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Sea Change
by shalott

Octavius kept him somewhere, an empty loft, old warehouse, something, until it got dark, pacing back and forth between the windows. Peter faded in and out to the sound of his muttering, half of a conversation. He wasn't exactly unconscious while Octavius carried him through the city, trussed up like a turkey, but he figured it didn't make sense to start it all up again just yet. He wanted to know where they were going, for one thing, but that was an excuse: mostly he was just too tired to move.

"...tritium?" he heard, vaguely; the feeling of the cushions under him was something so close to heaven he couldn't think of anything else. His muscles had stopped screaming for the first time in hours. Harry's voice, the ugly ringing thumps of Octavius going away. The mask came off; cool wind on his face and a clatter; he couldn't make out the exact words Harry was saying, but he felt something like safe, his danger-sense easing up at last, even with the wires still binding his ankles together and his arms across his chest.

Harry went away for a while. Peter heard him stumbling around the room, clink of ice in a glass. You're drinking too much lately, he wanted to say. I'm sorry, he wanted to say. He'd thought of a thousand different ways to apologize, to tell Harry the truth about his father, about the Green Goblin, about Spiderman; none of them had ever made it out of his mouth.

"You killed my father," Harry said, very close by. He sounded like he was going to cry, or maybe like he'd already started. "Peter, you killed my father." His hand touched Peter's face, the fingers shaking while they traced his cheekbones.

"Harry," Peter said, and opened his eyes with an effort. "Harry, listen to me," he said, but he didn't have anything more to say. He just stared up while Harry stared down and kept touching his face. "Don't," Peter said, seeing tears dripping off Harry's face.

"How could you?" Harry said. "I thought, I trusted—" He slid down to his knees like his legs wouldn't hold up any longer, whole body slumping, and put his head down on the pillows next to Peter and just cried.

"Harry," Peter said, turning his head towards him. Harry lifted his wet stained face and said, "I loved you," took Peter's face in both hands, and kissed him. Open-mouthed, hard, hungry.

"Huh," Peter said, dazed, when Harry let him go.

"What you did to me," Harry said. "God, I hate you so much." And put his hand between Peter's legs.

"Okay, uh, that's," Peter said. The way he'd designed the costume, it came off pretty easily, and Harry didn't seem to be having trouble figuring it out even if he was incredibly drunk. "Maybe we should talk—about—Harry," he said, and strained against the wires: they snapped, his arms came loose, and Harry was kissing him again and yanking the shirt up over his head.

Harry smelled like expensive cologne and tasted like more expensive whiskey, and apparently he knew exactly what he was doing, which was a lot more than Peter could say at any given moment. The chaise wasn't big enough for two, so there wasn't anywhere for Harry to go but on top of him, and Harry's hands felt incredibly good.

"I'm going to," Harry said, and started unbuckling his belt.

"Wow, this is really a bad idea," Peter said, not to mention which, this wasn't the way he'd planned on losing his virginity, and even if his chances for doing that, well, ever, were looking increasingly slim these days, he didn't want to do it like this.

Except maybe he did, and apparently he was bi; who knew? Aunt May would probably be okay with it, mostly just happy he was seeing someone at all, although that didn't seem like the right term considering that Harry kept saying, "I hate you," between gasping breaths.

"Harry," Peter said, "Wait, Harry," but didn't do anything to stop him, and okay, ow, but not really up there by comparison to everything else today, especially with Harry's hand working on him.

"Peter," Harry said, pressing his face against Peter's neck, still wet, mouthed his throat and his collarbone and fucked him steadily. "God, Peter." Moments running together like liquid, thoughts bouncing into one another and sliding away from him, and Peter came and came and came.

"Wow," Peter said, eventually; Harry was lying limp on top of him, breathing on his neck. The weight wasn't a problem, although the sticky felt like it might become an issue in the near future, and his muscles had suddenly decided to remember that they were still really, really mad at him.

Oh. Oh, great. "Harry," Peter said, nudging him. "What was Octavius doing here?"

Harry mumbled something, not coherent, and snored into the pillows.

"Come on, Harry," Peter said, sitting him up. "Harry."

He spent a good two hours clearing piles of twisted metal out of intersections, then left the rest of it to the police and fire trucks and climbed way back up into the sky. Car antennas were bent at 90-degree angles all across the city. The balcony railing on Harry's penthouse was even a little twisted, the ends of the wrought-iron spirals pointing out and down towards the river, like thorns.

Harry was sitting on the chaise with his back to the windows, staring down at a dagger in his hands. He hadn't put his clothes back together, his pants left lying on the floor and his shirt hanging unbuttoned and limp; he looked wrecked.

"Hey," Peter said, uncertainly, pulling off the mask.

"You could've thrown me across the room," Harry said, without turning around. "Anytime you wanted to."

"Well, I didn't want to," Peter said. He came inside. There was a coffee table opposite the chaise, closer than any of the chairs; he sat down on it. "I'm really sorry," he said, softly.

"All this time," Harry said, not listening. "You knew, and you never said—and—"

"Harry, will you just," Peter said, and caught the dagger in mid air automatically, before it could bonk him hilt-first in the forehead. He threw it aside. "Stop it! I didn't kill your father, okay? He was—it was an accident."

Explanation #501, discarded for reasons of being incredibly lame and not likely to keep Harry from asking questions that had answers he really didn't want to know. The first five hundred explanations had been discarded because they'd all been more or less creative lies, and Peter couldn't bring himself to pile an outright lie on top of everything else.

"Yeah, an accident," Harry said. "Like tonight was an accident?"

"Tonight wasn't an accident," Peter said.

"So then what happened?" Harry said, which was the question at the very top of the list of bad ones. "Huh? What accident left my dad beaten bloody, with five broken ribs and a broken collarbone, stabbed through the chest twice, both lungs collapsed, drowning in his own blood, and killed by a massive coronary from shock?" He stood up, stood over Peter, his hands clenched. "Come on, Pete, tell me."

"I can't," Peter said, looking down at his hands. He'd done plenty of the damage, the broken bones and the bruises; not to mention if the fight hadn't happened, Norman wouldn't be dead. No way to ask Harry to forgive even that much without explaining it all, everything Norman had done: twenty-six murders and fifty-seven attempted, the swath of destruction, the attack on Aunt May, kidnapping MJ, the kids in the tram.

He couldn't; he'd rather have Harry hate him forever than see the look on his face. "I can't," he said. "Don't ask me, Harry. Just don't."

"So I'm supposed to just take your word for it," Harry said. "I'm supposed to just trust you."

Peter stood up too and faced him squarely. "Yeah," he said. "That's it."

Harry's face slowly crumpled in on itself, shoulders hunching, and Peter grabbed him and pulled him close. Harry's hand came up and buried itself in his hair, the other wrapping around his waist, and after a while Peter let Harry take him into the bedroom, even though he was pretty sure it still wasn't a good idea.

= End =

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