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Spiderman: Home is Where The Heart Is

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Spiderman: Home Is Where The Heart Is

 

 

Peter Parker loved New York. It was the greatest city on Earth in his eyes (not that he'd really been anywhere else) but he knew in his heart that New York, would forever be his home, because there was nowhere quite like it. He was really enjoying the view from the Empire State building on what was an unusually quiet night on Patrol.

 

"Karen, no emergencies in the area?"

 

"I've not picked up any active crimes or deadly situations in the last seven minutes, since you last asked me Peter."

 

"Haha ok Karen." Peter replied to his female A.I., "It's a boring night tonight in the city."

 

"Crime is unusually inactive tonight indeed Peter. One would think you'd be glad about that."

 

"I am glad." Peter said rolling his eyes. He could never get over Tony Stark programming his A.I. system with so much sarcasm and humour.

 

"You sound disappointed."

 

"I'm not. I'm just bored."

 

"Perhaps you could finish patrol early tonight?" Karen suggested.

 

 Peter looked down at the city, through the optics of his mask. It was tempting to finish his nightly patrol early, given how little action he'd had tonight.

 

"No, Karen." Peter decided, "With my luck, I’d finish early and there'd probably be an alien invasion while I’m sleeping. I'll finish at 1am like I usually do."

 

"Understood." Karen said.

 

"What's the time now Karen?" Peter asked.

 

"It is 11:16pm. You have one hour and forty-four minutes remaining on your patrol."

 

"Thanks Karen."

 

"Peter, you have an incoming call from Michelle Jones."

 

"Oh, accept call." Peter told his A.I., instantly having a smile on his face.

 

"Hey Loser." Was the greeting he got from his girlfriend.

 

"Hey beautiful."

 

"Ugh, damn you and your sweet pet names." Michelle hated whenever he called her beautiful or any other name implying affection.

 

"You literally just called me 'loser'. You call me that daily."

 

"I know. I also call you a dork and a dweeb daily."

 

"But I can't call you beautiful?"

 

"My names for you are different." M.J. told him stubbornly, "They’re not so sappy. Plus, you are a dork, a dweeb and a loser."

 

"You're dating this loser."

 

"Don't remind me." She answered but the smile an affection in her voice was obvious, making Peter smile himself.

 

Peter swung around on the tip of the building to face the opposite direction.

 

"What are you up to?" Peter asked.

 

"I'm reading 'Withering Heights' for the 50th time, waiting for my boyfriend to come over."

 

"I've still got awhile before I’ll be there."

 

"Who said I was talking about you?" Michelle replied, "Please don't even joke about that." Peter replied, a little too quick to pass off as sarcastic.

 

MJ laughed, "Finish your patrol and get over here dork. I'm cold without my human heater next to me. I haven't restocked the first-aid kit either so try to come back in one piece, please."

 

"Don't think you have to worry about that." Peter told her, "It's unusually quiet tonight. Stopped a mugging a few hours ago, but nothing big really. No fires, robberies or anything major tonight. It's like crime has taken the night off."

 

"Isn't that a good thing?"

 

"Yea, of course it is." Peter said, rolling his eyes, "It's just different. Now that I patrol the whole city, I’m not used to just helping old ladies cross the street or giving directions. But I appreciate a night like tonight a lot more now." "Yea, me too." MJ replied and Peter could hear the seriousness in her tone. He knew she was glad the night had been uneventful.

 

MJ and Peter had been dating for four months now. After the whole Mysterio situation in London, their relationship quickly grew strong and serious, as they realised their feelings for each other. It wasn't long after they returned home that Peter began spending every night at Michelle’s apartment, tucked under the covers, his arms wrapped around her. MJ wasn't very close with her parents, so surprisingly to Peter, they didn't care that a boy was with her in her room every night. May, of course knew, but trusted them not to do anything they weren't ready for.

 

Of course, one of the things about Peter spending every night with Michelle, after his patrol, was that MJ had come to see a lot more of what happens to him out in the city at night. Most nights when he showed up, she had ice packs, first-aid kit and even stitches ready on her desk for him.

 

After he had come over with a mild concussion one night, (courtesy of a crowbar to the side of his head) she had enrolled in and taken an advanced first-aid course without telling him. He'd been angry about it, but she told him off in true MJ fashion, "Listen dweeb, you're my boyfriend and you're a superhero. Unless you know a hospital that respects masked identity privacy and doesn't wanna use Spiderman as a lab rat, it's best I know how to fix you up when you need it." He had to admit she had a point there.

 

Peter loved how she was encouraging of him being Spiderman and was so grateful to her for it. He knew she worried about him, but not once had she complained about it and smacked him over the head when he panicked one day, telling her, "This is too much for you. We're done." Her reply was, "If you're not in my bed with me tonight, then I truly must mean nothing to you."

 

He was in her bed that night and every night since.

 

"You still their loser?” Her voice brought him out of his thought and back to reality.

 

"Yea sorry." He said, yawning, “I might actually call it a bit early tonight. Hopefully crime won’t notice if I knock of early.” MJ could hear the worry creeping into his voice as he said that.

 

“It’ll be fine, Peter.” MJ said, seriously, “You know, even you’re allowed a break once in a while. New York will survive if you take an early mark or even a full night off, you know.”

 

“It’s my responsibility.” Peter told her, a little defensive, “I'm Spiderman, this city depends on me.”

 

“I know.” MJ said, and Peter could tell she was rolling her eyes, “I love that you help people and New York loves you for it. I'm just saying, don’t beat yourself up for finishing patrol early tonight. You’re seventeen, you get to live as well. Also, your girlfriend is cold and waiting for you right now, so get over here loser.”

 

Peter looked out across the city, as bright as ever under the starry night and even from the top of the tallest building in New York, he could hear the sounds of cars driving, beeping their horns, people whistling and waving down taxis, millions of people living their lives, carrying on in the wake of what the world has went through in the last five years and Peter knew MJ was right. The city would be fine.

 

“You’re right.”

 

“I usually am.” MJ said, smugly.

 

“I'm on my way.” He said, rolling his eyes, “Don’t fall asleep on me.” “When have I ever fell asleep before you got here.” MJ laughed at him, “The windows unlocked. See you when you get here.”

 

“See you soon. Bye.”

 

“Karen, any active crimes going on now? Any emergencies at all?”

 

“Again, no active crimes picked up on my scans, Peter. No emergencies in progress or causes for fear of life. You can continue on to Michelle’s apartment.”

 

“Great, Karen. Continue scans until we get to MJ’s.” “Of course, Peter.”

 

Peter through himself of the peak of Empire State, enjoying the feeling of the air rushing through him as he fell before shooting a web out and swinging through the city, between buildings and skyscrapers, above the traffic and lives of the people of New York.

 

Peter wasn’t far from MJ’s apartment in their neighbourhood of Queens, he was looking forward to holding his girlfriend in his arms again and sleep peacefully once again, like he had every night since he had begun his relationship with MJ. She somehow made everything better.

 

MJ’s apartment was in his line of sight, as he was swinging, when Karen alerted him, “Peter, you have an incoming call from Pepper Potts-Stark.”

 

“What?” Peter blurted, without thinking and Karen began to repeat herself, “You have an incoming call from—” “Yea I heard you, Karen.” Peter cut her off, landing on the roof opposite MJ’s apartment.

 

“Do you wish to answer?”

 

Peter hesitated. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Pepper, he liked her very much and had gotten to know her and Morgan very well in the months after Tony sacrificed himself to defeat Thanos, saving the entire Universe with a click of his fingers, while knowing there was no way he was going to survive it. Pepper had become like family to Peter, he didn’t know if he would’ve been able to get past Tony’s death without her. She who was grieving for the loss of her husband, the father of her daughter, had been there for Peter while he was grieving for the loss of his mentor.

 

Morgan had also become like a little sister to Peter. She was so smart and adorable, she loved spending time with him, watching movies and sitting with him whenever he went over to work in Tony’s lab. Peter could tell she was Tony’s daughter and would be helping him build tech in a few years.

 

However, Peter still felt awkward around them. He felt like he was intruding on them as they were trying to rebuild their own lives after losing Tony, he had no right to share his own grief with them, as they had so much of their own. But Pepper was insistent that she be there for him and there was no way Peter wasn’t going to be there for her and Morgan.

 

Peter owed Tony that, at the very least.

 

“Yes, answer call.”

 

“Hey Pete.” Pepper Potts greeted him, before he had the chance to say anything.

 

“Hello Mrs Stark…. Uh…. I mean….” Peter fumbled over his words, awkward and dorky as ever.

 

“How many times have I told you to call me Pepper?”

 

“Right…. Sorry…. Hey Pepper.”

 

“One day you’ll have to get used to calling me by my first name.” Pepper told him, and Peter could tell she was rolling her eyes. “One day.” He replied, smiling.

 

“I would say sorry for calling you so late, but we both know you’re out on patrol right now, aren’t you?”

 

“I was actually just about to finish.” Peter said, sitting down on the edge of the building, looking across to the fire escape and window of MJ’s bedroom, “MJ convinced me to finish patrol early tonight. I'm a hell of a superhero, aren’t I?”

 

“You should be ashamed of yourself.” Pepper laughed, “No, really that’s good, you deserve an early night once in a while. Really, you deserve to be a normal kid and not have worry about putting on a multi-million-dollar suit, going out to fight crime. But there’s no point in me trying to convince you not to be Spiderman again is there?”

 

“Nah, sorry, it’s who I am.” Peter laughed, nervous. Pepper had tried repeatedly to convince him to not be Spiderman and just be a normal kid, but he couldn’t give it up. His Uncle Ben had told him, ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ The Spider bite had given him the power, he had to uphold the responsibility of it. When he’d explained it to MJ, she had told him, ‘You have an unhealthy hero-complex, loser.’

 

“You sound like Tony.” Pepper said, “He’d be proud of you and what you’ve been doing.”

 

“Thank Pepper.”

 

“Me and Morgan are on our way to New York.” Pepper told him, and that made Peter notice the eerie sound in the background, and he guessed that they were on a plane right now.

 

“We’re gonna be staying at the compound for a while, now that’s it’s fully rebuilt. I wanted to see if you could come around for dinner tomorrow night?”

 

“Oh,” Peter said, surprised, “Um, yea sure, I'd love to. I’ll swing up there after school.”

 

“You should bring MJ.”

 

“Oh, um…. Peter hesitated. Since he and MJ had started dating after everything happened in London, he hadn’t gotten the chance to introduce MJ to Pepper and Morgan, as they had moved back to Malibu before his Europe ‘vacation’. He was suddenly nervous about it.

 

“Oh, come on Pete, I wanna meet the girl who could convince her superhero boyfriend to finish his patrol early. Maybe she could teach me what I was doing wrong every time I tried to talk Tony out of putting on the suit and running off into the fight.”

 

Peter laughed nervously, “I’ll ask her if she wants to come. I'm sure she will.”

 

“Great!” Pepper said, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, I’ll see if Happy can pick you two up and bring you here after school. I'm not gonna make that poor girl swing with you all the way across the city.”

 

“That’s probably a good idea.” Peter laughed, “She doesn’t like swinging with me.”

 

“I don’t blame her.” Pepper laughed, “I’ll let you get home to bed now. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Okay. See you tomorrow.”

 

“Karen, please tell me there’s still nothing on our scans?” He asked his A.I., looking across to the window of MJ’s bedroom, dimly lit behind the curtain.

 

“No criminal or dangerous activity requiring your presence, Peter. You can move on to Michelle’s apartment.”

 

“Great. Goodnight Karen.”

 

 


 

 

 

Michelle Jones couldn’t believe how messed up she was right now. There was something seriously wrong with her and she couldn’t believe she had let herself become like this.

 

Months ago, everything was fine. She was fine. Michelle was generally a loner, who’s brutal honesty and sarcastic remarks made very few people like her, which she honestly didn’t care about. Michelle had been a loner for most of her life, having very few people who she’d call friends and that never bothered her. She was never close with her parents as they were as apathetic as anyone could possibly get. Michelle was used to being alone.

 

Until of course she became friends with the two biggest dorks she’d ever met. Michelle became friends with Peter and Ned during their sophomore year of high school, which for Michelle was only last year but with the so called ‘blip was actually about six years ago. ‘Fucking psychotic aliens screwing up my timeline.’ Michelle thought.

 

It was actually great to be friends with the two dweebs. She got to enjoy their nerdiest and most awkward conversations, make endless fun of them at their movie nights and internally laugh as they tried to keep the huge secret of Peter Parker being the ‘friendly neighbourhood’ Spiderman. She honestly didn’t get how she was the only one to figure that out, even if she was only 67% sure at the time.

 

Michelle could also deal with the feelings she had for Peter Parker when they were just friends. She could deal with the butterflies she got in her stomach whenever he was around, worrying about him getting hurt every night, how cute he was when he completely screwed up trying to sit next to her on the plane to Europe and the life threatening situations they had been in in London because of a fish bowl wearing psychopath.

 

She could deal with all that.

 

Michelle was really struggling to deal with her feelings for Peter, now they were together.

 

Since she had confessed, she liked Peter on that bridge in London, where he told her he liked her too, and they had started dating, Michelle’s feelings for Peter had only grown. Michelle had been internally freaking out for a while now, over how strong those feelings had become in the months they’d been together.

 

Michelle knew she and Peter became serious very quickly. Within weeks after they started dating, Peter was sleeping in her bed, every night with his arms wrapped around her and now she struggled to sleep without him with her. His Aunt trusted them alone together at night. She practically lived at their apartment every weekend, her fingers were intertwined with his whenever they were walking the halls at school. His arm was always wrapped around her as she read at lunch, while they were sitting with Ned and Betty and she treated whatever injuries he came back to her apartment with every night.

 

‘This guy has turned me into a complete sap.’ Michelle thought, biting her lip, frustrated and unable to focus on reading ‘Withering Height’s’ for the hundredth time. She sat up on her bed and locked at the clock that now read 12:22am. ‘Great, I finally convince him to finish patrol early for one night and he gets stopped on the way here. Fucking hero-complex.’

 

As soon as Michelle finished that thought, she heard a knock on her window at the end of her bed. “You better not be fucking bleeding, Parker.” She whispered to herself, as she unlocked her window and pulled it up to see her boyfriend smiling at her, mask already off, no injuries on that she could see.

 

“I'm not bleeding, MJ. I'm actually not hurt at all, no action tonight, whatsoever.”

 

“Took the mask off a bit early, loser. Someone could see you.”

 

“I should probably get inside than. I need to ask you something.”

 

“Yes, you’re an idiot. No, I don’t know why I'm dating you.”

 

“I know why but that doesn’t matter, right now. Can I come in please?”

 

MJ rolled her eyes, moving away from her window so Peter could climb in.

 

“So, what trouble did you find on the way here?” Michelle asked, folding her arms in front of her chest, “It took you a while to swing here.”

 

“Didn’t run into any trouble at all, just got a phone call before I got here.” Peter told her, pressing the Spider symbol on his chest, his suit deflating and falling to the ground like a blanket.

 

“Could you please start giving me a warning before you take the suit off please?” Michelle gasped, biting her lip and letting her arms fall to her sides, “It’s hard for me not to stare at your abs, you know.”

 

Peter smirked, “I know, that’s why I do it.” He reached for her hands and pulled her towards him, catching her in a kiss. It was passionate and slow, MJ letting go of his hand and wrapping them around his neck holding him close. Peter’s hands went to MJ’s waist, before she pulled away for air.

 

“You…. Need to finish patrol early more often.” She gasped running her hand down his chest. Peter smiled, “Definitely.” He kissed her again, before letting her go and stepping back. MJ composed herself before grabbing his clothes off her desk chair and throwing them at him.

 

“What’d you want to ask me, dork?” MJ asked, sitting back on her bed, watching Peter pull on pair sweatpants and t shirt.

 

“Uh…. Do you…. wanna have dinner tomorrow night?” Peter asked, suddenly nervous.

 

“Sure, as long as May’s not cooking.” MJ smiled, “I love that woman but I don’t think I can survive her chicken dumplings again.”

 

Peter laughed, sitting next to MJ on the bed, “Don’t worry, your safe there. It’ll probably be a world class chef cooking tomorrow night, knowing Pepper.”

 

“Wait, what?”

 

 “Mrs Stark…. Pepper…. She called me before I got here. She and Morgan are on their way to New York and she invited us over to the compound for dinner tomorrow night.” He explained, “They wanna meet you.”

 

Peter watched as MJ’s expression went from confused, to surprised and finally to nervous. It wasn’t an expression that he got to see often from MJ, she was always so strong and confident. He started to feel amused as MJ got of the bed and started nervously pacing but kept his face neutral when she began to glare at him.

 

“Tell me you said I couldn’t go.” MJ exclaimed, “You told her I wasn’t going to be able to come right?”

 

Peter gulps and runs his fingers through his hair, “Well, no, I told her you should be able to come---”

 

“WHAT?”

 

“---and that I would ask you.”

 

MJ balled her fists up and began pacing again. Her boyfriend could be so dense, he couldn’t just know her and how she would react to this. MJ was nervous when she had to meet his Aunt but she knew there was no way around that one. She had never even thought meeting Pepper and Morgan, in her Peter-relationship induced happiness, it hadn’t crossed her mind once, not even when Peter had told her about them.

 

Peter rubbed the back of his neck, self-consciously, “You don’t have to come, if you don’t want to MJ.”

 

MJ stood still and looked back at him. He spoke softly, she knew he was meant it to be a comfort but she could hear the slight disappointment in his voice and that made her annoyance disappear.

 

“Sorry.” She blurted out. ‘Really, that’s the best you got, Michelle’ She thought to herself.

 

“THE Pepper Potts-Stark invited me to her have dinner with her? Sorry, I just never thought that would happen.”

 

“You don’t have to come MJ.”

 

MJ appreciated him. She loved how considerate he was, offering the out of the awkward situation she found herself in. She was tempted to take it but looking at him and the cute, puppy dog eyes he didn’t realises he was giving her, she decided not to take it. As nervous as she was, it was important to Peter, so it was important to her.

 

“I'll go.”

 

Peter stood up, surprised, “Are you sure? If you don’t want to---”

 

“I want to.” MJ cut him off, placing her hands on his neck “They’re family to you and I want to meet them. It’s just a bit intimidating, the idea of meeting THE Pepper Potts. She’s so inspirational, a woman who started off as an executive assistant and became the CEO of a multi-national company. She’s such a philanthropist, helping basically rebuild the world after the blip and fighting for the rights of women everywhere. She’s leading the fight against reintroducing the Sokovia accords—”

 

“Woah, woah there, fangirl,” Peter cut her off, wrapping his arms around her waist, “You’re rambling like me right now.”

 

“Haha loser.”

 

MJ leaned down and kissed him, passionately. It was so slow and loving and she hoped she hoped she was conveying all the feelings she had for him, all the passion and happiness that their relationship had brought her in the months they had been together and the realisation she had come to tonight, what she wasn’t ready to say and what he probably wasn’t ready to hear yet either.

 

Peter pulled away, his eyes closed and leaned his forehead on MJ’s, “We should get some sleep. You’re gonna need it if you’re gonna fangirl all over Pepper at dinner tomorrow night.”

“Shut up, loser.” MJ laughed, pushing him away from her, “Get the light.”

 

MJ turned around and climbed under the cover of her bed, putting ‘Withering Height’s’ on her bedside table, before settling down on her side. The light flicked off and Peter slid under the covers and wrapped his arms around her, nuzzling the back of her neck through her locks.

 

“Goodnight beautiful.”

 

“Night loser.” She replied, snuggling back into him, feeling warm and safe. She was nervous about tomorrow and all that it could possibly bring but Peter was with her now and she felt like they could get through it all as long as they were together.

Chapter Text

Spiderman: Home Is Where The Heart Is

 

Michelle Jones has never been and most likely never will be a morning person. Probably because since the age of ten, the number of nights that she fell asleep before midnight didn’t even reach double digits. Michelle always stayed up late into the night, reading whatever piece of literature she had delved into and she had long since learned to cope on less than recommended amount of sleep she got.

Her opinion of mornings though had changed over the last four months that she had been dating Peter Parker. One of her favourite parts of the day, was waking up as the sunlight shined through the gap in her curtain, straight upon her and her boyfriend. It was enough to wake her up and she loved laying there comfortably, Peter’s arms around her, holding her to his warm chest, as he continued to sleep, nuzzling her neck.

It always had to come to an end, when Peter’s alarm went off (7:30 every morning) on his phone and with his super-fast reflexes, rolled over and turned it off. It was probably a trick of her mind, but Michelle could swear her body heat dropped ten degrees as soon as Peter let go of her. Peter was always warm.

 

“Mmmm, good morning.” Peter murmured, pulling her back towards him and placing a soft kiss to her neck.”

 

“Morning loser.” MJ groaned, lamenting the end of her peaceful lay in.

 

“I’ve gotta get up and go. I forgot, I promised May I'd have breakfast with her this morning before school.”

 

MJ groaned again, “You can go than, I still have time to sleep some more.” Peter laughed quietly, letting go of his girlfriend and sliding out of the bed, with too much enthusiasm this early in the morning for MJ, who once again, felt cold at the loss of physical contact. She turned over, painfully, to see the pleasant sight of Peter taking his shirt and sweatpants off. Even through her sleepy eyes, MJ enjoyed the sight.

 

“Don’t sleep in too long,” Peter told her, grabbing his Spidey suit off the floor, “Don’t wanna be late for school.”

 

“When have I ever been late for school, dork?”

 

“Fair enough.”

 

Peter pressed the Spidey symbol on his chest and the suit instantly constricted around his body like a second skin. He picked up his mask and leaned down to kiss his girlfriend, who reached up and pulled him down to kiss him passionately.

 

It didn’t last long before she pulled away, “UH, you have disgusting morning breath dweeb. Go brush your teeth.”

 

Peter laughed, standing up and pulling his mask over his head, “Sorry beautiful I’ll see you at school.”

 

“Bye.” MJ said, rolling over to face away from him. She listened with her eyes closed as he climbed out the window and pulled it back down.

 

Mornings aren’t so bad waking up with Peter Parker.

 


 

Peter unlocked the front door to his and May’s apartment and walked in, towards the kitchen, a smile on his face. He was really glad his girlfriend agreed to come to dinner at the Avengers compound, tonight with Pepper and Morgan. MJ was one of the strongest people Peter knew, she was always so confident and badass, so Peter was always amused whenever he got see her nervous, but he was glad those nerves wouldn’t stop her from coming with him tonight. He loved introducing MJ to the few people he had in his life. It was important to him, that people knew how much MJ meant to him.

 

“May, I'm home!!” He called out, swing his backpack off his shoulder, leaning next to the kitchen counter, “Did you want to make something for breakfast or you wanna go out and grab something?”

 

As he waited for her reply, he heard a tumbling sound come from down the other hallway where May’s room was and before Peter could call out to ask if she was ok, her bedroom door opened, and his Aunt came out in a rush. She was wearing a blue nightgown, her hair was ruffled, and she crossed her arms in front of her.

 

Peter thought she looked flushed.

 

“Hey sweetie,” May greeted him, looking awkward, “What are you doing here? I thought you’d be walking to school with MJ?”

 

“Um….” Peter raised his eyebrow at her, confused, “You said you wanted to have breakfast this morning, remember? You told me last night.”

 

“Oh, right!” May exclaimed, in realisation, “That’s right…. We were gonna have breakfast together, yes.”

 

“Well, I’ll go get dressed and…. We’ll go grab something?”

 

Peter looked at her, weirded out by how awkward she was acting, “Are you ok, May? Is something wrong?”

 

“What? No, everything fine.”

“Are you sure, you’re acting really----”

 

 Peter stopped talking at the sound of creaking floorboards, too quiet for May to hear but easy enough for Peter with his enhanced senses. He also clearly heard the whisper, “Can’t believe I'm hiding from a teenager.” In a voice he knew too well.

 

He looked back at his Aunt who was still grinning awkwardly at him, arms folded across her chest, in her blue robe, hair disgruntled, and Peter finally realised why she was acting so weird.

“Oh my God!!” Peter exclaimed, “I'm such a clueless idiot! How did I not realise…?” He gestured to May and towards her bedroom door at the end of the hallway, that she had very quickly closed.

 

“I'm SORRY Pete! I completely forgot you were coming home before school this morning!” May told him, smiling embarrassingly, knowing her nephew had caught her out.

 

“Yeah, I could tell.” He replied, embarrassed, “I know you’re in there Happy, I can hear you.”

 

May covered her eyes, blushing in embarrassment and at the same time, trying not to laugh. She wasn’t someone who was embarrassed easily but this was the first time anything like this had ever happened and she couldn’t but find it ironic. This was supposed to be the other way around.

 

Peter turned around t and grabbed an empty glass off the breakfast bar and filled it up with water from the tap. He chugged it down very quickly, hoping it would cool his face down from blushing. It didn’t.

 

He turned back to May, “You know, you could’ve told me Happy was coming over last night. I would’ve come and had lunch with you today instead.”

“I'm sorry.” May told him again, laughing and moving to lean on the other side of the breakfast bar, “I'd forgotten that Happy was even back in New York yesterday and I hadn’t told you yet, that he was…. You know…. Staying over here some nights.”

 

“It’s ok with me.” He said, shaking his head, “I'd just appreciate a heads up before I come home to…. You know, this.”

 

His Aunt laughed at him, “Yeah, of course, you’re right. Happy, get dressed and get out here!” She called down the hallway.

 

“How did your patrol go last night?” May asked, looking concerned now, “You didn’t get hurt too bad, did you?”

 

“No, I'm fine. Last night was boring, no action at all.”

 

“Good.”

 

“You sound like MJ.”

 

“She’s a smart girl.” May said, smiling, “She’s good for you.”

 

“Yes, she is.” Peter said, smiling. He loved that May felt good about him and MJ. It reassured him a lot about their relationship and how strong it was. Peter was only seventeen and he knew most adults would call him an idiot, but he knew what he and MJ had, and he was working up the courage to tell her.

 

May’s bedroom door opened, and Peter watched with an eyebrow raised as his former handler and sort-of work partner walked down the hallway to join him and May in the kitchen. He was wearing his usual black dress suit, accept it was ruffled, the buttons weren’t done up properly and he was carrying his jacket and tie under his arm.

 

“Hey Pete.” Happy casually greeted him, trying and failing not to be awkward, “How’s it going?”

 

“Great, Happy.” Peter said, “Everything’s great.”

 

“Good, good.” Happy said, nodding and looking uncomfortable

 

Peter looked between May and Happy. Happy looked like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world right now and Peter could tell May was trying not to bust out laughing

 

He shook his head, this was definitely not how he was expecting his morning to go.

 

“Ok, let’s get this all straightened out.” Peter said, waving his arms in front of him, “You two are dating, right?”

 

May and Happy looked to each other but Peter answered for them before they could, “You’re dating.”

 

May began to speak but Peter continued, “Happy spends nights here, when he’s in town. I don’t have a problem, I'm only here at night on the weekends anyway. As long as I know not come home when ya’s are doing…. Whatever…. I'm good, ok?”

 

May smiled, still trying not to laugh. “Ok, fine. I’ll tell you whenever Happy’s coming over.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Ok, cool.” Happy sighed and Peter could tell he was relieved, “I have to go now, I have to get to the compound and make sure everything’s alright for Pepper and Morgan.” He moved and picked up his car keys of the bench right in front of Peter. “Pepper told me I gotta pick you and your girlfriend up tonight. Am I picking you up from school or….?”

 

“No.” Peter said, “Pick me up from here, later, I’ll have to get ready and so will MJ. We’ll have to get her from her apartment.”

 

“Ok than, great.” Happy glance from Peter to May and back. “I’ll see you both this afternoon than.”

 

“Ok, bye.”

 

“I’ll walk you out.” May told him and followed him towards the front door.

 

Peter grabbed another glass of water and waited for his Aunt to return.  When she did, she was grinning sheepishly, “I'm sorry, I forgot you were coming home this morning.”

 

“Aunt May, really it’s ok, it’s fine. I just didn’t know you and Happy were still seeing each other.”

 

“We are.” May told him, looking down, “I'm sorry I didn’t tell you, that we were still seeing each other.”

 

“It’s ok.” Peter told her, “But, really, why didn’t you?”

 

May sighed, sitting down on the seat, at the bench, “I don’t know. I guess because he’s always in and out of town, I don’t see him as often as I'd like. But, also, when I realised that I really liked him, I felt bad….” May paused and Peter could now see sadness in her eyes.

 

“I felt guilty for actually liking him…. I’ve never actually liked anyone since Ben. I didn’t know if you’d be ok with it.”

 

Peter couldn’t believe what his Aunt was telling him. ‘She thought I'd have a problem with her and Happy?” He thought to himself.

 

Peter was over the moon months ago when May and Happy had told him they were dating or had a ‘summer fling’ or whatever they wanted to call it. He was glad to see his Aunt happy with someone again, she was the most loveable person in the world, and she didn’t deserve to be alone. Peter knew for sure that his Uncle would agree as well.

 

“May, that’s crazy!” Peter told her, walking around and pulling her into a hug, “I'm totally fine with it. You deserve to be happy and I know Uncle Ben would want you to be. You don’t have to feel guilty.”

 

May hugged her nephew back tightly. She was glad he was happy for her and glad he was there with her now, speaking those words to her. She really needed to hear them.

 

May stood back and looked at her nephew. She had to think, she and Ben had done a great job raising him.

 

“I love you kid.”

 

“I love you too, May.” Peter smiled at his Aunt, before turning around and walking towards the bathroom, “I gotta go and brush my teeth now, MJ didn’t enjoy kissing me this morning.”

 

May laughed, “I don’t blame her, your morning breath is horrible.”

 


 

“Seriously, MJ, this is completely fucked!”

 

The Decathlon team were packing away their textbooks from their morning practice session and, like always, Flash Thompson had to do everything he possibly could to piss Michelle off.

 

“It’s Michelle to you, dickhead.” Michelle told him, swinging her backpack over her shoulder.

 

“Oh, whatever! Why the hell has Parker missed another practice?”

 

“He had to do something.” Ned Leeds stood next to Michelle, both of them looking at Flash, who was just staring at them in complete frustration.

 

“He had to do something?” Flash asked, incredulously, “What was it this time? His Aunt in hospital again? His cat get run over? Or does just think he’s too good to practice with the rest of us?”

 

“The only person who thinks he’s better than everyone here is you Flash.” Michelle told him, flipping him off, before turning around and leaving the classroom, Ned and Betty following her.

 

“I swear, Flash was born an asshole and he just grew bigger.”

 

Betty laughed, “Simple explanation, I like it. I hate to say it though, he’s got a point. Peter misses a lot of practices.”

 

“Trust me, babe, he’s got good reasons for it.” Ned, told his girlfriend, holding her hand as they walked with MJ along the school corridor.

 

“I know, you’ve told me.” Betty replied, rolling her eyes and her mild annoyance was obvious to MJ and Ned, but Betty was a very sweet and trusting girl. They both knew that Betty would wouldn’t pursue the matter more, not until Peter missed another Decathlon practice or one of their weekly movie nights where they would all hang out at his apartment. MJ and Ned were both thankful for how easily she would trust the two of them when they told her they can’t explain why Peter was always late or not showing up at all.

 

Betty was a very unexpected friend for MJ. They had always got along fine and MJ always liked her but they’d never really became friends until after their failed Europe vacation. In a way, they sort of had to hang out with each other more often, since her and Peter started dating and Ned and Betty were breaking up and getting back together, pretty much every day since Europe.

 

Their friendship was surprising to MJ because of how different they were. Betty was more social and sensitive to others around her, while MJ was brutally honest and snarky, which made a lot of people dislike her. Betty was more girly and less rebel than MJ and a complete perfect match for Ned Leeds.

 

The only thing MJ disliked about being friends with Betty was that she was the one person she cared about that she had to keep Peter’s secret from. The rest of the school was hopelessly deluded and thought there was no possible way that Peter could be Spiderman. Or have any secret that huge or interesting. Betty had never given MJ and Ned any sign that she was suspicious of Peter’s secret identity but her curiosity was painfully obvious. MJ guessed that was the journalist inside her, wanting to know the truth about Peter but as much as MJ liked Betty, she couldn’t let her know it.

 

Not until Peter was ready for her to know, which MJ didn’t think Peter would ever want to tell his best friends’ girlfriend that he was Spiderman.

 

“Him and his damn hero-complex.” Michelle thought, pulling her phone out of her pocket to check if he’d messaged her at all, apologising for missing practice. He hadn’t.

 

“Has he messaged you, Ned?” MJ asked, worry creeping into her voice. Peter would only miss Decathlon for Spiderman and whenever he was done, he’d always message or ring her in a panic to apologise for it. No messages usually meant he was still out being a hero but there’d been a few times when he’d got hurt and forgotten to let her know he was still alive.

 

“No, he hasn’t.” Ned told her, checking his phone as well, “He’ll be in touch soon. Or he’ll just turn up in a rush, not realising he’s missed all of practice.” He laughed, trying to comfort her but Michelle could tell he was worried about his friend too.

 

MJ rolled her eyes, “Probably, the dork sometimes forgets, there’s a clock on his phone.”

 

“We better get to class.” Betty told them, grimacing, “We’ve got gym now.”

 

MJ cringed. She really didn’t feel like going to gym class right now, not while worrying about where her boyfriend was.

 

“I'm just gonna skip gym today.”

 

“What?” Betty asked, raising an eyebrow, “Why?”

 

“Because I just don’t feel like watching every other girl in this school fawn over Brad Davis again today.” MJ said, curling up her nose in disgust. While that wasn’t the main reason she didn’t want to go, it was very true. “And I really don’t want him following me around all during class, trying to impress me or get me to tell him how hot he is. Trust me, once you’ve seen Peter without a shirt on, Brad wouldn’t impress you at all.”

 

“I really didn’t need to hear that, MJ.” Ned said, rolling his eyes.

 

“Fair enough.” Betty blushed, “I'll see you later for English, right?”

 

“No way I'm skipping English. Not gonna miss out on analysing ‘Romeo & Juliet’ for the tenth time.”

 

Betty smiled at her friend before turning around and began walking down the corridor, towards the gym. Ned began to follow his girlfriend but turned back to her, “I'm sure he’s okay, MJ. He’s always ok.” He leaned towards her and whispered, “He probably just saved some old lady from a mugger and now he’s just escorting her all the way back to her home.”

 

MJ smiled, knowing that was something her kind-hearted boyfriend had done many times, “I know, Leeds. I'm not gonna go into full panic mode. He’s taking me to meet Mrs Stark tonight, there’s no way he’s getting out of that.”

 

“What?” Ned exclaimed, loudly, making MJ glare at him as a few other students looked over at them, now standing near MJ’s locker. “You get to meet Mrs Stark? How’s that fair? I’ve been a Friend of Sp-----” He cut himself off as MJ’s glare hardened.

 

“A F.O.S,” Ned continued, in a whisper, “Longer than you.”

 

MJ smiled smugly, “Girlfriend privilege’s I guess Leeds. I'm not a F.O.S. I'm the G.O.S.”

 

“Unfair.” Ned muttered, shaking his head and turning around to follow his girlfriend to gym, “Unfair, unfair….” MJ grinned, watching him whisper complaints to himself.

.

Michelle checked her phone again, still no messages received, closing her eyes and tried to quench the feelings of worry as she leaned back against her locker. Most of the students in the hall had already headed to their next class but Michelle still didn’t want people to see the Michelle Jones leaning up against her locker, eyes closed and looking like vulnerable, like she was about to break down.

 

“That wouldn’t be good for my rep.” Michelle, though to herself, waking in the direction of the library, “Get it together, Michelle. Like Ned said, he’d be helping old lady’s cross the road right now. You wait for him every night while he’s out being a hero.” Michelle kept telling herself that, as she found her usual vacant spot, a small desk with only two chairs, in the darkest corner of the library. She hated other students disturbing her whenever she came in her to read.

 

Michelle worried about Peter every night when he was out patrolling. The first week he went out after they got back from Europe and she than was 100% sure that he was Spiderman, was the absolute worst of Michelle’s life She had stayed up all the through the night until after daylight a few times when he’d had some very busy nights out as the web slinger. Other nights she’d stay up until he texted her, letting her know he was home from a normal night of patrolling and only after she received that message was, she able to sleep peacefully.

 

Not long after that, he began spending every night with her at her apartment after patrol. That helped but also freaked her out as she than saw a lot of the injuries that he came back with some nights. Cuts, bruises, burns and every other injury you could imagine but was still always ready to go out the next night and save someone else, so Michelle learned all the first aid she could and dabbed and cleaned all the cuts and bruises he came back to her with. It wasn’t a typical relationship but she wanted Peter and nowone else.

 

After a few months, Michelle learned to be confident in Peter’s ability to come back to her and the panic she once had didn’t completely take over her anymore. But today, with him missing practice and not messaging her to let her know he was okay, her worry was different and she knew why.

 

She’d been struggling with feelings for Peter for weeks and last night she finally realised why.

 

It was love.

 

She was in love with him.

 

Michelle Jones, badass, feminist and rebel was completely love with Peter Parker.

 

Michelle couldn’t believe how big a sap he had turned her into. She couldn’t believe the biggest dork she’s ever met got under skin and stolen her heart and as uncomfortable as she was with all emotional; and feely stuff, she found she liked it. She liked knowing she loved him.

 

Except of course that realisation, now made her worry that he was out there, in danger, being a super hero and she hadn’t told him how she felt yet. Last night she thought she wasn’t ready to tell him how she felt and that he wasn’t ready to hear it yet. But now she suddenly felt like she missed the perfect opportunity to tell him those three words. It didn’t matter to her if he wasn’t ready to say it back. She just wanted him to know.

 

“Damn it, Parker, look what you’ve done to me.” Michelle thought to herself, tucking her back and trying to put her focus back on ‘Withering Height’s. “Maybe reading Heathcliff’s tragic love story will stop me thinking like this.”

 

Michelle was struggling enough, to focus on her novel, and take away her thoughts of panic without a few other students who were in the library getting loud and rowdy. She glanced over to the middle of the small library and saw a group of guys all crowding around one of their friends and it looked to her like they were all watching something on his laptop. Like, come on, the library meant to be a quiet place.

 

She tried her best to ignore them but they were getting louder and cheering at whatever they were watching but as she got up ready to go and put the fear of God in them, one of them cheered, “Way to go, Spidey!”

 

Michelle stopped at that. It wasn’t unusual for kids in school to talk about Spiderman but Peter always liked for her and Ned to distance themselves from those conversations with other students. Not to arouse any suspicion. But these boys were excited about something.

 

“Hey!” She called out to them, making them look at her, “What ther hell are you guys watching?”

 

“New video of Spiderman, caught on camera this morning!”

 

“He’s awesome, check it out!”

 

They turned back to their laptop but Michelle didn’t notice, already pulling out her phone. She unlocked it with her thumbprint and password, before going into her web browser and she didn’t even have to type in anything as the most trending webpage on her browsers feed was ‘Spiderman….’ She didn’t hesitate to click on it.

 

The webpage was some New York bloggers site and the on it was a video, uploaded only 40 mins ago but already viewed over 3 million times. The title was, ‘Spiderman’s most heroic act yet….’ She clicked play.

 

An unnamed witness was filming on his phone, moving around as he filmed then chaos that was erupting along the busy New York Street. There were fire trucks everywhere, Paramedics loading helpless civilians onto stretchers, performing C.P.R, trying to resuscitate their patients, Police officers setting up barricades on each end of the city block, escorting passer-by’s away from the scene, a six-story apartment building, engulfed in flames, burning from the inside out.

 

The unnamed witness continued to film, as he moved through the chaos around the emergency workers, too much going on for the Police officers to notice the man filming the whole scene unfold outside the building, filming the flames from a distance through the windows, curtains burning and glass shattering and falling down to the ground.

 

The disgusting, rancid smell of black smoke filled the air all around them, the sounds of sirens, loud and blaring and the screaming and groaning of so many people out on the street, some in pain from burning and taking breaths the deadly black air, some just curious citizen’s walking through an ordinary day in their lives, along a typical Brooklyn street but stopping to watch and cover their mouths in horror at the homes and lives lost from the torment of fire.

 

The unnamed witness continued filming the destruction, nowone noticing him but he noticed and filmed a short blonde woman, dressed in what appeared to be a clean yellow night robe running towards the centre of it all, right towards the danger, towards the burning building, like it was the only thing that mattered to her, like the fire was her only salvation and was not to be her own destruction but a heroic New York City firefighter, doing his duty, upholding the oath he took to protect others from the flame, caught her before she could get there.

 

“I HAVE TO GET IN THERE, MY BABYS IN THERE!” The blonde woman screamed, in a panic, showing no fear to the heat.

 

“MY BABYS IN THERE!”

 

“I CAN’T LET YOU IN THERE, THE ROOF IS ABOUT TO COLLAPSE!” The firefighter, held her back with all his strength.

 

“YOU HAVE TO SAVE MY BABY!”

 

“WE CAN’T GO IN THERE, THE ROOF IS ABOUT TO COLLAPSE!”

 

“MY BABY!”  

 

The brave firefighter, kept hold of the hysterical woman, put into an impossible position, holding the woman back to save her life but stopping her from saving the most precious thing in the world to her.

 

The unnamed witness, continued filming but began to move away from the scene, the woman’s cries to much for him to bear. He was so close to turning his phone off and running away when he heard the cry, “Look! Up there!”

 

He saw the source of the cry, another innocent passer-by, such as himself, and saw her point up into the air, and the unnamed looked up filming into the direction of where she was pointing. He saw what it was and smiled, every New Yorker would know what It was, the red and blue, friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, swinging straight towards the chaos.

 

The unnamed blonde woman, obviously saw him, but she didn’t see Spiderman. The only thing she saw was a red and blue shining light of Hope!

 

“SAVE MY BABY PLEASE!!” She screamed, at the top of her lungs and the red and blue, web-slinging hero swung straight through the window on the top floor of the burning structure.

 

For the unnamed witness filming, it only felt like a mere second but he knew as filmed and watched the blonde woman, that for her, it felt like a lifetime. He watched her, as she held her hands together looking up at her completely destroyed home and he knew that she had given up the fight with the firefighter and had placed every last shred of hope in the web slinging hero of New York.

 

It was like everything had gone silent and there was nothing in the world at that moment but the hope and fear of everyone on the scene for this woman and her baby was the only thing they could all feel.

 

For the tiniest moment everyone ducked down and felt the despair, as the mother screamed, “NO!”, as the window at the top of the building exploded, releasing a cloth of black smoke and unnamed witness swears he could feel the extra heat from the ground.

 

But the despair, was instantly replaced with the joy of the crowd, as red and blue, Spiderman landed on the ground holding a small yellow bundle in his arms and moving straight towards the distraught mother, “It’s ok. “You’re baby’s fine.” He tells her, handing her the child who began crying. His mother held her tight to him, gasping in relief, “Oh, bless you Spiderman! Bless you!”

 

The unnamed witness continued to film and moved to congratulate the hero but a Police officer finally noticed him, “Hey, you! Come on, we need you out of here!”

 

The unnamed witness stopped filming. He didn’t need to be told twice.

 

*

 

Michelle finished watching the video and read the details below, stating that it wasn’t yet confirmed whether there were more people in the building or whether or not Spiderman was still at the scene of the fire.

 

But when Michelle’s phone dinged, she knew who it was before she even read the message.

 

Peter: “Hey beautiful! Sorry I missed practice; I ran into a bit of trouble on the way to school. I'm okay but I don’t think I'm gonna be coming to school today, I'm sorry :/”

 

MJ had tears in her eyes. He was messaging her to let him know he was ok and literally apologising to her for missing Decathlon practice and a day of school, when he literally when into a burning building this morning and saved a babys life. But before she could reply, he messaged her again.

 

Peter:But we’re still going to dinner with Pepper and Morgan tonight. Me and Happy will pick you up later. Your gonna be able to fangirl all over your hero tonight, don’t worry.”

 

MJ laughed, tears in her eyes. Pepper Pott’s- Stark, may be her idol and inspiration but she wasn’t her hero. No, her hero was the boy she was in love with.

 

MJ: You’re amazing Xx. Rest up, dweeb, I’ll see you this afternoon.”

 

Michelle rubbed the tears away from her eyes and looked over to see that the boys that were there before were gone and she was now alone in the quiet library. She smiled at her phone, before putting it back in her pocket, knowing her boyfriend had probably fallen asleep before reading her reply.

 

But that didn’t matter.

 

She picked up her book and began to read, now free from worry and able to concentrate.

 

“Yeah,” She thought to herself before continuing to read, “Definitely in love."

Chapter Text

Spiderman: Home Is Where The Heart Is

 

 

When being the girlfriend of a superhero, you try to be kept in the loop of the activities of said superhero. Or at least, that’s what Michelle does.

 

Before figuring out that Peter Parker was Spiderman, Michelle didn’t get involved with the hype around the web crawler. She always thought he was cool, liked that he helped people, whether it was catching cars before they hit buses, giving directions to tourists or helping old ladies cross the street. He was someone who took action to do good in the world. Michelle always appreciated that, but it wasn’t her style to fangirl over him like every other kid in her school.

 

Of course, after what happened in Washington, it didn’t take long for Michelle to put it together that Midtown’s biggest nerd was the Spiderman. That changed everything and she started to follow every video and post about the web crawler on the web. He was her friend than and she’d already been secretly crushing on him for a while, so following his actions as Spiderman helped her when she worried for him, so she definitely kept up with what the web was saying about Spiderman now they were in a relationship.

 

Today, however, was by far the busiest day Peter’s had in the city as Spiderman. Outside of the whole Alien invasion and fight for the Universe shit of course.

 

So now, after having her phone almost explode by the amount of Spiderman related notifications, MJ found herself sitting in her loser boyfriend’s living room, on his sofa, talking to her loser boyfriend’s Aunt about his busy day of heroics that he’d skipped school for.

 

“So how big has his head gotten?” MJ asked, smiling at the older woman.

 

“Oh, trust me, he’s very proud of himself.” May replied, rolling her eyes but MJ could see the pride in them, “When he got home this afternoon, the first thing he said to me was ‘I saved a baby from a burning building this morning’. It was kind of hard to scold him for skipping school after that.”

 

MJ groaned, “I know, it makes it so hard to be mad at him. I had to put up with Brad sitting next to me in English.”

 

“That boy’s still crushing on you?” May asked, sceptically, “Can he not see how you and Peter are together? You two are like something out of a romance novel the way you are with each other.”

 

MJ blushed, pulling her knees up to her chest and hider her reddening face in them to the older woman’s amusement.

 

Michelle was never one for talking sappy, emotional, feelings stuff but May had become someone who she felt like she could really talk too. In the months after they met, when she began dating Peter, May had become like another parent to her. Well, actually, May was probably more of a parent to her than her Mother and Father had ever been. She loved being at Peter’s apartment and May always made her feel so welcome there.

 

“Are you coming to dinner with me and Pete?” Michelle asked, looking up, hopefully. She’d be glad to have May there, extra company at the dinner she was so nervous about.

 

“No, I'm gonna go down and help out at F.E.A.S.T after Happy picks you up. He should be here soon.” May replied, looking out the living room window, the sun almost setting. She turned to look down the hall, to the sound of a shower running. “Peter, hurry up and get dressed! Happy will be here soon!” She called out, and seconds later the sound of the shower cut off, making MJ laugh.

 

“So, what’s Mrs stark like?” MJ asked, nervously, playing with Black Dahlia hanging around her neck.

 

“She’s very nice, MJ, don’t worry.” May smiled, amused. Peter had told her all about Michelle’s admiration for the successful Pepper Potts-Stark. The young girl was very quiet when May first met her but with MJ virtually living at her apartment every weekend, May was happy that the she had become comfortable around her and saw the strong personality the young girl had, so like Peter, she found it amusing seeing the young girl nervous.

 

Michelle was grateful for her words, but they weren’t much comfort. The truth is, she wasn’t even nervous because meeting the Pepper Pott’s- Stark tonight, she was nervous about meeting more people who were important to Peter.

 

She had always been someone who didn’t care about what people thought of her, which is why she was never shy when meeting knew people. Michelle Jones was a badass, she told the truth and sarcasm was second nature.

 

But now she was in love with the world’s biggest dweeb and she cared what the people he loved thought of her. She wanted them to like her.

 

May looked at the young girl and saw her anxious expression as she fiddled with the necklace her nephew had given her. “Pepper and Morgan will love you MJ. You don’t have to worry, seriously.”

 

“Thanks May.” MJ smiled, before looking down at herself. She was wearing just a simple pair of blue jeans, white sneakers, a white t shirt with a black zip up jacket. “I'm not underdressed though, am I? Peter said it was casual.”

 

May rolled her eyes, “Seriously, MJ, you’re gonna be fine. You're probably gonna have cheeseburgers for dinner and then watch Netflix while eating ice cream. Only difference is you’ll be watching Disney movies and have a five-year-old sitting with you.”

 

“Yeah and you don’t have to worry, they won’t be Star Wars movies either.” MJ tuned around to see her boyfriend standing there and boy did he look good.

 

Peter was dressed in casual clothing too, dark blue jeans and a black t-shirt and he had a dark grey jacket folded over his arm.

 

“Good to know you haven’t turned the innocent child into a nerd yet, loser.” MJ smiled, standing up to greet her boyfriend.

 

 She walked over and wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug, resting her chin on his shoulder. “Nice work, today, boy hero.” She told him, “My phones been blowing up all day. The city’s going crazy about you.”

 

Peter pulled away and looked at her with an irritatingly cute smirk on his face. “I know right. It was like crime took a break last night and went straight back to it this morning, but I totally owned it today.”

 

He stepped back away from MJ and made web shooting gestures with his hands, “I webbed like a dozen different muggers to walls and even a few streetlights. Caught a carjacker over in Manhattan, stopped an ATM robbery over in Brooklyn and….”

 

“saved a baby from burning building early this morning.” MJ cut him off, rolling her eyes at him, “Yeah, I watched the video online earlier, it’s going viral. Don’t let your head get too big their Parker or you won’t be able to put your mask on.”

 

“Did you see, they’re not calling me the ‘Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman’ anymore?” He grinned, smugly, “They’re calling me the ‘Amazing Spiderman’ and the ‘Spectacular Spiderman….”

 

“Oh god, here we go.” May said, rolling her eyes and causing Peter to notice her for the first time since he walked into the living room. “Next thing, he’ll have his own theme song.” She stood up and walked down the hall towards the hall making Peter realise someone was knocking on the door

 

“Wow, I really don’t notice anything when MJ’s around” He thought, looking back to his girlfriend, who was smiling smugly back at him.

 

“They’re calling you amazing and spectacular?” MJ asked, folding her arms across her chest, “If they only knew what a loser you really are.”

 

“You’re saying I'm not amazing?”

 

“I'm saying I watched you bite your hand last week, eating a sandwich.”

 

“Hey!” Peter blushed, embarrassed, “I smelled the chicken, I got excited, ok?”

 

MJ laughed, again, her hands reaching his neck and she pulled him close to her, “You are amazing but you’re still a loser. But you’re my loser.” And she kissed him, wiping every thought from his mind, other than to kiss her back, his hand rising to cup her cheek. They stood there in his living room kissing passionately, MJ running her hands through his curls and Peter running his tongue along her bottom lip but before she could grant access were interrupted by a loud clearing of the throat, causing them to pull away.

 

They looked to the source and saw Happy and May standing there, staring at them and Peter thought Happy looked even more awkward than he did this morning when Peter caught him this morning here in the apartment and May looked like she wanted to just bust out laughing again.

 

“Maybe, not do any of that later tonight, you two.” May said, grinning, moving closer to Happy, to fix his tie, “Don’t wanna traumatise Morgan and all.””

“Yeah, I’ll be making sure your room is far away from hers tonight.” Happy said, one side of his face scrunched, showing he was embarrassed by what he was saying, “Not gonna have Morgan seeing or hearing anything like that tonight.”

 

Peter and Michelle stepped further away from each other, both blushing bright red.

 

“We’re not going too…” Peter scrambled, trying to explain, “We don’t do…. We haven’t done that.”

 

“Yeah, sure, whatever, still taking precautions.”

 

“Now let’s go.” Happy said, waving them to come behind him, “It takes like an hour to get to the compound.”

 

“You sure you don’t want a ride F.E.A.S.T?”

 

“No, I'm okay. I like the walk there at night.”

 

“OK, then.” Happy frowned, “Be careful, though, ok.”

 

May rolled her eyes, “I’ll be fine. Now go, you don’t wanna get caught in traffic.”

 

Peter looked away, as his Aunt kissed the head of security, (that was gonna take some getting used too) and MJ smirked at him, seeing his embarrassment. He smiled at her and reached for hand, lacing his fingers with hers.

 

“Alright, let’s go.”

 

 


 

 

Peter had only been to the upstate New York Avengers Compound, that was an hour away from the city, twice before this night. The first was the day he told Tony he wanted to remain the ‘Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman’ after he captured the Vulture. The second time he was at the compound, he didn’t really know where he was because he had just come back from the blip, and he walked through a portal with Dr Strange to join the Avenger’s and a lot of others fight Thanos. The whole compound was destroyed at that point.

 

Now as he sat in the back of the car, holding MJ’s hand in his own as Happy drove up the driveway Peter looked out the window at the newly reconstructed building. From the outside, it looked almost exactly like it did before it was destroyed, only this time Peter was looking at it in the dark of night but it was illuminated by the lights shining in the fields they were driving past and the ones shining through the windows of the compound. There was only one thing different, Peter noticed, as they pulled up to the main entrance.

 

There was no giant ‘A’ on the side of the building. There was no symbol that declared this as the base of the Avengers.

 

“Happy, there’s no Avengers symbol anywhere.” He said, stepping out of the car, MJ following behind him.

 

“Uh, yeah, they’re gonna get to that.” Happy said, walking around the car to join them. He gestured towards the glass door in front of them, “Let’s not keep Morgan from her Petey any longer ay?”

 

MJ laughed, “Petey ay? I like that.”

“Only Morgan can call me that, because she won’t not.”

 

“Won’t not? That great grammar work their loser.”

 

Peter rolled his eyes and Happy laughed at the two as he placed his hand on the keypad next to the door. “Happy Hogan, Level 10 access granted.” The A.I. voice announced, and Peter remembered the voice of F.R.I.D.A.Y.

 

“That’s F.R.I.D.A.Y.” Peter explained to MJ, “It’s…. He’s the A.I. for Stark Industries and the Avengers Compound.”

 

“How many A.I.’s do you all have?”

 

“F.R.I.D.A.Y’s the one for the company and the Avengers.” Peter said, holding her hand as the walked through the door behind Happy, “I have Karen, which I programmed in with E.D.I.T.H. I don’t know if there are any more.

 

“There isn’t.” A voice answered, which sounded like it came from above.

 

Peter looked up and saw Pepper Pott’s Stark walking down the staircase, towards them, smiling and Peter felt a wave of happiness overcome him. Even after everything that they had been through, everything she had be been through Pepper still walked with strength and smiled brightly at something as small as him coming to have dinner with her and her daughter. She was by far one of the strongest people he had ever met.

 

“Happy, can you go up to Morgan’s room and make sure she’s getting dressed? She just got out of the bath.”

 

“Yea sure.” Happy replied and moved to walk up the stairs Pepper just walked down.

 

“Hey Pete.” Pepper greeted him, pulling him into a hug that Peter returned. As awkward as he had felt last night when they talked on the phone, as much he’d often felt like he was intruding on their lives, seeing Pepper right now made him realise how much he’d missed them the last four months that they’d been gone. He felt like he was reuniting with family.

 

He pulled away and smiled at her, “Hey Mrs Stark…. ah Pepper.” He corrected himself as the woman rolled her eyes.

 

“Nice save their kid. You’ll get used to my first name soon.”

 

Peter grinned sheepishly, “Sorry.”

 

Pepper smiled and turned towards the girl holding Peter’s hand, “And you must be Michelle. It’s nice to finally meet you.” She said, extending her hand out to shake the young girl’s hand.

 

“Hi Mrs Stark.” Michelle greeted, nervously, taking the hand offered to her.

 

Pepper waved her greeting off, “Please, call me Pepper. It’s hard enough trying to get this one to use my first name.” The older woman said, gesturing to Peter who just stood there, grinning sheepishly.

 

Pepper rolled her eyes, again, “I heard you had a big day in the city boy hero.”

 

“Yeah, it was awesome.” Peter said, suddenly excited, “I mean… I was awesome.”

 

MJ shook her head beside him and Pepper laughed, “Well, they city’s loving you, right now. Don’t let it go to your head.”

“It’s a bit too late for that.” MJ said, twisting her mouth, suggesting she was embarrassed of him, “He won’t fit his head in his mask tomorrow. The city will wonder where he’s gone.”

 

“You still told me I'm amazing earlier.”

 

“Still a loser. Why am I dating you again?”

 

“You tell me.”

 

“I will when I figure it out.”

 

Pepper laughed causing them both to look at her. “Sorry.” She said, grinning, “You two are just so cute together.”

 

They both brushed bright red and Pepper laughed at them again. “Come on, upstairs.” She said, smiling, “Morgan’s excited to see you.”

 

Peter and MJ followed Pepper up the stairs towards the living quarters of the compound. As he walked, Peter once again felt a surge of happiness flow through him.

 

After the blip and losing Tony, Peter truly did feel that the whole universe was out to get him. He missed five years of the world spinning, came back to the worst battle the world has ever seen and lost his mentor to it. Then after months of rebuilding the life he and his Aunt had lost, he had to deal with con artist psychopath, who played him like a fool and almost took everything from him.

 

But in the last four months, since dealing with Mysterio in London and beginning a relationship with MJ, Peter truly felt happy. He was with the girl that he knew he loved and was introducing her to two of the most important people in the world to him. Life was really going great for him right now.

 

When they got to the living area, Peter once again looked around and noted that everything had rebuilt exactly the same as it was before. Simple dinner table, bright white and black kitchen and further along down the wide room, cushioned sofas and large television mounted on the adjacent wall. Peter felt that this place was cool, but it was also cold and blank. This wasn’t a homey place, it was definitely a room that was made for the Avengers.

 

“PETEY!”

 

The loud shout pulled him from his thought, and he turned to look down the hallway and even with his enhanced senses only saw a flash of red before he was almost knocked off his feet.

 

Morgan had wrapped her arms around his waist and was cuddled into his side. He noticed she was slightly taller than she was the last time he saw her. She was wearing red and gold Iron Man pyjamas.

 

“Hey there rug rat!”

 

He reached down and picked her up and she threw her hands round his neck and she hugged him tight. He hugged her back, MJ standing to the side and watching the two of them.

 

Peter pulled back to look at the little girl, “You looking after your Mum?”

 

“Yes!” Morgan nodded, smiling excitedly at him. He smiled and kissed her on the forehead.

 

“I’ve missed you.”

 

“I've missed you too, Petey!”

 

“What’s for dinner?”

 

“Cheeseburgers!”

 

 “Uh, no, actually!” Pepper called out from behind the kitchen counter, looking pointedly at the young girl, “I said we could order pizza!”

 

“But mum….”

 

“No, arguments Morgan. You can have a cheeseburger tomorrow, when we go into the city.”

 

“Hmmm…” Morgan groaned, making a cute angry face at Peter. Peter laughed at how cute she was.

 

“Morgan, theirs someone special, I want you to meet.” Peter told her, turning towards MJ who was watching him interact with the young girl with a shy smile on her face.

 

“This is Michelle.” He introduced them.

 

“Hi Morgan.” MJ greeted, holding her hand out for the little girl to take. Morgan looked at it shyly before taking it, replying with a simple “Hello.”

 

Michelle couldn’t blame her. She herself was as nervous and shy as she could ever remember being. She could see the love in the eyes of her boyfriend as he looked at Morgan Stark and her mother, it was the same kind of look he had when he was talking to his Aunt, or even when he was hanging out with Ned. It was obvious how important these two were to Peter Parker.

 

“Michelle is Peter’s girlfriend, Morgan.” Pepper told her daughter, who’s eyes lit up, all traces of shyness gone, “Oh! So, you love Petey too!”

 

Michelle’s eyes widen and she had to clamp her mouth shut, because she knew she’d catch flies if she didn’t. Pepper calling her Peter’s girlfriend was like flipping a switch in that turned the adorable girl in Peter’s arms from nervous and shy, to looking at her like she was her best friend in the world. It definitely made her speak her mind to Michelle.

 

“Answer her, Michelle, damn it.” Michelle thought, “Just say yes.”

 

The little girl really had put her on the spot. It was just last night, when Peter came over to her apartment and crawled through her window, like he did every night now, that Michelle realised she loved him. She’d been freaking out over how much their relationship had affected her in the months they’d been together, how happy Peter made her. Last night, she’d realised it was love but she thought he wasn’t ready to hear it yet.

 

But this morning at school, she was panicking all morning, when he failed to show up to Decathlon practice because he was out being a hero, that something could happen to him and she wouldn’t get the chance to tell him. After finding out he was okay, the panic died away but all day she was thinking that she wanted to tell him but didn’t know how. How do you tell someone you love them?

 

“I'm his girlfriend.”

 

It was a stupid reply, even when talking to a five-year-old but it was all Michelle could come with. It seemed to be enough for Morgan smiled just cuddled back into Peter. Michelle looked at Peter who was smiling softly at her, but Michelle could notice something else in his eyes, disappointment that she didn’t say it.

 

Peter had to bite his lip to keep himself from laughing out loud. He loved how MJ being his girlfriend made Morgan instantly love her, it was so cute. Her words definitely created some awkwardness and he could definitely tell MJ felt it.

 

Peter knew that he was in love with MJ. He’d known he loved her since the day their relationship began, on the bridge in London. Until she came to him on that bridge, he wouldn’t have defined his feelings as love, he was sixteen and he knew it would be stupid to call it love when they weren’t even going out. But he knew before the trip Europe, before the blip, that he really liked MJ and the feelings he had for her were strong.

 

It wasn’t just a crush, like he had on Liz before Homecoming. Liz was the pretty popular girl, who was kind to him and almost every guy in school had a crush on her. Peter felt bad about leaving her at the dance and sending her father to prison but truthfully it didn’t take long for him to get over Liz moving away from New York. It’d been a school crush nothing more.

 

Peter’s feelings for MJ developed over time, after Homecoming as they finished sophomore year and moved into their junior year of High School. She started hanging out with him and Ned, sitting at their end of the lunch table, they’d become a trio. She always made fun of them, calling them losers and dorks but whenever Flash was being his usual bullying self, she always stood up for them, saying, “Yeah, they’re losers but they’re my losers.”

 

He liked more and more every time she leaned into his side during their movie nights, every time she made fun of his Star Wars figurines, when she talked about her favourite murder and told him she loved the word ‘BOH’, how the Italians created it and that she was born to say the word. All these things made his feelings for her grow stronger and stronger every day.

 

But when he saw how worried she was about him when she found him on that bridge and told him that she liked the Black Dahlia necklace better broken, he knew what he felt was love. And he wanted to tell her right then and there, but he knew he couldn’t do that.

 

It would’ve been stupid but as the days have gone by, as they grew closer and spent every night intimately holding each other as they slept, Peter knew he had to tell her, he couldn’t keep it in much longer.

 

It was funny to watch MJ think about what Morgan had said to her he honestly didn’t expect her to agree with the little girl and say, ‘Yes I love him.’ But with MJ’s simple reply ‘I'm his girlfriend.’ Though hilarious, he couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed.

 

He had to shake these thoughts away as Morgan pulled on his ear. “Hey Petey! Mum’s talking to you!”

 

Peter turned to look at Pepper, who was standing behind the kitchen counter. She had a sort of smug, knowing smile on her face, like she knew what kind of thoughts her daughters’ words had triggered in him.

 

“What kind of Pizza do you want Pete?” Pepper asked.

 

“Um…. Meatlovers?”

 

“Michelle, do you like Pizza? I'm sorry I didn’t think to check. If you want, we can order something else….”

 

“No, Pepper, pizzas fine.” Michelle replied, smiling awkwardly. Being asked by one of the women she admired most in the world whether she liked pizza was not something Michell ever thought would happen to her.

 

“Thanks for remembering to use my first name.” Pepper replied, grinning walking around the counter, “Hopefully you can help Pete remember to do the same.”

 

“Hey baby…” Pepper said, to Morgan, “Why don’t you take Michelle to the theatre room and pick out a movie for us to watch. Me and Pete will be there in a minute.”

 

Peter frowned in confusion but understood the look that Pepper was shooting at him. She had something important she wanted to talk to him about. He looked to MJ and could see that she understood he had to talk privately with Pepper, but the nervous look was back on her face. She obviously didn’t expect to be alone with Morgan so soon.

 

Peter put Morgan down and the little girl snatched MJ’s hand from her side, “Come in here Michelle, the theatre room so cool.” Morgan said and proceeded to drag his girlfriend down the hall, his girlfriend smiling at the little girls’ cheerfulness.

 

“Just take a seat Peter, I’ll be with you in a minute.” Pepper told him.

 

Peter moved and sat down at the living room table and waited for Pepper, taking in the living area the building again. Honestly, he thought he would struggle being back here, the land this building was built on was where they lost Tony. But being back here actually made Peter smile at the thought of Tony, this was where he worked, where he designed Peter’s suits, where he, Captain America and the others all trained and lived before they split apart. It was also where all the original Avengers worked tirelessly to bring them all back to life.

 

This building was a beacon of hope to the world, a sign that said that the Avengers were still here to protect it. Which is why Peter couldn’t stop thinking about the missing ‘A’ that was supposed to be showing outside.

 

After a minute came out of the kitchen area and sat down with him, bringing two bottles of water with her. She looked happy but Peter had spent enough time around MJ to learn to read people. They had important things to talk about.

 

“How are you doing, Pete?” Pepper asked softly.

 

“I'm good, Mrs Stark.” He answered, smiling softly, “I'm really good actually. These last four months have been awesome. Finally getting back to normal.”

 

“That’s good to hear.” Pepper replied, “You’ve been doing really well out in the city. You’re patrolling everywhere and New York is really loving Spidey now, especially after today.”

 

Peter laughed, running a hand through his hair, “Yeah, it’s been good lately. The police seem to like me now and love having me around to help. And today, well last night was a really quiet night, it was like everything waited to come out today. I was on my way to school when the Fire Trucks drove by and I went to help. After that, I was busy all day and I didn’t make it to school.”

 

“Yea I figured that.” Pepper said. She was proud of the kid for helping so many people, but he couldn’t lose himself in being a hero. He couldn’t skip school too much to go be Spiderman, he had to have a life of his own. “Don’t make a habit of that Pete. You have a life that you need to live too.”

 

“Yeah I know.” And he did know. He knew he was late a lot, to school, to Decathlon, to movie nights, even to dates with MJ. It was his most unfavourite thing about being Spiderman, the difficulty of managing time.

 

But he’d gotten better at it, another thing he’d improved on since being with MJ. He found early on in their relationship, that he couldn’t keep letting her down. A few times after they’d gotten back from London, he’d missed dinner with MJ or a Decathlon practice that she was relying on him to be there. She was always supportive, saying, “You’re a loser with her-complex. I knew that before I started going out with you.” He was glad she understood but he couldn’t bear the look of disappointment on her face, the one she tried so hard to hide whenever he missed something for Spiderman. So, he stopped scanning for small crime during the day, only allowing KAREN to alert him to urgent emergencies. He couldn’t let Spiderman come between them.

 

“Today was just a one-time thing. Or at least, something I'm not gonna repeat soon. It was just that fire and saving that baby…. It just felt like a day for Spiderman.”

 

Pepper smiled proudly, reach over to take his hand in her own, “I’m proud of you Pete and I know Tony would be too.”

 

Peter beamed at her, “Thanks Pepper.”

 

“How are you and Morgan doing?”

 

Peppers eyes flashed with something Peter could only describe as sadness and he regretted asking but how could he not? He need to know how they were doing, he had to be there for them like they were for him.

 

“It’s still hard.” Pepper said, smiling sadly, “It’s always going to be hard. But we’re definitely doing better now. Morgan likes to talk about him a lot, it’s her way of dealing with how much she misses him.

 

“Last month was hard, it’s so hard to believe it’s been over a year now. But we are okay, I promised Tony we would be.” And she smiled at him, a sad one, but genuine. He smiled back at her.

 

“I saw the way you look at that girl in there.” Pepper told him, wiping a tear from her eye, “Have you told her yet?”

 

“Told her what?”

 

“That you’re in love with her.”

 

Peter coughed and had to clear his throat at Peppers blunt words. “Am I really that obvious?”

 

“is it really that easy to tell?”

 

“I saw the way you too look at each other.” Pepper smirked at him, “I'm guessing you haven’t told her yet. You should, she loves you too.”

 

“You don’t know that.” Peter said, nervously. He’d just seen a minute ago, MJ couldn’t say she loved him when Morgan put her on the spot. MJ was the most honest, confident person he’d ever met (and that was saying a lot since he’d known Tony Stark) if she loved him, he reckoned she would tell him.

 

“She wanted to tell you, earlier.” Pepper said, knowing what his thoughts were, “I guess she didn’t want to tell you at the say so of a five-year-old.”

 

 Peter thought over it for a moment, “Yea I guess that make sense.”

 

Pepper beamed at him, “You really do love her don’t you.”

 

Peter smiled, shyly, “She just…. She makes everything okay, you know. She makes me so happy whenever she’s around, even with all the bad stuff going on.”

 

“You two are lucky. It’s not often you find real love at your age.”

 

Peter knew this was true. He knew most adults would call him crazy if he told them that he was in love with MJ. But he knew what they had, and it made him happy that Pepper Pott’s Stark, one of the smartest people he knew, one he loved and trusted, could see it too.

 

Pepper rubbed his hand softly, looking down at them. This boy had been like a son to Tony and though she didn’t get to know Peter well until after they lost Tony, he’d become almost like a son to her. She was glad to see him happy, moving forward with his life and had found someone who meant the world to him, like Tony had meant to her.

 

But seeing him this happy, made it all the more difficult to tell him what they really needed to talk about.

 

“Listen, Pete….” Pepper began, softly, “We need to talk about something important.”

 

“I kind of figured that.” Peter said, smiling. It was really good to see Pepper and talk to her about MJ and Tony and how their lives were going right now. But there was more to it, from Pepper.

 

Pepper smiled, “It’s really good to see you. I was always going to invite you over for dinner anyway, whenever I came back to the city. But we need to talk about something.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Pepper sighed, “Do you remember after the blip? A few weeks after everyone was brought back, and we were able to start getting the message out about what happened?”

 

“Yeah, I remember.”

 

After everyone was brought back, himself included, the world was in total disarray. People didn’t have homes, they didn’t know where their kids, their parents, their friends were, and they had no idea about anything that happened. It took weeks before they were able to get the message around the world about how everyone was brought back, who did it and what it cost.

 

“Well, as you know, it took weeks before we could actually get the message out to the world., because of all the chaos after bringing everyone back. We told everyone about the fight here on the ruins of the compound and we told them that Tony, Steve and all the Avengers were able to steal the stones from Thanos and they were used to bring everyone back, who was lost in the Decimation.”

 

Pepper paused for a moment, looking away and Peter knew how hard it was for her to talk about, Tony’s life was the cost of saving the world from Thanos and it happened right here, on the land they were standing on.

 

“We didn’t tell anyone about the whole time-travel part of it.” Pepper continued, “Me, Steve and Bruce we all agreed that was just too much to dive into.”

 

“Yea I remember.” Peter said.

 

“Well, you’d remember, when the world started to settle and accept what happened, everyone was overwhelmed, by what we all did. What the Avengers done. People got their families, their friends back and all because the Avengers didn’t give up. And then they saved them again, by killing Thanos and his army.”

 

“The world was so grateful and wanted the Avengers to keep protecting them.” Peter said, following what she was saying.

“Yes exactly!” Pepper exclaimed, leaning back in her chair, “Everyone loved you all….”

 

“Us….” Peter interrupted, “They loved us Pepper. “You were there fighting too.”

 

Pepper rolled her eyes, “Yeah, I know Pete. But, as a collective, the world was grateful to the Avengers, the name, the team. They were the saviours.”

 

“So, during that time, as you know, almost every signature of the Sokovia accords, pulled themselves out of it. The world wanted the Avengers to keep protecting them by any means necessary. King T’Challa was the first to pull out and then President Clark pulled U.S. out. After that, every country pulled out from the Accords.”

 

“Yeah, I know.” Peter said, softly, “It was great that the Sokovia Accords were repealed. If they weren’t there’s no way I could still be Spiderman. Not with Tony gone.”

 

Before the Decimation, the blip, Peter was friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. He wasn’t technically an Avenger yet, he’d turned down Tony’s offer, after the situation with Vulture, he knew he wasn’t ready to be an Avenger yet and because he wasn’t an Avenger, he hadn’t signed the Sokovia Accords, which was another big reason why Peter turned down joining the Avengers.

 

He was hesitant to sign the Accords, because that would mean he’d have to reveal his identity to the world. The Avengers were public figures and the Accords clearly stated their identities couldn’t be kept secret. He was able to keep his identity a secret before the Decimation, because Tony kept the law off his back, as he was considered, not an Avenger but a ‘potential recruit.’

 

Peter wouldn’t reveal his identity now, not even if it meant he couldn’t keep being Spiderman.

He had too much to lose. When enemies know a superheroes identity, it puts the people they care about in danger.

 

He wouldn’t endanger MJ like that.

 

Or May.

 

Or Ned.

 

“I know, Pete.” Pepper said, smiling at the kid in front of her. Being Spiderman meant the world to him, he truly was a lot like Tony.

 

“Over the last few months, with the world finally recovering from the blip, and not actually seeing Cap or Hulk or any of the Avengers anywhere…. Except you.” Pepper added, seeing he was about to interrupt.

 

“But they haven’t seen the Avengers as a collective, doing anything at all around the world. And you weren’t technically an Avenger before.” Pepper continued, “The gratitude, the feeling of safety has started to wear off for some people. In the political sector, a lot of conservatives want to reinstate the Sokovia Accords, to try to establish some sort of protection for the world, some kind of control over the Avengers.”

 

“Thaddeus Ross, is making a lot of noise about this.”

 

Peter had heard about what she was talking about. It showed up a lot on the news, some countries wanted to reinstate the Accords, to show the world they ere doing something about any other potential threats to the world.

 

Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross was the most vocal politician on this subject. He was the only one who fought against the U.N. repealing the Accords in the first place. He never wanted them to give up their ‘legal’ control over the Avengers.

 

“Ross blipped and he still doesn’t want us to do our jobs.” Peter said, incredulous.

 

“Ross doesn’t believe in gratitude and trust Pete.” Pepper said, contempt for the man showing, “He believes in leverage and control.”

 

“I’ve been in the media a lot, arguing with him on the point of the Accords. So far, he hasn’t made any headway but that might change soon.”

 

Peter watched her sigh and she actually looked frustrated right now. He let her think before she continued.

 

“I found out today, Ross is going to announce he’s running for President.”

 

Peter gasped, surprised. He wasn’t expecting that.

 

One of the things that Peter found out when was brought back from the blip, was the President at the time of the Snap, didn’t blip. He continued to run the U.S. as the country collapsed and even after half the country was lost, they still held the scheduled Presidential election in 2020 and he was re-elected in that year, by a landslide. People didn’t want any more change in the world two years after the Snap, they wanted to keep him because they were the President they already had.

 

It was also strange that right now, in 2024, they hadn’t held a presidential election yet, because no-one wanted to run. No-one wanted to inherit the continuing headaches of leading the U.S. a year after the world got half its population back. Peter wasn’t one to get involved with politics, but he knew Thaddeus Ross as President wouldn’t be good for the world.

 

“He can’t…. Peter began, stuttering, not knowing what to say, “Ross can’t become President, Pepper. He would destroy the Avengers. Captain America would still be a fugitive! He’d lock them all up like he did before the Snap! I wouldn’t be able to be Spiderman anymore!”

 

Peter stood up and began pacing back and forth, trying to calm himself before he had a full panic attack. He hadn’t had one in a long time, he didn’t want to have one now.

 

“Pete…” Pepper said, softly and looked back to her, “He hasn’t announced he’s running yet and the election not going to happen until February. We’ve got three months to work something out.”

 

“Work what out? What can we do about this?”

 

“Well, for starters, we can calm down.” Pepper said firmly and glancing back to the seat he just left. He sighed, deeply and sat back down.

 

“Okay, look…” Pepper began, “After he announces, other will begin to come out and challenge his campaign but we will cross that road when we get to it.”

 

“The real reason I'm here is because when he announces, the fight against the Accords is going to get a lot bigger and I need to actually know what’s going on with you all.”

 

Peter was confused, “What do you mean what’s going on with us all? Who?”

 

Pepper rolled her eyes, reaching out and taking a sip of her water, “Before I say anything more in the media, I need to know if the Avengers are even a thing anymore. I’ve been saying it’s for the best that the Accords were repealed, to give the Avengers freedom but the world hasn’t heard from the Avengers at all. Some people are starting to believe that Avengers aren’t even here anymore.”

 

Peter thought about it for a moment and he could now see her point. It had been just over a year since the blip and the Avengers had made no appearances publicly at all, except for himself. He was always seen on patrol in New York and the world saw him deal with Mysterion in London. They knew that Spiderman was here but the others, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye…. The world hadn’t seen or heard anything about them at all.

 

“I’ve spoken to Steve….” Pepper continued, seriously, “He says he’s still Captain America and wants to keep fighting. The others, I don’t know about it. Clint is with his family and doesn’t even want to talk about being an Avenger. Thor is off world. Rhodey is done because he still believes in the Accords and doesn’t want to keep going without oversight. Sam, Wanda and Bruce are undecided, but Steve said he’d talk to them to try to find out where they stand.”

 

Peter took all of what Pepper was saying in.

 

The truth was he hadn’t spoken to any of the other Avengers since Tony’s funeral. That was pretty much where he’d properly met all of them, but they didn’t talk much, they were all grieving after the loss of Tony, of Iron man. Cap did tell him that he was going away for a while, something about ‘finding some of that life Tony was telling me to get’. Hawkeye was going back to be with his family after he had gotten them back. Thor left with the Guardians of the Galaxy and he didn’t know what any of the others were planning on doing, at the time he didn’t really care.

 

Peter had just wanted to get back to Queens, to see MJ, see Ned and try to get past losing his mentor. Over the past year, Peter honestly hadn’t given much thought to what the other Avengers were up to. They didn’t know him, and he didn’t know them, he didn’t even know how to contact them, he’d always just assumed that they were all still in it together, ready to fight anything big that came their way.

 

“I never really thought about it like that.” Peter says, eventually, “I just kind of…. Thought we were still here, you know?”

 

“It’s ok, Pete, I get it.” Pepper told him, softly, “No-one really wanted to talk about it. Everyone needed to go their own way for a while, it was a big thing we all went through. Steve, Rhodey and Bruce are the only ones who I‘ve spoken much too. The others they’ve called a few times to check In…. on me and Morgan. But no-one wanted to talk about the future, about whether the Avengers were still together.”

 

Peter realised just now, everything Pepper was saying to him, was an answer to what he was wondering about earlier. The reason why the giant ‘A’ symbolising this building as the base of Earth’s mightiest heroes, wasn’t there because no-one knew if the heroes were still here.

 

It hurt Peter to think that the Avengers could be over.

 

“Steve wants to talk to you.” Pepper said, seeing his sad expression, “I invited him here tonight, but he didn’t want to intrude on us, though he wouldn’t have been. But he wants to talk to you, to see where you stand on all of this. He is the leader after all.”

 

Peter smiled at these words. Pepper saying that Captain America was the leader of the Avengers was proof that even though, some people were lost, and some didn’t want to continue, the Avengers are still here.

 

And he knew that he was one of them.

 

“When does he want to talk?” Peter asked.

 

“He said whenever is good for you.” Pepper answered, loving the small smile on the young boys face, “He’s back in the city. We’re going into the city tomorrow, I want to take Morgan out and have some fun. You and MJ can join us if you want and I’ll call, Steve and see if we can meet up with him somewhere?”

 

Peter thought about it for a moment. It was a weekend, he and MJ spent every weekend together, hanging out at his apartment or in the city, sometimes with Ned and Betty. They didn’t have any plans tomorrow, so it would be good to spend the day with Pepper and Morgan, out and having fun with his girlfriend and a girl was like his little sister.

 

He would be able to talk with Captain America, to settle what place they had in the world now as Avengers.

 

“That sounds great, Mrs Stark….” Peter answered, smiling, before correcting himself, “I mean, Pepper.”

 

“You were doing so well.” Pepper said, rolling her eyes and Peter laughed.

 

Pepper stood up, and Peter did the same “Come on and let’s go see how your girlfriend and my munchkin are getting along. They’d be half hour into a movie right now and they’re probably wondering where we are.”

 


 

 

Peter stared at into the night sky as he stood on the balcony of the bedroom, the bedroom Pepper had told him was now his room at the Avengers Compound.

 

It was almost midnight right now and he’d just got back from carrying Morgan Stark to her bed after she had fallen asleep, watching the Lion King, while cuddling into his girlfriend’s side. After his conversation with Pepper, she and himself joined the two in the theatre room and it was obvious as soon as he saw them together, the little girl had broken into MJ’s heart as they were enthusiastically talking about what was the best Toy Story movie and who their favourite characters were.

 

He found it adorable and was slightly jealous when after they had finished their Pizza and began watching Lion King, Morgan sat up on the sofa and cuddled into MJ. He called the little girl out, saying ‘What about me?’ Morgan shrugged and replied cheekily, “I like MJ better than you now.” Pepper and MJ got a great laugh out of that.

 

Peter stared out to the starry night, waiting for his girlfriend to get out of the shower. He was thinking about how great a night he had with Tony’s family, with his family and the girl he was in love with.

 

He thought about how great everything in his life had been going in the last four months.

 

He didn’t get panic attacks anymore.

 

He was doing better in school.

 

May was doing great, with Happy.

 

Pepper and Morgan were happy and doing well.

 

He was doing great as Spiderman and New York loved him for it.

 

Making most him most happy of all, he was with MJ, they were happy together and had been for the last four months.

 

But now, sadly, Peter knew after the conversation with Pepper tonight, after all she had told him, there were challenges coming towards them. He knew, going forward, hard days were ahead of him as Spiderman and he knew, MJ would be with him for all of them. That made him feel better, he felt he could always be happy as long as she was with him. But not all days were going to be as blissful as they had been for the last for months. It was a bitter fact to accept.

 

Peter was so lost in his head, he didn’t notice his girlfriend join him on the balcony, now dressed in grey sweatpants and grey t-shirt, that were found in the rooms closet, until she came up beside him and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

 

“What’s up dork?” MJ asked, kissing him on the cheek, “You were a little lost in your own head there.”

 

He turned to her and smiled, “I’m just been thinking about us.”

 

“You gonna get sappy again on me now?”

 

“Yeah, I think I am.”

 

He smiled at his girlfriend, who scrunched up her face, in embarrassment.

 

“Get it over with than loser. The sooner you get your sappy display over, the sooner I can take you over to that bed, for a makeout session, since I haven’t had you to myself all day.”

 

Peter laughed, moving forward, touching his lips to MJ’s. The kiss was passionate but over too quickly for MJ who reached up to cup his cheek before he pulled away.

 

“No wat, I do have something I need to tell you.”

 

MJ groaned impatiently, folding her arms across her chest. “Hurry up than, dork.”

 

Peter smiled, God, he loved this girl.

 

“MJ….” He began, slowly, “The last four months have been amazing. Ever since that flight back home, when we basically slept the whole flight home, not even talking to each other till we got off the plane. Taking you swinging around the city that afternoon. Hanging out at my apartment, finally getting you to watch Star Wars. Holding your hand as we walk through the school, seeing Brads face as he sees us every day. Sleeping in your bed every night, hell even when you look after me after a bad night on patrol.”

 

Peter closed his eyes, sighing, and seeing MJ’s, now patient, face before continuing, “All of that has been awesome for the last four months.”

 

“OK….” MJ says, dragging out the word in question.

 

Peter looked away, over the balcony, before turning back to her.

 

“It’s not going to be like that all the time, you know.”

 

MJ looked at him like he’s got two heads. “What do you mean, Peter?”

 

“I mean….” Peter groaned, frustrated, “Being Spiderman makes things complicated you know? Everything’s been so easy for the last for months, but I realised tonight, it’s not gonna stay that way. It’s not always going to be easy.”

 

“Is this about whatever you were talking to Pepper about?”

 

“Yes, sort of,” Peter answered, softly, “My point is, not everyday is gonna be as great as the last four months. Not between you and me, I mean, just in general.”

 

MJ stared at him with her classic deadpan expression. She didn’t move or speak at all for a while, making him uncomfortable, before she raised a hand up to brush a lock off hair out of her face and saying, “Peter, you’re an idiot.”

 

Peter raised his eyebrows, in surprise. “MJ, I'm serious….”

 

“You’re an idiot Peter.” She exclaimed, cutting him off.

 

She grabbed his hand and laced their fingers together. “Peter, do you honestly think I'm that deluded? That I just thought every day was gonna be ice cream Sunday just because every day has been perfect since we got together?”

 

Peter didn’t have time to reply, before she continued, “The first time I kissed you, we were surrounded by burning cars and standing in the middled of a bridge Peter.”

 

“I’ve told you this before dweeb, I knew what I was getting into when I started going out with you. I'm here for the bad days too dweeb. I know what I signed on for.”

 

Peter looked down at their interlaced hands and back at his girlfriend, who was staring at him with a look of determination.

 

“I know, you know….” He said, softly, “I just didn’t want this all to end. Everything’s been so great, I didn’t want any trouble pop up now.”

“Life’s not perfect Peter.” MJ told him, “But nothings ending. We’re here together now and whatever bad days come, we’ll deal with them together too.”

 

Peter smiled, “I know we will.”

 

MJ rolled her eyes, before looking at him like was the worlds biggest loser, “Great. Well that display was more depressing than it was sappy, so can we please just go make out on the bed now?”

 

“Sure…” He said, reaching up to cup her cheek and kissing her. It started off softly before hand began to wander, MJ’s finding their way into Peter’s hair and his sliding up her bare back, beneath the material of her shirt. This caused her to moan and Peters tongue took the opportunity, sliding into MJ’s mouth and gently massaged her own.

 

Peter moved them back, through the open door and with his enhanced agility and senses, closed the door behind them without breaking the kiss at all.

 

He slid his hands out from under MJ’s shirt, as they approached the perfectly made bed, they’d never slept in before. She pulled away from him, as they reached it and fell back on it.

 

She looked up at him smugly, as he stood there looking down at her, “Gonna join me on here Spiderman or what?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

He kicked off his shoes and kneeled down on the bed, moving to hover over her. Her arms wrapped around his waist and she bent her knee up to curl him against her.

 

He looked down at her bright brown eyes looking up at him, a seductive smile on her face.

 

This right here was where he wanted to be right now. It’s where he always wanted to be.

 

“One more thing….” He said, slowly, leaning down and pecking her lips.  She rolled her eyes, “What?”

 

“I love you.”

Chapter Text

Spider-Man: Home Is Where The Heart Is



Waking up to MJ laying in his arms was one of Peter’s favourite things in the whole world.

 

It was almost every morning now, as they slept in the same bed together almost every night. He didn’t think he would ever get tired of waking up to her snuggled into him, laying peacefully with his arms around her. She was usually awake before him but always waited until he woke up as well, usually because of his alarm. She’d always tell him, she would wait for him to wake up because she was a great girlfriend and wanted to let him sleep after he’d been out late on patrol and gotten himself injured like the idiot he was.

 

While Peter had no doubt that was true, he knew her well enough to know she liked waking up with him in the morning and laying comfortably under the covers, him holding her to his body. MJ would never admit to him that she loved laying in with him in the mornings, she once slipped out that his arms being around her at night made her feel warm and safe. She’d shot him down really quickly when he tried to tease her for being so cheesy.

 

Yes, Peter Parker woke up almost every morning, holding Michelle Jones in his arms. This morning though, was very special, for two reasons:

 

One, he’d woken up before MJ did, which never happened. Like ever.

 

Two, this is the first morning waking up with MJ after finally telling her that he loved her.

 

MJ was sleeping peacefully against him, her head on his chest, his left arm holding her close to him and he felt no desire to move, to disturb her sleep, no this moment was far too perfect to ruin. He they would have to get up soon, the morning sun was shining through the curtains but he was determined to enjoy having her in his arms for as long as he could.

 

Peter looked down at MJ, listening to her soft breathing as she slept. He smiled, thinking of her reaction last night, to what he had told her and how it led to them learning more about what they were ready for in their relationship.



MJ was staring at him with a completely stunned expression, he’d definitely taken her off guard. He began to panic, as he could feel the weight of his words crushing the air out of his lungs. He was so happy, he’d finally worked up the courage to tell her how he felt about her, that he loved her and he definitely didn’t regret it. But MJ was looking at him like he’d grown a second head and wasn’t reacting to his words.

 

“Um, MJ,” Peter began, uncomfortably, “could you just say something, please? You don’t have to say it back but I’m kind of panicking here….”

 

“Shut up,” MJ said, firmly, putting a finger to his mouth, effectively shutting him up herself. She closed her eyes, “Just give me a second.”

 

Glad that she wasn’t staring straight through him anymore, he was happy to wait patiently for a moment, for however long she needed to figure out how she felt about the fact that he loves her.

 

It still felt like an eternity before she finally opened her eyes and looked back up at him. He looked back down at her, nervous but was relieved when she smiled lightly up at him.

 

“You love me?” 

 

She was smiling at him, the genuine smile that he loved to see on her face but he could also see something else in her eyes, something he didn’t like. 

 

Uncertainty.

 

“Yes.” He said, quickly, “I love you. I’ve wanted to tell you for a while now.”

 

MJ looked straight at him, almost like she was trying to read him. Raising an eyebrow, she asked, “You’re not just saying that because of earlier, right? Like when Morgan put me on the spot or because of what you were saying out on the balcony….”

 

“What? No!”

 

Peter pulled away from laying over MJ, sitting upon the bed and grabbing her hand to pull her up with him. She was still smiling sweetly at him but he could still see the questioning in her eyes.

 

“No, MJ, I didn’t say that because Morgan put you on the spot.” He told her, clasping her hand in his own, “Or because I’m worried about whatever might come in the future. I told you I love you because that is how I feel.”

 

He took a breath, before reaching up to cup her cheek in his palm before continuing.

 

“I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time now. I’ve been waiting for the right time to tell you. But tonight, I spoke to Pepper about my feelings for you and I realised the perfect moment wasn’t going to come. And I didn’t want to keep it in anymore.” 

 

Peter sighed, looking directly into the dark brown eyes he loved so much, giving him the courage to get these words out.

 

“I love you. I’m in love with you. And it’s ok that you don’t say it back, you’re not ready to say it back and that’s ok. I’ll wait.” 

 

Peter took a deep breath,  closing his eyes. Saying all of this finally after months of waiting felt amazing but it still took all of his courage to get it out.

 

He meant it, and even if MJ didn’t say any of this back to him, even if she’s not ready to put that on their relationship, it was fine. It was fine because he would wait for her. He would always wait for her.

 

Peter opened his eyes when he felt MJ’s hand on his the back of his neck, her fingers threading themselves into his locks. She moved forward and softly brushed her lips on his, not quite kissing him the way he wanted her to but after his confession, he let her lead.

 

The ball was in her court now.

 

She leant her forehead against his and he closed his eyes at the contact, fully giving himself over to the intimacy of the moment. She moved onto his lap and he wrapped his arms around her waist. He loved having her in his arms. It was where she belonged.

 

“Guess you really got your sappy display tonight after all,” MJ whispered, running her fingers through his locks slowly.

 

“Even after your depressing one outside.”

 

“MJ…” Peter began, in a whisper not opening his eyes, “I’m kind of pouring out my heart here…..”

 

Then he was cut off by her, she was kissing him, fully and in earnest, her soft lips moving against his, her hands now holding him fully against her. He opened his eyes in surprise but responded quickly, kissing her back back, putting all the love that he hadn’t managed to put into words in the past months, into it.

 

MJ pulled back, moving to lay down on her back on the bed where she had been, pulling im with her, not speaking or giving him the chance to say anything. Not that Peter was complaining, as she quickly pulled his lips back to hers.

 

He laid back over her, his arms either side of her body, holding his weight off her. Peter was really enjoying this kiss they were having, he ran his tongue again her bottom lip and she immediately granted him access, letting out a deep moan as he rubbed his tongue against hers.

 

“Mmmm….” MJ moaned, reaching down to the bottom of his shirt and beginning to lift it up.

 

“I need to feel you.”

 

Peter was never going to deny her what she wanted, leaning back to let her pull his black t-shirt up and over his head. She threw it to the side before pulling him back down to her. 

 

He kissed her again, passionately, enjoying the amazing feeling of MJ running her hands all over his upper body, as she kissed him back, more passionately perhaps, than she’d ever kissed him before.

 

He pulled his lips from her and moved to the spot below, her ear, nibbling her earlobe before nuzzling her neck the way he knew she liked. She moaned again, loudly near his ear before beginning pepper kisses along his bare shoulder and side of his neck.

 

“I love you too.” She moaned, in his ear and he froze, though she kept up with her kisses all over the upper right side, before he regathered his mind and pulled back to look at her.

 

MJ leaned up to keep kissing him, but Peter pulled further back.

 

“What?” He asked, breathlessly. He had to hear it again, unable to trust what his ears just captured. Was it real? Did she really say it?"

 

MJ looked back at him, sighing deeply, and wrapping her arms around his waist.

 

“I love you too, loser.” She told him, rubbing him softly, “So much. I’ve been struggling with this for weeks and I didn’t actually label it, until last night.”

 

“But I love you. I’m in love with you too. I wanted to tell you earlier but I was too surprised when Morgan brought it up as she did. And you’ve totally stolen my thunder saying it first you dork, but I love you dweeb.”

 

Peter couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He didn’t think he had ever felt as happy as he did right now, warmth was flowing all through his body. This awesome, amazing and beautiful girl that he was looking at, that he was completely in love with was telling him that she felt the same about him. That she loved him too. He couldn’t contain himself, his entire body wanted to explode with how happy he was right now.

 

“I love you.” He couldn’t help himself.

 

He liked the way it felt on his lips. The sound of it as he spoke.

 

“I love you.” He repeated, leaning down and capturing MJ’s lips, once again, kissing her as if his life depended on it.

 

“I love you,” MJ replied, moaning against his lips, sliding her tongue past his lips to gently massage his again. She pulled him down, trying to get as close as possible, moaning as bucked his hips against hers.

 

MJ was driving Peter crazy. They’d had many intense makeout sessions before, which had resulted in both Peter and MJ’s shirts being tossed aside before but they’d never been fuelled by this level of passion and intimacy. MJ was moaning loudly, as she pulled him closer and he pushed his hips into hers. 

 

Motivated by the sounds she was making, he pulled away and returned his lips to her neck, kissing and sucking on the spots on her neck, the way she knew she liked. She brought her hands up to cradle his head as he began to kiss down her neck, pushing the material of the loose sweatshirt out of the way as he kissed slowly down closer to her breasts.

 

“Mmmm, that feels good!” She hummed, running her fingers, through his hair encouragingly.

 

He looked up and saw her looking back down at him, loving the lust in her eyes, which gave him the courage to move down to the waist of her shirt, lifting it up and placing soft kisses to her skin, a over her waist slowly moving upward as he raised her shirt higher.

 

MJ moaned at the soft sensation of his lips, tenderly kissing up her stomach. She loved this boy and what he was doing to her but she knew she had to stop him, right now.

 

“Pete, Pete….” She whispered, looking down at him, seeing his eyes light up, almost in alarm as she called to him.

 

Before he could panic, she pulled him back up to her and kissed him again, passionately but slowing the pace of their actions.

 

Peter was slightly confused, he thought MJ was encouraging his touches on her body, but she’d stopped him and pulled him back up to her. He thought he may have overestimated what she wanted but she was still kissing him, so he hoped she didn’t feel pressured by him. He’d never, ever do that.

 

MJ moved her hand to his chest and pushed him away from her, separating their lips from each other. She took a deep breath, pulling the grey t-shirt back down to her waist, regaining her composure, before speaking.

 

“Sorry,” MJ said, breathing heavily, “I had to stop you there, before….”

 

“MJ you don’t need to apologise!” Peter cut her off, exclaiming, “I didn’t mean to do anything you didn’t want, I just thought, since we’d gone that far before…. I thought you were telling me to….”

 

“Peter shut up for a second!” MJ interjected, “You didn’t do anything wrong!”

 

MJ grabbed him and rolled him over, which he allowed her to do as he saw that’s what she wanted. She laid on top him, leaning down close to him, not making eye contact but looking down at her own hand which she was softly rubbing against his chest.

 

“I had to stop you…” She whispered, softly, “Because, if we went any further tonight, I wouldn’t have wanted to stop.” 

 

“I didn’t want to stop.” She said, looking back into his eyes.

 

Peter’s eyes lit up as he realised what she was saying. “MJ, are you su….” He began, before she cut him off, again.

 

“Pete, I’m ready.” MJ declared, resting her chin on his chest, maintain eye contact with him, “I’m ready for that, with you. I want to be with you, completely. I just don’t want our first time to be here.”

 

“This place is cold,” MJ said, looking around the room they are in, illuminated only by the lamp on the bedside table of the perfectly white-sheeted bed, in the bright white and silver bedroom.

 

“I don’t mean cold, literally, loser,” She rolled her eyes, seeing the look on his face, “This place is just so blank. It’s a compound, not a home. And everything, that happened at this place….” She trailed off, seeing the look in Peter’s eyes, knowing he understood what she was trying to say.

 

“Don’t tell anyone I said this.” MJ warned, “It’s so sappy, and I have a reputation to maintain. But I want our first time…. To be special….” 

 

Peter grinned, looking up at his girlfriend, who was giving him a look of warning, one that said he would be dead and single if he repeated her words to anyone, ever. 

 

God, he loved this girl.

 

“I thought I was the hopeless, cheesy romantic in this relationship?”

 

MJ raised her eyebrows, “I just told you I want to have sex with you and you want to tease me? Do you want me to change my mind?”

 

“You’d change it back again, cause you loooove meeeee.” Peter drew out the words, enjoying teasing her, “I know how you feel now.” 

 

“I swear to God, loser….”

 

Peter leaned up and kissed his girlfriend again, this one a lot slower and softer than their earlier ones but just as passionate and intimate.

 

They kissed softly for a moment before Peter pulled back.

 

“So if, we can’t go any further tonight, does that mean we have to go to sleep now?”

 

“No, not yet, loser.” MJ replied, quickly, “I want you to kiss me again.”



Peter couldn’t stop smiling, softly kissing MJ’s curls, as she slept, her head on his chest, being careful not to wake her up.

 

He needn’t have worried, as she spoke, letting him know that she was awake.

 

“Morning, loser.” MJ groaned, pecking his chest and pulling the blanket up to her neck, snuggling into him.

 

“I didn’t mean to wake you.”

 

“I’ve been awake for a few minutes, I just didn’t wanna get up,” MJ replied, opening her eyes, looking up at Peter. “You’re awake early.”

 

“I slept good last night.”

 

“Mmmm, me too.” MJ whispered, “I’d really love to just stay here for a while but we should probably get up. Pepper said last night that Morgan was an early riser, we should get up and have breakfast before we go into the city.”

 

Peter hummed, into her messy locks, agreeing with her, that they should get up and also that he didn’t want too, he was perfectly content to stay right there with her.

 

MJ wanted to stay there too but knew from the morning sun that it was time to get up and start the new day. She rolled over away, from Peter, missing his warmth as she stood up and turned back to him.

 

MJ rolled her eyes, as he was staring at her with what she described as his ‘puppy dog eyes’, almost pleading with her to lay back down with him.

 

“Get up, loser.” MJ told him, shaking her head, “Go have a shower and brush your teeth. You didn’t do that last night.”

 

“I did! Before Happy picked us up last night!”

 

“You didn’t brush your teeth again, after dinner!”

 

“Well, you kind of distracted me before I got the chance to, MJ!”

 

“It’s not my fault you had to tell me you loved me last night, loser!” MJ replied, frowning at the cute goofy smile that elicited from her boyfriend.

 

“Yeah, yeah, you’re all happy we’re in love and all that sappy shit.” MJ said, before he could say anything, “Now get up and jump in the shower or I swear to God, I’m not going to kiss you at all today.”

 

“Why punish yourself like that?” Peter asked, rhetorically, jumping up and rushing to the bathroom, as if he truly believed her threat but not believing it all.

 

MJ shook her head. How the hell did she fall so hard for this loser?







Michelle heard the sound of the shower running in the ensuite bathroom of what was now Peter's bedroom in the Avengers compound. She couldn’t get over how he could make her feel, just by doing something as cute as wanting to lay in bed with her in the morning. Honestly, she had a reputation to maintain.

 

Shaking herself out of her Peter induced fantasy, Michelle moved to the large slide open closet, along the wall of the room, opening it find the robe she had seen in there last night when she grabbed the sweatpants and shirt she was wearing right now.

 

Michelle had to hand it to Pepper and Stark Industries, they literally provided everything for the Avengers or whoever else who was ever to stay in the rooms of this building. Sets of clothes of all sizes, shoes, towels everything that a person would need was provided in this building. 

 

Michelle was grateful as she pulled on the robe, wrapping it around herself, enjoying the warmth it provided. Michelle always felt the cold of the morning, as soon Peter let go of her, every morning.

 

MJ decided not to wait for Peter to get off the shower and walked out of the room and moved towards the living area of the compound, which was close to where Pepper and Morgan’s rooms were. (Happy had kept his promise to keep Peter and MJ’s room away from Morgan’s, to Pepper’s amusement and Peters embarrassment.)

 

MJ entered the kitchen they had been in the night before and was warmed by the sight she saw.

 

Pepper and Morgan were on opposite sides of the kitchen bench, Pepper standing and Morgan sitting on a bar stool, a bowl of cereal sitting on the bench between them, both of them taking turns at grabbing a spoonful, laughing with each other as they ate. It was truly amazing to MJ and she was struck again by a surge of admiration for the Pepper Potts-Stark. 

 

Michelle had always admired Pepper, the woman was inspiring in how she was so hardworking, compassionate, genuine and successful. Pepper fought for what she believed in, wasn’t intimidated by anyone and genuinely cared for people, using all the resources she had to improve the world, fighting for the rights of women and those oppressed all over the world.

 

Pepper Potts-Stark was always portrayed in the media as a kind and successful woman but it was another thing entirely for Michelle to actually meet and see how this woman actually was. She was truly so compassionate and kind, being so friendly, it was so obvious to Michelle how much Pepper truly cared for Peter (something they definitely had in common) and watching the blonde headed woman right now, it was clear to Michelle that Pepper Potts-Stark loved and cared for her daughter more than anything in the world.

 

The common cliché that wealthy corporate parents didn’t show care or genuine love and affection to their children, didn’t apply to Pepper Potts-Stark. Michelle was watching her right now, doing something as simple as eating cereal and laughing with her daughter, and Michelle couldn’t help but think this small moment she was witnessing had more love in it than Michelle’s parents had shown her, her whole life.

 

Michelle knew that some people would think that would make her sad but she had long since moved on from her own parent’s lack of affection and complete apathy for her or anything that happened in her life. They’d fed her and provided a roof over her head but Michelle couldn’t remember a single time her mother or father had ever told her they loved her. 

 

She no longer waited for them to anyway.

 

Michelle stood in the living area doorway, watching mother and daughter eat, debating with herself on whether to join them. She didn’t want to intrude on their breakfast together.

 

As she decided to turn around and return to the bedroom, the little girl noticed her standing there.

 

“Hey MJ!”

 

Pepper turned to look at her, making Michelle feel stupid, just standing there. “Good morning.” She eventually greeted them.

 

Pepper smiled at her, “Good morning, MJ. Come sit with us.”

 

Feeling awkward, Michelle took the invitation, moving to sit next to sit on the vacant barstool next to Morgan.

 

“Do you want anything for breakfast?” Pepper asked, and Michelle could tell the woman was a morning person, “We got heaps of cereals or we’ve got some bacon and eggs in the fridge I can cook up if you’d like?” 

 

Michelle shook her head, smiling at this woman’s generosity, “That’s okay, I’m more of cereal person, thank you.”

 

“You’re like me and Morgan.” Pepper smiled, turning around, opening a cupboard and grabbing a bowl out for the young girl, “Me and Morgan both like cereal, that’s our kind of breakfast.”

 

“Daddy liked Omelettes!” Morgan quipped, cheerfully, scooping more breakfast from the bowl in front of her.

 

“Yes, he did.” Pepper agreed, with a smile and Michelle observed while there was a sad undertone to it, it was genuine.

 

“I’m done, Mum.” Morgan said, leaving her spoon in the bowl between her and her mother, “Can I go into the theatre room now?

 

“Sure baby. We have a little while before we go out?”

 

“Wanna come watch cartoons MJ?” The little girl asked, excitedly jumping off her barstool. Pepper spoke before Michelle could answer.

 

“MJ can have breakfast first, Morgan. She’ll come to sit with you soon.”

 

“Ok!”

 

Morgan ran away, down the hall Michelle had just come from, running towards the theatre room they had been watching moving last night.

 

“She’s attached to you now, you know.” 

 

“She’s adorable,” Michelle said, smiling, pouring the Coco Pops on the bench into her bowl and adding milk. It was true. Michelle wasn’t really a kid person, probably because she was an only child and had always been a loner. But after one night, Michelle definitely had a soft spot for Morgan Stark.

 

“She uses it, too. Trust me.” Pepper rolled her eyes, making Michelle laugh.

 

“I want to take Morgan to the zoo today.” Pepper said, leaning on the bench, “Do you want to come with us?”

 

Michelle felt confused. She and Peter talked yesterday, that they were going to spend the day with Pepper and Morgan and she was all for it but Michelle didn’t think Pepper was going to ask her personally right now. The way she was asking, it was like she didn’t already know they were going to spend the day with them.

 

“Yeah, of course. I’d love to.” Michelle replied, “Is that ok?”

 

“Of course, we’d love to have you with us.” Pepper answered, kindly, “I just wanted to ask you, because Peter’s gonna have to meet up with us later. I just got off the phone with Steve a minute ago, he wants to talk with Peter alone, then they’ll meet up with us later.”

 

Michelle frowned, confused before realisation hit her. Peter hadn’t told her what he and Pepper Stark had talked about while she was in the theatre room with Morgan last night but she guessed this had something to do with it.

 

Since the beginning of their relationship in London, as the both realised how they felt about each other and with those feelings continuing to grow stronger every day, their relationship grew strong and matured over the months they’d been together.

 

But in the early days after London, as they were getting used to being together, Peter had tried to keep her away from the dangerous part of his life. He wouldn’t tell her how he got his injuries during his patrols or about the horrors that he’d been through as Spider-Man, before or after the blip or about what that asshole wearing a fishbowl helmet had down to him in Prague.

 

After a couple of weeks, Michelle’s frustration with Peter’s determination to keep her away from Spiderman and keep all the troubles he experienced in part of his life, reached a breaking point. She’d taken a first aid course, to be able to help her boyfriend at night, after he’d gotten himself injured being the hero he is and he’d been angry about her trying to involve herself with Spiderman. He even tried to break up with her, telling her that being with him, with Spiderman was too much for her. That made Michelle angry and hurt and she’d told him if he was breaking up with her because of Spiderman, it meant that she’d meant nothing to him.

 

Of course, he’d shown up at her window that night, apologising profusely and holding her to him like she was the most precious thing in the world to him. That night showed her that Peter truly did care for her and Michelle thought that was the moment their relationship truly matured. 

 

From that night, Peter had told her the stories of what Beck has made him see, told her all about travelling through space before the blip, the fight after they’d come back and how he’d gotten to see his mentor once again before Tony sacrificed himself for them all. 

 

Peter really opened up to her and allowed her to see the dark side of that part of his life and they’d come to the agreement that they wouldn’t keep secrets from each other, especially about Peter’s life as a hero. He would tell her about his injuries, his nightmares, the things that continued to torment him and be open about anything to do with Spiderman could impact them and she would be honest with him about how she worried for him and whatever scared her from that part of his life.

 

Peter didn’t tell her about whatever he and Pepper talked about last night but he did tell her that there were difficult times ahead of them. Michelle already knew being superheroes girlfriend wouldn’t always be a piece of cake like these past months had been, but she meant it when she said she was with him for whatever came for them.

 

“Michelle?” 

 

Michelle blinked, peppers voice bringing her out of her thoughts.

 

“Sorry Pepper. Who’s Steve?”

 

Pepper raised her eyes in surprise, “Oh, sorry, I thought Pete would’ve told you last night.”

 

“He didn’t tell me what you guys talked about.” Michelle said, curiously, “We had…. Other stuff to say to each other last night.”

 

Pepper smiled at her, knowingly. Being the head of a global-wide, multibillion-dollar company, she knew how to read people and to read between the lines of what they were saying.

 

“Well, you would’ve found out today anyway. Cap wants to catch up with Pete today and then he’ll catch up with the rest of us. Cap as in Captain America.”

 

Michelle’s eyes widened in surprise, and scoffed internally at herself, for not knowing ‘Steve’ of course as in Steve Rogers, the same guy who did the stupid P.E. and Detention videos they had at school.

 

Crap, were they embarrassing to watch.

 

Truthfully, Peter hadn’t spoken about Captain America or the other Avengers much at all, in the time they’ve been together. He’d told her that he hadn’t spoken to any of them since Tony Stark’s funeral. When he’d told her this, Michelle actually thought it was wrong of them not to be in contact, wrong of the older and more experienced superheroes not be looking out for Peter, especially after he’d lost the superhero who taught him to be a hero himself. But Peter told her that he felt it was for the best, they all had to go their own way, to get past the blip and losing Iron Man themselves.

 

But hearing Pepper say that Captain America wants to talk to Peter, explained what Peter was telling her last night. She could see how it would unnerve him, Captain America reaching out could mean something bad was about to happen but Michelle noticed Pepper was calm enough, so she was hopeful it didn’t mean anything bad.

 

Or at least nothing Peter couldn’t handle.

 

“Oh, ok.” Michelle said, awkwardly, “Is everything ok?”

 

“There’s not another world-ending event happening right now, if that’s what you’re asking.” Pepper said, smiling, “Steve just wants to get on the same page with Pete about the Avengers and how they’re going to move forward now. You know about the Sokovia Accords right?”

 

“Yeah, of course.” Michelle knew all about the Accords, she’d studied them very thoroughly when they were first implemented in 2016. 

 

And she wasn’t a fan of them. 

 

Michelle was an activist and didn’t trust the United States government or any government at all, unlike so many kids her age, her eyes were completely lucid to the corruption in the world. She was grateful to the Avengers for saving her world years ago and the moment she saw the Accords, she felt they were going to be a part of the problem and not the solution.

 

In Michelle’s eyes, the blip was proof that she was right. If the Avengers hadn’t been restricted, some of them even declared war criminals, maybe they could’ve stopped the big purple sociopath before he wiped half the world away and made them miss out on five years.

 

“Well, there’s a lot of talk going around in politics, some people want to reinstate them.” Pepper said, seriously, “The world hasn’t seen much of the others, since the blip. They want to know the Avengers are still here, to protect them. Steve just wants to see where Peter stands on everything. They’re gonna have a lot to deal with together in the future.”

 

Michelle wanted to roll her eyes, at Peppers words about where Peter stands. Everyone who saw Peter’s actions yesterday on the news, who saw the viral video of him saving a baby from a burning building would know where Peter stands on the Avengers and being a superhero.

 

“Peter doesn’t want the Accords reinstated,” Michelle said, nervously. Pepper Potts-Stark was her inspiration, it was nerve-wracking to be speaking to her about such an important matter of the world. “He won’t give up his secret identity. And he definitely won’t wait for permission to step in when something bad is happening.”

 

“No, he wouldn’t.”

 

Pepper smiled at the young girl in front of her. It was obvious how much this seventeen-year-old girl loved Peter Parker and Pepper had been in business and dealt with enough people to be able to read that this girl wanted to make a difference in the world. She wasn’t like so many young people today. She wanted to help people.

 

“How are you doing with all of this? It’s not easy being with a superhero. I think I know that better than anyone.”

 

Michelle was caught off guard by the woman’s question. Her breakfast sat in front of her forgotten.

 

“I’m fine.” Michelle knew how stupid that sounded as soon as the words left her mouth.

 

Pepper smiled at her, knowingly, “I would be very worried for both you and Peter if that were true.”

 

Michelle laughed, half-heartedly. She could see Pepper’s point. If she was just ‘fine’ with everything that came with her boyfriend being a superhero, she wouldn’t deserve to be with Peter.

 

“I worry a lot.” Michelle admitted, quietly, “I’ve gotten better at dealing with it. He comes over and spends every night with me after his patrol. That helps. Seeing him safe, with me every night after he’s out in the city, helps me believe he’s gonna come back to me every night. But I can never get to sleep before he shows up to my apartment.” The only person Michelle has confided this to is May because she knows May feels the same way every night Peter is out on patrol. Michelle finds it easy to confide this to Pepper as well. Pepper knows what it’s like to love a superhero. Michelle instantly feels bad at this thought.

 

Pepper knows what it’s like to lose the one you love to that life.

 

Before Michelle could apologise, Pepper speaks, “I know how you feel Michelle. It’s completely fine that you feel that way, that you worry about him like that. No sane person wouldn’t worry in your position.”

 

Pepper looked down at her left hand, looking at the wedding ring her husband had given her. She never took it off.

 

Michelle saw Pepper look down at the ring on her left hand, a sad smile on her face but Michelle could feel the strength and the love radiating off the older woman. She could see the determination in her eyes as she looked back to Michelle.

 

“I always worried about Tony, after he became Iron Man. I thought he was crazy at first, for so long I wanted him to give it up, so I wouldn’t have to worry about losing him, wouldn’t have to worry about him not coming back from the fight. But eventually, I realised, he was Iron Man. It was part of who he was and he wouldn’t be the man I fell in love with if he didn’t want to go out and save the world the way he did.”

 

Michelle thought she saw tears welling in the older woman’s eyes but Pepper blinked and they were gone before she continued, “I lost him last year because he gave himself up to save us all. To save the world and to save me and Morgan. I hate being without him but I understand why he did it.”

 

“I have my daughter and I have to be thankful for that.”

 

Michelle couldn’t believe how strong this woman was. It was unbelievable how someone who lost her husband in the battle for the universe, could still be so hopeful for the future.

 

“I wish I could tell you it gets easier, Michelle, but it doesn’t. The worry never goes away, the fear will always be there. The only advice I can give to you is this: Whenever you feel it’s too much, ask yourself, ‘will you be happier with or without Peter?’ The answer to that question will tell you what to do.”

 

Michelle took in what Pepper was saying. She knew how she felt about Peter, knew she loved him and wanted to be with him, even with all that came with him being Spiderman. But she understood why Pepper was telling her this, she was telling her that there’s a lot that going to come in the future and it was going to be hard for her. 

 

It surprised Michelle that Pepper would tell her all this though. She knew her and Peter’s relationship was very serious but most adults would say they were stupid and didn’t know the first thing about loving someone and being in a serious relationship.

 

Pepper seemed to believe in them.

 

As if Pepper could read her mind, the woman said, “I know you two are only in high school but I saw the way you look at each other. You love him and he loves you too.”

 

“I know,” Michelle said, quickly. She smiled at the memory of last night, “ he told me last night.”

 

Pepper smiles, widely, “Smart kid. I told him he should. I could see it the way you two looked at each other, it was so obvious.”

 

Michelle blushed. Pepper grinned at her embarrassment, “He’s a good kid, Michelle. I think you’re good for him too.”

 

Michelle smiled, her face still a shade pink, “Thank you. And you can call me MJ. That’s what my friends call me.”

 

Pepper took a step back from the kitchen bench, “Well, MJ, I think you and I are going to be good friends.”

 

“I’m gonna go get ready for the day. You should eat your breakfast before Morgan comes in wondering why you’re not going in there to watch cartoons with her.”










































Chapter Text

Spiderman: Home Is Where the Heart Is

 

He’d woken up early in the morning with his girlfriend at the Avengers compound upstate, expecting to spend the day with his MJ, Pepper and Morgan. He was surprised when after he’d had breakfast this morning, Pepper told him that he had to meet with Captain America alone before spending the remainder of the day with them in the city.

Peter was more than happy to meet with Steve Rogers alone, without MJ and Morgan there with him. It made sense with the seriousness of everything the two of them would have to talk about, it would be easier to talk without the innocence and lightness of Morgan Stark around. 

And Peter truly didn’t want to worry MJ. He knew she was strong and just last night made it very clear, as she had many times before, that she could handle knowing about the dangerous part of his life that was him being Spiderman. Also, their relationship had become strong and they’d learnt to trust each other, so he knew as much he didn’t want to worry his girlfriend, he had to tell her about this stuff.

This morning he told MJ it was just to get on the same page about how the Avengers were going to move forward in the world. Though Peter suspected that today would be the beginning of his Spiderman life becoming more complicated than it already was, or at least, than it had been  in the past four months since the situation with Mysterio in London.

In a way, Peter felt like he was overreacting. Today was just a conversation with Captain America. After a year of having no contact with the Avengers, Peter actually thought it would be good to speak with someone who was living a life, like the one he himself was living. Someone who experienced the Infinity War, as the Avengers, The Guardians and others had come to call it. 

Someone who lost Tony, just like he did.

Pepper asked him where he wanted to meet with Cap and he decided at Mr Delmars corner store. He could talk to Mr Delmar while waiting for World War II veteran and think about what he wanted to say to the man. Pete had a lot of questions he wanted to ask him.

Pepper decided they wanted to get an early start on the day after they finished breakfast, Happy drove them into the city, Pete and MJ playing I-Spy with Morgan. They eventually dropped Peter off at his and Mays apartment, MJ kissing him goodbye chastely, earning a ‘gross’ from Morgan and a smile from her mother.

“May, I’m home!” Peter called out, entering through the front door of his home. Not receiving an answer, he walked up the hallway to the kitchen, noticing a note left on the kitchen bench.

“Just in case you come home and I’m not here, I’ve gone back down to F.E.A.S.T, they’re a bit short staffed. I’ll call you later if you’re not home when I get back.

Love you kid – May

Peter smiled, his Aunt was working back down at the F.E.A.S.T centre, one of the shelters that had been set up in city to help the people who were hadn’t found there family’s or had lost their homes because of the blip. Peter loved how his Aunt worked every day to help people, like he did, both in their own ways.

Peter looked at the time on his phone and saw that it was only ten o clock in the morning. He still had two hours before his meeting with Cap.

“Might as well go out for out for a quick patrol.” He thought, grabbing his suit from his closet and changing into it. He looked down at the mask in his hand.

Months ago before the disaster that was his school trip to Europe, being Spiderman had began to start feeling like a chore. He wasn’t enjoying his patrols as much and was at the time wishing he didn’t have the responsibility of being Spiderman. He’d felt like the world was in search for the new Iron Man and Peter truly didn’t think he could ever become that.

Peter hated how his trip was ruined by Mysterio but it was because of him and his manipulations that Peter began to feel comfortable with the responsibility of being Spiderman again. Happy told him on the plane when the older man picked him in the Netherlands, that he would never be the next Iron Man, that he could never live up to Tony Stark’s place in the world. But he also reminded him that his friends were in danger, Beck was a villain that was out there and even though he couldn’t be the next Iron Man, he had to do something.

Happy made him realise the responsibility was still there, even if he didn’t feel good enough for it.

But it was what MJ told him in the days after London that made him relish in the feeling of being Spiderman again.

They’d talked when they got home and Peter told her all about how he just wanted to enjoy his vacation away and tell he that he liked her. He also told her how Beck was able to manipulate him into giving him Tony’s glasses because Peter didn’t think he was good enough for them, not good enough to be the next Iron Man.

MJ had looked at him with her classic deadpan expression before calling him a total idiot, he remembered her words exactly.

“You’re an idiot, you know that?”

Peter looked down, embarrassed. “I know I was stupid, I shouldn’t have given him those glasses….”

“That’s not what I’m talking about Peter.” 

Peter looked back up at his girlfriend, eyes widened.

“Don’t get me wrong, giving away those glasses was stupid but  Beck tricked you. He made you think he was your friend, he manipulated you. That could happen to anyone.”

“No you’re an idiot because of these stupid expectations your putting on yourself. You’re not supposed to be the next Iron Man. You’re not supposed to do what Tony Stark would have done.”

Peter opened his mouth to interrupt but she cut him off before he could speak.

“Just shut up and listen to me, loser.” MJ told him, firmly.

“You’re not Iron Man. you’re not meant to be Iron Man. I know it hurts Pete but Iron Mans time is over. He did his part, the world doesn’t need him anymore. It needs the heroes who are still here, to keep fighting. It needs you to be your own hero.”

“The world needs you to be Spiderman.”

It took a while for Peter to fully understand what MJ meant by what she told him that day. But later on that week he’d saved a little girl on the road, who had ran across the street without looking as a bus drove towards her. He’d swung down low to the ground and scooped her up out of harms way. The girl and her parents had been so grateful, saying ‘thank you Spiderman’ repeatedly.

He’d realised in that moment that his girlfriend was right, as she usually was. Peter did his best as a superhero when he was being himself and not trying to be his mentor. When he’d grasped that, it felt good to be Spiderman again.

Peter shook himself out of his thoughts, sliding his mask on over his head and launching himself gracefully out of the window of his apartment, not sensing anyone outside who would see where he left from.

“Hey Karen.” Peter greeted his A.I.

“Hello Peter.” Karen responded, the A.I.’s voice sweet as usual, “how are you today Peter?”

“I’m great, Karen. I told MJ I loved her last night.”

“That’s good, Peter. Did she return your feelings?”

“She did, Karen.” Peter told his A.I. smiling.

“Are you sure Michelle is as smart you say she is?”

“Haha, thanks Karen.” Peter rolled his eyes, amused at her programmed sarcasm and humour.

“Your welcome Peter.”

“Run scans for any crimes or emergencies in the city, please Karen.”

 


 

Unlike yesterday, Peter found very little criminals out in the open this Saturday morning. 

Not that he was complaining, he was really enjoying just swinging and leaping around the city. It was fun and He found that most of the people of New York loved him even more his heroics yesterday, everyone who saw him on the streets were asking for a picture, a young mother was grateful for catching and returning her sons ballon which had flown away and the food stand on the side of a street in Brooklyn gave him a free Hot Dog.

Landing on the roof of a building not far away from Mr Delmars Bodega, Peter checked the alleyway to the to the side of the small building on the corner block, making sure no one was there before dropping down to the ground, behind a garbage dumpster.

“Karen, shut down any cameras in the area that could see me get changed and leave the alley.”

“All surveillance and mobile cameras in your area are temporarily deactivated Peter.” 

“Thanks Karen.”

After changing quickly into clothes he’d brought with him in his backpack, Peter threw his backup and webbed it to the wall. He’d learned one too many times, not to web his backpacks to any more garbage dumpsters, having lost eight bags in total now. After losing the last one, MJ told him that he was the biggest idiot and didn’t get how he could be so smart and so stupid. He had to agree with her when he couldn’t answer her when she asked why he didn’t simply web his bag up high on a building where no one could get to it and no garbage truck was going to pick it up.

Shaking his head, with a smile Peter walked out of the alley to the entrance of Delmar’s bodega.

Opening the door, Peter saw Mr Delmar leaning on the counter of his new store. The elder man smiled brightly at him.

“Good morning, Peter!” Mr Delmar greeted, tapping his counter, “How are you doing, young lad?”

“Really good Mr Delmar! How are you?”

“Can’t complain, Pete, nobody listens anyway.” Mr Delmar chuckled, “Where’s that girlfriend of yours, don’t often see you without her anymore.”

“MJ’s good,” Peter replied, smiling at Mr Delmars mentioning MJ and the elder mans observation of them, “She’s out with some friends of ours right now. I’m meant to be meeting a friend of mine here soon.”

“Glad to hear, boy, you treat that girl right you hear me? A smart girl like that, who lets you wear those science pun t-shirts, you don’t want let her go any time soon.”

“Don’t plan on it, Mr Delmar.” Peter said, grinning wide. He loved the shopkeepers words of advice for him and he definitely intended to follow it. He had no intention of letting MJ go.

Ever.

“Good man. Can I get you anything?”

“I’ll just grab a chocolate milkshake, please, while I’m waiting.” Peter said pulling out his wallet but the shopkeeper waved him off.

“On the house for you today boy.”

“But…. Peter resisted but Mr Delmar gave him a pointed look.

“Free today, Peter. Just keep telling your friends about my awesome sandwiches.” Mr Delmar said, moving behind the counter to make the milkshake.

Peter shook his head but accepted the older mans generosity putting his wallet back in his pocket.

As he stood waiting patiently, the newspapers on the stand at the side of the counter caught his eye. Or more the front page headlines did.

The first newspaper was of the New York Times. Peter looked closely at it, reading the headline: SPIDER-MAN – Day of Heroics

Peter read through the front page story, the article going into full details of his activities yesterday, how he saved a baby from a burning building, how he took down a car jacked over in Brooklyn, stopped several muggers while also mentions sightings of him swinging around the city, giving directions to people in Queens and rescuing a cat from a tree in Central Park.

The article even included an interview with the mother of the baby he saved. Peter smiled reading the grateful words.

“If it weren’t for Spiderman….. I would’ve lost my baby.” She said, “He is my hero and a hero to this city. God bless him.”

Peter laughed to himself quietly. Being Spiderman was a responsibility that was given to him, he loved helping people but he didn’t do it for the praise. But he had to admit, it felt good to have New York City love him so much.

“He’s really doing some good around here, isn’t he?” Mr Delmar, pulling away from his thoughts, placing his milkshake on the counter in front of him.

“He tries his best to help out, I guess.” Peter replied.

“He does help out.” Mr Delmar insisted, “Queens feels a lot safer with Spiderman out there. I feel better letting my daughter walk to school knowing he’s out there. I don’t worry as much about getting robbed or having any trouble around here. They should be giving him the key to the city.”

Peter smiled again, loving that Mr Delmar, who was very respected and loved in the neighbourhood of Queens was glad to have Spiderman around. It was honestly one of Peter’s greatest fears that Queens and the rest of New York wouldn’t want him around anymore.

Peter understood now more than ever, after speaking with Pepper 
last night that the public loving him was important in there fight against reinstating the Sokovia Accords. He would do everything in his power to protect the people of New York, to let them know he was her for them and that they could trust him to keep them safe. For them and the rest of the world.

“He does a great job for this city but I don’t think he’d accept the key to it.” Peter said, taking his milkshake, “I don’t think that’s why he does this stuff.”

“I guess but the city definitely does appreciate him. Though not everyone is smart enough to see the good he does.” Mr Delmar said, rolling his eyes, pointing to another newspaper on the stand below the New York Times.

It was the Daily Bugle and its front page showed a photo of Spiderman, standing next to a parked convertible, a man bound by webs in the backseat, the carjacker he’d stopped yesterday in Brooklyn. The headline was very different: MASKED MENACE SPIDERMAN’s DAY Of TERROR.

“The Bugle hates Spiderman, though I have no idea why.” Mr Delmar sighed, “He hasn’t done anything but help this city but Jameson won’t stop bashing him every day.”

“The Daily Bugle is just a newspaper version of Fox News, Mr Delmar.” Peter told his older friend, “Playing on people’s biases. The only people who actually believe the crap Jameson puts out are the ones who have always hated Spiderman and the other superheroes. They don’t accept that the world has changed.”

“Yeah, well they should. Losing half of the world and getting them back isn’t something we’re all just going to forget about.” The older man grumbled, turning around to continue his work.

Peter could see his point.
 
He understood why so many people wanted to get back to how things used to be. People spent five years living without their wives, children, mothers, fathers and siblings, and five years was a long time. It was long enough for the people who didn’t blip to accept the reality of the snap and begin to move on with their lives.

Getting their loved ones back was an extraordinary thing and Peter was sure their wasn’t a single person on Earth who regretted getting everyone they’d lost back but it still through the whole world into chaos. Everyone’s lives were thrown into complete turmoil.

The people who didn’t blip had to find the people they’d lost and adjust to having them back in their lives.

The ones who blipped had to learn they’d been gone for half a decade and adjust to being people out of their own time.

He’d talked to May, Ned and MJ about this before. About how they’ve Had to adjust and were still adjusting to living in a world that had lived on for five years without them. In the end they all came to agree on one thing.

Things were never going to go back to the way they were.

For anyone.

Moving to sit in one of the booths, Peter thought about his own situation with the blip. After the battle with Thanos, losing Tony and finding out everything about the blip, Peter didn’t know if he should feel guilty or not but he was actually relieved that May, Ned and MJ blipped along with him.

He didn’t know how he would’ve dealt with May living her life with out him for five years, if she would’ve even been in New York when he was brought back.

Didn’t know what he would’ve done if Ned, his best friend, graduated high school and moved on to college and MIT without him.

Or how heartbroken he would’ve been if he never got the chance to tell MJ how he felt about her and had graduated and moved on to become a world acclaimed author or journalist. He would’ve been a seventeen year old boy with a high school crush on someone who was now a twenty two year old woman, who had grown up and matured beyond him.

Peter didn’t know what he would’ve done if he had come back to her saying, ‘Glad you’re back little Parker. Sorry I won’t be able to protect you from Flash in Decathlon.”

He honestly thought that would’ve killed him.

He’d never told her or anyone about that small nagging feeling of relief he felt that he didn’t have to go through that. He hated himself for even feeling it.

“I like this place you picked to meet kid.” A voice behind him brought him out of his thoughts, “It definitely says ‘Queens’.”

Peter turned around and saw the man who’s shield he’d stolen the day they’d met and was now the closest thing he had to a friend who understood the life he now lived.

Captain Steve Rogers looked different to the last time Peter saw him but that was mostly because the last time they’d seen each other was at Tony’s funeral, he’d been wearing a suit and a constant grim expression.

Now he was wearing black sneakers, casual denim jeans and a plain grey, long sleeved dress shirt, with a black baseball cap, which Peter actually thought made Captain America look dorky and he could literally hear MJ’s voice in his head, “Coming from you, that’s saying a lot.”

Peter moved to stand up but the older man gestured for him to sit down as he moved to sit opposite to Peter at the table booth.

“Good to see you, Queens.” Steve greeted, holding his hand out, which Peter shook firmly.

“You to Cap.”

Peter didn’t know what else to say. He suddenly felt awkward and uncomfortable. He and Captain America didn’t know each other very well.

“What’s with the hat?” Peter wanted to crawl in a hole and die at what slipped past his lips but the Avenger just laughed softly.

“I’m trying not to be noticeable.” Steve explained, looking around the small diner, before looking back to Peter, “People know my face, I don’t want to attract a crowd.”

Peter nodded, “I didn’t think of that. I should’ve picked somewhere else away from crowds to meet.”

“I wanted to meet wherever you felt comfortable kid. And this place is good. Not too busy and not somewhere people would keep an eye out for celebrities.”

Peter smiled, noticing the way annoyed edge to the Captain’s last word. It was obvious to Peter the fame of his identity was annoying to the older Avenger.

“Listen kid,” Steve began, softly, “I’m sorry I haven’t reached out since the funeral. I know Tony was important to you and I shouldn’t have just—”

“No Cap, don’t apologise for that.” Peter said, cutting the Avenger off, “Seriously don’t worry about that. After the blip and Tony and everything that happened, it was probably for the best. We all had to deal with everything in our own way.”

Steve smiled, sadly, “You sound wise kid. Still I shouldn’t have just left you alone.”

“I wasn’t alone.” Peter said, voice wavering at the thought of even being alone after the blip.

“Still, I’m the Captain. It’s my job to make sure you’re okay. Make sure all of you okay.”

Peter wanted to argue but seeing the look in the Captains eyes, he thought better of it. He didn’t think he would win.

“It’s okay, Cap.” He said, seriously, “Really.”

Steve nodded, “I’ve seen a lot of you in the papers lately. You’re doing a really good job for the city Queens.”

“Thanks.” Peter said, chuckling uncomfortably. It felt strange being complimented by Captain America on being a superhero.

“Pepper told me your doing really well.”

Peter raised an eyebrow at that statement from the older man. He could tell he wasn’t talking about how he was doing as Spiderman.

“I am.”

Steve eyed with him a look that made Peter feel like he was being analysed. Eventually the older man nodded.

“That’s good, Queens. Tony would be proud of you.”

“Thanks Cap.” Peter smiled, sadly, before looking down, “I miss him. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since….” He trailed off, not knowing how to finish his sentence.

Steve bowed his head, “Yeah I miss him too kid. What he did for all of us was….. brave and selfless. But I swear if I only could’ve gotten that glove…. I….” He cut himself off, sighing and looking away from Peter.

Peter could see in the Captains expression and the similar words that he himself had said to himself in the months after the blip and Tony’s death.

Guilt.

The guilt of not being able to save Tony.The guilt of not being able to save Black Widow.

The guilt of being a survivor.

Survivors guilt plagued Peter for months after the blip, every time he thought about Tony and how he wouldn’t be there to watch his daughter grow up. It felt like Tony was someone Peter couldn’t save. He knew it was unhealthy and after long conversations with his Aunt he finally was able to let go if it, as May taught him she had to let go of her own after his Uncle Ben died. The guilt of being survivor is an unjust feeling and not something you can bury but have to let of.

“There’s nothing down that road, Cap.” 

Steve’s  eyes widened, in surprise. He looked at Peter curiously before smiling, “That’s a good line, Queens.”

“It’s my Aunts.” Peter smirked, “She didn’t told me that on New Years Eve last year. I felt like I could’ve saved Tony. My Aunt made me see that as much as I wish it all happened another way, Tony did what he thought was best.”

“He always did kid.” Peter could hear a hint of sarcasm in the older mans words.

“You know, Tony was my friend.” Steve said, after a moment, “He was my friend for a really long time. After everything that happened with the Accords and Germany and the Snap, I’m glad we were able to make things right with us again.” 

“Pepper told me that you guys patched things up after the snap.” Peter frowned. He knew Tony and Captain America had their differences on the Accords and over what happened in Germany. But he got the feeling there was a lot more to it than that.

“We did but it took a while we had a lot to say to each other. Tony blamed me for….” Steve stopped talking as Mr Delmar approached them.

“Good morning, anything I can get you son?” The older man asked him. Peter tried not laugh, as the thought that Captain America was around three times Mr Delmars age popped into his head.

“Ah….” Steve began, “Can I get a coffee? Black please?” He reached into his pocket for his wallet but the older man waved him off like he did with Peter.

“Don’t worry about it. I haven’t seen you here before and you’re here with Peter. First ones on the house.” Mr Delmar said, waking off before either Peter or Steve could argue with them.

“He’s a good man.”

“Yes, he is.” Peter agreed, “What were you saying about you and Tony?”

“Ah….” Steve hesitated, “You know what kid, you probably don’t want to know about mine and Tony’s issues.”

“Tony was my mentor.” Peter said, quickly, looking around to make sure no one was near them or listening to them, “Look it’s not my business. But Tony was my mentor and you…well….ah….” Peter stuttered, awkwardly, thinking of the words, “I’m a new Avenger and you’re the leader of the Avengers. You’re the closest thing to a teacher I have now. If there’s anything I need to know about you and Tony, you should tell me.”

Steve eyed him for  moment and Peter felt uncomfortable under his stare. Captain America had an aura of the authority around him and Peter could feel it.

“Tony blamed me for the snap.” 

Peter’s eyes widened. He wasn’t expecting that.

“Tony blamed you…. Why would he blame you?”

“He blamed me for not being there.” Steve said, solemnly, “For not signing the Accords, for not supporting him with his dream of ‘a suit of armour’ around the world. Tony wanted to protect the world so badly, he never thought about what he could turn the world into.”

“Freedom is too high a price to pay for security. Me and Tony could never agree on that.”

Peter thought for a moment, on the Captains words. Freedom or security…. That was a tough choice to make. But a disagreement like that was a far cry for blaming someone for losing half the universe.

“The Snap wasn’t your fault, Cap.”

“No it wasn’t.” Steve replied, before Peter could even grab how stupid his words were, “It wasn’t Tony’s either. It wasn’t Thor’s or Wanda’s or anyone’s other Thanos.”

“But Tony was never able to live with not seeing the fault pinned on someone.”

Mr Delmar appeared next to them, handing Steve his coffee and leaving them alone once again after checking if Peter wanted anything else.

Steve took a sip of his coffee, before continuing, Peter listening intently.


Flashback: Three months Post-Snap

“What the hell are you doing here Rogers?” Tony asked.

“We need to talk.”

“I’ve got nothing more to say to you.”

“Good, than you can finally shut your mouth and let someone else speak for once.”

If looks could kill, Steve Rogers was sure he may have dropped dead right there on the deck of the house but the lake. But they couldn’t and Steve Rogers wasn’t a man that could be intimidated.

Tony opened the door and made way for the taller man to enter. He walked in but neither broke eye contact as Tony shut the door.

“Nice place you’ve got here.” Steve said, casually.

What do you want, Rogers?”

Steve’s eyes narrowed, “It’s been three months, Tony. You’ve been going everywhere but the compound. What the hell have you been doing?”

“What the hell is it to you?”

“After everything that has happened, you still can’t drop your ego for one single conversation?” Steve asked, incredulously.

“I’ve been every nook and cranny of this Earth for someone who could undo this mess, Captain.” Tony shot back, the last word dripping with judgement, “Its none of your business where I go, Rogers.”

“We’re all looking for a way to bring them back, Tony.” Steve said, crossing his arms in front of him, “You think were all just sitting around? Thor and Bruce are God knows where talking to everyone Thor has ever said hello to. Natasha’s going every S.H.I.E.L.D file looking for something. Clint is still missing. Why aren’t you working with us?”

“What so you can fuck this up to?” Tony snapped, “Slow me down with all your stupid freedom speeches. I’m gonna fix this and you’re not going to get in my way.”

Steve shook his head, “I didn’t come here to be your punching bag again, Tony,”

“This is your fault, Cap.” Tony said, stepping close to him. Steve didn’t back away and simply looked down into his former friends eyes, eyes that held judgement and anger. Steve was sad to think he could see hate in them as well but didn’t dwell on that thought.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around, Tony.” Steve said, solemnly, “I’ve accepted my part of it.”

“I told you, that bastard was gonna come back. I told you we need to be ready, that we need a suit of armour around the world or we would lose. We lost Cap.” Tony threw his hands up, “And this is the world we have now because of it.”

Tony turned his back on Steve, taking a glass of the small kitchen bench and getting water from the overly advanced refrigerator, that Steve thought looked ridiculous next to the old worn walls of the large lake house.

Tony didn’t offer him a drink and Steve was never going to ask for one.

“I failed to stop Thanos in Wakanda.” Steve stated, simply, “I lost that fight. You lost that fight on Titan. Thor lost before Thanos even got to Earth. We all lost, Tony.”

“I told you we would.”

“I told you we would win together, Tony.” Steve snapped, letting anger through, “we didn’t fight together, Tony.”

“And who’s fault is that, Cap?”

“Yours.” Steve snapped, gritting his teeth, “And mine. And Ross’s. And everyone else who was part of the reason the Avengers we were torn a part.”

Tony through the glass he was holding at the wall beside him. It smashed and glass shattered across the room. 

Tony seethed and Steve uncrossed his arms, preparing for a fight he would end quickly.

“You left, Rogers.” Tony growled, “You ran away. Because you couldn’t  play by the rules the world needed us to follow.”

“You lied to me in that room.” Steve shot back, “You lied about getting the Accords amended. They were never going to change them, Tony.”

“We needed to be kept in check!” Tony shouted, “People were dying because of us, Rogers!”

“We were saving people Tony!” Steve shouted back, “We didn’t bring Loki to New York. We didn’t send Rumlow to Lagos. We didn’t release those hellecarriers in Washington. We stopped them Tony!”

Tony scoffed, “People died in those battles Cap.”

“I know, Tony!” Steve exclaimed, voice dripping with anger, “You don’t think I lose sleep over all the people we couldn’t save.”

“A hundred and seventy seven people died in Sokovia, Tony.” Steve continued, “Seventy four died in New York. Twenty six people died in Lagos. They all haunt me, Tony but the whole world was at stake. They were wars and wars have casualties. We saved more people than we lost.”

“And that just makes all that death and destruction okay?”

“No it doesn’t make it okay!” Steve bellowed, “It just means we saved more than we lost! That’s all that we can ask for Tony!”

“They blamed us, Rogers.” Tony groaned, “They blamed us for everything. We were responsible for all of it.”

“We were responsible for stopping it Tony.”

“You don’t take responsibility for the people we lost Cap.” Tony shook his head, looking at Steve in disbelief, “We needed to be held accountable. We needed oversight.”

“The Accords weren’t oversight, Tony.” Steve said, firmly, “They were enslaving us. You think I would’ve waited for permission when Thanos showed up? Did you?”

Steve would be lying if he did feel slightly satisfied at the look on Tony’s face. He didn’t wait for permission in New York the day the children of Thanos attacked.

“We’re not normal soldiers. The things we deal with, theirs no time for political approval.” Steve stressed, “And the Accords said, the identity’s of the Avengers had to be public. What were you going to do when that kid from Queens joined Tony? What were you gonna do, if he didn’t want everyone out there knowing who he was?”

Sadness came across the billionaires face at the mention of his young intern and Steve almost felt guilty for bringing the boy up. But these were words that needed to be said.

“He would’ve dealt with it.” Tony said, finally.

“Would he have understood what he was dealing with?” Steve asked, incredulously, “Would he have understood his friends at school, his parents, everyone who knew him would’ve been a target?”

“He didn’t have parents.” Tony replied, “And don’t talk about him, Cap. He’s none of your business.”

Steve scoffed, “I met that kid in Germany. I never even saw his face and I could tell he he had more heart than anyone I ever met. And I think, that once he learned what he was signing up for, he wouldn’t want to have been a part of it.”

Tony shook his head, defiantly, “Go to hell, Rogers.” The billionaire moved to the front door of his home and opened it. He held it open.

“Get out.”

“You’re kicking me out because I’m telling you things you don’t want to hear.”

“Get out, Rogers.”

“You’re a coward, Tony.” Steve said, gravely, walking closer to his former friend and looking into his eyes, “You say you were for the Accords because you wanted oversight but I know the truth and so do you. You wanted the Accords because you were so scared of making the wrong the decision. And the Accords made sure you didn’t make the decision at all.”

Steve held Eye contact with Tony, letting his words land on the other man, who gave no hint that they had any effect. After a moment, Steve shook his head and moved to leave but turned around in the doorway.

Tony looked back at him with and Steve saw nothing but contempt on his face.

“You know,” Steve began, looking at the surroundings of the house, “You’ve said over and over, that I don’t take responsibility for the lives that we’ve lost. But what about you Tony?” He asked, stepping forward, looking into the anger filled eyes of his former friend, “Charlie Spencer’s mother. The woman at the State Department? The one who blamed you for her sons death?”

Steve paused, preparing himself to say the things he’d wanted to say for over two years now, “She was right. His death was your fault. The one hundred and seventy-seven people who died in Sokovia, they’re on you Tony. You built Ultron. You messed with things you didn’t have any clue about and you didn’t care about what anyone else thought. Everything that Ultron did, that’s because of you.”

Steve watched the emotion on Tony’s face, at what he was saying, one of the hardest things he’d ever had to say in his life. Anger, hate, sadness, guilt, all of it them were shown in the eyes of Tony Stark.

Steve stepped back and looked over the peaceful surrounding of  the lake house, “This is a nice place you’ve got here Tony. If you want to hide out and work alone in the shadows to undo everything that has happened, go ahead. But me and the others, we’ve accepted the mistakes we’ve made. And we’re moving on.”

“We forgave you, Tony, for Ultron, because we knew you were trying to do what was best.” Steve told him, with finality, “You need to forgive yourself.”


Peter listened intently as Captain America told him the story behind his than, broken friendship, with Tony Stark. He explained the creation of Ultron and Sokovia, why they were on opposite sides of the Sokovia Accords and Steve’s mistake of keeping the truth about Tony’s parents from him.

“I’m not telling you all this, to explain myself or Tony, kid.” Steve said, seriously, “Me and Tony eventually reconciled and we sorted our issues out. I’m telling you this because, you and me are the only ones that are in this at the moment. We need to trust each other.”

Peter nodded. The truth was, even though he didn’t know Captain America very well, he did trust him. He was someone who fought beside Tony and knew the troubles that came with the lives they lived. He lived by the belief in doing the right thing, that if you can stop something bad from happening and don’t, that bad thing is your fault.

And Peter knew, that despite the differences they had at one point, Tony died trusting Steve Rogers. With the future of the Avengers and with looking after his family. Morgan had told him many times about ‘Uncle Steve’.

“I trust you, Cap,” Peter said, confident, “and I’m in this. 100%.”

Steve smiled, at the young kid in front of him. He was brave and ready to fight he could see what Tony saw in the by.

“What are we gonna do about Ross?” Peter asked, suddenly, remembering his conversation with Pepper last night, which was probably the most important thing that he and the Captain had to talk about.”

Steve sat up straighter and moved his now empty cup of coffee to the side of the table. “Pepper told you about Ross?”

“She told me he was planning on running for president.” Peter explained, worriedly, “that he was going to announce soon.”

“He is.” Steve confirmed, “Pepper found out yesterday morning and she told me right away. I don’t  know if you’ve heard but the election is going to be soon.”

“I didn’t know that.”

Steve nodded, understandingly, “Because of the blip and the world still working out the economy after everyone coming back and with the President wanting to retire, the want to the election soon. Usually it would’ve happened this month but nobody wanted to run. As soon as Ross announces, Pepper thinks they’ll schedule an election within months.”

“He can’t become President, Cap.” Peter exclaimed, loudly, making Steve look around to make sure nowone was watching them.

“Calm down, kid.”

“Sorry,” Peter said, quietly, fear still in his voice, “But Ross can’t be President. He reinstate the Accords and that can’t happen. I can’t reveal my identity to the world.”

Steve smiled sadly. He had to admit to himself, there was a part of him who didn’t want this kid in front of him to be an Avenger. He was just a kid and Steve didn’t want someone so young to be putting himself in danger all the time or to be worried about whether the next President of the United States was going to persecute him.

This kid shouldn’t have the world on his shoulders but Steve knew that he wouldn’t able to stop this young man from doing his part in saving the world. He could see being a hero was who he was and that he would protect the people he cares about no matter what.

“Queens, I get it.” Steve said, seriously, “I get it. We’re gonna do everything we can okay? You’re not going to have to take off your mask.”


“How can you be sure?”

Steve grinned, “Pepper and I have came up with an idea. If it works, we’ll be okay and we’ll figure out a place for the Avengers in the world okay. We’re gonna be fine.”

Peter’s eyebrows raised in confusion. Pepper didn’t tell him about any plan to deal with Ross. “What’s the plan?”

Steve shook his head, “Don’t worry about that yet.”

“Maybe I can help!”

“Kid, you are helping.” Steve stressed, “We’ll tell you what the plan is after we work some more stuff out. Right now, all I need you to do, is to keep doing great work in the city. Everyone’s loving you right now. That helps us a lot. Just keep yourself in the public’s good books, okay?”

Peter wanted to argue, annoyed at being kept in the dark. He was annoyed that Pepper and Captain America had come up with an idea to deal with Ross and his plans to ruin the Avengers, Pepper hadn’t told him about it and the leader of the Avengers wasn’t telling him right now.

But Peter could see the look in the Captains eyes and could feel again, the sense of authority around the older man. Eventually he nodded, “Okay.”

“I appreciate you trusting me, Queens. Really, I do and I’ll tell you the plan soon.”

Peter nodded again. They sat their for a moment, Peter feeling awkward, like their meeting come to a strange end before he remembered another question he wanted to ask the Captain.

“Where have you been, Cap?” Peter asked, curiously, “What have you been doing for the last year?”

Steve looked surprised. He rubbed his hand over his face and thought for a moment. Eventually he said, “Tony once told me that I needed to get a life for myself. A life outside of being Captain America.”

Peter smiled, he could totally imagine his mentor telling the older man that. “Did you get it?”

Steve smiled, looking down at his hands, “I did.” 

Peter recognised the look on the mans face, “You got yourself a girlfriend, Cap?”

Peter thought it was funny that the grown man in front of him would look embarrassed but could understand. A man who’d been frozen for seventy years and then woke up to a life of being a superhero didn’t think a lot about relationships.

“How’d you know?”

“Because, I recognise that look on your face,” Peter told him, smiling, “You have someone who makes you happy. I found someone too, I know the look.”

“Good for you kid.”

Peter could tell that was a friendly way of ending the conversation there. He wasn’t being reprimanded but the older man didn’t want to talk about his relationship right now. He wasn’t ready too.

Peter could understand that.

Suddenly Peter’s phone rang in his pocket and quickly pulled it out, intending to turn it off but the caller I.D. was ‘Pepper’.

“It’s Pepper.” He told Steve, who nodded. 

“Hello?” Peter answered.

“Hey loser.” He heard MJ’s voice on the line.

“Hey.” Peter greeted, smiling, “What are you doing with Peppers phone?”

“Mine’s gone flat,” MJ told him, “and Pepper wanted me to call, to see how you two are doing. Everything good?”

“Yeah,” Peter answered, smiling, “Everything’s good.

“Good.” MJ said and Peter could hear something like relief in his girlfriends voice, “We’re in Central Park right now if you two wanted to meet up with us.”

“We’ll head over soon.” 

“Okay.” MJ said and Peter could hear Morgan in the background calling out ‘MJ! MJ!’, “I gotta go, Morgan’s calling out for me.”

“Okay, I’ll see you soon.”

“Love you loser.”

Peter smiled, he would never get used to hearing those words from his girlfriend, “Love you too.”

The line went dead and looked up to Steve who was grinning at him.

“My girlfriend,” Peter said, before he could ask, “She’s with Pepper and Morgan now. They’re at Central Park, waiting for us.”

Steve nodded, “Let’s go.” He said standing up, looking at his watch and pressing a button on the side of it.

Peter looked at the older man, quizzically. “Frequency disruptor.” Steve said, showing him the watch on his left wrist, “Rhodey gave it to me. I switched it on to make sure weren’t being recorded while we were talking.”

Peter looked shocked. After a moment, he began to feel pretty stupid. They were meeting at a diner in Queens, talking about stuff being super hero’s and world security and he hadn’t thought about….

“Don’t worry, Queens.” Steve said, smiling, seeing the look on his face, “I’ll get you taught soon enough. Let’s go.” 

Peter shook his head at himself, standing up to follow the leader of the Avengers out the door.

Chapter Text

Spiderman: Home Is Where The Heart Is




Peter tiredly walked into Midtown High, knowing very well today was going to be a long day. He really didn’t want to be at school today, he didn’t even want to be awake in the first place.

 

Just a few days ago, Peter had met with Captain America for the first real conversation they’ve ever had. An important one about the future of the Avengers, their place in the world and what their lives were going to be like moving forward.

 

Peter liked Steve Rogers a lot and it was truly great to talk to someone who lived a life similar to the one he himself was living. Knowing he could talk to Captain America about the other side of his life, made him feel slightly less anxious about how complicated his superhero life was going to get.

 

And it didn’t even have anything to do with the Avengers. After their talk at Mr Delmar’s, Peter and Steve joined MJ, Morgan and Pepper in Central Park and enjoyed the rest of the weekend. Peter thought it was cute that Morgan called Captain America ‘Uncle Steve’ and he was happy to know Steve and Tony truly did get past their differences and Captain America would always look out for Tony’s family, just like Peter himself would.

 

He actually began to think, even with the upcoming election and all the uncertainties about the Avengers place in the world, that everything was going to turn out okay.

 

But upon returning to patrol on Sunday night, Peter began to feel like he jinxed himself. His patrols all week had been filled with non-stop action and Peter felt like the universe was out to show him that his future as a hero wasn’t going to be the way it’s been for months now.

 

At least not in a good way.

 

For the past four nights, Peter hadn’t finished a patrol before four in the morning. May had been angry and demanded he come straight home, instead of going to sleep at MJ’s apartment. May was worried that he hadn’t called or messaged her when he usually did at 1 am and Peter had to explain that his patrol was busy. The whole night was filled with muggings, burglaries and other petty crimes that Peter couldn’t stop before K.A.R.E.N told him another one was happening. 

 

That’s how it had been all week on his patrols and that’s how Peter ended up going home to sleep in his own bed, instead of at MJ’s apartment, snuggled up with her, calmed by the soft sound of her breathing.

 

May asked him to come home and stay in his own bed if his patrols were going to go later into the night. Peter wanted so badly to be with MJ every night after patrol but he couldn’t deny what his aunt asked if it gave her peace of mind. May accepted and dealt with so much because of his life as Spiderman. He would do whatever she asked if it made things easier for her.

 

Being without MJ is definitely not helping Peter sleep though. The few hours he managed to squeeze in every morning this week because of his late nights, have been unsettled and restless. His nightmares haven’t returned but he’s been unable to lay comfortably, without MJ beside him, his arms wrapped around her.

 

More than that, he missed her. He sees her at school and walks her home in an afternoon but he loved seeing her after his patrols, when they would hang out in her room, late at night. She would call him a nerd as he fixed his web-shooters.  He’d watch her read, they would kiss and make out on her bed and just enjoy being with each other..

 

It was simple and different but it was Peter’s favourite time of the day. MJ would call him so co-dependent if she knew just how much he was missing it after only a few days. 

 

Peter shook his head and tiredly rubbed his eyes. He couldn’t see her last night but he couldn’t wait to see her this morning, so walking through the halls of Midtown, he went straight to her locker.

 

She was there, her locker open and she was putting books back in, taking some out and placing them in her bag strapped over her shoulder. Her hair was pulled back and she was wearing the same white top she’d worn in Europe when she told him ‘Boh’ was her new superpower.

 

He walked up slowly behind her and gracefully slid his arms around her waist, making her jump in surprise but she relaxed back into him and he nuzzled her neck. He closed his eyes, breathing in her lavender scent.

 

“Dork.” MJ greeted him, simply and Peter hummed in reply. “How was last night?”

 

“Long and busy,” Peter whispered, not letting her go.

 

“I thought so,” MJ said, placing her hands over his, around her waist, “You were out late.”

 

“I know, I wish I could’ve come over. I missed you.”

 

“So co-dependent, Parker.” MJ laughed, sarcastically. ‘knew she was gonna say that.’ Peter thought, rolling his eyes.

 

“You can let me go now, so I can finish getting my books out of my locker.”

 

Peter groaned and shook his head on the side of her neck. 

 

MJ rolled her eyes, “I’d also like to be able to turn around and kiss you.”

 

Peter sighed and unhooked his hands from around her waist and she turned around and pulled him to her, kissing him softly. He kissed her back and instantly felt better than he had all morning.

 

MJ pulled away, smiling softly, “I missed you last night too, loser.” She turned around back to her locker.

 

“I’m sorry,” Peter paused, looking around them, making sure none of their fellow students were in earshot, “My nights have been later this week. I haven’t been able to catch a break out there.”

 

“You and your hero complex.” MJ said, rubbing her eyes, “You’re too selfless for your own good, you know.”

 

“Thanks.” Peter laughed, leaning on the locker next to hers, “Do you wanna come over to my place this afternoon? We can have dinner before I go out again?”

 

MJ looked at him and smiled, sadly, “I’d love to but I’ve got to go to the library after school and work on this English project with Brad. I want to get it over and done with.” 

 

Peter’s mind went completely blank at her words and he frowned. Brad?

 

“Wait, Brad?”

 

“Yes, Brad.” MJ repeated, rolling her eyes, “We got assigned as partners yesterday for this English project, on Shakespeare. He better not think I’m gonna do all the work for him.”

 

Peter shook his head, “You partnered with Brad?”

 

MJ raised her eyebrows at him, “No, I didn’t partner with him, we were assigned as partners, loser.”

 

Peter understood what MJ just told him but that didn’t stop the small feeling of anger and annoyance washing over him. Brad? Seriously?

 

“Why didn’t you tell me this?”

 

MJ closed her locker and looked straight at him, “Peter, you were in class yesterday, you heard Mrs Turner assign our partners. You’re working with Betty?”

 

Peter remembered talking with Betty yesterday afternoon about the English project they had to work on together. But honestly, he’d been tired all week and he didn’t hear MJ be assigned to work with Brad.

 

“Great,” He said, angrily, “Brad’s gonna love this.”

 

Peter knew, logically he was worrying over nothing but he couldn’t help it. Memories of his failed vacation to Europe came back to him, of Brad sitting next to MJ on the plane, taking her picture in Venice, saving her a seat at the opera. All these memories made him scared that MJ would wake up and realise she might be happier with Brad. He was taller, smart, popular and didn’t bring danger and chaos into her life. MJ always tells him she doesn’t care about any of that but Peter couldn’t help being scared. 

 

Being jealous.

 

MJ smirked at him, “Is someone jealous?”

 

“No,” Peter exclaimed, annoyed, looking away from her. 

 

“Peter, I can’t choose who I do this project with.”

 

“I know.” 

 

“So what’s the problem?”

 

“There isn’t a problem.” He insisted, impatiently, turning away from her and walking off, towards his own locker. He felt her beside him as he unlocked his locker.

 

“You’re cute when you’re jealous.”

 

Peter turned to her, she was leaning against the locker next to his, grinning smugly at him.

 

“I’m not jealous.” He repeated, biting his lip. He was and he hated it but Brad Davis had no respect for the fact that Peter and MJ were together and it pissed him off to no end. He was also tired and disappointed he wasn’t gonna get to spend time with MJ, which is the thing he’s looked forward to all morning.

 

MJ reached forward and grabbed his hand, intertwining their fingers. He looked back at her and she smiled softly.

 

“Come with me.” She said, suddenly, gesturing down the hall. Peter raised his eyebrows in surprise but shut his locker and threw his bag back over his shoulder. MJ led him down the hall toward an empty classroom and opened the door. He followed her in and she shut and locked the door.

 

MJ walked over to Peter and pushed him back till he was sitting on a desk. She placed her hands around his neck and stood between his legs.

 

“What’s wrong?” MJ asked, after a moment. Peter lowered his head, “Nothing’s wrong.”

 

“Yes, there is.” MJ rolled her eyes. How her boyfriend kept the fact that he was a superhero a secret, is beyond her because he is a terrible liar. “Don’t lie to me, loser. Something’s bothering you.”

 

Peter raised his head looking at his girlfriend, who was looking at him expectantly. He sighed, winding his arms around her waist to pull her closer and lean his forehead against hers.

 

“I’m tired,” He began, his eyes closed, “I’ve been out so much later than usual the last few nights, I haven’t had a moment to breathe out in the city and I just….” Peter paused, pulling back and smiling softly at his girlfriend, “I’ve just missed being with you the last few nights.”

 

MJ shook her head and smiles at her cute, dumb, tired boyfriend. She’d missed him too, in her bed, his arms wrapped around her, keeping her safe and warm. Her bed had felt cold and lonely without Peter under the covers with her.

 

“I’ve missed you too loser,” She leaned in and kissed him softly before pulling back, “and I’m tired too, I can’t sleep while you’re out there and going to sleep without you…. It sucks.” MJ deadpanned.

 

“Oh yeah?” Peter’s lips quirked up.

 

“Don’t be smug, dork.” She pulled him in close and kissed him passionately. Peter stood up, not breaking the kiss, his hands not leaving her waist. Their kiss started off slow but quickly grew more passionate, MJ running her hands through his hair holding him close. Peter ran his tongue along MJ’s bottom lip and she moaned, granting him access, rubbing her tongue against his.

 

Peter broke the kiss and lifted MJ up, turned around and sat her on the desk.

 

“You’re so beautiful….” He whispered, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear and kissing her again. 

 

“My sappy boy.” She replied, against his lips.

 

MJ reached down and pulled Peter’s hand away from her waist, breaking the kiss. Peter looked at her, confused but MJ looked back at him, eyes shining with want.

 

Slowly, MJ lifted his hand up and slipped his hand inside her shirt, not breaking eye contact. Peter’s eyes widened, “MJ…” He choked out, “What are yo….”

 

“Shhhh….” MJ whispered, sliding Peter’s hand under her bra, softly caressing her breast. She closed her eyes and hummed at the feeling of his hand on her.

 

Peter’s eyes were wide, filled with surprise and lust from what MJ was doing. Eventually, he went along with what she was doing and softly caressed her breast, loving the feeling of her soft skin against his hand.

 

MJ opened her eyes and smiled, lovingly at her boyfriend, enjoying his soft massage. “Feels nice.” She moaned, softly, her hand encouraging his.

 

Peter smiled, nervously and continued softly caressing her breast.

 

“Now you’re awake.” MJ laughed, loving how cute and surprised he was at what they were doing. Peter Parker, superhero and worlds biggest dork, was still a teenage boy.

 

“Wide awake,” Peter replied, his mind had completely short-circuited. MJ was the only thing on his mind right now, she was all he could feel.

 

“Mmmm….” MJ moaned, her hand still on his, encouraging his soft caress. She loved the feeling of his hands on her, she wanted them on her all the time.

 

“I want you, Pete.” MJ whispered, her voice full of desire, “I love you so much, I want this with you. I want all of you.” 

 

“I love you too.” Peter choked out, “And I want you too. All of you.”

 

MJ moaned, closing her eyes and pulled him in for a passionate kiss. She kissed him, softly and slowly, as he continued to caress her breast. “You have me, Pete.” She whispered, against his lips  before pulling away, looking into his eyes, “You have me.”

 

Peter breathed, seeing the look of love on MJ’s face. MJ was usually so cool and made fun of him and his sappy quirks of affection but at this moment, she’d truly opened herself up to him. She was looking at him like he was her world and Peter smiled, because that’s how he felt when he looked at her.

 

MJ moved his hand from her shirt and planted a tender kiss to the back of it. “I’m yours, dork.” She said, smiling and rolling her eyes, “I can’t believe I just said that but it’s true. You don’t have to worry about Brad. I’m yours.”

 

Peter didn’t think there would ever come a day when Michelle Jones wouldn’t surprise him and send a wave of happiness through him. Her words erase any feelings of annoyance and jealousy at the thought of her working with Brad Davis because she was his. Strong, independent Michelle Jones just told him that she was his. 

 

Just like he was hers.

 

“I’m yours too, you know.” 

 

MJ smiled, “I know, that’s why I’m never jealous when all the girls secretly eye you in the gym.”

 

Peter’s blushed, “They don’t…. that’s not true….”

 

“Yes, they do, loser.” MJ said, rolling her eyes, “But that’s okay because you’re mine. And they know it too.”

 

Peter raised his eyebrows, about to ask what she meant by that but MJ softly pushed him away and stood up off the desk. She reached her arms around his neck again and brushed her lips against his, “How about I stay at your place tonight? May won’t mind?”

 

Peter smiled, widely, “What? No, May won’t mind. You live at my place every weekend, she’d love having you over tonight.”

 

“Good, because you need to sleep and I need you to keep me warm so….”

 

“Why don’t you just stay over every night?” Peter asked, interrupting her. It took him a moment before he realised what he actually said.

 

“Every night?” MJ asked, surprised, “Pete, I can’t move in with you.”

 

“Why not?” Peter asked, raising his eyebrows. He didn’t know where this was coming from but it seemed to make sense to him. MJ stayed with him and May every single weekend, without fail and her parents showed absolutely no interest in her life. He’d never thought about it before but he spent every weeknight at her apartment when it would be so much better for her to be at his. They wouldn’t have to confine themselves to her room and MJ would be surrounded by him and May, people who loved her like she deserved to be.

 

“We’re in high school, Peter.” MJ said, laughing, “I love you but…. we’re too young. And I wouldn’t ask May to let me live with you two, not while we’re still in school.”

 

“I get that.” Peter told her, “It’s just…. You should have people at your home who are there for you. Who are interested in everything you do, instead of just….” he trailed off, slowly, not knowing how to finish his sentence.

 

Michelle smiled, lovingly at her boyfriend. He was so sweet and kind-hearted and she knew someone like Peter could never understand people like her parents. 

 

Michelle’s whole life, they had fed her and clothed her but never truly showed any kind of love for her. As she grew up, she realised her parents had never really wanted her and only ever wanted Michelle to leave them alone. So Michelle did exactly that: she absorbed herself in literature and learned to care and love herself. She built up walls to protect herself, because knowing how terrible her parents are, she didn’t want to experience that with other people. 

 

Peter was the one who broke through those walls. With his unbelievably dorky and friendly personality, his selflessness and just the way he always tries to see the best in people. How he never wanted anything bad to happen to Flash, despite all the times he bullied him. How he loved to spend time with his Aunt and build legos with Ned, instead of trying to party and be popular like so many other boys his age. How he wanted to go to M.I.T to learn more and be able to design new ways to help improve the world, even though he puts his own life at risk every day, helping one person at a time.

 

There are so many reasons why MJ loves Peter, so many things that he’s done that made her let him past all the defences she put up. And here he was, right now, showing the way he cares about people, the way she cares about her, how he loves her. And she loves him for it. And she loves everyone else that she’s let in, since letting in Peter.

 

Ned was the brother she never had, her dorky little brother who she’d defend against anyone.

 

Betty was now a close friend who, like MJ, had ambitions and wanted to call out injustices and corruption in the world.

 

May had become like a mother to her, a real mother, who cared and listened to her. She encouraged her with everything she wanted to do and gave her so much advice that helped her see the world as she and Peter do. See that though the world can be crap (a purple psychopath literally erased them from existence for five years) there are a lot of good people in it.

 

Pepper and Morgan were two people she’d only just met and she considered them a part of her life. Morgan lit up every room she was in and Pepper was a lot like May, helpful and caring.

 

All these people came into her life because of Peter, who still didn’t understand how he made her life so much better and how her parents didn’t.

 

“Pete…” MJ began, quietly, “It’s okay, it doesn’t bother me, living with my parents who barely acknowledge that I’m there. I accepted it a long time ago.”

 

“But-”

 

“And I love being at your apartment whenever I’m there.” MJ continues, “It feels like home, you feel like home. But I can’t stay at yours every night. I can’t ask May to take me in like that. And we’ve only got a year to go until we finish school and we go off to college. I can wait one more year.”



“Besides,” She smirks, cupping his cheek, “I don’t think there’s enough room at your place for me to store all my books. Not unless you got rid of all your Star Wars LEGO, which I think is a big no-no.”

 

Peter laughed, “I suppose I don’t have enough bookshelves for my girlfriend right now.”

 

“We’ll fix that when we get some shitty run-down apartment we can barely afford while we’re in college.”

 

“You’re right.” Peter said, grinning, “Because we won’t be able to fit either my LEGO or your books in a dorm room.” 

 

“Not a chance.” MJ whispered before a surprised expression came across her face and she suddenly went, “Huh.”

 

 “What?” Peter asked, curiously.

 

“We’re moving in together after school,” MJ stated, simply.

 

“Is that a problem?”

 

“That means we’re still going to be together when we finish school.”

 

Peter’s brows furrowed and his hand moved to cover hers on his cheek. Something in what MJ just said, made him feel uneasy. It brought up the idea that he and MJ wouldn’t be together when they finish high school, that they wouldn’t move on to college together. 

 

“You don’t think we’ll still be together when we finish school?” Peter asked, nervously. He knew that he and MJ are young but he knows that he loves her and the thought of ever not being with MJ is something he never wants to consider.

 

It would destroy him.

 

“No.” MJ said, deadpan and Peter felt for a second like he was being kicked in the guts before MJ continued, “I know we’ll still be together.”

 

Peter’s face split into a teasing grin but MJ spoke before he could say anything, “Don’t say a word, dork. I’ve said way too much sappy shit this morning, I need to watch a murder documentary A.S.A.P”

 

Peter shook his head, smiling at his girlfriend’s words. She was one of a kind.

 

“Wouldn’t want to become too soft, Jones?”

 

“Never,” MJ smirked, “you’re soft enough for the both of us.”

 

“You love me, though.”

 

MJ leaned in and kissed him, softly, “I do.” She said, before turning around and picking her bag up off the floor. “We have to go to class, dork. I’ll make sure to take down all the notes since you look like a light breeze would blow you over.”

 

Peter pretended to look offended, “I don’t look that bad.”

 

“Yes, you do,” MJ said, rolling her eyes. Peter was always nice to look at but today he looked less good. 

 

Just a little.

 

She slipped her hand into his and laced their fingers together, “Let’s go loser.”

 

Peter smiled, letting her pull him out of the classroom, joining their fellow students in the halls of Midtown High. They walked together, hands joined, towards their first class of the day, when they both heard a voice behind them.

 

“Peter! MJ!” 

 

Peter turned to see Ned walking towards them, with a frown on his face.

 

“I’ve been looking all over for you two.”

 

“Peter was fondling my boobs in an empty classroom,” MJ said, simply, as if she were talking about the weather.

 

Peter’s face went as red as his Spiderman suit and Ned’s mouth went wide, his jaw-dropping to the floor.

 

“MJ!” Peter gaped at his girlfriend.

 

“What the…. I…I….” Ned stuttered, awkwardly, “I really didn’t need to know that MJ!”

 

“Well, I felt like telling you,” MJ said, rolling her eyes in amusement at her boyfriend’s embarrassment and her friend’s awkwardness. 

 

Ned shook his head, he loved MJ, she was his best friend (along with Peter) but she was always able to take him off guard and make him fumble over his words.

 

“Have you checked your phones this morning,” Ned asked, eventually.

 

“No,” MJ said, bluntly but pulled her phone out of her pocket. Peter shook his head and told his friend, “I haven’t done anything other than coming to school this morning, bro. I only slept a few hours, I’m tired as hell.”

 

Ned grinned, excitedly, “You were out late again last night? What’d you do, break up a drug ring?”

 

“Keep your voice down!”

 

“Sorry!” Ned whispered, a guilty look coming across his face. MJ always teased that he and Peter are lucky that most of the students at Midtown are completely ignorant towards them because they sucked at keeping secrets. Ned more so than Peter.

 

“I haven’t got any missed calls from you,” Peter said, checking his phone. 

 

Ned shook his head, “No, I didn’t call you. You need to check the news.”

 

“Why?” Peter frowned, confused, “What happened?”

 

“Nothing we didn’t already know was gonna happen.” MJ answered, handing her own phone to Peter, “But it still sucks.”

 

Peter took her phone and looked at it. It was a CNN webpage and Peter immediately saw what they were talking about, the headline of their newest news story.

 

FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE ANNOUNCES RUN FOR PRESIDENCY

 

Peter gulped, closing his eyes and dropping MJ’s hand from his own.

 

He knew he would wake up one day soon or come home from a patrol and see something like this when he checked his phone or watched the news or entered Mr Delmar’s shop to get a milkshake and see it on the newspaper stand. But knowing that this was coming, expecting it to happen soon, doesn’t stop the wave of fear from washing over him. 

 

He began to read the article under the headline but his vision became blurred as the screen of the phone became too bright, his throat began to feel like it was constricting and he gasped for breath. Suddenly his ears began to ring and his head throbbed as he felt the familiar feeling of his senses kicking into overdrive, every step of every student in school felt like a gunshot going off right near his ear and his nose took in the scent of everyone and everything around him.

 

He dropped the phone in his hand, leaning back into the lockers on the side of the hall.

 

“Ah!” He cried out, in pain, closing his eyes and reaching up to cover his ears.

 

“Peter!” MJ exclaimed, “What’s wrong?” 

 

“It’s so loud!” 

 

MJ’s went wide with realisation and she turned to Ned, who looked at her, not knowing what to do.

 

“Ned, give me your headphones!”

 

Ned was confused but didn’t argue and pulled his backpack off and reached inside and pulled out his wireless beats headphones. MJ took them off him and turned to Peter.

 

“Peter, let me put these on!”

 

Peter groaned, not moving his hands from covering his ears. Everything was so loud….

 

He felt MJ’s soft hands on his, trying to pull them away. His ears felt like they were going to explode but eventually, he allowed her to move his hands and she slid Ned’s headphones over his head.

 

MJ grabbed him by his hoodie, turned him around so she was leaning against the lockers and held him to her, her arms around his neck as he buried his head in hers.

 

“Shhh….shhh…. it’s okay.” MJ whispered, quietly and soothingly,

“Just focus on me, okay. Focus on my heartbeat, focus on my breathing.” This wasn’t the first time this had happened.

 

One of the things about Peter’s enhanced senses that he got from the radioactive spider, was that he needed to adapt to them. When he first got bitten his eyes became so sensitive to light, that he needed to wear sunglasses to be able to focus and he had to learn to dial down his hearing because his senses were so acute, every small sound around him was overwhelming.

 

He’d gotten used to his senses being so good but sometimes they would flare up and have a sensory overload, it used to happen more often before he and MJ began dating, when he used to have panic attacks and bad dreams. It happened less often now that he was in a good place but sometimes whenever he was stressed or worried, his senses would remind him how good they were.



MJ ran a hand softly through his curls, glaring at students who were looking at them as they walked past, her expression silently asking them, ‘what the fuck are you looking at?’

 

“Just focus on me, okay.” MJ whispered, “Tune out everything else, just focus on my heartbeat. It’s okay, I’m here.”

 

Peter groaned, painfully, the headphones over his ears barely helping but he does as MJ says and forces himself to only focus on the sound of her breathing, focusing on her beating heart, only inches away. 

 

Trying to block out everything else, he counted the beats of MJ’s heart, which was beating faster than normal as she was holding him and comforting him throughout this overload of his enhanced senses. The sound of her soft breathing was quiet and soothing and began to overcome the ringing of people’s phones and banging of people’s feet hitting the ground around him. The lavender fragrance of MJ’s shampoo was now the only thing his sense of smell took in and he felt nourished by the soft feeling of MJ’s fingers running through his hair.

 

They stood there for minutes, MJ holding him to her, Ned standing next to them and giving a ‘mind your own business’ look to any fellow student who walked by them.

 

Peter eventually pulled back from MJ and slowly took the headphones off his head. He pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed heavily. “I hate it when that happens.” He sighed, exhausted, now from pain and not just lack of sleep.

 

“We’re not going to class.” MJ said, turning to Ned, “We’re gonna borrow your notes later loser. I’m taking him home.”

 

“No, I’m fine.” Peter argued, “It was just a reaction, we can go to class—” 

 

“You’re in no condition to be here at school, loser.” MJ rolled her eyes, “You’re tired, you’re worked up about this Ross thing and you just had a sensory overload. We’re going.”

 

Ned shook his head, looking between his two friends, “MJ’s right Peter, you look like shit. You need to sleep, bro.”

 

Peter groaned, he knew he wasn’t going to win this argument and he didn’t have the energy to insist any more. His head still felt tender, like his senses were going to flare up again at any moment.

 

“Fine.”

 

MJ rolled her eyes, “Tell the teachers Peter’s sick,” She told Ned, “that I’m walking him home and I’ll get May to call them. I’ll call you later this afternoon.”

 

Ned nodded and looked at Peter, “Take those headphones with you, just in case you need them. Get some rest dude, seriously.” His words had a worry in them and Peter thought about how great his best friend is.

 

“I will, thanks, bro.”

 

Ned nodded, “Call me, later.” He reminded MJ and she nodded before he turned around and walked off towards his first class of the day.

 

MJ gives him a small smile before picking her phone up off the ground, “Let’s go loser.” She took his hand in hers again and interlaced their fingers. 

 

The feeling of her hand in his was comforting. His senses were still sensitive and his feeling of touch still heightened slightly, her hand feeling softer in his.

 

“Brad’s gonna think you stood him up.” He said as he walked out the doors of school hand in hand, towards the street.

 

MJ smirked, “I am standing him up.”

 

“Mean.”

 

“He’ll get over it.” MJ shrugged, she didn’t really care if he didn’t.

 

“Of course he’ll get over it, he likes you,” Peter said, rolling his eyes but his earlier annoyance and jealousy was gone. MJ was there for him again, this morning, right now, making sure he was okay, even though she should really be in school.

 

But Peter knew, nothing he could say would make MJ leave him and go to class, even if he promised to go home and sleep. If the situation were reversed, he wouldn’t leave her either.

 

It gave Peter a warm, happy feeling, to know MJ loved him the way he loved her and she was showing it to him right now, being there with him, when he wasn’t feeling like himself.

 

“Too bad for him, I’m taken.” She said, smiling, as they stopped at the crosswalk. She leaned in and kissed his cheek, “I’m yours, dork.”

 

Peter’s face split into a smile again at her words. He’d never get tired of hearing that.

 

This week had been rough and he knew things were only going to get harder from here on in. A powerful man who hated Peter and anyone like him was running to become the most powerful authority in the world. People were going to be in a panic and Peter knew everything that he did right now as Spiderman was now going to be put under the microscope, everyone who blamed the blip on their failure, looking for a reason to say that Spiderman and the Avengers shouldn’t exist.

 

Peter didn’t know what was gonna happen and while he was comforted by MJ standing beside him and holding his hand, he would be lying to himself if he said he wasn’t scared of what the future was going to bring.