Peter shook one leg restlessly under the lunch table as he stared down at his untouched food. His eyes kept trailing to his hands on either side of the tray, now his normal skin color and he had to think, was he just really, really tired last night?
The blue creeps like a river. It isn't all at once, it doesn't swell. It starts from the tips of his fingers and tendrils up his palms past his wrists following the veins raising hard lines in a mirrored pattern across knuckles and forearms.
Peter squeezes his eyes shut. Opens them. Fuzzes, re-focuses. Still there.
He looks up at the frozen metal street lamp. Just regular metal. Just iced over.
His eyes drag back to his watch.
School starts in a few hours.
"Peter? You okay?"
He blinked and Ned's face materialized right in front of him, a crease between his brows and his own food half-eaten. He must've looked like a complete lunatic in the same hoodie he worked in the night before with the bags he knew were under his eyes from all the hours he hadn't slept, sitting on his bed and staring at his hands until the color receded the same way they came, slowly, flowing back down to fingertips before the last wisps of blue faded into nothing.
"I got back kinda late from my shift at the House," he said, because that's what he'll call it if anyone ever asked where he worked. Ned only knew the 'House' was less than ideal, but it was more than May who thought he'd gotten a job at some hole-in-the-wall pub that Granny was sweet enough to fake a call for. "Sorry, uh, what were you saying?"
"I asked if you wanted to play some Resident Evil after decathlon practice." Ned's concerned gaze lingered for a few moments before he picked up a tangerine to peel. "But you should catch up on sleep, dude. Get a few hours in after, you know..." He trailed off, making some weird hand motions like he's at a rave but doesn't know what to do with his arms. "Thwip thwip."
Peter snorted and kicked his shin under the table. "I don't look like that!"
"Ow! And yeah, you do! Look, I've got about a few dozen YouTube videos to prove it."
Peter was in the middle of shoving some cold pizza into his mouth as Ned scrolled through YouTube to prove his point when his own phone vibrated.
boss-man: i no u dont have a shift tonite [11:43am]
boss-man: but can u com in [11:43am]
boss-man: got new stock i need ur brain [11:43am]
boss-man: silverwear, peenuts, menus [11:44am]
boss-man: the ushe [11:44am]
Peter's thumb tapped against the side of his phone.
Silverware, peanuts, menus.
Weapons, ammunition, new merc job postings.
Within the first few days of the job, Weasel hadn't sugarcoated any part of what it meant to work in Sister Margaret's and made sure he knew exactly what it meant to be a server/dish boy for them.
An hour before the bar opens, Weasel holds up three fingers. Peter stares as the man drops one. "Arms dealing." The second finger comes down. "Information broking." The third. "Dirty job dispatches."
Then an index finger points directly at Peter's face.
"If you can't handle the fact that this is what we do, I will literally escort you back to whichever Chuck E. Cheese you wandered from and we can forget this whole thing ever happened."
YOU ARE READING
Peter wasn't going to let May pay the rent all on her own. Not when there was the two of them, not when being Spider-Man made everything that much harder. And if that meant washing scratched up dishes and scrubbing old blood from the tile grout at S...