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This story is No. 9 in the series "Birthday Insanity Challenge Ficlets". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: 28 mostly unrelated ficlets to celebrate 28 years. Multicross.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Multiple Pairings > Ficlet Collections - OtherJmariaFR15127,9721196,2604 Dec 122 Mar 13No

Nine: Can't Be Strong, Too Late For Cool

Series: 28 for 28
Title: Nine: Can't Be Strong, Too Late for Cool
Author: Jmaria
Rating: FR-15
Disclaimer: Joss owns the Buffyverse. Marvel owns The Amazing Spiderman.
Spoilers: Season 7, the movie.
Series Summary: Twenty-eight stories and crossings of worlds (read: insanity) to celebrate twenty-eight years.
Part Summary: Graveyard conversations.
Words: 507
Title Quote Source: Heartbreak Down by P!nk
A/N: Not who I was going to originally channel/have there. They just kind of snuck up on me.

28 for 28
Nine: Can't Be Strong, Too Late for Cool

"There comes a time in your life as a superhero when you realize that you're essentially toxic to those you love."

Peter Parker's head jerked up at the sound of the woman's voice beside him. He'd been standing near Captain Stacy's grave, thinking how he could live up to the promise he'd made to the dead man. He'd been alone, coming long after the service had ended, and had expected the solitude that had greeted him.

He hadn't expected the woman who stood close by, staring out at the cemetery. She was petite, blonde and a scar ran the length of her jaw. Big sunglasses obscured her eyes and swallowed up most of her face. Her accent was definately not a New York accent. She wasn't really looking up, but he was pretty sure she was talking to him anyway.

She had a white rose clenched in her fists as she stepped past him to a small, fenced burial plot. She crouched low, with some difficulty, to place the flower across a slanted headstone. Her fingers lightly traced over the name etched there. Peter thought he could just catch a glimpse of a shadow of a bruise beneath the glasses when she tilted her head forward. She'd been silent for so long that he hadn't been expecting her to speak again.

"I never thought there'd be a day when I wasn't surrounded by those who fight my fight with me," she had risen again, her eyes now firmly on him. "Which is weird, considering the whole 'one-against-the-world' thing heroes rock, right? But I depended on my support team, my family to see me through it all."

"And you don't have that anymore?" Peter asked, not sure why, but he felt her need for the question.

"Not from him," a sad smile crossed her lips. "I haven't had that from him in nearly twenty years. He had my back and then he disappeared from my life. He was the first person I told my secret."

Thoughts of Gwen, of what had happened, of what he'd promised flashed at him again. If he was the sort to believe in cosmic signs or destiny, then he'd be a little freaked out right about now.

"It comes with obligations, the big powers. You might lose them to the good fight, but in the end, it's your responsibility to see them home again. I just wish he'd have reached out for me sooner."

The blonde turned away from him, making her way down the hill again to a dark sedan at the curb. A lithe brunette, a man with an eye patch, and a redhaired woman waited for he. She slipped into the car and was followed by her companions.

Peter watched them drive away and then stepped over to the grave. The last name was obscured by overgrowth, but the first name and lower script had been cleaned only a few minutes ago. Pike, 1980 - 2003, Lost in Action.

Peter understood what the woman had been saying. He had obligations now. He had memories to honor, expectations to live up to. And some promises, well, they'd just have to be broken.
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