Chapter 2: Ghosts in the house.
A/N: Soo…yeah. I'm back. I know, I know. I took way too long to publish this chapter and I can only blame my own procrastination and lack of inspiration. Writing is hard! Especially when the inspiration abandons you. It is extremely frustrating wanting to work on a story, on the little free time you have, only to come up with jack squat. I will say that I have no intention of ever abandoning or canceling this story, so you guys can relax on that front. I will try even harder to make these updates more regular and more continuous. If you guys have suggestions, questions or ideas you would like to share, do not be afraid of sending me PM's. I will answer as soon as i can. I am always looking for potential editors and co- writers that can help me write better chapters for your deserved entertaining.
Let's hope the muses fill me with inspiration so that I can keep this chapters coming.
I do not and will never own either Star vs The Forces of Evil, or Spider Man.
The house was burning; everything was on fire. What wasn't ashes at this point, it was broken; beyond repair. The second floor was all but destroyed, revealing to the once welcoming home the cloudy sky that foretold the coming of a storm.
There was a crowd outside. Small but growing. Everyone watching in despair, but not with enough sympathy as to get too close. They didn't dare. The cops and the firefighters hadn't arrived yet. They are always late, never arriving on time, when they are needed.
The smoke was rising, going up and up into the sky. A signal for all to see. Or was it a warning? Maybe. None could say, but the ominous feeling was there. Beating softly to the sound of silence, waiting. Waiting for it to be unleashed into the world.
And the silence… it was a silence of death. Of loss. It was the silence you expect when you mourn, but it was also the silence you expect when waiting for a bomb to drop. It was the silence that anticipated an explosion, a catastrophe, a calamity. It is the silence of fear.
And caressed by that silence and right at the center of the ruins lied two figures, hidden by the flames and the smoke. Two figures, in which only one was lying on the floor. Only one of those figures was at deaths door. That same figure was not in pain.
The other one, the one clinging to it like a lifeline… that one was. That figure, bathed in red and blue, was broken. It was broken beyond any physical wounds-of which it had numerous. That figure whose mere presence once inspired hope and determination, now emanated nothing but sorrow, grief and guilt.
And hate…so much hate for itself.
It was trembling. HE was trembling. The second figure was a He and despite the massive heat surrounding him, he could feel moist lines traveling down his torn mask. This was it. His greatest mistake, his biggest sin. The elderly figure was barely moving in his arms. Nothing but ragged breaths, no doubt a consequence of the blood loss.
His responsibility. His fault.
All of this was his fault.
"It's okay..." her voice, nothing but a barely heard whisper. To him it might as well had been the sound of booming thunder. It resonated in his mind.
It wasn't okay.
"it's...it's okay. Don't cry. Don't...don't blame yourself for this".
An arm tried to reach his face. A futile attempt at caressing his face. She didn't realize she had a broken arm. At least she wasn't in any pain. The shock must be overwhelming.
This was entirely his fault. His family, his responsibility.
"I am so proud of you Peter...so...so proud."
His name was venom in his own ears. She said it with such kindness…such love. It disgusted him how much love this perfect being had for her killer. Because he killed her. He did this. The blood in his hands will never wash away.
His aunt. His responsibility.
There was nothing about this to be proud about.
"Know that...that I will always love you."
How? How can you love a monster? How can you love this murderer? First the love of her life, and then herself. It's a curse. He is cursed. He is no hero.
So why is she smiling so kindly to him?
"And that you are forgiven...always ...and completely forgiven…"
The short, shagged breaths stopped. Her arm stopped moving. The tiny light in her eyes vanished. Everything just stopped.
The silence came back. It was suffocating, like two hand crushing his throat.
She was dead.
Aunt May was dead.
The only family he had left on this earth and she was dead.
The silence was broken. There was something else. What was it? It was sharp and dark, like a bullet cutting through the air.
Oh. It was screaming.
It was his voice.
He was screaming.
Thunder resonated in the sky, as if to join him in his pain. But the scream was not of grief. It was not of pain.
The roar that escaped Peter Parkers lips was that of rage. Pure, burning, sizzling, rage. There was more thunder.
Wait…that wasn't thunder. That was an explosion. But where…?
There in the distance. The city that never sleeps was bather in an orange light. Cinders and ashes rose to the sky. His two homes were burning.
He could swear he even heard a chorus of maniacal laughter at the heart of the city, all the way from here. They were doing this. They were torturing him.
They will destroy all he has left in this world.
No… not anymore. Never again…
This ends tonight. All of it ends. No more pulling punches. No more quippy remarks. No more holding back.
No more mercy. It's over.
Peter Benjamin Parker stood up with his aunt in his arms. Ignoring the heat from the flames, he made his way into the street. They were all staring at him, realization and surprise made its way into their eyes. They now knew the truth. But they didn't say anything. They couldn't.
There was nothing to say. They all knew what he had done for them. What he had sacrificed for every one of them. Their silence, their respect, it was the least they could do for him. A way of thanks, for all that he has lost for their sake. One last thanks.
He carefully laid the body on the ground. It was so light. Like a blanket. She almost didn't look real. None of this did.
There was no time. He had to hurry. He gave the body once last look before he turned towards the city.
There was more laughter in the distance. He saw red. His body was moving before he could even form a concrete thought. One jump in the air and he was already a red blur for all those that watched him.
What will happen now? What will he do to them? He doesn't know what he will do once he reaches the city. Voices in his mind warn him of the path he has chosen, but he ignores them. He allows his instincts, his rage, to take hold. He doesn't want to hurt anymore. He wants to be the one doing the hurting for a change…
Peter Parker does not know what he is capable of just yet. He does know this though:
When he gets there; when he faces the perpetrators of his torment…
There will be carnage…
The sight of an unfamiliar roof welcomed Ben from his nightmare. He was drenched in sweat. His breaths were labored; as if suffocating on nothing but air. His eyes were wide and unblinking.
This was not his home.
His mind was still in this pre awake state, not quite asleep but not really awake, making it hard to determine if he is still dreaming or not. Everything was wrong, everything was strange.
And the silence was deafening.
As his mind began to settle into reality, his heartbeat began to increase uncontrollably. Ben could hear it loud and clear in his ears. His thoughts became clear and the reality of the situation came crashing down.
It didn't click back in New York. It didn't click back at his made believe funeral. It didn't click on the flight here. it certainly didn't click when he arrived at this house. It didn't even click yesterday when he was hanging out with Jackie and Jenna.
It was here and now, on his first night sleeping on this…on this crypt, that it finally clicked. Like the release of a grenade pin on his mind.
He killed her.
Dear god he really killed her.
He lost everything that mattered, and it was his fault. He was now forced to live this new life, as if he had done anything to earn this chance. He didn't deserve this. How could a mistake like him ever be deserving of this opportunity?
His lips began to tremble but refused to let the tears run free. Clutching the blankets tight, Ben curled into a ball beneath them, as if he were a scared little boy. He couldn't help it. This place after dark was haunting. Empty. Without any semblance of warmth or comfort. Without family.
I didn't feel this bad yesterday… I felt somewhat happy. Now I want to disappear…
His own grim thoughts were against him. He was exhausted, but the last thing he wanted was to go back to sleep. The memories of that day…they are waiting for him on his dreams. If this was just a taste, then he is not sure how much longer he can endure.
To be reminded of his sins every night while he rested; no greater torture existed for him.
It took him all of his will and strength to somewhat move on from what happened to uncle Ben and now he has added another death to his list. New blood is on his hands.
Ben lowered the blankets ever so slowly to see the digital clock on his desk. 4:50. He still had to wait three hours for his first day on this new school. A brand-new start. A brand-new day.
He could stay awake and avoid sleep. His physiology would certainly allow him to endure it. Just one of the many perks of being a mutate.
However, that implies having to stay on this bed, on this room, on this hell house that seemed to gran and even breath menacingly at him. It seemed alive, a giant monster and he was the tiny man trapped in its mouth.
This is not my home, Ben thought with trepidation. Back to his REAL home, whenever his nights were plagued by terrors such as this, he could suit up and go on a nightly patrol. Crime never slept in New York and he had to create a night schedule to better manage the criminal element. But those days were over now.
Spider Man is dead, along all his reasonability. It also doesn't help that Echo Creek has no real crime to speak of. The biggest thing you could find here would be minor destruction of property or vandalism, and that was it. Even if he were to give in to his urges and patrol the city, he would end up wasting time on nothing but with the risk of having his identity exposed now that he had no suit.
No, he would rather avoid all those shenanigans. That live was behind him now.
So, he will have to wait till the alarm rings in three hours' time.
This house is so silent.
Ben clutched the blanket even tighter around him as he could swear there was someone watching him from the shadows…judging him.
Was it his aunt? Were her disappointed eyes drilling his still form on the bed, all the way from the other side?
Ben felt a burning pain in his heart. It was guilt…
Was this hell?
This house is so cold…
This too shall pass.
"So...is he still mad?"
"He hasn't actually stopped pouting ever since he laid eyes on you earlier"
"Pff! He is being dramatic"
"Maybe you went a little too hard on him last night"
"Come on Jackie! It was initiation. A vital part of our culture here in this prison. And without culture we are savages"
"You mean the initiation that didn't exist till you made it up on the spot"
"Exactly! He should be proud. No he is one of us!"
"Well then...Why didn't you go through the initiation as well Janna?"
"What, you really think I would subject myself to that? HA! I am wild but i am not crazy. Initiation is only for the gullible and the rookies, just like Ben!"
" I am right here you know? Right in front of you. If you want to insult my intelligence the least you could do is say it to my face.."
Laughter from both Janna and Jackie at his remark caused his face to take on an even more sour look. There was no real venom in their tone so he knew they were just mocking him in good fun, but it didn't take away the sting from their words. Especially considering it was partially his fault (more into that later).
All in all, this was a rather uneventful first day at highschool. Ben was almost expecting something to go wrong the moment he stepped into class to introduce himself; taking into account his infamous luck he was bracing himself for the worst.
Imagine his surprise when "the worst" never came. His new classmates, besides these two girls in front of him that is, regarded him with a bored indifference that was alien to the young superhuman. He was used to being ignored in his early days at school, but this was different. Here he was just another face, just another new student. Not puny parker, Just plain old Ben Reilly.
"Well reilly, not to sound like a jerk but you make it too easy. It's not like we forced you to eat than enchilada, you are way too trusting dude" Jackie said, resting her cheek on the palm of her had, with half lidded eyes and a smirk on her face. It was a relaxed, yet teasing expression.
"Well excuse me for believing the best in people. And here I thought I made new friends that wouldn't let me down" ben said while crossing his arms and arching an eyebrow at the pair. Jackie at least had the decency to look a little sheepish. All jackie did was wave her hand at him dismissively while her eyes were glued to her phone and her feet toppled over the top of the lunch table.
"Don't get all butt hurt on me man. You fell to my classic pranks hook and skinner. No one to blame but yourself for that".
"Yeah well don't worry! The next time you come to me offering an enchilada with some mysterious sauce in it, or any kind of food really, I won't hesitate to call the authorities on you. What you did to my poor mouth and stomach with that atrocity must be a violation of some law around here or something", Ben spat as he winced, remembering the events of last night.
When Jackie took him to the mall last night, the first thing she did after helping him with his purchases was head to the mexican stand to meet up with her friend, latter denominated as janna. When introductions where out of the way, Ben immediately identified her as a classical tomboy, with a devil may care attitude. Her appearance supported this idea, with her short dark-blue hair and brown eyes, accompanied by the olive green shirt, a turquoise jacket, a yellow skirt, brown boots, and an olive green beanie hat. Her attitude and posture just screamed troublemaker. Despite that, she seemed to be a very close friend to Jackie, and oddly enough they both seemed to compliment one another. One, the cool and collected daredevil, the other a macabre troublemaker.
They had a whole, yin and yang vibe around each other.
It was that dynamic that played on his own trusting nature, giving them the chance they needed to prank him and prank him GOOD.
What happened afterwards should remain unsaid, for the sake of Ben's non existing pride, but needless to say It had been a very informative experience that involved him, the two girls, a taco joint, peer pressure and some very spicy chili sauce.
The moral of the story is that Ben would keep an eye on Janna Ordonia from now on, least he suffers an even worse fate of last night. He didn't know vomit could take on that color after yesterday and he was not eager to repeat the experience.
He must have made some sort of funny expressions as he had his flashback because what broke him out of his brooding was the melodic chuckle of Janna, who leaned into her chair as she smiled at Ben's face, eagerly enjoying his reactions.
"Well, putting aside the double pepper and minced meat, with extra salsa, enchilada supreme, how have you liked here in our corner of the world Ben? I really didn't get the chance to actually ask you this yesterday? Where do you come from?" Jackie asked with curiosity dripping from her words.
Ben relaxed his posture, glad to be changing the subject :"Well, I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I came here since the chaotic lifestyle of the big apple became too much for me. A secluded place like this one is just what I need to relax and just enjoy myself without any of the responsibilities that dragged me down before in the city".
"Whoa, A city boy! I knew you there was something different about you. Our little town here might not be tiny but it sure as hell pales when compared with the city of heroes itself! Still, I hear that living out there is quite expensive, even in small neighborhoods like queens. And it couldn't have been cheap to travel all the way down here. It must have been hard on your folks"
Ben tensed, all his relaxation vanishing in an instant. By sheer force of will he was able to maintain his neutral expression but he knew that it would only be a half measure.
Okay Ben...Relax. You knew this moment would come. It was only a matter of time and it would have been foolish to think you could have avoided the topic.
Just Relax and say the words that you need to say. You have rehearsed them a hundred times.
Don't give anything away.
"It was...it was so hard for them that they could only afford to send me here. They knew how stressed I was from all the noise and dangers of the city so they called in a few favors and managed to send me here. It wasn't too much of an inconvenience, since the house I live in right now used to belong to a friend in the family. So in the end all they had to pay for was my own ticket here. Still, they need to put their own affairs in order before they can come here tmesleves and that may take a while. So for now.. I am living on my own."
There! He said it. A little long but Fury had gone over this excuse and gave him his seal of approval. It wasn't a permanent fix but it would stop others from asking too many questions, at least for now...
"Hmmmm...is that right?" Jackie's expression didn't change at all regarding his lie. She still had the same half lidded eyes and the same relaxed smirk he has come to associate with her, but the intensity of her stare bore into him like power drills. It was as if she was seeing right through his deception.
Just as he had begun to fidget under her gaze she said with a smile: "does that mean that your place is free for endless party time?"
He needed a double take for that question and he was pretty sure he would have choked on his spit due to the tone whiplash.
That was not the kind of question he was expecting.
"That was not the kind of question I was expecting"
"Yeah well, I am not one to butt my head into other people's business. That is not my mojo. What i DO involve myself in is with parties and the like. Anything to break from the monotony; nothing exciting really happens here on Echo Creek, you know?"
"Nothing wrong with peace and quiet if you ask me" Ben replied while rubbing the back of his blond scalp nervously. If only she knew…
"You are right, but that is not the kind of life I want to live forever. I like having a little spice and variety in my day, which is why i hang out with Janna most of the time: never a boring moment with that girl, let me tell you! "
"Yeah, i think i get the picture"
A shriek interrupted their conversation, directing their attention to two tables to their right, as a certain beanie wearing girl persecuted a red hooded boy all over the cafeteria in some twilight zone version of a cat and mouse chase. The boy had a tanned skin and a mole right under his left eye. Coincidentally he was also the source of the shriek.
"Get away from me you crazy woman!"
"Not until you receive your daily dose of Janna's patented noogie especial!"
"That is not even a thing!"
"It will be once I get my hands on you Diaz"
"NO! Stay away you unholy demon! Return to the pit from whence you came!"
"You see! That remark just earned you an extra slap on your cheeks!"
"You won't touch my face with those damned fingers of yours!"
"Oh...I wasn't talking about your face at all man"
Another shriek, this time even more panicked and desperate than before, and the boy bolted out faster than ever with the green monster hot on pursuit.
There was a small pause with everyone in the cafeteria after witnessing the chase, but just as abruptly as it began, everyone resumed their business like nothing had happened.
Ben needed a whole minute before coming up with anything to say.
"I didn't even saw her get up from our table…how did she move all the way over there without us noticing"
"Yeah, she does that from time to time. I'm used to it by now. Don't think about it for too long though, else you'll get a headache. Just think about it as Janna being Janna"
"You know what, i just might do that. Don't need to stress myself with her crazy ways"
"I hear that…"
A small pause.
"What the heck was that about?"
"That...was the perfect example of what I was just talking about earlier" Jackie chuckled as she crossed her arms and tilted her head lazely towards the door, "she always likes to mess around with Marco during lunch time. It is almost like a ritual for her, but it is always pretty entertaining to watch"
"Right, right...but what WAS that?"
"That was just Janna declaring her undisputed love towards our resident safe boy"
"Nothing on that sentence made any sense. I just go here, remember?"
"Right, well...that boy you just saw running from her is called Marco Diaz. You can consider him this school safe kid. Always worrying about keeping things safe and neat around here and pretty much everywhere. It is kind of his quirk."
"He sounds like a pretty reliable guy" Ben said, honestly thinking about how much of that neat and safety he needs back in his life. Maybe he should talk to him later, just to see if he was ok from that onslaught.
"He is. Which makes it even funnier when he tries to act all extreme and rude, trying to break the rules when it is clearly not his thing. He is just...too nice to be a troublemaker"
"Why would he want to get in trouble on purpose?" Ben asked baffled that someone would actually seek out trouble out of their own free will. Well, he used to do the same but due to different reasons and responsibilities.
"He thinks it will make him cool" jackie said with a shake of her head.
"...that's dumb. That's a very dumb reason for wantig that"
"It is what it is. He never really gets his way with that so he just remains the sake kid to all of us, even the principal"
"And what does that have to do with Janna being a bully to him?"
"She is not bullying finds that attitude of his endearing or something. Pretty much anything about him fascinates her. For as long as I have known her, Janna has had this sort of...attraction, it think is the best term, towards Marco. Ever since elementary school she has been around him, following him, pranking him, breaking into his home and stealing his shirts and house keys-
"Wait, what was that last bit?"
-doing pretty much everything in her power to grab his attention, or just to simply be around him as much as she can. It is obvious to everyone here, except maybe Marco, that she has a MASSIVE crush on him! The longest lasting crush in the history of this school, maybe even the entire town!"
"You serious? And she shows her love for him by stealing from him, mocking him and just being an annoyance?"
"This is Janna we are talking about here. Nothing she does is done normally. I bet she is even allergic to the concept of standards and morals. It's all in good fun though, i have never seen her act in a way that crosses a line with him or any of us. She may be a nutcase but she is a sensible nutcase, even if she won't admit it."
"And you know this how?"
"I like to think of myself as a good judge of character. It's how I knew you would be a cool guy to hang out the moment I saw ya" jackie said that last part with a full smile that filled her eyes and made Ben squirm but in a completely different way from before.
This girl, he thought, is like all the good bits of MJ and Gwen combined.
He averted his gaze towards his standard lunch meal, realizing he hadn't touched one bit of it. Realizing his thirst, he grabbed the soda and began to drink-
"Besides, you have a really cute butt, so you could say I was enthralled from the beginning"
-only to spit it out with force directly at her face. She was quick to act, blocking the incoming projectile with the reflexes of a pro and her own food tray, laughing all the way at his reaction. It was a mirthful laugh, full of energy and allure, but also silly and mocking. Ben struggled to regain his breath, which somehow made him burp by accident, which earned him a louder snort from his blond companion.
This continued like this for several minutes, him coughing and her laughing, right until the bell rang,signifying the end of lunch.
For their part, the other students looked at them in confusion and slight judgement, but only for very brief seconds before accepting the situation and moving along.
Such was life in this school and especially in Echo Creek. Things were taken in stride, even the most fantastical things. For a town in which nothing ever truly happened, people were surprisingly accepting of the odd things that took place in their community.
The rest of the day went off without a hitch for Ben. the classes where easy, the students too bored out of their minds to really care about the appearance of a new student-which was both sad and a big relief for Ben- and at the end of the day, when classes finished, Ben continued to hang out with his new found friends way past sunset.
In another life, it would have been incredibly hard for Peter Parker to socialize this much. Between transforming from a wallflower to a wallcrawler and letting everyone down as a result, Peter would always end up victim to his famous Parker luck. And while this wasn't always the case, he gained a sort of infamy between the few friends that he had back at new york.
But this wasn't new york and he wasn't Peter Parker.
He was Ben Reilly, the new kid from Queens that is easy to hang around. No power, and no responsibility to drag him down.
In fact, it was high time to use his powers for something other than crime fighting. To have a little harmless fun. Nothing too selfish but maybe he could show off to Jackie in the ramps downtown, show her some real rollerskating moves.
Or maybe he should get back to Janna somehow. His powers would really come in handy for prank materials.
Those were his thoughts as he walked side by side with Jackie and Janna, making their way downtown and away from their school. Mindless chatter kept him distracted and his mind almost forgot this mornings little event.
He knew that would not end in a single night and knew that his new house would never be a home to him. In fact, he almost dreaded going back there alone to the darkness in those rooms.
So he would stall, he would hang out till it was really late; hell, he could even get a night job, one that didn't involve photography of himself or purposely enabling the false news from a hitler mustache jerk about him being a menace or a murderer or something like that.
Something simple like a taco stand would suit him fine, even if he didn't need the money.
Anything to keep him from going to the house. He knew they would be waiting for him there…
His mistakes, the ghost of his mind. There to torment him.
But he would endure, eventually.
This time he has a normal and uneventful life ahead of him. For the first time since getting this powers, things will look up for him for a change.
And there is nothing that will get in the way of his normal life.
This chapter was a lot harder to write than I thought. I debated whether or not to introduce Star and her world in this chapter, but I decided to it next chapter. I know not alot of things happened here but i believe i developed character interaction and and a little worldbuilding in this chapter. I may have succeeded or i may have failed, please let me know in the comments.
I am trying to show you guys just how much things have changed for Peter ever since coming to this little corner of the world. I wanted to add a lot more but I felt it dragged the chapter a lot and ultimately i could develop him further and move the story along to the bits that we really care about. If you guys feel as if the characters are a little OC then i am sorry. Feel free to tell me how I can improve them.
If you guys have suggestions on how to write this story then feel free to tell me so. If you guys have questions then, by all means ask them. I am just starting out here on fanfiction and i feel i already made a bad impression with such a long hiatus. Hopefully the next chapter won't take a whole year to write and publish.
Stay frosty guys!
This is brave, singing off!
Next: my new roommate is a princess from another dimension...