Chapter 19: A New Recruit

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A/N - Pictured above is the gloves that are protecting Erin's burns. 

My leg jumps up and down as I nervously wait for Peter with my Dad and Peter's aunt. She offered me a cup of coffee or tea multiple times in an effort to make me comfortable, but it doesn't work. I just want to get this done and over with...

The door to the apartment suddenly opens and Peter walks through it, both head phones in his ears.

"Hey, how was school?" his aunt asks.

"It was okay. Sarah wasn't there again which sucked. There's this crazy car parked outside..." Peter tells his aunt before looking up and seeing Dad and I. His eyes go wide at the sight of my Dad but as soon as he sees me sitting beside him, daggers shoot from his eyes.

"Oh, Mr. Parker." Dad says nonchalantly.

"Hey! Uh, I'm Peter. But you already knew that Erin." he replies to my Dad, having a complete fanboy moment. "What are you two doing here?"

"I thought it was about time we met. You've been getting the emails right?" Dad continues, trying his best not to giggle.

"Why didn't you tell me about the grant? Or that you knew his daughter?" Peter's aunt asks. 

Peter continues to stutter, not knowing what to say next.

"Well I approved the grant and there's an added bonus for keeping my daughter out of trouble. So we're in business." Dad reminds while sipping on his tea.

"Your keeping secrets from me now? What's up with that, Peter?" his aunt asks.

"I just wanted it to be a surprise... I know how much you love surprises!" Peter quickly lies, obviously not knowing what the hell is going on. 

"What did he apply for again, Dad?" I ask, trying to make the situation less awkward for all of us.

"Well that's what we're here to hash out." Dad answers. He turns to Peter's aunt and begins to flirt with her, giving me a chance to pull Peter into his room unnoticed. 

"You seriously told your Dad!" Peter quietly yells at me.

"I never told him! He probably saw us in the security footage!" I defend.

"It never clued in for you to shut down the security system!" Peter says.

"I may be his daughter but he doesn't give me that much freedom. Besides, you really think you could break into Tony Stark's house without being recorded?" I reply.

Peter looks at me with a look of defeat as he takes deep breaths in an effort to calm down. Feeling like I just lost my only friend, I look to the ground in embarrassment. Suddenly, I feel a pair of arms wrap around me. I nervously return the gesture as I hear Peter say:

"I'm sorry for getting mad." 

"It's okay, Peter." I say, feeling more comfortable in his embrace now.

That's when the both of us hear his door open and close and we jump away from each other. I turn to see Dad looking at both of us with suspicion. 

"Don't do that again." Dad says seriously, pointing between the two of us before spitting out a piece of loaf. 

I sit on Peter's bed and watch his eyes grow bigger as they talk back and forth. The look of pure excitement in his eyes causes me to smile despite the pain I felt all over my body. Once Dad reveals that he knows who Peter is, the inevitable question pops up. 

"Besides Erin, who knows?" Dad asks. Peter looks down at his desk before answering.

"No one else."

"Not even your unusually unattractive aunt?" Dad questions.

"Dad...don't." I respectfully warn.

"If she knew she would freak out! And when she freaks out, I freak out." Peter rambles.

"You know what I think is cool, Peter? This webbing." I say changing the subject. Despite the pain, I float a tube of his webbing above my hand before throwing it at him. Peter easily catches it without looking before turning towards Dad who is now sat a few feet away.

"That tensile strength is off the charts. What we need you for, we're gonna need that kind of smarts." I tell Peter, trying to build up to our big question. But, of course, Dad has more questions.

"How are you climbing walls? Adhesive gloves?" Dad asks before putting Peter's goggles over his eyes. "Lordy! Can you even see in these?" 

Peter quickly takes the suit away from him and look towards me. I mouth a quick 'I'm sorry' to which Peter shakes his head. 

As my best friend gives the same explanation to my Dad he gave to me almost a year ago, I think of how our friendship is going to change. He's going to learn so much more then I care for him to know, but it's too late now. Peter then takes a seat beside me, no longer excited about the situation. I sneakily slip my hand under Peter's and squeeze it, trying to offer any comfort through this awkward situation.

_______________________

Finally, after what felt like forever, Dad left Peter's apartment. Things were still incredibly awkward between us since Dad walked in on us hugging. All we were doing was hugging, and yet we both can't seem to find the words to talk to the other. I gingerly cross my arms in an attempt to make myself feel more secure, but I fail. 

"I'm... gonna leave, Parker. I'll see you in Germany, I guess." I mumble to Peter while trying to walk out the door. One thing I forgot was that my gloves were completely exposed from the long sleeve shirt I was wearing and of course this caught Peter's attention. He gently grabs onto my arm and turns me toward him even though my head is still aimed towards the ground.

"Erin, what happened to your arms?" he asks. I look up into the boy's whiskey eyes and see worry and concern. 

"You know all those days I was away from school? Well I was tracking an old HYDRA friend down and when another... person got in the way, I tried to push him away. Whatever his suit was made out of caused this." I explain while showing a Peter a small space of my healing skin.

Peter holds my arm in his hands gently, examining every inch of my swollen arm. He drags me towards his bed and forced me to sit on it while he makes something at his desk.

"Pete, what's going on in that big head of yours?" I chuckle. Peter takes a moment to stop his work and turns towards me.

"The burning on your arm isn't sporadic or spotty like usual burns are. They all follow a pattern and only vibranium burns follow a pattern. I think the molecular density that raw or manufactured vibranium possesses is so large your powers can't comprehend it properly. Your body is then sent into shock from you trying to hard and your abilities have full control. But because they are so powerful, they burn you with whatever substance is nearby... in this case vibranium. And it only seems to happen with vibranium." Peter explains.

"So your creating an antibiotic ointment that will adapt to my powers so that I heal faster?" I ask.

"That's exactly it." Peter says with a smile before returning to his work. 

Within minutes, Peter had created a pearl white cream and had transferred it into a travel bottle for me. I quickly put a small drop of it onto my burned finger, the red and irritated skin instantly healing. Sighing in relief, I stand from the bed I was sat on and gave Peter a hug. And this time...

It wasn't awkward. 


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