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Track to the Future

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“…and if anyone needs anything at all during the night,” Mr. Harrington said, finally wrapping up his thorough Spending the Night on a Train Protocol, “Mr. Dell and I have compartments at either end of the car you’ll be sleeping in while your co-captains’ shared compartment is the first in the next car. Sometimes it’s easier to reach out to a peer if you’re experiencing any feelings of homesickness or stress ahead of tomorrow’s tournament. But remember, Mr. Dell and I are here to support you.”

“Nah, don’t knock on my door,” Mr. Dell said with a quick negative slice of his hand. “I’m taking a sleeping pill, you know the drill. I’ll also be putting my headphones on and turning the volume way up to sleep in a cocoon of music. I’m trying to spend as much of this trip as possible listening to jazz. By the time we roll into New Orleans, I’ll be fully immersed in the atmosphere.”

Peter’s eyes darted between the team’s chaperones as their group of ten sat crowded into adjacent booths in the dining car. The one person he was careful not to linger on was MJ. Things had been normal between them since boarding that afternoon―meaning they’d gotten in lots of quality moments of smiling at each other and looking swiftly away―until Mr. Harrington sprung on them the fact that they’d be sharing a sleeping cabin. Apparently, the train had double-booked a room, leaving the Midtown Academic Decathlon contingent one short. Their teachers (mostly one of them, after Mr. Dell begged not to be dragged into ‘this snafu’) had decided the best course of action was to pair up the captains. Surely, these were their two most responsible individuals. That’s what Peter assumed Mr. Harrington had been thinking. That and he probably hadn’t noticed the way Peter and MJ had been dancing around each other the past few months; as long as students were present, still breathing, and had all their limbs attached, he seemed satisfied. But Peter knew that he and MJ were going to have to be the real adults here and eventually confront the fact that they’d be spending the night on top of each other. Because bunk beds.

“Yeah, come find me or Peter if you need us,” MJ chimed in. Though her expression told Peter she was reluctant, the same instinct for leadership that made her a good captain was forcing her to speak up now. “Or text or something. I’ll keep my phone on.”

“Did you pack a phone charger?” Flash asked.

She narrowed her eyes at him.


“Can I use it?”

“I’m offering you emotional support, not access to my belongings. Some things are sacred.”

“Pfft,” Flash scoffed. “You just don’t want me showing up to ask for it. Scared I’ll interrupt something while you and Penis are shacked up together?”

Ned laughed loudly.

“MJ and Peter?” he asked doubtfully. “Are you kidding? Those two aren’t into each other at all.”

Peter appreciated that his best friend was trying to cover for him (he’d kept Ned abreast of his crush on MJ as it developed), but this was verging on overcompensation and it’d only make Flash more suspicious. Subtly, Peter shook his head to tell Ned to cut it out and his friend fell silent.

“Please, everyone, just go to your rooms,” Mr. Harrington implored. “I’ll be around to check on each of you over the next twelve to fifteen minutes. Don’t switch rooms, don’t get up unless you’re using the bathroom or asking for help, and please, please do not fall off the train.”

“How do you think they’re going to manage that?” Mr. Dell wondered.

“Things happen, Julius. Be thankful you haven’t seen what I have.”

“I was there for that Mysterio nonsense in Europe, remember? I’ve seen plenty.”

“But not everything…” Mr. Harrington trailed off hauntingly. Peter and Ned exchanged a look that said, is this guy ok?

On that note, everyone trooped to the sleeping car with their bags and said goodnight to each other. By the end of the car, there were just Peter’s footsteps ahead and MJ’s behind. He touched the door to open it and the two of them stepped into the vestibule between cars. There was a loud rattle of the train in motion, not muffled like it was in the cars, and it suddenly felt as though they were very much separated from everyone else. Now would probably be a good time to break the ice over them sharing a room. When Peter turned around, MJ was right there, waiting for him to press the other door and let them into their car. His mouth opened, but he froze. Giving him a look like he was being a weirdo, she reached around him and opened the door herself. Peter laughed awkwardly and proceeded.

“So, this one, I guess,” he said as they came to the door of the first room. “Should we…” He glanced at the floor, then quickly up into his co-captain’s difficult-to-read face. “MJ, should we talk about how strange this is? Us sharing this tiny room?”

She nodded slowly, giving him a tight smile.

“I just don’t want you to be uncomfortable,” Peter continued.

“I’m not uncomfortable,” MJ promised quickly.

“You’re not?”


“Oh, ok. Great.”

They were still looking at each other, still standing in the corridor instead of either one of them moving to open their door.

“It’s relaxing,” MJ offered after a few seconds of silence.

Peter perked up a little, pushing his shoulders back.

“Sharing a room with me?”

“Being on a train. Quiet, you know? Hey, you ever read Murder on the Orient Express?”

“No, but I’m guessing somebody gets murdered?” Peter ventured.

“That’s the gist of it,” she agreed.

Was she afraid that was going to happen to them? Had she only taken the step of reaching out to their teammates because she was the one who was scared?

“Nothing’s going to happen,” he assured her.

MJ sighed.

“You’re probably right. We’re not that lucky.”

Peter was still puzzling over that comment―was MJ saying it’d be unlucky for all of them to reach Louisiana alive?―as she let them into their room. He looked around her to take it in. There really wasn’t much of it to take in. She’d said she wasn’t uncomfortable, but he was sure his instinct to lighten the mood wasn’t misplaced. Should he joke about the small space being cozy? No, that sounded like he was trying to imply something romantic. Talk about the tournament tomorrow and completely ignore their forced intimacy? No, he was too tired to keep that up for long, especially if she offered to run through practice questions with him. Maybe rock-paper-scissors to choose bunks? Yeah, that was an immediate and practical problem that needed to be solved.

He was looking around for an out of the way spot to shove his bag as he asked, “You want top or bottom?”

“Uhhhh,” MJ replied.

“You can think about it while I go brush my teeth,” Peter offered, finding a spot for his bag, then reaching in for his pajamas and toiletry kit.

“Oh, that’s not indecision you hear in my voice. Look.”

He straightened up at her instruction. She was pointing at the wall, where what he’d taken at a glance to be the second bed, ready to fold down, was placed. He looked closer. Oh shit. It wasn’t a bed. Or, it didn’t exactly look like one. Peter would’ve investigated further, but MJ was already kicking her shoes off and climbing up to stand on the bottom (only?) bunk for a closer inspection. She flipped what was supposed to be the top bunk down and it came with a clatter and a cascade of straps.

“It’s for luggage,” she informed him.

Oh, he heard her, but he still heard himself ask, “What?”

“Like a thing you put your bag on and, I don’t know, strap it down so it doesn’t land on your head while you’re sleeping.”

“So, it’s not a bed.”

MJ clipped the not-a-bed into place, dropped back to the floor, and rolled her eyes at him. Yeah, that had sounded pretty stupid, but the comment hadn’t really been for her; it was more Peter’s way of verbally processing their current circumstances. Those being: two co-captains and one bed that looked proportionate to the room. But the room was tiny, which meant the bed was narrow as hell and probably not intended for two people, even when those two people planned to share it, because physical contact was no big deal for them, because their relationship was at that stage, because they didn’t have to look away from each other whenever they started to hold the stare just a little too long. Fuck, Peter was freaking out.

“Um,” he told MJ, flailing his pajamas and toiletries around, “why don’t you… and I’ll…” Peter jerked his thumb towards the door and, nodding like there’d been some kind of agreement made, exited their room while his co-captain gave him an odd look.

In the corridor, he almost screamed.

“You guys are first up on my bedtime check-ins list!” Mr. Harrington announced, looking up from a clipboard.

“Oh,” Peter replied.

“Yep, no pressure, but I came to you and MJ first because I’m counting on you to put me at ease. Please don’t tell me there’s anything wrong with your room,” he added, voice turning desperate.

“What room? Oh, our room? The room MJ and I are sharing? Well, it…” He swallowed. “It’s great. Small, you know, but, um, definitely has two beds.”

“Do you want me to take a quick peek inside?” his teacher offered. “I’ve led dozens of student trips and I’ve gotten pretty darn good at spotting damaged amenities, traces of bedbugs… Not that I could really do anything for you at this point. The room’s already booked and there isn’t another one the two of you could switch to. I suppose you could take my room while I slept in a seat on one of the cars, but of course, mine only has the one bed.”

“That’s ok. Everything’s good. Nothing’s broken or bedbuggy.”

Mr. Harrington was still looking at Peter like he was waiting for him to stop putting on a brave face and let the adult do a quick sweep. He should probably let him. MJ had put the luggage rack back the way they’d found it and they could pretend they hadn’t discovered it wasn’t a second bed yet. That would be the honest thing to do, and very possibly the thing MJ would want him to do. It was just that instinct was telling Peter to protect this secret opportunity. This very innocent chance for them to… bond and stuff. He wasn’t really sure, he didn’t have a plan, but all of his plans that involved MJ involved figuring out how to get closer to her, not how to run away. Figuring out how to share a single bed in a cramped room with an entire night ahead of them was basically the Chance for Closeness jackpot. If she disagreed, she could easily storm out and go to Mr. Harrington. Or slap Peter right across his opportunistic face. Or pretend to be cool with it, wait ‘til he fell asleep, and get her revenge by squeezing his entire tube of toothpaste into one of his shoes, or cutting holes in all his boxers. (He was ready to swear that one wasn’t sexual; he’d just had some very specific nightmares when their entire acquaintance was about him being wildly intimidated by her, before they became friends and he evolved to being only moderately intimidated.)

“It’s no trouble,” Mr. Harrington promised.

“MJ’s changing in there right now,” Peter blurted. It was the perfect excuse and came to him on the spot. “You could come back after you check the other rooms, but we’ll probably be fine. Anyway, MJ and I are both, um, mature enough to ask for help if we need it. No need to worry about us.”

He gave his teacher a tense, closed-lipped smile. Mr. Harrington seemed relieved.

“See you both in the morning then.”

“Yep, no problem!”

The second their chaperone was gone back into the other car, Peter opened the door and saw a flash of MJ’s stomach.

“What are you doing?” she yelped.

“What are you doing?” he shot back, hastily turning away and shutting the door of their little compartment.

“Putting my pajamas on! You just told Harrington I was in here changing!”

“Yeah, well, if you heard that then you know I told him a lot of things I didn’t think were true!”

“The presence of more than one bed may be a blatant lie, but didn’t you consider that I might actually be changing? I’m done, by the way,” she concluded in a less indignant tone.

Peter turned back around. Before he could stop himself, his gaze zoomed down her body. Her oversized t-shirt read ‘MICHELLE OBAMA’S ARMS BRAIN’ and her loose turquoise shorts just about disappeared under its hem. With wide eyes, he forced his gaze back to MJ’s face.

“Put yours on,” she suggested, eyes flicking to his and away.

Ok, this was it. This wasn’t the way he’d expected it to go. He’d though there’d be some kind of conversation first, or at least an acknowledgement of their feelings. Carpe diem, Peter guessed. He took a deep breath―probably the deepest he’d ever taken when he wasn’t dressed as Spider-Man and attempting to lift something heavy―and peeled his t-shirt off.

“Oh my god, nerd, in the bathroom, not here! Don’t make me regret staying quietly in this room while you lied to our teacher’s face.”

Flustered, Peter threw on the shirt he’d brought to sleep in and left the room without picking the other one up from the floor. In the bathroom at the far end of the car, he brushed his teeth, then stared at his face in the mirror for a minute, pausing for comprehension that didn’t come. What was happening? What had happened in that room? What would happen when he went back? It would probably have been helpful to talk this through with Ned, but MJ was waiting for him to let her know the bathroom was free. She was also most likely waiting for him to explain what the fuck his thought process had been in assuring Mr. Harrington that there were two beds, since she obviously had not been expecting Peter to start taking his clothes off in front of her. Though she’d definitely looked when he had. He’d noticed that.

This time, he knocked before entering.

“You’re done with the bathroom?” MJ checked, folding her toothbrush and toothpaste into a facecloth.

“Brushed my teeth and everything. You wanna taste the mint? Smell,” Peter corrected, blushing ferociously. “Smell the mint. Never mind. You don’t wanna do that.” He started to raise his hands apologetically as she slipped past him to open the door. “Forget I―”

He shut up instantly when his rising hand brushed her breast through her t-shirt. Shit. His eyes locked on hers as his lips parted to apologize, but MJ fisted the front of his shirt and tugged him into a quick, firm kiss. She broke it and released him.

“Probably a good idea if we talk about this when I get back,” she muttered and fled.

Alone in their room, Peter would’ve done a backflip if he’d had the space. Option B was repacking his bag and mentally cataloguing the potential lab injuries listed on his Chemistry class WHMIS test as a method of subduing the erection that had started to perk up when MJ grabbed his shirt like that. So maybe her reaction to him undressing had been more shock than anger or violation. She’d certainly repaid him for that; Peter was still a little stunned and his lips tingled like he’d been punched in the mouth. Punched very softly. By the mouth of the girl he had a huge crush on. He ran a finger across his lips as he zipped his bag back up. Then, there was nothing to do but… stand? Lean against the wall? Was sitting totally out of the question, since the one logical spot he could sit was on the bed they had yet to fully address? What the hell―he gave it a try. Immediately, his bare foot was jumping against the floor. Crap, should he have left his socks on? Was the floor of a train compartment as ready to give him nefarious foot diseases as the college residence showers May had already started warning him about, almost an entire year early? He wedged his bare feet back into his sneakers and stood with his arms anxiously crossed. MJ didn’t take long.

“Counter proposal,” she suggested as she stepped into their room and set her things on a teeny ledge that Peter didn’t know the purpose of.

He would’ve asked what was being countered, but MJ had him pushed against the wall in a second, her mouth planted back on his. Now they both tasted like mint. She was seriously not helping with his efforts to not have a boner right now. The fact that he was utterly amateur in the issue of how to hold a girl in a passionate embrace, and the evidence that she didn’t have any more experience kissing than he did (she kept catching his lip with her teeth and he wasn’t sure either of them knew whether it was intentional), didn’t actually seem to matter that much. His hands ended up on her hips, which wanted to tilt naturally towards his, and the fervour of her kisses calmed to something more enjoyable and bite-free when she appeared to overcome the way she’d surprised herself by kissing him in the first place.

“No,” she said, breathless as she drew back―his mouth might’ve chased puppyishly after hers for a second. “No, we should probably talk. I was right the first time. Counter proposal withdrawn.”

“Uh, withdrawal accepted,” Peter replied. He was dazed, his heart was kicking against his ribs, and if MJ looked down, she would see that part of him was still in favour of proceeding in a way that didn’t involve speech.

She huffed out a breath, fluffed a hand exasperatedly through her hair, and started packing away her bathroom paraphernalia. Meanwhile, he stood against the wall with a hard-on and watched her carefully seal her wet facecloth into a Ziploc bag. His brain was horniness and confusion. Finally, crouched on the floor by her luggage, MJ twisted to look up at him.

“I let you tell Mr. Harrington that there were two beds in this room,” she recapped. It wasn’t quite a question, but Peter nodded just in case she wanted the confirmation.

“You can go tell him something different.”

“Nah, I don’t really want to.”

“I could leave and you could keep this room, or maybe you could share with Betty, or―”

“I said I don’t want to,” MJ repeated. She moved to sit on the bed.

“So… what do we do?”

Peter was very curious about what her solution might be, mostly because he wasn’t 100% clear on what the problem was. If neither of them was bothered by the absence of a second bed and both of them had avidly participated in that tragically curtailed make-out session… well. He felt there were certain courses of action that would seem reasonable. But he didn’t trust himself to have a solid grip of what was going on, not when he remained semi-hard in his pajama bottoms and stared at MJ’s mouth as frequently as into her eyes.

“We… would have to share?” This time it was definitely a question and Peter nodded more slowly to acknowledge that question, rather than to agree with it outright.

“If you want both of us to stay, then, yeah. I don’t really want to sleep on the floor and I can’t stay awake all night with the tournament tomorrow.”

“And how would you feel about sharing?” MJ’s eyes darted to his face and down to her lap where she pulled her t-shirt down her thighs. It looked like she was doing it more for something to do than out of any inclination towards modesty. Also, the eye-contact avoidance said she was a little insecure about what his answer might be.

“I would feel, I would feel really good about it,” Peter stuttered out. She met his eyes.

“I like you,” MJ blurted.

“Me too. You.”

He smiled and she patted the bed at her side with an awkward, sarcastic expression. He took her invitation and stepped forward with a lurch to sit next to her. His gaze trailed down her arm to witness her gripping the edge of the bed with both hands. Her shoulders hunched, then shrugged back down.

“We’d be in pretty deep shit with a lot of people if anyone knew this was happening right now,” she speculated.

Peter laughed.

“Definitely.” He cleared his throat. “And, uh, what exactly is happening?”

MJ looked at him. Slowly, she reached for his face, turned and angled it to her liking, then gradually leaned in and, very softly, kissed him for the third time.

“Oh, ok,” he said as she drew back. “So the talking didn’t mean the kissing wasn’t going to continue.”

“I was trying to be responsible first.”

“Right. Co-captains.”

“There are expectations for our conscientiousness. And I will drop you like a hot potato if you threaten anyone’s belief in my conscientiousness.”

“You will?”

MJ smiled in a familiar way.

“You’re messing with me,” Peter realized, also smiling and rocking back slightly to scan the ceiling.

“About everything but the hot part.”

He straightened up immediately, completely focused on her.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. That’s really going to be a problem,” she said thoughtfully. Peter frowned. “For when we lie down on this thing―” MJ swatted the bed. “―and see what happens if we keep kissing.”

“I’m sorry my attractiveness is such a drawback for you,” he joked.

“I’d be better at resisting temptation if temptation didn’t have ridiculously chiseled abs.”

He puffed out a laugh and presented her with a lopsided smile, struggling between feeling embarrassed and really fucking thankful that he appealed to her in such a shallow way. For self-congratulation, he gave himself two whole seconds of side-eyeing the peaks of her boobs through her t-shirt.

“Actually, I’m not that clueless about what would happen,” she confessed. “I think it’d be pretty impossible for me to lie beside you and be chill about it.”

“That’s fine with me,” Peter promised eagerly, “but we don’t have to lie down right away.”

He reached over and let his hand hover above her knee until MJ grasped it and brought it down to rest on her cool skin. It took the shortest glance to make him lean into her space and kiss… her cheek, chickening out a little after all the talk about the obvious proceedings from the second they were horizontal together. Peter wanted that―he definitely wanted that―but he also really liked sitting in this moment with her, knowing that she wanted that too. And that she would be alright with him kissing her, if that was another thing he wanted. He did. The hand he didn’t have on her knee lightly cupped her face as Peter skimmed his lips down to her mouth. There, that was better, he thought, as MJ sighed against his lips.

Slipping his hand from her cheek around to the back of her head, he secured his fingers in her hair and pulled her mouth harder to his. She made a small sound that seemed to plunge straight down his throat and echo around in his stomach. Then, it plummeted even farther, stirring his groin. His hand tightened on her knee. Less tentatively than he would’ve expected (or had expected, in his fantasies of what kissing her would be like), MJ snuck her tongue into his mouth. At the feeling of their tongues gliding past and around each other, she became the one grabbing for him, hand low on the back of his neck. When she mirrored him by gripping his knee, Peter jumped, then smoothed his hand up her thigh as she twisted into him.

They were at an impasse for a second, or at least he was, fighting the urge to ease MJ onto her back and cover her body with his. No lying down; not yet. There was so much tension in their postures as they leaned into each other, gripping legs and necks and barely breaking the kiss long enough for a deeper inhalation. Even to Peter, it felt abrupt when he swung his legs up onto the bed. Though he had to swing them away from her, MJ understood―just like he’d expected―and climbed over to sit astride his thighs―just like he’d hoped. He was breathing stupidly hard as her eyes locked on his and she shuffled forward. His hands seized her hips, then her ass, and then he closed his eyes as they rolled back in his head because she was pressed right up against him and his fingers couldn’t trace the lines of any underwear through her cotton shorts. Something primal surged up from deep inside him and he narrowly managed to not start grinding into her.

“However this goes,” Peter panted, opening his eyes, “swear you’re not gonna murder me on this train. Or open our door to a murderer while I’m sleeping.”

“I swear. Strangely, this is better.” She smiled.

He didn’t know what was so strange about preferring feeling each other up over solving/committing a homicide. Then again, they did both kinda have a thing for violent crime.

“That’s reassuring,” he told her, hands hot on her butt. She shifted against him and he grunted.

“Sorry,” MJ said immediately. Peter choked out a laugh.

“That wasn’t a noise of pain.”


Her smile returned―broader, slyer. She folded her arms around his shoulders and rocked her hips against his. When he gasped, MJ looked the most delighted he’d ever seen her. She kissed him and rolled her hips again, but this time, his hands on her ass kept her in place and he rolled his hips back, groaning as his erection rubbed against her through their pajamas. Somehow, she wriggled even closer, thighs clamped on either side of him and seemed to consciously and minutely reposition her hips. The next time they ground against each other, she went, “Unnh!” and he understood. His whole body flushed with heat.

Hastily, they started trying to take each other’s shirts off at the same time. MJ already had both hands up under the fabric and pressed to his chest by the time Peter had gotten a single hand past the drapey folds of her oversized choice. They were stuck again, neither able to proceed with the other’s hands on them.

“You want me to go first?” Peter asked.

“Better do mine first,” she said. “You’re going to have a tough time prying me away once your shirt’s off.”

He blushed at how matter-of-factly she’d said that.

“I have no idea why you think I’m going to do any better.”

“So I shouldn’t take mine off?” she checked.

“Definitely take it off.”

“You’re such a moron.”

“Mhmm,” he agreed absently, lifting the hem of MJ’s shirt as she wriggled her arms out of the sleeves. Once her hands were tucked away inside the big t-shirt, Peter tugged the whole thing straight off.

“Now you,” she said quickly, grabbing his shoulders so he couldn’t immediately tip forward and begin kissing all over her chest.

She couldn’t prevent him from staring though. He did that until MJ jerked the neck of his shirt up over his eyes and he was forced to help her divest him of it or else be blinded to anything that might follow. And he definitely wanted his sight, wanted his eyes wide open.

In the end, she didn’t let him stare that long; she got this overwhelmed look in her eyes and hugged herself to him, their chests flush. Peter imagined a kind of surface-level vibration, like what was holding them together was static cling and with every little brush, they were recharged. What to do with all that waiting energy? He put his hands back on her ass―roaming more now, curving to shape her hips and her backside―and guided her purposely against him. MJ’s thighs tensed around him as she took control of the movement until Peter was grasping without pushing or pulling. As her eyelids drifted down, he exhaled and listened to the wispy sounds of her moan-toned breaths and the clatter of the train around them, always in southward motion down the track. It was dark outside and the light in their sleeping compartment was low without an assist from the sun. Probably because, in a room this small with mysterious ledges and misleading luggage racks, they’d had a hard time figuring out where to put a lamp or a pot light that emitted a decent wattage. Whatever. This railroad mood lighting wasn’t the worst.

MJ’s fingers skated along his jaw for almost a full minute (any longer and he wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from twitching away out of ticklishness) before they stilled with his face in her hands and she kissed him. Their mouths bumped and slipped, hungry and gentle. There was a note of distraction, Peter thought, thanks to their minds skipping ahead to the next part, making the kiss the bridge rather than the destination. Pressing his lips to hers was no longer the ultimate joy he could hope for. Suddenly, there could be more.

Her hands caressed down his neck, a slight quaver in her fingers, and dragged through his collarbones like she was scooping them out. She could’ve been. She could’ve run a finger along the length and blown after it, sending up blustery sawdust. Peter was no longer 100% certain that he’d had a clavicle before MJ had touched him. Moving his hands up to her waist because it felt like a more respectful place to let them rest on her and because bare skin beneath his fingertips, he kept up his end of their abstracted kissing as she explored across to his shoulders. His cock throbbed against her, impatient with her leisurely hands and lazy hips, only shallowly swaying now. When she broke the kiss with a hot pant against his lips, it was to look in his eyes while she discovered his chest, then pressed against it. He laid back like she wanted. His hands sailed down her thighs and squeezed right above her knees. Bizarrely, that was the action that woke him up to what was happening. There was no way to look up at MJ―mostly naked, straddling his lap, doing her best to keep her hair out of her face as she looked straight back down at him―except with more than a little bit of awe. He swallowed thickly.

She rocked a few times without breaking their stare, then said, “Should we get under the sheet?”


It was less fumbling than it could have been, mostly because they moved so quickly. Peter was practically shaking with adrenaline after forcing himself to be still as MJ mapped him with her hands. Suddenly separate and next to one another, suddenly between two sheets like the flap of an envelope was about to be licked and sealed down over them. Send us anywhere, Peter thought. The room looked bigger like this, lying on his side with his back to the wall, but he only glanced. MJ swept across the bed like a shooting star in the sky for a kiss and they rapidly shed their bottoms. Her toes touched his, right after they’d gotten fully nude, and his abdomen clenched up, ready to support a thrust or to defend him from whatever was making him flinch like that. Well, screw that.

They kept kissing, making contact only up to their ankles, until Peter laid a cautious hand on her stomach.

“You want to keep going, right?” MJ asked, pulling back for a second. She’d tucked her arm beneath his neck and was systematically scratching her nails across every bit of his scalp, which was both comforting and erotic.

“For sure, yes, if you still do,” he babbled. He could feel her pulse hopping under his hand. He wanted to follow it down so bad.

“Alright then,” she said with a brisk nod, and grabbed his wrist to make his fingers stumble south.

Peter’s mouth fell open and part of him wanted to snatch his hand back because her expression was petrified. But then, it might’ve been that way because she was worried that he didn’t want to touch her like this, in which case removing his hand would make her feel way, way worse. It would’ve been good for him to ask for verbal confirmation here, but the part of his brain that put words together and held their hands until they’d successfully departed his mouth was broken right now. Because MJ had put his hand between the warmth of her thighs, allowing his fingers to graze and his palm to cover the intimate texture of hair. He could feel the questioning look on his face and, apparently in response to it, she piloted his hand a little lower, into the realm of the arousal she must’ve worked up grinding against him. His other hand clenched into a fist as his drive to be inside her swelled like his restless erection.

It was nerve-wracking, so much pressure not to touch her too lightly or too rough―and besides that, to make it somehow feel good for her. That he wanted very badly. Peter was out of his depth. That was when, as usual, MJ swooped in to lend him a literal hand without fuss. Her thighs parted further for him and, with her fingers directing his, he felt the soft creases and curves start to make sense. Gradually, he moved faster, dipped deeper, and nearly shouted victoriously when he accidentally flicked something that, by MJ’s sharp breath and the buck of her hips, was her clit. He ran his fingers across her entrance to wet them and flicked again, slowing to a tap, then a knead when she responded well (death grip on his wrist). Working up the nerve to probe his middle finger gently inside her came with a wealth of rewards: hitched breathing, her hand sliding precariously far down his abs, and a tight heat that his dick was longing for with more urgency than ever now that he knew precisely what it felt like.

Lying so that both his hands were down where he needed them to be wasn’t the most comfortable thing, but the way MJ gasped and then quietly moaned his name when he had the dexterity of extra fingers to offer her made it worthwhile. He could now continue fingering her from the inside while also pressing fingertips to her clit. Rewetting them after every few swipes made her gasp and writhe against his hands all over again. When she abruptly said, “Faster,” the finger inside her froze and he worked her clit double then triple time as she folded into him, forehead on his chest, and unceremoniously grasped his dick.

“You can’t do that right now,” he laughed, lightheaded. MJ’s fingers, fully around his erect penis. Avengers fucking assemble because this was not a drill.

At his plea, her hand darted to his hip instead, gripping even more firmly as, incredibly, Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man on a Train, aka Friendly Neighbourhood Third Baseman) brought her to orgasm. Her hips jerked and she made muffled hiccupping noises from where he couldn’t see her face and he thought to introduce a second finger to give her something to, holy shit, ride? He guessed? This was insane. Had the feeling of freedom from a school trip made this happen? Did people just get extra horny on trains? He was so glad the train company had fucked up Mr. Harrington’s ticket reservation to stick Peter and MJ in a single room for a night.

“We should,” she began, lifting her head with a blush of warmth and maybe self-consciousness after she’d sagged into herself and he’d removed his hands uncertainly, “discuss logistics.”

“Oh,” Peter said, surprised. “Oh, I guess, yeah. Logistics. Right.”

“What I mean is―”

He cut MJ off with a short kiss of determined pressure. Going straight into talking about logistics actually didn’t feel right, not when he’d just had her in his hands like that. This shouldn’t feel like business; it was affection. He really cared about her. Seeing and feeling and hearing what Peter had just seen, felt, and heard was monumental. Would she be his girlfriend after this? Should he ask her right now?

“Go ahead,” he urged with a smile, foregoing mention of the other stuff for the moment. It wasn’t business. They didn’t require a pause to agree on the parameters.

Plus, MJ was flustered now, which was amazing and adorable.

“I…” She trailed off when he found her hand under the sheet and held it. With a resolute tilt of her head, she took another run at her sentence, “I did not happen to pack condoms. Did you? Also, I’m not on birth control. I didn’t really know this was, um, going to happen.”

Peter kissed her again, for longer, at the vulnerable expression on her face.

“Me neither,” he promised. “Definitely a surprise.”

“So, you are equally ill-equipped?”

Instantly, he frowned.

“Technically, but it’s so harsh to say it like that! I’m not sure you would’ve been super thrilled if I had had condoms.”

“I would’ve been suspicious,” MJ confirmed, looking suspicious of him even as she spoke the words.

“That’s what I thought.”

“Do you think they sell them on the train?” Apparently, they were switching gears.

“I don’t know. Do you really want to be wandering around trying to buy condoms and have Mr. Harrington catch you though?”

“Hmm. Good point. So, what are our options?”

He was cooling down after the frenzy of getting her off and reflexively shifted towards her. The move made them both instinctually awkward, unsure where to touch and hyper-aware that their faces had never been this close before tonight. They were just existing with their faces close now, like this was their normal. Peter kept tight hold of her hand and basically willed himself to wade forward into talking this out.

“We could just not do anything else,” he suggested first, internally pleading with her not to go that route.

“Obviously, we can stop if you want to, but I’m kind of dying to see what you look like when you, you know.”

Peter was speechless for a moment.

“Uh, well, I mean…” He scratched the back of his head. “I could pull out?”

“And just… on the sheet?” She asked, avoiding his eyes (he assumed―he was kinda avoiding hers too).

“Yeah, then I’ll take it off and rinse it in the bathroom, we sleep on the top sheet and get that blanket―” He pointed to where one was tucked against the wall, ready for use. “―to put over us.”

MJ snorted a laugh.

“What is it?” he asked uneasily.

“I totally forgot we’re actually going to sleep together after this. You’re not missing the joke. That shouldn’t be funny, it just is for some reason.”

He grinned.

“Yeah, it kind of is.”

“You really bold-faced lied to Mr. Harrington, huh? The team should admire you. What a rebel leader you are. Don’t―” she added, raising a finger to his lips as he started to reply. “―say anything about Star Wars. I will definitely never have sex with you on a train again if you do.”

Peter shook his head.

“I’m not risking that.”

For a quiet minute, they adjusted their bodies to bring them even closer. He liked her eyelashes and how her mouth sloped naturally down at the corners; she seemed to be tracing the path of freckles across his cheek and over his nose.

“Do any of the people in that murder book have sex on the train?”

“Who cares?” MJ said. “They’re not real. We are.”

Their fingers slipped, only loosely entwined now, as their concentration returned to yielding kisses, lips moulding effortlessly together. Peter’s free hand stole up the back of her neck and when he shifted his weight subtly into hers, not even completely aware that he was asking, she answered, tipping onto her back.

“I’ll pull out,” he reaffirmed as her thighs were parting for his hips and he was positioning himself at her entrance by hand.

“I trust you, Peter,” she said in a nonchalant tone.

“I trust you.”

“It’s not a competition,” MJ complained and he let her have the last word because she’d probably said it out of the same nerves he was feeling as he eased the head of his dick inside her.

They both shifted slightly and settled. She laughed when he swore out of sheer bliss, pitching forward a little and drawing back, then he laughed at the sound of her laughing. Somehow, in all that, he ended up completely inside her and she pressed her hands to his back like maybe she really needed him and didn’t want him to go anywhere, even after the sex and the happenstance of a shared room. That would be really, really great.

The sex wasn’t perfect: for all MJ’s evident enjoyment, Peter didn’t have the inherent, untested talent or beginner’s luck to see her climax again and, of the two times she tried to kiss him while he was thrusting, she bonked their heads together on the first and brutally clicked their teeth on the second. They laughed some more. They were a mess. They were, possibly, each other’s.

He finished on the sheet like he’d promised and it felt wrong and gross enough that he’d be buying condoms before they did this again, but it also felt sort of hot the way MJ watched him pump doggedly through the circle of his own fingers until he groaned her name. The follow-up logistics were another mixed bag of sexy and unsexy. Peter threw his pajamas back on, bundled the sheet to his chest with the wet part deep in the center, and bolted to the bathroom to give it a hasty dip in the sink. But he returned to the sight of MJ remaking their bed in her PJs, complete with her sleepy smile. He figured out the light switch and crawled in beside her. Something unexpectedly tender in his chest squeezed when he learned that this tall, coolly critical girl took obvious comfort in being the little spoon. Her body went soft with his arm around her; he fell asleep with his nose and mouth resting against the back of her neck.

The alarm MJ had set on her phone got them up half an hour before they had to meet their team and teachers the next morning. First, Peter let his arm go slack so she could roll over to face him without leaving his embrace.

“Hey,” she said with her eyes barely open.

“Will you be my girlfriend now?”

He could only guess that she’d have given him a look that more clearly called him an idiot if they hadn’t just woken up.

“Yeah, ok.” was the response MJ went with instead.

Peter shook his head with bleary exasperation at how lukewarm her words were, but then she snuck her hand into his pajama pants and really damn quickly worked out how to give him a handjob. Long story short, they desecrated another sheet and were still on time for breakfast (only because they ran).

After everyone had finished eating and Mr. Harrington had delivered a heartfelt-yet-underwhelming pep talk for the day, they were sent back to their rooms to pack up their stuff. They’d be arriving in New Orleans within the hour.

“Are you disappointed there weren’t any crimes last night?” Peter asked with a smile as they repacked their luggage side by side.

“Well, I could say I stole your virginity,” she pointed out, nearly making him catch his hand in the zipper as he closed his bag. MJ gave him a sly sideways glance. “But virginity is a construct. And you were more than willing to give it up.”

She mercifully interrupted his ensuing stuttering with a kiss that he hoped would become a habit. (The kissing, not the stuttering.) His head was hazy with the idea as he jerked the clasp of their door and slid it open for the last time. To find Flash standing in the hall.

“’Sup, Penis, or should I call you ‘Big Easy’ after you two were somehow allowed to share a room?”

Peter stiffened, but he was hellbent on not giving anything away. He rolled his eyes and assumed MJ did the same as they pushed past Flash with their bags and opened the door to the vestibule. He sincerely, stupidly believed that dickhead was following them and that they were in the clear. But as he went to close the door behind them, he noticed Flash hadn’t followed. At Peter’s alarm, MJ joined him in glancing back into the car they’d just left. Flash had his hands braced on the doorframe of their compartment, leaning into the room.

“Wait a second! That other thing’s not a bed!”

The door closed. They stared at each other.

“Oh man, Flash is gonna tease the crap out of us. Do we run?” he asked.

“That’s a dumb plan.” She paused. “And I don’t have another one.”

Their oblivious classmates were emerging from their rooms and Peter and MJ jostled them thoroughly as they booked it down the corridor towards the front of the train.