Summary: What if only good things happened to Peter Parker?
A fix-it fic where nobody dies, Peter has friends and family who support and love him, and we finish it off with a classic field trip.
Note: This is chapter Five! Make sure you start with Chapter One. Happy Reading!
Author’s Note: I know I am over a month late, but that is for good reason! See I started writing this chapter and it kind of just… exploded? So many things spiralled from it that I now have THREE spin-off stories planned. So I definitely know what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo…
Also, chapters five and six are both being posted today because I would feel bad if y’all thought this was the last chapter only to need to wait for me to wait a week to post the next one, but the tour took SO LONG it needed to be two chapters!
Over the course of his senior year, Peter had found that there were many benefits to his light course load at Midtown. The first, and most obvious, was that he had less work to do. Peter was extremely busy, more busy than any seventeen-year-old had any right to be, and so wherever he could cut out unnecessary work he did. The only exception to this was Academic Decathlon.
Academically, Peter was far beyond any of his peers in high school. He could have graduated years ago, and there were some people who might consider him staying at Midtown to be a waste of time. Nonetheless, graduating early and going to college as a teenager was never something that Peter had seriously considered or wanted. He had spoken with Tony about his experience going to MIT at fourteen, and it had sounded more like a nightmare than a dream.
So no, Peter was staying in high school, and he was staying with his friends. He was taking college classes, true, and had made friends there, but the classes were mostly because he did not want to have his mind stagnate academically before he would have started college with his peers after graduating. Still, the classes he was taking at Midtown were limited. Decathlon was his main opportunity to spend time with his friends other than MJ, Ned, Harley, and Charlotte or the few friends he had made at Columbia.
Well, most of them were people he considered friends. There was still the outlier that was Flash Thompson. Flash had been a pain in the ass for Peter since they both started at the Midtown junior school in sixth grade. Flash, Peter realized, was someone who needed to make other people feel small in order for himself to feel big. Peter had never bought into popularity, in seeming “cool” in any sort of way. Yet he was smart, and kind, and so lots of people liked Peter. Or at least they liked Peter until Flash, who was not as smart, and not as kind, decided to make Peter’s life as hellish as possible out of jealousy.
Peter still had friends, but none of them stuck as closely as Ned, and later MJ. Still, the team was a place where Peter was able to feel at home, for all that Flash was also there. The team was full of people who were smart enough to know that Peter was smart, and kind, and worthy of being a friend, and that Flash was full of nonsense. Moreover, over the four years that they were on the team together, Flash and Peter had come to a kind of understanding as they shared the friendship group. They would never be friends, but for the most part, Flash learned to keep the insults and taunting outside of the Decathlon meetings.
Still, for all that Flash had mellowed out over the years, there was one hill upon which he was determined to lay down his life.
“Ha! Looks like your lies are finally going to be exposed, Parker!” Flash cackled as Peter walked into the meeting room. He was about ten minutes late— Harley had started an impromptu makeout session after their British Literature class was over. Today was the day that they had to recite Shakespearean monologues from memory and apparently Harley really liked it when Peter spoke with a British accent.
“What’s happening now?” Peter gave a cursory glance across the faces of the team and Mr. Harrington, who all had varying expressions on their faces.
MJ looked bored, but Peter could tell she was slightly tense. Ned looked both excited and anxious and the end result was a slightly constipated expression. Flash looked elated and triumphant. Mr. Harrington looked like he was about to start bouncing with energy. Everyone else seemed happy and excited.
“Nice to have you join us Peter. You just missed my announcement. The team has been invited on an overnight tour of Stark Tower!”
“So yeah. The whole team is going to be here, coming next Friday and staying overnight until Saturday.” Peter grimaced as he looked around the room. Steve, Bucky, and Sam all appeared interested, if slightly confused. Wanda also looked curious, and Nat’s expression was as unreadable as it always was, while his dad looked suspiciously excited. “Based on all of your expressions I feel as though you do not understand the gravity of the situation.”
“I just don’t understand why it’s such a big deal. You three are here all the time, and Peter literally lives here. What is the problem?” Sam asked with a confused expression.
Peter pinched the bridge of his nose. “That is the problem itself. I do not want to have a field trip to the place where I live and work. I keep work and school very distinct. I do not want to show up to the place where I hold an executive position as a teenager on a tour.”
“Oh come on Peter! This could be really awesome. And we can finally deal with Flash. He won’t be able to deny that you work here after the tour.” Ned threw his hands in the air.
“I think that Flash is exactly why Peter is worried,” MJ pointed out from her position on the couch. Peter had not thought she was listening, as she had not spared him a glance after walking in, settling herself on the couch with a package of almonds and her phone.
“Who is this ‘Flash’ person?” Wanda asked.
“Are we talking about Flash Thompson?” Charlotte asked as she walked in with Amy on her hip. “I would hate that guy if he was worth the energy. Why does he matter?”
“Flash is another guy on our team. He refuses to pay attention to the evidence at hand and believe that Peter works here. It’s fairly pathetic.” MJ replied distractedly, still not looking up from her phone.
“Flash is a bas- not nice person,” Peter corrected himself, knowing that he would get in trouble for swearing in front of Amy while she was still learning to talk. “But he’s all hot air. Honestly he is way more chill than he used to be.”
“Yeah but he also bullied you for years,” Ned pointed out as he reached for one of MJ’s almonds, only to get his hand slapped away as MJ pulled them possessively closer. She looked up from her phone to glare at him and he held his hands up in apology.
“That doesn’t matter. It’s in the past now, and Flash is nowhere near as bad as he was. Now what I want to know is what hand you had in this, Dad.” Peter crossed his arms as he leaned against the counter and glared at Tony.
“Believe it or not, this was not my doing. I don’t arrange the school tours. Which is not to say that I’m not excited to have you and your team come by. It could be a good opportunity.” Tony shrugged before offering Ned some blueberries, trying to make up for MJ’s rejection. Ned took some thankfully.
“I still don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t like not knowing what is going on.” Charlotte replied in irritation. Amy, who had been happily playing with Charlotte’s hair flinched at hearing her tone.
“Mama mad?” Amy asked, seeming to curl in on herself.
“I’m not mad at you baby. I’m just confused and your aunts and uncles are being annoying.” Charlotte pulled her other arm around Amy to give her a fuller hug. The little girl squirmed.
“Down, mama.” Amy replied. She was only a year and a half old, but she was already walking and talking.
“Pepper is ruining date night, is what is going on.” Harley walked in and immediately went to give Peter a kiss on the cheek. “Hey darlin’, how are you feeling?”
“Tired.” Peter pulled Harley into his arms. Amy was soon tugging at Peter’s leg.
“Up!” Peter smiled, breaking away from Harley and picking Amy up easily.
“Betrayed by my own child.” Charlotte huffed. “So what is going on, exactly?”
“Our decathlon team is touring the tower and Peter is stressed about it because he is worried that you all will embarrass him, and Harley is annoyed because he had a fancy date night planned for that Friday.” MJ still would not look up from her phone.
“OK, who are you texting?” Peter asked, trying not to let his irritation come through too much while he was still holding Amy.
“Ten bucks it’s Shuri.” Charlotte interrupted immediately.
“No bet.” Peter, Harley, and Ned chorused.
“What are we betting on?” Abby walked into the room cheerfully. “Hey Ned, MJ. I didn’t think we had training today.”
“MJ has been texting Shuri nonstop since we got here. And it’s because our team is having a field trip to the Tower next week.” Ned piped up.
“Oh really? How… interesting.” Peter and Harley both felt dread as they saw Abby’s mischievous expression.
“What are you planning now?” Peter sighed.
“Nothing, nothing at all. How could I do anything? I’ll be at school myself while the field trip is happening.”
“It’s an overnight trip. And it’s ruining the date I had planned.” Harley and Abby shared a significant look that Peter could not decipher.
“Oh, RIP. Now let me see my favorite niece.” Abby made grabby hands at Peter and he passed Amy over reluctantly, though the toddler was almost flinging herself away from him once Abby held her arms out.
“Just as well.” Peter sighed. “I should go check in on lab 15. They needed help troubleshooting some errors with the production of the latest StarkTab. I also need to exit this conversation.”
“You should change out of your school clothes first.” Harley pointed out.
“Ugh, I forgot.” Peter sighed.
“Why don’t you go get some rest, darlin’. I’ll go down to the lab and try to help them out.” Harley held onto Peter’s arm softly. The rest of the room was not paying attention to them anymore. Natasha, having sensed Peter’s agitation, was roping the other Avengers into a card game while Charlotte, Abby, and Ned moved to put a kid-appropriate show on the TV. MJ was still texting.
“Darlin’, the world won’t end if you take an afternoon off. Let me take care of it.” Harley pulled Peter into another hug.
“You’re right. I’ll message the lab and let them know I won’t be able to stop by until next week. But I do have to go there myself, so why don’t you come cuddle with me?” Harley was a sucker for when Peter turned his doe-eyes on him, and so he readily agreed.
The field trip came far too quickly for Peter’s liking. Before he knew it, a week had passed and he was on a bus headed for his own house and place of work. After the week he had gone through, though, the field trip was almost a relief. He could have probably just stayed at the tower and met everyone there, but he wanted to have at least some semblance of discretion before everything was blown out of proportion.
Still, the bus made it through traffic far too quickly for Peter’s liking, and sooner than he would have liked, he found himself in the lobby of Stark Tower. Peter’s outfits tended to vary— he could often be found in a t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie, but it was not out of the ordinary for him to wear a button down shirt with a sweater instead. He opted for the latter while on the trip, as he knew that there would be investors visiting the tower today, and just in case he did run into one of them he did not want to be wearing a t-shirt that said something like “fueled by mitochondria and coffee.” He had hoped to not run into anyone, however, which is why he was distressed to find that they were entering at the same time as Charles Green, who was the Vice-Chair of SI’s board of directors. And was walking straight for Peter.
“Ah, Mr. Parker! I thought that you would not be attending the meeting today?”
Peter had been hoping that he would have more time on the tour before confronted with a situation like this, but alas, the field trip god had abandoned him. Peter refused to act the part of a high schooler in front of a member of the board, and so he would simply have to face the consequences.
“Good morning Mr. Green. And I am afraid that I still won’t be able to attend. I will be otherwise engaged for the day. And I believe I’ve told you to call me Peter.” Peter replied pointedly.
“And I’ve told you that Mr. Green makes me feel like I’m on a clue board— you could always call me Chuck.” They both laughed, Peter conscious of his staring class, but studiously ignoring them.
“Very well, Chuck. If you would like to catch up after the meeting, set something up with Michael, he is familiar with my schedule and will be attending in my place and relaying my thoughts about the quarter one report.” Peter reached out his hand for a shake, which Chuck accepted with the firm grip Peter had come to expect.
“That PA of yours is sharp, a good hire on your part.” Chuck nodded.
“He is, Tony keeps trying to steal him from me.” They laughed again before Peter made a show of looking at his watch. “I believe that Pepper mentioned this morning that she wished to speak with you before the meeting, so I won’t keep you.”
“Very well, Peter. I’ll make sure to check in with Michael about your schedule.” Finally seeming to notice their audience of stunned teenagers, Chuck looked at Peter curiously, but the boy simply shook his head and Chuck nodded in response, sensing that he would get his answers later.
“Sounds great, good to see you Chuck.” They shook hands again and Chuck left to go through security. Peter closed his eyes and took a deep breath before turning to look at his team, who, with the exception of Ned, MJ, and Mr. Harrington all appeared to be completely shocked.
“What was that, Parker?” Flash blustered. Before Peter could think up a good answer, he was cut off by a familiar voice.
“Hello, sorry I’m late! You’re the group from Midtown, right? I’m Gwen, my pronouns are she/they and I’ll be your tour guide for the next two days. If you’ll just come up here I’ll get you your badges. Please note that the company was informed of the legal names for everyone in this group for security purposes, but we have adjusted the badges for anyone who uses a name other than their legal name. The badges do have your legal names encoded, but they will not be visible or announced except in a case of emergency. Please let me know if any names are incorrect and we can get a reprint from security.” Gwen was one of Peter’s favorite interns, and one of his favorite people in general. Gwen was also his lab partner for his organic chemistry class at Columbia and spent the last week listening to him gripe about the upcoming field trip during their study sessions and had offered to be the one to lead the tour. After what had happened in the past week he had thought it was a good idea, but seeing the glint in their eyes right now he was not as certain of his decision to agree.
Peter, MJ, and Ned already had their biometrics in the system and so did not bother to get badges. Something that was, unfortunately for them, rather noticeable. “Don’t they need badges?” Cindy asked curiously.
“They don’t need them.” Gwen’s answer was blessedly short and to the point, and Peter mentally noted to get her some of the chocolate she liked before their next class on Monday.
“Why?” Flash’s reply was surprisingly polite, but then again he had been clearly proved wrong about Peter working at SI and contrary to popular belief he did know how to read a room.
“That’s classified. Now if you would please go through the scanner one at a time and place your bags into the scanner we can get started with the tour. Please make sure to empty your pockets, though you can keep your shoes on. I’ll go first to demonstrate how this works.” Gwen did not have a bag, but they did pull their phone, wallet, keys, and a set of StarkPods out of their pockets and put them on the tray before stepping through the scanner.
“Gwen Stacey. Intern. Pink level three. No unauthorized items. No messages. Welcome back Mx. Stacey.” FRIDAY spoke more mechanically than usual, but her underlying tone was still warm.
“Thanks FRIDAY!” she called out cheerfully before going to pick up her things from the bin at the other end of the scanner. “Come on through y’all!”
“Abe Brown. Visitor. Basic level one. No unauthorized items. No messages. Welcome to Stark Industries, Mr. Brown.” The rest of the team followed, though Peter himself held back. He was hoping that if he went last people would not notice him, but unfortunately it was the opposite as everyone was instead watching him. He pushed Ned and MJ to go first.
“Ned Leeds. Intern. Classified. All access level five. One authorized item. Two messages. Welcome back, Mr. Leeds. Would you like me to read the messages for you?”
“Thanks, FRIDAY! You can send the messages to my StarkTab.” Ned replied cheerfully.
“You’re welcome, Ned. Have a good tour.”
“Michelle Jones-Watson. Classified. Classified. All access level five. Two authorized items. One message. Welcome back, Mx. Jones-Watson. Would you like me to read the message for you?”
“Thanks, FRIDAY. You can send the message to my phone.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Jones. Have a good tour.”
“Peter Parker. Classified. Classified. Classified. All access level five. Six authorized items. Ten messages. Welcome home, Mini-Boss. Would you like me to read all the messages for you?”
“Thanks, FRIDAY. Please send the messages to my phone.”
“One of the messages is relevant to that request. I have been instructed by the baby monitor protocol to communicate it to you.”
“Oh?” Peter said curiously, looking into FRIDAY’s nearest camera with slight dread.
“Yes. Boss requested I let you know that you left your phone on the kitchen counter. Someone will bring it to you shortly now that you are back in the building. Additionally, there is a time-sensitive notifications from Ms. Potts.” Tony had tried to convince Pepper to let FRIDAY use a nickname for her, but she had firmly denied him, citing the fact that people already did not fully take her seriously and so he relented and let FRIDAY use her name only.
“Thank you FRIDAY.” Peter was doing his best not to blush. “Can the message from Pepper wait until I get my phone back?”
“I suggest you hear the message as soon as possible. It is, however, classified information.” FRIDAY sounded apologetic, giving up on the pretense of her supposed nature as only a machine. Peter sighed before pulling out his headphones from his bag and putting them on.
“Please forward the message to Karen.”
“Of course, Mini-Boss. Have a good tour.”
The rest of the class was staring even harder than they had before, if that was even possible. Peter ignored them, however, as he listened to Karen’s warm voice through his ear plugs that doubled as headphones.
“Hello, Peter. The message from Ms. Potts is related to a message from Michael. He called in sick today— his younger cousin is very sick and he needs to be home to take care of him. Ms. Potts is requesting that you and MJ take time away from your tour to attend the board meeting. She has been sick all morning and Mr. Stark would prefer to stay with her instead of attending the meeting by himself.” Peter’s brow furrowed as he looked over at MJ. She was currently interning for Pepper and the message that she had sent to her phone was likely along the lines of what he had received. As they made eye contact she nodded quickly in confirmation of his suspicions. He raised an eyebrow and she responded with a shake of the head. Peter sighed and nodded. Pepper had been sick a lot lately, but she insisted that it was not serious.
“OK Karen, let Pepper and Tony know that I can attend. It should be me anyway. I know what the board is like.”
“Great. I’ll inform Ms. Potts and send updated information about the meeting to your tablet. I suggest that you leave immediately to get ready as you are not dressed appropriately for a full meeting. Boss has made sure to lay out an appropriate suit for you.”
“Thanks Karen. I’ll head up to the penthouse now.” Peter disconnected the call and straightened somewhat as he eyed the group. He knew that they would have questions, but he had a job to do, and he was not about to show any kind of embarrassment while in his own home.
“I’ll need to leave the tour for the next little while. I will likely be back in the afternoon.” Before anyone else had a chance to say anything he walked over to the elevators as quickly as possible. He heard Gwen behind him enthusiastically telling the rest of the team and Mr. Harrington to join them in heading to the museum.
MJ was starting to wish that she had gone with Peter to the board meeting. Despite the fact that they were in the Avengers museum, most of the class seemed more interested in questioning them and Ned than looking at any of the exhibits.
“What does Peter do that is so important that he is skipping the rest of the trip? And why do you all have such high access levels?” Abe was asking the question, but MJ knew that the rest of the class was curious as well, given how they were all watching and seemed intent on getting an answer. MJ would have expected Flash to say something by now, but it seemed that the boy had finally been hit with a clue by four and was keeping silent.
“That is classified information, Mr. Brown. I suggest that you continue with the tour as usual.” Friday’s interruption was a sweet relief. Combined with MJ’s glare, the rest of the team scattered. MJ and Ned had yet to see the new museum themselves, and so they wandered the exhibits curiously.
Stopping at the Spider-Man exhibit, they were able to see Peter’s original costume and webshooter models. MJ, who had never seen the original suit up close, snorted.
“I can see why Tony calls him Underoos,” they whispered to Ned, who stifled a laugh as they looked closer at the info plaque.
“MJ! MJ look, they mentioned me!” Ned hissed in her ear. He pointed excitedly at the second bullet point which read Spider-Man has been assisted many times by his ‘Guy in the Chair’ who once used a webshooter himself in order to save Spider-Man’s life.
“Very cool Ned. Maybe don’t mention things like that so loudly around the rest of the team?” MJ replied, pressing on Ned’s arm and looking around, though the rest of the team seemed much more interested in the other exhibits.
“Sorry, sorry. This is just all so exciting! Also did you know he was afraid of spiders?” Ned asked, looking at the other informational bullets.
“No, but I suspect that to be a blatant lie. I’ve seen him let spiders crawl all over him, trying to, get them to listen to him the way Scott does with ants.” MJ smirked.
“I think he was actually working on a project that—”
“Are you two seriously acting like you actually know Spider-Man?” Flash asked incredulously, and quite unfortunately, loudly. MJ swore internally swore before turning to him. FRIDAY had said that information about why they had access was classified, but MJ could fudge the details.
“Peter will often work on Spidey’s gear as part of his internship, and he introduced us a while ago.” MJ was nothing if not good at keeping a straight face, though Ned looked slightly more nervous.
“Wait, so you’ve actually hung out with Spider-Man!?” Cindy’s shocked question opened the rest of the team up to shouting questions. They were cut off by a loud whistle from Gwen.
“If you all are quite finished interrogating your classmates, it’s time for the next stop on the tour.”
“Do you know Spider-Man?” Sally piped up from the back of the group, and everyone looked at Gwen even more intently than they had before.
“Spider-Man saved my life. But if you are asking whether I know who is under the mask, the answer is no.” Gwen replied carefully. When it looked as though they were going to question her more she clapped loudly. “I must insist that we continue with the tour. I think you will like the next stop, we’re visiting lab 26a— it’s one of our most prominent engineering labs, and I think you will enjoy it.” The team and Mr. Harrington followed Gwen to the elevator that would take them up to the lab, though they continued to eye them curiously.
“Now, the museum covers half of this floor. The other half is all swing space and open offices. We’re heading up to the 26th floor, which houses labs 26a and 26b, as well as offices for senior members of staff and consultants, and two conference rooms. The scientists in lab 26a have already been briefed that we have a tour group coming, so they should be all ready for you.”
MJ prided herself on being prepared for anything and everything. She rarely ever showed surprise, even when they felt it. As such, she did not do more than raise an eyebrow when the class came into the lab and it was on fire.
Gwen abandoned the group at the door and immediately took charge of the room, working with the lab heads to get everything back under control. Once all the fires were put out, Gwen returned to them.
“Sorry about that, folks! Just had to make sure that a few things were in order. Now let me introduce you to the head of the lab, Dr. Catalina Castellanos. Dr. Castellanos is one of the foremost researchers in molecular quantum mechanics, and her lab includes many exciting projects which she will share with you today. Dr. Castellanos, I turn it over to you.”
“Thanks Gwen, you are too kind. As Gwen said, I’m Dr. Castellanos. My pronouns are she/her. In this lab, we focus on quantum chemistry and work under the biomedical division of Stark Industries. Our research concerns molecules on a quantum level, and we use theoretical and experimental chemistry in combination with quantum computing to create advancements in the biomedical field. I’m excited to show you around— it’s never too early to learn, and young and innovative minds tend to thrive here. Do you have any initial questions before we get started?” she looked over the group, and pointed to Charles. “Yes, what is your question?”
“What started the fires?” Dr. Castellanos laughed.
“What indeed. Well, we aren’t typically concerned with putting out literal fires in this lab, but it does happen on occasion. We take great care with our experiments, but occasionally messes will need to be made in the name of science, and we are all trained on how to react when something like this happens. Gwen is one of our star interns of the lab and knows this place well, as you can probably tell with how quickly she reacted. Gwen, would you like to explain what happened and why putting out the fire was such a complicated process?” Dr. Castellanos looked at Gwen pointedly, and was met with Gwen’s slightly pink face, though the girl launched into a ready explanation regardless.”.
“Well, the fire was caused by a chemical reaction of two liquids, and because of that we needed to be careful about how to put it out. Many people think that water is a neutral way to put out fires, however in this case using water would have actually spread the fire more quickly. We also wanted to make sure that we were fully aware of what had caused the fire reaction and what was involved so that we can safely extinguish the flames. I’m sure that as students as a science school you have potentially learned at least some of these aspects of fire safety before, but since we will be going through a number of labs today it is probably best to inform you about our procedures at SI. We weren’t originally planning to include this in the tour, however it will be useful for everyone to know about our fire procedures in SI anyway in case they become applicable on a Tower-wide scale, though that would be highly unlikely…”
Peter was tired after the board meeting, and also dreading what would happen when he returned to the school tour. He felt bad about leaving Ned and MJ behind with all of the questions that their classmates were bound to have, but to be fair, MJ at least had been given the opportunity to leave as well. Still, Peter could not blame her for preferring to deal with the class over the board of directors.
He did not have any more meetings left today, but he still figured he would take the opportunity to review paperwork before lunch. Was he avoiding his class? Maybe. But as he eyed the mountain of papers on his desk he realized that he had gotten slightly behind, and it would not do to have things slip past him. And it was not as if he would be missing anything particularly interesting, this building was his home after all. Still, he could not help but hum in irritation about some of what had been left for him. He did not have the same aversion to physical paperwork that his Dad did, however he was still annoyed to encounter so many missives that could have easily been sent by an encrypted email.
“Mini-Boss, general Ross is on the line for you.” FRIDAY called from overhead.
“Put him to voicemail. I’m busy.” Peter muttered. He was in fact very busy. They would be doing another international merger soon, as SI was acquiring a company based out of London. He or Pepper would have to go visit their office there soon.
“FRIDAY, contact Irina the London branch and let them know that I’ve reviewed the preliminary paperwork for the merger and we are ready to head to the next stage. Ask her opinion on whether she thinks that the Montgomerys would be more amenable to meeting with me or with Mom. She has good judgment.”
“I’ll contact her right away. Also, General Ross is calling again. I sent him to voicemail twice, and he did not leave a message the first time, but the second was rather incendiary. He is demanding to speak with Boss or with Ms. Potts about the Accords repeal. He claims that if he does not get a meeting by this afternoon he will go to the UN directly.”
Peter narrowed his eyes. “I see. He does know that we are not fully repealing the Accords, only making edits to all of the parts he stuck in that endangered our rights?”
“I am unsure. But he is claiming that he has a number of signatures from ‘concerned citizens and officials’ about actually increasing restrictions and putting more in place.” FRIDAY replied promptly.
Peter pinched the bridge of his nose. With his parents unavailable, MJ on the tour, and Harley in school, he was the most qualified individual to handle this. That said…
“FRIDAY, inform MJ that she needs to leave the tour. I can likely handle Ross on my own, but they should also be here both as a witness and because of her position.”
“OK Peter. Do you want me to pull Ned from the tour as well?”
Peter paused. He did not really need Ned for this meeting, but he also did not want to abandon his friend to deal with the tour by himself.
“Sure. Give him the option of staying on the tour or going up to the Penthouse. Amy always loves seeing him.”
“Got it. Messaging them both now.”
Considering it was a tour for a place that MJ found more familiar than her own home, it was not that bad. She was still extremely frustrated, but it was less because of how dull the tour was and more because they could feel their classmate’s eyes on her at every turn. MJ was not particularly used to being perceived, though she had gotten better at that lately.
They knew that Pepper and Tony wanted her to work with Stark Industries, but MJ was not certain that she felt the same. It was an amazing opportunity, which is why they accepted the position to shadow Pepper, but they had not even gone to college yet. She still had so much to explore in life. Pepper had assured her that if it did happen it would not be until after she finished college, but nevertheless her answer as to whether she would actually take the opportunity if offered was a solid unknown. They had never been particularly interested in joining corporate America— capitalism was something she had always viewed with disdain, and their joining Stark Industries in such a high position while so young and only because of whom her friends were reeked of nepotism.
This was to say nothing of the influence of their own family. MJ’s mother was an actress who had been filming a movie in the UK when she met her father, who was a few years out of medical school. They were never particularly serious, and broke things off when the movie wrapped filming and her mother got.a contract in the United States.
Luckily for their mother, it was a contract for a pregnant woman, because that was exactly who she was at the time. MJ knew her mother had no intention of hiding her existence— she put a hyphenated name on MJ’s birth certificate after all— but she also did not expect anything of MJ’s father, and was so busy getting her own life in order— the movie she filmed in the UK was her big break, and she was determined to continue on her rise to the top— that she simply forgot about telling him, and in many ways forgot about MJ, who had been raised primarily by her grandmother.
They knew that her mother justified it by saying that she wanted to keep MJ out of the spotlight, but after years of neglect she could not quite believe it. When they were three years old she brought up her father to her Nana Maria, who pestered her mother about it until she admitted he was a British doctor. Nana Maria pried the contact information from her mother, only to learn that the man was now serving in the British army and would not be back in the country for the foreseeable future.
So MJ gave up on their dad for a while, who she continued to be curious about, but insisted to herself that since she hardly saw her mom there was no point in having a dad either. That worked well until they were about ten, when her dad started dating a private detective with a truly paranoid family, and he found out not only about her existence, but that her father had a twin brother he had never known that was separated from him via adoption when they were born and was a member of the CIA.
This is all to say that before MJ had even met Peter they were used to weirdness in their life, and used to a certain level of luxury, as much as she hated it. Still, this was a big decision to be making about her life, and they were fully cognizant of the fact that she could in many ways be considered a hypocrite, but they always did her best to leverage their privilege. She also made a point to learn from everyone at every opportunity she could. They paid attention, and watched people so that she could learn as much as she could about them. Something her stepfather had made a point to begin teaching them as soon as they met. So this is all to say, MJ knew what she was signing up for when they befriended Spider-Man (and it was painfully easy to figure out he was Spider-Man). She also took to the self-defense lessons quicker than everyone else, with the exception of Peter.
MJ was competent, confident, and now that they had some good friends— real friends— she knew she would be okay, even amongst the drama of her friends and family. Their meeting was truly something to behold.
But that is for another story. MJ was idly thinking of all the ways that she could use this tour to her advantage going forward when they were suddenly brought to attention by FRIDAY.
Gwen had been in the middle of explaining the overlap between their Marketing and PR departments when FRIDAY interjected.
“Pardon the interruption Mx. Stacey. Mimi-Boss has requested the presence of Mx. Jones-Watson in conference room 56A. Additionally, Mr. Leeds has been offered the opportunity to join Baby-Boss in the penthouse before a debrief over lunch.”
MJ shared a brief look with Ned. Peter calling for her was not necessarily unexpected— likely there had been an important development at the board meeting. Ned would not be needed for that, or indeed need to be briefed on it separately. Likely Peter had offered to have Ned leave the tour as a way to not have him exposed to the rest of the team without a buffer. The ‘debrief’ would likely be to discuss how they would handle the rest of the tour.
“Thanks FRIDAY. We’ll be right up.” MJ nodded toward the camera before turning to Mr. Harrington. “We will likely be back after lunch.”
The teacher had clearly been briefed on the situation— MJ suspected he was subject to a number of NDAs— because he simply nodded as MJ and Ned headed to the elevators, mindful of the many eyes on their backs.
Gwen sighed as they fielded yet another question from the curious tour group. Unfortunately they seemed completely uninterested in learning about SI, only about what their classmates were up to at the company.
“Right, that’s enough of that. Our next stop is going to be observing a staff meeting with R&D where you will get a feel for what scientists are up to when outside of the lab. Remember, those of you over 18 have signed NDAs and those still legally minors had your parents all signed NDAs on your behalf. No one will be discussing anything too sensitive, however we take corporate espionage very seriously st SI.”
The class followed her in blessed silence as she led them towards the conference rooms. What she did not know was that there was a mixup in the schedule, and the conference room that was supposed to hold the meeting had been swapped. Gwen realized her error when the tour got to the observation room, and she saw that they were not observing a staff meeting at all.
“All right, let’s try this one last time. And hopefully this will actually get through your thick skull.” Peter sneered. “You have no power here, General Ross. The Avengers and other enhanced individuals are sentient beings. They are not yours or anyone’s to control.”
“They need to be held accountable for their actions. The level of destruction that the Avengers have caused is out of control, they need oversight!” Ross thundered.
“The need for oversight is not the same as keeping them collared and in chains on the raft!” Peter snapped back before taking a deep breath and continuing in a more level tone. “These Accords are incredibly flawed, and while the case has been made that they can be amended, it is clear that new and more ethical laws need to be put in place that protect non-enhanced and enhanced individuals alike! I do not know why you need this explained to you over and over! If anyone should be on the raft it’s you.”
“What would a boy like you know about any of this? You’re just a boy, playacting because your father decided he was too busy to see me himself. You need to respect your elders!” Ross slammed the table in agitation.
Peter’s eyes narrowed. “Respect? Let’s talk about respect, then, your lack of respect for the basic autonomy of everyone you come across disgusts me and I know for a fact that it disgusts others too. Your actions have been noted, and you will face consequences for them, and soon. As for who I am? I’m Peter Parker-Stark. I am one of the heirs to Stark Industries and I have full authority to kick your ass out of the building. My father is far too busy to deal with someone who cannot grasp simple concepts, and for that matter, so am I. The New Accords are all but signed, and your input is neither wanted nor needed. You are grasping at strings General and your days with that title are numbered. Now get the hell out of my tower or I will have security remove you.”
Ross looked like he was about to start shouting again before MJ cut across him.
“ Mr. Ross, I believe that my colleague has requested you leave, and I suggest you do so quickly. This is not a fight you will win.”
Ross huffed. “I will not be bossed around by children . And especially not by a nobody secretary.”
MJ’s lips pursed. “Mr. Ross, you should take care how you speak. You are not the only one who knows people in high places.”
“I am not afraid of Tony Stark.”
“I was not talking about Tony. But you should be wary of messing with me and my family.”
“Right, because someone like you has a family worth my time.”
Peter looked like he was going to interject before MJ cut him off smoothly. “I’ll be sure to tell Mycroft you said that. I’m sure it will go over well. Now I believe we told you to leave. ”
Ross paled before turning on his heel and leaving the room without another word.
Peter looked at MJ curiously, and she shook her head, indicating that she would tell him later before pointing at the glass wall. Where their entire class was in the observation room.
Peter groaned as he saw the wide-eyed looks of their classmates. He should have picked a different conference room for the meeting.
Life was ???? for Peter Parker.