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Pretend I’m something other

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Peters POV

 

This can’t be real, it can’t be, there’s no way. This has to be a dream, it has to be. There’s no way, this makes no sense! This has to be a dream, it has to be!

 

I’m insane, aren’t I?

 

It must be a dream, that’s the only explanation.

 

I pinched my arm, or rather whoever’s arm this was. Nothing happened. Well, except the mild pain.

 

Who’s body is this?!

 

The pain of the pinch still lingered, it shouldn’t have. Nothing that small really hurts me anymore. But this isn’t my body.

 

I don’t understand, this can’t be possible. I mean, I know Mr. Stark said that Loki can do magic, but this can’t be magic. It can’t be, I’ve never even met Thor, let alone Loki.

 

Well, he also said Doctor Strange does magic but he’s a good guy and I haven’t met him either so he wouldn’t do this. Right? I mean, what other options are there? There aren’t any other options…unless I really am insane, I can’t be insane I can’t-

 

I need to breathe, I can’t figure anything out if I’m still panicking. I need, I need to figure this out.

 

Though my breathing was still too quick to really be useful I looked around the unfamiliar room. The red blankets were still on the floor from when I threw them off of me upon waking up in this tiny room. My first thought was that I was kidnapped, but that doesn’t make any sense. I remember going to bed last night in the apartment, I didn’t even go out Spider-Manning, I had too much homework. Mr. Stark keeps telling me I can’t choose patrolling over school anymore.

 

Mr. Stark! I have to call him! I have to ask him to come get me.

 

No, no he’ll think I’m crazy. He’ll think I’m insane and then he’ll take the suit away again and he’ll tell May and then she’ll get so worried. I’ve been getting better! The nightmares aren’t as frequent, I’ve finally started to get better, I can’t ruin it now.

 

But I’m alone. I’m alone in someone else’s body.

 

That thought, even to me, still sounds insane.

 

I made my way as quietly as I could across the room to the door, silently turning the knob.

 

I could leave, I could escape.

 

I strained my ears, god I wish I had my super hearing back , but didn’t hear any noise.

 

I shouldn’t leave yet though, I don’t even have a plan. I scanned my eyes back around the room, leaving the door closed. A phone!

 

Once again, I silently went across the bedroom. I picked up whoever’s phone this was off the nightstand, it was sitting on some small box. With how hard I was gripping the phone, I was surprised I didn’t break it even without my Spider-Man strength.

 

My strength. My metabolism. My stickiness. My quick healing. My enhanced senses. It’s all gone, isn’t it? I’m helpless again.

 

Just to test, I placed the weird off brand phone on my palm, and flipped my hand over. Though I tried to make it stick, I watched it fall back onto the bed.

 

“Oh god,” I heard the foreign voice say, it’s not my voice yet still my words that came out of it. Even though I know I’m the one who spoke I still flinched at the voice.

 

Though the bed was weirdly soft, my bed at home isn’t this soft, it was too strange to sit in. I just stood above it, before picking up the unfamiliar phone.

 

Thankfully they didn’t have a passcode on the device, first I opened up the camera upon realizing this guy does not have any mirrors. The person looking back at me was not me.

 

He looked around my age, though smaller than me, wearing long sleeved blue pajamas. Green eyes stared back at me, analyzing the light brown hair and the freckles scattered on his face. My face? The body I’m in’s face.

 

Next, I opened up google maps to see where in the world I am.

 

I’m still in New York?

 

Not in the city anymore though, out near Ellison Park. That’s like six hours from home. How am I supposed to get back? I have no money, no transportation, no suit…

 

Wait. If I’m in this body, then who’s in mine? I have no idea who this is, he could be in my body…with my powers. Oh god oh god someone else could be in Spider-Man’s body!

 

I need to figure out who this is before I screw this up, figure out who I’m dealing with.

 

His room is pretty simple, blue walls and red sheets. Just a few books on his nightstand, along with that box. That’s where I started, opening it up to find… pills? He’s trying to hide them but not really? He kept them in a box so he doesn’t want people to just see them in the open, yet they really are not hard to find. Then again, there’s not a lot of other places to hide things, except maybe the drawers underneath his bed.

 

I quickly googled the name of the meds. Anxiety medication. They’re really strong pills though. He has bad anxiety.

 

If he is in my body and can get his hands on anxiety pills, they won’t even work with my metabolism…

 

Oh wow, his nails are bitten down to the finger.

 

He didn’t have a lot of tabs on his phone, Those he did have were mostly about books and trees. Who spends their time reading about trees? Then again I guess not a lot of kids spend their time reading about robotics.

 

After a quick check of the room, finding nothing else unusual I went through his phone more. His messages were mostly just between him and his mom, her mostly asking him if he ate, giving inspirational quotes that seemed to do nothing to help him, and talking about appointments with a Dr. Sherman. His therapist I think. At least he has a therapist to help with his anxiety.

 

Evan. That’s his name.

 

The rest of the texts are with someone named Jared. This Jared guy really does not sound like he wants anything to do with Evan.

 

There was not a lot of apps on his phone. Out of curiosity I opened a folder labeled extras, which was where I had found the maps app. There were a few other apps there that seemed to be for school. Trying to exit I accidentally swiped to the next page of the folder, finding one lonely app. A messaging app.

 

Maybe it’s bad I’m going through all this guy Evan’s stuff, but I really need to figure him out. See if he seems like a threat.

 

The messaging app only contained one contact, a guy named Connor. His profile picture…that was something else.

 

He’s handsome though.

 

The best way I can describe him is an emo rocker punk kind of guy. Brown hair down to his shoulders, same colored jacket too big on his skinny frame. I only did a quick scan through the latest conversations, the most recent one from last night.

 

I love you.” Is Evan dating Connor? He told him I love you and Connor said it back.

 

I can’t help but wonder if Evan is out to his mom. Probably not if he’s hiding the app.

 

Where’s his dad?

 

There are no conversations or messages about a dad.

 

Lastly, I went through his photo album. Wow this guy really loves trees. 99% of his photos were of trees. The rest were of Connor. Yep connor is definitely the rocker type. Black painted nails, messenger bag with pins all over it, thick boots. But in an attractive kind of way.

 

There were only a few pictures of Evan and Connor together, Evan does not seem to like being in the photos but when he’s with Connor..they both seem so genuinely happy. There’s one of Connor kissing him on the cheek, Evans face as red as the fall leaves he obsessively takes pictures of, that’s honestly kind of cute.

 

What am I saying? Evan might be in my body. A kid with severe anxiety might be in my body, powers and all. Without his meds he could be having a mental breakdown right now. He could seriously hurt himself or someone else with the kind of strength my body has.

 

I could call him…

 

It’s probably a terrible idea, what do I even say? ‘Hey I’m Peter Parker, I’m Spider-Man and somehow we switched bodies maybe? and I need you to keep my secret while I try to figure out how to switch us back.’ He’ll think I’m as crazy as he probably thinks he is.

 

What other choice do I have?

 

I watched his thin fingers type out my phone number. I watched the phone buzz and buzz. Pick up Evan, pick up. I mean, assuming Evan is in my body. What if he isn’t? Is my body just lying dead in bed? Oh god Aunt May is going to freak out if she finds me like that…

 

She probably already left for work by now though, it’s Saturday she usually lets me sleep in when she has an early shift.

 

Finally the person on the other end answered the call.

 

“Hello?” I asked, Evan’s voice still unfamiliar to my ears.

 

 

Evans POV

 

I officially lost it. I’m insane, I lost my mind.

 

Mom was right, I am broken. I can’t be fixed, not after this. I have to be hallucinating.

 

God why is it so loud? It’s too loud! Too loud too loud too loud too loud I can’t do this!

 

I’ve never hallucinated before, what’s wrong with me?! Yesterday was a good day, I was with Connor and it was nice and good and why is this happening? Why would I hallucinate being in someone else’s body?

 

Cars driving past, voices down the hall, cars honking, birds outside, I can hear it all. It’s too much. I shouldn’t be able to hear this much, I don’t want to.

 

I clenched my fists, the stench of blood smacking me in the face immediately. Prying my hands open, it revealed crescent shaped incisions in my palms, this body’s palms?

 

I didn’t mean to, I didn’t. I wasn’t trying to make myself bleed this time, I wasn’t trying to hurt this body like that. It doesn’t make sense I didn’t squeeze my hands that hard, they shouldn’t have bled so easily. It didn’t even hurt, I don’t understand.

 

The thick smell made me start gagging, tears forming in my eyes as I started to cough.

 

I can’t do this, I can’t, I’ve lost my mind. I failed, I failed, it’s over.

 

I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t do this-

 

I heard myself hiccup, too loud , I didn’t mean to start crying. I just can’t help it.

 

Holding the bloody hands to my chest, I tried to cry as quietly as I could but each sob just seemed to scream out.

 

How did I get this bad so quickly? I haven’t been this bad since I broke my arm, I thought I was finally starting to get better. I was so wrong, so so wrong.

 

Connor won’t want me anymore…

 

That thought alone sent another wrecking sob through my body. I don’t even know who’s body this is supposed to be. I don’t know where I am, who’s room this is.

 

I'm lost.

 

But no ones going to come find me. I don’t deserve it. I’m better off alone aren’t I?

 

I tried to make my body as small as possible, curled up on the floor in the corner of this stranger's room.

 

I didn’t even try to stop myself from crying, I just tried and failed to keep myself quiet. Each breath only became quicker and quicker until no oxygen was coming in. I gagged once again at the sick smell of blood, only to send me into another coughing fit, more tears leaking through my eyes.

 

“Peter, honey are you okay?” A woman’s voice called through the unlocked door, too loudly . She sounded more concerned than pitiful like my mom usually sounds.

 

Who’s Peter? Who is that? Where am I?

 

Instinctually I answered, “Yeah I’m fine.”

 

“Okay,” How could she believe me? “I’m sorry Pete, I have to go to work, I’m already late. There’s cereal in the pantry, I larb you,” she answered before I heard her crashing footsteps walk away and a door open and close. I could still somehow hear her walk down the hall outside what must be an apartment and get into what sounded like an elevator. Only once the elevator went down did I let myself let out another cry, not even trying in the slightest to hold back this time.

 

I have no idea what she’s talking about, did she say love or ‘larb’? It doesn’t even matter does it? I have no idea who that woman is.

 

What is wrong with me?

 

I refrained from covering my mouth with my hand as I let out another pitiful sob, as my hands still had blood on them. I still can’t even breathe right, I can’t do anything right. I couldn’t even fall right.

 

Then a buzz like a swarm of killer bees sounded in the room. It took me a few moments to realize it was a phone buzzing.

 

Besides the fact that I'm in a room I’ve never seen before and that woman called me Peter, I know I’m not in my body by just looking at my arms. For one, I’m wearing short sleeves, I haven’t worn short sleeves in who knows how long. I even got a long sleeved version of my favorite blue shirt. Whoever this is, they are wearing short sleeves, and their wrists have no scars on them. It can’t be my wrists, so it can’t be my body. Therefore I have to be hallucinating.

 

The only reason I got up from the corner was to make the insistent buzzing stop it, stop it.

 

When I finally found the phone on the floor next to the bunk bed I dropped it upon seeing my own number calling. Thankfully the iPhone did not break upon impact. The crashing sound it made though, caused me to flinch too hard.

 

It looked even more terrifying that I accidentally got blood on the phone still ringing with my own number. I would try to wipe the blood but I didn’t want to ruin whoever’s shirt this is, it’s definitely not mine.

 

Who would be calling me? Who could have my phone? I can’t even breathe properly, how can I try to talk to someone? I can’t, I can’t, I hate talking to people I can’t.

 

But who could be on the other side?

 

Without allowing myself more time to second guess, I hit the answer button.

 

Immediately I turned the volume as low as it would go after hearing the breathing on the other side. Why is everything too too loud?

 

“Hello?”

 

The blood drained from my face. That’s my voice.

 

 

Peters POV

 

Thank god he answered. Say something Evan, anything, let me know you’re there.

 

“Hello?” I repeated, ignoring how weird the voice sounded to my own ears.

 

I heard a choking sound on the other side, that sounded suspiciously like crying.

 

“My name is Peter, and I know this is going to sound crazy but I think we switched bodies.” I definitely sound crazy.

 

Another choking sound.

 

I didn’t think he would actually panic this bad, I mean I panicked too but he’s actually crying.

 

“Evan, right? I’m in your body, I found your phone. Your mom called you Evan, that’s your name right?”

 

The sound he made was almost incoherent, but I think he said yeah. God it’s strange hearing someone else use my voice. Ned was right, I do sound weird over the phone.

 

“We’re going to figure this out okay?” I can’t let him know I’m terrified too. “Are you in my bedroom?” Yes, because of course he just happens to know what my bedroom looks like, “grey walls, bunk bed…legos on the floor?” Please let him be in my bedroom, if he isn’t then I have no idea where he could be and if something happens to him we may never be able to switch back.

 

He’s hyperventilating, I don’t know how to help him. How do I help someone breathe? I’m Spider-Man, I help people all the time, I can help him. Right?

 

“I’m going to figure this out,” hopefully , “but first I need you to try to breathe okay? Try to take deeper breaths.”

 

“Can’t,” he choked out. My voice sounds so pathetic when I’m crying, when he’s crying? My body crying? I don’t know, doesn’t matter right now.

 

“Okay, okay, um…” I don’t know how to do this, I’m not a therapist, “can you try to breathe with me?” I took an overly exaggerated breath in, and then exhaled way too slowly. The only response I got was a shaky breath on the other side. Still an improvement from his hyperventilation.

 

“That’s good, you’re doing good, Evan.” I have literally no idea what I’m doing.

 

It took several exaggerated breaths for him to sound like he was breathing somewhat normally, “You okay?” Well of course he’s not okay he’s in a body he doesn’t know and we have no idea why or how to change back. “I mean, do you think you can breathe okay now?”

 

He took a second before answering, “Think so.” He sounds so helpless, can I really blame him though?

 

“Okay, okay,” how can we switch back when we don’t even know how we switched in the first place? “Honestly…I don’t know how this happened, but we’ll figure it out okay.” I can’t risk panicking him again, we’ll never get anything done if he has another mental breakdown.

 

I need to tell him, don’t I?

 

That’ll only freak him out more though. But if I don’t tell him then he’ll be a danger to himself and everyone around him, and to me. I can’t let him slip and have people find out that I’m Spider-Man.

 

“Evan, I need to tell you something. But I need you to try your best to stay calm, okay?”

 

He mumbled, “Okay,” voice so small. God he sounds so vulnerable.

 

“Okay…has anything…unusual happened-besides switching bodies,” I corrected, “like, are your senses way too strong, everything too loud?”

 

He made a surprised sort of sound, “Yeah, it’s too too loud.”

 

“Yeah,” I took a deep breath. “That’s normal. Evan…I’m Spider-Man.”

Chapter Text

Evans POV

 

“What?” I stopped breathing again, “what did you just say?”

 

He has to be joking, he has to be. There’s no way that this Peter is Spider-Man. He’s just a normal kid, he has a mom, or whoever that woman was, and he lives in an apartment and he’s normal! He's not Spider-Man, he’s lying.

 

Who would even lie about that?

 

“I know it’s hard to believe and it sounds crazy, but hey we just switched bodies, me being Spider-Man is not the craziest thing to happen today,” he tried to reason.

 

No, no that can’t be real. If he’s Spider-Man and I’m in his body then…

 

“Do I have powers now?” I asked, only to be met with silence for a moment, successfully terrifying me even more.

 

He finally answered, “I think so. I don’t have them anymore, in your body. So you must have them. Most likely.”

 

I mean of course I’ve seen Spider-Man on the news and on YouTube but what does that even mean? What kind of powers does he have? I have?

 

I don’t want them, I don’t want powers, I can’t even handle just being normal me, how am I supposed to cope with superpowers?

 

“I know it probably sounds scary, but please try not to freak out,” how can you possibly expect me to do that? “I’ll help you, okay?”

 

I would hang up right now if it weren’t for the fact that I guess we need each other now, in order to figure out how we are going to switch back.

 

“This is crazy..” I muttered. I didn’t intend for him to actually hear me, let alone respond.

 

“I know, I know it’s crazy. You said it yourself though, you have my enhanced senses.” He’s trying so hard for me to believe him.

 

I can’t believe him, I can’t. This is insane!

 

So is switching bodies.

 

No, no, I don’t even know for sure that I’m not actually hallucinating or that this isn’t some sick nightmare. If this isn’t real, what’s the harm in believing him?

 

What’s the harm in not believing him?

 

I mean I guess if it’s true then I am a threat…

 

He can’t expect me to be a superhero now, right? I can’t even handle school, how can I try to save people? I can’t even save myself.

 

I need to just ask, I don’t know what he wants from me, “do you…do you um, expect me to like, be Spider-Man now? I don’t even know all his-I mean your powers.”

 

“What? No, no, I don’t expect that at all. I just want to help you be able to control them so no one gets hurt. Not that I think you’re going to hurt people, just to make sure you’re safe,” I guess Peter rambles too. Is this what I sound like when I talk a lot?

 

“So for the powers-” he was cut off by a buzz from my side of the call, making me flinch again. I flinch way too much..

 

No no, who’s texting me? Or him? It’s his phone, who’s trying to talk to him?

 

“Who was that?” He questioned.

 

“Your Aunt May? She said there was a mistake with the shifts and she doesn’t work today,” I couldn’t hide the panic lacing my voice, “I don’t know how I’m supposed to interact with her I’m sorry. We can’t tell her we switched right? I’m sorry I don’t know how to be you.”

 

Until now Peter seemed to be so calm and collected but, but he’s just as scared as I am, “you’re right we can’t tell her.” Is she the woman who was here earlier? That talked to me?

 

I don’t know how to be Peter, he’s a hero, he seems so smart and kind and good. But if I have to pretend to be Peter then he’ll have to be me too…

 

How am I supposed to tell him how to be me? You don’t want to be me, I suck. I chew on my nails all the time, I can’t talk to people, I tug on the bottom of my shirt like an idiot, I take meds all the time-

 

Wait my meds, I don’t have them here. I haven’t needed them as much since I started dating Connor but-

 

Connor.

 

I was supposed to hang out with Connor again this morning. Peter can’t interact with Connor, he’ll know somethings up immediately. And Peter’s right we can’t tell anyone that we switched bodies, it’ll ruin everything. I can’t lose Connor, I can’t. He makes me feel…normal, and like I could actually maybe be deserving of love. But if Peter interacts with him he’ll know somethings wrong and Peter can’t tell him and then he’ll be upset and I’ll lose him and-

 

“-an? Evan? You okay? What’s going on? He asked, concern filling his voice. He doesn’t actually care, he just needs me because I’m stuck in his body and he doesn’t want to lose his body.

 

I didn’t mean for my voice to crack, “I can’t do this,” I continued before he had a chance to speak, “I can’t, I can't. I’m sorry, I don’t know how to be you, and you don’t know how to be me. I’ll ruin everything with your Aunt May and if you see Connor he’ll know somethings wrong and then I’ll lose him and I’ll be alone again and then we both lose. We’ll both lose everything, won’t we?”

 

He took a deep breath, “we can figure it out. We will, okay? We just need to keep good communication. We can tell each other who the important people in our lives are and how to act and then once we know how to be each other we’ll figure out how to switch back. We’ll figure it out,” he reassured me. Or tried to at least. I don’t understand how he can stay so level headed about all this.

 

“It’s unusual my Aunt May can come home from work early so she’ll want to spend time with me. She knows I had a lot of homework this weekend, I did it all yesterday but you can tell her I didn’t finish and have to work on that tonight. That should be a way to give you some time away for now,” he explained.

 

I didn’t realize until I tasted blood that I’ve been biting my nails. Peters nails? His body’s nails? This is way too confusing.

 

I took a second to examine his hands, the wounds were already closed and the blood dried, but it still look like I killed someone.

 

How could the cuts heal so quick? Is that one of his powers?

 

“Peter? I’m really sorry but I kind of accidentally dug my nails too hard into my palms- er, your palms, and it started to bleed. This was before you called. And the wounds are healed already I guess, but I still have blood on my hands. Your hands. And so like, where’s your bathroom?” Why can't I just talk like a normal person?

 

He stuttered, not expecting that, “oh, oh, um, yeah the bathroom is right across from my room. Are you okay? I mean, are you okay if you hurt yourself? My body, one of my powers is that I heal like freaky fast so it’s normal that the wounds would be healed already.”

 

Finally getting up, I had sat back down on the floor when we started the phone call, I made my way to the bedroom door. I mentally made a note to myself to make sure I didn’t get blood anywhere in his room, “You heal fast?”

 

“Mhmm. Did you find the bathroom?” I mumbled a yeah before he carried on, “I guess I didn’t actually tell you what my powers are. Well as you’ve seen I heal fast and my senses are like dialed to eleven. I’m also…sticky. Like a spider.” So that’s why he’s called Spider-Man. Does he actually shoot webs too?

 

“And before you ask, I am not able to create webs myself,” well that answers that, “I actually made web shooters to run with my spider theme I guess, I know it’s lame,” so he’s a hero and a genius too?

 

I didn’t realize until now that I actually hadn’t seen what I look like. What Peter looks like I mean. Brown hair and brown eyes. He’s definitely much more well built than me, but like I mean that makes sense, if he’s Spider-Man of course he would be super fit.

 

I finished scrubbing the blood off my hands before wetting a few tissues and cleaning off his phone. After getting off all I could, I repeated the process with everything in his room that I tarnished.

 

“I also have this Spidey Sense, or at least that’s what I call it. I can like, sense danger coming sometimes, it’s not the most reliable thing though. It's sometimes like a tingly feeling, sometimes my hairs stand on end. I also have this crazy metabolism so I need to eat pretty much constantly.”

 

Well that’s it, I'm going to die. I only eat lunch, and that’s only because I bring it to school, if he needs to eat so much I’m not going to be able to.

 

“What happens if you don’t eat enough?” It’s actually unreal how much I’m talking to him. Maybe it’s because it’s my voice talking back to me and almost like talking to myself so it’s not quite so terrifying. Not that it’s not hard or scary, talking to people always makes my chest tighten and my hands sweaty.

 

I finally took a real look around his room too. Peters room definitely looks lived in. More so than my room back home looks. He has shelves above an overly crowded desk that line up to the ceiling. On his bunk bed, only the bottom bunk actually has bedding, the top one seems just for storage. Not really like there’s a lot of room in here for storage anyway, besides the closet. Kind of like my room, except I just don’t have a lot of stuff to fill what little storage I have.

 

“I get really sick and tired,” well that’s normal at least, “my healing factor becomes more like a normal person. If I really don’t eat a lot for a while then it can get kinda dangerous.”

 

Yeah I’m definitely doing to get sick.

 

“There’s someone at the door,” he said suddenly. For a second I thought be meant my door, but then I realized he meant there, at my house.

 

Connor?

 

“Can I just ignore it?” He asked, though it barely registered in my head. It’s got to be Connor, this is it. This is the end, this is how I lose him. “Evan I know you’re scared but I need to know what to do.”

 

I tried as best I could to keep the shakiness out of my voice, “He won’t leave. If he gets worried he’ll find a way inside,” he’s been right a few times to break in and check on me. Sometimes…sometimes I just can’t cope and I…well today isn’t the first time I’ve made myself bleed. “ You need-you need to text him and say…” I tried to ignore the burning in my cheeks, “say that you don’t have the mental space to be around people today.”

 

I’m so pathetic oh my god Peter probably hates me already.

 

Even through the phone I could faintly hear my doorbell in the background, “Text him through that secret messaging app?” He asked.

 

Wait what? Did he go through my phone? How much did he find?

 

I told him yes and waited until he finished the text. “He asked if I need anything.”

 

I still wonder sometimes what I did to deserve such a caring boyfriend, “Just say some time alone, thank you.” Before he could finish typing out the text I added on, “to sound more like me you should add an ‘I’m sorry’.”

 

I felt a weight lift from my chest when he said Connor left. Wow that’s the first time I’ve been so relieved for Connor to leave. I don’t like that.

 

I couldn’t help but ask, “I’m sorry but much did you see on my phone?”

 

He actually sounded guilty, “you don’t have to apologize so much. I saw your texts with your mom, some with a guy named Jared, and then some with Connor, who I think is your boyfriend, right? There wasn’t anything about a dad?”

 

“Connor is my boyfriend. And yeah…um, my dad is gone…” Those words still feel like acid on my tongue.

 

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.” His voice got quieter, “My parents are gone too, that’s why I live with my aunt. They died when I was really little.”

 

Oh wow. “Oh…my dad, he’s not dead. He just left years ago.” I used to wish he was dead sometimes. Because then he wasn’t actively choosing not to care about me. I could pretend he had actually loved me.

 

I heard the vaguely familiar footsteps coming down the hall before I heard the front door open again.

 

“Your aunts here,” I urgently burst out.

 

“Tell her you have too much homework,” he instructed just as urgently before he hung up on me. The pit in my stomach quadrupled in size when he left. I didn’t realize how much talking to him helped ground me.

 

I really am alone now. Alone with a woman I don’t know, pretending to be someone I barely know.

Chapter Text

Peters POV

 

As soon as I hung up even without my spidey sense I knew this would not go well, Evan interacting with May. I’m not sure if he can get through even a single conversation without apologizing. If we had more time I could have prepared him better, at least I hope I would be able to, but now he’s just going off instinct. I feel like those instincts aren’t great.

 

I have never learned such intimate details about someone in the first conversation I’ve had with them. I mean, I did snoop through his phone which is not the best, but hey I didn’t know if he was a bad guy or not. I already know he lives with his single mom, his dad left when he was little, definitely a touchy subject. And he’s not straight. Though he was definitely nervous to talk to me I’m honestly impressed he told me so openly that he’s dating a guy. I wish I could be so open about even just my feelings toward guys.

 

No, no I can’t think about that right now. That’s not important, I’m supposed to like girls. Just girls.

 

Shaking my head slightly, as if to physically shake the thoughts out, for the third time I crossed the room. I still need to learn more about him if I have to act like him, he didn’t give me too much to go off of when we talked, mostly just how he talks. This time I actually opened his bedroom door, knowing it was unlocked. I was met with a sticky note stuck to the outside of his door.

 

You got this honey!

I picked up an extra shift, I won’t be home until after you go to sleep. Money for dinner is on the counter, make sure you eat.

xx

 

I assume the note is from his mom? It didn’t seem like there’s anyone else living here. I guess she’s works a lot, convenient for me, maybe not so much for Evan when he’s home.

 

“Make sure you eat.” Several of his mom’s texts were asking if he ate, and he even asked me how much he’ll need to eat.

 

That’s really not good, he’s going to get sick.

 

There was a door just a few feet from his room, and another across the hall, with a staircase between the far room and Evans bedroom. I opened the closer door first to reveal a plain looking bathroom. The only other room on the floor turned out to be his mom’s room. Still pretty plain looking. Does Evans family just not care to decorate or are they having money problems?

 

I mean it would make sense logically for money to be tight, she’s a single mom trying to work extra shifts and I don’t think Evan works.

 

The only way left was down.

 

The downstairs looked more cozy, a few pictures of Evan on the walls. There was one of him and a woman, she was much blonder than him but there was definite resemblance. At least I know what his mom looks like now.

 

The kitchen was almost as small as the one back home. Just as the note said, the money was on the counter.

 

I can’t get it out of my head, Evan not eating. I only just ‘met’ him and I’m already worrying about him. Mr. Stark says I soak in everyone else’s pain like a sponge. Sometimes I’m scared I’ll soak in too much and drown.

 

Wait. Wait. He said he accidentally hurt himself earlier…

 

I couldn’t help but wonder…

 

I mean, it’s not exactly normal for people to wear long sleeves with how unusually hot it’s been.

 

Though I knew this is a huge violation of Evans privacy and trust I just needed to know. I pulled down one of my sleeves. I felt my heart stop, my breath catching in my throat. I really hoped I wouldn't be right…

 

Scars littered his arm, from the elbow to the top of his wrist. Parallel red and white lines, different thicknesses, different levels of fading. A few of them looked to still be scabbing over…

 

Oh god he cuts. He cuts himself. I don't even know if his mom knows, I don’t even know if it’s safe for him to tell his mom. I don’t know if anyone knows. I can’t help him, I don’t know how. I mean I’m in his body so he can’t hurt it but-

 

But he’s in my body. He seemed really guilty and genuinely sorry for making my body bleed but if he does it again…

 

With my healing factor it shouldn’t do me much harm, even with the deepest of his cuts they shouldn’t take more than an hour, two at most, to heal.

 

How does he even cut?

 

As I ran back up to his room I pulled down his other sleeve to reveal the same results. Though I knew it was possible it did nothing to help me breathe right.

 

Evan’s right, it really is hard to breathe sometimes.

 

I don’t even know him well and I’m already terrified for his well-being.

 

Though it could not erase the images I knew they would never not be seared into my brain, I pulled the sleeves back up, covering the scars.

 

I already did a quick look through of his room and didn’t find anything, but he has to cut somehow. He can’t scratch himself with the chewed down nubs he calls nails. And it’s highly unlikely someone else could have hurt him like that.

 

After searching through every nook and cranny of his room I still found nothing. Next, I went to his bathroom. It was only when I got to the back of the last drawer that I found a small box. I knew what was inside before I opened it. Didn’t make it any easier though.

 

“Oh god…” I breathed out seeing just how many blades he had.

 

I’m not a therapist, I’m not a professional, I’ve never been in this position before, I don’t know if it’s even possible for me to be able to help him. I want him to be okay. And not just because he’s in my body, but because I just genuinely want him to be safe and happy. He seems so happy with Connor…

 

Does Connor know?

 

It’s not my place to tell anyone, I don’t know if anyone knows. All I can really do is ask Evan himself. That conversation probably wouldn’t go well. But it’s necessary, isn’t it?

 

He does have a therapist though, I assumed it was for anxiety but maybe it’s for both? I hope it’s for both.

 

I don’t even know what to do with his blades, let alone what to say to him. If I get rid of them and we switch back it could risk him going to more…drastic measures. But if I don’t do anything, nothing changes.

 

I placed the box back in its hidden spot and closed the drawer, I had to just try to ignore the dread settling in me. At least for now he should be safe.

 

I’m not supposed to try to fix his life, I’m just supposed to be him until I figure out what happened to us. I don’t know him though, not really. And I haven’t even started to try to figure any of this out. I don’t even know why us ? Why Evan? Of all people? He’s just a random teen.

 

I mean I’m Spider-Man but no one knows that except Mr. Stark, Happy, Ned, and now Evan. Unless someone figured out my identity, but then why switch me? And with him? I can’t just assume this was all random?

 

But can I assume that someone did this to us? What other explanation could there be though? Nightmare seems unlikely, hallucination seems not likely either, drugs maybe? Or magic? That still sounds insane. I mean, insanity is technically an option too.

 

I need to do tests to actually be able to begin to figure out anything. I don’t have Mr. Starks lab to use though. I don’t even have the labs at Midtown for an option.

 

Evan could be homeschooled for all I know, and how could I even get into a school? It's not like they’ll just let a student walk in and do experiments. I don’t have my powers either so I can’t break in anywhere for supplies.

 

Not that I would do that.

 

God I wish I could call Mr. Stark.

 

Wait Peter doesn’t know about Mr. Stark, or about Happy.

 

Happy is supposed to being me Upstate Monday. I have to cancel.

 

How am I supposed to do that? I can’t use Evan’s phone, Happy will never pick up to an unknown number.

 

I could text Evan to Text Happy.

 

Then again, informing a teenager that I personally know Tony Stark and that his head of security is going to pick me up to go to their highly secure compound to work on my Spider-Man suit in his private lab isn’t really something to text about.

 

This is going to be even harder than I thought…

 

 

Evans POV

 

“Peter,” his Aunt May called out, I could already feel my palms start to sweat, “I’m home.” She seems so happy to see Peter but I’m not him. I’m not him and I didn’t even really get any tips on how to be him. All I really know is he’s Spider-Man.

 

Wait does she know he’s Spider-Man? I mean she has to right? How can he be able to keep such a huge secret from her?

 

Well I’ve been able to keep some pretty big secrets from mom too…

 

“Peter?”

 

What am I supposed to say?! Oh my god I barely know how to talk to people in general, how am I supposed to talk to Peter’s Aunt? And by being Peter? I’m not an actor I don’t know what I’m doing!

 

“I’m in his-my room.” Yeah, I already screwed this up, I’m so stupid.

 

I didn’t really realize until now that everything isn’t so deafening anymore, I didn’t hear her walking up until she was right by the door. Or maybe I’m too out of it to really notice.

 

“You okay, Pete? You haven’t left your room yet, are you feeling alright?” She said as she came into the room, “Wait why are you on the floor?”

 

Why am I so stupid?

 

“Oh I was just-I’ve been um…” I flicked my eyes around the room, looking for any kind of excuse as to why Peter would just casually be curled up on the floor, “I’ve been playing with my legos.” Smooth Evan.

 

If Jared were here he would be laughing his head off at my lack of quick thinking skills.

 

She walked over to me, it took way too much willpower to not shrink away from this stranger.

 

Putting her hand on my forehead she asked, “you didn’t answer my question, are you feeling alright? Are you sick?”

 

Wow she’s just so genuinely caring .

 

Not that mom isn’t caring, she’s just not here enough to know how I’m doing.

 

“I feel fine, I’m not sick, I’m okay.” Why can’t I answer a single question without saying too much?

 

“Okay.” She doesn’t believe me , “so what do you want to do today? We have the whole day just for us,” she seems so happy, I don’t want to ruin her day.

 

I’ll ruin it just by being me though, she doesn’t want Evan, she wants Peter. I can’t be that for her.

 

I wish I could.

 

“I-I have homework, and it’ll take a while. I’m sorry, I really would love to hang out I just have so much to do. It’ll probably take most of the day, I’m sorry.” That wasn't very convincing was it?

 

“I thought you finished your homework yesterday? That’s why you didn’t go out,” she walked over and sat on Peter’s bunk bed. I actively have to try to force my hands not to pull on the hem of my shirt, it's too instinctual.

 

“Yeah I worked on it yesterday too, but I just-I have so much more than I thought and it’s going to take a while. I just I hadn’t started it yet today because I thought you were going to be working and I would have some time to do Legos but clearly I was wrong. I’m sorry I should have started my homework already I can start now.” I really need to learn how to shut up.

 

I don’t even know what kind of classes Peter takes, let alone what homework he would have. If she’s going to be here all night I can’t leave the bedroom and I can’t call Peter back, she’ll hear.

 

“If you want, you can go out with some friends or go see a movie, I don’t want to keep you here while I work, that’s not fair,” I just don’t know when to quit do I?

 

“Peter, slow down,” she laughed, “you can't kick me out that easy. I’m happy to stay in with you. We can order some Thai food if you want and we can even watch Star Wars when you’re done,” she smiled, clearly trying hard to entice me to spend time with her.

 

The guilt is weighing me down so much I don’t think I could stand up even if I tried.

 

I don’t even think I’ve ever had Thai food and I can’t remember the last time I watched a Star Wars movie.

 

At least I’m learning more about Peter, I guess.

 

“I’m sorry I don’t mean to kick you out, I just don’t want you to feel trapped here while I work,” how am I supposed to fix this? I just keep digging myself deeper and deeper.

 

Her eyebrows furrowed, “Why are you apologizing so much?”

 

It’s been less than five minutes and she already knows somethings wrong. It’s not like I’m trying to be a complete idiotic failure…it just happens…

 

What would Peter say?

 

Oh yeah I don't know him.

 

I’m screwed.

 

“I just feel bad…”

 

“Oh Pete, you don’t have to feel bad,” she reached over and ran her fingers through my hair, though I did not anticipate the touch, it’s actually kinda nice, “I know it’s not your fault. Just let me know when you’re done or ready for a break, okay?” I didn’t mean to close my eyes. Mom just doesn’t usually have time to stop and show physical affection like this anymore.

 

Not like I ask or anything, I don’t know, this isn’t normal for me. But I don’t hate it…

 

Suddenly she was ruffling my hair and standing up, “see you soon,” she smiled.

 

Part of me wanted to go with her, she just seems so loving and caring and yeah of course I love my mom, she’s just not here. I mean, of course she’s not here, wherever I am, but even at home, she’s never home.

 

Part of me was still relieved though, that I was able to get through one interaction.

 

It shouldn’t be so hard just to have one conversation…

 

I’ve been getting better about talking to people. I haven’t really talked with mom much recently, she’s been working more lately, but when we have it’s been okay. I can talk with Connor for hours, yeah I still ramble and apologize a lot but I can do it. I love being with Connor.

 

I don’t know when I’ll see Connor again. Or mom. Or even Jared.

 

Jared won’t care though, we’re just ‘family friends’ after all, right?

 

Mom…she’ll like Peter better. He’s better than I am. It’ll be nice for her to have a normal kid for…however long this lasts.

 

Maybe Connor will like Peter better too. The selfish part of me doesn’t want him to. He’s free to like who he wants though, I’m lucky he ever chose me at all.

 

No. No I have to stop, I’m only going to freak myself out more. I have to at least pretend I’m calm. I’m calm. I’m calm. I’m calm. I don’t sound very calm.

 

I can only hope Peter is doing better than I am.

 

There was not much I could do but think and worry as the seconds turned to minutes, which turned to hours. It was only when lunch time and then dinner came around that May ever came to check on me. It’s miraculous I was able to come up with any more ideas on why I just can’t finish my homework yet. I shouldn’t feel this incredibly guilty, she’s not my aunt.

 

It was only after May had gone to bed that the swarm of bees came back.

 

I really don’t want to flinch every time his phone buzzes.

 

Once again I opened the phone to see my number calling. I thought we wouldn’t be able to call if his aunt is here? Did something happen? What if Connor came back? Or mom? And he slipped or maybe they could tell that that’s not me. He’s too good to be me, and now it’s over, they know, they must know.

Chapter Text

Evans POV

 

As soon as I answered the phone, Peter asked, “Is May asleep?”

 

I nodded, though I know he can’t see me, “Yeah, yeah, she’s asleep. What’s wrong?” I couldn’t help but ask.

 

“Nothing happened,” that literally does nothing to comfort me.

 

“So why did you call?” That came out wrong. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I mean it’s not like I don’t want to hear your voice-my voice?-but why would you call if nothing happened?”

 

“I mean,” he corrected, “well firstly you do not need to apologize so much,” before I could apologize for apologizing so much, he continued, “I just realized something.”

 

Why is he being so vague, it’s like he’s trying to scare me more.

 

He kept talking, “I realized that Monday I’m supposed to meet with someone…of high importance, and I need you to be prepared.”

 

Oh my god, what is he talking about? “Who are you supposed to meet with?”

 

He finally stopped being vague, “Tony Stark.”

 

I did not mean to let out a laugh.

 

But that just can not be true. Right?

 

“Evan, I’m serious.” It wasn’t his words that made me shut up, but his tone, “I’ve known Mr. Stark for a couple years now and a couple times a week his head of security, Happy, comes and picks me up from school and brings me to the Avengers Compound.”

 

This can’t be real.

 

Well, I mean he is Spider-Man and I guess that makes sense that Iron Man would want to work with Spider-Man, but that’s not me. I’m not Spider-Man, I can’t even talk to people, how am I supposed to pretend to be a superhero and talk to a celebrity and fellow superhero? I can’t!

 

Peter went on, “I know you are nervous about interacting with people and pretending to be me,” that’s an understatement , “and so I want you to text Happy and tell him you can’t come Monday. I’ll tell you what to say, I don’t even think Happy likes me, he’ll be happy to not have to deal with me.” Wrong time for a pun.

 

This is too much, I can’t do it, I can't, I promise I can’t.

 

“Hey, hey you can. I’ll tell you exactly what to say,” his voice softened even more than it already was. Oh my god, did I say that out loud?! “I know it’s a lot, I know it is but we can get through it. How about we call every day to figure things out and ask questions?”

 

Wait why is his voice so soft? It’s almost soothing…

 

No, that doesn’t matter right now.

 

I nodded, even though I know he couldn’t see me, “Yeah that sounds good.”

 

He took a breath, about to finally say what to tell Happy, suddenly a knocking. From his side.

 

“I have to go,” he blurted out, before hanging up.

 

What was that?

 

 

Peters POV

 

God, I wish I had my spidey sense right now.

 

If the knock that sounded was not so urgent and aggressive I would never have hung up on Evan like that. I probably just freaked him out even more…

 

I didn’t even tell him what to tell Happy. What do I even tell him to say?

 

The knock sounded again as I walked downstairs to his front door.

 

It can’t be his mom, she’s at work, she left another note saying she would be gone late again. That must happen a lot.

 

There wasn’t a peep hole like at the apartment, so I had to actually open the door to see who it was and hope it wasn’t a murderer.

 

It only took me a second to recognize the long hair and jacket.

 

Connor.

 

“Hey Ev,” that actually threw me for a loop for a second, as no one had actually called me Evan yet. “I know me knocking like that freaks you out, but I got worried. You weren’t responding to any of my texts and after you needing space earlier…well I’m here.” He ended in a smile, it was kinda sweet.

 

Wait he texted me? I didn’t even notice…

 

“I’m sorry,” I’m not sure if that was me pretending to be Evan or me actually apologizing to him.

 

He sighed, I already screwed up, “we’ve talked about the apologizing thing.”

 

I quickly stepped aside before responding, realizing I didn’t even let him in yet after he came all this way to make sure I’m okay. That Evan’s okay, I mean.

 

“Oh…yeah,” I have no idea how to do this. Why did I let him in the house?

 

He turned and faced me, dead serious, “are you okay?”

 

Once again, Connor managed to take me aback. No one ever asks me if I’m okay, not like that at least, looking me in the eye, so serious yet so caring.

 

I stammered for a second, “yeah-yeah I’m good,” wait, “I mean earlier wasn’t great, but I’m okay now.”

 

He just looked at me for a second, I know for a fact I’ve ruined this. “Evan, if something’s wrong, if you’re hurting…own it.”

 

“I’m sorry, what?” I wasn’t even trying to pretend that time

 

He said it simply, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple, “own it.”

 

I shook my head, “I don’t understand.”

 

He put his hands on my shoulders. It was hard to fight both my instincts: to lean into the touch or to shrink away. I did neither, I just let him have his hands on me.

 

“That’s how you do it, you own it. The pain, the hurt, all of it. Stop hiding. Stop lying. Own that you’ve been hurt, own that you are hurt, accept it, let yourself feel it, and then get up and try to move forward.”

 

“I don’t know how to respond to that…” it came out in a broken whisper.

 

I let his warm arms pull me into a hug.

 

He whispered, “Let it in, Evan.”

 

Oh.

 

It actually felt like he was talking to me. Peter Parker. He means Evan…whatever his last name is.

 

Can it still apply to Peter Parker? Peter Parker is hurting too. Peter Parker has always been hurting. Have I ever really owned it?

 

He ran circles over my back with his hand, he murmured something about moving to the couch and suddenly I was sitting down.

 

This is not how I saw my first encounter with Connor going…but I’m not against it…

 

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” I breathed out, honestly.

 

He pulled me even closer to him until I was practically in his lap, “anything I can do?”

 

Stay.

 

No.

 

Wait no. What am I doing? I can’t do this. This isn’t my boyfriend. He thinks I’m Evan, he doesn’t want Peter Parker.

 

It was when he kissed the side of my head that I shifted, trying to move away from him as subtly as I can. I’ve never been so intimate with another guy before…

 

“What’s wrong?” He asked. I guess I’m not subtle.

 

This is wrong. I can’t do this to Evan, or to Connor. This may be Evans body but I’m not Evan. Is it cheating? It’s not intentional, on Connors end at least. This is so confusing…

 

I didn’t meet his eye, “I can’t do this right now.”

 

He won’t give up, “what can you do right now?”

 

I shrugged.

 

That was not the answer he wanted.

 

I don’t know how to do this.

 

And honestly, from what I know of Evan, I don’t know how he does this either.

 

“I think I still need some space.” Please just go, if you stay I’ll just keep messing this up.

 

I didn’t not expect him to look…angry? “I thought we were working through this, for both of us. To not push each other away.”

 

Part of me doesn’t want him to go, part of me desperately needs him to.

 

How am I supposed to be able to fix this? “I’m not trying to push you away,” what was it Evan had me say yesterday? “I just don’t want to be around anyone right now.” I don’t think that was right.

 

He just watched me for a moment, as if he was studying me, before he responded, “fine. I’ll see you at school.”

 

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until he walked out of the house.

 

Oh god I screwed up.

 

Chapter Text

Peters POV

 

Even the little things are hard. I have no idea where anything in his cabinets are. I have no idea what Evan is supposed to like and dislike. I have no idea who anyone is. It would be so much easier if I could just not go to school. It’s not like Evans mom is ever around. But Connor would notice, he already thinks something is up and ditching school would only confirm it.

 

How am I supposed to know Evans schedule? Where his classes are? Who he normally talks to? Well there’s probably not a lot of people he talks to given his lack of contacts on his phone.

 

I don’t even know how Evan typically lives his life.

 

I mean, obviously I can ask Evan but I don’t even know how he’s coping and that will only add more stress to him. I have to be sure that I prepare him, that’s more important. I can figure his life out, it can’t be too complicated. Right?

 

Once again his mom did not come home for dinner. I have though, partially because I’m accustomed to it and partially because I know his body needs it, made sure to eat plenty of food.

 

It was only once I was changing into an old pair of his pajamas that I came to the realization that I have been in this body for two days and I have not showered.

 

I need to take a shower.

 

But that would be wrong, right? This isn’t my body, I can’t invade him like that.

 

He could have more scars though. I can’t help him if I don’t even know the extent of what he’s doing. Can I even help him if I do know? It wouldn’t hurt to look, right?

 

Yes.

 

Yes, it would hurt me to see them again. I made sure to avoid looking at his scars when I changed clothes, though it was a bit of a struggle as they covered both arms.

 

I haven’t asked Evan yet about the scars…

 

I’m not even that unclean, I haven’t even left his house, I’ll be fine.

 

If this lasts a while though, I just can’t not shower.

 

I should get this over with. I should.

 

I’ve had enough..of everything for one day though…

 

But I have to do it all again tomorrow…

 

God, this is impossible.

 

I wish I could say when I fell down onto the unfamiliar bed that I fell asleep instantly, but the sad truth was it took hours.

 

 

Evans POV

 

Peter didn’t tell me what to say to Happy. Am I supposed to just wait for Peter to maybe call back? I don’t know what I’m doing.

 

After waiting and waiting without another word from Peter, I finally fell asleep.

 

The next day was not good but not quite as much of a disaster.

 

I could not even begin to describe the immense dread filling me when I woke up Monday morning. It’s hard enough to force myself to get up and go to my own school, but Peter’s? That’s impossible.

 

I guess Peter didn’t actually really know what to say to get me out of meeting with Tony Stark. The genius said to text the head of security, Happy, that’s such a weird name , that I have a huge English project and there’s no way I’ll have enough time if I go Upstate, and that I’m really sorry.

 

I didn’t mean to drop my, I mean Peter’s, phone when Tony Stark himself texted me saying he can try to help with the project.

 

After frantically texting the real Peter, even he seemed kinda surprised at Tony Stark’s generous offer.

 

Before Peter could come up with a response for me, Tony Stark texted again.

 

That was when Peter called.

 

“Just tell him that he wouldn’t want to, that you know he has better things to do.”

 

None of this is working, “he said he wants to spend time with you. He’s not giving up.”

 

He let out a breath, “Mr. Stark can be very determined when he wants to be.”

 

I blurted out, “You call him Mr. Stark?” That should not be the question that comes out of my mouth.

 

“Oh, yeah, yeah I do. Make sure that’s what you call him. Oh, oh what’s the time?”

 

Before I could ask about his sudden change of topic, he continued, a strange sense of urgency in his voice, “you need to head out. I usually walk to school, I’ll text you the address so you can look up the directions.”

 

As Peter spewed out instructions I quickly snatched up his backpack, hoping he has all I’ll need already packed in it, and went to hunt down shoes, “I’ll also send you my schedule and locker number, just try to keep your head down, do your best to keep up with the lessons. Just so you know, I normally meet my best friend Ned at my locker in the morning, and then at lunch I sit with him and our other friend MJ.”

 

How does he expect me to keep up with all this information? What am I supposed to do if I can’t find his school? Or if I can’t even find his classes? What are Ned and MJ supposed to look like? What kind of name even is MJ, will I know who they are? MJ can be a name for any gender, what pronouns am I supposed to use? I didn’t do any homework this weekend, was I supposed to? What do I do if I get him in trouble for not doing the homework?

 

He continued again before I could ask any of the several questions buzzing in my head, “would you be able to send me your schedule? Also, how do you get to school?”

 

Wait what? He’s saying way too many things at once, I can’t keep up.

 

“What do you mean?” Please slow down. I finally found his shoes and shoved them on before running out the door, ignoring the pain in my stomach. I can’t tell if it’s hunger or guilt from not eating when Peter specifically told me to or anxiety but whatever it is, I ignored it.

 

He repeated himself, “what way do you go to school? Will I have to take a bus or walk or something?”

 

Oh I’m stupid. “Connor usually drives me,” I answered as I looked up directions to his school and started walking.

 

He let out a breath, “what’s wrong?” I asked. That sigh did not do anything to ease my countless worries.

 

“You know two nights ago when I hung up on you so abruptly?” He didn’t wait for me to respond, “Connor came over.” Wait what? He met Connor? “It didn’t go well…” Oh my god stop being so vague , “he wanted to check up on me. On you? Us? Whatever-he came over and it started off well but then it got intense and I tried to make an excuse for him to leave but he got upset with me and left.”

 

I don’t understand , “what do you mean it got intense?”

 

It was a struggle trying to make sure I don’t get lost, talk to Peter, and make sure my panic doesn’t take over when I’m walking in New York City of all places, I hate the city , and there’s way too many people around and I have no idea how I’m going to get through the day.

 

“Nothing bad happened!” That only makes me more worried , “he just hugged me and held me close, he wanted to comfort you, and he was nice. I just didn’t feel right about it I guess.”

 

I should not have felt a pang of jealousy at Peter’s words. I should not have had anger flare up inside me. But why should Peter be able to be with Connor while I’m stuck here alone?

 

No, no, I’m being stupid. Peter was uncomfortable, right? Yeah, that’s why he wanted Connor to leave. God, what I would give to have Connors arms around me as he tells me that he’s not going to leave.

 

“I’m sorry,” Peter apologized.

 

I just, I don’t know how to respond to that. “I should go,” some idiotic part of me spoke before my fingers automatically moved to hang up. I couldn’t bring it in me to call him back. As I walked towards his school I waited for him to call again but the call didn’t come.

 

I’m so stupid oh god…

 

Chapter Text

Peter’s POV

 

I didn’t even bother to censor the string of curses that flew out of my mouth when Evan hung up on me. Now I really screwed myself over. Evan is my only chance of not completely ruining both our lives. If I’m not careful I can completely destroy Evans life, screw up his relationships, and change how people perceive him. And if I’m stupid I might never be able to figure out how to switch us back. I can’t expect Evan to figure this out, I just have to hope he can cope with the insanity of this all.

 

Without Evan though, I can’t even get through the basics of his life. So Connor usually picks him up, well I think I burned that bridge so how else can I get to school? Is there even a bus? What school does he go to? What’s his schedule? Where’s his locker? Who are his friends? Does he have any besides Connor?

 

When going through his texts to figure out who he is, that guy Jared seemed to not care but he did sound like a teenager so he might be my only chance if I can’t repair things with Connor. Or at least convince him to drive me to school.

 

Before I did anything more, I wrote out all my school information and texted it to Evan. Just because I’m screwed doesn’t mean I should screw him over too.

 

Well I should at least try to fix this mess with Connor, for Evan and for me.

 

Before doubts could make me hesitate, I texted Evans boyfriend. I simply asked if we could talk. It only took seconds for the read receipt to inform me that he at least saw the text, but then seconds drew into minutes as there wasn’t even any inclination that he was typing out a response. Would he actually leave us on read? Did I just say us? I mean, it’s not like I know him but he seemed to really care about Evan so he wouldn’t do that to him, especially if he knows how much anxiety he has.

 

Wait I found Evans anxiety medications, if I’m in his body does that mean that if there’s a literal difference in how the mind and body work with someone with mental illness versus someone without, does that mean that I need to take his medications for him? Or if the illness just manifests in my body because Evan is in there then he’ll need the meds but he won’t have them? Anything’s possible at this point…

 

After no less than thirteen minutes of cruel anticipation, he sent four words: not what I expected.

 

I’ll pick you up.

 

He didn’t text anymore, he didn’t even type. What am I supposed to respond to that anyway, like thanks for not stranding me?

 

Before any more surprises, I quickly hunted down Evans school supplies and jammed them in his backpack. I was about to grab something not so small for breakfast, god knows his body needs the calories , when a knock pounded on the door.

 

I opened up the door to once again find Connor. He didn’t smile this time when he saw me. I only allowed myself a second to process his thick brown jacket and messenger bag littered with various pins before I broke the already awkward silence, “hey Connor.” I wasn’t trying to sound like Evan when my words came out so hesitant.

 

“Hey,” he responded curtly.

 

I guess it’s fair for me to do the talking. “I’m sorry for how I acted, for pushing you away,” how much am I supposed to apologize? “I know you were just trying to help, that was really caring of you. Thank you for coming here.” Was that enough?

 

Evan probably would have apologized more, wouldn’t he?

 

He narrowed his eyes at me almost skeptically, “you normally apologize more than that.”

 

“Sorry,” I responded automatically. How else should I have responded?

 

“I didn’t mean for you to apologize more,” at this point I have utterly no idea what he’s feeling, “it’s just different.” I really can’t be Evan…

 

I just need to get access to a lab, then I would be able to actually start figuring this disaster out. It would be so much easier if I could talk to Tony…

 

But I can’t. I can’t. He would think I’m completely insane and then he wouldn’t think I’m good enough to be a superhero and he could take my suit and I can’t let that happen. I don’t even have my suit right now though… I will though. I’ll figure this out, even if I have to do it alone.

 

“Let’s head out,” he decided before turning around and walking to his car. I would have followed but as soon as I closed the door I realized I don’t have a key and I accidentally locked myself out with that stupid automatic second lock. Another issue for later I guess…

 

Once I get to the school I have to figure out a way to access anything of use. It likely won’t have the resources my school has, yet another wrench in my plans, since it’s not a specialized school, at least I assume. It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised for once. But that’s just not the good ol’ Parker Luck.

 

I left my safe haven from the last few days and followed a man I still don’t really know to an unfamiliar school with still no more information from Evan.

Chapter Text

Evans POV

 

It took almost two times longer than google maps said it would, but I still made it to Peters school only a few minutes late. Throughout the walk I got increasingly frantic texts from a contact ‘Guy In The Chair’, if that’s not Peter’s best friend then Peter definitely has a stalker with how many texts this ‘Guy’ sent.

 

As as soon as I walked into the school I was practicality assaulted.

 

“Dude, what happened to you? You didn’t respond to any of my texts!” The teen exclaimed. So that must be the ‘Guy In The Chair’, whatever that means, which probably means this is Ned.

 

I wasn’t able to hide my flinch when he threw his arm around me.

 

He spoke even faster than I do when I’m nervous, “bro, what’s wrong? Why’d you flinch? Did something happen when you were y’know, swinging around?” He whispered the last part. So he must know Peter is Spider-Man.

 

He started walking faster than I expected and I followed like a lost puppy, which I practically am at this point. Or maybe more like a lost spider.

 

Oh my god I forgot to send Peter my schedule. Do I even know all my room numbers? I kinda just know what it all looks like, do I even have time to send it to him if I’m already so late? I’m such a moron now he’s going to hate me because I won’t help him. Wow, it only took three days for Peter to hate me too.

 

Before I could even think what was happening we were standing in front of a locker, Ned, at least I assume it’s Peter’s friend Ned, looking at me expectantly. “Peter, why aren’t you opening your locker?” Right, right, I’m Peter. I have to be Peter. I don’t know how to be Peter…

 

“Yeah, yeah,” I fumbled to pull the phone out of my pocket to read Peter’s instructions.

 

The Guy narrowed his eyes at me, “what’s wrong? Why aren’t you opening it?” Finally I focused enough to read the digits Peter sent me.

 

Between the stress of the situation and the embarrassment, the sweat on my hands made me slip so I did the wrong number and had to restart the dial, “nothing,” I breathed out, “I’m just tired,” I mumbled my automatic response. Connor hates that excuse.

 

As I finally got the stupid locker open, after two tries, Ned stepped closer, “you know it’s okay if you’re not alright. I’m here for you, man.” That would have been nice if I wasn’t burning in embarrassment and stressing so bad I could already feel my chest tightening too much to breathe properly.

 

“I’m fine,” I said, trying to look at the schedule on my phone as discreetly as I could.

 

Now, Peter’s friend not only looked concerned but he looked confused. I’m off to such a brilliant start, aren’t I? “Why are you putting your English book away, we have English first period?”

 

I shook my head at myself, I’m so stupid, “sorry, I’m just out of it today.” If I can’t even interact with Peter’s friend, how will I ever last through the day?

 

It was a struggle to hold the English book I snatched back, the phone, and the backpack, so I decided to just grab all of his books so that there would be no way I could forget a textbook or grab the wrong one later. When, inevitably, Ned asked why I would bring all Peter’s stupidly large books and folders, I mumbled something probably incoherent about being behind in homework. I mean that’s not totally a lie, I didn’t do anything over the weekend.

 

I, thankfully, was able to follow Ned to our first period, only for the teacher to snap, “Peter, Ned, If you come late one more time you’re both getting detention!” Even though it wasn’t really me that was being yelled at, my face once again burned scarlet. Well at least that does prove that this is indeed Peter’s best friend Ned.

 

I couldn’t hide my jump when I heard a cruel whisper from behind when I sat down, “I guess Penis isn’t the teacher's pet anymore.” His remark causing scattered snickers from the room, somehow the teacher didn’t seem to notice.

 

Was he calling me Penis? Does he call Peter that? Jared can be a jerk sometimes but isn’t this like bullying?

 

The whispers continued, “what will you do now that you and your boyfriend can’t make out before class anymore?” He said the word boyfriend like it was a curse.

 

“Just try to keep your head down.”

 

And that’s what I did, literally, my back started to ache after a while of sitting so scrunched up and small. I’d rather be too small than too much.

 

Though, the malicious remarks never did cease. Either the teacher is the most oblivious person in the world or she could not are any less about Peter. I found myself having to tell myself again and again that this jerk isn’t saying that stuff to me , so it shouldn’t hurt so much. But it does, I’m still the one taking it. And if it wasn’t me taking it, it would be Peter and that thought only succeeded in making me feel worse. Though when me and Peter first switched bodies, this body actually had nails that weren’t bit down to the finger, but by now they match the nails on my body.

 

Near the end of the class, I not having heard any of the lesson but solely the students jokes about me, I got too anxious. The combined deterioration of my already fragile mental state and the idea Peter is pissed at me for not sending my schedule was too much to bear.

 

Attempting to be discreet, I pulled out my phone and began typing instructions, only for a comment louder than all the previous ones to announce behind me, “what are you doing on your phone, Penis?”

 

The teacher whipped around upon the boy calling me out, somehow not noticing the fact that he called me Penis, “Peter Parker bring your phone here now,” she declared, it took me a second to register Peter’s last name, “I warned you before that if you texted again during class it would be confiscated. You can get this back at the end of the day,” With that she stole my phone from my hand, leaving me more alone than ever. Now I really am isolated, I can’t get help from Peter and I have no idea where to go or what to do.

 

The rest of the period was a blur, my mind too lost in how utterly stupid I am to have completely severed any way to talk to the only person who can help and that can understand the insane mess I’m in. Yeah I goy pissed when Peter told me about what happened with Connor, but he’s still the only one who actually gets what I’m going through.

 

“Don’t listen to Flash, Pete,” Ned put his arm around me again, I only tensed up this time rather than full out flinched. I guess that bully’s name is Flash. After noticing my tension, he dropped his arm.

 

It was only once we were walking out of the class that I realized that I have no idea what class I’m supposed to go to, what the room number is, what seat I’m supposed to sit in, or even the locker combo if I forgot something.

 

If I don’t ask I’ll be completely done for. But if I just leave the school I don’t have to worry about all this. Except I don’t have a phone and no way to get to the backpack and wait…I don’t even know the address of Peter’s apartment.

 

Before Ned could walk away I spoke up, “um…” well I guess ‘spoke’ was a generous term, “er…I’m not, I’m really out of it,” I had to actively refrain from pulling at the hem of my shirt in awkward nervousness, “what’s my next class? I can’t remember the room number.”

 

Ned just stared at me for a second, “what’s wrong? Why don’t you remember? Did something happen?” Too many questions.

 

I’m just digging myself deeper, “no, no, nothing like that. I just don’t feel well.”

 

He furrowed his brow, “but you can’t get sick?” In the way he said it, it sounded more like a statement than a question.

 

“I mean like, like I’m tired. I’m just really tired.” Can I ever not be so repetitive?

 

It was only when Ned gave me another strange look that I realized I was biting my nails again, “you’re acting really weird.” He looked so completely concerned. The only person to ever look at me even remotely like that is Connor.

 

“I’m sorry,” I responded instinctively. I barely got through one period without someone knowing that I’m just not Peter. I can't be him. He’s so much better than me. People genuinely care about him, he may be bullied but he has friends, he’s so much stronger than I could ever be.

 

“You don’t have to apologize,” Ned tried to assure me, though not making me feel any better, “I’m just worried, man.”

 

I didn’t mean to make him worried, “please don’t. Be worried, I mean.” Im failing at this. At everything.

 

He looked like he was about to say something, but decided not to, changing topics instead, “your next class is history, it’s down the hall on the left, I don’t know your room number though, sorry.” Yeah, I should have expected that he wouldn’t just happen to know his friends room number.

 

I told him a quick thank you and headed off, knowing I would need as much time as I could get to find the right classroom. On the left is a very vague term and I don’t know if I will ever find the right class…

 

Before I could even begin to hunt down the right room that voice I got used to all too quickly sounded in my ear, I didn’t even notice him walking up, “ready for history, Penis?” His tone was much too threatening for comfort as he grabbed me by the backpack and led me to what I hoped was the correct room.

 

It took all of five minutes for me to understand that I really can’t do this. After unending ridicule from Flash and getting told off in front of the whole class for not having my homework done, I asked to go to the bathroom. It too way too long to find it, immediately locking myself in the nearest stall, already feeling the tears pushing at the back of my eyes.

 

God I can’t-I can’t do this. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t handle it, I can’t last, I won’t last. How does Peter do this every day? I can’t, I’m too weak. I’m so weak, so so weak. I can’t even get through two periods, I can’t I can’t do this.

 

I’m alone. So so alone. I have no friends here, no mother, no therapist, no boyfriend, no Peter. No one is here to save me…

 

But I’m too weak to save myself…

 

That’s when I started the choke on sob after sob. Each gasp was like knives stabbing my ears, each sound much too loud. I covered my mouth with my gross looking, nail-bitten down, hands, but still every miniscule sound caused pangs of pain in my ears.

 

Every breath I tried to take just ended up as desperate gasps, my chest beginning to hurt from the insufferable tightness. If I hadn’t bit my nails too short already I would have started scratching my wrist right there.

 

No, no I wouldn’t be able to. This is Peter’s body, not mine. I may have control over it for now but I don’t have the right to hurt it just because I want to hurt me, punish me, distract me. This isn’t mine, I can’t be so cruel and selfish as to pretend it is. I’m too selfish already, I have to stop I need to stop stop stop stop.

 

I’m not sure how long it took for my breaths to even out, but based on the simultaneously worried and angry glare from the teacher when  finally found my way back to class, it was too long. I had made sure to check to make sure I didn’t look like I didn’t just cry my eyes out before leaving the bathroom, it’s habitual at this point.

 

I tried my best to zone everyone out for the rest of the class and for the next few periods before lunch. Every single class was a new challenge to find out where it was and what to do. By the time lunch rolled around I could bare it keep my eyes open, the emotional and physical drain from the panic attack successfully taking its toll.

 

I quickly found Ned sitting with a girl with dark frizzy hair sitting next to him at a table otherwise alone at the back of the cafeteria. Upon walking in I realized I still had all my school supplies on me but no way to open the locker to put it down or get money for lunch. I couldn’t help the small jab of guilt at not eating yet again.

 

I made my way to Ned and the girl, maybe that’s MJ? , and prayed they wouldn’t ask me why I had my books on me when no one else did and why I didn’t have a lunch or means to get one. I’m a mess.

 

“What’s wrong with you?” The girl asked me, bluntly but not necessarily coldly, as soon as I sat down.

 

“What?” I asked, my nonexistent acting skills failing me at acting innocent, as if I know I’m nothing like the person they’re friends with.

 

Ned cut in before I could come up with a response, “what MJ means is that we can both tell something’s wrong and you’re not talking to us. We’re here for you man.” That would be really sweet if I actually knew these people.

 

I shook my head, “nothing’s wrong.” Even I know that was not convincing whatsoever.

 

With the piercing look MJ gave me, a look that said she can and will look deeper into my soul than even I can reach, I knew that she was not satisfied in any way with my answer. I couldn’t help but shrink under her gaze.

 

Excuses won’t ever work, will they? “Can we please just drop it?” I couldn’t even manage eye contact when I practically begged Peter’s friends. The two of them shared a look I couldn’t quite make out before they changed topics, allowing me to tune them out for the rest of the period.

 

I spent the rest of the idea just focusing on finding each class with as minimal help as possible and keeping myself awake. The last bell of the day could not have come any slower. It was too much of a mental strain to hunt down my first period class to retrieve my phone. Though guilt gripped me, I ignored the multiple texts from Peter and went straight to finding his locker combination. It only took one try to get the locker open this time. Desperate to just get away from everyone, I told Ned I had to get home as quickly as possible for homework, a pathetic excuse but it worked nonetheless. At least I hope it did.


Until I saw the extravagant car waiting outside the school, the already immense stress from the day made me totally forget that I’m supposed to go meet The Tony Stark.

Chapter Text

Peter’s POV

 

As soon as I sat in the car you could just feel the immense tension between me and Connor. If it was a fog I wouldn’t be able to see two inches in front of my face. I didn’t expect Connor to talk much, given his short responses at the house. Ironic for someone upset with my bad communication skills.

 

I guess Connor isn’t as predictable as I assumed, “you’re acting different. It’s not you.” It wasn’t a question as much as a very true observation. How can I act more like Evan, say sorry more? “What’s going on with you? And don’t you dare say you’re just tired or any of that shit.”

 

“I’m sorry,” I need more time, I don’t know how to do this.

 

He groaned, “that’s not an answer, Evan. We spent months working to be able to have a real and genuine conversation, and now you’re just reverting back.” If you listened closely, you could hear pain behind his anger.

 

I don’t know Connor, I don’t know Evan, I can’t talk if I don’t know how I’m supposed to.

 

His fists clenched tighter and tighter on the steering wheel, his already ashen skin becoming paler, with my silence.

 

Before he could break the steering wheel with his grasp I broke the silence I created, “I’m just out of it I guess. I’ll be better soon…I hope,” I didn’t mean to say the last part aloud.

 

He huffed out a breath, “when will that be?” When really is the question, isn’t it? Whenever I find somewhere to actually do tests. Whenever I find out what to actually test to solve this insanity. Whenever I find the resources I need. Whenever I’m able to talk to the real Evan again.

 

“I don’t know,” at this rate, Connor is gonna break up with me by end of day… I can’t let that happen though, I can’t do that to Evan. “You’re right, Connor, I shouldn’t be shutting you out.”

 

Though he still did not seem content with my lame response, he didn’t reply, causing us to fall into another suffocating silence. I didn’t dare interrupt the quiet this time, fearing digging myself into an even deeper hole.

 

What am I supposed to do if the school doesn’t have the resources I need? No real labs wouldn’t let a random teenager walk in and do secret tests. God, this would be so much easier if I could access Tony’s lab.

 

What if I went to the compound? Happy or Tony himself are the only ones to have actually taken me there, but I’m sure I can figure it out. It couldn’t be too far away from here, if I’m already in New York.

 

How could I get in though? It’s one of the highest security facilities in the world. If Evan wasn’t able to get out of seeing Tony then he’ll be there anyway.

 

Oh my god Evan is going to meet Tony. He can’t, it’ll be a disaster. Tony is gonna know in a second that he’s not me and he’ll get so worried, I can’t worry him. If Evan slips, he’ll think I’m absolutely insane. No matter what happens I risk losing Tony… ever since losing Uncle Ben Tony he’s been…I can’t lose Tony too.

 

I don’t even know if Evan will respond if I text him, the only way I’ll know is if I text him. I typed out a quick text to him, asking if he found my school. Maybe if I try to show that I care about his well-being, which I do, then he’ll care about mine and give me any bit of information to help me through the day.

 

“Are you coming out?” Connor asked me, impatiently. When did he get out of the car? When did we even park?

 

It took me a second to realize we were at their school. “Wait what?”

 

Connor had the drivers side door still open, standing outside, “are you getting out of the car or are you going to sit there all day?” That is not what I thought he was asking.

 

I quickly grabbed Evans backpack, “I’m coming, sorry.” He didn’t wait for me to close the car door before he started trudging towards the school, messenger bag slung over his shoulder, hands in his pockets. I didn’t bother trying to catch up with him, instead checking for a text back from Evan. I didn’t expect there to be one but something in me hurt when there was no word from him.

 

I won’t last without his schedule or at the very least his locker combination. I sent another message, asking for those very things, left waiting for a text my gut said I wouldn’t get.

 

Not knowing where to go, I followed Connor. I know he saw me but he still ignored me. Does he treat Evan like this every time they have issues?

 

It was only once some short guy with glasses was strutting over to us that Connor snatched up my hand for the first time. It was clearly a statement for that boy, but of what I’m unsure. Maybe that we are together, we are a couple, or maybe that I’m his, that I belong to Connor and no one else.

 

Before the guy could even get a word out, Connor told him in a very impolite way to leave.

 

The command only got him to smirk, “how dare you treat your boyfriends family friend so poorly,” he put a hand on his heart in mock offense, only causing Connor to grip my hand as hard as he held the steering wheel in the car.

 

‘Family friend’? Why couldn’t he have just said friend?

 

Oh wait, this must be Jared Kleinman, in the texts I read he referred to himself as a ‘family friend’ there too. When I read those texts I could not help but be reminded of Flash.

 

Jared wasn’t done yet, he turned to me, “Evan I just can’t understand why you would want to be with someone that looks like a school shooter.”

 

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Even only knowing Evan for a few days I knew that was absolutely not something he would have done…

 

Both guys stared at me, “since when did you grow balls?” Jared asked me incredulously.

 

I’m in too deep already, what’s the harm, “since when did being a ‘family friend’ entail being a jerk to my boyfriend?”

 

That got him to shut up. Likely more out of shock of my so un-Evan like behavior than actually being hurt. Taking the chance, I pulled Connor away from him, as he was still holding my hand. Quickly, ‘my’ boyfriend took the lead again and instead of down the hall like I meant to, he pulled me into the closest bathroom. I couldn’t help but notice it was a girls bathroom, not a boys, but that fact didn’t seem to bother Connor. Thankfully the restroom was empty.

 

He let go of my hand, “What was that?”

 

I couldn’t quite pick up what tone he was intending, I chose the safe reply and said, “I’m sorry.”

 

He furrowed his brow, “I wasn’t reprimanding you. That was just so not like you,” I didn’t miss the small smirk tugging at his lips.

 

I watched as he stepped closer to me, to which I realized I was standing very close to the bathroom wall, “I guess I’m not feeling like myself today.” Well that’s true at least.

 

He took another step forward, “you’ve never stood up for me before. That was pretty hot, Ev. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to know why you’ve been pulling away from me,” literally and figuratively , “but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to kiss you.”

 

God, he’s forward. I tried to step back, but my back was against the wall already. How can someone not stand up for their boyfriend who's being made fun of? Well I guess it would be hard for Evan who struggles just to have a normal conversation, let alone be able to tell someone off, especially a ‘friend’.

 

Before I could think any more he was right in front of me, chest to chest, I could feel his breath. This is a bad idea, I shouldn’t do this. He smelled somehow both of nail polish and of cigarettes. This is cheating right? Someone who is not Evan is about to kiss his boyfriend, this has to be cheating, I can’t do this to Evan. He went agonizingly slow, despite the driven look in his eyes. He leaned forward, so that our lips were almost touching, but not yet. Maybe he was seeing if I would pull away from him again, or if I would kiss him first myself. I need to pull away, I need to. This is wrong. He would never kiss me if he knew I wasn’t really Evan.

 

Some selfish part of me whispered: this might be your only chance to experiment with a guy.

 

That doesn’t mean it's right, it’s not right. I can’t do this to Evan, he’s already mad enough.

 

He doesn’t have to know though…

 

God, I don’t know what to do.

 

I’m not sure what it was to get him to do it but he completed  the small distance left between us, his mouth on mine. And it felt good. I didn’t kiss him back at first, let him do his thing. Slowly, without thinking, I felt my mouth start to move, kissing him back. That only got him to start kissing even more passionately, his body against mine. Though I didn’t kiss him with the love he did me, that did not deter him.

 

Suddenly, the sound of a door opening, followed by a gasp, made it to our ears. I was the one to break the kiss, just in time to make eye contact with the poor girl scared out of her wits at the two guys making out in the women’s restroom. The sight got Connor to chuckle, that’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh, it’s a nice sound. Upon his less than compassionate laugh, the girl fled.

 

What am I doing? Oh my god what did I do? I just kissed Connor. I just kissed Evans boyfriend ! I just cheated, I made him cheat, unknowingly. I can’t let Evan know, it would destroy any chance of him helping me figure out this mess. It would destroy everything, absolutely everything.

 

I did just ruin everything, didn’t I?

 

“Wanna get out of here?” He asked, pulling me out of my thoughts, once his laughs subsided.

 

I couldn’t keep the confusion from my voice, “and go where?”

 

He said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world, maybe it would have been to the real Evan, “the apple orchard.”

 

This is probably my easiest way to get through the day without the schedule from Evan.

 

I nodded, “Yeah, let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Evans POV

 

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, Tony Stark is here! The Tony Stark is here and he expects me to go with him! I couldn’t even talk to Ned, how in the hell am I supposed to be able to talk to one of the most famous people in the universe? Simple answer, I can’t, there’s no way. Not a chance.

 

Once again, the buzzing of my phone made me flinch out of my thoughts. It’s from him.

 

It would have been a funny text, if I wasn’t scared out of my wits. He asked why I was just standing here staring like fanboy, and if I needed him to come out to get me. That last part would have been nice if he didn’t have a winking emoji at the end. He’s messing with me.

 

I didn’t bother to respond to the text, instead stepping forward, as wobbly as a baby taking their first steps. I’m as vulnerable and pathetic as a baby, but I don’t have the precious innocence to make up for it.

 

Just as I faltered to the bottom of the front steps of the school, that voice I became all too familiar with too quickly sounded behind me, I have super hearing apparently and I didn’t even hear him coming, “how long are you going to pretend someone like Tony Stark would care about you?

 

I didn’t dare turn around, acknowledge his words, but he continued on anyway, “everyone knows you’re just a filthy little liar, no one wants you. Why do you think your family members all die? They’d rather be dead than be around you.”

 

Wait what?

 

My body turned around before my mind could tell it not to, but no words came out of my mouth.

 

He smirked at my gaping in front of him, “you can’t deny it because it’s true.”

 

I know Peter said his parents are dead but like oh my god who says that to someone? Peter is like an orphan right, who tells an orphan that their parents died to get away from them?

 

As much as I burned to scream at him what a horrible person he is, no matter how much I wanted to be as cruel to him as he is to me and I assume was to Peter, no words would come out.

 

The only way I could keep my hands from shaking like a chihuahua in winter was by pulling at the hem of my shirt. Part of my mind screamed to tell him off, part of my mind screamed to just run and run and run and never come back.

 

My feet decided before my mind could, fleeing before any more of his verbal abuse could stop me. I didn’t even think about where I was until I was there, who I was with.

 

“You okay, kid?” The voice I only recognized from TV interviews asked me, “Flash bothering you again? You know I can always step in, just say the word,” his voice was filled with so much concern and care and I’m just left confused.

 

Tony Stark cares? Tony Stark knows about Flash? Tony Stark sounds like what I would think a good dad would sound like…

 

I tried and failed not to stutter, “I-I don’t, I don’t know. I’m sorry” I can’t do this.

 

The more expensive than my house car moved forward, only then did I realize that there’s a driver taking us to wherever we are going. I mean, that makes sense as I am in the backseat with Tony Stark and someone has to drive.

 

He furrowed his brow, “kid, why do you look so starstruck, you passed that phase months ago. What’s going on?” It took all of a minute for him to know something is wrong, I’m never going to last.

 

I shook my head, “nothing, nothing’s wrong,” he’ll never buy it, “stressed, i'm just stressed, I have a lot to do. A lot of homework.”

 

Instead of responding to my ramble he asked, “since when do you bite your nails?” How did I even manage to bite them, there’s no nail left.

 

“I don’t,” well that was obviously a lie, he just saw me biting them, “I mean I don’t do it often, sorry.”

 

Once again he looked confused, this is actually a disaster , “Petey, I thought we moved past your apologizing thing. Just because I’m famous doesn’t mean you have to apologize for your existence. Why are you reverting back to things we already worked through?” There was just as much concern in his voice as confusion.

 

How can I tell him that I’m not Peter? I’m not the person he apparently spent months working with to get to a comfortable level. I’m not the kid who’s confident enough not to apologize 24/7. I’m not the person that’s able to just talk to people without trouble. I am not Peter. I’m not who he wants, but I can’t tell him otherwise.

 

I don’t know how to pretend to be someone I’m so not. I don’t know how to be the confident person, so sure of himself, capable, strong, a hero.  I don’t know how to be Peter. I can barely even manage to pretend to be the version of Evan that seems okay, and that’s supposed to be me.

 

He interested my spiraling thoughts, “you can talk to me, Underoos, I’m here for you. Why else do you think I would have Happy drive me down here?” Though he joked a bit, that didn't take away from the weight of his words.

 

God, how much I wish I could just give in and tell him. I wish with everything in me for someone to look at me with that care, that willingness to help. I wish I could be honest for once and get the help I need.

 

I never can get the help I need.

 

If he knows about Flash, maybe that’s a safer excuse than a complete lie, “it’s nothing, just Flash being a jerk.”

 

“That’s not nothing,” with how he said it, I know he meant it, “what did he say?”

 

It’s hard to try to remember not to be me, in any way. To not sit like me, to not act like me, to not speak like me. To remember not to pull on my shirt, not to bite my nails, not to sit so scrunched up, not to apologize so much. But in everything I do Evan Hansen just bleeds through.

 

I adjusted my position so I wasn’t sitting so small, “nothing unusual.” I really hope it it not usual.

 

He frowned, I didn’t mean to make him upset, “just because it might be usual doesn’t mean it’s okay or that it doesn’t hurt.”

 

Flash wasn’t even really talking to me and it still hurt. How could someone talk to someone like that?

 

He continued, looking into me so deep I’m surprised he doesn’t notice these are not Peter’s eyes looking back at him, “It’s not bad if what he said hurt.”

 

“It did hurt,” I think that’s the first purely honest thing I’ve said to him, “it shouldn’t have hurt.”

 

His voice softened so much so if the driver was listening, his next words would be too low for him to catch, “you can always talk to me, kid. I’m here to help, I can’t help unless I know what he said.”

 

He probably won’t leave it alone unless I say something, “it was about my parents…” he nodded, waiting for me to go on, “he said they’re gone-they’re gone because…” I took a breath, “because they would rather be gone than be around me. I didn’t mean to make them leave,” I didn’t mean to say that last part aloud.

 

“That is not your fault,” he responded immediately, “you could not have controlled it.”

 

I shook my head, “if I was better then maybe they would have stayed. I wanted them to stay.” I didn’t mean for my voice to crack.

 

I need to stop, before I give something away, but part of me doesn’t want to stop.

 

I kept talking before he could come up with a response, “I barely even remember them, but it still hurts. It ways hurts. If I was better, maybe, maybe I never would have been left.”

 

He put a hand on my shoulder, I didn’t move away at the touch, “you are in absolutely no way responsible for what happened.”

 

I blinked back the tears pressing at my eyes, I can’t be so pathetic as to cry twice in one day , “I didn’t even get a real goodbye…”

 

He pulled me into a hug as the tears poured out, I didn’t mean for them to. “I know kid, I know.”

 

If I wasn't so screwed up maybe he would have wanted me, maybe he would have stayed. Maybe I could have had a real family. But I can’t, I can’t because I’m a screw up and I’m ruined and he’s better off without me tying him down.

 

He rubbed my back as the pain hit me once again. The pain of everything, Flash’s insults, the reality of my dad leaving coming back again, the whole mess I’m trapped in.

 

The breakdown I had earlier was different than this one, the last one was panicked and desperate, this one…this one is just broken.

 

I’m so screwed up.

 

I can’t blame my dad, can I? How can I blame someone for wanting to escape someone like me?

 

But he left, he left me and mom and that’s supposed to be okay. I was a kid when it happened and it still hurts.

 

I bet Connor is happier with Peter than he ever was with me. He deserves someone good, someone strong.

 

“It’ll be okay, kid. I’m here,” he whispered to me as he held me through my pathetic sobs.

 

No one is ever this kind, this caring and patient with me when I’m like this…

 

Is this what having a dad is like? A dad that stays, that cares even in the hard times?

 

“I’m here for you, Peter.”

 

For a moment, I let myself forget that we were talking about Peter…