Harry’s case sped through the system in under a month. He didn’t fight it in court, despite Harry’s lawyers pushing him to do so. Instead, Harry had taken a plea bargain from the DA in return for offering all the information he had on every crime boss Oscorp had worked with. The Avengers were brought into the case in order to see that Harry be placed in a different facility rather than the local prison for his own protection.
Multiple times, Peter had wanted to storm in and set the record straight once and for all. Had he been able to get out of bed, maybe he would have. Felicia, however, beat Peter to it, not that it did anything. Harry had managed to completely discredit her testimony. She ended up furious with him over it and declined further visits.
In the meantime, Peter spent quite a few days recovering, and longer still getting back to normal. His body hadn’t handled well getting two hits of the gas so close together along with the massive shot of oxytocin Harry had used to counteract it. Or perhaps Norman had altered the gas. It was hard to determine, especially with a healing concussion.
Mariah worked with Tony to help create a formula to counteract the gas in case it was needed in the future. If Norman had produced more of it, they’d been unable to find where he stashed it. Not to mention, the webbed up canister that Peter had left on the rooftop before going after Norman had vanished by the time he and Felicia remembered it. It was unknown if someone picked it up for nefarious purposes, or if it had simply ended up in a dump somewhere after being tossed by maintenance personnel.
Norman’s goblin tech had been dismantled and disposed of. His death was announced as part of his illness, excluding any further details. Only a handful of people knew what had really happened, but that didn’t stop people from talking about it.
The news was all over Harry’s arrest and Norman’s death. It effectively shifted the public attention off of the serial killer case. Everyone was in debate as to what would happen with Oscorp since there was no known successor. Until a decision was made, the Board was in control.
Peter both did and didn’t want to know about everything that was being said in regards to Oscorp and its former owners. He was an emotional wreck and spent most of his time with Aunt May or Wade. They were both very solid pillars of support. To his credit, Tony did his best to keep Peter appraised of what they were doing to aid Harry and never once mentioned the fact that Peter had hid his private investigation from the rest of the team.
Harry declined to speak with Peter directly even after he was healthy enough to do so. The lawyers said it was necessary for Peter to stay far away from the case, but Peter was convinced that Harry blamed Peter for Norman’s death. Felicia had promised that wasn’t the reason.
Felicia let Peter know that Harry had entered Norman’s penthouse once Deadpool had her pinned down. Harry had given Felicia the shot, and then turned just in time to see Norman goad Peter, only to end up killing himself in the end. Once Felicia fell limp, Deadpool had tied her up and then ran to aid Peter.
Wade didn’t much care for Harry’s fate, but he didn’t say such things out loud. He was only concerned about Peter’s well being, and in that respect, spouted off whatever nonsense words he thought Peter wanted to hear. It was both frustrating and comforting. Wade wasn’t perfect, but at least he was trying to be supportive.
The day Harry was officially placed in his secured facility, Peter spent most of the day in bed. He had no desire to face the world. He had no desire to do anything. He had put off a lot of issues that needed his attention, but he didn’t know if he wanted to face them just yet.
Primarily, what kind of person did he want to be? A civilian, a villain, a hero? Or something else? Peter stared at the sketch he’d doodled of his long dead symbol that was taped to the wall beside his bed. It had yet to form sentience in order to give him advice.
Peter’s stomach growled again. He couldn’t accurately say when the last time was that he’d eaten anything. Sighing, Peter rolled himself out of bed and trudged downstairs. Aunt May was so thrilled to see him moving around that she insisted on making him something. Likely far more than Peter felt ready to consume, but he didn’t argue with her.
As Peter picked at his food, Aunt May set a small envelope beside him. “This was in the mail for you, by the way.”
He frowned at it. It was small and there was no return address. He ripped it open and dumped out the contents. It was a single blank business card with numbers on it. Significantly, numbers written in Harry’s handwriting. It finally clicked for Peter that they were a safe combination.
Peter knew where Harry’s safe was in his apartment. They’d both had a laugh at how it was hidden behind a gilded picture frame on hinges, like it was some kind of set dressing pulled straight out of a cheesy movie. Most of Harry’s important documents were stored in the office safe. Peter had no idea what was in the small and tucked away safe in Harry’s room.
It seemed to be an invitation to find out. But why? Why had Harry sent it after he had made sure he was locked away where Peter couldn’t question him on it? Of course, it was also sent after the investigation was wrapped up and there would no longer be police swarming Harry’s apartment. Peter could break in and take what was being offered.
Was it money? Did Harry feel guilty? There was no way Peter could take such a thing. Not from Harry, not after what happened. Peter ran his thumb across the edge of the card. His curiosity was driving him mad. Harry was likely banking on that.
Well, if it was money, Peter would just ignore it. The least he could do was take a peek and see what was in there. So, that night Peter broke into Harry’s dark and quiet apartment and went over to the hidden safe. He punched in the numbers and it easily beeped and unlocked for him. Peter took a moment to see if anything bad was going to happen, like some kind of extra security measure, before slowly opening the door.
There were various items shoved into the back of the safe, but in the front sat a manila envelope with his name scrawled on it. Peter carefully removed it and took a peek inside. There was a neat stack of paperwork and a flash drive with a sticky note on it that said, “Watch me!”
Peter decided that the best place to do that was not in Harry’s apartment. Tucking the envelope under his arm, Peter made his way back home.
Deadpool crawled in through the window of Peter’s room. He wasn’t nearly so agile in regards to the cluttered mess and ended up knocking over a variety of things. When he finally managed to stand up straight, he looked around him in confusion. Peter sat curled up in the corner of his bed, just calmly watching Wade struggle.
“Uhhh,” Wade looked around some more, searching for signs of a battle. “You said it was an emergency.”
“It is.” Peter closed his eyes and dropped his head back against the wall. He looked exhausted.
“Is this your room? In like, your house?” After all the time they’d spent together, Peter had never invited Wade over. The merc sounded slightly alarmed and a lot confused.
“It is,” Peter repeated.
“Petey… What’s going on?”
Peter opened his eyes and turned his head to look at his open laptop. There was flash drive in it and a video ready to play. Around the computer was a mess of paperwork and an open manila envelope.
Wade flicked his eyes between Peter and the laptop before slowly walking over to the latter. He nervously adjusted his gun holsters, probably feeling overdressed for such a quiet occasion. For once not babbling at Peter, Wade just hit the button and watched the video spring to life.
Harry’s face appeared on the screen. He looked as worn out as he normally did even as he gave the camera a subdued smile. “Hey, Pete. If you’re watching this, it means something happened… to me and my dad.” Harry rubbed at his eyes.
Peter watched the video now for the third time, still waiting on something to be different, but it wasn’t. It was all laid out before him, undeniable and unchangeable.
“Look, I know you hate me worrying over you, but that’s what best friends do, ya know?” Harry smiled, dropping his eyes for a moment before taking a deep breath and looking back at the camera. “I needed to know that no matter what happened, you were taken care of.”
Harry held up his hands. “I know what you’re going to say, and yes, I know you can take care of yourself. But… There are just some ways that life is always gonna be shitty. I should have done more to fix that, and I can think of a lot of excuses, but that’s all they are — excuses. I could have done more, and I didn’t. So instead, I’m leaving it to you.”
The same manila envelope with Peter’s name on it was held up to the screen and then set back down. “I’m sure you’ve looked through this and already figured it out… You don’t remember much from Vegas not because you were drunk, but because I slipped you something. The marriage documents, the legal paperwork for the company, and the photographic proof is all in there. This flash drive even has a video of the ceremony.”
Unbuttoning the collar of his shirt, Harry peeled a thin skin toned patch aside to bare his neck. Faint scars in the shape of Peter’s teeth still sat on his skin. “I had this confirmed with your dental records and notarized. That’ll be important since your mark healed cleanly.”
Harry busied himself with hiding the mark again and rebuttoning his shirt. He looked uncomfortable. “I know what I did was wrong, and it was a violation to your consent. I know I’m being a coward, leaving the company to you when it’s guaranteed to be a mess. I know I should have done things myself instead of leaving it all for you to handle.”
He ran a hand through his hair and finally looked back up at the camera. “Of the two of us, you’ve always been the hero. I know all your dreams fell through in the past, but this is your chance. I’ve left everything I can with Felicia to help you through the transition into the company. Do something with it, Peter. I know you can make a difference in the world. That’s what you were always meant to do.”
Likely, Harry had no idea how much that hurt Peter to hear. Even the third time through, Peter’s chest clenched and he curled up a little tighter into himself. Was he really meant to change the world? Could he really make any difference at all? It was a lot to put on his shoulders.
It looked like Harry had more to say, but was struggling to get it out. He swallowed hard and gave the camera a sad smile. “I’m sorry. For everything… Just… I love you, Pete. I mean that. You’ve always been family to me, and now it’s official.”
“Sir!” Felicia’s quiet but insistent voice spoke in the background. Harry turned around to her and quickly turned back, his face an array of emotions that meant his father was coming. Peter knew that look well. Harry closed the laptop and killed the recording. There was nothing added to the video after that.
Wade turned to look at Peter and it was obvious that he was gaping under the mask. “Does this mean that you’re Peter Osborn?”
“Holy chimichangas…” Wade paced the small space in order to burn off his restless energy. He suddenly whirled around, looking angry. “Did he have sex with you while you were drugged?”
Peter shook his head. “No. I trust Harry enough to know that he didn’t. He bond marked me, though. There are pictures of it.”
The pictures were of them laughing and goofing off, taking selfies of their bites while piled up in bed together. It made it look as if the marriage had been consummated. It was a well planned picture by Harry. However, Peter was 100% certain that it was all staged.
Wade took a deep breath and let his shoulders drop. “Alright… If you’re sure.”
“I am.” Peter dropped his head back against his wall, staring off into space.
“What are you going to do?”
There was a long pause as Peter considered that. He had been asking himself that question for hours. Part of him already knew the answer. “What do you think I should do?”
Wade propped his hands on his hips and sighed. “I know you’ve been agonizing over doing more mercenary work. It’s like you’ve been wandering around limbo for a month…”
It was true. Peter had been stuck in his own head and hiding from the world. It was a comfortable thing to fall back into. He’d been doing it since he was sixteen.
“I think this is a good opportunity,” Wade said. “You do can everything you’ve always wanted with this. You’re better at being a hero.”
Peter let out a small huff of a laugh. “I don’t deserve that title.”
“Yeah, you do. Being a hero is in your blood.”
A wave of emotions followed that statement. Peter was silent for a long time, eyes distant, his mind spinning in circles. When he came back to himself, he held out a hand to Wade. “I need you.”
Wasting no time, Wade stripped himself of his weapons and outfit. He crawled onto the bed, nuzzling up in the way Peter liked best. Peter took a deep breath and felt his chest relax for the first time in hours. He enjoyed being surrounded by the familiar scent of Wade.
Peter ran his fingers in random patterns along Wade’s bald head as it rested on his chest. Wade breathed in Peter’s scent as well, wrapping his arms tight around Peter’s torso until the muscles started to release their tension. For a time, Peter closed his eyes and drifted, not allowing himself to think about anything at all.
“There will probably still be problems with the Board if you try to take over.” Wade broke the silence, unable to stay quiet for very long.
“Not probably — guaranteed. The scandal of a secret marriage alone will be a nightmare to handle. The fact that I’m an omega will not go over well at all.”
“Aren’t there only, like, two other omega millionaires that inherited their fortune from their families?”
“Three, in America. I’d be the first billionaire.”
“That seems pretty important,” Wade pushed.
“Didn’t you tell Felicia that you would badger Tony into doing something with his wealth?”
Peter sighed. “Yeah…”
“You could do it on your own now.”
There was a long pause as Peter stared at the wall and the spider symbol taped to it. “You sound like you’re trying to convince me to take it.”
“This is what you wanted. Sometimes it’s okay to have a little help getting there. That’s what you want to do for other omegas, isn’t it? Help them?
“Since when are you the logical one?” Peter groused.
Wade sat up and gave Peter a tiny grin. “Since you started running away from your dream.”
“I’m not running away.”
“Liar.” Wade dropped a kiss on Peter’s forehead to soften the accusation.
“I’m just trying to make the best decision,” Peter argued.
“Then you already know what the best decision is.”
Peter studied Wade’s eyes, noting how they looked resigned to Peter’s choice. “Then I’m going to need a damn good bodyguard.”
Wade blinked. For once, he seemed to go completely still and silent, though it only lasted for a few seconds. He pushed further away, sitting back on his heels. “Being seen around me will be bad for your reputation.”
“Then we’ll need to get you a daytime outfit.”
“You can protect yourself. You don’t need me.”
“How do you know?” Peter crossed his arms and frowned. Why was Wade being so stubborn about it? “Oscorp is still tied to a lot of criminal organizations, and I’ll have the entire Board gunning for me.”
“Good thing you have that spidey sense of yours.”
“Why don’t you want to stay partners?”
“Pete…” Wade rubbed the back of his neck and looked over at the spider symbol taped to the wall. “You’re gonna outgrow me. Hell, you already have. I’m not the hero type and you are. You care about people and I only care about me. You’re a cat person and I’m a dog person.”
“You don’t need me around anymore.”
Peter reached out and gripped Wade’s hand. “I do. You’re the only alpha I trust.”
“See, that really shouldn’t be the case—”
“Wade! I’m asking you to stay with me.”
Wade’s shoulders sagged and his head dropped to look at their hands. “And I’m telling you that eventually we’re gonna be too different and you won’t want that anymore.”
Peter sighed. Why did the man have to be so difficult? It wasn’t like Peter hadn’t considered that. Things might not work out how Peter wanted. There was a potential for a lot of change and a lot of divergence in morals or viewpoints. But they weren’t unique to that. Every relationship in the world must to contend with their partners changing over time.
Maybe it wouldn’t work out, but that didn’t mean Peter was ready to put a stop to things immediately. He wanted to keep Wade by his side, and he was prepared to put in the effort needed for that. Besides, for the right here and the right now, Peter couldn’t stand to lose Wade.
And that was something that Peter finally felt ready to admit to himself.
Shuffling around on the bed, Peter pushed up to his knees and crawled over to straddle Wade’s lap, wrapping his arms around those broad shoulders. “We can’t be bond marked. We heal too fast.”
Wade tensed. “I know.”
“Then it’s suiting. Nothing is permanent for us. That’s the way it is. But that means we get to choose how long we want something to last. We have a freedom that others don’t.”
Something vulnerable flashed across Wade’s face and before he could hide it or argue, Peter kissed him. It was deep and slow and full of unspoken feelings. Peter slid his lips across Wade’s cheek and pressed his mouth against Wade’s ear.
“So I’m asking you, for this moment, for right now, and into the future until we change, to be my alpha.”
Wade shuddered and his arms wrapped tight around Peter. “I…”
“Do you want me?” Peter whispered.
“Are you mine?”
Peter pulled Wade’s head down to the crook of his neck. “Then leave a mark. Leave a mark as often as it takes and let it heal only when you're gone.”
Wade made a choked off sound of emotion and hesitated, but Peter knew well that Wade wasn’t known for his self control. Teeth sank into Peter’s skin directly over the scent gland. Both of them moaned as Peter rolled his hips against Wade’s lap.
“My alpha,” Peter purred.
“My omega,” Wade growled when he pulled away.
A second later, Peter was being thrown backwards onto the bed and his pants were flying through the air. Wade took Peter in hard snaps of his hips, his tongue rolling over the blood welling up around Peter’s fresh bond mark. Peter dug his fingers into Wade’s shoulders and sank his teeth into flesh in return knowing that it would only last a few minutes, but it didn’t matter.
What mattered was that they had chosen a path and they had chosen each other. Whatever changes came in the future would be addressed then. As for the present, they would face it together.
Peter fretted with his tie, an annoyed frown on his face. The damn thing just refused to sit right. Felicia walked over, her heels clacking loudly against the linoleum. Batting his hands away, she fixed it herself, and then adjusted the collar of Peter’s newly tailored suit.
“There. Now don’t touch it again.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Peter sassed and she gave him a look for the comment.
“You always called Harry ‘sir,’” Peter pointed out.
“If that’s the kind of kinky stuff you’re into, sir.” Felicia smirked when Peter tried and failed to not blush over the comment. “They’re ready when you are.”
A burly looking security guard stepped up next to Peter. “This image inducer thing has so much potential.”
“Don’t make me regret giving that to you.”
The Wade in disguise grinned. “No promises.”
“What? Like you don’t have your fancy new Spidey suit on under that tux?”
Peter stuck his nose in the air. “You never know when things are gonna go sideways. I’m just being prepared.”
Spider-man had been back in action for a while. The news had been talking about his particular brand of heroism gusto, excited to have something new to talk about in the hero world. Thus far, Spider-man was a solo act. Only when he needed to help with a Big Bad did he join forces with the other superheroes in town.
Peter shook his head and tried to focus on the moment. His nerves were scattering his thoughts. He took a few deep breaths of the cool lobby air before locking eyes on the entrance. With Felicia on one side and Wade on the other, Peter walked forward to stand in front of the large doors of the building.
Outside was a podium with mics already set up and a crowd of reporters surrounding it. More guards were everywhere, along with a smattering of police. Peter viewed it all with no small amount of trepidation. He hadn’t been the center of attention in a long time.
Shoes tapped along the floor and then a hand descended onto Peter’s shoulder. He looked at Tony’s grinning face.
“You ready?” Tony asked.
“Not really…” Peter eyed the hungry looking crowd outside.
Tony chuckled. “The first press conference is always the worst. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to them.”
“Thanks for helping me through this.”
“Us one percenters have to stick together.” Tony winked at Peter’s unamused frown.
Peter took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. It was time to take responsibility for the power he now had. It was time to make a difference in the world. “Let’s do this.”
Walking out into the New York City air, Peter’s senses were assaulted by the noise, smells, and aura that was his city. He had always been alone before, struggling against the setbacks of life, trying to prove to himself that it was the only way to determine how strong he really was. Now, surrounded by helping hands he finally chose to accept, Peter was about to make history.
For a moment, Peter allowed himself to imagine Harry and Uncle Ben standing beside him, quietly offering their support. Off to the side, surrounded by security, stood a proud Aunt May.
“Thank you all for coming today,” Peter spoke, his voice booming through the speakers to drown out the reporters who were already trying to shout questions. “My name is Peter Parker-Osborn, and I am the new CEO of Oscorp.”