Peter was thoroughly exhausted when his alarm went off that morning, and didn’t even open his eyes as his hand groped blindly for his phone to silence the irritating tune. He sat up dazedly and blinked his heavy eyelids open, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings.
Sunlight filtered in through the gap between the patterned curtains, leaving patches of bright light on the rough carpet of the hotel room. There were two beds, Peter sat on one while Ned was under a mountain of covers on the other, still snoring lightly as he slept.
Peter stretched with a longing yawn, wishing the pair had gone to sleep sooner last night.
Along with the rest of their class the boys were in DC for a trip to the National Air and Space Museum, and because of the long bus ride each way the school had put them up in a hotel overnight. It made the trip more expensive, but they’d had plenty of notice and May had been able to save up, including some money left over for the gift shop. Due to Peter’s evening patrols it had been a long time since the boys had hung out together outside of a school setting so they’d made the most of it, talking and laughing most of the night away, and annoying their classmates next door if the banging on the wall was anything to go by.
But now, with only two hours sleep in him, Peter wished they hadn’t enjoyed as much of their time quite as much they had.
Finally finding the energy to stand he reached over and shook Ned’s shoulder, “Dude, wake up, we’ve gotta get ready,”
Ned groaned and rolled over, burying his face deeper into the pillow, “Hhgn... five more minutes,”
Peter sighed, “Fine, I’ll wake you up when I get out of the bathroom.”
The cold tiles under his bare feet shocked him into alertness as he stumbled over to the sink, loading his toothbrush and shoving it in his mouth, letting the muscle memory take over. He took in his appearance in the streaky mirror, from the unruly hair to his tired eyes to the toothpaste now smearing his lips and dribbling down his chin.
He snorted. Beautiful.
After using the washcloth to clean up he grabbed the comb May packed for him and attempted to flatten his rogue curls, quickly giving up when all he managed to do was get more tufts to stick out. He dressed quickly in jeans, a t-shirt and his favourite hoodie before heading back out into the bedroom.
Seeing Ned in the same position he left him in Peter stepped up to his friend and shook him slightly harder this time, “Ned?”
Another shake, “Dude?”
“G’way,” a lazy hand came up to swat him away so Peter did the only thing he could think of: he took a step back... and bellyflopped onto his friend.
“AH! Oof, DUDE!”
Ned sat up and pushed him off the bed, leaving Peter in a giggling heap on the floor.
“Not cool, bro,” Ned grumbled as Peter only laughed harder.
“What was I supposed to do? You weren’t getting up,” Peter choked out between fits of laughter.
Ned only scowled before clambering out of bed and stomping to the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him. If they hadn’t been friends for years Peter might have been worried that he’d upset him, but he knew Ned was not a morning person, especially when he was woken up and especially if he was woken up by someone jumping on him - he knew this from experience.
As the last of his laughter subsided he got up and flopped down on his bed, picking up his phone to check for messages while he waited.
Hope you and Ned have a good time! I’ll see you when you get back :) xx
Peter smiled and fired off a quick response.
Thanks May, I’ll pick you something up from the gift shop ;)
He was relieved and disappointed that there weren’t any messages from Mr Stark; relieved because it meant there wasn’t a mission he had to rush back for and, ironically, disappointed for the same reason. Of course, he didn’t want for there to be some major crime or attack or anything, but he really did enjoy teaming up with his mentor in a superhero capacity. Or maybe he just wanted an excuse to suit up; he’d only taken one night off and already he was missing it.
Peter sighed and locked his phone, dropping it onto the bed beside him. He closed his eyes, figuring he could get a few minutes just relaxing before Ned was ready and they had to go.
He was awoken a few minutes later by his spider sense urging him to move now! Flinging himself off the bed and sticking to the wall he opened his eyes in time to see Ned drop heavily onto the bed where Peter had been just seconds earlier.
“No fair, dude!” Ned complained, even as he grinned at the sight of Peter attached to the wall by his fingertips and rainbow socks, “that is so cool,”
Peter let out a relieved sigh as his heart rate returned to normal. He smirked at the awed expression on his best friend’s face before dropping down onto the bed next to him.
“You good to go?” He asked, tugging his sneakers on.
“How do you go from being literally on the wall to putting your shoes on like it’s the most normal thing in the world?” Ned asked in amazement as he also reached for his shoes.
“I don’t know man, it kind of is normal for me,” Peter shrugged as the pair finished getting ready and headed down to breakfast, all talk of Spider-Man dropped as soon as they left their room.
Their teacher Ms Warren and a few of their classmates were in the restaurant when they got there but the room was largely empty, meaning there was no line at the self-serve buffet. The boys raced each other there and eagerly began loading their plates. Ever since the spider bite had kick started his metabolism Peter’s appetite had gone through the roof, causing a few troubles for May who had the impossible task of keeping him fed. He tried not to eat them completely out of house and home but that often left him hungry, meaning when opportunities like an inclusive all you can eat buffet presented themselves he was smart enough to make full use of it.
Just as Peter was adding a fried egg to his plate his spider sense tingled but he willed himself not to leap out of the way as he was shoved roughly in the back.
“Whaddup Parker!” Flash yelled as the egg fell from the spatula, the yolk exploding messily as it landed on Peter’s left shoe.
“Hey!” Peter jumped back as if to get away from the splatter, holding his foot away from him in disgust.
“Oh, my bad,” Flash said, not sounding repentant at all, “Jesus Parker, you got enough food there? You eat all that you’re gonna be as big as Ned,”
Peter surged forward but Ned grabbed his shoulder, “Just ignore him, Peter,”
He could easily have shaken Ned off and thrown Flash across the room, but he couldn’t do it before he got his powers and he couldn’t do it now without revealing them, and as much as it angered him Ned was right. Some things just weren’t worth it.
“What’re you gonna do Parker? You gonna hit me?” Flash taunted, but the uncertainty was apparent in his eyes.
“Boys,” Ms Warren’s disapproving voice interrupted, saving Peter from coming up with a retort, “Play nicely. And chop chop, the bus is leaving in half an hour,”
Flash sneered at them before moving to pick up his own tray, and Peter and Ned went to sit down.
“What a jerk,” Ned commented as Peter used a wad of napkins to clean off his shoe, “thanks for going to stick up for me but honestly Peter it’s not worth it. I’m not offended by anything said to me by a guy who calls himself ‘Flash’”
Peter could tell that wasn’t quite true, but knew better than to bring it up, “Yeah, you’re right. It just makes me so mad that I could do something, but I just... can’t,”
“I know, but don’t worry dude, someone will put him in his place someday and with any luck we’ll be there to see it,”
Peter grinned, “Can you imagine? It would literally be the best day of our lives,”
“What about the day Mr Stark gave you the suit?” Ned asked quietly.
Peter paused, “Okay, fine, the best day of your life. But it’ll be in my top three,”
A short while later the boys were clearing their trays away. Peter had left a fair amount of food on his tray, which as someone who hated to see food wasted pained him to do, but Flash had been right about it being a lot of food and the old him would never have been able to eat a portion as big as that.
With their bags all packed and loaded on the bus the class headed out on the short journey from the hotel to the museum.
“Listen up everybody,” Ms Warren stood at the front of the bus, “you know the drill. I want you all on your best behaviour; no wandering off, no running around, no fighting,” she looked pointedly between Peter and Flash, “and no screaming and shouting, remember you are not only representing yourselves but also our prestigious school, so please act accordingly. Pay attention, learn something, and please ask intelligent questions. Alright guys, don’t let me down, let’s go,”
They all piled off the bus and gathered in the entryway, looking around at the displays as Ms Warren checked them in at the reception.
“Oh man, I’m so tired,” Ned mumbled, stifling a yawn.
“Same man, I can’t believe we stayed up all night,” Peter crossed his arms to ward off the chill you only got when you were really tired.
“But nighttime is the best time for watching conspiracy videos, it’s just not the same watching theories about Mothman during the day,” Ned said seriously.
“Of course not,” Peter agreed, snickering as Ms Warren and another woman walked over to the group.
“Hi Midtown, my name is Alex and I’m going to be your tour guide for the day,” She was young, with a kind face and blonde hair swept back into a ponytail, “we’ve got a full itinerary today, and since you need to be finished early to get started on your long journey home we need to get moving.”
They followed as she began to lead them into the museum, “We’ll spend the morning looking at the exhibits you all came to see, then we’ll break for lunch. After lunch, you’ll get some time to have a quick look around our exclusive Captain America exhibit before we have a talk from a guest speaker. So if you’ll follow me, we’ll start with the space crafts,”
Everyone perked up at the sound of the Captain America exhibit and picked up the pace to follow Alex, eager to get the first part of the tour over and done with.
As the tour went on Peter found his attention span waning, and the tour guide’s well rehearsed speech quickly morphed into an unintelligible drone. He wasn’t missing anything he didn’t already know. The mandatory pre-reading they’d done before they left had been very extensive, leaving Peter feeling like he probably knew more about the vehicles than the guide did. He smothered another yawn, trying not to let his mind wander too far.
He knew Ned was also having trouble focusing when he leaned over and whispered in his ear.
“Who’d win in a fight: Spider-Man or Mothman?”
Peter frowned and turned to his friend, “What?”
“In a straight fight between y— Spider-Man and the Mothman, who would win?” Ned clarified, brows raised in questioning.
“Spider-Man, no question,” Peter whispered back as if he was staring the obvious, “He could just web him up and be done,”
“Okay,” Ned conceded, “but what about without webs, just straight hand to hand, who would win then?”
“Still Spider-Man, he has super strength,”
“But Mothman is half man, half moth, surely he has other powers besides having a moth face and a pair of wings, like, what if he has super strength too?”
“So what if he does? Spider-Man has reflexes to help him, he’d win for sure,” Peter said, feeling defensive of his alter ego.
“But Mothman can fly,” Ned pointed out.
“Dude, why are you so eager for Mothman to win?” Peter frowned.
“I’m just saying,” Ned defended, “I mean obviously I’d be rooting for Spider-Man but—“
“Mr Leeds, Mr Parker, if you could concentrate please, there will be a detention for both of you when we get back to school,” Ms Warren levelled them with a look, and the pair apologised meekly before following along.
By the time lunch rolled around the two boys were flagging and were struggling not to fall asleep, only the promise of a visit to the Captain America exhibit keeping them hanging on.
“Dude this is going to be so awesome. I’ve always wanted to come see it but my mom said it was too far to drive,” Ned said between bites of his beef sandwich.
“Yeah, Aunt May always said the same thing,”
“You guys seriously wanted to drive a nine hour round trip just to look at some stuff you could easily look up online?” MJ asked, frowning at them from over the top of her book.
“Uh, duh!” Ned answered as if the question had been ‘is grass green?’ “It’s Captain America! And we get to see some of his stuff in the flesh. I will have been stood in the same room as objects owned and touched by the Captain America, the next best thing to standing in the same room as the man himself,”
MJ looked to Peter, who nodded enthusiastically. The girl rolled her eyes.
“You guys are losers,” she commented before returning her attention to the words on the page.
Ned looked offended but Peter just shrugged. Was she really wrong?
“Alright guys, if you’re all ready then we’ll head through to the Captain America exhibit. I must ask that you don’t bring any food or drink in with you,” Alex announced and the class rushed to their feet.
Once they reached the exhibit Alex told everyone they could disperse and look at what they wanted. There wasn’t a tour through this exhibit per se as it led from one display to another fairly naturally, and the audio recording playing on loop made her fairly redundant. Not that she minded. It was nice to get a break after walking and talking all morning, she could just stand and make sure nobody touched anything.
The kids all split off into their groups of friends and moved through the room at different paces. Ned and Peter were the slowest, taking the time to read every information board and absorb every detail of the objects on display.
“It’s so weird seeing him in these old videos,” Peter commented as they watched grainy black and white footage of Captain America during the war, leading troops and giving orders. It struck Peter how little the man’s role had changed as without the context he could easily have been leading an Avengers mission, “it’s almost like he’s been edited in,”
“Yeah,” Ned agreed, “it’s like, when you see old pictures of when your grandparents were young and they look really different, but he just looks exactly the same,”
“I know, it’s weird. Must be even weirder for him though,” Peter mused, imagining waking up seventy years in the future. It must have been terrifying, having no idea what anything is and having no one to rely on. He resolved to be slightly less mocking when Steve asked him for computer help.
Ned hummed his agreement and led them over to the display depicting the difference in Steve’s physique before and after the serum. He stepped up to measure himself against the image of pre-serum Steve. “Dude, I’m the same height as Captain America was!”
“Definitely not the same weight though!” Flash remarked loudly, a few people snickering.
Peter glared at him and said, “Get lost, Flash,” at the same time Ms Warren approached.
“Thompson, Parker, what did I say about fighting?” She looked at them sternly, “Detention when we get back to school. That’s two, Mr Parker, don’t make it a third,”
Flash waited until she’d turned her back before glaring spitefully at them.
“Nice going, Parker,” he spat, but quickly scampered off when Ms Warren turned to raise questioning brow.
Peter sighed and turned back to see Ned grimacing sympathetically at him. He quickly changed the subject.
“Could you imagine if one day I came into school like this-” he gestured to himself, “and then the next day I came in like that?” he pointed to the taller post-serum picture of Steve.
“That would be awesome,” said Peter eagerly.
“I’d be all like ‘hey guys,’” Ned flexed an arm before gesturing to it casually, “‘oh this? Nah I’ve just been working out a little, here let me get that door for you’ and then I’d rip the door right off it’s hinges, like ‘oh, my bad, guess I don’t know my own strength’”
“Why Ned, have you gotten taller?” Peter played along with a laugh.
“Just a little growth spurt, no biggie, I’m sure you weedlings will catch up someday,” Ned continued in his ‘tough man’ voice, which was deeper than his normal pitch and slightly breathy.
They would have gone on but Alex and Ms Warren called them all over.
“Okay guys,” Alex began once they were all assembled, “our guest speaker is ready for us, so if you’ll all follow me we’re going to head down to the auditorium,”
“Hey, who’s the speaker?” Flash asked.
“You’ll find out very soon,” Alex said cryptically, sparking a guessing game that didn’t stop even as they were all seated and seconds away from finding out.
“Who do you think it’s gonna be?” Ned asked.
“I don’t know, man. But do you think they’re gonna turn the lights out? I could really use a nap if it’s not someone interesting,” Peter was mostly joking; their seats in the middle of the second row would make it difficult to sleep unnoticed, and if May’s ridiculous (and false) suggestion that he snored were true then he’d be found out immediately and he’d never live it down. Still, he supposed it would depend on just how boring the speaker was.
Alex reappeared from backstage, “Alright guys, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Please welcome to the stage...”
Peter closed his eyes as another yawn tore through his body, man he was tired.
“... Captain America himself, Mr Steve Rogers!”
Peter’s eyes snapped open, tiredness forgotten as the class exploded into excited cheers and whoops. Ned grabbed Peter’s arm in excitement as Steve walked casually out onto the stage, giving everyone a little wave.
“Ohmygodohmygod, Peter it’s Captain Freaking America!”
Peter slid down in his chair, hoping he wouldn’t be noticed. It wasn’t that he had anything against the Avenger, quite the opposite, but he really wasn’t in the mood to deal with the fallout of his classmates finding out he knew Steve Rogers. He loved the attention as Spider-Man but as Peter Parker... not so much.
“Hi everybody, I’m Steve Rogers, but you probably all know me as Captain America,” Steve greeted with a polite smile. To everyone else he seemed happy enough but having seen him in both a professional and informal setting Peter could see the confident mask he was wearing and the slight discomfort that lurked beneath. Huh, Peter mused, I guess he likes attention as little as I do.
“Now I know you all just came from my exhibit so I won’t bore you with all the details, instead I thought I’d talk a bit about the vehicles and machines we used during the war as your teacher told me that was what you came here to see. Then after that I’ll open it up to a little Q and A, sound good?”
General murmurs of assent rippled through the class and Steve smiled.
“Alright then. So let’s start simply with the—“
Peter hunched frantically in his seat as Steve’s gaze swept through the crowd, passing right over him. If the man saw him he made no indication of having done so but MJ, who was sat to his left, frowned quizzically at him. Peter only shook his head at her.
“Dude, what are you doing?” Ned whispered from his other side, quieter than he ever had before. Not only did he know Peter would hear it but also did not want to be caught talking during Steve Rogers’ presentation.
“I don’t want him to see me,” Peter answered equally quietly, turning to face him to allow his friend to hear him better.
“Why? Do you think he’s still mad that you stole his shield that one time?”
“What? No. He’s cool about that. I just don’t want it to be a big deal that we know each other,”
“Dude, are you kidding? I’d give anything to be able to tell everyone I know an Avenger,” Ned whispered incredulously.
Peter had been about to answer but Ms Warren had caught his eye from the front corner of the room. Disapproval radiated from her as she held up three fingers to indicate his third detention. He pressed his lips together and sighed, leaning back into his chair and quietly hoping to remain unnoticed. He definitely wasn’t going to be getting a nap now.
Steve talked for a long while, and despite his exhaustion Peter found himself paying rapt attention. The man clearly knew his stuff and was able to articulate it in a way that was both engaging and educational, and judging by the standing ovation Peter wasn’t the only one who’d enjoyed it.
Momentarily forgetting about his plan to keep a low profile Peter also stood and joined the applause, regretting it just moments later when Steve caught his eye and the corners of his mouth quirked into the tiniest smirk before his gaze continued around the room. The interaction lasted less than a second, but it was enough for not only Peter to know he’d been spotted but two others, MJ’s thoughtful look going unnoticed as Ned’s excited rambling captured all of Peter’s attention.
“Okay guys settle down!” Everyone began to retake their seats as Alex called for calm, “Mr Rogers will be taking questions now so if you have one please raise your hand and wait to be called on. Nothing too personal, and let’s keep it tasteful. Over to you,” she addressed the last part to Steve as she took a step back.
Steve’s eyes scanned through the room full of raised hands, some waving as they demanded attention, and settled on a boy towards the back left corner, “You there, in the blue sweater,”
The class swivelled as one to look at the boy Peter sat next to in History, Aaron, who cleared his throat and asked, “What’s the best part about being an Avenger?”
Steve huffed out a laugh but refrained from shaking his head. They were a bunch of teenagers, of course they’d be more interested in the ‘superhero’ aspect of his life.
“That’s a good question. I’d have to say helping the people who need us most, and being able to make a positive impact on their lives by making the world just that little bit safer,”
Peter nodded along in agreement; he couldn’t have put it better himself.
Choosing from the opposite side of the room this time, Steve pointed to Dylan, a boy Peter knew from Chemistry class.
“How many push-ups can you do?”
Peter rolled his eyes at the question, but Steve laughed good naturedly, “I’ve never counted,”
He chose Flash next.
“You’re friends with Tony Stark, right?” the boy asked.
“Yes I am,” Steve answered shortly. He’d expected random questions, but everyone knew they were friends. Why ask? He didn’t ponder on it too long and moved on.
The next student Steve picked was a small, dark-haired girl Peter thought he recognised from Spanish class. Her name was Hannah... or maybe it was Anna, or even Annie? He was sure it was something with an ‘ann’ in it but he couldn’t be certain. Before she even got the chance to say a single word though a loud, obnoxious voice cut her off.
“So you’d be pretty offended if someone tried to ruin your friend’s reputation by spreading lies, right?”
Peter groaned quietly and huddled down further into his seat. Why would Flash do this? Actually, on second thought, of course Flash would do this. He’d do anything to humiliate Peter.
Steve frowned, crossing his arms, “What exactly are you getting at?”
“Well there’s a kid in our class who keeps telling everyone he interns for Tony Stark, but there’s no way that’s true because Stark Industries doesn’t allow high school aged interns - I know, I checked - and even if they did I doubt the Tony Stark would choose someone like Peter Parker as their intern,” Flash smirked vindictively at the boy in question before practically climbing over MJ to get to Peter.
“This is him, sir,” Flash continued, grabbing Peter by the upper arm.
As much as he didn’t want to Peter allowed himself to be pulled to his feet and immediately found himself to be the centre of attention. Everywhere he looked faces were whipping back and forth between himself, Flash and Steve, not wanting to miss a second of the action; necks were craned and some people had even stood up to get a better view. Peter scowled at Flash as he weakly tried to tug his arm free.
“This is the one who’s been telling everyone he works for Tony Stark. I just thought you’d like to know about it so that you could tell him to stop spreading lies to boost his own pitiful image and dragging your friend Tony Stark into it. Because none of it is true, is it? He’s just a liar?”
Flash was practically beaming as he awaited Captain America’s response, smugness oozing from every pore on his body. Not only did he hold the attention of everyone in the room, including one of the original Avengers, he was also about to expose Peter for the liar he truly was. Him, single-handedly, in front of the entire class, helping out an Avenger.
Peter was praying for the floor to swallow him up. He wanted Flash to know that he wasn’t lying about the internship, of course he did, but not like this, not so... publicly. And just like the rest of his class, who were whispering excitedly in hushed anticipation, he had absolutely no idea how Steve was going to react. Would he be mad? Despite the poker face the man was currently wearing Peter could tell he wasn’t happy, and quickly arranged his features into a pleading gaze and hoped the man understood.
Please don’t make it a big deal, please don’t make it a big deal...
“Oh, he’s a liar alright,”
“I knew it!” Flash exclaimed victoriously, grinning broadly as the entire class erupted into chatter. Only Ned, who knew the truth about the internship, looked as shocked as Peter, whose jaw had dropped as his face contorted into a look of betrayal. Of all the things he’d expected Steve to say that had not been on the list. How could he have misread the look so wrong?
“A liar,” Steve continued in a voice that commanded quiet, “who told Tony he’d let him know if his bullying problem got any worse,”
Peter froze, both his utter bewilderment at the situation and the disapproving look Steve was levelling him with was causing his brain to short circuit. How had it come to this?
There was a beat of silence before Flash interrupted it, “Wait, what?”
Peter’s spider sense itched uncomfortably as people were staring at him, then not, then again as they waited for either him or Steve to make the next move. Steve only raised a brow at Peter, waiting for the boy to explain himself.
“I, um...” Peter scratched the base of his skull, both as a nervous gesture and an attempt to alleviate the prickle from his senses as all heads snapped towards him, “It actually isn’t any worse, um, this is... this is fairly standard. And, um, he only said to tell him if it... if it got worse,”
A ripple of mutters worked its way through the auditorium as Steve rolled his eyes and uncrossed his arms, bringing his hands to rest on his hips.
“I’m fairly certain that Tony would consider it happening at all to be it getting worse,” Steve said, adopting what Peter had coined his ‘PSA voice’, “Now are you going to tell him about it, or do I need to?”
Peter blushed scarlet at being told off by Captain America in front of his whole class but nodded anyway, eager for the torture to be over.
“I’ll tell him,” he mumbled, knowing that despite the distance the soldier’s enhanced hearing would still pick the words up.
“Good,” Steve nodded and turned his attention to Flash, who had long since dropped Peter’s arm in favour of gaping between the two. “Now, Flash, is it?”
Flash nodded shakily, “Uh, yes sir?”
“To answer your earlier question; yes, Peter is an intern for Stark Industries, in fact he is Tony Stark’s personal intern, that’s how we met,” he waved a hand between himself and Peter. “And you’re right, generally speaking anyone under eighteen is not accepted into the internship program but Stark made an exception for Peter because he saw not only his aptitude but his enthusiasm and commitment, and just the fact of him being a great person to be around. That’s one thing people look for in an intern, someone whose personality would make it very enjoyable to spend a lot of time with them,”
Flash blanched at the obvious slight against him while the rest of the class responded with various snickers and gasps. Ned was in awed rapture and even MJ had perked up from her usual indifference.
“And as for your desire to protect Stark from the perceived threat of slander, I commend your loyalty. Maybe when you’re older, you can get an internship at his company too,” Steve smiled but there was no warmth in his expression, his eyes steely as he stared the boy down. Flash ducked his head in chagrin and submission and slunk back to his seat, slouching and crossing his arms as he glared at the floor.
Seizing his moment Peter dropped gratefully back into his seat, relieved that the worst of it seemed to be over. Beside him, Ned was almost trembling with excitement.
“Dude!” Ned whispered loudly, his voice several octaves higher than usual.
“I know,” Peter whispered back, eyes not leaving Steve for fear of missing anything.
Steve, seemingly satisfied, returned his attention to Anna (Hannah?), “Now, I believe you had a question?”
Hannah (or was it Annie? Peter was determined to find out now) looked stunned, having not expected the attention to return to her and stuttered out, “Oh, erm, I don’t remember it now,”
Steve smiled kindly, “Well just stick your hand back up if it comes back to you. Does anyone else have any questions?”
A sea of hands shot up.
“Any questions that are not about Peter?” he qualified.
Most hands dropped with a grumble until only a smattering remained in the air. Steve’s eyes skipped over the people he’d seen looking excited when they thought Peter was going to be in trouble until they landed on one who hadn’t.
“How about you, the young lady next to Peter?”
“I’m writing an essay on Agent Peggy Carter for my history assignment on ‘important women in history’, I was hoping you could tell me more about her than the tiny amount on the internet and in the short video of her in your exhibition,” MJ spoke clearly, her request a statement more than a question. Steve smiled genuinely.
“A lot of her history is classified which is why the internet isn’t very helpful, but I’ll tell you what I can,” he said before launching into a detailed retelling of Peggy Carter’s many achievements.
“Alright guys, let’s give a big thank you to Mr Rogers,” Alex called as she approached Steve on the stage. Cheers and applause immediately echoed throughout the auditorium and Peter tried not to wince at the noise erupting all around him. He could see Steve having the same issue.
“Thank you for an amazing talk and for taking the time to answer some the students’ questions,” Alex continued once the noise had died down somewhat.
Steve smiled humbly, “It’s no trouble at all, thank you for having me,”
“Of course,” Alex beamed, turning to the class, “ladies and gentlemen, Captain America!”
Steve took a tiny bow and waved goodbye before disappearing backstage, leaving Alex to try and calm the rowdy class.
“Alright guys, settle down, settle down! Now, because Mr Rogers’ talk went over slightly we don’t have time to look through any more exhibits, so we’re going to head straight to the gift shop for a short visit before you get back on the bus, alright? So if you all want to gather at the front and we’ll head down.”
Normal conversation resumed as the class filtered down to the front, some were glad to head to the gift shop while others were annoyed there wasn’t more time to look around the museum. Most conversation however was centred on Peter, and no matter how hard he tried not to focus on it there were a few comments that broke through his concentration.
“I can’t believe Peter actually works for Stark,”
“I can’t believe he knows Captain America”
“Do you think Mr Rogers was just playing along to save Peter?”
“I thought so too, but he knew Flash’s name. How else would he know that? No one said it,”
“Stark’s personal intern, how cool is that!”
“Dude!” Ned bumped shoulders with him and Peter looked up, glad of the distraction. “Oh my god that was incredible, I’m so glad I was here to witness this day because it is now officially the best day of my life. Ah man, I wish I’d filmed it so that I could see Flash’s face over and over. I’d probably set it as my wallpaper, and probably print it for my actual wallpaper in my room,”
Peter had to laugh at the image of Flash’s shocked face as the motif repeated over and over around the walls of Ned’s room, a room that wasn’t small by any means.
“But seriously dude, did you know he was coming?” Ned asked.
“No, I had no idea. I probably wouldn’t have come if I did.” He was still feeling pretty embarrassed.
“C’mon dude, don’t tell me that wasn’t the best thing you’ve ever seen? Captain America destroyed Flash without even raising his voice, or even using his shield he just talked nicely to him and Flash basically shit himself,” Ned gesticulated enthusiastically as he spoke.
“Yeah, right after he told me off in front of everybody,” Peter grumbled quietly, hoping no one would overhear.
“Peter, no one cares about that! They’re more interested in the fact that the internship is true, that you know Tony Stark, that you know Captain America, and that Flash got put in his place,” he counted each point off on his fingers, “Captain America just gave you a gift, you are gonna be the coolest guy in school now, embrace it!”
Peter had to admit Ned did raise some very good points, and the more he thought about it the more he realised it was a good thing. No one would doubt him about the internship anymore; he wouldn’t have to insist it was true every time he brought it up. Plus there was the added bonus that he provably knew not only one but two Avengers. Maybe Flash wouldn’t bother him anymore now he knew that Captain America was in his corner.
A smile spread across Peter’s face, “Hey maybe you’re right Ned, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing,”
Ned grinned, “Of course I’m right Peter. Now let’s look around, I have to buy something to commemorate this day,”
As the boys looked around the shop Peter felt a buzz in his pocket and pulled his phone out to see a notification about a text from Steve Rogers. The two had traded numbers when they’d met a few months ago at Tony’s insistence; he’d wanted Peter to have more than one number to call in an emergency in the unlikely event that Tony couldn’t respond. Peter quickly opened the message.
Sorry I embarrassed you earlier, it wasn’t my intention but Flash needed knocking down a peg and that was the perfect opportunity. Hope it doesn’t cause any problems among your classmates, but hopefully it’s done the opposite and gotten them off your back. I get it if you’re mad, I hope you can forgive me.
Just as Peter finished reading another text came through.
By the way I was being serious about telling Tony, I’ll know if you don’t.
Peter laughed at the apparent threat, catching Ned’s attention. After showing him the messages his friend gasped.
“You have Captain America’s phone number!?” Ned exclaimed, as Peter rushed to shush him.
“Why is your life so cool?” Ned sighed, but without a hint of envy.
“It won’t be when Mr Stark hears about Steve embarrassing me, he’ll want a turn,” Peter muttered as he typed a response to Steve, letting him know that all was forgiven.
Ned’s face lit up, “Pleeeease let it happen,”
Peter scowled at him, “No way, man. So what are you getting?”
Ned showed him the bundle of items in his arms, “I’m gonna go queue up, I’ll save you a spot,”
Peter nodded and returned his attention to the shelves as Ned wandered off. After careful thought he picked up a DIY model plane kit and a bag of candy for May. His phone buzzed again as he headed towards the queue and he read the newest text from Steve.
Glad to hear it. And don’t forget to tell Tony :)
Peter rolled his eyes, of course Steve would pick up on his deliberate attempt to ignore the ‘tell Tony’ part of his message.
I’ll tell him
Eventually, Peter added mentally as he pocketed his phone and joined Ned in the queue.
As they all made their way to the bus Peter was aware of eyes on him and muted conversations, but he was so tired at this point he could barely function, let alone address any of the questions he knew they all had.
Once he and Ned were seated towards the back of the bus, Peter sent a text to May to let her know they were leaving before plugging his earphones in and closing his eyes. Now that the cat was out of the bag about his connections to the Avengers he doubted anyone would try to mess with him or Ned if they slept, and on the off chance they did he had his spider sense to wake him up.
Peter sighed as he relaxed for the first time all day. No one doubted his internship anymore, he wouldn’t have to be as careful about mentioning the Avengers at school, and Flash hadn’t said a word since the incident and was currently sulking at the front of the bus. But most importantly Peter could finally, finally, take the nap he’d been waiting all day to have.
Oh yeah, life was good.