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Johnny woke up at a respectable 2 PM, groped at the other side of the bed - empty, go figure - and then grabbed for his phone. Yawning, he scrolled through missed texts and alerts and insults from Ben, feeling lazy in the afternoon sunlight streaming through the windows. At least until he hit a voicemail from Wyatt and Jen that was literally just hysterical laughter, followed by the text from Peter saying, so don't freak out.

Johnny, full of dread, googled "Spider-Man."

MEET THE MAN CAUGHT IN SPIDER-MAN'S WEB!

"Aw, nah, Pete," Johnny groaned to himself, palm pressed over his face. "We were going to wait! We were going to do it right."

Then he scrolled down and instead of his own stunning face, he was met with a photo of Peter, staring out at him with his big brown doe eyes. The caption underneath it read PHOTOGRAPHER PETER PARKER CLAIMS HE IS SEEING NEW YORK'S INFAMOUS MASKED MAN.

When his brain was done shorting out, he said, "Well, at least I didn't get left off the headline."

 


 

"Don't kill him," Sue said. "I'm sure there's a rational explanation."

"Really?" Johnny said. "You're sure? You're sure there's a rational explanation for my boyfriend claiming he's dating his own secret identity?"

Sue frowned at him as she pushed a mug of tea across the table. "Don't kill him."

Ben's laughter filtered in from the other room, loud enough to rattle the cabinets. Johnny heated his tea up another couple hundred degrees and downed the whole thing in one go. He didn't feel a lot calmer.

"I want a good defense attorney. Does Daredevil still answer our calls?" he said. Sue rolled her eyes.

 


 

Johnny's phone rang at 5. He let it go until the third ring, then picked up. "Hello, Johnny Storm, newly single, speaking."

He could feel Peter's cringe from across the line. "I said not to freak out! I told you!"

"What an amazing strategy!" Johnny said. "Pete, what the hell."

"Can I come up?" Peter said.

"You know where the window is," Johnny said, hand to his forehead.

"Let me amend that statement," Peter said. "Can I come up without you roasting me like a pig at a luau?"

"Depends how good this explanation is," Johnny said, hanging up.

Peter clambered through the window a few minutes later, stripping off the mask as soon as he was inside. His hair was sweat stuck to his forehead and his grin was crooked and guilty. It was unfair how much Johnny wanted to jump him.

"Okay, so, I need you to just bear with me," Peter began, gesturing wildly, "because it seemed like a really great idea at the time."

"Dating yourself seemed like a really great idea?" Johnny said.

Peter made a face. "It seemed like a ... not terrible idea at the time?"

"Alright," said Johnny. "Take it from the top."

Peter explained - someone was out there, trying to kidnap the superhero crowd's significant others. So far, they'd been unsuccessful, but it was only a matter of time, so Peter had volunteered to be the bait.

"By pretending to date yourself," Johnny said.

"Just listen," Peter said. "I've got a solid link to Spider-Man, so it's not like it comes out of nowhere, and besides, I can take care of myself. It's easy. Nobody gets hurt."

"You're going to wind up dangling upside down over something radioactive," Johnny told him.

"Are you actually mad?" Peter said, eyebrows drawn together in concern. "You're so dramatic I can't tell, but - I didn't think you'd actually be upset. You're not, right?"

Something in Peter's worried expression turned the dial on Johnny's feelings down from boil to simmer. He relaxed a little, letting Peter tug him forward into a kiss. His spider-suit was so sweaty. Johnny honestly didn't know what he saw in him, but here he was, stuck on him.

"It'll be fine," said poor, sweet, naive Peter. "It'll blow over as soon as we catch this guy."

Johnny laughed in his face.

 


 

Johnny wasn't angry, exactly. Annoyed, yes. Frustrated, definitely. Stuck watching Peter try to creatively use mirrors to frame suspicious selfies of himself and himself so he could lure the Avengers' latest weird villain into a trap? 100%.

So, not angry. Hurt, though - in the privacy of his own head, he could admit that. He and Peter had agreed to take it slow, to see where it went between them. To not say anything until they were both sure they wouldn't end up killing each other. Johnny had surprised himself by liking it, this little bubble of quiet. Something that belonged to just them, that the rest of the world couldn't touch.

The secret was a lot less fun when it had to keep being secret because Peter had gone and started dating himself.

He was jealous, too, which he knew was ridiculous - to be jealous of the man who was in love with him. The man who told him he was in love with him pretty ridiculously often. But he'd spent so long being jealous of Spider-Man that it was second nature now, to seethe when Peter had something Johnny wanted.

Even if Johnny had that, too. And even if that something was Peter.

Johnny had never claimed to make a whole lot of sense.

"Where are you going?" Johnny said when Peter wandered out into the living room in his spider-suit with a backpack slung over one shoulder. "We were going to stay in tonight."

Peter hadn't rolled the mask down yet, and when he looked at Johnny his expression was pure guilt.

"Movie night," he said. "I forgot. Raincheck?"

"Sure," Johnny said, frowning at the suit. "Emergency? Want me to come with?"

"I'm sorry, you can't, I gotta go," Peter said, apologetic. He kissed Johnny between every word, barely soothing the sting. "I got Danny Rand to agree to wear the mask and meet me for coffee on a very visible rooftop."

Johnny pulled back to stare at him in disbelief. Peter used his split second of shock to twist away and shimmy out an open window in one smooth motion, calling, "Bye! Love you!"

"Did he just ditch me to go share a latte with Iron Fist?" Johnny demanded to the universe at large, half-hanging out the window as he watched Peter swing away.

"You know what this means, don'tcha, Firefly?" Ben asked from his favorite armchair, grinning at him from over the top of the Bugle's sports page.

"No," Johnny said sternly, turning around pointing one finger at him. "Don't, Ben. I'm serious."

"Yer the other woman," Ben said, smirking.

In the end Sue had to break them apart with a force field.

"I'm dividing the building," she said, propelling them away from each other. "Ben, you stay on your own side until you can behave like an adult."

"Ha!" Johnny said, flipping Ben the flaming finger.

"You too, homewrecker," Sue said.

"Sue!" Johnny howled. The smirk Sue had been fighting finally won out. She had to duck her head she was snickering so hard.

"Honestly, John," she said, shaking her head. "Think of the example you're setting for the children!"

He banged one fist on a force field wall. "I'm divorcing myself from this family!"

 


 

"I knew this was going to happen," Johnny said, delighted. "I told you!"

"Actually, I told you," Peter said, looking the most unimpressed anyone ever had while dangling by their ankles over a roiling vat of something that looked seriously toxic. "Because this was the plan the whole time."

"But I think I mentioned the upside down part specifically," Johnny said.

"Why are you doing this to me," Peter said, resigned. "What have I ever done to you?"

"So much," Johnny told him, orbiting him in lazy circles. Down below the Avengers were handling the actual fight - he'd been called in on special Save Your Stupid Boyfriend duty.

"Can you stop gloating and help me, please?" Peter said. "I don't feel like testing how much more radioactive I can get today."

"Sure thing, Mr. Parker," Johnny said. "Just say it, first."

Peter groaned. "Say what?"

"Say, you were right, Human Torch," Johnny said. "Right, and so handsome, too."

"No," said Peter.

"Light of my life!" Johnny continued. He flamed one hand off for the express purpose of spinning Peter around. "Fire of my loins!"

"I'll take my chances with the slime," Peter said. "Johnny, c'mon."

"Oh, fine," Johnny said, sighing. He floated down to eye level and flamed off the upper half of his body. He held Peter steady with one hand, mouths brushing, Peter's bottom lip against his top. "But I kind of always wanted to try this first."

"I dislike you intensely," Peter said, but he shut his eyes and deepened the kiss. Heat bloomed in Johnny's chest, warm as the sun, at least until Peter slapped at his shoulder. "Now can you help me down?"

"It's not like you get dizzy," Johnny said, but he severed the rope and caught Peter up a neat bridal carry anyway. "One trip down, coming up."

Peter sighed, long and low, arms wrapped tight around Johnny's shoulders. "I'm so glad this is over and I can stop dating myself now."

"Same," Johnny told him, squeezing him under the knees. "For once, we are completely in the same boat."

 


 

Twelve hours later Peter woke him up by repeatedly hitting him in the face with a pillow.

"Oh my god, what, what," Johnny said, grabbing it from him and setting it alight. Peter was staring down at him wild-eyed with his hair stuck up every which way. Johnny loved and hated him in equal measure. "Are we under attack, what the hell?!"

"Do you know what I miss?" Peter said, his voice the kind of deadly calm that meant something really bad was happening, like the world was ending, or Val and Bentley had built a new robot.

"Um," Johnny said, eyes flickering down over Peter's bare chest. He tried to be an optimist. "Morning sex?"

Peter shoved his phone in Johnny's face. "I miss the days when henchmen didn't have Instagram accounts."

It took a second for Johnny's eyes to focus and then, well, there they were, he and Peter liplocked in the most romantic setting a guy could ask for: hovering above a vat of something green and toxic, surrounded by unconscious villains and fighting Avengers. Johnny's eyes traced the soft look on Peter's face, caught in a split-second where he forgot to be annoyed, and the way his own hands cupped Peter's jaw.

Then he looked down.

"That," he said, "is a lot of likes."

Peter fell on him, groaning. Johnny took a moment to scroll through the comments, whistling a little, then screencapped the photo and set it as Peter's wallpaper.

"So," he said, tugging at Peter's hair. "That's not a no on the morning sex, right?"

 


 

"An exclusive, Parker!" Jameson's voice filtered out through Peter's cell, as clear as if he were shouting in Johnny's ear. The phone was not on speaker. "The man driving New York's caped crowd wild with desire!"

"I don't wear a cape," Johnny said. "Tell him I don't wear a cape. It's important to me."

Peter shushed him. Johnny got no respect.

"Is that - are you with one of them? Is it Spider-Man?" Jonah said, volume rising. Peter winced, pulling the phone away from his ear. "Pictures, Parker! I'll make you a rich man! PICTURES OF SPIDER-MAN."

Peter hung up the phone.

"Is this happening to me?" he asked, dropping his head into his hands.

Like a mature adult and a caring partner, Johnny kicked him once before collapsing backwards over his lap. He tugged Peter's hands away from his face so he could look him in the eye when he said, "To be fair, you started it."

"I know I started it," Peter said, "but what did I do to deserve it?"

"No clue," Johnny said, grinning up at him. He wrapped one hand around Peter's neck and tugged him down for a long kiss. "Maybe go through your guilt folder, double check everything."

"Why aren't you upset?" Peter asked him, eyes narrowed. "You were so mad when I was dating myself."

Johnny kissed him again, soft and smug. "Have you actually been reading the comments?"

"I have a pretty strict rule about not doing that," Peter said.

"Well, the people of New York have spoken and the results are in," Johnny said, grinning victorious. "They definitely think you should dump yourself for me."

Peter shoved him off the sofa, climbing up off the couch and stalking off.

"We can do this right, Pete!" Johnny yelled after him. "Web up something insulting! Get your clone on the phone, we can have a fight somewhere expensive!"

Peter came back around the corner just to scowl at him. "I'm taking myself out for coffee now."

Johnny followed him out into the hall just to grab him by the ends of the scarf he was wrapping around his neck, pulling him in close. Peter's hands fell to his waist, squeezing.

"I'm so serious about that clone thing," Johnny said.

Peter headbutted him very, very gently and said, "Go screw yourself."

"That's your job," Johnny said. "Take that how you want, just bring me back a macchiato."

He waited until the elevator doors had shut behind Peter to open twitter and bring up the picture he'd grabbed of them when Peter hadn't been paying attention.

a torch 4 you @JSTORM 1m
I'm wearing him down...

Game, set and match, Spider-Man.