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I've got an effervescent glow (I wanna be barely hanging on)

Chapter Text

Beca hated rush hour.

And no not for the typical ugh traffic is taking so long I’ve been stuck here forever is there a crash up ahead or do people just not know how to drive type of reasons. In fact, Beca hardly noticed traffic issues at all, though that’s to be expected when her preferred mode of transportation was web-slinging.

Fuck. That was disgustingly cheesy. She was starting to sound like some lame comic book character.

Beca wasn’t too fond of comics, either.

But that was unrelated.

No, Beca did not loathe rush hour because of traffic. She hated it because it was so fucking noisy.

Sure, New York was a noisy place to live. Beca had known that from the moment she knew what noise was. The hustle and bustle of one of the biggest cities in the world was bound to come with more than a few car honks and pedestrians screaming at each other to get out of their way.

The city that never sleeps? More like the city that never shuts up.

Ha. That was a good one. She should quit the hero work and become a comedian.

Anyways.

New York was always busy, always loud, and always always crowded, but rush hour intensified all three to new levels of ridiculousness.

Unfortunately, rush hour seemed to be when Beca had the most business.

Business. Pfft. As if she got actually paid to keep the city safe. Maybe she should look into that superhero organization that tried to recruit her after all. What were they called again? Sword? Armor? Shield?

Whatever. She’d go look at their business card when she got home.

The music blaring through her headphones helped to drown out the near overwhelming cacophony of the streets below her perch on top of some apartment building. Kombucha plays on her playlist while she eats a donut, eyes lazily scanning the area for any shifty-looking activity may be going on.

That was another thing about rush hour. It was so hard to spot shithead criminals stealing purses amidst the sea of New Yorkers getting off work.

A shift in the air to her left makes Beca instinctively turn her head and she spots some guy approaching a nearby ATM. She watches with minimal interest, eating her donut and waiting to see if the man is up to anything sketchy.

Oh, her powers? How’d she get them? Great question. One that Beca hated answering.

There was a field trip. Her class went into some creepy bug room. Spider bites Beca – ouch – and the next morning she wakes up completely stuck to her blankets.

It was a weird time, first discovering that she was basically a part-time spider, but Beca doesn’t really mind. She doesn’t have to wear glasses anymore and her skin is clear, so. Positives.

ATM guy starts hitting buttons more aggressively and kicking the machine, so Beca figures it’s time to intervene. She shoves the last of her donut into her mouth and pulls her mask down securely over her face before jumping right off the edge of the building. The speed at which she hurls toward the ground doesn’t even make Beca’s stomach flip anymore, and she waits until the last possible second before shooting out two lines of webs and propelling herself forward through the air.

She makes it to the ATM in about ten seconds flat, in which time the man has begun attempting to shove his hand into the slot where the cash comes out as if it was a vending machine.

“Really, dude? You’re going to go about it like that?” Beca asks, pushing her headphones to lay around her neck. The man spins around in surprise and stares at her like he might piss his pants. “You could have at least watched someone put in their information first. Or held someone at gunpoint. Either option would be more effective, honestly.”

The man blushes. “I don’t like guns very much,” he mumbles, looking as embarrassed as Beca thinks he ought to feel.

Beca grins behind her mask. “You and I might just get along after all, pal,” she says, nodding in approval. A sudden commotion behind her causes Beca to glance over her shoulder.

Speaking of guns. There appears to be a bank robbery happening.

Beca turns back to the ATM guy, needing to act fast. She shoots a web at him, catching his hand and sticking him to the wall behind him. “I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere,” she tells him. He mutters something like “no problem” as she runs toward the bank, flinging herself across the street and over the tops of cars.

There are three people in ski masks when Beca slips inside the door, all of them brandishing guns on the poor bank workers and customers cowering on the floor. So far it doesn’t appear as though anyone has been hurt, which is good. Beca would like it to stay that way.

“Hey, let’s take it easy, fellas.”

All three criminals whirl on her, guns at the ready, and Beca raises her hands up in surrender.

“Spidergirl,” the man in the middle says. The one off to his right curses under his breath.

“So you’ve heard of me,” Beca drawls. “That’s nice. I don’t like introductions, anyway. Although, I’m afraid I don’t know you all that well.”

“We don’t want any trouble,” the middle man speaks up again. Ah, so he must be the leader. “We just want our money and then we’ll be out of your hair. No one has to get hurt.”

Beca clicks her tongue and shakes her head as if he just gave the wrong answer in class. “You see, buddy, you’ve already made trouble,” she sighs. “And it’s kinda my job to stop you. But-” Beca extends one hand out toward the leader and the guy to his right flinches- “I’ll make you a deal: walk away now and I won’t call the police.” She tilts her head. Pauses. Reconsiders. “Actually, I lied. You’re definitely going to jail. But if you put your guns down I won’t kick your asses.”

The leader spits at her feet. “Fuck you,” he snarls, and Beca rolls her eyes.

“They never learn,” she says to herself, and then all three guns are firing and all she can do is avoid getting hit.

There’s screaming from the people huddled on the ground, and Beca is just barely aware of them all scrambling to find cover. She keeps herself away from the crowd as best she can, keeping all of the criminals’ attention on her.

She slides across the floor towards the leader and grabs one of his ankles, and with one quick tug he’s flat on his back with a groan. The other two keep firing, so Beca shoots a web at both of them, pulling so that they fly toward her with matching yelps. They slam into each other with a painful sounding crunch and crumple to the ground next to where the leader lays.

Beca spares the three of them a pitiful look before wrapping them all up and suspending them from the ceiling with a single web, their heads hanging a foot above the floor.

Three guns clatter to the ground. Beca kicks them away with tut just as the telltale sound of sirens approach outside. By the time the door bursts open, four cops charging in with guns at the ready, Beca is leaning casually against her captives while the rest of the people in the bank attempt to pull themselves together.

“There was a robbery,” Beca says, like an asshole, and the cops share mixed reactions of relief and disappointment. One rolls his eyes and mutters “superheroes” under his breath as he holsters his weapon.

Beca starts toward the door, figuring her work here is done, but spins around at the last second when she remembers what she was doing before this. “Oh, by the way, there’s a guy stuck to an ATM across the street because he tried to steal from it. Does he get, like, a fine for that? A warning? I just need to know what to tell him.”

* * *

Spidergirl has faced many life-endangering threats without breaking a sweat, but this meeting may just be the death of Beca.

Her boss drones on and on about revenue and contracts and partnerships and all the while Beca tries to pretend she isn’t about to fall asleep in her chair at the back of the room. She didn’t care about any of this shit. She was here to make music, not talk about 401k’s.

Beca is just about to doze off, chin tucked down toward her chest, when a snapping of fingers under her nose causes her to shoot upright again. She looks around in alarm, almost expecting an attack, but relaxes when she sees that it’s just Chloe giggling next to her.

“Late night last night?” Chloe asks, keeping her voice down so as not to disturb the meeting.

Beca groans quietly. “You have no idea,” she replies. There had been a whole situation last night involving tracks getting blown up and trains almost falling off said tracks because of it. It had taken almost all night to stop the trains from running, secure the rails, and track down the perps responsible for the explosion.

Chloe gives her a look. “You know, you really need to get out of the habit of staying up all night making mixes,” she whispers, leaning in close to Beca. “One of these days I won’t be here for one of these meetings, and then there will be no one here to make sure that you don’t end up drooling while you nap.”

Beca scoffs a little. “I do not drool,” she says haughtily. She turns to look at Chloe with narrowed eyes. Chloe’s eyes slowly trace down her face, settling on the corner of her mouth with one eyebrow raised.

Beca’s eyes widen, and she automatically goes to wipe at her mouth, only to discover absolutely no drool to be found. Chloe snorts out a quiet laugh and Beca turns toward the front of the room, arms crossing as she looks resolutely back at her boss. “I hate you,” she tells Chloe.

She does not, in fact, hate Chloe. In reality, Chloe was pretty much her best friend at the studio. It was kind of inevitable that they became friends, really. They were both interns, although Chloe was an intern on the PR side of things while Beca interned with all the producers. Their work didn’t overlap all that much with each other, but both of their responsibilities did include making several coffee runs in a day for their higher ups, which meant that they spent a good chunk of the day goofing off in the break room.

And flirting. They did a lot of that, too. Or, at least, Beca attempted to flirt. She still couldn’t decide if Chloe’s flirting was intentionally directed toward Beca, or if she was just a flirtatious person in general. Either way, if Chloe called her cute while biting her lip one more time, Beca was sure that she would find out if webs could come out of her ears if she blushed hard enough.

The uncontrollable webs seemed to be a recurring problem around Chloe, actually. Beca didn’t know if it was because her mind tended to shut down around pretty girls, or if it was specifically Chloe that sent all of her super-secret powers haywire, but Beca had a feeling that one of these days she would do something really embarrassing, like shoot a web at Chloe’s face on accident. And that would be hard to cover up.

One time they’d been in the break room, chatting casually about different playlists they’d made, when Chloe mentioned having a sex playlist. Beca’s face had gone so red and before she could even blink the coffee machine she was using was coated in a thick layer of webs. Luckily Chloe’s back had been turned, the other girl preoccupied with making her own coffee, and what had followed had been the most stressful thirty seconds of Beca’s miserable life as she struggled to tear the webs away as quickly and quietly as she could before Chloe noticed her mess.

Really it was a miracle that only one person in the entire world knew her secret. And considering that it was her best friend Amy who normally could not keep a secret to save her life, it was even more of a miracle.

By the end of the day, Beca has luckily avoided any web-related accidents and somehow managed to stay awake. As she packs up her bag to head out, all she can think about it getting home to her soft, warm bed and taking a nice, long nap. She sees Chloe waiting for her by the door and feels her eyes droop with affection. Would it be weird if she asked Chloe if she’d like to take a nap with her? That would totally be weird. Chloe has mentioned that she likes weird, though.

Beca makes her way to Chloe and has just managed to pluck up the courage to ask her if she’d want to hang out at her place – just hang out, but if it turned into a nap… Beca would mind – but as soon as she opens her mouth to speak her wristwatch starts beeping.

Goddammit. Not now, she tells the universe, silencing the device. She smiles at Chloe, who is still waiting patiently for her. “Hey, would you maybe want to-”

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Beca groans and gives Chloe an apologetic grimace. “Two seconds,” she tells her, holding up a finger and taking a few steps away. Chloe waves her off, telling her it’s fine. As quickly as she can, Beca pulls out her phone and puts it to her ear, spinning around and speaking into it with gritted teeth. “Amy, I’m kind of busy at the moment.”

“Sorry, shortstack, but we’ve got a situation. There’s a fire downtown and the fire department is having trouble evacuating everyone. Looks like it could get ugly pretty soon.” There’s a pause. “Well, the fire could get ugly. The firefighters are as sexy as ever.”

Beca sighs and glances over her shoulder at where Chloe is standing by the door. “Give me the address and I’ll be on my way,” she says, already mourning her evening plans.

Amy hangs up after rattling off the address of the building and Beca makes her way back over to Chloe. “Ready to go?” Chloe asks, pulling the door open a little.

“I, uh, left my laptop in one of the booths,” Beca lies, gesturing toward the back of the studio. “You go on without me, I gotta go grab it.”

Chloe has never been one to hide how she’s feeling, so the disappointment on her face is as clear as day. “Oh,” she says, and Beca feels her heart twitch regretfully. “Well, alright. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, tomorrow,” Beca affirms, already taking quick steps away from Chloe. She gives a hasty wave before she’s jogging toward one of the bathrooms near the back of the studio, the one with the window large enough to slip through after she’s gotten her suit on.

Beca makes quick work of her clothes, shoving her pants, shirt, and boots into her bag and stashing the bag in its usual hiding spot in the vent before wrestling her way into her suit. Stupid spandex she thinks, hopping around as she struggles to get her leg in the tight black and red material. Eventually she gets the damn thing on and starts putting her hair up to slip her mask on, hair tie held between her teeth.

The back of her neck tingles and she has no time to react before the door to the bathroom is opening behind her, a shocked gasp emitting from the person who has just stumbled into Beca’s biggest secret.

Beca freezes with her hands still in her hair and squeezes her eyes shut. She counts to three before opening them again and slowly spins around.

Chloe stands in the doorway, blue eyes wide and jaw dropped as she stares at Beca, clad in her suit, no mask in sight.

The hair tie drops from between Beca’s teeth. “Shit.”