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Camping? We Don't Know Her

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Dinner at Avengers tower was just like any other family dinner. People fighting over stupid things, well intentioned death threats, someone (Clint) almost getting stabbed with a fork; a completely normal family dinner.

“No, no, no archery is not the best outdoor activity.” Peter argued, pointing his fork of Steve’s famous homemade mac and cheese at Clint.

“Wrong. Example one, Brave.” Clint defended, taking a bite of his cornbread.

“Just because you identify with Merida doesn’t mean you can use a fictional animated movie as proof. Plus, that was set in like medieval times.” Peter countered.

“Ok then Peter, since you seem to feel so strongly about this, what is the best outdoor activity?” Pepper asked amusedly.

“Easy, camping. Aunt May and I went once, and it was super fun.” Peter said immediately.

The other Avengers stared at him in confusion, crickets sounding around the room.

“Like in The Parent Trap?” Steve asked.

“Uhh, sort of, the twins went to a camp in the movie, they didn’t technically go camping.” Peter explained. “Nice pop culture reference though.”

Peter looked around at the rest of the tables, blank faces. “Are you guys telling me none of you have ever been camping?” He asked incredulously.

 The Avengers shook their heads.

“Dad, we have to go camping!” Peter cried.

“No, absolutely not.” Tony decided, shaking his head.

“But dad…” Peter whined, putting on his ‘puppy dog eyes’.

Tony froze halfway through taking a bite of pasta. He looked Peter up and down, the puppy dog eyes staring into his soul. He set his fork down and rubbed his face with his hands. “Fine.”

Peter pumped his fist into the air. “Yes!” He exclaimed.

“Why don’t you invite Ned and MJ?” Pepper offered, smiling.

Peter nodded, then thought for a moment. “Can I invite Shuri too?”

Pepper opened her mouth to answer, but Tony beat her to it. “No, you two together is like a bomb just waiting to explode.”

“True, but if she comes camping with us then it’s one less time that your lab has a chance to blow up or get destroyed because we’ll be hanging out in the wilderness and not here.” Peter pointed out.

Tony considered this, then nodded. “Sure, whatever.” He took a bite of his pasta.

“You guys are going to love camping.” Peter told the rest of the table, grinning.

Peter, Ned, and MJ stood on the landing deck of the tower, waiting for Shuri’s quinjet to arrive. It hadn’t been hard to get Ned and MJ’s parents to agree to the trip, seeing as their parents believed going with the Avengers was the best protection and supervision that the teenagers could ever get. That was true for the protection portion, but the supervision? Not so much. But their parents didn’t need to know that fact.

Shuri’s family had been harder to convince. Queen Ramonda hadn’t been too keen on allowing her daughter to go camping in the wilderness but T’Challa had convinced her it would be good for Shuri’s manners and would give her a break from her work. Peter didn’t see how camping would help Shuri’s nonexistent manners but whatever.

“Is that it?” Ned asked, pointing to the sky.

“No, that’s a cloud.” MJ supplied, not even looking up from her sketchbook. Ned scowled at her and the tip of her lip twitched up in a smile.

Peter looked where Ned was pointing. It was a small black dot that was growing larger and larger as it approached them. He broke into a grin as he spotted Shuri’s space buns through one of the large windows. MJ stood up and closed her sketchbook, moving to stand next to Peter.

After what seemed like hours but was only about 2 minutes the quinjet landed and the hatch door opened.

“Hurricane Katrina?” Peter shouted.

Shuri’s head popped out of the hatch. “More like hurricane tortilla!” She yelled back laughing. She jumped out of the jet, forgoing the ramp, and tackled Peter with a hug. “I missed you Petie-pie!”

“I missed you too bitch.” Peter said, grinning. Shuri slapped him on the arm amusedly, then moved on to hug MJ.

“Ilahlekile.” MJ greeted, grinning.

Shuri froze then held MJ at arm’s length. “You’ve been practicing!” She squealed, smiling. “Ngoku sinokuthetha ngoPetros emva kwakhe!”

MJ laughed. “Wayeyifumanisa ngokukhawuleza. Uhlakaniphile njengaye.”

“I’m going to assume you guys are talking about me in the fancy African language so how about you don’t.” Peter interrupted, rolling his eyes but still smiling.

MJ and Shuri shared a look and burst into laughter. Then Shuri moved on to hug Ned.

“Hi Shuri!” Ned said, grinning. He’d finally gotten over the whole frozen in awe thing around Shuri after the first couple times they’d hung out.

“Ned! I’ve missed you! We need to play more quiplash together!” Shuri said.

Ned’s eyes lit up and he nodded vigorously.

“If you guys would rather stand on the landing deck all day, I’m cool with that, but if we’re going camping you should get moving. We’re leaving in an hour.” A voice called. The four teens whipped around, Tony was standing at the door back into the tower, an amused expression on his face. He quirked an eyebrow at the 4 of them and walked away. The teenagers shared a look, then sprinted to the door pushing each other out of the way in an effort to get in first. Spoiler alert, MJ won.

“Come on everyone, load up into the quinjet, we don’t have all day.” Tony called, standing impatiently next to a quinjet.

“Dad, what are you doing?” Peter asked in confusion.

“Waiting for you all to put your luggage into the jet so we can leave.” Tony said slowly as if this was perfectly obvious. Technically it was obvious, but that wasn’t the point.

“We can’t take the quinjet! You can’t just fly to go camping, you have to drive! Like normal people!” Peter said indignantly, crossing his arms.

Tony opened and closed his mouth like a fish and sighed, something he did a lot when Peter was around. There was probably a cause and effect relationship there, but Peter wasn’t going to focus on it. Rolling his eyes Tony took his bags out of the quinjet and put them into his Acura NXS.

Peter watched this with an eyebrow raised. “Uhh, you realize were not all going to fit in that, right?”

“Yep. All the munchkins get to ride in the van with frozen popsicle 1 and 2 and the murder twins while I get to spend a quality seven hours with my wife.” Tony said while getting into the car. “Good? Good.”

Peter met eyes with his friends, then they all dashed to the van as fast as they could, which in reality wasn’t all that fast. It was hard to run with backpacks and duffle bags slung over your shoulder.

The four teens loaded their bags into the back of the van then stood awkwardly by the door. Well, all of them except MJ stood awkwardly, Peter didn’t think MJ had ever had an awkward moment.

Steve was already sitting in the driver’s seat with Bucky riding shotgun. Clint and Natasha were sitting in two of the second-row seats, the third seat folded forward so people could get into the back row.

“Ned, Peter, and Shuri in the back.” Nat instructed, not looking up from the magazine she was flipping through.

“Why does MJ get to sit in the second row?” Peter whined, climbing into the back.

Nat turned around and stared at him, her lip twitched in amusement. “Because I like MJ and I’d like to chat with her.” That didn’t surprise Peter. Ever since the field trip, whenever MJ was with the Avengers her and Nat had been inseparable. Like two peas in a pod. A very scary could murder you and not leave a trace pod, but still a pod.

“Everybody ready?” Steve asked, turning on the van.

A chorus of yeses sounded, and they were off. Shuri got out her Nintendo Switch and loaded up Mario Kart, passing controllers to Peter and Ned. Steve and Bucky chatted in the front, while Nat and MJ chatted in the middle. Clint was oblivious to the world as he watched downloaded episodes of the office on his Starkpad. Life was good.

“And we’re here!” Steve announced, turning off the van. Peter looked out the window, it was just like he remembered from the pictures. The camp they had chosen was in upstate New York, not too far from the Avengers Compound. It was owned by an older couple, the Kuipers, who had graciously offered the Avengers to stay when Peter had inquired.

From where they were parked Peter could see a field of grass closer to the road. There was a small house where the Kuiper’s most likely stayed when they were there, as well as what looked to be a wood fired pizza oven. Farther down there was a swing and a small cluster of buildings all surrounded by trees.

Tony’s sports car pulled in a parked next to the van. They all piled out, grabbing their luggage and stood in a small blob.

“There’s no service out here!” Tony said in disbelief.

“Well duh, we’re in the middle of nowhere, what did you expect?” Shuri retorted, and eyebrow raised in a sort of challenge.

Tony opened and closed his mouth again (see? A pattern!) and rolled his eyes, waving his phone around like that would help.

“Welcome!” A voice called. Peter turned, his eyes landing on an older woman, most likely Mrs. Kuipers. She was a bit taller than him with short blond hair and glasses. Next to her stood a man, who Peter assumed was her husband. He was just the slightly bit taller than his wife with balding white hair and glasses.

Steve shook hands with the couple. “Thank you for inviting us.”

“Oh, it’s our pleasure darling.” Mrs. Kuipers responded warmly. “Let me show you where y’all will be staying.”

Mrs. Kuipers led them down a path past the swing and, was that a miniature zipline? She stopped at the cluster of buildings and turned to face them. “This here is the barn, there’s a small kitchen in there as well as tables and chairs. You’re welcome to look around for things if you need them and if you can’t find anything don’t be afraid to ask.”

“Over there is the outhouse, the light turns off automatically so don’t worry about turning it off.” Mrs. Kuipers said, pointing at a small wooded shack that, well, looked like an outhouse.

“We have a bunkhouse with 4 bunkbeds, and a cabin with a double bed. Y’all are welcome to divvy them up however you see fit. You can also set up any tents you brought if you’d like.” Mrs. Kuipers said, pointing to the other two buildings. The bunkhouse was on the left of the barn, directly parallel to the mini zipline. The cabin was to the right of the barn, set back more into the trees. “I’ll be around if you have any questions.”

Mrs. Kuipers walked back up to the house and Peter looked around. It really was like he was immersed in the forest. The path leading to the outhouse continued into the woods where he could see it branch off in different directions. Beyond the mini zipline and running past the more set back bunkhouse was a larger zipline. Through the clearing where the buildings were, a bit farther was a pond with a dock for jumping off of. Peter was really glad he had brought his swimsuit.

“So how are we splitting this up?” Pepper asked, looking at the bunkhouses.

“Well we have the bunkhouse, the cabin, and a tent, right?” Nat asked.

Steve nodded putting down the tent he was carrying. “There’s also a couple air mattresses in the van, a double and 2 singles I think.”

“Ok so we’ll split up like this: Steve, Bucky, Clint, and I will take the bunkhouse, Tony and Pepper can take the cabin, and Peter, Ned, Shuri, and MJ can set up the tent in this patch of grass here.” Nat decided, pointing to the left of the bunkhouse.

Everyone nodded in agreement and went off to their sleeping place to get unpacked and set up. Peter grabbed the tent and walked over to the patch of grass where Nat had pointed.

“I’ll take these.” MJ said, grabbing the instructions. Peter dumped the tent out onto the ground.

It took them about 10 minutes to set the tent up, MJ calling out instructions while Shuri, Ned, and Peter tried to follow them. They got the air mattresses set up and situated inside the tent.

“I call the double for me and MJ.” Shuri shouted, dumping her bag on the double bed.

“Why can’t Ned and I share it?” Peter asked pouting.

“Have you guys ever shared a bed before?” Shuri asked, her hands on her hips.

“Well, no.” Peter admitted.

“Exactly. Girls share beds all the time at sleepovers, guys don’t.” Shuri said, smiling triumphantly.

Peter rolled his eyes and set his stuff on his bed. Ned snickered while setting his stuff down and patted Peter on the shoulder.

“It’s ok dude, we’ll just shove her in the lake tomorrow.” Ned placated, grinning.

Peter smiled and stepped outside the tent, his friends following behind him. This was going to be fun.