Peter glanced over at his laptop, taking in the flashing symbol at the bottom of the screen. Mr. Stark had given it to him a month ago, and even though Peter had protested, he had completely been ignored. When he wasn't swamped with studying or at the Tower or out being Spiderman, Peter had been exploring everything on the laptop. So far, his favorite part was that Karen was synced to the laptop too.
He hadn't told anyone, but on slow days of crime, he would pull up homework and have Karen quiz him or help him write out essays. He wasn't quite sure if it was cheating to have an almost all-knowing AI help him with his work but no one had ever told him not to. He was pretty sure Ned knew, though, and if Ned knew, MJ almost certainly did too.
He stretched, leaning back in his chair, his back cracking with an audible pop. "Karen," he said, closing his eyes for a moment. "What time is it?"
"It is 8:37 PM," Karen responded. "You have been studying for an hour and a half, with only minor interruptions."
Peter opened his eyes, blinking at the laptop. "An hour and a half?" He repeated. "Longer than I expected." He rolled over to the laptop, kicking various shoes and clothes out of his way to get to it. He wished, not for the first time, that his webs weren't quite as strong. The first time he had tried to web himself to the wall and pull, he had yanked off a chunk of plaster from the wall and had remained exactly where he was. Ned had been over and he had laughed until he had given himself hiccups.
Peter sighed, reaching the laptop, his brow furrowing at the flashing beacon. He rolled the mouse over it, the concern dropping from his eyes when he realized it was just the Stark Chat app.
"Karen," Peter began. "When did the chat app get onto my laptop? I thought it was just a phone thing?"
"No," Karen answered. "The last updates Boss added, Version 2.01.67, created the link between phones and laptops, enabling the seamless integration of both."
"Ah," Peter said, clicking on the app, and biting back a smile at the texts he was receiving. "Got it, thank you, Karen."
"Of course, Peter," Karen answered.
On the screen, an invitation had opened. Join the chat named Beyoncé?! ! The pop up read. Currently online: 8
Peter Parker: What is this?
Sally Avril: Peter!!! U came!!!
Charles Murphy: alright laddies
Eugene Thompson: how do i change my fuckin name
Cindy Moon: just hit the button at the top, flash, jesus
MJ: yeah, flash it's easy
Ned: sorry peter!! they wanted answers and came to us but we didnt know them all
Peter Parker: lmao, it's fine Ned - i said i would answer their questions.
Peter Parker has changed his name to Peter
Peter: do you still need help flash?
Abe: no, peterrrrr, ignore him, I have more questions
Eugene Thompson: it's fine peter, np
Cindy Moon: wait I have more q's too!!!
Abe: Do you know the AVENGERS?????
Cindy Moon: what stuff is your suit made out of?
Betty: also, hi peter, how's your day going?
Peter: i have met the avengers, they're cool but a little lame
Eugene Thompson: LAME???
Charles Murphy: our boi peter is out here TAKING SHOTS
Peter: idk the actual material make-up of the suit, i can ask mr stark and dr banner, they made it like a spinoff of the hulks stuff and nanotech? Idk really
MJ: your name is giving me hives, eugene
MJ has changed Eugene Thompson's name to Flash
Sally Avril: everyone say: THANK YOU MJ!!!
Flash: thanks, mj
Abe: THANK YOU MJ!!
Peter: my day was good @Betty, how was yours? How's the stuff for midtown news?
Cindy Moon: thank you MJ!!!
MJ: you're welcome, peasants
Ned: thanks, mj!!
Ned: oh, nvm then
"Karen," Peter said suddenly, leaning back from the screen, a grin on his face. "This stuff is all encrypted, right? Like no one can get it?"
"Correct," Karen said. "I also took the liberty of alerting Friday, who will add protections as well."
"Thanks!" Peter said, glee clear in his voice. "Tell Fri I say thank you to her too!"
Betty: my day was great - this is easily the most chaos in it even tho jason tried to tell me that he was allergic to static so he couldn't do the show anymore
Cindy Moon: he WHAT
Abe: lmaoooo sounds like him
Ned: is that even possible?
Sally Avril: oh jason, such a misguided creature
MJ: it's possible to get irritated from static - but allergies? No
Charles Murphy: Say thank u to mj again!!
Abe: Thanks youuuuuuuu
Peter: if we keep this up, this is just gonna a nonstop thanking mj chat
Betty: thanks for the info, mj!
Sally Avril: as it should be
Peter: you got me there
Flash: did mr harrington say anything about the new competition?
MJ: no, he muttered something about spiderman when I asked
Cindy Moon: …………
Charles Murphy: does he KNOW?
Peter: pls tell me ur joking, rn
MJ: sorry peter, I think he suspects someone, idk who
Peter: I need to get better at this secret identity thing
Betty: if it helps, we only suspected it cause of dc
Abe: yeah, before then, no clue
Ned: i think u should be clear - maybe take it up with mr stark?
Peter: i dont want toooooooo
Flash: what why not?
Peter: cause he gets - nvm
Abe: wait, I know we kinda went over this already but,,, how close are you and mr stark?
Sally Avril: yeah, I'm curious too
Peter: idk? Close?? Ned and MJ have met him
Cindy Moon: calm down flash
Charles Murphy: yeah I can hear you panicking from my house
Peter: ??? I mean he did literally bug my classrooms to keep an eye on me so
MJ: bold of you to assume it was just him
Betty: lmao, pls tell me you did too
MJ: ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies
Peter: !! Betrayal
Sally Avril: awwww that’s so cute
MJ: ned was in on it too
Peter: !! BETRAYAL
Abe: wow, relationship goals right there
Betty: yeah, actually, I have another question
Betty: how long have yall been dating
Flash: w h a t
Sally Avril: seriously?
Charles Murphy: wait I didn't know that either
Cindy Moon: god, me neither??
Abe: they literally all hold hands together?
Flash: wait……… all???
Betty: ned, mj, and peter??
Flash: im so dead
Peter: ??? This is a MESS
Ned: I mean if it makes you feel better you kinda had to be watching for it
Betty: there are bets going on around school rn about it
MJ: i put $15 down on us via betty like 6 months ago
Peter: we weren't even dating then
Betty: note to self, never bet against mj
Ned: it's been like 4 months?
MJ: yeah, I think so
Peter: god knows I thought we were dating before we actually were
Sally Avril: wow, good to know
Charles Murphy: huh, the more you know
Cindy Moon: awwwww that's so sweet
Sally Avril: I guess we should take peter and ned out of the rotation
Sally Avril: potential bf rotation
Cindy Moon: yah, all the girls in the school get together and collectively rate datable boys the first Sunday of every month
Charles Murphy: excuse me???
Betty: it’s a joke
Sally Avril: no but seriously that’s cute that yall are together!!
MJ: thanks I did it myself
Peter: ^^ basically
Abe changed MJ's name to self-loving, go-getting queen
self-loving, go-getting queen changed Abe's name to no
self-loving, go-getting queen changed their name to MJ
Peter: that was bold of you
no: worth it though
MJ: was it really??
Flash: that was wicked bold
Sally Avril: w i c k e d b o l d
Flash: shut up
no: wow, who are you a mainer? You support the red sox now??
Betty: ignoring… all that… @Charles Murphy do you think you could help me do the show, jason is seriously trying to drop out of it and I don't have time for it
Charles Murphy: yahhhhhh, sure
Peter: I think I gtg, aunt may just got home
Sally Avril: awwwww, okay!! See you tomorrow?
Peter: you know it!! I'll chat here later too!
Betty: bye peter!!
Charles Murphy: if you see me while ur out swinging pls give me a high five
Cindy Moon: literally this is a shit show, just go, its not like this isnt gonna be here later
Ned: bye peter!!!!!
Peter shut the laptop, clattering through the doorway to May.
"Oh, hi honey," May said, glancing over at him and offering a smile. "I got us take out from Delmar's."
"Thanks!" Peter said, snagging the sandwich from her and setting the table. They ate in silence for a moment, May's eyes on him, her gaze contemplative.
"Tony reached out to me," she said suddenly. "Told me about your classmates?"
Peter groaned, the noise muffled by the food in his mouth. May smiled at him, fondness evident as she handed him a stack of napkins. He swallowed, wiping his mouth and taking a sip of water before speaking.
"They'd known since DC," he said, his eyes lowered. "I should've been more careful, sorry May."
May reached out, patting the back of his hand. "I know you would've never forgiven yourself if something bad had happened to them, sweetheart," she said, her eyes kind. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay with everyone knowing now."
"It's - it isn't everyone," Peter said, flipping his hand up so their fingers interlaced. "It's just Cindy, Sally, Betty, Abe, Charles, and Flash."
"Flash?" May said, her eyebrow raised. "Your bully, Flash?"
Peter groaned, scrubbing a hand over his face. "He hasn't been bullying me at all," he said, peeking at her over the top of his fingers. "Do we have to do this now?"
"It's now or with Tony later," May said, a glint in her eyes.
Peter groaned again, scrunching up his nose at her laugh. "But May," he said, dragging out the 'May', "I don't want tooo."
"Too bad, so sad," May said, shaking her head at him. She squeezed his hand once before letting it go and gesturing at him to eat. "Eat, Spiderman, while I talk." Peter rolled his eyes but complied, taking another huge bite from the sandwich. "I trust you," May began, watching him carefully. "I know that we went through a rough patch earlier when I found out and went after you and Tony," she admitted, looking down for a moment before glancing up when Peter nudged her leg, his eyes full of understanding. May breathed in once before continuing. "If you think that they are trustworthy, then, yes, sweet-pea, I won't tell you to hide it from them."
She looked at Peter suddenly, staring straight at him. "However," she said, a note of warning in her voice. "If one of them so much as thinks about leaking it to the press, you are going to be down a competitor for the Decathlon." Peter blinked at her, shock in his eyes. May sighed, the tension leaking out of her as she slumped further down in the kitchen chair. "You're all I've got, Petey-pie," she said, Ben's old nickname bringing an element of sobriety Peter hadn't expected to the conversation. "I'll be damned if anyone fucks with you."
Peter swallowed hard, blinking back tears. "Aunt May," he said, dropping his sandwich and throwing himself around to table to scoop her into a hug. "Aunt May-"
"Shhhh," May said, squeezing him back just as tightly. "I love you, sweetheart."
Peter tucked his face into her shoulder, clinging to her tighter than he ever had. "I love you too."