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Through The Lens

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Peter Parker hated high school. With a passion. Of course, he understood that everyone hated high school, but not everyone hated high school the way he hated high school. Especially new high schools, with unhelpful classmates and confusing hallways and a map that makes no sense no matter which way you turned it. Because high school was the worst.

Another student bumped into Peter’s side, not even acknowledging him before moving on. He was the–fourth? Fifth?–person to hit him since Aunt May had dropped him off barely ten minutes ago. Peter had to refrain from snapping something back. Getting punched on the first day wouldn’t really be good for him. And besides, he knew that he didn’t tend to stand out. Five times is definitely something he can handle, considering it’s probably the first of five hundr–

Someone else bumped into Peter.

Scratch that, five is my new limit .

Peter let out the most annoyed noise he could think of (which sounded like a whale trying to play a piccolo) and turned around to see who had hit him for the sixth time, ready to either shout at them (if they were small) or run like hell (if they were anywhere close to his physique).

Then he saw the most obviously rich boy he’d ever seen in his life. His hair was dark and artfully styled back, just barely brushing the bottoms of his ears. Messy, but flatteringly so. His clothes could only be described as “grunge”, with the dark ripped jeans and fancy flannel over a vintage band t-shirt and the converse that were just messy enough to be cool. Everything looked like garbage, but it also looked like fancy garbage that probably cost more than May’s rent.

Rich Boy didn’t even have a backpack.

“That was probably the funniest noise I’ve ever heard out of this place. And I heard Clint scream at a mouse once, so that’s saying something.” Rich Boy snorted.

Peter blinked, still shocked. “What?”

“That noise? Your stellar imitation of a donkey being steamrolled?”

Peter scrunched his nose. “I feel like there’d be a lot more crunching involved.”

Rich Boy laughed. “Fair enough. What’s with the map?” he asked, changing subjects and grabbing the map out of Peter’s hands. “You new here?”

Peter gingerly plucked the map back from him. “No, I just carry the map around as memorabilia from hell.”

RIch Boy narrowed his eyes. “I don’t appreciate the sass, newbie.” he said, sticking a finger in Peter’s face.

Peter took two seconds to deliberate if it was worth sassing him back again, then decided that pissing off a very rich person was probably not the greatest idea. He gave in. “Yes, I’m new. Happy?”

Rich Boy considered, crossing his arms, then shook his head. “Not even close. How about we–”

A monotone bell cuts into his sentence, ringing three times. There’s a moment where Peter thinks he’s already late for his first class, but there’s still a swarm of people around him. Must be a warning bell?

“Damn. Walk and talk?” Richie offered, holding out an arm.

“Only if the talking involves directions to room D135.” Peter answered, ignoring the arm.

“I believe it’s thataway,” Rich Boy said, accompanied by a vague pointing, “so we’ll get there. Plus, you’re new, so no one cares if you’re late.”

“Half of that answer was helpful.” Peter mumbled, following Rich Boy as he started making his way down the hall.

Either Rich Boy didn’t hear him, or he ignored him. “So, what’s your name?”

“Peter. You?”

“Tony,” he answered, offering out a hand that Peter took. “Tony Stark. What brings you to our fine establishment today, Peter?”

Where have I heard that name? “My aunt got a job here.”

“Unfortunate. This town sucks ass. Got any fantastic career plans lined up?”

Peter cocked an eyebrow, slightly surprised that he hadn’t said anything about the fact that he said aunt and not parents . And that he had just called the small town in California with nice weather and nice nature boring. “You ask a lot of questions.”

Rich Boy–Tony–nudged him until he turned right, into a hall with one side almost completely glass. “I happen to like information, judgy-pants. Career plans?”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Engineering or photography. Maybe something that combines them.”

“Huh. I’ll keep that in mind. Oh, here’s your stop.” he announced, gesturing to the door next to Peter.

Peter turned and looked, and sure enough, they were in front of room D135. That had gone faster than he expected. “Didn’t you point in the other direction when I asked?”

Tony shrugged. “Pointing is rude.”

“It’s a door.” Peter pointed out. “It can’t tell if you’re pointing at it.”

“It still has feelings.”

“Mhmm. Well, thanks for the directions.” Peter said, nodding at the door.

“Anytime. See you around.” Tony said, flashing a white smile and walking away before Peter could say anything else.

The few people left in the hall seemed to stop and stare at him as he walked past. He didn’t even seem to notice, which was odd. Peter guessed he must be used to it, though he didn’t know why.

 


 

The rest of the day passed (thankfully) much more uneventfully. Peter, despite his horrific social skills, had actually made a couple more acquaintances. He only spoke to whoever he ended up sitting next to, which included a dramatic boy named Bucky in english (who spent most of his time texting someone else anyway), a conspiracy theorist named “Weasel” in calculus (who tried to convince him to stuff tin foil in his ears), a terrifying redhead named Natasha who he had in both French and history (who he had quickly discovered was basically a deadly mom friend), a surprisingly nice boy named Bruce in science (who was so nerdy it put Peter to shame), and strangely enough, Clint in his computer science class (who turned out to be hilarious and never shut up about Natasha). They all seemed to like him well enough, and they all seemed to know Tony, which was weird, to say the least.

Peter wondered whether or not that was a coincidence as he walked into his last class, which he hoped would become his favorite. Unlike his last high school, this one actually offered a photography course, and Peter was beyond excited. It was probably the only good thing to come out of the whole move. Well, that, and potentially gaining a rich friend with other friends all over the place. And May’s better-paying job.

A quick scan of the room when Peter walked in confirmed that, as expected, he didn’t know anyone in the room, and what he had hoped for, the class seemed to be small. The room was set up almost like a science lab, with one row of tables on each side of the room. He picked an empty one close to the middle and secretly hoped no one would sit with him.

He settled in as the bell rang, looking around to see if he stuck out too much. Some people sat together, others sat alone, and no one even seemed to consider Peter’s table. It was kind of nice, if not a little strange. There were only nine people in his class, and they all seemed to be content with leaving him alone.

Well, except for the fact that they all seemed to be...staring at him. Whenever he caught someone’s eye they’d look away, but they were definitely staring. He checked his clothes for any stains or other flaws, but found nothing. He looked around, but he couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary around him. He hoped they just didn’t like that he was new.

The teacher walked up to the front of the room as the final bell rang. He was a dark-haired man who seemed to be in his late twenties, with the usual slightly-trashy outfit of an art teacher, including terrible red reflective sunglasses. “Alright, everyone, we’ve got someone new today. Peter, would you like to say something about yourself?” he asked, in a tone that was more of a command than a question.

Peter gave a small sigh before he opened his mouth to answer. He’d already had to “say something about himself” six times today. He didn’t really see the appeal in repeating it. “I’m–”

He was interrupted as the door opened again, letting in a tall boy with an unhappy look on his face. As soon as Peter saw him, his heart sank.

The boy was significantly taller than Peter, with slightly-overgrown blonde hair. He had on torn jeans and a black thermal, which somehow made him look scarier than his scowl. It almost looked like it was the only facial expression he knew how to make. And, to top it all off, he had a rather nasty-looking scar running from just in front of his ear to under the middle of his jaw. He was easily ten times more terrifying than anyone at Peter’s old school.

He walked in about two steps before he stopped, staring–glaring–right at Peter. The room seemed to freeze for a moment.

Then the boy he crossed the room in three strides and practically threw himself into the chair next to Peter, and Peter nearly shrieked. The movement was quick, unexpected, and demonstrated that this scary new person definitely had some power to them. Peter nearly fell out of his chair because holy hell that was terrifying .

He suddenly realized why everyone had been staring at him. And he wanted to die.

The teacher seemed unimpressed, marking the boy tardy without giving him a second glance. “Sorry for the interruption, Peter. Were you going to say something?”

Peter stammered for a second, still very much stunned by the–upon closer inspection, yep, totally ripped –boy next to him. He struggled to face forwards. “Um, no. I’m just Peter.”

“You’re just dead, is what you are.” someone muttered behind him, causing a slightly-nervous laughter to wave across the room. The boy didn’t seem to react.

“Well then, let’s get started, shall we?” the teacher began, and Peter didn’t hear anything else.

The boy turned to him and glared again. “You’re in my seat.” he informed him, and his voice almost shocked Peter as much as his entrance. It was low and raspy, and shook Peter to his core.

Peter briefly wondered if he looked as terrified as he felt. “I figured that out–” he started, then almost squeaked at the scowl he got in response. “Uh, I won’t sit here tomorrow. My bad.” he finished quickly, giving him a scared smile.

The boy tilted his head. “Good choice, spider. You new?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. Peter nodded. The boy snorted. “Figures.”

Peter spent the rest of the class wondering when he was suddenly going to get sucker-punched, like what happens in comics. Fortunately, the boy seemed content with ignoring him. Neither of them said anything else, excluding when Peter was given a debriefing on the current class project, which ended in two days so he was being excluded from it.

“Maybe you can just help Mr. Wilson with his.” the teacher–who Peter discovered actually had a name, Mr. Summers–had added at the end, indicating the teenage embodiment of intimidation next to him. Wilson had flashed a sarcastic grin and given him a thumbs-up, revealing a hitchhiker’s thumb.

The rest of class was spent in terrifying silence. The bell seemed to take years to ring. Peter practically ran out of the room when it finally did, praying that Wilson wouldn’t follow him. He darted between the crowds to get out of the stupid building as fast as possible, making to the front of the building surprisingly fast for only half-knowing where he was going. When he got to the front, he pulled out his phone, mapped out his address, and walked straight home, not bothering to risk a bus.

 


 

Peter had never been so glad to get back to an empty new house. It was a cozy little house, but it was still eerily unpacked, with boxes and miscellaneous items scattered everywhere. The living room still had a sheet over the windows, seeing as May had yet to take Peter with her to go pick out curtains. The only room that had been fully unpacked was the kitchen, which Peter stopped in to grab an apple before heading up to his room, dodging boxes on his way.

His bedroom, though sparse and partially unpacked, didn’t feel much different from his old room. It had the same small, cozy feel to it. Peter had unpacked his photos first and put them up in their usual places above his bed. Second had been his bed sheets, followed by his camera equipment.

The fact that clothes came last probably says something about my priorities.

Peter grabbed his laptop and flopped down on his bed. He needed to end his day on a good note. At least, that’s what May always said. And good notes usually involved his friends. Peter grinned and called Harry, his best friend from back home.

Talking with Harry greatly increased his mood. Though his friend was busy with school and preparing to inherit an enormous science empire, he still always seemed to make time for him–a feat that took much more effort than Peter thought he deserved. He’d mentioned it once, but Harry had promptly called him an idiot, but an idiot totally worth the effort.

The topic of school had come up fairly quickly during the call, to no one’s surprise. Peter had easily recounted his day, noting the strange amount of people who had seemed to like him, and the one person who really seemed to not.

“Wilson?” Harry had said. “I can look into it, if you want.”

“Nah, I’m not wor–”

“If you say ‘worth the effort’, I’ll punch you myself, Parker.”

And after some slightly pointless arguing, Peter had agreed to let him look into it, even if he knew it was just an excuse for Harry to both worry about him and not do business work. Harry seemed to have taken a particular liking to both after he’d moved away.

Peter rolled his eyes at the memory as he pulled out his homework. Let him worry.

 


 

May had gotten home about an hour after Peter’s call with Harry, and they both quickly decided that cooking was off the table, so she had ordered them a pizza. May had told him all about her day (work was lovely, and Peter had smiled at the way her face had lit up), and he had told her about his (leaving out his last class, because that’s the last thing she needs to worry about), he retreated to his room to get through his absolute mountain of homework.

He had gotten about halfway through the ridiculous amount of notes his history and science teachers had given him when his phone buzzed again. Expecting it to be Harry, he was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t.

Natasha: I’m giving Tony your number.

Peter snorted and typed back. Natasha had asked for his number in history, the second class they had together. Somehow, this turn of events didn’t surprise him. Everything seemed to tie back to Tony.

Peter: Go ahead.

Natasha: You’ve been warned.

Peter grinned and went back to his homework for a minute before his phone buzzed not once, but five times, with almost no time in between.

Unknown number: if it isn’t my favorite nerd

Unknown number: you’re a NERD

Unknown number: this is your conscience speaking

Unknown number: and I say you’re a NERD

Unknown number: and I say im bored as hell so entertain me again

Peter: Again?

Unknown number: that noise was a CLASSIC

Peter rolled his eyes, but let himself enjoy the warm feeling being liked was bringing. He closed his textbook and typed out a response.

Peter: Sure it was.

Unknown number: ooooooooh wait YOUR CONSCIENCE HAS AN IDEA

Peter: A good idea or a bad idea?

Unknown number: YES

Peter frowned at the text, not really having a good response to Tony’s...whatever that was.

After a minute, his phone gave him a new alert.

New group chat: THE AVENGERS (assemble, bitches)

Peter chuckled at the title and investigated the group chat. It had ten people in it, and almost instantly, five of them commented about Peter’s sudden addition.

Tony: Peter’s an avenger now no takebacks

Unknown number: you’ve known him for ONE DAY, Tony

Unknown number #2: cmon man the chat has like two million people

Unknown number #3: Peter from chem?

Unknown number #4: we can’t hit double digits guys that’s ridiculous

Natasha: all of you shut up it’s too late to undo it

Peter widened his eyes at Natasha’s sudden defense. Apparently, everyone else (whoever that was) did too, because no one said anything for a solid ten minutes.

And then, finally:

Tony: I win. double digits, bitches.

Peter had absolutely no idea why Tony had taken such a sudden liking to him, and he really couldn’t make himself care. After a couple minutes, the chat started up again, and Peter’s addition wasn’t mentioned again.

Peter ended up finishing the rest of his homework much slower than usual, enjoying watching the banter of the chat. He’d put names to six of the numbers by the end of the night: Clint, Bruce, someone named Thor (which, really, how is that a real name ), Tony’s friend Rhodey (who he hadn’t yet determined the first name of), someone named Steve, and Steve’s friend Sam. It only left one number, though from context, he was starting to guess it was Bucky.

Peter stretched and rose to go brush his teeth and wash his face. He said goodnight to May on his way back, and climbed into bed, the exhaustion of his day finally catching up with him. Sleep had almost reached him when his phone buzzed again. He groaned and picked up his phone, squinting when it nearly blinded him. To his surprise, it wasn’t from the chat or from Harry. It wasn’t from anyone he knew.

Unknown number: nighty night, spidey.

Peter stared at his phone. It couldn’t be possible. It’d been one day.

Wilson?