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It's a Puberty Thing

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Miles Morales comes to Brooklyn Visions boisterous and loud and strange. Everything about his mannerisms speaking of a different life, a different upbringing from the general student body. He's a curiosity for sure, but no-one's entirely sure how to interact with his energy, so they stay back and they watch. The first few weeks are rough as Morales works to settle, and the student body works to familiarize itself with this newcomer.

Then he's rocketed into school legend in single day. Nevermind the incident with his father in the patrol car on the front steps. "It's a puberty thing" he claims, as he spins and struggles with a blonde in the foyer. She returns to class with an arctic glare and half her hair shaved, and Morales tears through the hallways to escape the security guard and promptly vanishes for the rest of the day.

He's briefly swept from the minds of the masses as the morning dawns with the news of Spider-Man's death. And after all the chaos that ripped through the city, he returned to classes with a renewed vigor of his own, and the prickling nerves of a newcomer were gone. That would have been the end of the school's fascination with their newest classmate, but instead...

Morales shows up with a uniform riding up over his ankles and wrists, and nearly ripping the buttons off his blazer when he rolls his shoulders. He does rip the seams when he stretches his arms over his head after a pop quiz, the noise unmistakable among the soft rustle of papers and pencils. "It's a puberty thing" he says with a shrug when the teacher asks why the month-old uniform no longer fits.

There's a surprise fire-drill, which is normally an annoyance. Seconds before the alarm goes off Morales leaps from his desk, looking around the classroom wild-eyed. Before anyone can question him the alarms screech out and he drops like a marionette with cut strings. On the ground he curls into a ball and keens, and it takes a teacher and two other students to get him to the nurse's office. His dad shows up and takes him home for the day, and the wildfire of high-school gossip runs rampant. When he returns to classes the next day and they bombard him with questions of what happened yesterday... "It's a puberty thing."

This is the point where one intrepid student begins keeping a tally. Morales is still a mystery- after the first month his test scores had balanced out and proved he’s just as smart as the rest of them. The only thing he seems to fail to grasp is basic human biology. A chat group is created, and they begin to keep a list.

Tripping and ripping a door handle off on the way down? Puberty. Holding a conversation and spinning the dial on his locker without looking and still managing to get the combination right? Puberty. Hearing and reacting to noises and voices no-one else can hear? Puberty. Getting startled and leaping straight up and hitting his head on the overhead light 7 feet off the ground? Yup- it's a puberty thing.

It's nearly two months before someone gets a lightbulb moment and asks his roommate. Ganke Lee sighs and shakes his head before walking away. The gossiping masses do not like this answer, so they continue digging with newfound vigor.

Miles Morales has become a point of fascination within Brooklyn Visions Academy, and he is oblivious to the growing attention that is focused in on him.

He doesn't excel in gym class, but it's clear that's only because he never exerts himself. Running lap upon lap upon lap, and when the coach calls a halt he's not even sweating. Morales stays firmly in the middle of the pack the entire time. No-one can avoid staring during stretches, and several students put forward the theory that he is an alien made of rubber because no-one can bend like that.

It's also impossible to sneak up on him. Any actual attempt is foiled when he twists to look straight at the sneaker in confusion. On the opposite end of the spectrum however, he startles at any abrupt noise- even as faint as a dropped book-bag in the hallway outside (there is a rumor that there was a meeting with the principal after the fire drill incident, but much to the ire of the nosy students they don't know what was discussed.)

Miles Morales becomes a legend in his new school, and he's completely oblivious to it.

 

The first clue they get is when one student in the chat group drops a video: it's Jefferson Davis- Morales's dad- making a public announcement claiming all the new spider-themed-vigilantes as family. No-one's sure how this explains their local cryptic's behavior however, so they simply save it as a curious loose end.

Then Officer Davis shows up at the school with Spider-Man stuck to his car's roof. The pair chases off the reporter that had been hanging around, and Morales laughs and swats at Spider-Man when the vigilante ruffles his hair.

Asking him about his questionable grasp on the concept of 'puberty' is one thing, but asking him about a house full of vigilantes is something else entirely. He's almost as tense and awkward as he was at the start of term for a while, but he quickly relaxes once more, happily regaling them with insane tales of footprints on the ceilings, bent silverware and inter-dimensional portals in the living room.

 

The first time someone puts forward the craziest theory, they're brushed off almost instantly. But once it's been said, the thought lingers in the minds of the students who heard it. An impossible theory. Crazy. Nonsense. Utterly… improbable.

They say Peter Parker became Spider-Man at age 16 afterall. That he would break all manner of things while he learned to control the strength. That he would react to noises no-one else could hear, until he got a hold of his senses. That he ate triple the amount of regular food because his metabolism was enhanced.

They started watching Morales especially closely at lunch. He doesn't notice, but his roommate casually flips off anyone staring a little too blatantly.

No-one says it outright. The thought is out there, silent even as it continues to spread. Miles Morales has evolved from one type of cryptid to another, but the school finally begins to settle around him.

When he comes into class with a limp, no-one comments. When he vanishes during lunch and Spider-Kid saves a kidnapped kid three blocks away, there are only curious hums. When he's late to class and completely rips the locker door off its hinges in his haste, there's only a few heartbeats of awed silence before someone down the hall shouts "It's a puberty thing!" Morales looks vaguely mortified, but he's also waving a locker door around like it's a piece of paper as he's trying to talk himself out of the hole he's digging. It takes him a full minute to realize that's not exactly normal and drop it. It's almost awkward as no-one knows how to proceed from there, right up until Ganke Lee stalks up to grab Morales's hoodie and drag him to class, and everyone else disperses shortly after.

No-one says it, but they've all accepted it. The 'puberty thing' tally keeps going however.