All things considered it’s mostly a big inconvenience.
She has two tests, a quiz, and a paper coming up in the next few days- fuck APs genuinely- and midterms are just around the corner, so she doesn’t have time for problems other than her own. So Peter’s starting shit with Norman Osborn as they fly around the city in ridiculous costumes.
He’s totally gonna fail his own Spanish test, but whatever, one step closer to valedictorian.
She lugs a million textbooks to the library, sets everything up, mountains of paper and her pens and markers, her laptop in the center, the glue that holds her operation together. She glares at the screen as it loads everything slowly, but other than that she’s ready to plunge deep into the trenches.
The news live stream in the background is for white noise, not because she’s keeping an ear out for her selfless martyr of a boyfriend. Whatever, she’s good at multitasking.
Maybe her mistake was going to the library. She could have been studying in Peter’s room like she usually does, listening to Ned geek out. But there’s a Teavana near the library and the smell of old books helps her focus.
Maybe it was taking the desk by the window. But there’s a really good view of the park across the street.
Maybe it was not paying attention to the news as closely as she should have. Peter’s a big boy though, he can handle himself and she has more important things to worry about, derivatives and sinusoidal graphs to memorize.
Maybe it was the headphones.
Either way, she’s woefully unprepared when the glass window next to her shatters, sending crystals of glass cascading all over her books and laptops. She’s immediately furious though because does this fucker know how much textbooks cost.
Also that’s her fucking laptop and her tea has glass shards sticking out of it, another expensive thing she doesn’t appreciate getting destroyed.
Norman Osborn is made of money, he better be picking up the check for this.
Although from the way his weird ass costumed claw snatches her up by the collar of her shirt, she’s assuming that he officially don’t give a fuck.
Which is something she can respect. Even though it means she’s now being dragged through the air when she really needs to be studying. And even though he definitely doesn’t care when she say, “Dude, I have fucking homework.”
Or maybe he just can’t hear over the wind and his dumb costume.
Everything’s a blur, the sky the buildings, the asphalt that gets further away. She debates calculating what her final velocity would be if she fell from the sky at this height. (She could probably calculate it, she’s gonna ace that physics quiz, but it’s pretty morbid and she might as well use this little break.)
She should probably be concerned, but she had a strong feeling about the apple juice at lunch today so she’s kinda out of emotion for the day.
It’s almost fun, soaring over the city. She gets a great view of the skyline for a second and sees a pretty cute dog in the park. The smog of the city recedes once you clear the rooftops, and she sees the setup for a joke about taking a breather but she is above that.
Speaking of terrible jokes, she sees Peter for a second out of the corner of her eye, speeding after them, costume eyes in angst mode, what a dweeb. She sticks her tongue out at him and almost swallows a fly.
They finally land on top of a bridge, which is ridiculous, she’s like 100% more certain to die if she lands on concrete instead of water. Like all she’d have to do is reduce surface area and she’d just break her feet or something. Probably. That’s science, right?
She’d ask Peter, but he’s still catching up to them.
“Look, I’m fine with you doing whatever kinky shit you want, but keep me out of it,” she says, even though she probably shouldn’t be offending the guy dangling her over the edge of a bridge by her neck.
He doesn’t seem to care though, just starts up some monologue when Peter’s close enough. Something sacrifices, yada yada yada, power, consequences, something, something city.
Her English teacher would’ve been all over this asshole for not properly citing sources, since he definitely stole half of these lines from every other evil villain in the world.
Peter looks genuinely freaked though. She can see his hands shaking as he holds them out.
“Just put her down,” he says, voice shaking too, breaking as he stammers out a surrender. “Please just…”
Oh this just won’t do. Like fine whatever, she was studying and this is inconvenient, but now Peter’s scared because of this rich asshole who’s dressed up as a goblin in the middle of March like it's a think well-adjusted adults do.
She's the only one who's allowed to scare Peter Parker.
Osborn starts to speak again but she's pissed for real now, clenches her jaw and swings her leg at his groin with all the force she has.
He's shocked, she's shocked (because really, his costume doesn't even protect his nuts), Peter's probably shocked too.
He doubles over and in the process lets her go.
She drops, stomach jumping into her throat like the fun type of roller coaster with a dash of life threatening peril thrown in for kicks.
She didn't have time to ask Peter about the surface area thing, whether that's what she should be trying to do or if it's some tumblr bullshit and she's fucked either way.
She also realizes she's about to fall into the East River, which… disgusting, so if the fall doesn't kill her the radioactive toxic sludge probably will. She won't even be the first dead body down there, so that's just boring.
And then there's a blur of red and blue (which honestly are any of the Avengers familiar with the word subtle) and he crashes into her, crushing the air out of her lungs as he sweeps her to the side. His free arm goes around her waist and she grabs onto his shoulders and thank God, she doesn't actually have to deal with the psychological trauma of swimming in the East River.
Also that was one hell of a trust fall.
They land on the side of the bridge and it takes a moment for her to find her footing because her guts are lodged in her throat and her legs feel like jelly.
He doesn't let go of her, hands scrambling for purchase in the back of her jacket, squeezing her tight. She keeps her hands on his shoulders, mostly for balance.
“Well, then,” she says. “Coney Island can eat shit.”
Peter exhales shakily, something like a laugh and a sob, she can feel the rise and fall of his chest against hers, the hitch in his breath. She wants to run her fingers through his hair to calm him down but he's wearing his dumb mask. She settles for just having him this close, being able to hold him for a second, find her balance inside and out.
“So why does Norman Osborn know we're dating?” She asks mainly to distract him and it kinda works. He leans back a little and she can sense the sheepish smile he's wearing underneath all the spandex.
(She has her own super powers when it comes to Peter Parker and never one to back down from a play on words, she's not afraid to call them her Spidey senses.)
“About that…” he says slowly but then the man in question is hovering in front of them next to the bridge. He looks pissed and Peter spins around, moving in front of her and throwing an arm out next to her for good measure. Which seems kinda ridiculous considering she's the only one here who's gotten a blow in.
She gets called an insolent fool which is so ridiculous she snorts. She also check it off her bucket list, gives herself some bonus points for the fact that she’s pissed off a Fortune 500 CEO.
Peter webs him in the face.
“Stay safe,” he tells her and goes dashing off into the fray.
“Hey,” she protests. ‘Take me back to the library, fucker.” She has homework. This is ridiculous.
But Peter’s off already, web slinging all over the place, so obviously diverting attention from her it’s not even a diversion.
She climbs down from the side of the bridge to the street where traffic is stopped, ignoring the fact that everybody is staring at her, raising her eyebrows and glaring because this is New York, you’ve seen stranger.
There’s a cab parked on the side of road and she marches over, even though she’s pretty sure she lost her wallet.
“Queens Library on 38th,” she tells the cabbie, ignoring the look she gets from the other passenger.
Peter is flying about overhead as she convinces the driver to hit the gas. She hopes he sees her flip him off through the tinted window, and she sends a text from her phone (she would have killed Norman Osborn herself if anything happened to her phone) that she knows Karen will read to him, if you fall in the east River imma dump u.
She is immediately bombarded when she steps into Peter’s apartment with her glass covered belongings. (Yes, she has a copy of the key. No, it was not given to her.)
“You were on the news,” Ned says, because he knows she’ll be pleased by that.
“Where did you go?” Peter asks, eyes wide and desperate and a little red rimmed, a blooming bruise on his jaw and blood dripping from a gash on his shoulder. He’s not wet though, so no river and she gets to keep her boyfriend.
“Do you want tea?” May asks, a gentle look in her eyes, concern for her, concern for Peter, and a steely determination to soothe them both, protect them by any means necessary.
May is the best. She’s going to steal her away one day.
“Earl Grey please,” she says, and lets her bag drop to the floor. Peter rushes to scoop up the stack of textbooks she’s carrying. “One of you dweebs better share your physics notes.”
In moments she’s seated on the couch with her tea and one of Peter’s dumb, comfy sweaters, two blankets and Peter himself wrapped around her.
“Are you okay?” he asks, for the fifth time.
“No,” she grumbles. “I’m gonna have to pull an all night because of this, Parker.”
“I’m so sorry,” he says. “God, Michelle, I-”
“Don’t worry,” she says, sipping her tea. Not Teavana, but still pretty inspired. “I’ll get my revenge eventually.” Not tonight, but one day, one day he’s really busy, she’s gonna distract him so bad. “Also I get to pick takeout tonight.”
“Anything,” Peter says, hand curling in one of her blankets, still choked, eyes still a little red-rimmed.
“Jeezum,” she mutters, patting his head. “I mean if it’s that big a deal, you could do my physics homework too.”
He nods immediately and buries his face in her shoulder, tugging her even closer. It was a joke, but he’s pretty good at physics so she can trust him to not fuck it up while she takes a nap for a decade and a half.
She hates doing things and getting dropped off a bridge counts as a thing.
May has a bowl of snacks for her and Ned is helping clean her laptop, so she just leans back for a second, into Peter’s embrace, watching a slowmo replay of her kicking Norman Osborn in the balls.
This may just be the good life, she decides a few moments later. Maybe she should get dropped from things more often.
If only it didn’t make Peter so tragically sad. Though having him this close is really nice, he’s warm and solid and not too sweaty just yet. She kisses his temple, runs a hand over the thin hairs on the back of his neck.
“Um, did you charge a cab ride to Tony’s Visa?” he asks, breaking the quiet, somber silence of the room.
She shrugs. She needed someone to pay for her cab and she didn’t spend an afternoon memorizing any Osborn credit cards.
She sleeps over, because after takeout, she’s completely exhausted, seconds away from passing out so she might as well do it in Peter’s bed.
She also doesn’t think Peter will let her out of his sight, so she might as well.
He hasn’t stopped touching her, just keeps reaching out for her, holding her hand or brushing his arm against hers, all these constant little reassurances. It's sweet, goddamnit, so she leans closer to him, stays by his side for most of the night, because he looks like he’s about to shatter and she should probably be there to catch him just in case. Trust fall.
“Are you okay?” he asks, now for the seventeenth time, quiet, a single breath between them in his dark and quiet room.
They’re close and she can count the number of tiny little freckles he has, all of his eyelashes, even though she’s already known both for a few years now.
“Are you?” she counters, because of the two of them, he seems a lot closer to a mental breakdown. Although he usually is, weirdo.
“I’m not the one-” he can’t even finish the sentence, just takes a deep breath, blinks hard.
“You know I’m fine, right,” she says. “I’m not bullshitting. Totally okay, just the general existential doom and some stress about school tomorrow.”
He nods, biting his lower lip. “I know. Yeah, I know. You’re so… God, you’re incredible. I just… I have a secret identity for a reason. I never meant for this to get to you.”
“And I didn’t mean to break your nose that one time at the movies,” she replies, shrugging.
“That’s different,” he protests.
“Yeah, you actually got hurt,” she says. It had been bloody too. Pretty cool, but also the first time she ever felt guilt.
“You got hurt,” he whispers, fingertips coming up to brush across the slight bruise on her neck. It’s nothing compared to his, but he’s been staring all night.
“Figures the week I run out of concealer.”
“I’m sorry,” he says, again, for the thirty seventh time.
“Dude, come on. Use your brain just a little, dweeb. You didn’t drop me from a bridge.”
“But it’s my fault.”
“Peter, holy shit, you have such a complex. It wasn’t that big a deal,” she says, grabbing his hand with hers.
“I could have lost you,” he says, voice breaking.
“That’s dramatic,” she says, wiping some of the wetness from the corner of his eyes. “I would have haunted you, don’t worry about it.”
“Stop talking,” she orders and leans in and kisses him, even though this angle in incredibly inconvenient.
His hand comes to rest in between her shoulder blades, still trembling just a little. She lets her hands anchor on his shoulders, and falls into him.
Peter usually kisses with a sugary sweetness, that kindhearted, awkward yet lovable Peter Parker goodness. It’s like tasting one of his smiles, sunshine and softness and golden light. He kisses with a gentle passion, a heartbreaking seriousness, a quiet desperation.
She used to wonder about kissing, in the philosophical way not the hormonal way, just what it would actually be like. Of all the human things that are objectively weird, kissing is kinda up there. Like it seems like it should feel strange or uncomfortable, yet people actually seem to enjoy it. But from the first time she and Peter kiss, it’s… not. Cuz with Peter it’s not about kissing, it’s like he’s trying to say something with it, usually some shy declaration of love that makes her heart beat fast and her brain go on the fritz with how lame it is.
Tonight, it’s still that, but there’s something more, something more desperate and deeper and more. It’s everything at the same time, this deluge of emotion that comes flooding out, in the way his eyes squeeze shut and his hands cling to her back and his mouth moving against hers.
She’s allergic to emotion, but she can’t seem to find it in her to care when it’s Peter. She’ll take all she can get and give what she can in return.
Can’t even seem to be bothered when he makes her feel things, the swoop in her stomach, the tingle in her arms, the way he calms the buzzing in her head, how she tunes into him and quiets all the outside noise, all the million things she’s thinking, all the things she can’t help but notice.
God, how lame.
She has to pull back, that's how sappy it is. He's probably infected her with his gross emotion germs and now she's gonna feel things all the time. Shit.
His eyes are still wet but he smiles at her, soft and sheepish, a little tilt in the corner that she wants to feel.
“You're okay,” she says halfway between a question and an answer. Sometimes he needs her to just tell him things, tell him what to do and how to feel and she's good at bossing people around so it works.
He nods but his eyes dart away from hers for a second.
“If you apologize again,” she warns.
“Right, sorry,” he mutters. “Shit.” She sighs but presses a grin to his cheek.
“What am I gonna do with you, Parker?” She mumbles, rolling her eyes. “Save your apologies for when you actually fuck up.”
He nods again and kisses her jaw, once, twice, works his way down to her chin and down the front of her throat, gentle and sweet until he's covering the faint bruises on her neck with ones of his own.
What a nerd.
She closes her eyes anyway, relaxing back into his sheets while he leans over her, buries her fingers in his dumb beautiful curls. She's incapable of thinking about anything but his mouth on her, his gentleness and everything he's promising in these kisses, things she doesn't even think he knows he's saying but saying none the less.
She can read Peter Parker like he's her favorite book.
“What if next time you're not okay?” He breathes, his chest is moving faster, an edge of panic creeping in.
“What if the world ends tomorrow?” She replies. “What if we all get hit by a bus? What if a burst of unexplained gamma radiation destroys everything thing in our solar system?”
He sighs and pulls her closer, arms right around her waist.
“What if you buy me tea tomorrow and we make out behind the bleachers during gym?” She adds. He grins and kisses her shoulder.
“What if we make out right now instead?” He says, contemplatively, staring at the ceiling.
“What if?” She agrees, tapping the top of his nose with her index finger.
“I'm,” he begins and takes a breath. “I'm just so glad you're okay.”
“Remind me to give you my schedule so you can avoid a hell week next time,” she says, yawning, pressing her face against his neck, the crook between his throat and his jaw.
She wraps her arms around him, clings to him tighter than she did on the bridge, because that doesn't matter. That moment doesn't define what they are, doesn't make a dent, doesn't add or subtract to them. It wasn't romantic or poignant or anything. That just happened.
This is what really matters, being wrapped around each other with the world around them seeming to stop to accommodate them. Being tied up in each other in these sheets, so close it'll take a few years for the universe to get close to unraveling them.
She had a near death experience today, she deserves some life-affirming cuddles.
“I love you,” Peter whispers, and his voice is a little firmer. His hands don't shake as much.
“Good, cuz I'm gonna be here annoying you until the day I die, loser, and then probably even after that too,” she replies.
She closes her eyes and falls asleep, locked tight in his embrace like they're puzzle pieces, safe and relaxed in his arms.