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Castle… Parker

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Peter Parker – Father of Annie May Parker, nephew to May Parker. Author of several best-selling books, fluent in Mandarin, Spanish, and Italian, ex-husband to both Mary Jane Watson and Felicia Hardy.

Natasha Romanoff – decorated homicide detective of 12th precinct, Peter’s new inspiration / muse. Paternal grandfather emigrated from Russia before communism. She is fluent in Russian.

Annie May Parker – Daughter to Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, grandniece to May Parker, high school student 15 years old.

May Parker – Aunt to Peter Parker, great aunt to Annie May Parker, widow to Ben Parker. Actress, fluent in Italian.

Anthony ‘Tony’ Stark – detective in the 12th works with/for Natasha Romanoff, Bucky Barnes’ partner. Has fiancée Pepper Potts.

James ‘Bucky’ Barnes – Partner of Tony Stark also detective for the 12th works with/for Natasha Romanoff, former special forces, sniper training.

Mary Jane Watson Parker – Actress, flighty, first wife of Peter Parker, mother of Annie May Parker, divorced.

Felicia Hardy Parker – Marvel publishing agent for Peter Parker, second wife of Peter Parker, divorced, inspiration for character ‘the black cat’ in Peter’s books.

Nick Fury – Captain of the 12th

Wanda Maximoff – Medical examiner, Natasha Romanoff’s best friend.

 

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“There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers.”

“I'm the kind that pays better.”

“Who am I?”

“I’m Peter Parker.”

“And every writer needs inspiration, their muse…”

“…Dad”

“Well I found mine.”

“Detective Natasha Romanoff.”

“…Dad!”

“And the character I’m basing on her… Natalie ‘Black Widow’ Rushman?”

“And thanks to my friendship with the Mayor, I get to be on her case.”

“…Dad!!”

“And together we catch killers.”

“We make a pretty good team, you know. Like Booth and Bones, Turner and Hooch…”

“…DAD!!”

“Yes daughter?”

“Who are you talking to?”

“Uh no one, just myself.”

“You know that is the first sign of trouble.”

“Oh Annie May, I’m waaay past the first sign.”

“Ugh dad, that’s not a good thing.”

“Maybe not but it soo much more fun. Speaking of not fun don’t you have school?”

“Oh shi… uh shoot, I need you to sign this then you can go back to… whatever you’re doing.”

“Gasp, such foul language from my sweet little innocent spiderling.”

“Please, you’re teaching me to cuss in Mandarin.”

“That’s because if you are going to be bad, then be good at it.”

“That’s good, you should use that as the title of your autobiography.”

“Blah, that’s boring. I would rather use something like ‘When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad I'm better.’”

“Wait isn’t that…”

“Mae West, yep… look at you little miss genius.”

“Please it was Google.”

“Shh, let me have my moment.”

Dad… sign.”

“What is this another dreaded fundraiser thing?”

“No, it’s the paperwork so I can have you committed.”

“Just remember you have half my genes…”

“Thanks dad, you can go back to doing… whatever.”

“Love you, make sure you visit me in the nut house.”

“Love you too, don’t count on it.”

“Okay now, where were we…”

“Oh yes, so like I was saying my inspiration, my muse, the perfect Detective Romanoff.”

“How did this happen you might ask? Well sit back and enjoy the show.”

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“Murder... mystery... the macabre. What is it about a hard-boiled detective, a femme fatale and with a dash of the science fantasy, the comic book element that is so popular today, which keeps our bedside lamps burning into the wee hours of the morning.” The blonde-haired woman talks up the stage as she looks over to see Parker signing a woman’s chest. “However, the spell is cast, tonight we honor a master of the form and celebrate the launch of ‘Red web of Death’...”

“Give me a call when you want that reapplied.” Peter Parker one of the world’s best mystery writes and has cornered the market in blending real science and science fantasy with the noir murder mystery.

“...the stunning conclusion to his bestselling Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider mystery series. Ladies and gentlemen, the Master of the science fantasy infused mystery... Peter Parker.”

Peter is having fun yet bored out of his mind. He loves to write and research, even meeting and talking to people but this glad handling whirlwind of sycophants and hangers on.

But Peter knows his part in the show. He’s as much a trained monkey as the talent. So, he smiles brightly, laughs loudly and signs autographs until his hand hurts.

Not that a few of the places he signs don’t make the ache in his wrist worth it.

“Parker, what kind of loser kills off his best-selling main character?”

“Felicia, are you asking as my bloodsucking publisher or as my bloodsucking ex-wife?”

“Oh, is that what you're doing? Punishing me by killing the golden goose?”

“Oh, come on. I'm not that petty and short-sighted.”

“Okay, enlighten me?”

“Writing Ben used to be fun. Now it's like work.”

“Oh, heaven forbid you should work… I mean, you could have retired him. You could have crippled him. You could have sent him to go live in a cabin in the woods. But, no, you had to put a bullet through his head.”

“Don't worry, Ben Reilly isn’t the golden goose here. I am. I wrote half a dozen bestsellers before him. What makes you think I'm gonna to stop now?”

“Oh, I don't know. The fact the new book was due three months ago.”

“You can't rush the ‘golden goose’”.

“Peter, I’ve heard you haven't written in months. Is the golden goose constipated?”

“First of all, eww gross. Second don’t be ridiculous. You weren’t this demanding when you had a character in my books.”

“Oh yeah, the ‘black cat’, funny how as we were splitting up so was Ben and the black cat. Now, I’m surprised you didn’t kill her along with Ben.”

“Toyed with the idea, but she’s too rich a character to just throw away.”

“Look Peter, if I don't have a new manuscript on my desk in the next month, Marvel publishing is prepared to demand the return of your advance.” Felicia lobed her finial shot.

Peter narrowed his eyes in anger, “You won’t dare.”

“Oh honey, till death do us part is nothing, compared to a publishing contract.”

“Oh wait,” Peter said lightly as she walked away. “I already returned that advance. I spent it divorcing you.”

Peter turns to his daughter and May, he doesn’t need to see the middle finger lovingly given to him by Felicia, he does smile.

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A beautiful red headed woman walks down the hall two men flank behind her. As she approaches the door a uniformed officer guarding it, nods. “Detective Romanoff.”

As she steps through the door, she gives him a small tight smile and a nod of acknowledgment.

“what do we have?”

“Sarah Davis, 23 graduate student, social work program.”

Natasha looks around at the very nice upscale apartment.

Bucky is the one to make the comment. “Pretty nice place for a grad student?”

“Daddy’s money.” Tony told his partner and detective Romanoff.

Natasha walked around the body of the woman covered in rose petals with two sunflowers covering her eyes. She looks at the body with a critical eye. “No signs of a struggle?”

Tony checking his notes, “No.”

That means “It’s likely she knew them…”

“Well, whomever it was did bring her flowers. Who says romance is dead?” Wanda Maximoff, medical examiner says as she steps into the room to begin her own examination.

Whispering, Natasha side-eye Wanda, “I do almost every Friday and Saturday night.”

“Well if you actually went out…” Wanda said.

Seeing Natasha looking droll at her, she adds “What? I’m just saying.”

“What can you tell me?” Natasha says moving on to the case.

Wanda does her own lap around the table that is holding the flower cover young woman. Using Forceps to check under the flowers. CSI has already taken the pictures and has stepped away to let the medical examiner do what she needs to do, once the body has been removed, they will go back and collect the rest of the evidence. She reviews the notes made by the CSI tech, of the body.

“It looks like they gave her two bullets I’m guessing small caliber, but I won’t know until I get it back to the morgue. Same for TOD (time of death) … Nat, are you okay?” Wanda said looking at Nat to see a distance look on her face.

“Does this look familiar to anyone?” she looks up to see several blank faces.

“You are the one with the kink for the freaky stuff. I’m fine with a plain old robbery gone wrong or jack found Jill with bill… or Jill found Bill with Jack, I ain’t picky.” Bucky said half joking.

“Yeah but the ‘freaky stuff’ is more exciting.” Natasha said as she walks over to the two men. “They reveal more.”

Natasha indicates to the victim, “Look how they left her: her femininity covered modestly...”

“And?”

“And, despite all the effort, all the preparation, she won’t have been sexual abused because whoever did this cared her, in some regard.”

“You got all that, from the placement of some flower petals.

When had she saw the bookcase, it clicked. “That, plus I’ve seen this before.”

“This? Where?” Bucky asked surprised this is a new one for him.

“It’s from the book…’Her flower grave’ by Peter Parker?” again she is met with blank looks. “Don’t you people read?”

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Peter smiles whenever he sees his little baby girl. His proud smile turns into a smirk when he sees she’s doing homework. It’s funny how she can be so much like him, yet so different.

When he was her age, he might have done something similar.

“Honey, who does homework at something like this?” May said as she walked up to Annie May who is sitting at the bar working on her physics homework.

“I have a big test day after tomorrow.” Annie May said looking from her textbook to her notebook putting in notes.

May looked at her smirking, “So do I. Liver function. You don’t see me studying.”

Peter walked up as May turned to the bartender. “glass of the sparkly please.”

“Make it two.” Peter said as he leaned over to kiss his daughter. “Hi honey.”

“Hi dad.”

“Oh, hey must be weak sales this isn’t top shelf.”

May, did you tell Felicia about my writing troubles?”

“I would never do that…” She faltered when Peter gave her a droll look.

“I may have said something about spending your time in your pajamas playing video games, but hey, you’re an artist. It’s to be expected!” May said cheery

“May, we have a deal, you get to live with us, and all I ask is you don’t spread rumors about me, especially to my ex-wife.”

“What is there to talk about? You haven’t been writing…” May said feeling slightly defensive.

“May…” Annie May said she agrees with her dad.

Peter not wanting his family to be at odds, plays the peacemaker, he gently said. “Whatever I have and haven’t done, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t share it with my ex-wife.”

“Oh, what’s the harm? If you ask me, she’s still in love with you.” May added having seen the look the other woman would sometimes throw his way.

Peter with the self-deprecating humor he’s known for jokingly says, “If by love you mean loathe, then yes, she is still very much in love with me.”

May suddenly spots an older good-looking man who walks by, “Hang on, sweetie. I just got a hit on my Grey-dar.” She zones in on the man’s ring hand. “No ring. Stand back, kids. Momma’s going fishing.”

Peter watched as May walked over the man. He turned back to look at the best thing he’s ever had a hand in producing. Despite all the fame and wealth, the books and awards. His daughter is the best thing in his life.

“You should have me committed.” Peter said only half joking.

“For letting May move in. I think it’s sweet.” Annie May says

“Won’t be when I strangle her.”

Dad

“Kidding… mostly” he said the last part quietly.

He takes the two glasses of champagne and placed one in front of her, smirking as he knows what she’ll do.

“Dad, you know I’m only 15 years old, right?”

Peter smiles as he takes a sip, “Yes, but you’re an old soul.”

“Well me and my soul can wait.” Annie May said as she used two fingers to move the glass away from her.

Peter still wanting her to live a full life. “You know, when I was your age...” he stops himself then looks at her, “I can’t tell that story, it would be wildly inappropriate. Which is my point. Don’t you want to have wildly inappropriate stories that you can’t tell your children?”

Annie May while working on her schoolwork, just says “I think you and Uncle Johnny had enough of those for both of us.”

“Life should be an adventure. You know why I killed Ben? There were no more surprises. I knew exactly what was going to happen in every scene.” Peter looks around at the very predictable nature of the party, “Like these parties. It’s all become so predictable ‘I’m your number 1 fan’ ‘Where did you get your inspiration?’”

Annie May looks at her father and adds, “And the ever popular ‘Will you sign my chest?’”

“I kinda like that part.” Peter said honestly.

“FYI, I don’t.”

Peter just adds “Just once I’d like something new to happen.”

“Mr. Parker.” A voice spoke out behind him.

Peter turns around taking out the marker, he smiles seeing a beautiful red headed woman with a no nonsense look in her green eyes. “where would you like it?” as he uncapped the marker.

“Mr. Parker. Detective Romanoff. NYPD. We need to ask you a few questions about a murder that took place tonight.” The woman… Detective Romanoff shows them her badge.

Annie May leans up and over her father’s shoulder, she grabs the marker. “Be careful what you wish for, dad.”

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Peter is seating in an interrogation room. He’s been in a couple in his misspent youth.

He feels a smile come to his face when the beautiful detective walks in holding a folder. “Mr. Parker... You’ve got quite a rap sheet for a bestselling author. Disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.”

“Yeah the products of a misspent youth.”

“It says here you stole a police horse?” Natasha said looking up at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Borrowed.”

“In the nude?”

“It was summer, and we were hot.”

“Yet all the chargers were dropped.” Natasha added very unamused.

“What can I say, it helps to have fans in high places.” Peter said, then with a smirk adds, “But if it makes you feel better, I’d be happy to let you spank me.”

“Mr. Parker, this whole bad boy charm thing you think you’ve got, might work with bimbos and sycophant. Me? I work for a living, so either you’re the guy who makes my job easier or the guy who makes it harder. Take a guess which one I prefer.”

Natasha takes a photo out of the folder of a young blond woman. “Sarah Davis daughter of business mogul Thomas Davis.”

“Okay?”

“You ever meet her? Charity event? Book party? After party?”

“It’s possible, but she’s not in my little black book if that’s what you’re implying. Why?”

“She’s dead.”

Natasha pulls out the photo of a brunette male in his late 30s. “How about this man, Michael Bennett, Bankruptcy Lawyer.”

Peter almost looks amused, “I can assure you I’ve never needed a bankruptcy lawyer. So, what does this have to do with me?”

“Bennett was murdered in his office last week. I didn’t put it together until I saw the Davis crime scene tonight.” Natasha said as she pulls two more photos out of the folder.

She placed a photo from the Davis crime scene in Peter’s hand.

“Her flower grave.” Peter said quietly.

She places the other photo in his hands showing the man in a ritualistic pose. “and this one, hell hath no fury.”

Peter looks up and smiles “it seems I have a fan.”

“A psycho fan.”

“You don’t look psycho to me.”

“Huh?”

“’Hell, hath no fury’? Come on only hard-core Parker fans have read that. ‘Former mild-mannered woman accused of several very heinous murders, all in an attempt by her father to draw her out and complete the process to bring forth her abilities’. Not my best work.”

“Do you ever get disturbing fan mail?”

“Oh, detective Romanoff, all my fan mail is disturbing. Occupational hazard.”

“Because sometimes in these cases. The killer…”

Peter nodding takes over the statement. “The killer attempts to contact his obsession. I’m very familiar with psychopathic methodologies. Another occupational hazard.” Peter knowing he’s pushing his luck leans forward. “do you know you have the most beautiful green eyes?”

Peter watches as her walls come up, “You won’t mind if we take a look at your mail?”

“Knock yourself out.”

“Good, I think we’re done here.” Natasha abruptly gets up and walks out the door.

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Peter takes an uber back to his penthouse. He can hear music and singing before he opens the door. He looks over into the spacious living room to see the same older good-looking gentleman on the piano while May is singing a song from one of the many musicals she’s done over the years. She waves at Peter without interrupting the song.

Peter just glances at the clock to see it’s after midnight he spots Annie May at the kitchen island with earphones on still hard at work with homework.

He walks over to her and plucking one of the earphones out he says, “You’re missing the show.”

“I caught the preview.”

“Who’s the new lead?”

“His name is Happy, apparently he’s magic.”

Peter walking to the fridge to get something to snack on, grabs a can of whip cream, then as he comes back says in Mandarin, “Zài yīgè xuéxiào zhī yè de wǔyè zhīhòu. Don’t you turn into a pumpkin or something?” (It’s after midnight on a school night.)

“Not when the cops take your father away. How was the slammer? Anyone make you their bitch?” Annie May asked with a smirk that is almost a mirror of his.

“Unfortunately, spiderling I still belong to you.” Peter smirks, then sprays some whip cream in his mouth.

He holds it over Annie May offering.

Shaking her head, “I already brushed.”

“Too bad.” Peter takes another squirt then heads down the hallway. He’s preoccupied.

Annie May follows or rather holds his arm as he drags her down the hall. “So, are you going to tell me what happened? Or do I need to find out from the fan sites.”

“Nah ah, we have a deal, you surf the web to your little heart’s content as long as you stay away from the fan websites.” Peter said as he swings his little girl around in front of him. Leaning down to kiss the top of her head.

“Seriously, Dad. Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“Despite my best efforts, no. They want my help on a case...” Peter says as he walks into his reading room.

“A case?” she says not hiding how much she doubts it.

“Yes, Debby doubter, a case. Someone has been killing people the way I do in my books.” Peter says as he sets the whip cream can down on the table, as he goes to the shelf that has all his novels.

“Oh, that’s horrible.”

“Yeah.”

“How many?”

“Two so far.” Peter says as he pulls the two books in question out.

“Are you okay?”

Peter looks up at her, she’s genuinely upset. Not that it surprises him. She has inherited his compassionate nature.

Even if his cynical side shows more.

“Yeah, it just doesn’t make sense…”

“Well, killing rarely does.”

“Nope. Killing, or at least the motivation behind it, usually makes a great deal of sense. Passion, greed, politics. What’s senseless here are the books the killer chose.” He shows her the two books, “’Hell Hath No Fury’? ‘Her Flower Grave’? Some of my lesser works. Why would a psychotic pick those?”

Annie May says, like it’s a given, “Maybe because they are psychotic?”

Peter knows it can’t be that easy.

She takes his hand, “come on it’s time for bed. You can play with your psycho tomorrow.”

“Ha ha.” Peter sets the books down as they head out of the reading room. “Want a piggyback ride?”

“I’m too old for that.”

“Then I want one?” Peter said joking.

“You’re too old for that.” She says as she swings around and jumps on her dad’s back. They both laugh as he gives her a piggyback ride to her room, dropping her onto her bed. He gives her one more kiss on her forehead and as he walks out, “goodnight spiderling, sweet dreams.” He shuts off the light and door then heads to his own bed.

He has an idea starting to brew. He’ll have a few calls to make tomorrow morning.

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The next day, Natasha walks in the precinct with a box full of books. She heads straight over to Tony and Bucky.

“What is that?” Bucky asked

“Parker’s greatest hits. Review the murder scenes so we don’t miss anything.” She answers handing one of the books to each.

“Have they made them into movies yet?” Bucky asked.

Tony holding up the open cover of the book, smugly says “From the personal library of Natasha Romanoff.”

“You got a problem with reading Stark?”

“Ah you’re a fan.” Bucky says amused

“Of the genre.” Natasha is quick to defend herself.

“Right, that’s why you’re blushing.” Tony said. But knows not to push it farther, opens the book.

“Look for whatever reason the killer has chosen to kill these two people in a way Parker has, there has to be a connection, why these two people.”

Natasha goes back to her desk. She starts to do her paperwork.

Bucky looks at her for a few minutes then stands to go sit next to Nat, “I work homicides all day, the last thing I want to do when I go home is read about more.”

He can tell that she’s staying quiet.

He adds “It just seems a little... Is it because in a book, the bad guys always get caught?”

“Don’t you wonder sometimes, Bucky?”

“Wonder about what?”

“How people can do this to others, without any regards for life…”

She picks up ‘her flower grave.’ “Whoever did this, read Parker’s books. Drew inspiration from them. Somewhere in all these pages could be the answer to where they’ll strike next.”

Bucky gets back up going back to his desk. He’ll flip through the pages and skim the murder scenes. For her.

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Later that day, Natasha walks down the hall with several uniform officers behind her, she and they have mailboxes full of letters. Tony walks up, “Is that Parker’s fan mail?”

“Yeah, his fans love him almost as much as he does. Could you drop this off in the empty conference room, please?”

She spots Bucky walking over to her, “did you hear back from the lab?”

“Just like you said no prints or DNA. Both sites were clean. Whomever it is, they are very careful.”

“So, we can’t find any connection between them?” Natasha feeling a little frustrated.

With a smirk he indicates behind her with his head, “Other than your boy there, nothing.”

Natasha whips her head around to see Peter Parker standing in their captain office.

She looks back, “what is he doing here?”

“Maybe he likes you.” Bucky answers as he walks away to watch the potential train wreck from a distance.

Fury calls her over to his office. “Detective Romanoff.”

“Yes, captain?”

“Mr. Parker has offered to help in this investigation.”

“Really.”

Peter adds trying not to smile too much, “I think it’s the least I can do, for the city I love.”

“Yes and given the nature of the crime scenes I agree.” Fury turns to Peter and shakes his hand as Pete steps out of the office.

Natasha in one last attempt to derail this asks. “Sir can I talk to you please, in private?”

“Nope.” Fury simply says as he closes the door to his office.

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After several hours of going through the fan mail. Natasha is ignoring the way Peter seems to stare at her from over the letters. Until she’s had enough, “What!”

“It’s just, the way your brow furrows when you’re concentrating. It’s cute.”

“Can I ask you something.” She has put up with him long enough.

“Of course.”

“Why are you here? You don’t care about the victims, so you aren’t here for justice. You don’t care that the guy is copycatting your books, so you aren’t here because you’re outraged. So, what is it, Parker? Are you here to annoy me?”

“I’m here for the story?”

“Story?”

“Yeah, why these people. Why these books.”

“There isn’t always a story, sometime a psychopath kills just because he can.”

“There’s always a story, a chain of events that makes it all make sense.” Peter puts the letter down to look fully at the woman sitting across the conference room table from him.

He adds “Take you for example... Under normal circumstances, you should not be here. Most smart, good looking women become lawyers, not cops. And yet here you are. Why?” he left it open for her to answer.

“You seem to be the expert, you tell me?” Natasha said willing to humor the man for now, once he gets whatever it is out of his system he’ll leave, and she can get back to work.

“In spite of your exotic name. You’re a native New Yorker, but not bridge and tunnel, no trace of the boroughs when you talk. That means Manhattan and that means money. You went to college, a good one. You had options. Yeah, you had lots of options. Yet you still chose this. That tells me something happened. Not to you - you’re wounded but not that wounded. It was somebody you cared about. Someone you loved. You could’ve lived with that, but the person responsible was never caught. And that, Detective Romanoff… is why you’re here.” Peter said, he can tell as he’s speaking that he’s right based on the way she’s subtle reacting.

“Neat trick, but don’t think you know me.” Natasha said looking down to regain her composure.

Peter says quietly as if in apology for hitting so close to home. “Point is, there’s always a story. You just have to find it.”

All the conflicted feelings went away when she reads the letter in her hand. It is crayon image of both crime scenes. She holds it up, “I think we just found it.”

Natasha had CSI take the letter, then she goes back to her desk to write up the report. Peter with nothing better decides to follow. He takes the time to talk to the others in the squad room.

He’s in the process of learning about Bucky’s life before becoming a cop when Natasha gets a call.

After she hangs up she says, “Lab techs found prints on the letter.”

Peter getting excited asks, “Whose?”

“Don’t know the system is backlogged, up to a week.”

“A week?”

“Welcome to reality, Mr. Big shot.”

Peter takes his cell phone out, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” As a woman answers the phone, “hey Maria, it’s Peter Parker, is he available?”

When both Bucky and Natasha look at him funny. “Like I said the mayor’s a fan.”

“Yo big E, it’s Petey. Yeah, of course!” Peter gets up to have his conversation in a more private area. “Well, I don’t know where you went, we looked all over for you…”

Bucky watches as the guy he just spent almost an hour talking to, have a casual conversation with his boss’s, boss’s, boss. “The guy has the mayor on speed dial… The rich really are different.”

Natasha looks up and says, “You want him, he’s yours.”

Bucky with a big grin response, “A control freak like you with something you can’t control… oh no this will be as the kids say, epic.”

About that time Peter walks back into the squad room having hung up the phone. He plops back into the chair saying, “We should have the prints within the hour.”

Natasha feels herself cringe. “Mr. Parker.”

Peter slides over “Yes?”

“Half the guys here are waiting for lab work. You can’t just jump the line.” Natasha says like she’s scolding a child.

Peter working to keep the smirk off his face, response with, “Why?”

“What… Why, there are procedures, we have protocol…”

“Yes, and you always go the speed limit and come to a complete stop. You ever have any fun? Let your hair down. Little cops gone wild.”

“You do know I carry a firearm, right?” She said

“Hmm, promises, promises.” Peter smirks, its fun to get under her skin.

Tony hangs up the desk phone. “Hey Romanoff, we got another one, similar MO. In midtown.”

All four get up and put on their coats. Heading out to the crime scene.

Chapter Text

They arrive at a nice apartment complex in midtown, to the pool area. Spot a woman floating face down in the water, wearing a green prom dress. She has a large knife sticking out of her back.

Both Natasha and Peter softly say, “Death of a prom queen.”

The uniform officer at the door tells them, “Maintenance workers found her about an hour ago.”

“Has CSU done what they need to?” She asked.

“I believe so ma’am.”

“Okay, let’s get her out of the water for the examiner.” She spoke to the two technicians in wet suits to get the body out of the water and check for any evidence.

She turns to Peter saying, “Stay.”

Peter with a small grin, “woof.”

Natasha waits until she’s turned away, before she lets a small smile show on her face, before she wipes it away to be professional. She heads over to Tony and Bucky interviewing the maintenance man.

Peter looks around and then after fighting the urge to either twiddle his thumbs or rock on his heels and whistle out of boredom. He makes his way over to the body and the medical examiner.

Peter kneels near the body far enough away not to interfere with the examiner. Who is currently looking at him, with a raised eyebrow.

“Hi, Peter Parker, I’m consulting.”

“Wait Peter Parker the author?” Suddenly she’s interested. Peter puts on his public smile.

“On my better days.”

“Wanda Maximoff. Medical Examiner. I love your books. You have a real gift with the details of death.” Wanda takes off her gloves to shake his hand.

Natasha looks over to see Peter talking to Wanda. She steps over to find out what’s going on. As she gets close, she can hear them talking about the details he puts into his book about the medical examiners.

Peter stands back up and looks at Natasha as she gets up to them.

“I told you to stay, over there.” Natasha sees a cute little pout show on his face… wait cute? It isn’t cute.

Peter says, “But I was lonely.”

Natasha turns to Wanda, “What can you tell me.”

“Not much until I can get her back to the morgue. I can tell you it was not a stabbing.”

Peter wanting to be helpful jumps in, “Lack of blood around the wound means she was dead before it happened and the lack of foam around her mouth suggests she didn’t drown either.”

Wanda looks at Peter impressed, “Oh you are good.”

Peter flashes her, his winning smile. “She was killed first, then posed, just like the others.” He added

“Yeah, I know. Can I talk to you over here?” Natasha asks as she grabs Peters arm and pulls him over.

Peter knowing he’s in trouble flashes his puppy dog look that usually gets him out of trouble with most of the women in his life. “What’s wrong?”

“This is a homicide investigation, not Disneyland. When I give an order, I expect you to obey it.”

“Then you don’t know me very well.” Peter says he then looks back at the body, “You know… in my book the dress was red, not green.”

“Don’t change the subject…” Natasha started to say.

“Did Bennett and Davis know each other?”

“We still can’t find a connection between them.”

“What about motivation?” Peter pressed on.

“The third body suggests serial killer, so motivate could be anything.”

Peter knowing that something is off but can’t figure it out. When Natasha’s phone rings.

“Romanoff... really? Okay. Where is it? Great thanks.”

“They got a match off the print. James Thompson. He’s in Brooklyn. Let’s go.” Natasha shouted to Tony and Bucky. “Uniforms are in route.”

---------------------------

Several police vehicles pull up in front of a building. Tony and Bucky exit one of the vehicles as several uniformed officers do as well. A couple head to the back to make sure the exits are covered.

Natasha pauses looking at Peter, “I really mean it… stay this time. We don’t know how dangerous the situation is and he is obsessed with you.”

“Okay,” when he sees her look at him, “really, scouts honor.” Peter holds up four fingers close together.

Peter does wait for a bit, before getting out and following.

Natasha, Tony, and Bucky lead a team down to the apartment and enter.

As they clear it, they are shocked at the amount of Parker related material is there. Including every book written, and what might be every article published.

They find a blouse from the second victim and a small caliber handgun. They also find what looks like a shrine to Parker on top of all the material already out.

“Meh, that’s not the worst shrine I’ve ever seen.” Peter said, revealing he is there.

Natasha wants to be surprised, however the disappointed look she gives him is all she shows.

“I forgot the scouts honor is three fingers not four… plus I was never a scout.”

Before anyone can say anyone else. They hear a thudding sound from the back closet.

Weapons are drawn and they make their way to where the sound is coming from.

The door is thrown open to find a young man with a knife cutting his leg not to deeply, rocking back and forth muttering “Get out of my house… get out of my house.”

Natasha had everyone backup, it’s clear that the man is having issues. “that’s James Thompson we want to take him alive. Back up and give him some room…”

“James, hey James it’s Peter Parker, I was wondering if we could talk. You sent me some mail.” Peter said softly getting near the door, putting up a hand when Natasha was about to either yell or grab him. He doesn’t want the young man killed. He’s not sure the kid is a killer. Peter has interviewed killers and he doesn’t buy it.

James looks up when he hears the name and the voice. He spots the source of his obsession. “Mr. Parker?”

“Yes, James, can you come out and talk to me? May I have the knife, I don’t want you to hurt yourself.” Peter continues to keep his voice soft and even. He forces himself to not move closer.

“To many people, to many people… get out, get out…”

“Hey, James, if I have a few people leave will that make you feel better?”

“Yes… get out, to many.”

“Okay, James.” Peter turns to Natasha not looking forward to the argument she will likely have with him. “Please detective send the SWAT team out, they don’t have to leave the building, but if they are away, I might be able to talk him out. Without anyone dying.”

Natasha goes against her instincts, but she wants everyone to get out alive as well. She turns to the team leader, quietly saying, “pull your team back to the hallway.”

As the team quietly moves back, Natasha turns to the uniform officers as well. “Everyone, pull back please.”

Shortly it’s only Natasha, Peter, Tony, and Bucky in the apartment. Tony and Bucky are in the back of the room, with their weapons holstered but hands still on them.

Peter turns to give James his full attention. “Okay James can you come out to join me. Also, can I have the knife please?”

“It’s okay, we don’t want to hurt you, please James. It’s okay, can you put the knife down?” Natasha said softly very slowly moving next to Peter, one to show she’s with Peter and two to protect him if she needs to.

James his eyes cast down still rocking, he slowly put the knife down.

Peter asks, “Is it okay if I reach in to take it?” he can see Natasha stiffen up but doesn’t react otherwise.

“Please James, I want you to be safe. May I reach in and pick it up?”

James while still rocking flings his hand out to push the knife way.

Both Peter and Natasha stiffen up, Natasha is about 2 seconds from throw Peter away and having the SWAT team come in to continue the young man.

Peter knowing Natasha isn’t going to let this go on much longer. He very slowly reaches out his hand as he keeps an eye on James.

The three cops in the room hold their breath as Peter’s hand closes around the handle and slowly moves it out of the closet and sets it quietly away from the door. “Thank you, James, now do you want to come out of the closet?”

“No, no better in here.” James says.

“can you tell me why it’s better in there?” Natasha said now that the danger seems to have passed, she wants to try to get James out of the closet.

“to many, to many people, missed up my stuff, man moved my stuff.”

“James it’s just you and me here, can we talk, if you feel better can you come out here? I promise it’s safe here.” Peter said

James starts to rock less, the tense in his body starts to relax.

Bucky shifted slightly which made James tense up again.

Peter looked at Natasha with a raised eyebrow.

She did not look happy about but with a slight nod she turns to the others and softly asks them to wait in the other room.

Tony and Bucky don’t look to happy about leaving their partner without any backup.

Because while they like Peter, he’s almost as much of an unknown as James.

They reluctantly step out of the room.

Peter turns back to James, “It’s okay, can you come out?”

James still rocking shakes his head no.

“that’s okay, can I talk to you?” James doesn’t indicate no so Peter takes that as a yes.

“Can you tell me why you were in the closet?”

“To many people, strange people in my house, messing with my stuff.”

“Okay, all the other people are gone, can I help you put the stuff back?”

“No, too much.”

“James can you come out now. We have a few questions we need to ask you.”

Peter takes a chance he slowly reaches his hand in to help James out. “Can I help you?”

Natasha’s anxiety at the situation is back up.

James reaches out to take the hand, allowing to be pulled out of the closet.

“Thank you, James, now, the beautiful detective here she needs to put some handcuffs on you, but it will be okay, I’m still here.”

Natasha slowly pulls his arms behind him, putting the cuffs on slowly. James stiffens up when, but Peter keeps his hand on the shoulder.  She quickly pats him down to make sure there are no other weapons or other dangerous items on him.

After the cuffs are on Bucky and Tony walk back in to escort the prisoner out.

James stiffens up again and they can see his fight or flight instincts are kicking in.

Peter moves in front of him, forcing James to look at him. “James, it’s okay. We are going to the same place, okay, the beautiful detective just needs to talk to me for a few minutes. I will be with you all the way. Okay?”

Bucky gently places his hand on the upper arm of James to guide him out. Tony steps out to send SWAT out and have a few of the uniformed officers wait for CSU to go through the apartment.

Bucky who has dealt with people who have similar issues. Makes sure his voice as well as his movements are slow and gentle.

Once they leave the room, Peter waits for Natasha to yell at him.

“Thank you.” Natasha simply said, she knew if he had not been there, the young man would likely have been wounded or killed. She knows Parker is expecting to be yelled at by the surprised look he is giving.

“I, I just don’t want him to be killed.” Peter said.

Peter looks back to the knife he tossed way, the blood for the light cuts he had on his leg, still visible. “he was trying to center himself with the pain.” He said quietly.

“I know, that’s the main reason I let you continue.”

It was on the tip of Peter’s tongue to make some sort of joke likely immature and/or sexually laden to ease the tension, but this isn’t a romantic comedy and Peter is just relieved that nobody is hurt.

Peter just turns to walk out. He promised James he would be with him every step of the way.

He saw out of the corner of his eye Natasha pull her phone out to make a call. He walked up to where the vehicles are, seeing Bucky and Tony standing next to their vehicle. He walks over to get in the back seat with James.

Tony reached out to stop him before he opened the door to get in. “whoa, what do you think you are doing?”

“I’m riding back with James like I promised.” Peter said all joking aside.

“If you are back there then we won’t be able to help you if something happens.”

“Relax detective I promise my corpse won’t sue you if something happens.” Peter said only half joking.

To prove his point, he opened the door and slid in the backseat. He turned to speak softly to James after putting on his seat belt. “James, are you doing okay?”

James is back to rocking, his arms still handcuffed behind him he’s movements are limited. Peter having been handcuffed in the back of a cop car during his youth. He knows that talking to him will help.

Before they can speak farther both Bucky and Tony got in closing the doors as softly as possible. Then they head back to the precinct.

Natasha walked out of the building to see Peter in the back of her partner’s car with the suspect.

She sighs, while she’s okay with him riding back to keep the suspect calm she will have to remind him he is still the primary suspect in 3 homicides.

Entering her vehicle, she heads back to the station. Hopefully the EMTs will be there to give the suspect the meds he needs to be lucid.

As she enters the station, she sees a woman strawberry blond hair with a medical bag she and Peter are softly talking to the suspect. She had just injected him with the medicine.

“thank you, Dr. Potts is, it?” Peter said.

“yes Mr. Parker, may I ask why you are here? His obsession is of you…”

“I know, just, I want to help, is there anything I can do? Pay his medical bills, get him treatment anything?” Peter asked.

“That’s admirable Mr. Parker but despite what people say, he is getting the best care.”

“Okay, I… just if he needs anything. Please let me know.”

“I would love to, but Mr. Parker you are neither family nor legal guardian and HIPPA rules don’t allow me to talk to you about Mr. Thompson.” She said.

“Dr. Potts, thank you for coming down to get our suspect calm. Can you tell me anything about his condition?” Natasha said walking up. As Bucky gently escorted the suspect into the interview room.

“Actually, it would be the case worker that would give you the information, but they have spent the last couple of days scrambling to find him a new one.”

Peter spoke before Natasha could, “Let me guess his case worker was, Sarah Davis.”

With a look of surprise, the doctor said, “Yes, how did you know?”

“We believe the suspect killed her, as well as two others and made them look like scenes from Mr. Parker’s book.” Natasha said.

“He has pervasive developmental disorder or P.D.D. so it’s possible.” The doctor said then added, “He’s fixation on your books… on you. As well as having a history of delusions. He had developmental issues at a young age.”

“Dr. Potts, how long will it take before we can talk to him?” Captain Fury asked he had walked over to listen to what was being said.

“Unfortunately, he is on some pretty heavy anti-psychotics. You will need at least another 30 minutes before you will get anything out of him.”

Fury has heard enough, he turns to Natasha, “While we wait for that, call the DA and get him a Legal Aid.”

It’s all too fast for Peter, “Wait that’s it? What about the other two victims?”

Tony walked over with the answer, “I can answer that, his place of employment is a diner in the neighborhood of the other two victims and their credit card statements show they’ve eaten there.”

Natasha added when she could tell that Peter is not convinced “What more do you want Mr. Parker? The evidence was in his apartment and we can connect him to all three victims.”

Turning to Dr. Potts, “Thank you Dr. Potts I’ll have someone escort you down.”

“I can do it.” Tony said a little too eagerly. He had been smitten by the doctor as soon as she walked into the door.

“Why thank you, detective…” Dr. Pepper Potts asked she had noticed the handsome detective as well.

“Anthony Stark, but please call me Tony.” He said as he offered his arm to her.

“Nice to meet you Tony, I’m Virginia Potts, but you can call me Pepper.” She said as she put her arm though his.

“Dr. Pepper?” Tony said with an easy smile.

Her laugh warmed his heart as the elevator door closed.

Peter walked closer to the interview room. He looks through the window to see James rocking back and forth in the chair staring off into nothing.

Natasha walked over to him, “Mr. Parker, go home, there is nothing more you can do for him.”

Peter turned to her, “it’s just… it’s just too easy, my readers… I don’t buy it.”

“This isn’t one of your books, Parker. In the real world, if we find a guy standing over a body with the murder weapon, he’s usually the one who did it.” Natasha said softly not unsympathetic to his feelings. She walked away to do paperwork while they wait for a legal aid and the medicine to kick in.

Peter turned and knowing he can’t do any more tonight. He almost absentmindedly grabs his coat and walks out of the building without speaking to anyone.

Natasha watched him leave. She walked over to the window and watched as he hailed then got into a taxi. 

She takes a deep breath, she’s also not 100% convinced the kid did it. Her gut is saying he’s innocent. She walks back to her desk to look over the information one more time.

30 minutes later Fury leaned out of his office, “Romanoff, Barnes, Stark, finish write up your reports and get the evidence ready for the DA, there is no legal aid available tonight. Thompson is going to psych ward for tonight.”

Bucky and Tony finished their reports and grabbed a box to put the murder board evidence in it for the DA.

“I’ll get that, you guys go on home. I want to look over it all once more.”

‘Nat… it’s in the hands of the DA now.”

“No, it’s just the kid has been in and out of the system without the proper treatment. The notes from the case worker state he was doing well, his job had no problems…”

“I don’t need to remind you that she was killed, he had opportunity and it fits his profile. Just because it doesn’t fit 100% doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Plus, he was hiding in his closet when he heard us coming. Trust me, this kid definitely knew right from wrong.” Bucky said.

“He may know right from wrong, but him being in the closet, isn’t an indicator of that. He was in the middle of an episode. I just, I don’t know.”

“Nat, all we can do is present our evidence to the DA they will make the case or not.”

“I know, I just want to spend a little more time going over the case.”

“Okay, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about this city, when it comes to homicide detectives, we have plenty of job security.” Bucky said

Tony added, “My old partner used to say ‘my day begins, when your day ends’”

Both Tony and Bucky shut down for the night and head out. As Natasha pulls out the notes and looks over the murder board one more time.

-----------------------------------

Evening in the Parker penthouse. Peter is sitting at a poker table with a blond man about his age sitting next to him. Across from him is an older man with glasses. On the other side of him is a beautiful blond woman.

The blond man holding his cards tosses a few chips on the pile, “Twenty to you Carol.” He said to the blond woman next to Peter.

“You’re bluffing Storm.”

“Put up some of that best seller money and find out, Danvers.”

“Bet’s to you Petey… Peter.” The man said looking as Peter is staring at his cards.

“Huh, oh sorry.” Peter threw the needed chips into the pile.

The older man spoke, “I recognize that look. You’ve got story troubles.”

“You should have never killed off Reilly.” Storm said

“Yeah, he was money.” Carol said smirking at Peter

Peter looks at them both, “Just for that, Johnny, Carol I’m going to call.”

The older man looks at him “what’s the problem maybe we can help?”

“It’s about a famous writer. Turns out some psycho is staging murders like in his books.”

“A little self-aggrandizing, don’t you think?” Carol said

“This is Parker we’re talking about.” The older man said smile at him to let him know he’s teasing.

“I learned it from you, Mr. Stan ‘the man’ Lee.” Peter said to the man that gave him his first break at Marvel publishing. You could say he made Peter the man he is today.

“Anyway, the crime scene’s clean. No prints, no DNA. But the killer writes the author a fan letter and leaves his prints on it. The cops are able to track him down and in the apartment is all the evidence they need for a conviction.” Peter continued.

“And then?” Johnny asked

“That’s it.”

“Wait, that’s it?” Carol asked

“Yeah, they arrest him.” Peter finished.

Carol looks at him strangely, “No wonder you’re stuck, that is a terrible story.”

“Yeah, I’m not my sister, but that just doesn’t fit… the crime scenes are clean, but the letter has his prints?” Johnny said looking as perplexed as Carol.

“I agree with the hothead, he is definitely not his sister. You also lost me there with the convenience of it all.” Carol added smirking at Johnny, she knows that his old nickname from his younger days will always get his goat.

“You know what Ms. Marvelous; you can kiss my…”

“Jonathan, Carol…” Stan said simply shutting them both down, he has always had the ability to do that.

Then Peter sees the same slight smile that always seems to say ‘I know more then I’m letting on’, “Peter what you need is a character that thinks the kid’s innocent and keeps digging until they find the truth.”

“I was thinking the exact same thing.” Peter said smiling, an idea forming already.

Stan says his smirk back now, “Good, now… full house.” He said as he laid his cards down.

Three simultaneous groans are heard from the rest of the table as they throw their cards down.

“How do you do it?” Johnny asks.

“Trade secrets son.” Stan said his smirk back as he racks the pile of chips to him.

--------------------------------

Natasha walks into the squad room. She spent too many hours last night metaphorically beating her head against the evidence and her gut. She let out a big yawn as she spotted Peter Parker sitting at her desk reading something.

She hurries over to taking the paper out of his hands, saying as she gets close, “what are you doing?”

Peter looks up acting like he’s surprised, “Oh hey, sorry old habits, read other people’s diaries, medical cabinet. You’d be surprised where inspiration can strike.”

“And why are you here?” Natasha worked to keep how upset she was out of her voice. She doesn’t like other people going through her stuff.

“I, uh wanted to give you something to say thanks for, you know, allowing me to tag along.” Peter said holding up a nicely wrapped box. When she hesitated to take it, he smirked. “You don’t have to be so suspicious. Go on open it, I think you’ll like it.”

Natasha opened the box and felt her breath catch it’s a copy of ‘Red Web of Death’ his new book, not even out yet.

He smiled at seeing her surprised look. “I personalized it… not that it matters to you.”

“Uh thank you, Mr. Parker…” She didn’t know what else to say.

“Well…” Peter said, suddenly he’s at a loss for what to say.

“Well…” Natasha said still floundering.

“It was… it was nice to have met you Detective Romanoff.” Peter said remember his reason for being there and knowing he still needed to make his escape.

He told himself it was just to distract her, as he leaned in to gently kiss her cheek.

But he knew it was a lie as his lips caressed her soft skin and he took in her scent. That scent that is all woman with just a slight hint of a flowery perfume.

He picked up his backpack and slung it one shoulder.

When Natasha saw it she fought to keep from laughing, instead she simply raised an eyebrow at him.

“Like the backpack? It was a Christmas gift from Annie May last year. She had it custom made using the kids backpacks as a model.” During one of his brainstorming sessions he thought about making a series of youth books featuring Ben Reilly.

Milder in nature then his usual fare but he couldn’t seem to find the right voice.

His publisher having been all for the idea and commissioned a line of backpacks and some shirts, featuring Ben in a red and blue costume, Peter was thinking that he would be more of a crime fighter, sticking up for the little guy kind of thing, instead of murder mystery that his main books cover.

It was a limited run of merchandise and only hardcore Parker fans have them. He still has fans bring the odd backpack or t-shirt for him to sign at events.

He turned to walk away, trying not to walk too quickly. He would blow his chance if she stopped him before he has a chance to get away.

Natasha doesn’t blush when he kisses her but its close. The sight of what looks like a kid’s backpack made for an adult throws her. When he explains, she recalls hearing something about it.

He walked off, in the back of her mind she realized he seem to be walking faster than usual. But she is looking around to see if anyone saw the exchange. Bucky and Tony had told her this morning on the way in they had caught a robbery homicide, straight forward case.

The rest of the squad room is strangely empty. She sits down, actually falls down into her seat still recovering from the encounter.

She absentmindedly starts to shuffle and organize her desk. When she recalls he was looking at the stuff on her desk. She knew right away what he would be going for.

Sure, enough her file with the evidence and her notes is missing.

She takes several large strides to the window she was just at, the night before, but for a very different reason. She’s hoping against hope that he’s still waiting for a taxi or uber.

Nope, there is nobody down there.

She heads back to her desk to make sure there is nothing else missing. She spots a folded note with her name on it.

Detective, I am very sorry to do this to you. But I don’t buy this story. I need to review everything myself. I will return everything in the same manner it was in. Again, I am so very sorry to do this to you, but I don’t think James did it.

Peter Parker

P.S. When I was looking for the case file, I found another file and noticed something, left you a note on it.

Natasha didn’t know what to make of the note. She looked through her open cases files and found the one he was talking about, two young men walked into a store and supposedly robbed then shot the clerk.

The eyewitness swears it was the two picked up. The camera was just for show didn’t record anything.

However, they were negative for gunshot residue and other then some minor offences they are not the kind to rob and murder someone.

It’s why she pushed the witness extra hard. Her gut was saying they didn’t do it.

She found the note.

In my research of southern culture for a character. No self-respecting southerner, as the witnessed claimed he is, would use quick or instant grits.

Before she met my uncle, May was dating a lawyer who had a case down south. So, every now and then she asks for grits. I can tell you with experience, it takes a minimum of 20 minutes to cook and you have to stay close to the stove.

You had the right idea based on the questions about what window they looked out.

So, unless he had magic grits or the laws of physics in his kitchen is different regarding how fast boiling water is absorbed by the grits, there is no way he was away from his window for less than 5 minutes.

Peter

She had never cooked grits but was going to look up how long it takes, once this case was closed.

She allows a quick smile at his thoughtfulness. Then the frown at his theft takes over.

A quick check shows nothing else missing or out of place.

She tried his cell phone and found it straight to voicemail. She knew he would be smart enough to shut it off.

She decides to not move to quick she’ll give him maybe an hour to look over everything then she’ll call his house.

She waits 20 minutes before she hears that her two partners are heading back. She calls the Parker residence.

“Hi this is detective Romanoff I’m trying to find Peter Parker… hello?” she had gotten an answering machine at first, but someone picked up as she was leaving the message.

“Detective what has my nephew done this time.” An older sounding woman said, not sounding surprised.

“He uh borrowed some files for a case I’m working on.”

“Oh, are you that beautiful detective he’s been talking about the last couple of days?”

“Uh, I guess?” Natasha can’t help the surprise.

“Anyway, I knew he was up to no good. He had his weekly poker game last night and had that smirk that means trouble and this morning he left extra early. If you need to find him and he’s ‘researching’ try the closest library to here, he has an unofficial reservation for one of the reading rooms.”

“Thank you, you have been very helpful… Ms…”

“Just call me May, May Parker.”

“Okay, thank you May.” Natasha said relieved. “No problem.” She heard her said and as she’s hanging up the phone, she heard the woman call out to someone else.

“Annie May, better call one of those goober thingies, your father is about to be arrested again.”

She heard another voice getting stronger as it got closer to the phone, “You mean Uber aunt May?”

“Whatever.” (Click) the line was disconnected.

Natasha has to smile, it reminders her, of her and her mother, when she was about Annie May’s age.

She pulls up google and using his address finds the nearest library.

The library’s web site boosts that world-famous author Peter Parker sometimes shows up.

She got up and seeing that the captain is in, she explains the situation to him. He gives his blessing, to her plan.

She heads out seeing Bucky and Tony walk in at the same time. She waves and tells them she’s going to run an errand and would be back soon.

She heads out and radios for a couple of uniformed officers to meet her at the library.

All told it took about 45 minutes for her and two uniformed officers to walk into the library.

One quick question to the person at the front desk and she was striding into a reading room that only had Peter at one of the tables her files and his notes spread out.

“Peter Parker, you are under arrest for felony theft and obstruction of justice.” She called out extra loud.

He turned around and smiled at her, “Why, detective Romanoff so nice of you to join me. Grab a chair.”

She got up in his space, just a little upset about what he did. “You know for a second… just a split second I thought you were, human.” Turning to the officers standing back, “Cuff him.”

Putting his arms behind him, he looks her in the eyes and with a smirk says, “Hmm usually I ask that you at least buy me dinner before we get in to the kinky stuff like bondage, but for you detective I’ll make an exception. Just know that my safe word is ‘pineapple’.”

She ignores him turning to the officers says, “No need to be gentle, he likes it.”

After they have patted him down and getting ready to lead him away, he asks her, “How did you find me so fast anyway?”

She gathers all the papers, not looking at him she says, “I’m a detective, remember.”

She can hear the smirk in his tone of voice when he says, “May told you, didn’t she?”

He added as he’s getting lead away, “By the way there was no white rose petals at the Davis murder.”

She paused, and then recalled why the scene had looked off when she saw it. “I’ll make a note of it.”

When she heard him, all trace of mirth and joking was gone. He was serious. “You should, since it means that James Thompson is innocent.”

Chapter Text

Peter didn’t speak much on the way back to the station. He smiled and joked with the uniformed officers. He stood tall and proud as he stepped into the elevator with the uniformed officers.

He felt a slight hesitation when he stopped off the elevator to see Annie May and May talking to captain Fury and detective Romanoff.

Annie May stopped closer, “Hello father.”

Peter smirks at the look she gives him, “Hello daughter.”

The officer’s uncuff him, then he rubs his wrist and steps over to his daughter and May.

Peter says, “Annie, May I take it you have meet Captain Fury and detective Romanoff.”

“Yes, and they have agreed to drop the charges if you promise to behave.” May said looking disappointed at him.

Captain Fury adds “No more interference with this case, Mr. Parker. Do we understand each other?”

Peter nods, he’s made his point, for now. “Yes.” Then captain Fury walks away but Peter looks Natasha dead in the eyes. The joking and amusement complete gone. “but James Thompson is innocent.”

Then he puts his arm around Annie May as she tucks herself against him. They turned around to leave. When they reached the elevator, an officer is there with his backpack.

Peter smiled and took the backpack from him. He slings it on his shoulder and puts his arm around May as the elevator door opened. They walked out to the waiting car.

--------------------------------

Annie can tell by the look on her dad’s face, “You are not done with this are you?”

Peter looked over at her and smiled, “No, I’m not, an innocent man is going to be charged for something he didn’t do. The story doesn’t end until the victim gets justice. You know that. Somebody set James up to take the fall - someone who knew enough about his fixation with me to use it to get away with murder. That means we’re not looking for a serial killer, we’re looking for a good old-fashioned murderer... someone with motive.”

Annie asked, “Okay so if you were writing this what would your character do next?”

“Look deeper into the victims to see if there is more to the relationship between the three, see if there is more to it then eating at the same diner. If I was writing the story the real killer would have only wanted one of them dead, the others were a smokescreen to cover it up.”

“how does that help; doesn’t it make the police more motivated to catch the killer?”

“Well, yes and no, see if you kill one person you look for a motive, a second person you look for relationship, a connection, if there is a third you look for, serial killers especially if they have a mental illness someone like James. They usually don’t need a motive, just a connection to the victims.”

“Okay, which of the three was the real killer, trying to kill?”

“The killer must have known both his intended victim and James Thompson fairly well. The only victim that had any real knowledge of James’s obsessive condition would have been Sarah Davis… so we can assume that Sarah was the real killer’s target. So, I figure out who wanted Sarah dead and that’s the real killer.”

“That all makes since, but if you are going to keep getting arrested, I’m going to need an increase of my allowance for bail money… like a lot.” Annie May said smirking at her father.

May leaned forward, having stayed quiet listening the whole time. “I’ll need an increase as well.”

Once they reach home. Peter heads to his office to make a call for tomorrow.

----------------------------------

Bucky walked up to the murder board by Nat’s desk, only to see she’s got the information back up and she’s studying it. “No, no no, don’t tell me he got to you?”

Natasha looked over at him briefly before looking back at the board, “Yeah… well not really no, but he did put a name to ill feeling. Thompson has P.D.D.  he would have not messed up such major items at in the crime. Sarah should have an equal mix of red and white rose petals to show the killer’s lust and love for the victim.” She pointed to the crime scene photo that shows only red petals.

She points to Michael Bennett, “Mr. Bennett should have been strangled barehanded, instead a bag was placed of his head.”

She then points to Olivia Garcia, “Lastly I don’t know how much you know about prom dresses but finding the red dress that was in the book had to be easier than finding the green dress she had on.”

“Okay a few things are wrong, that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.”

“So, Thompson kills Bennett, target of convenience, then he kills Sarah Davis who has a history with him, then goes back to a target of convenience in Olivia Garcia? That doesn’t match any serial killer pattern I’ve heard of. Another thing, we find no prints, or DNA at any of the crime scenes… Bennett is a pretty big guy, Thompson is small, I can’t buy that Thompson is able to pull off killing Bennett without a fight. That doesn’t even take into account that for having pulled off 3 murders without leaving evidence behind he sends a letter that has his fingerprints on it… It’s just too many coincidences. I will never say it again, but I think Parker is right Thompson is being framed.”

“Okay so if he’s innocent who did it?”

“What do we know about Sarah Davis, she has history with Thompson, she knew about his condition and the source of his obsession. She has to be the killer’s real target.”

We know her father is a business mogul; her brother has an import/export business. Everyone we interviewed said she wasn’t in any kind of relationship, and she took her patient’s confidentiality very serious, she would not have told just anyone.”

“Alibis for the family members?”

“The father was in a business meeting uptown. We called and confirmed it with several independent sources. By the time we got a hold of the brother, we were looking at Thompson, he did say he was out of the country on business as well.” Tony supplied he had walked up to them while they were talking.

“Okay tomorrow I want to start reexamining Sarah’s live, as quietly as possible.”

“You got it boss.”

----------------------

The next morning Peter walks into Davis building. He walks over to the young receptionist.

Flashing his public smile, “Hi, I’m Peter Parker, I have an appointment with Thomas Davis.”

She looks and smiles back, then after a quick check of the appointment book, says “Yes, Mr. Parker, he’s expecting you.”

Natasha had known he wouldn’t let it go and figured his connection could get her in easier than if she showed up and flashed her badge. Besides it would make him sweat just a little.

She parked near his home and waited then she followed him as he got a ride to the building.

She parked and caught the tail end of the conversation. “Is he now?” she continued on the elevators down the hall.

“Ah ma’am excuse me can I help you?” the receptionist is about ready to call security.

“I’m with Mr. Parker.” Natasha said waiting to see what the receptionist does.

“Huh, oh yeah, she’s with me.” Peter said thrown, he didn’t expect her to show up out of the blue.

“Oh okay, then Mr. Parker he’s on the top floor.” The receptionist said keeping the confused look off her face.

Natasha pressed the up button on the elevator and heard the ‘ding’ almost immediately. As she started to step in she leaned back out looking at Peter still looking shell shocked. “You coming Parker?”

“Oh, yeah.” Peter hurried after the detective into the elevator.

As they are heading up to the top floor Peter turns to Natasha and asks, “Wait I thought you got your guy, so why are you here?”

“Mr. Parker, I never said I was sure he did it.”

“Oh so you think I’m right.” Peter can’t help but feel a little smug about it.

Natasha looked at him and all playfulness is gone. “You know the difference between being a cop and playing cop, Parker? You just want to be right. I can’t afford to be wrong.”

The rest of the short trip is in silence. They step off the elevator and walk down a short hall to a big set of double doors. The secretary got up, “Mr. Parker?”

Peter smiled and nodded.

“He’ll see you know.” As she opened the door and allowed them in.

An older man got up, his skin pale and gaunt. Peter can see him moving slowly. “Mr. Parker, how can I help you?”

Natasha jumped in before he could speak. “Mr. Davis, I asked Mr. Parker to arrange this, so I wouldn’t have to flash my badge. My name is detective Romanoff, I believe you might have spoken to one of my partners. I apologized but I had just a few more questions about your daughter’s case.”

“But the police said that boy she helped; he’s the one who did it.” Davis said surprised but not panicked.

“That’s what the evidence suggests.” Natasha said as she stood near him. It’s better to read his reactions that way. Out of the corner of her eye she can see Parker making a track around the office. It’s a spacious modern office with all the amenities.

Peter stops and looks at the photos sees several old kid’s drawings. One looks like the color is off somehow. He’s listen to the detective talk to Davis.

“Then what is it you’d like to know?” Davis said this is painful but he will do whatever it takes to find his beloved daughter’s killer.

Peter looks over and looks Davis over.

“I’m trying to figure out the nature of the relationship between your daughter and Mr. Thompson.” Natasha said.

“Uh as far as I know she was his case worker but nothing beyond that. She didn’t talk about her clients… I didn’t even know about him until they told us about the boy’s issues.” Davis said.

Peter walked up, “Mr. Davis why don’t we have a seat, can I get you some water?”

Both Davis and Natasha looked surprised at him. “ah, Mr. Parker I…”

Peter spoke to keep him from having to speak. “I know it’s unusual, but I have a daughter and I… I couldn’t even imagine what you are going through. My worst nightmare.” Peter said the last part quietly.

He walked over to the bar and poured a couple of glasses of water. He took them over to Davis and Natasha both having taken a seat at the desk. He then went to get himself a glass of water. Then joins them at the desk.

He faintly heard Davis breathe a sigh of relief when he sits down. A quick glance at Natasha shows that she had heard it to, based on the way she is looking more intensely at him.

“Now please continue.” Peter said

“I’m not sure what else there is to say. Sarah kept her work separate.”

“Your daughter seemed very good at what she did.” Natasha said.

“That’s true. Sarah had a real gift. When she was younger, she lost her best friend to suicide due to drugs. From that moment on, she never wavered about what she wanted to do with her life.”

“I guess that’s what’s troubling me.” Natasha added

“What do you mean by troubling you?”

“Well, thanks to Sarah, James Thompson was doing better than he’d ever done. There doesn’t seem to be any trigger for what he did.”

“We were always a little afraid for Sarah. About the people she took care of, the places she’d work. That apartment I gave her was my only consolation. When I bought it, she didn’t want to take it... It’s ironic she’d be killed in the one place I thought she would be safe in.” Davis trailed off the distress clearly showing on his face.

He added, “But I know Sarah would want me to be strong. I still have a son and together we’re hoping to carry on Alison’s work.”

Peter speaking for the first time since he sat down, “Carry on her work?”

“Through my charitable foundation.”

Peter playing a hunch was about to ask Davis another question when Natasha got up to leave.

“Thank you for your time Mr. Davis. Again, I am sorry for your loss.” She said to shut down the interview.

“Fortune Magazine estimated your net worth at nearly a hundred and fifty million dollars. Is that true?”

“That sounds about right.” Davis said looking as bewildered as Natasha looking at Peter.

“And you’re devoting your fortune to charity. That’s very generous of you.”

“It was actually Sarah’s idea. She might have been a social worker, but she had a great head for business.”

“Mr. Davis, if something was to happen to you? What would happen to your estate?” Peter asked trying to be tactful but still get answers.

Peter watched as Davis touches his hair lightly, but Natasha who is almost staring daggers at Peter didn’t see it.

“Uh it would go to the foundation.”

“Who would oversee the foundation?” Peter can tell he’s running out of time and the other people patience.

“My son, why?”

Peter stands up to hide his knowing smirk. He reaches out a hand to Davis, “Just curious, thank you for indulging me. And again, as one father to another, I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for your time.” Peter finished as he headed out the door, Natasha followed behind him.

Natasha is surprised at how Parker went from observing to taking over the interview. She was about to stop him, when she picked up on his line of questions and figured it might be better from him as a father then a cold police detective.

They made it all the way outside. Before she asked, she had noticed his hidden smirk as he stood up. “What was that all about?”

“He’s dying.” Peter looked over to see a hot-dog stand that had is open. “I’m hungry, you want a hot dog?”

Peter stated to walk towards the stand when Natasha grabbed his nose to get his attention. “Who’s dying, Davis?”

“OW, pineapple, pineapple…” Peter said as her grip tightens, and she pulled him down slightly.

She lets him go as he pouts, looking hurt at her, rubbing his nose.

“Why do you think he’s dying?” Natasha said as she ignores the flutter in her at his cute pout… again he’s not cute.

“Did you see the pictures on the wall?”

She nods she did her own looking around as Peter briefly talked to Davis.

“He’s thin, like sick thin, not working out to lose some weight.”

Playing devil’s advocate even through it’s starting to make sense to her. “His daughter was just murdered.”

“You saw how pale and gaunt his skin is, and the way he kept touching his hair. Like he was self-conscious. It was more than just my daughter was murdered a few days ago.” Peter had seen Davis touch his hair several times like a nervous tic.

Natasha knew there was something to him touching his hair she had seen him start to a couple of times then stop himself, “You think it’s a new piece?”

“It’s a good one, but it’s new to him. The chemo’s relatively recent.” Peter said knowing that she’s on the same page as him now.

“Makeup…” Natasha said suddenly as it clicked. “He’s wearing makeup because he’s trying to look healthier than he is.”

“He doesn’t want his shareholders or board to know.”

“But just because he has cancer. That doesn’t make him terminal.”

“True, but it’s a much better story if he is. You interview the brother?”

“No, by the time we got a hold of him we had Thompson.” Natasha said as she pulls out her phone. She called Bucky, “Hey it’s Romanoff. You got an address for the brother, Daniel Davis?”

“Yeah, also see if you can find anything on Thomas Davis being sick.” She paused, “okay text it to me, thanks.”

Natasha turns to Peter who holds out a hot dog to her. “I didn’t know what to put on it, so I figured you could do it.”

Natasha hides her smile as she walked over to put on the toppings and grab a can of soda.

They eat as they walk to her car.

Peter says after he eats his, “It’s not the best dog, but it’s not bad. Best dog I’ve ever had is near my old place in Queens. The wife makes the chill fresh every day. I try to take Annie; we go every couple of weeks for some father daughter time.” Peter said smiling at the memories.

Natasha looks over at him and feels her heart flutter at the soft smile showing when Parker talks about his daughter. Something about a man that raises his daughter.

They reach her car and get in. she listens as Peter describes some of the funny stories he has with his daughter.

She lets him, because it gives her insight into her favorite author… but she’d kill anyone that said it to him.

Also, she picked up on the slight distressed sound when Parker talked about Davis losing his daughter, it’s not a stretch to realize that Parker is projecting his own fears.

As he talks, she notices he’s not the arrogant cynical bastard he is portrait in the press.

Here he is all proud papa. Not afraid to talk about how much smarter and more mature his teenage daughter can be at times.

She almost regrets when they reach their destination. However, if she was to take any more time driving, he’s sure to notice and comment.

When they park Peter noticed he spent the whole time talking about his daughter, sheepishly grinning he says, “Sorry, when I get to talking about Annie it’s hard to stop.”

Natasha smiles at him she says, “It’s no problem I was just learning more about you.”

Peter did his best to ignore the flutter her smile invoked in him. “Oh? And what insight have you gleamed from my ramblings?”

“Come on let’s go talk to the brother and see what we find out.” Natasha said ignoring the question as she exited the vehicle.

They walked up the block to a building that says ‘Davis Import and Export’ they both spot a man directing the workers. He looks like the photos both had seen in Davis’s office. This is Daniel Davis.

Natasha reaches in for her badge, “Daniel Davis, I’m detective Romanoff and this is Peter Parker I was wondering if we could ask you a few questions about your sister’s case?”

“Uh yeah, sure, but let’s go into my office, okay.” Daniel said.

Both Natasha and Peter can pick up on the nervousness of Daniel.

Peter assumes it more proof of his guilt.

Natasha knows it could be that he has stuff that might not be legal, most people when they think import/export they think smuggling. For good reason, however she will wait to see what happens.

Follow him through a half full warehouse to an office. Daniel sends the person working on paperwork out so it’s just the three of them.

“Okay, first of all, when was the last time you saw your sister?” Natasha always asks to establish the relationship between the person being questioned and the victim.

“Last time? Maybe about a month ago at Dad’s. You know, I still can’t believe she’s gone.”

“Were you close?”

“Everybody loved her. My sister saw the best in people. Even the kid who killed her. She did everything to help that guy. Even brought him around here to see if I could get him a job.”

Peter asked, working to keep his tone even and casual, “But you didn’t?”

“I can’t afford to, all right? My employees mess up, I lose my bond… I don’t know. Maybe if I’d helped him, things would be different.”

Natasha asks, “How did she take it when your father told you both he is dying?”

They both watched as shock clearly showed on his face. “She was upset. We both were.”

Peter asks before he can stop himself. “With her dead, you stand to inherited it all, or at least control the foundation.”

“What are you suggesting?”

Natasha and Peter can see a flash of panic followed by overwhelming anger.

“Is this some kind of joke? You already caught the killer.”

Natasha steps in now that she has the reaction she’s looking for. “I know, and I apologize. But the first thing his lawyers will do is shift suspicion to someone else, someone with motive. And then they’ll stick me on the stand and ask me why I didn’t investigate. And then the jury could have doubts and we don’t want them to have any doubts, do we?”

Daniel calms down a little, “No.”

Natasha pushes on, “So you’ll have to forgive me, but I have to ask. Where you were the night of your sister’s murder.”

Daniel walked over to a cluttered desk and opening a drawer he said, “I was out of town on business.” He pulls out his passport, “In fact, I was out of the country for all three murders. Here check the stamps on that if it’s useful.”

Natasha takes the passport and flips through to see that yes, he was out of the country on the dates the three victims were murdered. “Excellent now, we should go, thank you for your time. And on behalf of the department we want to extend our sympathies for your family’s lose.”

Natasha take’s Peter’s arm as he has gone quiet. She leads him the first few steps before he starts to walk on his own. They walk out of the warehouse and down the block back to her vehicle.

About halfway to the car Peter finally speaks with a disbelieving, “A U.S. Passport!?”

Natasha smirked she wasn’t sure he would pick up on it or not, but she plays along for the moment. “Yeap, doesn’t get more unassailable then the U.S. government.”

Peter shakes his head in disbelief. How could he be so wrong? “I was sure it was him.”

Natasha has to work to keep from out and out laugh at his crestfallen face. “Oh, don’t take it so hard. After all, you’re just a writer.”

Peter looks over to ask why she’s so happy about it when he can tell she’s having fun at his expense. “What?”

“Nothing.”

Peter stops and turns to fully look at her, “What?!”

Natasha decided she’s teased him enough, “He was lying.” She waits for it to sink in and the perplexed look on his face takes over.

“I mean, I get him knowing where he was the night his sister was killed, but the other two victims? He didn’t pause. He didn’t ask for dates. He didn’t even check his calendar, but he was ready with an alibi. Innocent people do not prepare alibis.”

She watched as his confused look gave way to happiness.

“So, I was right.” He said

They had reached her vehicle by now. “Get in the damn car.” She hides her smile; she can’t help but be amused at how much he acts like a puppy.

---------------------------------

It was right before they got off the elevator to the squad room when she realized he is still with her, and the rest don’t know about it. It’s too late to send him away now. He’s invested in this case again, or more likely he’s always been invested in it.

Peter knows enough about male dominated fields to figure out being a woman is not easy, so he wants to make it as easy as possible for her. He picked up on her realization and figuring she hadn’t told her partners about working with him, as soon as they stop off the elevator he turns and quietly asks, “So, where is the bathroom?”

Natasha pointed in the direction of the restrooms. She’s not sure why he asked, was it because he just needs to use the restroom or to give her time to warn her partners. Or some combination of both.

He headed off to the bathroom.

Nat walked into the squad room proper to see Bucky smirking.

Dammit she forgot about his sniper training.

“Hey Nat, where did your boyfriend go?”

Tony looked over, “boyfriend?”

“Yeah, Parker got off the elevator with her.”

“He went to the restroom. He’s been invaluable. Where are we on the brother?”

“I’m working on getting his financials.”

“I asked him where he was on the night of his sister’s murder and he pulled out his passport and said he was out of the country for all 3 murders.”

Both Bucky and Tony said, “He did it.”

“You have his credit card info, so we could check to see if he had plane tickets for those dates?” Natasha read off the dates she had copied out of the passport. That correspond with the dates of the murders.

“Yeap.” Tony wrote done the dates and pulled the information he had up on Daniel’s finances.

Peter walked into the room. Bucky smiled, part in teasing, and part because the guy is fun to be around. “Parker, pull up a chair.” He pointed at the visitor’s chair next to Natasha’s desk.

Peter sat down, but almost immediately he is up moving around to look at the murder board. Seeing what they have new.

He half listens to Natasha fill her partners in on what they learned. He heard Stark tell them the credit cards how tickets were purchased, for those dates.

Stark then called the airlines to make sure someone used the tickets.

After a while Peter asked, “Why can’t you just admit I was right about Daniel?”

Natasha who was talking to Bucky as Tony was still on the phone with airline. “Because you fell for his alibi.” She said with a smirk, turning back to Bucky, “He totally bought the lie.”

“I had a moment of doubt, it’s a pretty convincing alibi.” Peter said defensively.

“His credit card company confirms he paid for three round-trip tickets. And the airline confirmed someone did use the tickets. Dates coincide with the three murders.” Tony said after he hung up the phone.

“Wait, so what does that mean?” Peter asks confused.

“That means the passport stamps have to be faked, and someone else used the ticket.” Natasha said.

“I’ll call passport control, and have them, verify if the stamps are legitimate.” Bucky said.

Peter felt it was too complicated. Suddenly he realized how Daniel pulled it off. “Forging the stamps on a passport isn’t how he would’ve done it.”

“How did he do it, Petey?” Natasha said.

“Second passport.” Peter said feeling good about.

“Where would he get that?” Tony asked he got an email from the forensic accountant looking over Daniel Davis’s finances.

“With his money and connections due to his business, it would be easy on the black market.”

“So, he leaves the country on his passport. Comes back on the other passport, commits the murder, flies back, and then returns home on his own.” Natasha said, the wheels turning about what that means now.

“It’s perfect, and almost impossible to prove.” Bucky said. “Unless we find the second passport.”

Tony added. “I just got an email from the forensic accounting, get this, junior’s business is going under. He’s tens of millions in debt.”

Bucky adds, “There’s motive.”

“Oh man, he’s going to panic now that you’ve talk to him.” Tony said.

“You two tail him make sure he’s not destroying evidence. I’ll call a judge for a warrant.” Natasha ordered to both Bucky and Tony.

They head out with purpose. As Natasha picks up the phone to call the courthouse.

“He killed his sister in cold blood and two more people to cover it up. He’s either a world-class sociopath or there’s more to this story than just money.” Now that Peter knows the ‘who’ he’s stuck on the ‘why.’

Natasha on the phone says, “Judge Richards, please.”

Peter perks up, “Richards, tell her I said hi.”

Natasha ignores him, “she’s in chambers? Can you ask her to see me when she’s out I have an emergency search warrant request?” She listens for a few minutes. “Great thanks I’m on my way there now.”

While she is talking on the phone, she opened the email Tony sent her to finish the search warrant request, he had been working on it while talking to the airline and checking on the credit card charges.

She finished and printed it out. Throwing on her coat she is surprised to see Peter at the elevator door holding it open for her.

There is little speaking on the short drive to the courthouse.

They head for the law enforcement entrance, thankfully Parker didn’t set off the metal detecting wand and they get through the security checkpoint quickly.

Up to the judge’s offices they spot an older blond woman in judge’s robes as she’s making her way from her office to her court room.

Natasha calls out, “Judge Richards.”

At the same time Peter shouts, “Sue.”

The woman in question turns around and at seeing Peter she smiles brightly. “Pete, what are you doing here? Are you in trouble again?”

Peter smiled; he loves seeing Sue. He even had a big crush on her when they were younger, but him being her younger brother’s best friend would have made it awkward. “I’m being a good boy. I promise.”

Right… wait, detective Romanoff,” Sue said looking at the other person with Peter. “Is this the detective Johnny said you have been following like a puppy? That you have a crush on?”

Peter actually felt his face flush as a light blush showed. “Sue?! I know I never said anything about a crush, and puppy? Ouch.”

Natasha smiled at the interaction between the two, when she remembered why they were there. “Uh, judge I apologize for interruption but I exigent circumstances here.”

“You’re right. Please state your case.” Sue said paying attention to the two now.

Peter jumped in, now that they are moving on the case. “We need a search warrant.”

Natasha looked at him.

Sheepishly, he said, “Sorry she needs a search warrant.”

“For the home, office, and any other property belonging to Daniel Davis.”

“Wait, Daniel Davis, son of Thomas Davis?”

“Yes. He murdered his sister and killed two others to cover up the crime.”

“Multiple murders? Detective you better make sure you’re right on this.”

“Thomas Davis is terminally ill, likely cancer.” Peter said

“What?! Reed and I just saw him last week at a charity function.” Sue said shocked.

“With his sister gone, the son will inherit the whole thing.” Natasha said

“That doesn’t sound like motive, a lucky break or unlucky but not motive.” Sue said, she needs more.

“Daniel is the only person in Sarah’s life that benefited from her death. He had the means to access her patient records to find the perfect fall guy.”

“Does Daniel have an alibi?”

“His passport shows him out of the country, but we believe he purchased a second passport using his import/export business, to get back in and commit the murders. We just learned that he’s swimming in debt.” Natasha said, “The passport and any evidence in regard to her patient and the other victims is what we are searching for.”

Sue weighed the evidence then nodded. Peter gives a sigh as Natasha handed her the warrant and Peter turned to offer her his back to sign it.

“It’s thin, but I’ll accept it.” She said as she handed the warrant back to Natasha.

Natasha started to hurry off.

Peter turned back with the smile he reserves for only close family and friends says, “When are you going to join the weekly poker game. Carol has been wanting a rematch.”

“She’s that eager to lose her money. Besides the last time was clash of the titans between me and Stan.” Sue said smiling.

Suddenly Natasha’s voice called back, “Parker are you coming or what?”

“Better get going. She doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” Sue said

Peter leaned over to kiss her cheek. “Sue, it’s always good to see you. I’ll see you later.”

Sue had at one point before she met her husband thought about dating Peter, she knew about his infatuation and he is cute and a nice guy. But it wasn’t meant to be.

“Go on now… puppy.” Sue said smiling to let him know she’s teasing him.

“Ouch, Suzy Q that hurt.” Peter said turning around as he heads off to catch up to the detective.

Sue had a soft smile long after Peter went down the stairs. She watched as he caught up to the detective and what seems like playful banter ensued.

Quietly to herself she said, “Of course she’s a strong willed, beautiful redhead, so I’m not surprised.” Then she remembered she has court.

Her clerks already know to let her know if anything regarding her brother or Peter come up. So, she’ll have to find out what happens.

-------------------------

Daniel told his warehouse foreman he’s heading home to take care of something. As he arrives to his building the doorman gives him a professional smile and opens the door “Mr. Davis, you’re home early. Everything okay?”

Daniel ignored the question and quickly walked into the building. He’s trying to figure out what he needs to destroy. He berates himself for not getting rid of the evidence before. He kept it in case he needed it again. The passport could have come in handy if he needs to make a run for it.

-------------------------

Natasha and Peter head back to the car. She calls Bucky and Tony to let them know she got the warrant.

“Bucky, we got the warrant… Okay are you on your way there? Okay we’ll meet you there, have some uniformed officers meet us there.”

When she hangs up, she turns to Peter who is looking at her expectantly.

“Bucky and Tony found out that Daniel had left to go home, to according to his warehouse foreman, ‘take care of something’. They are on their way to his place, just like us.”

Peter stays quiet letting Natasha concentrate on driving at quickly as possible to get to the suspect’s place before all evidence is destroyed.

They reach the building just after Bucky and Tony with a couple of uniformed officers there. Tony just finished talking to the doorman. He turned to Natasha.

“Doorman says the suspect just got here a few minutes ago.”

“You guys head on up, I’m going to get Parker situated.” Natasha said

Bucky drew his weapon and waved the other officers in as they head up to the apartment.

Natasha turns to Parker who is almost vibrating with excitement. “Parker if you are going to go up there, you should carry a weapon. I keep a backup piece in the glove compartment.”

Peter in his excitement didn’t even question it as he rushed over to the car. He wanted to get up there before all the action is done. He realizes about a half second before he hears the clicks of handcuffs that she would never give him a weapon, and this was a trick.

“Stay.” She said trying not to enjoy it too much.

She then drew her own weapon and ran in to get up to the apartment.

--------------------

Daniel is in the middle of erasing the files he has on his computer in a panic he heard the sirens. He’s also trying to shred all the papers he has. He went to shove the second passport in, but stopped he realized he might need it to escape the country.

Suddenly a loud banging and a loud, “NYPD open up, we have a warrant!”

He takes all the papers both shredded and not shredded and throws them in a small plastic bag. Then he grabs the small caliber handgun and the second passport pocketing both as he heads out the window to the fire escape.

It was luck that none of the police officers knew he had access to the fire escape, or they would have had a uniformed officer watching the back just in case.

-------------------------

Peter sit in shock for about a second. Then felt a little bit upset, while he understands her need to keep the civilian safe, she didn’t have to trick him like that, maybe if she had let him come but kept him in the back.

He wants to know what happens but he’s not stupid enough to get in the way.

He reaches into his far back pocket with his left hand, silently thanking the yoga he does with Annie. He digs out the handcuff key he carries around for emergency purposes.

Not to escape from police custody, but kidnappers use handcuffs to. However, in his nerves and excitement as soon as he went to unlock the cuffs it fell out of his hand and landed just out of the reach of his hand.

After alternating between deep breaths counting and cussing, he takes off his shoe to reach for the key.

As his toes close around the key, he hears a window open and pounding of feet on the fire escape down the alley. He quickly grabs the key and unlocking the cuff attached to the car he grabs his shoe and starts to run down the alley “Hey, stop, police!” Then he grabs his cell and calls Natasha.

-----------------------

Bucky waits the few seconds listening for any sounds calling out “NYPD open up, we have a warrant.” He has to wait until Natasha gets there since she is the one with the actual paper in hand.

Soon he hears her say, “I’m here, go go go.”

He steps to the side as SWAT uses the portable battering ram to slam open the door and steps to the side as the teams move in to sweep the apartment. Followed by Bucky, Tony and Natasha. As the teams shout out clear. They notice the computer is still on and shreds of paper are blowing in the wind from the open window.

Suddenly shouting is heard and Natasha’s phone rings. She grabs it quickly but before she can speak Peter is shouting. “He’s going down the fire escape!”

She shouted at the uniformed officers, “Go around.” She turned to Bucky and Tony, “You two secure the evidence.”

Then she all but leaped out the window and looking down she spots Parker running with only one shoe on. Then she spots Daniel almost down with a plastic bag of what she assumes is the rest of the evidence. “Stop, police!” she shouts down climbing down the ladder as fast as she can her weapon out and aimed at the suspect.

----------------------------

Daniel is trying not to make too much noise, but the panic is ratcheted up a few notches when he hears the door burst open.

He’s about halfway down when he hears “hey, stop police!” He looks down to see the man that came with the detective earlier running with one of his shoes in his hand, shouting into his cell phone, a pair of handcuffs on his wrist.

He would have stopped to laugh if he wasn’t in the middle of a fight or flight panic attack. Flight taking the lead.

Suddenly a female voice above him shouts “Stop, police!” he looks up and feels his stomach drop the detective is working her way down. He can see her weapon.

He puts on more speed to get down, he risks a quick glance to see the guy running down the alley doesn’t appear to have a weapon other than the admittedly sturdy looking shoe in his hand.

He reaches the ground and take off, the guy chasing him just misses him.

-----------------------

Natasha is a few second from screaming obscenities but pushes her legs faster to try and get down the ladder faster. “Parker, stop!”

Peter just continues to chase after the suspect, “I got him, I got him…” he drops his shoe to concentrate on catching up.

Natasha watches them both run around a delivery truck parked at the end of the alley.

She jumps the last several feet down, both cursing him and thankful she hasn’t heard a gunshot. She moves quickly but cautiously down the alley her senses on alert.

She hears a quick sound of a struggle which makes her speed up moving around the truck. She finds a tall fence blocking off the rest of the alley and Daniel using Peter as a shield, with his weapon at Peter’s head. She can easily see the panic in Daniel’s eyes.

“Davis, let him go, you’re caught. Don’t make this any worse on yourself.”

“Back, get back or I swear I’ll blow his brains out…”

“Parker, are you okay?” Natasha spares a quick glance to look Peter over, she can’t see any blood or other injuries.

“Other then I stepped into something wet with my sock, that I desperately hope was water. And mister huff and puff behind me desperately needs a breath mint. I'm freakin peachy” Peter said unhappy he had gotten the drop on.

“Parker, not helping.” Natasha said quietly.

“Hey Daniel, I got to ask, why didn’t you ask your dad for the money?” Peter asked

He didn’t wait since Daniel wasn’t really pay attention, he’s eyeing Natasha’s sidearm aimed at him and looking around

Peter continued to get an answer and distract him. “You know what I think? I think you asked, and he said no. A self-made man like that, I bet he thought you were weak for asking.”

“He was the one who was weak. I was trying to make something with my life and all he cared about was her.”

“That’s why you killed her. It wasn’t just for the money, you wanted to punish him before he died. Take away the only thing he loved. That’s a pretty good story!”

“What!?” Daniel said easing up pressing weapon against Peter.

That was just the distraction Peter was looking for. Peter slammed his head back and broke the nose and drove his elbow into the Daniel stomach. He grabbed the weapon as Daniel huffed out the air.

The adrenaline that had been spiking started to drop now that the situation is under control. With nerves energy he exclaims “did you see that!? Please tell me that will go in your report.”

“PARKER! Cuffs please.” Natasha demanded.

“Huh, oh yeah.” Peter was surprised to find he still had the handcuff key in his hand this whole time. He undid the other side and handed them to Natasha.

She takes the handcuffs and eyes Parker not surprised at what she’s seeing. She cuffs the suspect and reads him his Miranda rights.

Uniformed officers that had been staying back to keep from escalating the situation farther, moved forward to escort the prison to the squad car. Natasha leads Peter away from the truck and guides him to sit on a relatively clean surface. Getting an evidence bag from one of the officers she gently removes the weapon from Peter’s hand. He is still holding it by the slide.

Peter is feeling a little lightheaded, and numb. In the back of his mind he’s done enough research to know that the adrenaline has worn off and shock is setting in. but now he’s floundering.

Natasha just rubs his back and waits for it to start to pass. One of the uniformed officers’ hands her his shoe he tossed.

“Shh, it’s okay deep breaths, put your head between your knees as best as you can.” Natasha said softly. “First time being taken hostage can be tough.” She looks up to see Bucky and Tony nearby smirking.

She hands the bagged weapon to them, then waves them away.

She then turns back to Parker asking, “Do you want me to go get a medic?” his ‘no’ was not a surprise to her.

Peter just followed her instructions and soon the numbness and lightheadedness went away. Soon he’s fine.

“Here take off the wet sock and put on your shoe. You can take the sock home and frame it as a souvenir of your time with us.” She said amused.

Peter does as she says, stands and still a little wobbly takes a second. Then they start to head back down the alley to the car.

“I can have one of the uniformed officers take you home. I need to go and start the interrogation and the paperwork.”

“No, I, uh think I’ll walk. It’ll help me clear my head, if I need to, I’ll get a cab.”

“Okay… well, I guess this is it.”

Suddenly Peter doesn’t want this to be the last time he sees her. “Wait it doesn’t have to be… we could have dinner, maybe debrief each other?” If Peter could hear himself, he would cringe at how hopeful he sounds.

Natasha softly smiles and seriously thinks about it, but she’s not ready to for something like that. He could easily break down her walls.

Opting for the amused route, “Why Parker, so I can be one of your conquests?”

“Or I could be one of yours.” Peter doesn’t know where that tone is coming from.

Knowing it’s better this way, she puts her hand out and says, “It was nice to have met you Mr. Parker.”

Peter knowing better, with a flash of sadness, shakes her hand and adds “Too bad, I have a feeling it would have been great.”

Natasha feeling bad for his flash of hurt. Leans up to gently kiss his cheek and whispers “You have no idea.”

Then before she changes her mind she turns to go back to her car. She doesn’t look back, but it wasn’t easy.

He watches her walk away. It hurt more then he cares to admit.

Once she’s gone and most of the police officers have left.

He looks down to see he still has his wet sock. He brings it up to gingerly take a sniff. Mostly water, he wrings out the excess and decides to frame it for grins and giggles.

He walks up to the CSU tech and asks if they have a plastic bag to spare.

A couple of autographs and pictures later he has his sock in an evidence bag and starts to walk home.

Suddenly as he’s walking, an idea for his new character started to form. As well as the start of a story.

Now he wants to get home and start writing and researching… which could be good or bad.

He flags down the first cab he finds and after getting home, he cleans up and starts his process when he starts a new book.

He writes well into the night. He didn’t hear Annie and May come in the house they take one look in Peter’s office and breath a sigh of relieve he’s got his next story. They leave him alone.

Annie does softly walk into the office to kiss her father goodnight. He turns and returns the kiss and tells her good night.

-----------------------------------

Natasha made quick work of getting the confession from Daniel not that they needed it.

Tech support had quickly recovered the information he had tried to delete and recovered all the papers both shredded and not shredded, was more than enough.

Plus, the second passport showing he was in fact in the country during the times of the murders.

They found out that Daniel has Deuteranopes he is red-green blind, he thought the green dress for the third victim was in fact red.

His anger at being caught lead to him cursing that Parker was involved, Daniel had been planning on the police having to kill James Thompson.

The hardest thing was having to go and tell Thomas Davis what happened. She made sure he had support after she explained the situation and left so he could grieve.

She when home but Peter quickly went to the front of her mind. She got ready for bed. Fury had told her to come in later in the morning since she closed the case and it was all just paperwork.

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When Natasha got into the office, she can tell right away the mood is different not bad like someone was killed, but like they are holding their breath.

Her confirmation came when Fury called her into his office before, she finished booting up her computer.

“Sir, did something happen?”

“What do you mean?”

“There seems to be something off.”

“As always Romanoff your instincts are spot on.” Fury said, he’s not sure what to make of this new order from his boss. “I got a call about you not having a partner.”

“Oh, is 1PP (one police plaza) sending another homicide detective?”

“Not… exactly.”

“Okay? What then, am I getting transferred?” she hopes not, she loves being at the 12th, in fact she likes the setup the way it is now.

“No, you aren’t leaving… I got a call from the Mayor’s office. You’ve got a fan.”

“Okay… I’m not following.”

“Peter Parker seems he’s found the main character for his next set of novels. A tough but savvy female detective.”

“Uh okay, I’m flattered?”

“Yeah, well see the thing is he needs to do research…” Fury said deciding to go with it. However, it’s bad form to smirk, so he just does it internally.

“Nah ah.”

“Yeap.”

“Bozhe moi.”

“Romanoff…”

“Sir, he acts like a kid on a sugar rush half time. He will be a disruption to the unit…”

“He did help you solve the case, in fact I heard he helped you solve another case as well. Not to mention the most important part…”

Dreading what that might be she asks, “what is that sir.”

“When the Mayor’s happy, the Commissioner’s happy. When the Commissioner’s happy, I’m happy.”

Accepting her fate, she closes her eyes, and asks “For how long, sir?”

After a pause she opens her eyes to see Fury looking past her to his doorway. “That’s up to him.”

Natasha turned already knowing what she’ll see. Sure enough there stood Peter Parker with a smile.