They All Wear Masks

"Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth." -Oscar Wilde

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4. ~ Four ~

 

    Peter swung from pole to pole, avoiding bursts of electricity from the generators that OsCorp had built around the clock tower. He’d decided to take a break from genetically engineering blood, and the outside had beckoned him. At first he’d felt guilty for having fun while Harry was dying, but then it occurred to him that Harry would probably approve, drunkard he was. Peter grinned. 

    Perhaps there were other ways he could take a break from work.

    He turned, with the express intention of heading to OsCorp-

    Something barrelled into him. 

    Peter slammed into the ground, the breath knocked out of his chest, arm twisted awkwardly underneath him. He coughed, struggling for air.

    A foot- heavy, cold, sharp- pressed against his ribcage, pinning him to the ground.

    “Peter Parker. What a pleasure.”

    Peter glanced up at that voice. He knew that voice- loved that voice. “Ha- Harry? What- what are you doing?” Peter didn’t know why he even asked. He knew exactly what had happened- Harry had started dying at an accelerated rate, resorted to desperate measures, and now Norman was glaring through the eyes that Peter loved so much. Peter felt a hollow despair in his chest. “Harry, this isn’t you, you have to listen to me, we can fix this-“

    “NO! YOU CAN’T FIX THIS, PETER. I’M NOT ONE OF YOUR LAB EXPERIMENTS!” Harry’s voice was hoarse with shouting. Peter almost couldn’t stand it- stupid, stupid, should have worked on the cure. 

    “Please Harry, calm down, just calm- oof!” 

    Harry’s foot had kicked him square in the chest. Peter curled in on himself, struggling for air. He felt hands slide under his back, and then the metal of Harry’s armour pressing against his ribcage. Peter clung to Harry’s shoulders- he could have escaped, but surely, surely Harry would have the sense to go to the lab. 

    “I’m going to kill you, Peter Parker.”

    Maybe not. 

    Peter struggled, trying to wrench his webslingers free, but they were wedged firmly between their bodies. Peter glanced at Harry’s face, trying to see the boy he’d laughed with all those years ago, but all he saw were the cold hard eyes of Norman Osborn.

    They were above water now. There were no buildings nearby, no bridges, no lights from the city. If Harry opened his arms and let him fall, he would die.

    His life rested, quite literally, in Harry’s hands.

    “Don’t do this, Harry. Just take me to the lab, I can cure you!”

    “LIES! YOU’RE LYING! It’s all LIES! NO ONE WANTS TO HELP HARRY. NO ONE LOVES HARRY. NOT EVEN I LOVED HARRY!” Norman cackled.

    Peter wrapped his hands tighter around Harry’s neck, searching desperately. “You’re wrong, Norman.”

    The cackling ceased for a moment. 

    “I love Harry.” And with that, Peter let himself fall.

    First came the sensation in his stomach- the twisting, writhing, as though an elevator had dropped under him. Then time seemed to speed up, slow down, roil like a mad thing, sending his brain off on a wild tangent, and he was screaming words- screaming Harry’s name, even though he knew Harry would do nothing, because Harry was gone, and the only thing Peter could do now was let himself fall, because a life with Harry was-

    THUD.

    Peter’s back hit something hard. He wrenched open his eyes, wincing through the pain in his spine.

    There was no trace of Norman left in Harry’s eyes. “You- love me?”

    Peter struggled for breath, gasping laughter interrupting his efforts. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God-“ He couldn’t even speak. Peter felt fingers probing under his mask, and then it was removed gently, almost tenderly from his face. “Peter?”

    “Yeah?”

    Harry glanced down at the military armour that covered his dilapidated body. “Did you say something about a cure?”

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