Fandom: Spectacular Spider-Man animated series
Characters: Peter/Gwen, MJ, Flash, Liz, Captain Stacy
Word Count: Part 1: 1,387 words
Summary: Peter still hasn't talked to Gwen about that fateful kiss - he keeps getting distracted. Between his personal life and his spider-life, can he make it work?
Author’s Note: Set at the beginning of season 2, using episode 2.03 as a jumping off point. Not terribly spoilery, if you haven’t seen the first three episodes of season 2. Written as a belated birthday fic for jenna_knight. My idea seems to call for a short multi-part fic. Hope that’s all right. :)
Peter walked slowly up the sidewalk away from the ice rink. Mary Jane was right. He needed to focus if he wanted to win over Gwen. He had pretty much made a mess of things by not talking about the kiss.
It was just with everything going on in his life, especially as Spider-Man, he was being pulled in a million different directions. First this Mysterio character, then Kraven, then being hit by all sides by just about all of his enemies... To tell the truth, he was a little surprised that the Green Goblin hadn’t come swooping out of the sky yet with an insane grin and an explosive twinkle in his eye.
Peter shook his head forcefully. Gwen. This is my focus right now. He looked up ahead, where Gwen and MJ were walking together arm-in-arm, supporting each other. They both looked pretty shaken up by the events of this evening. He didn’t blame them -- being attacked by supervillains and then almost crushed by an enormous Christmas tree wasn’t exactly a fun time. And they didn’t have a spider-sense to protect them.
Peter increased his pace a little to catch up to them. He couldn’t allow himself to get off track. He needed to deal with the Gwen problem, and now, or else she might slip away from him for good.
He was incredibly relieved that no one had been hurt during the commotion tonight. Dousing Kraven with perfume would keep him away for a while, but the hunter would pick up his scent again... and where would he find him? At school? At home? At work? Out on a date?
That stopped Peter cold. What would happen if Kraven attacked him while he was out with Gwen? Could he protect her and his secret identity both? He could only imagine what it would be like for his friends and family if he were exposed to the world...
“Hey, Parker!” He had a moment’s warning from his spider-sense before he tripped out of the way to avoid Flash’s crutch sweeping at his ankles. “Move it, coward! Let a real man use the sidewalk.”
Peter turned an annoyed look on the football captain, who was walking with Liz at his arm. She helped her ex-boyfriend limp along with his cast and crutch, looking concerned.
“What do you mean by that?” Peter said with a frown.
“I saw you run out of there like a scared little puppy the moment those lunatics showed up.” He let out an obnoxious laugh. “Didn’t want to wet yourself in front of the ladies, huh?” He nodded toward MJ and Gwen ahead of them. “I bet that hot redhead and the nerdette don’t want anything to do with you.”
Liz chided him, “Come on, Flash, don’t give Petey such a hard time. I bet he was going to get help or something, right?”
“Um...” Peter said, rubbing the back of his head with a gloved hand. “I went to get some cocoa. MJ wanted cocoa...”
“Ha!” Flash brayed his laugh again. “Sure you were, Parker. Loser.” He pushed past Peter, whacking him on the leg for good measure. “C’mon, Liz.”
Liz gave Peter an apologetic look, but stayed with Flash, all sympathy and concern. “Now watch out, you don’t want to get hurt on an icy patch!”
Peter grinned slowly at Flash’s retreating back. He waited until the jock came near a spot of black ice... then shot out a thin strand of webbing, just enough to catch him off balance. Flash wobbled, tilted on his cast and fell butt-first into a pile of dirty snow by the side of the road.
“Flash!” Liz cried. She held out one of her gloved hands to pull him up but the icy sidewalk couldn’t give her enough traction. By the time she turned back to call, “Petey, can you give me a hand?” Peter had ducked into a storefront out of sight. She frowned for a moment, and went back to trying to extract Flash.
When Liz’s back was turned, Peter slipped away as soon as he could, rushing up the street in the direction the girls had gone. He hoped that they hadn’t already gotten on the subway or the bus for home. The bus stop at Fifth Avenue and 49th Street was just across the street and around the corner. He couldn’t put this talk off any longer. Maybe he would be lucky and catch them before the bus arrived...
As soon as he crossed he saw them -- but they weren’t waiting at the stop. MJ was leaning against a police car, hands shoved in her pockets. Gwen stood beside the car, talking to her father, Captain George Stacy. He had his arm around her shoulders, speaking to her in a low, concerned voice.
Peter stopped in his tracks, for the second time in fifteen minutes. Captain Stacy seemed like a nice guy, and he’d never gone after Spider-Man directly. But he couldn’t have a talk with a girl in front of her father! Peter took a step backward to pivot away.
Just then, MJ turned toward him, lifting a hand in greeting. She gave him a friendly smile and nodded over toward Gwen and her father. Obviously MJ didn’t think this was a bad time at all... was she nuts?
Peter took another step backward, waving his hands vaguely around. “I’ve got a... thing... you know...” he mouthed as he pointed behind him.
MJ frowned with disappointment. She placed her gloved hands on her hips and jerked her head back toward Gwen.
Peter gave her an awkward smile in return and almost made it around the corner of the building before Gwen turned her head and saw him. “P--Peter?” She looked down at the ground immediately, but it was too late. He’d been seen.
“Peter Parker?” Stacy echoed. “Come over here, my boy. Were you involved in that incident back there?” His lined face was filled with concern.
“I--” Peter began, walking back toward the small group, slowly.
“He, uh, went to get cocoa for us,” MJ cut in, explaining.
“Ah, then, good. I’m glad you weren’t hurt. If it weren’t for Spider-Man...” He ran a gentle hand over Gwen's hair and closed his eyes briefly.
“Yeah, he’s... kinda great, isn’t he?” Peter answered lamely, avoiding the captain's eyes. He was hoping to catch Gwen's instead, but she resolutely wouldn't look at him.
He smiled grimly. “All I know is that he’s saved my Gwendy more than once now. Personally, that gives him points in my book.”
Peter started to smile. Did the captain actually approve of Spider-Man? What a coup that would be!
Then the captain cleared his throat, and Peter’s brief rush of pride dissipated. “But officially, I would love to have a little one-on-one chat with him.” He glanced up, as if to see if Spider-Man had received his message.
He had. Just not in the way Captain Stacy was hoping.
Peter glanced toward Gwen again, who was staring off toward Rockefeller Center. What was she thinking? What did Gwen think of the webslinger?
MJ was giving him an amused half-grin. He didn’t have to wonder what she was thinking. She probably thought he was the biggest dork in New York City right now. A “distracted” dork at that.
“Well, kids, it’s getting pretty late. You’d better be getting home. And stay safe.” Captain Stacy put his arm around his daughter to lead her to the patrol car.
“C’mon, Tiger, walk me to the bus stop?” MJ murmured as Gwen was led away.
“But, I--” Peter lifted a hand to reach out toward Gwen. He was letting himself be distracted again! “Gwen...”
Gwen finally turned to look at him, before she got into the opened car door, a glimmer of hope in her eyes. Maybe he hadn’t completely missed his chance. She opened her mouth--
“Oh!” Stacy said suddenly. “What am I thinking? You kids both don’t live that far from us. Get in, I’ll give you a ride.”
Peter looked from Gwen, who had looked away again... to the captain, who expected an answer... to MJ, who was still wearing that half-grin... and then to the cramped back seat. He gulped.
He never got to answer. MJ’s gentle shove pushed him halfway into the car.
Next: Part 2