Chapter 1: Peter meets an Avenger
Peter was excited. He had just taken down a mugger, and he hadn’t even punched him too hard! He webbed his hands together, and went into an alley to leave, when a voice said “good job moderating your strength kid.”
He looked up and saw someone sitting on the edge of a roof overlooking the alley. “What?” He said climbing the fire escape to see him face to face. The sun was behind him so his features were indistinct, but he had broad shoulders clad in a plaid shirt, blonde hair, and a smile on his face.
“Thanks?” He said, sitting on the railing of the fire escape “but is that even a compliment?”
The blonde man laughed softly, “yeah it is, your clearly enhanced, you could have easily hurt him pretty badly, but you went out of your way to just restrain him. I know how hard that can be from experience!”
“Your enhanced?” Peter said, mind whirring with possibilities. “How did you get enhanced? What’s your name? What kind of enhancements do you have?”
“Well” the blonde said, “I’ll answer all your questions at once, my name is Steve Rogers.”
“Wait” he said, not quite believing he was that lucky “like Captain America, fought in World War Two, frozen in ice Steve Rogers!”
“Yep” Captain America said with an odd smile.
Before he could say anything else another figure jumped onto the roof they were on, saying “hey Steve, who’s this?”
Steve patted the spot next to him and said “did you see that article on Spider-Man? This is him, and he’s enhanced as well.”
As the other man sat down Peter saw his long dark hair and leather jacket, paired with biking gloves and jeans. “How did you get enhanced kiddo” he asked.
“Hey!” He said indignantly “I’m not a kid, it’s even in the name! Spider-Man.”
“Number one” Captain America said, grinning “we’re both almost one hundred years old, we can call anyone we want kid, and number two, I would bet just about anything that you aren’t even eighteen yet.”
“I am eighteen” he sputtered “I really am!” The brunette raised an eyebrow in a way that made him think of aunt May, and guilt rose up. “Ok maybe I was lying” he said sheepishly, “but most people probably wouldn’t trust a teen with being a superhero, it’s easier that way.”
Captain America wrinkled his brow and said “how did you get enhanced then, that kind of thing seems to happen almost exclusively to adults oddly enough.”
“Well” he said “I got bitten by a radioactive spider Mr Captain America sir!”
“What?” Captain America said looking shocked, “number one please call me Steve, and number two a radioactive spider bit you and you got enhanced? How on earth..” he shook his head.
Peter said “That’s true Mr Steve sir.”
Captain America looked at him for a long moment, but the brunette asked “ok kiddo, what kind of enhancements do you have, because depending on the type we might be able to give you some tips and tricks on living with them.”
“Umm” he said “I have super strength, super speed, super reflexes, super agility, super flexibility, umm, I think all of my senses are enhanced, and umm I have this thing I call my spidey sense. With it I can tell when someone’s in danger!”
“Huh” Captain America said “you have the basic super soldier package for the most part, do you need to eat more than you used to or have super healing?”
“Yeah” he said sheepishly “I actually forgot about those!”
“Do you naturally produce that webbing?” Captain America asked, looking thoughtful.
“No, it’s actually a device” he said rolling up his sleeves to show off his web shooters. “There’s material in here that when extruded by this mechanism, and exposed to the air, turned into a sticky string of webbing!”
“Wow!” The brunette said “your one smart cookie kiddo! You made it yourself?”
“Yeah I made it myself, but actually, what’s your name” Peter said curiously “I just keep calling you the brunette in my head.”
He smiled and extended his right hand, saying “call me James. You can ask us questions about our enhancements you know, it’s always easier if you have someone who gets it to talk to.”
“Do you have enhanced senses too?” Peter asked “I mean you seemed to imply it but...”
“Yeah” Captain America said “it wasn’t mentioned at all really, dunno why but...” he shrugged his shoulders, “it sucks a lot more than you think it would huh?”
“Yeah” Peter said a bit shyly “the big garbage bins were bad enough before, but now I feel like I’ll throw up every time I even go near one!”
“I know, right” James said “and perfumes, scented lotions and everything else is just so much!”
“Yeah” Captain America said “when I got the serum I figured out pretty quick why dogs are constantly sniffing things! The information that you can get with just your nose is extensive. I’m guessing you haven’t figured most of it out yet?”
“Probably not” he said “I mean i’ve figured out the scents of the people closest to me, I can pick them out of a group now!”
“Nice job kiddo” James said “that isn’t even close to the amount of information you can get, but it’s a good start.”
“Yeah” Captain America said “it took a long time for me to figure it out too, but I can give you some guidelines. They may not apply to you, but... by scent I can identify some emotions, like happiness, sadness, fear, anger etc. They can be hard to figure out, and different people can have variations in scent for the same emotions, but once it clicks it’ll get a lot easier. Scent is the weirdest one, and hearing is often the most intense one, but for the most part the others are just natural extrapolations of your senses before.”
“How is your night vision?” James asked
“I... I think it’s a bit better, not much I don’t think though.” Peter said.
Captain America nodded and said “your night vision isn’t as enhanced as ours then, we have an extra layer in our eyes called a tapetum lucidum that reflects light like a cats eyes.”
“Really!” Peter said “that’s really cool! So your eyes glow in the dark? Your a lot cooler than I thought you would be, those videos made it seem like you’d be all stern and serious!”
“What videos?” James said, and Captain America looked horrified.
“Please don’t tell Bu-James anything about those videos!” Captain America said sharply.
“What” Peter said, shocked by the outburst “why?”
“Because” Captain America said, a blush making its way across his face “their embarrassing beyond belief, and if he finds out about them he will never stop teasing me about them!”
“Oh” he said fascinated, seeing Captain America’s reaction to this.
“What kind of videos?” James asked with a mischievous gleam in his blue eyes. “Why don’t you want me to see them? Is it something stupid you did that I would chew you out over or something else?”
“Something else.” Captain America mumbled, hiding his head in his hands “I guess my embarrassment is inevitable now.”
“Well” James said with an impish grin, “why don’t you tell me about them, I could use a good laugh”
Peter was confused, but said “well, the videos have him in them and they’re mostly played in detention, but there’s a fitness challenge as well...”
James made a weird face, but said “go on, what are the videos played in detention about?”
“Well” Peter said, feeling weird looking at the person who had actually been in those videos, who’s visible skin now looked like they had been dunked in kool-aid. “There’s a bunch, and you have to watch them based on what you’re in detention for. I haven’t watched all of them, but apparently there’s ones that talk about swearing, lying, doing drugs, general following the rules...”
“Wow” James said gleefully, “they really don’t know you very well Stevie, how on earth did they convince you to do those videos!”
“Well” Captain America said, slightly muffled due to his face still being in his hands. “I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into for one, and two, most of them were generally good advice.”
“Why is it so surprising?” Peter interrupted, “isn’t he all... noble and stuff?”
“Well” James said with a wicked smirk, “yes he is ‘noble and stuff’ but let me tell you a story. It’s called Steve Rogers is a rebellious, rule breaking punk. So you know how he was chosen for the serum right? Well before he got chosen Steve wanted to get in the army by any means necessary, so he could kick Nazi ass, cause they were bullies. Except no recruiting officer would take him so, to get more chances, he began lying on his intake forms, which is illegal. I’m pretty sure that half the reason Erskine chose him in the first place was because he was so determined to kick Nazi ass that he broke the law, and that’s not even counting the sheer amount of bad orders he ignored in the field. Hell, even having a black guy in his unit was against the rules back then!
He was a rebel like you wouldn’t believe, and for swearing, he’s always had a filthy mouth, got his mouth washed out with soap so many times... no idea why he’s seen as a model of perfect behaviour and manners!”
“Wow” Peter drawled, “that sounds fake but ok.”
“Yeah” Captain America said, his head now out of his hands, “most of the time I only break rules when their wrong, like, segregation and discrimination against women was legal for a long time, but it was never right.”
“What about the army thing though?” Peter said, still working through the information he had been given.
“Well...” Captain America said, a blush gathering on his cheeks again.
“Basically he was the stubbornest lil’ punk in the whole of Brooklyn” James interrupted smirking, “and still is, except for how much bigger he is now.”
He slung his arm around Captain America’s shoulders, and they sat for a while, Peter trying to put together the image of Captain America he had in his head, and the stories he had heard, before realizing that maybe Captain America wasn’t necessarily Steve at all.
They sat together until the setting sun made Peter realize just how much time he had spent with them.
“Oh” he said “I should be going.”
“Ok kid” Steve said, “but before you go I have some advice, having enhanced senses can be very intense, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by them, the best thing to do is to have a safe space. Somewhere there won’t really be anything to make it worse. I would suggest a closet, their pretty quiet, there isn’t much light, and most of the time the only scents in them are laundry detergent, and the smells of the people that wear them. It should help a lot.”
“Oh” Peter said, “that’s... something that can happen?”
“Yeah” James said, “it never happened very often for me because it took probably a year or so for my enhancements to fully manifest, so it was a lot easier to get used to it, leading to less overloads. Unfortunately Steve got everything in what, thirty seconds or so? He had to get used to everything at once, leading to more overloads.”
“Also” Steve cut in “the more stressed out you are, the more likely that one will happen, so it’s better to have somewhere to go. And here’s my phone number,” he said pulling out a notebook, writing something down, and tearing it out to give it to him. “Just in case you need it”
“Thanks for everything” Peter said. “But I’ve really got to go now, bye!”
“Goodbye, and good luck!” They chorused, leaning into each other as Peter swung away.
Chapter 2: Is he really Bucky Barnes?
Peter figures out that Captain America’s friend was actually Bucky Barnes
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
As Peter swung through the streets he began to think. James had been weird, talking like he had known Steve since they were kids, with all the stories he had told. He had looked familiar too, like he had seen James before, and hadn’t Steve accidentally said something, “Bu-James.” Maybe it was a nickname, but as he climbed in the window he thought, hadn’t Steve said that both of them were almost one hundred years old? Maybe they actually had known each other since they were kids. But... the only person that he knew for sure had been Steve’s friend since childhood was... James Barnes, also known as Bucky. He was sure that there had been pictures of him in textbooks... maybe.
“How was it” Ned asked, finally looking up from his phone. “You were gone for a long time.”
“It was good” Peter said, “but before I talk about it can you look up a picture of James Barnes, the Howling Commando?”
“Ok...” Ned said, looking sceptical “but you better explain it to me.”
“I will” Peter said, pulling off the suit.
“Ok” Ned said, handing Peter his phone. “Take a look at this.”
The picture was obviously James in a military uniform. Now he had longer hair, more lines on his face, and looked less cheerful, but the picture was obviously him.
“Why did you ask to see a picture of someone who’s been dead for seventy years?” Ned asked, “you could have just looked it up yourself.”
“Well” Peter said, flopping on his bed and grabbing a granola bar. “I wanted you to look it up so that my opinion didn’t affect it, a double blind test. But in other news, today I met Captain America.”
“What!” Ned said sitting up quickly, “you met Captain America!?”
“Yeah” Peter said, “he... he gave me advice on my powers, and advice on keeping them in check. Apparently the powers I got from the spider bite are very similar to the effects of the super soldier serum. But the thing is, he had a friend named James with him that looked exactly like this picture. James has the serum as well.”
“You really think that he was James Barnes.” Ned said, raising an eyebrow “that seems really unlikely, because as I said, he died seventy years ago.”
“I know” Peter said. “But he had stories of Steve from when they were children, and Steve mentioned that they were both almost one hundred years old. He looked like this picture except with more lines on his face, and longer hair.”
“Huh” Ned said, “you said that they both had the serum?”
“Yeah, never said how he got it but...”
“If he did have the serum,” Ned said, “then he could have survived whatever they thought killed him. Maybe he even got frozen in ice like Captain America, who knows? But I have to ask, what was Captain America like?”
“He wasn’t like he was in the videos at all,” Peter said. “Apparently he lied on federal forms to get into Project Rebirth in the first place and generally broke a lot of rules. Like apparently having a black guy, aka Gabe Jones, in the Howling Commandos was against the rules, but he was on the team anyway. Steve was really embarrassed when I mentioned the videos, he went redder than a fire hydrant. He’s really not what I expected. James kept teasing him about the videos and told a lot of stories of Steve before the serum, most of them involved Steve breaking a rule or law somehow.”
Over the next few days they talked it over, theories of how it could have happened flowing between them, a clone, time travel, a doppelgänger, or a shapeshifter, there were so many possible explanations.
The next time Peter saw them was a few days later. He had just finished a patrol, and he saw them sitting on the edge of a building together, heads close, so he swung up to stand next to them. Steve was only wearing a flannel despite the cold air from being so high. James was wearing something more sensible, a leather jacket and biking gloves.
“Hey kiddo” James said, “how are you doing?”
“Pretty good,” Peter said, “but I have a question. This might seem crazy, but... are you James Buchanan Barnes, the Howling Commando?”
Both of them tensed and sprung to their feet, eyes darting around. He heard an odd whirring and a click-click-click as James focused on him. His glare was chilling, making Peter shrink into himself, sitting down hard. James face twisted, and Steve stood at his shoulder, glaring, and growled “how did you find this out.”
Peter couldn’t stop his mouth from spilling words, “I... I figured it out from what you said Captain America sir!”
They shared a look, keeping an eye on him, and James said gruffly, “what kind of info?”
“Well,” Peter said, “that you were both almost one hundred, you had stories about Steve before the serum, and you both had the serum, so I figured that you could have survived however they thought you died, and maybe you got frozen like Steve.”
James winced, but they looked at each other like they were having a conversation without words. James sighed heavily and sat down, looking exhausted, Steve following him.
“I’m sorry” Steve said, “we shouldn’t have scared you, it’s just... very few people know that he’s Bucky. The good people who know it wouldn’t tell anybody, so we figured that if you knew, then you had been told by one of our enemies. But if you figured it out by yourself...”
“I...” Peter said nervously, “I didn’t figure it out completely by myself.”
“Who” Steve asked sternly.
“My best friend Ned” Peter said, “he knows that I’m Spider-Man and has never said anything to anyone. He’s known my theory since just after the last time I saw you, and nothing has happened right?”
They looked at each other and sighed, looking exhausted.
“We can ask Nat” Steve said. “I’m pretty sure we’re good, but we can make sure if you need to.”
“Sure” James said, “I think we can trust him though.”
“But why” Peter asked, “are you so worried? Who’s after you? Why can’t people know who you are?”
James ducked his head, Steve put an arm over his shoulders and said “we can’t tell you much, but it’s not necessarily because we don’t trust you. He was captured by Hydra after he “died” though.”
“Wow!” Peter said “you were captured by Hydra! What did they do? How did you get away?”
They looked at each other, and Steve said “we won’t be telling you what happened, because it was terrible enough that when I read some of the files on what they did to him I had nightmares for weeks, and I’ve seen concentration camps. Those are nightmares that you really don’t need kid.”
“Now to change the subject,” James said “what’s the suit made of kid, it looks like there isn’t much protection.”
“I...” Peter said, shocked by the sudden and dramatic change of subject. “Yeah, I made it myself so it’s made of a spandex bodysuit from an old Halloween costume, it’s mostly for hiding my identity, not protection, but the elasticity is useful too with how flexible I am.”
“I guess it would be,” Steve said thoughtfully. “I always make sure that my suit is as flexible as possible, but having armour of some type is important too. I guess you haven’t fought anyone that could keep up with a super soldier, so it wouldn’t seem very important.”
“You should still improve your armour though,” James said. “We’ll help you, you could easily have someone get lucky and stick a knife in your thigh, you’d bleed out fast, super soldier or not.”
“You really think that could happen?” Peter asked, “I’m pretty fast.”
“Yeah” James said, “or maybe someone shoots you in the gut, you’d have to go to the hospital for something like that.”
Steve gave James a soft look and said, “good idea, we can’t make you a full suit, it wouldn’t be very good, but we’ll help you make your suit better.”
“Why are you helping me?” Peter asked, “I’m fourteen, I expected you to tell me that I can’t be a superhero because I’m too young.”
James laughed, “I understand that probably better than anyone, if your even half as stubborn as Steve, then I know that trying to get you to stop superheroing will only make you more likely to do it. I know that the only thing I can do is make sure that your safe as possible while you do it, and if your parents aren’t doing it, someone has to do it. But somehow I doubt that you’ve told them about this.”
“My aunt” Peter said, “it’s just my aunt and me, but no I haven’t told her, she’s protective, she’d never let me do this.”
“If you do tell her,” James said, “or if she finds out on her own, you can call me and I can talk to her. I would much rather you do it with her permission though.”
“You really think that you’d be able to convince her to let me do it?” Peter asked.
“Probably” James said.
“I’ve got it!” Steve interrupted, “I know how we can improve the defence of your suit without sacrificing much flexibility!”
“How Stevie?” James asked.
“Kevlar,” Steve said smiling. “If we use it in patches like scales under the spandex, then the spandex between them will still be very flexible, but the Kevlar scales will protect you, if we put them in the right spots. It’ll even stay pretty breathable if we plan it out properly.”
“How would we even get Kevlar?” Peter asked.
“I can probably wheedle some from Tony,” Steve said. “After the file he’s been feeling guilty, we can probably get some high quality stuff from him.”
“That’s a good idea Stevie,” James said. “We can keep the same suit, just sew Kevlar patches on the inside, it would be good protection against bullets and knives. We should probably set a time to do this though.”
“Yeah” Peter said. “Would I need to bring anything?”
“I don’t think so,” Steve said, “but you would have to bring something else to wear though, if we’re going to be working on the suit, are you going to be comfortable with showing your face to us?”
“Yeah” Peter said, “I know something secret about you, it’s only fair that you know something secret about me, and besides, if I can’t trust you then who can I trust?”
“Uh...” Steve said, but was interrupted by James.
He said, “thanks kiddo.”
“Peter” he said, pulling his mask off, “my name’s Peter Parker.”
“Would you be free this Saturday?” Steve asked, “we probably wouldn’t be able to finish it, but we could make a good start.”
“Yeah” Peter said, “but could I bring my friend Ned? He’s the one that I told about you, and really wanted to meet you guys.”
They looked at each other and James said, “sure. He can help, just be careful how you get him up here, we don’t want anyone getting curious about what’s happening up here.”
“Oh” Steve said, “and before you go, I have something for you. Here’s some high calorie food bars, they taste like sawdust, but their good for filling up with a super soldier metabolism. Eat one if you’re really hungry and don’t have much else to eat, it should fill you up pretty well.”
Steve handed him a plastic bag with what looked like several granola bars in it. “Thanks” Peter said, “but I’d better get going, see you on Saturday!”
“See you Saturday!” They chorused as he swung away.
This is why I love Bucky being Peter’s mentor so much, because he knows from experience with Steve that the harder anyone try’s to stop him, the more determined to do it he will be.
Also, I wrote most of this before I knew what Peter’s first costume was, so it’s spandex at the moment, but he will probably get the costume Tony made for him in Civil war eventually, depending on how everything works out.
As usual if you have questions, constructive criticism, ideas, or tags I forgot, please comment!
Thank you for reading!