december 17, 2020 — december bingo scene — peter parker & cassandra cain

He really needed to figure out what to do about tracking down the ski masked asshole who had sprung on him out of nowhere last week, and had put him in the emergency room thanks to a body that couldn't recover from a serious beating and stabbing as it usually could. Unfortunately, Pete didn't have much to go on - passing out and waking up a few weeks later with time lost and nothing left at the scene of the crime wasn't exactly conducive to tracking down dangerous people. Theo had done his best, from what Pete could tell - and a whole lot of research, which he appreciated and valued and felt pretty proud of, actually. It just wasn't enough, not yet. He'd put the pieces together before long - and hopefully didn't end up stabbed again in the process.

At least this time Pete felt invigorated. His abilities were coming back to him slowly, but they were there. He could climb walls again, and that was useful for stakeouts, which he was currently in the process of - crawling around near the docks, near where he'd been last time, wondering if maybe by chance he'd run into someone who could give him some extra information. He wore a balaclava to hide Theo's - his identity - but it did kind of make him look a little shady. Nothing that could really be helped when it came to that except that he'd be jumping in to help if something came up, so Pete would just have to hope for the best.

When a shout went up nearby, Pete's senses shot some heat up through the back of his neck and he snapped towards the sound of distress. He jumped out into the nearest alleyway, and directly in front of - not the victim or attacker, they were further off, but someone else with a familiar enough face that it threw him for a good minute. Was it because he knew her, or Theo? "Oh, uh, sorry, just-- on my way to stop-- that!" He pointed behind her, to where he could hear the argument or fight escalating.

Cass' eyes narrowed at the man in front of her. He looked like a bank robber or something, balaclava hiding his identity. Her first instinct was to lash out, sock him in the face and see what he did, but she could feel her body was wrong. It didn't respond as quick as it should, didn't have the callouses showing it knew how to fight. The guy in front of her, he wasn't one of hers. At least, she was mostly sure about that. Whatever was happening, she didn't have her suit so she couldn't depend on anyone else to have theirs either, but he didn't seem like someone in the family. He'd stammered.

"You are help?" She didn't bother turning toward the raised voices, she could hear them well enough and knew where they were coming from. If he was actually good, this would be a decent way to tell. She studied him a long moment before grabbing his arm and turning to head in the direction of the commotion, taking him with her.

"Am I--" Pete started, then registered what she'd said - how she'd said it - and let out a little noise of oh, that was an insult. Well, looking at himself, he couldn't really blame her. He just looked like some guy, as usual - and he'd done this before, way back in the past, when he was first struggling with his newfound powers and responsibility. Pete was still blinking - both at the girl's strange familiarity and the quip - and so went with her when she grabbed him without thinking much of it, except that she was, well, just someone else.

"Hey, hey, wait, I can handle it, you just wait--" Pete tried to get it out before they'd rounded the corner, but it was too late. What they stumbled on didn't look great. A guy on the ground, clutching his stomach like he'd just recovered from a serious kick. Another bolting in the opposite direction, and a group of six assholes surrounding the grounded guy and a girl. One of them had her handbag in his hand, yanking at her.

Pete dove forward immediately, shooting an arm out in front of Cass - a protection move - while his other shot forward, and with that movement came a spool of web that snapped forward, fast, stuck against the face of the thug pulling at the girl, and then Pete hauled back hard. He wasn't as strong as he was used to being - but it was returning to him, slowly, and it was enough to throw the thug so far off balance he slammed onto his knees on the ground.

"Hi fellas!" Pete greeted, as bright as always. "I don't know if that's yours." The group turned on them - Pete and Cass both - and lunged forward.

Six average looking dumbasses picking on people smaller than them. Easy peasy, or it should have been - would have been if Cass was herself. A wave of irritation hit her, at knowing she could drop all of them before they got a punch in, if only she was herself. And another, at Pete throwing his arm out in front of her as if she needed protecting. She went to smack it away but stopped to watch the web coming out of his other arm, gaze following it as he hit one of the guys and he got brought to his knees.

Okay. Maybe he was one of the good guys.

There wasn't much time to think about it with half a dozen (minus one, web in his face) big guys charging them. Cass felt that familiar rush of adrenaline, corner of her mouth twitching with a smirk, arm cocked back ready to nail whoever got close enough first. Her fist connected with a jaw and sharp pain shot up through her hand and arm, followed quickly by the jolt that came from her jaw being hit. She stumbled backward, managing to stay on her feet but barely, blinking hard a few times before throwing herself right back in, kicking the guy hard in the nuts. Simple, effective, no skill required.

Pete swung a sharp glance over his shoulder just as someone charged at Cass - he caught sight of her slamming her leg up into the guy's crotch and winced out of pure memory. But at least, for now, she seemed like she had a hang of things, even though he still shot out a, "Hey, maybe just - back up! I've got this!"

His senses still coming back to him meant that his spider-sense was on the fritz, and a second later it responded too late for him to dodge a fist that clocked into the back of his head harder than he'd anticipated. Peter staggered forward, caught himself on his hands before he could taste concrete, and spun around in a fast enough spin to catch the guy behind him unawares, knocking his legs out from under him with a swift movement that just felt right again.

"Go, go!" Pete called to the victims - the woman was already grabbing at the guy on the ground, trying to get him up to his feet. Peter vaulted himself over the fallen thug before he could get up, grabbed the guy by the back of the coat and got him to his feet to send the two of them scrambling down the street, just as another thug grabbed him around the waist and spun him towards Cass.

I've got this, he said, right before getting sucker punched. Cass huffed out a breath, her eyes staying on Pete just long enough to make sure he didn't smash his balaclava face on the ground, then it was right back to the next guy coming at her. Her jaw clenched as she braced herself, pissed she was moving so slow, so clunky, no strength in her limbs. He grabbed her arm to yank her in and she used her free hand to twist his thumb back, get his hand off her and break at least one of his fingers.

And then she was hit from behind by something (more like someone, as Pete got knocked into her), and fell forward into the guy she'd just liberated herself from. He got her locked up in his arms, keeping his hands away from where she could reach, lifting her off the ground so she couldn't get away.

"God, sorry!" Pete hissed, springing away from Cass in a twisting, easy movement - but it was too late, he'd already smacked into her, and now she was grabbed by some other asshole, and that did not look good. Pete pursed his lips underneath his balaclava and shot a hand out. A string of webbing followed, hooking around the guy's ankle. Pete yanked him hard, sending him swinging suddenly backwards, and in the same movement he leaped forward.

It was all timed so that - as the brute fell - he could snag Cass around the waist, flip, and land on his feet on the ground behind the guy as he crashed into the concrete, but with Cass in his arms and not smushed or thrown or anything of the sort.

He moved to set her down on her feet as well, and promptly had to duck another big meaty fist swinging at him. "Stay back," he insisted at her, "You're gonna get hurt--" More hurt. He meant to add, but was immediately distracted by needing to send another crack of web at the nearest thug's face, which sent him staggering backwards into the wall.

Cass drew in a breath as she felt that uncertainty of free fall, stuck in the arms of some thug and without any power over where she was headed. She made a surprised sound when she got grabbed, flipped around, and somehow didn't hit the ground with the man who'd seemed determined to rip her apart just moments before. Her feet met the ground solidly, gaze scrutinizing the masked man who'd saved her ... from the trouble he'd gotten her in in the first place. Not that there was much time for thinking about it, considering half the guys were still left and the others weren't completely out of commission if they were dumb enough to come back for more.

As much as staying back would have been smart, and it was smart especially since she was lacking any skills or abilities that would typically give her the upper hand, it wasn't the easiest when she'd already thrown herself into things. Not when there were two guys wanting payback and more who saw an easy target. "You've got this?" she repeated back at him, raising an eyebrow as her fists clenched at her sides, ready for whatever came her way. As ready as she could be. "Get it."

Pete gave a huff back at her in response - she was right, though. He was still sluggish, not as quick as he used to be. His abilities were still growing, returning to him like he'd been asleep for a month, or more. Technically he had, he supposed - but it wasn't supposed to be like this. A group of asshole thugs? Peter would have been able to handle them with one hand tied behind his back any other time. This was taking a little longer than anticipated.

"Alright, alright," he shot back at her, but there was amusement to his tone now. He leaped - thrust a fist into the face of the thug closest to him, and this time with enough strength behind it to knock him out cold. Then he spun, kicked another thug back into the wall, shot a glob of web onto his hand to pin him there, and yanked another by the leg before they could lunge at Cass. That left one more - throwing themselves at her, hoping to get in an easy hit before Peter returned his attention to them.

Now that was more like it. Cass didn't know why he hadn't been doing this right from the jump. She watched him as he fought, not dropping her guard, intrigued in the webs he was shooting out. They were interested and she wanted to know more about them, what they were, how they worked, but it wasn't the time for that. Right now all that mattered was that they seemed to do a good job of messing up those dumb thugs.

Except that one coming right at her. Cass didn't have much a chance to do anything but lash out on instinct, kicking him hard enough in the stomach to knock the wind out of him and make him double over. She stumbled a step back, thrown off balance briefly - annoying, stupid - before moving in to knee him in the face while it was down at a good level to do just that.

Pete spun, almost about to shoot out a bit of webbing to yank back the thug before they could grab Cass - but she was handling it soundly without him. He blinked, stared for a moment, and then promptly leaped up behind to drive his elbow into the back of the guy's head, making sure that when he staggered to the side it was because he was out cold and not about to make another attempt on her. That seemed to be enough for the remaining thug, who stared at the two of them, held up his hands, and promptly bolted in the other direction. Pete considered it for a moment, and then let him run, before he quickly turned back to Cass.

"Hey, are you okay?" He reached for her, already trying to inspect her for injuries - anything more serious that he might have missed up until now. "Looks like you took a few hard hooks." His voice was heavy with sympathy. "Need me to swing you to the nearest hospital?"

And there, they were all taken care of, both the victims and the baddies. That was a good feeling, knowing she was still capable of taking care of things even without herself in control, without all the coordination and agility of her actual self. There were the downsides, that she could feel the pain and soreness already setting in from the blows she'd received, but that was all temporary. She'd learned how to deal with it all when she was a child, she could learn again.

Cass took a half-step back from him when he reached for her, more out of instinct more than anything else. As much help as he'd done, he was still a masked person she didn't know. "Fine." She brushed her hair back from her face, studying him. "No hospital."

When she moved back, Peter didn't follow. He lifted his hands, palms out, a little like he was maybe trying to calm a wild horse. "Hey, okay, no problem." He answered, carefully and quietly, frowning at her from behind his balaclava. "No hospital." He knew as much as anyone how that wasn't the ideal course of action - he preferred to lick his wounds in private, and it wasn't just due to the whole secret identity thing.

"Well," Peter continued, shrugging lightly. Police may have been on the way - he didn't want to stick around much longer, but nonetheless, he held a hand out to Cass for an offered handshake. "You did good. Sorry for crashing into you. I'm Spider-Man."

The corner of her mouth twitched at his name. He certainly didn't look like a Spider-Man, but Cass knew well enough that even people with identities like that weren't necessarily afforded their things in this place. She didn't have anything of hers, which was stupid and rude. Her fingers already felt bruised and stiff from the punches they'd landed, but she still extended her hand to meet his and shake it. "Cass. You did okay."

Peter let out a soft laugh through his mask at her 'compliment'. He figured that was about the best he'd get from her - and that was okay. It was hard, still, shaking away that feeling of familiarity with her face.

Theo had to have known her, but Peter couldn't exactly out him in that moment - not when the last time he'd been around he'd somehow ended up stabbed, and still didn't know whether or not they had been after him, or the guy he shared this body with. Nonetheless, he gave Cass a firm - but not too tight, he'd seen her knuckles - shake, and then withdrew.

"You sure you don't want a ride anywhere at all?" He hesitated there. "I feel like an asshole just... ditching you here."

Probably she would go back to Stephanie's, but she didn't want to give this Spider-Man knowledge of where that was. Even if he seemed like an okay good guy, it wasn't her place and she didn't trust him. Well, trusted him enough to fight with when the moment called for it, but not really beyond that. He was still just some guy that looked like a bank robber and could shoot weird stuff out of his hands. Except she'd just shaken his hand.

Brow furrowed, she reached for his hand again but this time with both of hers, turning it over as she looked from the webbing on the guys they'd taken out down to his palm.

Pete blinked as she held his hands, staring quietly for a few moments as he let out an, "Uhhh." Well, this was nice. And weird. And kind of awkward. But also fine? He wiggled his fingers under her stare and carefully started to pull his hand back, before she could get too much of a good look at his web-shooters. He didn't know why, for some reason, it had just now made him feel a little shy. "They're - these are my web-shooters," he explained to her, though she hadn't asked. "I made them."

Cass let him take his hand back, though her gaze stayed on it until she couldn't see much anymore. She looked up to his covered face when he spoke, an eyebrow raising slightly at his admission he'd made them. Web shooters. Spider-Man. That made sense. "You make other things?"

Pete arched his eyebrows under his mask and flexed his fingers again, then shrugged. "Um, yeah. I do. I don't have any of them with me, though. That's the thing, just... these. I couldn't even do what I just did --" He gestured behind them, as if trying to direct her memory to the flipping and swinging and kicking he'd just deployed against those thugs. "-- Until this week." Peter caught himself before he could blab much more, and shrugged again.

"Hm." It sounded familiar, like what Terry had been telling her before. How things kind of showed up there after a while. She was hoping her things would, and if not her physical things then herself things. Like how she couldn't fight now, not in any kind of decent way, couldn't read people, couldn't anything like normal. It was annoying. And frustrating. But Spider-Man could build things so maybe if her things didn't show up and she needed something she could work with him to get the R&D of it done. It wasn't the worst plan. "Maybe next week you will be better." It wasn't meant as an insult, more an observation that things may be even more different the next time around - if there was a next time around. "I hope I am."

Pete gave a short little laugh at her hope for him - and the both of them. He tilted his head this way and that. "Yeah, I hope so too." He squinted at her, a little - that sounded a bit like - well, like him. Like she was going through something similar. But Pete was the one standing with a mask on, and if she didn't want to outright tell him, he was happy with making the assumption. "I'll see you around next time, maybe?" He asked instead. "Hopefully under better circumstances. Don't forget to put ice on that." He pointed at her cheek and smiled again.

Cass brought her hand up to touch against the part of her cheek she could feel was swelling. It was only a dull ache, though it did go sharp if she pressed, but didn't seem anything more than superficial. Ice would help, though she expected the bruise would be pretty good. Same with her knuckles. "Maybe." He seemed okay. Nice. But they both should go, before anyone else showed up, cops or backup, anything in between. She rocked on her heels and took a step back, pausing before letting him know: "You look like a bank robber."

Pete laughed again, this time more than just a breath. He rubbed a hand down his face, adjusting the balaclava slightly. "I know, I know." He held his hands out, palms towards her. "My other suit is way cooler looking, I promise. I made that too." Grinning underneath the mask meant his brown eyes crinkled a little at the edges, which she could see, and then he took a careful step back, too. It felt strange - he didn't quite want to leave her, not after that, but she didn't want the hospital, and he didn't want to stalk her or bother her more than she was willing. "Anyway. Nice to meet you."

She couldn't hold the makeshift outfit against him, she supposed, especially since she was completely in civilian clothes. Then again, she hadn't gone out looking for a fight. Cass gave a nod, continuing their parting with another step back. "Nice to meet you too, Spider-Man." The corner of her mouth quirked at that, but then she turned to actually leave, not looking back as she walked away and off to find her way back to Stephanie's where she knew there would be someone for her to talk to about all this. And ice for her face.

Pete hesitated as she took a step back, and then another, until she finally turned to leave. It was odd - he didn't quite know what to do about the familiarity of her face, and the fact that she'd been dragged into that mess because he'd - well, literally crashed into her before diving into the fray himself. It was only fair that he wanted to make sure she'd be safe, now, too. He lifted a hand and waved, a short, salute sort of thing. "Stay out of trouble, okay?" He called after her, but didn't make any move to follow or stop her again. She'd said no hospital, after all - he had to respect her wishes.

Pete loitered there for a few moments more, until Cass' figure had disappeared into the night, and then he spun around - checked on the bodies he'd left in their wake, all unconscious. For safety's sake, he made sure to web their hands like cuffs and feet to the ground, and then hopped up the nearest wall and swung up to the closest rooftop so he could make sure the cops came by to pick them up in time. As he let his legs hang over the edge of the roof, Pete picked out his phone - Theo's phone - and scrolled through the contacts there, looking for the familiar face he'd just been witness to.

When he found her contact, reading Cass 💖, Pete gave a soft little laugh, hesitated a few moments, and then opened up notes to leave Theo another message. He'd been better about doing it this time - the last, when he'd ended up stabbed and bleeding out on another rooftop not far from here, Peter hadn't had much of a chance to tell Theo what had happened. He typed a little message, Ran into a friend of yours. She got a little hurt, and might be someone you can talk to about this stuff. Check on her when you're back. And then he closed it out, saw police lights coming down the road, and zipped off into the rest of the night.