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Beauty (in its simplicity)

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Peter Parker didn't have a lot of hobbies. Sure, he had Spider-man and his job at Stark Industries but he didn't consider them hobbies, more like really intense part-time jobs.

So yeah, he didn't have a lot of hobbies.

In fact, he'd go as far as saying he only had one or two hobbies. After taking up Spider-man, he had developed a liking to photography and then later, after he realized the amount of trash and waste lying around New York, he had taken up on making jewelry.

Specifically, bracelets.


Peter had always been here, in Queens, or at least, that’s what he remembered. This was his borough, his turf. He knew where to go for the best sandwiches or pasta or tacos. He knew which block was most problematic, which required more help, which had the most easygoing residents.

He also knew that Queens had so much trash just lying around.

It wasn't something he particularly focused on, really. The sky was blue, roses were usually red, his name was Peter Parker and New York was dirty.

It's just how it had always been.

He didn't question it. At least, not until he heard MJ's comment on it.


"Humans just pollute everything, don't they." MJ said, kicking a metal can on the sidewalk. "You see pictures of the world decades ago, when this place only had metal signs and old movie theaters to keep things interesting."

"I wish there was something we could do about it…" She said, sad yet accepting.

And wasn't that the sad reality of the world?

No matter how many protests people go to, no matter how many posts you retweet or reblog, a problem like pollution doesn't just magically stop.

It isn't something that one or two people alone can change.

"Yeah." Peter agreed. Things weren't that simple.


After hearing that offhand comment, Peter had started to notice just how dirty New York was. It used to be just oh it's dirty but soon it became it's this dirty?!

There was so much plastic, so much waste lying around that Peter felt at a loss on what to do.

This wasn't something that Stark Industries or Spider-man could fix. For once, Peter was faced with an issue that he didn't know how to deal with.

Still, Peter thought as he crouched to pick up a discarded piece of metal on the sidewalk, maybe I could lessen it slightly.

Turning the metal this way and that, he inspected it. It was a matte black, probably a result of paint.  Simple, yet he supposed that it was beautiful, in a way.

Beauty in its simplicity.

This color… it was something he wouldn't be opposed to wearing.

Huh.

Wearing?

Stopping abruptly, Peter caressed the metal thoughtfully. He could melt it, he supposed; mold it into beads and make it into jewelry.

This… this was something he could do.

Not Spider-man.

But Peter Parker.

Maybe, he could put in the work to help the planet too.

Making his way back to the tower excitedly, Peter began thinking of plans, schematics.

He could make a machine that would melt plastic and metal then a press of some sort to mold the melted things into beads. Then, he could just string it up.

Finalizing his plans, Peter grinned excitedly.

This was something he could do.


By the end of the week, Peter had built a small machine that washed, melted, and molded materials into standard round beads that had little ridges on them.

He had realized, as he was conceptualizing the basic design, that the bracelets could potentially serve as a fidget for some of the people he saved out as Spider-man. A win-win!

Because he personally had a preference for objects with weight, he had decided to pack as much weight in as possible.

As a result, the first bracelet he made - a matte, jet black color, a result of some experimenting with different mixtures of plastic and metal and some eco-friendly coloring - was one he proudly wore everywhere.


Naturally, everyone at Midtown noticed.

Peter always thought of himself as some loser, the nerd that always talked about Star Wars with Ned and MJ. What he never failed to realize though was that the people at Midtown sort of, maybe, kinda have a crush on him.

It wasn't a secret that Peter had suddenly started working out a few years back but it never really garnered him attention until that one gym class he had last year when he showed everyone just the barest hint of his washboard abs.

Needless to say, everything and anything Peter Parker did made Midtown lowkey obsessed with him.

It wasn't like anyone could be blamed. Peter Parker always wore things like sweatshirts or hoodies that just made him look like a cute soft boi but then turns around and does some weirdly fitting athletic bullshit that somehow made him look like a hot dude.

It gave everyone whiplash, not that anyone was complaining.

So seeing Peter add something new to the normal ensemble, a normally light colored style of clothing, was attention-grabbing.

He was sporting a new jet-black bracelet that looked absolutely elegant and beautiful.

Beautiful in its simplicity.

No one mentioned it though, afraid that he would get self-conscious and decide to stop wearing it entirely.

It looked good on him.


That didn't mean that MJ and Ned were afraid of mentioning it. In fact, it was the first thing they said when they sat down for lunch.

"Dude, what's up with your bracelet?" Ned asked, moving to sit down on their usual table on the far back corner of the cafeteria.

Looking at him with a confused scrunch on his face, Peter idly wondered what Ned was talking about. "Huh?"

Shooting him a look, MJ continued Ned's train of thought. "You're wearing a black bracelet today. It isn't… your go-to style."

Suddenly remembering his new bracelet, Peter brightened. "Oh!" Taking the bracelet off excitedly, he motioned for them to hold it. "Remember your comment that Queens was really dirty?"

Nodding slowly, MJ moved to hold the bracelet Peter was excitedly holding out. Making a surprised noise from its unexpected weight, MJ asked. "What about it?"

"Well, I was walking around Queens, right," Turning to Ned who was nodding along, he continued. "I found this metal that was really pretty and thought about your comment that Queens was really dirty so I decided to make a machine that cleaned and melted metal and plastic and turned them into beads!"

Grinning excitedly, he said. "This is my first one! Pretty cool, huh?"

Looking at Peter who was excitedly rambling about all the things he did to get this bracelet to turn out just right, MJ and Ned locked eyes and smiled fondly.

Of course Peter would somehow find a way to do something about a problem one of them mentioned in an offhand comment. Only Peter.

Handing the bracelet to Ned, MJ said with a shrug and a small hint of wonder in her eyes. "It's beautiful."

Looking at the bracelet closely, Ned noticed the ridges on the beads. "They have ridges?"

"Huh? Oh! Yeah! I realized that I could probably use the bracelets as fidgets for the people I help when I'm out as Spider-man and thought that maybe ridges would be a good but not too overwhelming distraction, you know?"

"Dude, this is so cool!" Turning to the bracelet he was holding, Ned said with support in his voice. "Can I have one?"

Brightening more, Peter laughed happily at the support of his two best friends. "Yeah, just give me a few days."


That was the start of his hobby. Soon, Peter dedicated an hour of his day walking around Queens and picking up trash to make bracelets out of. By the end of the month, MJ was sporting a beautiful purple amethyst colored bracelet and Ned, a see-through green.

Next was Tony who sported what was obviously an Iron Man colored, matte red bracelet with a few gold beads to accent the color with a metal iron man helmet at the center, and Pepper who had an arc reactor blue bracelet which gradually lightened towards the exterior, giving the illusion that it glowed.

After that, it was May who sported a pure white bracelet which she thanked him profusely for, crying because she was so touched, and Happy who got a foggy white bracelet. 

All bracelets sported one bead that had a faint spider web symbol that Peter made which he coded to have a little holographic display that basically functioned as a phone with a rudimentary AI known as Letter, something Peter added for the people he considered family.

At night, he'd go out to patrol with a small pouch of bracelets with dark red and blue beads surrounding a single metal Spider-man mask shaped bead, something he made exclusively for the purpose of giving out to people who were on the verge of panic attacks or really nervous.

At first, he gave them to only two people. The first of which was too nervous to ask about the origins of the bracelet, but the second a little more clear-headed.

When he was asked where he got the bracelet, Peter panicked a little, belatedly realizing that if he said he made them, it could easily be traced to his identity as Peter Parker. So, like a dumbass, he said. "I bought it off of Etsy." Then promptly swung away, cursing himself for his lack of thought.


"Why don’t you just make a shop on Etsy?"

Peter had been freaking out because of the bracelets, pacing back and forth in his room while Ned and MJ were over for a sleepover. The two had been staring at their friend pace around the room literally. Peter was walking on the floor, then wall, then ceiling and back, a habit he had when he was especially overthinking and distracted.

Hearing MJ's deadpan suggestion, Peter stopped on the verge of walking on the wall. "Should I? I mean," Laughing nervously, he scratched the back of his head. "I'm not sure people would buy them."

Looking at him as if he was out of his mind, Ned said slowly, as if emphasizing his words. "Dude, the bracelets you make are really, really good."

Agreeing, MJ looked to Peter who still looked unsure. "Not to mention, good for the environment. Besides, even if no one bought it, it still does its primary function of being able to be used as an excuse for your Spider-man stuff."

Convinced, Peter got off the wall and turned to them. "So, what do we do?"

Business wasn't exactly booming but Peter had managed to sell about a few hundred bracelets in the next few months. He wasn't doing it for business anyways, so it was fine.


Peter had been wanting to come out for a while now. It's been a couple months since he finally figured out that he was, in fact, bisexual.

The problem was, he didn't really know how.

Looking at the bisexual flag he was planning to buy, he suddenly had a thought.

Shrugging at the idea, Peter supposed that there were worse ways to come out.


He added three beads of pink, blue and purple colors respectively, to his usual jet-black bracelet. Bisexual colors.

The night before, he came out to Ned and MJ on their way home. They had only smiled softly and nodded, a silent conversation of acceptance and support in their eyes.

Nervously playing with it, Peter went into the kitchen where Tony was.

"Hey, dad."

"Oh, hey, Pete! Breakfast will be done in a bit."

Finishing his cooking, Tony moved to place the food on the table when he zeroed in on the bracelet on his son's hand. These past few months, Tony had become used to the appearance of the bracelets his son made. They were a favorite of his, especially the one he normally wore.

They were elegant, and had a good weight to them that they seemed to fit any event that Tony happened to go to. He wore it everywhere, liking the quick access to FRIDAY. Though Peter had made them to have the rudimentary AI, Letter, he installed FRIDAY and KAREN to each of their bracelets respectively instead.

Tony had a habit of wearing it everywhere, even the social events he went to, and it never seemed out of place.

That was why, Tony liked to look at the black bracelet Peter had. It had two functions, a monitor for his health and safety, as well as a back-up phone. He liked to make sure Peter always had it, a sense of security of sorts.

Today, though, something was different.

It had three new beads. Pink, blue and Purple.

Placing the food on the table, Tony realized that they were the colors of the bisexual flag. Peter must have decided to finally come out in his lowkey way. Smiling softly at the nervous kid, he said. "Nice bracelet, kiddo."

Looking up from his bracelet, Peter's hands stuttered in their actions. "You don't… you don't mind?"

Squinting at his son, Tony felt at a loss on what to do. This was new territory, something he had never traversed before. He loved his kid, really, he did. The people that his kid decided to love, whether that be men or women, they didn't matter, not to Tony.

The problem was, he didn't know how to tell Peter in such a way that conveyed everything he wanted to say properly, you know?

Looking at his son who was nervously wringing his hands together, as if he didn't face things as terrifying as a building collapsing on top of him.

Wasn't that it?

His son was terrified that he wouldn't be accepted by Tony. How could he not be?

In the end, it was simple. Peter was his son, maybe not by blood but in every way that mattered.

If he decided to love men or women, Tony didn't care. It was that simple.

Putting his hand on his son's shoulder, Tony looked at him seriously. "Peter, this changes nothing, ok? You're still my son and I love you, no matter your sexuality. You understand?" Holding his hand, Tony looked at the bracelet.

It was such a curious thing. It was made from discarded waste and turned into something different. It held a million different stories. Each bead had things to tell, where was it from? Where did it go?

It was such a simple thing; just a few beads on a string, yet it was so, so beautiful.

His kid, though often outgoing and friendly, always had a hard time expressing into words his deepest feelings. He preferred to show it through his actions. He was simple that way, he supposed. If he loved you then he loved you.

Beauty in his simplicity.

Softly, he murmured. "It's beautiful, Pete."

Nodding softly, Peter feels the tears well up in his eyes. Softly, he whispers, "Thank you."