AN: Thanks for the lovely reviews :) Hopefully this won't disappoint.


Chapter Two
Miles: The Hero in Training

"Are you sure this is your house?" Miles made a worried noise. He wasn't sure if he should really trust Flash at this moment in time. The other had been mumbling gibberish the whole journey back- it seemed to consist of Flash complaining about a lot of stuff. A lot of it Miles was quite sure hadn't even been English. Maybe Flash could speak German or something? Blonde was a German thing… wasn't it? Or was that Swedish?

Wow. Miles was going off topic now. He really needed to learn to focus better. The teacher's at school were always telling him that; that he was bright and could go places if he only applied himself. Miles wonders how they would all react if he told them he was the new Spiderman. If he told them he'd spoken face to face with Nick Fury?

The new suit he'd been given fitted perfectly. He felt a lot better having his own suit. He was starting to become his own hero; not just a copy of Peter Parker. Not that Miles would have minded being a copy. Peter was his hero. He honestly couldn't think of a better thing to do with his life than follow in the other's footsteps. He didn't ever want to seem insensitive. Really, it was all Ganke's fault!

Miles looked down at the back of Flash's head, wondering if the man had passed out. He shifted around to half crouch in front of the wheelchair, elbows on his thighs as he waited. Flash was breathing heavily, his chin tucked down against his chest. It made this little double chin and Miles smiled, leaning forward a bit.

"You're not that scary, are you?"

Flash opened heavy eyelids and glared across at him.

Miles leant back quickly, "Okay. Maybe you are." He stood for a moment and then stepped to the side, pointed up to the small house, "Is this where you live?"

"Yeah," Flash slurred and then laughed. "This is the place. My palace. My Empirrre," the blonde slurred.

Again, Miles wasn't sure whether to believe him, but it was all he had to go on. He moved behind the wheelchair and pushed the man up towards the front door. It was a little bit of a hill but at least there weren't any steps to try and negotiate the chair over. Miles was certainly stronger than before but he hadn't ever practise manoeuvres like that. He didn't want to end up throwing Flash to the ground by mistake.

"Where are you keys?" Miles asked, reaching over the other's head to try the door handle. Flash obviously hadn't been drunk that morning when leaving the house. It was locked pretty tight. Maybe Miles could break it open? But then how would he explain the broken door to the other in the morning?

A note? And what if the open door let burglars in or something?

Flash shifted again with a grunt, "Pocket, you jackass."

Miles made a noise. "Can you get them out for me then?"

Flash grunted again, but this time Miles couldn't make out the words. He stood for a moment by the wheelchair, wincing and scrunching up his face a little bit. He didn't really want to shove his hand down inside the pocket of the other man. What if Flash regained his senses halfway through and started drunkenly yelling about getting… molested or something!

Miles was unlucky enough that if that did happen, there would also be someone with a camera hiding in the bushes to snap his picture. The headline the next morning would read 'Spiderman: Hero or Pervert?'

Miles blushed under his suit, grumbling at his situation. He should've stayed inside tonight. Besides this incident with Flash, his night patrol had been surprisingly dull. Nobody wanted to commit crimes in the snow, it seemed. Miles could understand that. His costume was a little on the thin side and the chill was starting to go right through him.

Talking about cameras, maybe Miles should think about getting Ganke to follow him around the city- snapping pictures of him being heroic. He didn't want to seem like a show off, but it would definitely help him improve his stances and such. He could only get so far by copying pictures of Peter Parker in his bedroom. And gosh, hadn't that been embarrassing when he'd been caught by his mother?

Ganke probably needed to get outside a bit more anyway. Miles knew how to work a computer but he had never used one to the extent his friend had. The chubbier boy sometimes sat for hours, clicking buttons and grumbling about people on the internet- people who were across the other side of the country. Or further.

Miles, although not an avid user of technology, was always amazed by that- the way you could talk to someone so far away, and become friends without ever meeting face to face. Ganke often avidly talked about people he knew online; gaming groups and 'guilds' that were in constant hate wars; people in different time zones that kept Ganke up until 4am whilst Miles and Jude tried to block out the light from the computer and actually get some sleep.

The interesting thing was that Ganke seemed to have no problem waking up early the next morning. Maybe he ran off some kind of battery power that he harvested from the computer whilst he was on it?

A sudden snow-mixed breeze of wind up the garden path reminded Miles that they'd been standing in Flash's front garden for the better part of ten minutes. Flash was snoring now and Miles was half-certain he could slap the other and get no response.

He turned to take a quick look around the area, just to make sure absolutely nobody would see him do what he was about to do. The street was empty, the snow flickering across the sky and streetlamps scattering each flake's shadow over the road. The place was silent.

"Thank goodness," Miles mumbled, rolling his neck and shoulders, stretching himself out to sort of… mentally prepare for the task. He licked his lips under the mask, looking over the snoring figure. Flash was unaware of any mental torture Miles was going through right now. If Miles squinted, he could swear he saw the other's drooling a bit.

The boy reached his hand forward, quickly patting down over the blanket to find out which side the keys were in. Luckily he found them first time. They were in the left, the pocket he was next to. Lucky again, Morales.

Time for step two. He took hold of Flash's shoulder and gently tilted the man to the other side of the wheelchair, leaning him over so his hip pushed up, allowing Miles to reach the pocket more easily.

For some reason he held his breath as he pushed his hand down inside the other's pocket. He wriggled around a bit, blushing harder at the embarrassment of doing something so personal to someone- not just because his hand was pushed up against this stranger's thigh.

He pushed down a little further when he finally felt the keys. Gosh, Flash's pockets seemed to go on forever for some reason. Miles curled his fingers down, gripping around the keys and pausing when the whole pocket suddenly became warm and wet at the bottom.

"Oh, jeeze, ew! That's your- I'm sorry!" Miles's face was burning hot underneath his mask. He pulled his hand quickly out of the pocket, shaking his fingers out, keys jangling in his grasp. "I didn't mean to- I forgot you'd-"

Flash stirred at the loud stream of nonsense pouring from the young boy. "I thought I told you to shut up," he slurred, shifting to sit back upright in the seat, tugging at the blanket until it was tucked up under his chin.

Miles couldn't think of anything to do besides nod, taking the advice and shutting up fairly quickly. The keys were only a little wet but Miles chanted the phrase 'It's just water, it's just water' over in his head to make it easier. Luckily there was only one key, so he didn't have to struggle trying to find the right one. He slipped it into the lock and wriggled it around until he heard the tell-tale click of entrance granted.

So Flash hadn't been lying. This really was the other's home.

He pushed the door open with his shoulder. It groaned in protest, a little stiff, but Miles didn't feel the strain at all. He didn't even think about his increase in strength anymore. In the beginning he'd had problems slamming doors and cupboards too hard. His mother had scolded him a lot for stuff like that, telling him to be careful. Now carefulness came naturally. Strength was manageable.

Miles quickly put the keys down onto the nearest table, rubbing his hands on his thigh muscles before turning back to get Flash's wheelchair. He pushed the blonde inside and shut the door, letting out a sigh of relief.

The sigh quickly turned to a yelp of distress when he looked around Flash's home.

It wasn't like Miles's own home at all, or like his school dorm. The house was large and fairly average from the outside, but inside the rooms seemed much, much bigger due to the fact that there was barely any furniture.

The couch looked pretty old and there was a coffee table facing an old looking TV- something that still had a VCR machine attached. Miles couldn't see any videos lying around though, but maybe they were hidden away?

What was in generous supply was rubbish- most of it in the form of frosty green beer bottles.

The kitchen had the most bottles in it- piled high inside a small blue, plastic box with the three-curved recycle symbol stamped on the side. The bottles were gathered in a large bin bag, but Miles was pretty sure there was at least another bag of bottles just lying around the rest of the apartment. The smell of stale beer was pretty powerful.

Oh well, at least Flash was recycle-conscious… right?

Miles tried not to judge. Maybe those bottles had never ever been put to the recycling? The rest of the house wasn't exactly clean- things were littered all over the place. Maybe Flash couldn't move the box to the curb or anything, so it had all just built up over the months.

Some of the bottles had stuff growing inside them- black lumps of mould. There was no way Flash could consume such a large amount of alcohol in just a couple of weeks. This was months' worth of abuse.

Miles wasn't sure if that made it any better.

He decided to focus on just getting the man to bed. He left Flash sitting in the wheelchair for a moment, moving around the house to check for a bedroom. There was a set of stairs, but nothing to help Flash get up and down them. Miles could only assume the first floor of the house was now redundant and never lived in.

He found the bedroom just behind the staircase, hidden at the back of the house. The room only had a bed and a dresser in it- a half open wardrobe making up the other side. Miles took a self-conscious second to check himself out in the mirror. Maybe he was too skinny, but the suit looked great. He felt like he was one step closer to becoming a 'real' Spiderman- a hero of his own.

Blinking, Miles noticed that the wardrobe was half open. Amongst the clothes hanging up, there was something smooth and human-like in the back, resting against the wall. Curiosity made him lean closer, and shock forced him back suddenly when he realised it was a pair of legs.

He shut the wardrobe and tried to forget about it. That was maybe something to fret over for another day. He was sure Flash wasn't some kind of crazy killer, going around and stealing people's legs because his own were missing.

He returned to the front of the house quickly and gently made a path through the odd pieces of rubbish and bottles to let the wheelchair get through. Miles wasn't practised with a wheelchair (a fact he'd found out earlier in the evening as he tried to negotiate Flash up and down several curbs) but he managed to get the other to the bedroom without incident.

Flash grunted a stream of words as Miles transferred his large frame to the bed. Miles let out his own grunt at the awkward weight, sort of accidentally dumping Flash on the bed a little roughly.

Flash didn't seem to mind though. The large man shifted, his body stretching out. His legs acted as if they were still full length and Miles smiled at the thought of Flash imagining curling his toes up in delight. He couldn't resist staring at the missing legs as the man shifted-there was something strange about the whole situation and he had trouble tearing his eyes away. But he did in the end.

It was rude to stare.

"Are you alright, Flash?" Miles asked, leaning over the bed- but not too close to Flash's face. The smell of alcohol there was worse than it was in the apartment.

Flash's body shifted on the bed suddenly and Miles leant back as the other groaned, the noise catching in the other man's throat like the wind had been knocked out of him. Miles made a displeased noise. "You're not going to be sick, are you?"

It was the only thing left to go wrong.

But the other man just turned over a bit and curled his thighs up towards his body; eyes flickering behind his eyelids and hands twitching gently in his sleep.

Flash seemed alright… Maybe Miles could leave now. He was done with this. Missions complete, right?

Only he couldn't seem to pull his eyes away from the man's sleeping face. A few strands of blonde hair had fallen over his forehead and his eyebrows were furrowed together slightly- mind somewhere else, or maybe in a dream?

Miles shook his head out and checked the clock on Flash's bedside. It was 12.43am. He really needed to get back to school if he was even going to have a hope of getting up in time for class. Flash would be fine. He'd do just fine without Miles around. What more could the young boy do anyway? Did he want to add 'staring-at-you-whilst-you-slept' to the 'groping'?

No, he didn't. Still, it felt bad to leave without saying anything. He stepped away from the bed, hoping to maybe find some kind of pad-and-pen set amongst the mess that littered Flash's bedroom floor- maybe under an old shirt or something?

As he stepped further away, a hand suddenly reached out and grabbed onto him. Strong, thick fingers wrapped around his wrist but the tug pulling him back was gentle. The contrast struck Miles as something important, something rare. He turned back to Flash, the disabled man looking straight at Miles's mask.

It felt like he was looking through it, like he could see every feature on Miles's face. But then those sad blue eyes shut and Flash tugged again, "Don't go, Peter…" he slurred, breathless as he turned his head down to look at the floor. Maybe he was too drunk to keep it up, but Miles had the sick feeling in his stomach that it was actually because Flash was ashamed to look him in the eye now that he believed him to be Peter.

Miles didn't know what to do.

He stepped back toward the bed, gently prising Flash's hand from his wrist and pushing the large man to lie flat. "Go to sleep," he mumbled, licking his lips and trying to sound more like the Spiderman before him, the ghost Flash was imagining.

Flash mumbled something. The words got lost in his throat, in the drink, but the sound he made was clear enough. It was a lonely sound, like the wail a dog gives to the sky.

Miles felt like he'd seen something personal. Too personal. He should've left before this all happened. Flash was lying on the bed, his chest practically cracked open to let Miles see everything inside him. Miles felt like he was taking advantage without meaning to.

Like he was stealing.

Miles swallowed to try and force the uneasy feeling down, holding his breath and pushing the window open. It felt like he didn't breathe until he got home, perched against the wall by his dorm window. He reached up and pulled the mask off, tearing it away and letting the wind blow at his face. He gasped, feeling his lungs fill with the cold air, and clenching his eyes shut.

But when he opened them again all he could see were those pleading blue eyes begging for him to be real- to be Peter Parker.

How could he ever live up to expectation like that…?