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Peter Parker is an Idiot

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Peter Parker took a deep breath. He hadn’t thought he would ever get this far, but here he was, awkwardly standing in the Stark Industries Tower lobby as he waited for his turn with the receptionist.

“Over here!” called a voice. Peter’s head whirled around as a flustered-looking man jogged to the other desk. Peter stepped forward. 

“Um, I’m Peter Parker, here for an interview about the internship?” 

The man smiled good-naturedly. “10th floor, room 1011 on the left. I just gotta get you a pass and you’ll be good,” Peter nodded uncertainly as the man opened a drawer and handed Peter a pass. “Keep that on you at all times, make sure it’s visible, you get the idea. Don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be good,” 

“Thanks,” Peter said, turning to walk away. “Wait,” Peter turned back. “Where’s the elevator?” 

“Down that hallway, third door to the left,” Peter smiled gratefully.

    “Hi, there! You’re Peter, right?” Peter nodded. “I’m Amelia Gottieb, the head of the internship program here,”

“Ok,” Peter said awkwardly. “Um, can I sit down?” Ms. Gottieb smiled. 

“Of course. This is Mr. Stuart and Mr. Nelson, who will be helping interview you” Ms. Gottieb gestured to the two men sitting beside her. 

“So,” started one of the men, “the work you submitted with your resume was quite impressive. What more can you tell us about it?” 

Peter blinked. He hadn’t been sure why he had been accepted, but he had doubted it had been because of the robot he had made. “Oh, um, I call the robot I made Baymax, like from Big Hero 6? He can assist in administering first aid and stabilizing people that have been injured, like instruct CPR and help immobilize broken bones. Oh, and he can like, fly to get help if the person using it is out of cell service, and could probably fly alongside a person if they were walking somewhere if not for the battery problem,” 

“Yes, can you tell us about the battery problem?”

Peter sighed. “I was going to use solar power or something, but I don’t have access to anything of that sort, so that was out of the question. I figured that I probably wouldn’t want to have it charge by being plugged in, because in a lot of situations that wouldn’t work out, but for now, it kinda has to. Also, I’m not much good at any of that, so it would’ve been like, impossible. The other thing is that the battery sucks, so I doubt it would’ve had the power to fly unless it was necessary,” 

Amelia nodded, writing something down on the paper in front of her. “Tell me a little about yourself, Mr. Parker,” one of the men started. Peter thought for a second, wondering how he had come in so unprepared.

“Um, I go to Midtown Tech. I mostly do engineering stuff, but I took a few programming classes to make Baymax and I like chemistry too. I’m on the AcaDeca team, and…” Peter froze, wondering what else he could say. 

“Ok,” Ms. Gottieb scribbled some more notes on her clipboard. “What are your professional strengths and weaknesses?”

Peter smiled. He had figured this would come up. “I think I’m a pretty diligent worker and I can learn new skills decently fast. As for my weaknesses, I’m not the greatest at working with others, and I tend to overestimate how much energy I have and how much I can do. I also kinda fail at really anything having to do with writing, like essays and explaining my work and all that,”

The man next to Ms. Gottieb nodded. “Alright. Why do you think we should choose you instead of another candidate?” 

“Um…” Peter blinked. He honestly didn’t know how or why he of all people had gotten this far. “I don’t know?” he chuckled awkwardly. “I’m not actually sure why I got this far. I honestly just applied to this position on a whim, because SI is honestly amazing, and it works as a force for good within the world when it could probably make more money selling weapons to the government and-” Ms. Gottieb nodded, calmly cutting off what Peter figured was turning into a ramble. “Ok, moving on,” she said, not unkindly. “Can you tell us why you say you aren’t good at working with others?”

“Um, whenever I’m in a group project in school, I tend to do most of the work myself unless I’m working with my friends, and I also try and avoid the people I dislike, but usually, there are people in my group that aren’t the nicest, so group projects usually tend to work out really poorly,” Ms. Gottieb smiled understandingly before moving onto the next question.

 

    “Peter!” came May’s excited voice. “Get your ass home, now,” 

Peter froze. “Are you mad?” he asked. He wasn’t sure what had happened, but by the sound of it, Ned probably wouldn’t be able to hang out.

“Hell no, it’s about the internship. You-” May cut off. “Just get home,” 

“Um, ok? Can Ned come over?” 

“Yeah, course, just hurry,” May seemed to have calmed down a bit. Peter put his phone down as May hung up. 

“Dude, what was that about?” Ned asked. Peter shrugged. 

“May said it’s about the internship position I applied for a few weeks ago,” 

Ned stared at Peter. “You mean the mother-fucking-Stark-internship you applied to? Bro, you probably got it,” 

Peter shook his head instinctively. “No, there's like, no way I got it. It’s for college students, remember?”

 Ned raised his eyebrows. “I guess we’ll find out. Did May say I could come over?” 

Peter nodded, turning towards the bus window. He had pretty much blown his interview, so he had pretty much given up on the internship. Honestly, Peter wondered if he should accept the internship if he somehow was given it, given that then he would be a teenage superhero working at the company of Tony Stark, who just happened to be an Avenger. Peter sighed.

“Y’know, I probably should reject the internship even if it’s offered to me,”

Ned looked over at Peter, shocked. “You think you should reject the internship because of Spider-Man.”

 Peter nodded. “I didn’t expect to get this far, but… whatever. I probably didn’t get it anyway,”

Ned nodded back, much to Peter’s surprise. “Sure. Let’s say you didn’t get it. But promise me, if you get it, you’ll accept,”

Peter sighed. “Fine. But there’s no way in hell I got it,”

Ned chuckled. “I doubt that, but thanks for promising, now, let’s go,”

“Oh shit!” Peter snapped, realizing they were at their stop. Peter jumped up, nearly sprinting to the door of the bus, Ned closely following.

    By the time they reached the apartment, Ned was positively buzzing with excitement, and Peter was about ready to throw himself off a cliff. Ned rushed upstairs as Peter lagged, still trying to make sense of the situation. Peter supposed it wouldn’t be horrible if he got the internship, seeing as it would be ridiculously fun, but he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to risk his secret identity, even though he knew he would have access to better tech. Peter paused. Right now, his webs came from extra ingredients from the chemistry lab, and his webshooters came from spare parts in the dumpster. He could probably use the upgrade, now that he thought of it. Finally, Peter pushed open the door to his apartment.

“Peter!” May cried. Peter froze, his eyes going from the evil grin spread across Ned’s face to the phone laying in May’s hand. 

“Uh, yes?” Peter said, praying he didn’t sound as awkward as he felt.

“You got it!”

Frick. 

Slowly, Peter made eye contact with Ned. “You promised,” Ned reminded him.

“Dammit,” Peter mumbled.

Chapter Text

Peter didn’t think he would find himself after school a few days later standing in the lobby of SI, but here he was. Ms. Gottieb had emailed him saying she would meet him in the lobby, but Peter didn’t see her. Finally, just as Peter had worked up the courage to ask the receptionist if something was wrong, the elevator doors opened and a kid with electric-green hair and hazel eyes sprinted out.

“Hey,” the kid said breathlessly. “You’re Peter Parker, right?” Peter nodded. “Eli. Pronouns they/them. You?”

“He/him. Uh, who are you?” 

“I’m Eli Jenkins. Mellie’s busy, so I’m going to be showing you around. She said you might want someone ‘of your own age’ to show you around. I’m the youngest intern- or I guess the second youngest, now. Thanks, ” they said without much bite.

“Who’s Mellie?” Peter asked. 

Eli rolled their eyes. “Um, Amelia Gottieb, supposed to show you around? Interviewed you? Your boss?”

“Ms. Gottieb?”

 They stared at him for a second.

“I like you, new kid. But you can call her Mellie. Like seriously, I tried calling her Ms. Gottieb when I got here. Didn’t end well,” 

Peter chuckled, trying to drill Ms. Gottieb- no- Mellie’s name into his head. “Ok. I’ll try and remember that,” 

“Yeah, it’s not too hard. Anyway, I think we should head up to the labs. You need to meet the others. Honestly, they are kind of the most chaotic souls I’ve ever met, and that’s saying something,”

Peter laughed as Eli started walking. “I’ve met some pretty strong chaotic beings, so I think I’ll be fine,” 

Eli stopped walking and turned to Peter, a grave expression on their face. 

“We all think that.” Eli’s voice dropped an octave. “We are all wrong,” 

Peter frowned. That’s not ominous at all… “But you’ll be fine. Probably.” Eli’s face scrunched up. “Maybe. The worst that’s happened is the ‘OMG it’s a giant buffalo’ incident,”

Peter stayed silent, unsure of what to make of that information. Eli shrugged meekly as they stepped into the door to the elevator. Peter looked around it, trying to find the buttons on the sleek metal, but failing. He remembered being in this elevator on his way to the interview, but now that he thought of it, he hadn’t actually pressed any buttons. The elevator had just gone up on its own. “FRI, take us up to the R&D interns’ floor,” Eli said.

“Got it,” a voice said, seeming to come from nowhere. Peter jumped. 

“Um, Eli? What was that?” 

Eli raised their eyebrows. “That’s FRIDAY, the building’s AI. I’m surprised you haven’t read about her. Say hi,” Peter paused. He had read about FRIDAY when he was building Baymax, but he didn’t think the AI would just talk to random people, seeing as it had been designed by Tony Stark for Tony Stark.

“Hello. I am FRIDAY, an AI who runs the building. I believe you are Le-” Peter winced. FRIDAY paused and Peter smiled to himself. He didn’t want someone he had just met knowing his deadname. “Peter Parker, new intern here at Stark Industries. Welcome to the family, Peter,” Peter let out a breath. 

“Yeah. Thanks. I read about you when I was creating a robot called Baymax,” 

“Good to meet you, Peter,”

“Yeah, so that’s FRIDAY. She usually makes sure Nick doesn’t blow the lab up whenever Mellie’s gone,”

“Um. Pardon my French, but what the fuck? ” Eli turned towards Peter, eyebrows raised. 

“Yeah, you got yourself into a bit of a mess. Nick’s an intern. His experiments can be quite… destructive.” They smirked as the elevator doors opened.

“Eli! Nick set off a- just follow me, actually,” A girl that looked to be in her late teens or early twenties ran up to Eli, her dark brown hair frazzled. Eli turned to Peter, slowly backing away to follow the woman.

“I gotta go handle this. Remember, I mentioned Nick, with the destructive experiments? I think he might’ve made another one,” Eli ran towards a closed glass door, grinning despite the gravity of the situation. Peter sighed. He felt like a sore thumb, with everyone running around him as Peter just awkwardly stood there, wondering what the hell was wrong with this Nick guy and why the heck people were smiling to themselves as they glanced at Peter.

Finally, a few minutes later, the girl who had talked to Eli walked up to Peter. 

“Hi. What is happening?” Peter asked nervously.

The girl stared at Peter. “I stop watching Nick for one second, one fucking second, and he makes an unstable grenade full of gas that makes you high. And blows it up in the damn lab,”

“Wait. What?”  

“Let’s start this again,” the girl took a breath. “Hi. I’m Jada, one of the college interns at Stark Industries. We had a bit of an accident in one of the labs because somebody tried testing something outside of the explosion rooms. Eli’s busy making sure everything’s being handled and alerting Mellie. Now, some of the interns are tripping balls, but you should meet them. You can meet the high ones tomorrow” 

“Ok then. Why exactly are some of the interns ‘tripping balls?’”

“Weeeeeeelllll… good question. Some idiot known as Nick thought that a grenade full of anesthetic-like gas was a good idea. Only, Nick doesn’t really know much about grenades, so it exploded and, long story short, got people really high,” Peter nodded, still immensely confused. Jada suddenly smiled evilly. “Holy fuck, I just got a really good idea. Nick needs to be humiliated for his actions and he’s high as fuck, so why don’t we… have you meet him to see how he reacts?” 

Peter smiled. He remembered May making fun of him for months after he got his wisdom teeth out because he had ended up claiming he was Spider-Man. Then she had found out he was Spider-Man, and May had made fun of him even more. “Yeah. That sounds fun,”

Jada led Peter to a messy desk with a dude sitting on a computer. Sitting on a freaking computer . The dude, Nick, Peter presumed, was tall and would’ve been incredibly intimidating if not for… well, pretty much everything besides his looks. 

“Hey Nick,” Jada called. Nick looked up from his phone. 

Jada. ” he cried, his voice tight with emotion, “Have you seen Fennec Foxes? They’re so cute, and I need one. Now,” 

Jada squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, stifling her laughter. “Hi Nick,” she said after a second. “This is…” she paused. “What did you say your name is?” 

“Oh. I’m Peter Parker. You’re Nick, right?” Nick stared up at Jada. 

“BETRAYAL!” he screamed suddenly. The other interns looked up, pausing what they were doing for a moment before going back to it as though nothing had happened. “You know what? I’m about to say it,” Nick started. Peter looked up.

“I have been summoned,” he muttered. “I don’t care that you broke your elbow!” Peter finished. Nick looked up at him in awe and the other interns looked up. 

“I think you’ll fit in just fine here,” one of them said.

Chapter Text

“So, how was the internship?”

Peter looked up at May. The first day of his internship was absolute chaos, in the best way possible. 

“Honestly, I got there and the first thing that happened was that a grenade went off that made like half of the interns super high and the person giving me a tour ran off to deal with that, then I met the person making the grenade, who was, like, tripping balls and he quoted a vine so I was happy. Then I got my workspace set up and got the boring stuff ready. Oh, and there’s another high school intern, too, named Eli who’s nice, and one of the interns said I should bring Baymax next time I go,” 

May raised her eyebrows. “Wow. That sounds… pretty crazy,” 

Peter nodded. “It was. I’m gonna head out in a few if that’s good with you,” 

May sighed. “Can’t you take one day off from Spider-Man?” May sighed at Peter’s expression. “Fine, but be back by 12:00, got it?” Peter nodded, running into his room to get his suit on. May had been supportive enough about the whole ‘my nephew is a superhero and hid it from me’ thing, mostly because she had said that she knew she wouldn’t be able to stop Peter from being Spider-Man if she tried, so instead she focused on making sure he was safe. Peter gently stripped off his school binder, taking a moment to enjoy the freedom of being able to breathe deeply again for a moment before getting into the larger binder he wore for Spider-Manning and exercise in general and putting his sweaty suit on. One of the downsides of being on T was that Peter became a lot sweatier, but Peter couldn’t care less as he swung out the window of his apartment building. Yes, maybe he smelled like crap if he missed a shower, but T had alleviated his dysphoria to a point nothing else had, so it was worth it.

 

Peter swung his legs off the edge of the building. Today had been a slow day, but his spider-sense had been tingling for the past few hours, so Peter hadn’t quite been sure what to think. He didn’t feel that he was in danger, but instead, it felt as though something huge was about to happen. All of a sudden, he felt his spider-sense go crazy. Peter stood up, yanking his mask back over the bottom half of his face. He could hear a quiet whooshing getting closer to him, and for a second, Peter froze. That couldn’t be who it sounded like, could it? Peter stayed, looking off the building. He trusted his extra sense enough to know it would tell him if what he had heard was real and it wasn’t long until his suspicions were confirmed. Peter turned around as the Iron Man suit landed behind him. 

“Why are you here?” Peter said, turning around. He knew it was rude, but he had to admit that he honestly had no idea why Tony Stark would hold any interest in him. Peter jumped, suddenly. Mr. Stark probably was here because he was mad about the plane crash Peter had unintentionally caused.

“So, you’re the Spider-Kid,” Peter stared at the suit. 

“Uh…” 

The suit opened, revealing Tony Stark. Peter’s eyes widened. “Eloquent,” the man said. “You stopped Adrian Toomes from stealing my shit, right?”

Peter nodded. “Sorry about the plane,” he said, unable to stop himself. Mr. Stark cocked an eyebrow. 

“Yeah, I don’t really care about the plane. Better to have all the stuff on the plane than to have the plane,” 

Peter let out a breath. “R-really? I thought you’d be mad and like go all I’m-Iron-Man-don’t-take-my-stuff on me and like try and kill me or some sh-stuff like that,” Stark rolled his eyes. 

“‘Course. I guess I’m supposed to say thanks or something like that, but I’m, well, me, so I say I make you a suit instead,” 

Peter sucked in. “You’re kidding,” 

“Nope. Now, you gonna tell me who you are, or do you just want us to both pretend I can’t figure out who you are,”

Peter paused. He wasn’t sure if Stark meant that he would go after Peter’s identity if he refused to tell him. 

“If I don’t tell you, will you go after it on your own?” 

“Nah. I might have revealed my identity as quickly as humanly possible, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to,” Peter smiled gratefully. 

“Thank you, sir,” 

Stark chuckled. “Got it.” 

Chapter Text

Peter grinned as the FRIDAY read off his name.
“Peter Parker. Blue clearance. R&D intern,” He felt as though the last few weeks had been a dream; he would go up to the labs and all the people he had met would be gone. To an extent, Peter did wish that would happen, just because if Peter never had any of this, he couldn’t lose all of this. Peter opened the door to the lab. Immediately, he spotted Ms. Gottieb standing by his desk. Peter’s eyes widened.
“Uh, Ms. Gottieb, hi. What’re you doing here?” Too late, Peter remembered what Eli had told Peter about Mellie. Not Ms. Gottieb.
“Hi, Peter. You should call me Mellie, by the way,” Mellie turned to face him, and Peter found himself surprised at how different Mellie looked today. Her blonde hair was haphazardly spilling out of a ponytail that couldn’t have been safe in the lab and her lab coat had splotches of brown and grey on it, but her face held a genuine smile on it. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here to show you around the first day. How’d Eli do?”
“They did…” Peter paused, wondering how honest he should be. “As well as they could when there’s something exploding within the lab,”
Mellie cocked an eyebrow. “Wow. That’s better than I expected. Anyway, I doubt you got to start a project here yet. Are you going to finish your robot, uh, Baymax, up? You probably could get the others to help out with your battery problem before you’re given any assignments”
Peter grinned. “‘Course. And I probably won’t be using stuff from dumpsters anymore, so I guess that’ll be a step up,”
“Great! You should ask Eli, she’s good at that stuff,”
“Oh- thanks, I will,”
A few hours later, Peter grinned at Eli. “I think we got it,” He said nervously. “Ready to test it?”
Eli nodded as Peter slowly reassembled the robot, both amazed by how different it looked. They had replaced most of the non-programmable parts of the robot, leaving really only Baymax’s brain, a computer that Peter had also brought, untouched. They hadn’t ended up working on the battery, in the end, instead focusing on making the robot look less like it was made of trash, which, Peter supposed it kind of was. Eli gently picked Baymax up as Peter finished and gently set it down on Peter’s hand.
“Damn,” they muttered. The tiny drone had been painted white and red and was made of new parts, and it looked like a totally different piece of tech. “Ok,” Eli started. “I’m going to turn it on,”
The robot sputtered for a second before gently floating into the air and beeping. Peter squeezed his eyes shut, hoping it would work.
“Hello, I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion,” Baymax said, it’s speaker tinny as it played the recording. Peter jumped up.
“Yes!” he yelled. Eli turned to him.
“I’m gonna turn it off, ‘kay?” Peter nodded, forcing himself to sit down as Baymax landed back in his hand. Eli grinned at Peter. “That was a complete and utter failure,” they said dryly. Peter stared.
“Wh- oh, nevermind,” he sputtered, realizing Eli was being sarcastic. Eli rolled their eyes at him.
“Let’s go get Nick and Jada. It’s dinnertime,”
Peter raised his eyebrows. “Really? We weren’t working for that long, were we?” Eli squinted at him.
“We just worked for five hours straight,”
“FRIDAY,” Peter asked, “Is that true?”
Peter barely jumped when FRIDAY’s voice came from the ceiling. “You have been working for approximately five hours and forty-five minutes,”
Even Eli looked surprised at that. “Come on, Petey. Let’s go get dinner,”
“Petey? Really? I’ve known you for like, three days and you’re calling me Petey?”
Eli glared at Peter. “Yes. Do you have a problem with that?” They said, walking on without Peter. “Come on, let’s go get dinner,”
“So, Stark Industries honestly has the best cafeteria,” Nick said, gesturing to the space around them. “There are two of them, right? And they say it’s a cafeteria, but really it’s more like a food court where both employees and visitors can go. They have Indian food. Indian food, Peter. I can’t live without my Aloo Chole and Chana Masala, ok?” Peter nodded, glancing at Jada and Eli, both of whom were laughing.
“He isn’t kidding, kid. I’ve seen that dude eat three dishes by himself. For reference, one order from here is usually enough for two people,” Peter’s eyes widened. “And it’s free,”
“Wait, really?” Jada nodded.
“Yeah. You can imagine why that’s good for two broke-ass college students,”
Or one broke-ass spiderling.
“Or Eli,” Nick added. Peter looked over to Eli. He might’ve only known them for a few days, but he could tell they were being unusually quiet. “You should see Eli,” Nick continued. “You get more food than me most days,”
“Yeah,” Jada said, “And you don’t even eat all of it and just take it home,” Eli nodded.
“What? They have free cheese. I mean, have you tried the feta here? It’s almost as good as the feta my family made. And the brie, they have free brie,” Peter paused.
“Wait, your family makes feta?” asked Nick excitedly. Eli nodded.
“Yeah, they did, before everything happened,” Nick looked at Eli questioningly but didn’t say anything. Jada just shrugged when Peter looked at her. “What type of food do you like, Peter?” Eli asked. Peter pretended not to notice Eli changing the subject.
“Um, I don’t know. My aunt isn’t great at cooking, but I like Italian,”
“Ok, you guys cool with Italian?”
Jada and Nick nodded as Eli made their way to the counter of decent-looking Italian place.
Once they had all ordered, Nick ran over to a table, followed closely by Eli and Jada, both of whom seemed to understand what was happening. Peter trailed behind, seeing that another group of people had been about to sit down.
“Guys, they were kinda about to sit here…” Peter paused, embarrassed.
“That’s fine,” Jada said. “We call this table Hans Island,”
Peter grinned. He had read about Hans Island online and, much like the militaries of Canada and Denmark, found the dispute to be hilarious. “Wait, are you guys like Canada or something?”
Eli stared at him. “No, you heathen. We are proud Denmarkians,”
Jada grinned. “None of us are over twenty-one, so we just buy apple juice and write ‘welcome to Denmark’ on a post-it and leave it for the Canadians and for some reason the other employees that aren’t a part of this just accept it,”
“So, who are the Canadians?” Jada hesitated. “Come on, spill,” he added.
“Some other interns. Caleb and Sarah, you know them?” Peter nodded.
“The couple?” He remembered meeting them on his first day, and Caleb had helped with Baymax.
Eli shook their head. “Technically speaking, they aren’t a couple, but that’s definitely gonna change soon. No saying anything to them, though. Caleb’s… sensitive about that, and went Caleb gets mad, Sarah does too, and she is scary.”
“They really aren’t a couple?” Jada took a breath.
“Not yet, but honestly we have a Pinterest board for the wedding,” Peter’s eyes widened.
“You guys are more of disaster gays than the kids at my school,” he said, amazed. Jada chuckled and Eli stopped laughing.
“Dammit,” they said. “Your gaydar is on point and significantly better than mine,”
“Wait- wait. What?” Peter stopped. Was he that obvious?
“I mean, you’re a bisexual mess, obviously-” Didn’t Eli just say his gaydar was better than theirs and then figure out his sexuality? “And I honestly thought Jada and Nick were straight when I met them. Your gaydar figured them out pretty quickly.”
Oh.
They weren’t talking about the fact that Peter was trans. They just got tipped to his bisexuality. Thank goodness.
“Yeah,” Peter began, “but you just figured out that I’m bi, and what type of bi, so your gaydar can’t be that bad,”
Eli shrugged. “Maybe. Are you a peace sign bisexual or a finger gun bisexual? I mean, I think I know, but me and Nick disagreed, so… spill,”
Peter stared at Nick. “You too?”
Nick shrugged sheepishly. “What? Bi’s detect bi’s,”
Peter smiled and shot two finger guns at Nick. “Agreed,”
Eli’s face fell as Nick’s lit up simultaneously.
“Fuck,”
“I told you.” Nick grinned. “Now go get me my Aloo Chole,”
Eli didn’t move, simply opting to flip Nick off instead.
“Oh, you’re gonna play that game? Well, would you look at that, now I have two,” Nick said playfully, holding up two middle fingers and gently jabbing Eli in the arm with them. Eli’s face twitched, momentarily revealing an evil smirk so tiny that Peter could only see it because of his enhanced senses, but otherwise didn’t react. Peter and Jada exchanged a look. She had definitely seen Eli’s expression. Peter wondered how before remembering that Jada seemed to know what Eli had meant when they said that something had happened with their family, and figuring that Jada and Eli were probably pretty close. They had certainly acted like that when they were working together. Peter looked up, wondering how long he had zoned out for. Nick was still jabbing Eli, nearly putting all his body weight into the jabs in an attempt to force Eli to react. Finally, Nick turned to shoulder Eli, putting a bit too much force into it. Eli dodged out of the way, but Nick had seemed to depend on the idea that Eli would be there to catch his weight. Instead, he fell into the air and tumbled out of his seat. Nick blinked innocently as he took in his surroundings from his new vantage point on the floor.
“Fuck you, Eli,” he muttered., not even addressing Jada, who was nearly joining Nick on the floor in laughter. Peter blinked, replaying what happened in his head. Nick flying out of his seat, scrambling for balance and somehow managing to land on his butt looking like an idiot.
Ok. Breath. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh, don’tlaughdon’tlaughdon’t
Peter giggled uncontrollably, feeling tears in his eyes from his struggled against laughter.
“Shit, shit!” he managed through his giggles. “Can’t breath,” he said, staring awkwardly at Nick and feeling himself losing balance. Peter felt his muscles relax and suddenly he was a melting pile of laughter lying on the floor of his workplace. Dammit. This was not how his second day was supposed to go.

Chapter Text

Peter grinned, blindly high fiving Nick without looking up.

“Holy shit,” Nick muttered. “You got it,” Peter smiled. 

“Do you wanna go test it?” he asked excitedly. Nick shrugged.

“I’m sure we can test it here,” 

Peter’s eyebrows flew up. “I can see why you always mess up the labs. You know this has liquid nitrogen in it, right? You could get, like, severely injured using it,”

“Dude, I’m not the one exploding stuff! Eli, Jada and Sarah have literally teamed up to make all my experiments explode when they don’t work. I think they climb in the vents and drop the little bombs they make on my failed explosions,” 

Peter put his hand over his mouth. Nick didn’t seem to be joking. “You really think- you know what, I don’t care anymore. You’re taking your new bomb thing to the explosion rooms, I’m staying here,” Nick nodded as Peter handed him the broken model they had been working on earlier and walked out, leaving Peter relatively isolated. Peter grinned, a plan forming in his head as he ran over to Jada’s desk.

“Yo, Jada, can you do me, like, a huuuge favor?” Jada looked up and opened a drawer without asking any questions. Peter looked inside.

“Thanks!” he grabbed one, pretty surprised that Nick was right. 

Peter cursed under his breath, glaring down at the map beneath him. 

One more left

Peter crawled forward, cringing as the metal creaked beneath him. Why had he thought this was smart? At least Eli was smaller than him, so it would be easier for them to climb through the vents. Peter gently maneuvered himself around the final corner, seeing a light coming from the bottom of one of the panels about a yard in front of him. Scrambling forward, Peter could make out Nick setting everything up for the test run. Peter pried the vent cover off and took the tiny bomb Jada had shown him last week.

“It has a twenty-second denotation time. Technically, Nick made the tech for it but Eli and Sarah figured out how to compact it. It’s a lot weaker than the original, and they replaced the shrapnel with this sticky dust stuff that gets everywhere,” 

Sarah Reeves, another intern, grinned. “Use them wisely. And be careful if you go into the vents, I got stuck in one once. We usually have Eli go in there because they’re really small,” 

“Once you set it off, crawl like hell, like Eli told me,”

Peter smiled, watching Nick taking the dummy gun and getting ready to release one of the nonexistent bombs inside it. Peter started the timer and threw it to the ground before crawling as fast as he could away. 

“What the fuck ?” yelled a voice a moment later. Peter laughed helplessly. “ Peter!” Nick yelled. Peter crawled as fast as he could, not caring about the noise. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Peter lowered himself out of the vent, landing lightly on his feet within an unfamiliar janitorial closet. 

“Fuck,” Peter said aloud. “This isn’t the bathroom,” Peter sighed and pushed the door open. 

He didn’t expect a roomful of scientists that had been working in near-silence to greet him. “Um, hi?” he said awkwardly. For a moment, the scientists just stared at Peter, frozen looking up from their computer screens. Finally, one stood up. 

“I’m Dr. Nelson,” Peter nodded. 

“You interviewed me, right?” 

“Yes. Obviously, Mellie can’t choose anyone normal to work in the intern department. I imagine you were trying to pull a prank or something?” Peter nodded shamefully, glancing at the computer Dr. Nelson had been working on. He had heard about the project he was working on a while back, but by the looks of it, Nelson seemed pretty stuck.

“Hey, this isn’t my place, but what if you, like, made that part have two ninety-degree angles instead of a curve, it would-” Peter stopped. Dr. Nelson was staring at him. “Sorry,” he muttered. It took a moment for Nelson to say something, but when he did, it wasn’t what Peter had been expecting.

“Kid, that’s actually super smart. Jones,” he gestured to a woman sitting beside him, “can you see if that works?” the woman nodded. 

“Thanks, kid. Maybe there’s method to Mellie’s madness after all,” Peter paused. The woman, Jones’, words seemed mean enough, but she said the fondly enough to make Peter wonder if the two were friends. “If you don’t have anything else to do, you are welcome to stay here and help out,” Jones added. Dr. Nelson nodded and Peter smiled gratefully. 

“Really? That would be so cool!” Dr. Nelson smiled.

“Yeah. Sit down, kid. We’re pretty stuck on this,” 

By the time Peter was done, it was almost time for him to go. Admittedly, he kind of figured the adults could’ve done all the work he had, but the company of an outsider had brightened their spirits, so Peter had stayed. 

“Nice job, Peter,” 

“Thanks!” he said grinning. 

“We’re gonna stop holding you prisoner now, so you can go if you want,” Peter smiled, running towards the elevator. Peter sighed. He had other stuff he had to do, but it was worth it, right? The people working there seemed happy to have him there. Peter shook his head. He had a few hours of homework and had to finish up part of a robot he was working on with the other interns.

“Looks like I’m not sleeping tonight,” he said to no one. 

Chapter Text

MJ had to admit, she was worried about Peter. Spider-Man was regularly beginning his patrol at around 2:00 in the morning and staying out until 4:00 or 5:00. Meanwhile, Peter had been falling asleep in classes and barely had the energy to attend school, but still tended to tell everyone he was perfectly fine. Because that was sooooo smart. MJ rolled her eyes, glancing towards Peter, who was napping in his seat, then to the clock. 

Shit. The bell was about to ring. If Peter wasn’t awake for that, it would be absolute hell on his ears.

“Peter.” She called. “I can’t have you slacking in class,” Peter groaned. “Dude, get up,” MJ sighed. It wasn’t her choice to become the assigned Peter-Protector during math. It just sucked that Ned wasn’t in this class and Peter was ridiculously skilled at screwing himself over. MJ had seen Peter's senses go off one too many times. She didn't want to see that again. Ever. Peter looked up at her groggily. “Welcome back,” she said sarcastically. “‘Bell’s about to ring.” He smiled at her gratefully.

“Awwww… you care,” 

MJ rolled her eyes. “Don’t tell anyone,” she said as the bell rang. Peter winced. MJ sighed. “Peter, are you so tired because of the internship?” Peter’s eyes widened. 

“No- why- no! Of course not,” Peter stuttered out, forcing a laugh. “Why would you think that?” MJ raised her eyebrows. 

“Because ever since you got the job, you’ve been going out on patrol later, which means you’re getting back later, which means… well, it means that you’re being overworked,” 

Peter shrugged. “Nah, I stay late- it’s not the job’s fault, just everyone needs help, and that means I just get a bit less sleep, y’know?” MJ sighed. They both knew “a bit less” probably meant going to sleep around the time people started waking up.

“Fine. Don’t think I’m dropping this,” MJ said, walking off with a particular destination in mind. 

“Ned.” She said. “I need help. Can you get me into Peter’s phone?” Ned stayed silent for a second, seeming to digest what MJ had just said. 

“Maybe,” he said suspiciously. “Why do you want to get into Peter’s phone?” 

“I need to talk to someone in his internship. He’s been overworking himself to death,”

Ned nodded. “Ok. I’ll get you in during lunch,” MJ sighed.

“I swear, there needs to be, like, a designated protector of Peter with him at all times. Us and May are not enough,” Ned chuckled. 

“Remember that time he wore his binder for 24 hours straight?” 

MJ scoffed dryly. “No,” she said after a second. She never wanted to speak of that incident again. 

By the time they had both made it to the lunchroom, Peter was sitting there waiting. Well, not sitting there. He was passed out, face was pressed into the table, and Ned took his phone out. Within a few seconds, it was unlocked and he handed it to MJ. She almost wondered if he had just known the password. It didn’t matter. She opened his contacts and scrolled down to the name Eli. She had heard enough about this Eli kid to know they probably disliked Peter’s failure to care for himself as much as MJ did. She quickly entered the number into her own phone and smiled gratefully at Ned.

MJ sighed. This would be humiliating if she had gotten the number wrong, but that didn’t matter now. MJ pressed call.

“Hello?” someone answered after a second. 

“Hi, is this Eli Jenson?” she asked. 

“Yeah. Who’s this?” 

“Um, my name is MJ. I’m a friend of Peter Parker’s,”

Eli laughed confusedly. “Why are you calling me?” they asked, not maliciously

“I need to recruit you. We need someone else to protect Peter,”

“Uh… why?” 

MJ laughed dryly. “Because Peter is a complete failure at taking care of himself. Just make sure he leaves before 10:00, ok? And maybe, like, make him eat occasionally and warn his other friends?” 

“OK. Got it. This have anything to do with him constantly being exhausted and helping out in the other departments until like, 12:00 every night?” 

MJ nodded before remembering that Eli couldn’t see her. “Is that what he’s been doing?”

“Yeah. I’ll keep an eye on him,” she smiled.

“Thanks,” she said, hanging up.

“Hey, Peter?” Ned asked, tapping the boy on the shoulder. Peter moaned and dragged himself up. 

“Yeah, I’m awake,” he said. MJ chuckled. 

“So, Peter. What’ve you been doing in your internship?” 

Peter immediately brightened up. “So me and the others decided to make a robot, and we’re splitting up the work and Eli said we should call it the InternBot, and…” 

MJ smiled. She liked seeing Peter overly excited about something that didn’t involve him dressing in a poorly made Deadpool costume and stopping grand theft bicycle.

Chapter Text

Peter smiled. He had finished his work for today last night, so he could work on one of the R&D projects all afternoon. They were getting close to finishing, so Peter hoped he could leave early today.

“Peter!” yelled a voice. Peter looked up. Mellie jogged over to him, her face flustered. “The deadline for submitting the joint R&D robot was moved up and Sarah had a family emergency. Can you finish her part of the design? She’s like, almost done,” 

Peter sighed. “Fuck. Really?” Mellie nodded.

“Yeah. Something went wrong when the demo projects for the Stark science fair, so they can’t get here on time and the higher-ups want some prototypes and projects to be there instead. That includes Internbot,” Peter’s heart plunged. There goes any and all sleep he could’ve gotten tonight. 

“Ok. I’ll get it done,” Mellie flashed a grateful smile as she rushed off. Peter had almost finished his own project, but he had thought he had another few days to finish the remaining part of it, and he doubted he could both finish the water purifying project he was doing in the R&D department and finish his and Sarah’s projects. Peter sighed, making his way to the elevator as he began prioritizing his work. He had committed to working on the water purifier with the R&D people yesterday, so he probably should try to finish that, then put together Sarah’s project followed by his own then go home to work on homework. He figured he would probably be done with everything by about 2:00 AM, which left him with maybe two hours of time to patrol? That wasn’t a lot, but he needed enough sleep to function tomorrow. 

“Hey, FRIDAY?” Peter asked as he stepped into the elevator “Will I be able to function with two and a half hours of sleep?” 

The AI seemed to think for a second. “The average teenager needs eight hours of sleep every night,” 

“Got it.” Peter smiled bitterly. He could probably just get one of those five-hour energy things and he’d be fine, or maybe just nap through lunch. The elevator doors opened and Peter glanced around. Jada looked up from her work and gestured for him to come over. Peter complied, trying to make himself appear less exhausted. 

“Hey, Jada,” he said, praying that she wouldn’t have another task for him to complete. 

“So, Eli tells me you’ve been overworking yourself,” 

Peter blinked. “No- No!” 

Jada raised her eyebrows. “Really? Because a friend of yours from school literally called Eli during lunch to tell them that you’ve been overworking yourself,” 

“Ned called Eli?” Peter was surprised. Of course, Ned probably could get into his phone without trying at all, but still… he hadn’t thought he was being that obvious. 

“No, not Ned. Some chick. Eli didn’t say her name,”

“Wait… MJ? ” Jada shrugged. “Michelle Jones noticed I was sick. How the-” 

Maybe that made some sense. MJ was overly observative, but the idea that she would care enough to call someone in Peter’s workplace to say he was overworking himself was odd at best. Peter smiled at the thought despite the bleakness of the situation. 

“Peter?” Jada said awkwardly. “You with me?” Peter jumped. 

“Shit, sorry. I spaced out. I’ll try not to again, but like, I’m not overworking myself, but I kinda got a lot going on so I gotta go soon,” Jada cocked her hip, unimpressed. 

“You’d have to do better than that if you wanted to convince me,”

Peter felt a wave of unbidden anger wash over him. “Dammit, Jada! I have to finish my side of the joint robot, then I have to do all of Sarah’s work, but first I need to help the R&D department because they are way behind on some deadline and I promised I would, and somehow, I still need to finish Baymax fairly soon ‘cause Eli wants it to be done and I-” Peter cut himself off. He had been about to mention Spider-Man. He needed to make more web-fluid, desperately. Peter inhaled deeply. “I have enough on my plate without you telling me I’m overworking myself. I know I am, but there’s nothing to be done about it, ok?”

Jada stared at Peter for a second. “Peter, you know it’s possible to, like, ask for help?” she said softly. Peter sighed. 

“Asking for help?” he said, feigning shock. “Impossible!” Peter laughed dryly. 

“Really, Peter?” Peter sighed. 

“Fine. Can you help me?” he said begrudgingly. 

Jada lit up. “Of course! I already did my part of the robot, so I can finish up Sarah’s while you do your piece, and you can work on the water purifier project or whatever if you have time, ok?” 

“Yeah, but I already told the R&D people I’d be there, so I can’t…” 

“I’ll call them. You can finish up tomorrow,” 

Pete smiled hopefully.

 

Peter didn’t expect to see one of the R&D scientists on the intern floor, especially after Jada called them about Peter, but that was what happened. Peter clicked through the new computer he had been given as a part of the internship, sketching out how the different AutoDesk files would work together and double-checking the dimensions, intently focused on the task at hand as his head moved along with the instrumental music he was playing. If he had been paying attention, chances were his Spider-Sense would’ve tipped him off to the person standing at his shoulder before she tapped his back. Peter jerked up, shocked. 

“Oh, Mellie,” he said after a second. “Sorry, you scared me,” Mellie nodded.

“Sorry. And in the future, if you can’t take on more work, just tell me. But, um, someone’s here for you,” 

Peter slipped his headphones off, standing up. He winced, spotting Cate Bátori , who he was working on the water purification project with him. “Hey, Dr. B,” 

“Peter, Mellie told us you weren’t coming up today,” 

Peter glanced at Mellie. She shrugged. 

“Um, I have a lot of work to do, but I’m almost done with my internship project, so I could come and help out in a few minutes,”

Cate frowned. “Pete, I don’t know if you realized, but you’re the only one working on this project with any programming knowledge. The whole thing wasn't supposed to have any programming in it. We can’t have you bailing, you’re critical to the direction we’ve decided to take the project, and Ms. Potts wants a working prototype in time for the annual Stark Industries science fair,” 

“I mean, the interns were also given new deadlines ‘cause of the fair. I need to finish my part of the project. We’re making a robot that we need to demonstrate,”

“If I may,” Mellie said tentatively, “Peter, I can finish your part of the project if you’d like, and you could work with Dr. Bátori,” 

Peter shrugged. “Don’t you have stuff to do?” 

“None of it’s due tomorrow. I just finished getting everything straightened out with the fair, so I’m good to work on your project, Peter,” 

Peter grinned. “Ok. Thank you so much, I was pretty much screwed and-” Peter stopped, realizing he was jabbering. Mellie smiled. 

 

Three Hours Later

 

“Holy shit,” Peter breathed. He couldn’t believe he missed this. He had been working from one perspective all afternoon, but now, it looked like the design was completely inverted. It might take a bit of work, but if Peter’s calculations were right, he could probably get the purifier to work using about half as much energy. He smiled as his work sped up, and he was barely thinking about what he was doing, just letting the numbers spill out onto the page. He smiled. This was fun. Finally, he felt a tap on his shoulder and looked up. 

“I think I got it,” he declared, showing Dr. Bátori his notes. 

“Damn, kid. You did this on your own?” 

Peter shrugged. “Yeah. I know it’s not much, but I think it’ll cut down the power needed for the filter to work,”

“Uh, that’s gonna cut the power needed in half,” 

“I guess…” 

“Pete, what is it with you and not admitting when you do something good?”

Peter shrugged. “I’m gonna go now…” he stuttered awkwardly, moving to go to the elevator