observations. You know, for science?”

Peter rolls his hips and he can feel Parker’s dick against his inner walls, his come pulling at that sweet spot inside of him. It feels really weird, but weird is quickly becoming his new normal, and normal is starting to be fucking amazing.

“Y-Yeah,” Parker gasps and Peter can feel him getting hard inside of him. “If it’s for science.”

They never get an exact time on how long it takes the web from other places to dissolve, something about distraction and conflicting variables.