It's when Harry turns eight that he realises Norman Osborn doesn't care.

Of course, he's a lot better than the Dursleys. At least Norman doesn't hit him, or starve him, or force him into a cupboard under the stairs. In fact, Harry is given anything he could ask for – all of his wishes are granted in a second.

All but one, and that's for someone to love him. But no one does, aside from Anne, the closest thing he will ever have to a mother. But she's still just a maid, only here because she gets paid to be here and not because she's his mother. They aren't related, and Harry knows that all too well (even though family you are related to isn't much better).

Harry begins to act out when he realises this. Refuses to eat, to sleep, to drink – he does anything he can to get Norman's attention, but the man doesn't even glance at him. Instead, he's sent to school, and that's it.

It's when Harry turns eight that he meets Peter Parker, and he realises what it's like to have someone care for him.

Peter is his best friend almost instantly. They go to the same school, they're in the same class, and they always sit together and work together and play together during their breaks from classes. Harry adores him: Peter is his first friend, and that's something he's never had before thanks to Dudley.

One day, during their lunchtime at school, Harry says very seriously, "I love you." He had heard Aunt Petunia say that to Dudley loads, and he figured it was something that you said to people you cared about. With how much he cares about Peter, it only seems natural for him to say it.

Peter's eyebrows shoot up, and he's obviously surprised. But a cheeky grin soon appears on his face as he throws an arm around Harry's shoulders, already so tall compared to him.

"I love you too, Harry!"

The words warm Harry in a way that he doesn't think he's ever felt before, and at eight years old he finally learns how it feels to care for someone, and to be cared for by them in return.

words: 370

a/n: there's going to be some timeskips, but they'll probably be focused on harry and peter. there's no real plot to this story, just drabbles, so i hope it'll make sense.