He can 100% never ever never ever tell ANYONE how he meets his soulmate.
There is just absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY to even begin to describe the whole situation without losing the little street cred that he has. It’s so uncool, it’s loser-nerd, not cool-nerd, and he can hear the Avengers laughing at him already. (Except for Captain America, maybe. He’s so wholesome.)
It starts off with flyers posted around school for a national youth science forum held in Silicon Valley. It’s a whole week of science galore with teenagers converging from all over America. It’s like the most awesome summer camp ever, except it isn’t during the summer, it’s during the actual school year and it also costs $1,500 for the whole accommodation, food, flights, tickets package. So because in the real world, Peter Parker has $50 to his name, and Aunt May is still struggling with bills, he dismisses it out of hand. It’s too soon to find ANOTHER job to pay for the science camp, not when his still has his ‘Stark Internship’ to work on. He doesn’t give the flyer another thought, until his Physics teacher asks him to stay behind after class.
“Peter, you’re a bright boy,” Mr Harris starts, as Peter’s heart sinks and anxiousness claws at his insides, “Have you seen the National Youth Science Forum flyers around school? I hung them up myself.”
“Um, yeah.” Peter shifts his feet and clutches the straps of his backpack, “I have, I guess?”
“Have you considered attending?” Mr Harris speaks grandfatherly, in a way that only super old guys can pull off without being creepy, “I can give you credit for this course and exempt you from the weekly popquiz if you attend.”
“I mean, it does sound awfully fun but it’s like a whole thousand and a half dollars, and that’s like SO MUCH money,” Peter ducks his head, “I’d have to sell a kidney or something to be able to go, and I’m really attached to my kidneys, Mr sir.”
Mr Harris brightens, and pulled a card out from his pocket, flicking it out to Peter in a suave movie-esque maneuver.
“I’ve already thought about that Peter, and I think I know a way to get you there,” Mr Harris’s smile grows even wider as Peter reads the card, “If you can spare a Friday night, and if you can prepare yourself beforehand, I think we can come to an arrangement.”
This is how, at the tender age of fifteen, Peter Parker ends up spending his Friday Night at a Rotary Club meeting. Spending his wild teenaged years in a room full of 90-year-old businessmen is not exactly the image he wants to spread of himself, so he doesn’t tell Aunt May where he’ll be. He is welcomed into the room with the friendly smiles of Rotarians, who tell him all about their community service projects, and their growing arthritis in equal measure. He’s wearing his best suit, the one from his foiled prom date but he still feels like an awkward teen in his dad’s clothing.
They apparently do dinners together, because the most expensive looking leg of meat something, in a puree of pumpkin is set down in front of him, decorated with microherbs and vegetables and he stares at it in appreciation of free food, before inhaling it with the speed of a growing teenaged boy. They stuff him full of bread, a massive slice of German chocolate cake with cocoa-dusted whipped cream, and two glasses of the good Mexican coke before they get their official club business underway.
Mr Harris, a Rotarian who seems to be a member of this club, takes to the microphone to give a glowing recommendation of Peter, and advocate for his attendance at the camp. He’s honored, and touched, but also spends a little too much time scribbling last-minute notes into the margins of his hastily prepared speech.
“Um,” He first says, when he is introduced and led to the microphone, “I’m here to, uh, formally ask for support for my attendance at the National Youth Science Forum. I’d like to tell you more about myself…”
He talks and he talks, and really, he’s not sure if it’s the orphan card, the struggling genius thing, or his unprecedented involvement with Stark Industries as the youngest intern ever that really gets him going, but they ask him questions and he responds with a quiver in his voice and sooner than he’d thought, the president of the club is leading everyone in a round of applause for the bright young man they’re sponsoring to go party with teenaged genius nerds in silicon valley.
“Oh my god,” Peter exclaims as soon as he’s out of the room and on his way home. He calls up Ned and just babbles and babbles and he can’t help but repeat over and over, “They just GAVE me money Ned. They just met me tonight and they were like, yeah you’re a good young man, go and have fun with the other science nerd teenagers.”
“Oh my god,” Ned replies back, “Peter, you’re going to Silicon Valley. All expenses paid. Oh my GOD. You’re the luckiest guy I’ve ever met”
“I gotta call MJ,” Peter suddenly realizes, and he’s dialing MJ’s number the second after he hangs up on Ned.
“You are aware that there’s a catch right?” MJ finally tells him after he’s ranted and raved about their generosity and kindness, and the German mudcake, “So my grandpa’s a Rotarian, he’s with like, a different club. Anyway, they’ve been trying to start an Interact club at Midtown- that’s like, the young people’s version of Rotary, for years now. You’re the trojan horse, nerdboy.”
“MJ, they’re paying $1,500 for me to go to California,” He tells her seriously, “If they want me to paint them a giant mural, I can pick up the paint tomorrow.”
“Whatever,” MJ says, and he can feel her shrug over the phone, “I’ll join your club or whatever.”
“There is no club,” Peter stressed, “They haven’t asked me. I don’t even know what a Rotary club is, so I absolutely don’t even know what an Interact club is. I just wanna go to the science thing and do fun science experiments for a week, MJ.”
“I call dibs on Vice President,” MJ responds, “You know how much I love power, right?”
He goes to the conference and it’s FRICKING AWESOME, and they do fun experiments and mess around with the newest and latest technology and Peter leaves with a hundred new Facebook friends, a dozen new messages on his phone and slightly singed eyebrows. He’s back in New York and he’s googling Rotary and Rotaract, and Interact and their idea of ‘service above self’ and it resonates with him you know? It feels like the motto that all vigilante superheroes abide by. He googles the diseases cured by Rotary, the mass education and healthcare programs, and he can stand behind that. He’s back in New York for a day before he turns up at a Rotary meeting with wide eyes and a hopeful expression.
He tells them all about his week, all the friends, all the professional career networks, all the experiments and fun and learning. MJ is sitting on a table with her grandfather, who still seems a little shocked by her physical presence, but he seems to understand when Peter takes a deep breath in and ends his speech.
“I wanna start an Interact Club.”
That’s how he meets his soulmate. He, MJ and Ned plaster the school in flyers, even though it just means that they’re bigger losers than ever, but by heck, they’re earnest losers. They’re sitting in Mr Harris’s lab at lunchtime, with half a dozen other nerds and social outcats hoping that even a few more people will come, when Peter’s soulmate knocks on the door.
“Hi,” The much too cool-looking teenager voices, as he sticks his head through the doorway, “I’m looking for Mr Harris? I need to get my phone back.”
“You should stay and join our club instead,” Peter blurts out, “We um, volunteer, and do community stuff and, um, we’re volunteering at a soup kitchen on the weekend?”
The teen blinks, blinks again, then closes the door behind him as he steps through.
“Hey, I’m Miles, Miles Morales,” He’s holding a skateboard under his arm with the coolest handdrawn art on the board, “And you?”
“Peter!” He squeaks, before the room suddenly GETS why he’s turned the brightest red ever seen on a human. MJ is cheering and Ned is gaping but Peter is still reeling from the realization that his soulmate is so much cooler than he is, but he also may be the single most attractive person Peter’s ever seen.
So, if you ask MJ, he meets his super cool artsy soulmate because a room full of old white men give him money to hang out with nerds in California. It’s totally not the coolest thing to meet your soulmate while trying to start a volunteering and community service club at your High school. When he tells his future spider children, he’s ABSOLUTELY going to add more lasers, more explosions and complicated heist plots. Or lie and claim they met on tinder.
MJ meets her Gwen Stacy while at a protest against deportation of migrant children, and they meet because Gwen Stacy pours milk over her eyes when tear gas is thrown. They’re got “Got Milk?” and “I wasn’t aware I was in the presence of royalty, meme lord” across their arms and DAMN. THAT’S a cool story.
Ned meets his soulmate because she’s duct taped homemade rockets to her rollerskates, and she ends up both knocking into him on his way home, and melting the sides of his second-favorite pair of shoes. That’s a cool story.
Peter’s cool story doesn’t come until much later, when Miles meets him on the rooftop of his Uncles Apartment, and Miles walks down the side of the building.
“Holy moses,” Peter goes, at the same time that Miles goes “A spider bit me. A weird one.”
But that’s a whole different story.