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this coupon is good for...

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A List of Things Michelle Only Found Out About Peter After They Became Friends:

  1. He doesn’t know how to use chopsticks properly. (Michelle’s had to show him several times and he’s still helpless.)
  2. Peter isn’t the most well-read. He spends most of his time reading comics, graphic novels, books for class, books about physics, and books that in some way help him build tech for the spidey suit. (Michelle has thrown several books at his head. She’s seen a bookmark in one, so she’ll take what she can get.)
  3. Perhaps most egregious, Peter Parker is, without a doubt, single-handedly, the best gift giver. And it’s infuriating.

See, the thing about being friends with someone who’s great at giving gifts is that you just suck at it. Michelle can spend hours thinking up something to get Peter for his birthday or Christmas or graduation and it will be like getting a rock compared to anything Peter gives her. A signed copy of her favorite book, an exclusive interview with Steve Rogers, a year-long subscription to a sock of the month club.

Michelle manages to get Peter this vintage comic book she happened upon once at an antique store and that was the greatest gift she got him. It wasn’t even a comic he’d read. But he still smiled and gasped and thanked her. Even though it was a really lame present. Michelle is determined to do better.

Yet, despite her sincerest desire to give Peter a good present to finally make up for the years and years of lame presents she’s given him, Michelle always forgets to plan. Which is how she ends up frantically looking through a Hallmark store on a Thursday night at eight pm, searching for a present to give Peter for his birthday tomorrow.

It’s sad, really. But she was busy! Classes have her swamped and it was her midterm week. She feels guilty, though. Because Peter also made her lunch for the entire week and packed it with a note telling her she’d do great. Which is why she wanted to make it up to him with a great present! But here she is, looking at sad, pseudo-edgy journal booklets.

She finally settles on a coupon book she sees offhand. She looks through it and it’s got lots of household chores, which Peter absolutely abhors doing so at least he’ll have use for them. (Peter is, on all accounts, a fantastic roommate. But his tolerance for basic household upkeep leaves something to be desired. She’s had to pick up the spider-man suit from the floor more times than she’d care to admit.) She grabs the red one as a joke (Spider-man!) and purchases it, hoping that the party she has planned for him tomorrow will at least make up for this lame gift.

Michelle makes him breakfast the next morning before his eleven am class. Chicken crumble and scrambled eggs over avocado toast. She also makes him coffee because she saw his light on at two thirty am when she went to use the restroom. He’s sleepy, but he thanks her, kissing her hair lightly on his way to the bar stool. They chat and eat before both of them leave for class. On her way out the door, she reminds him to be back by seven for her surprise.

Michelle thinks it’s very likely he knows it’s a party, but what he doesn’t know is that Tony is coming. It’s been a long time since Peter has seen him and, while she and Tony don’t always see eye-to-eye about everything, she’s excited that Peter will get to see him.

So, when seven pm rolls around and everyone’s waiting eagerly in their apartment, Michelle is, admittedly, a lot excited. May baked a beautiful cake. (Well, May’s girlfriend baked a beautiful cake. May isn’t the most adept baker. Or cook. But everyone really likes Shana and her cooking.) Ned’s flown in because it’s Peter’s twenty first. So did Liz. (Tony may have paid for their tickets, but he doesn’t really want that information spreading around. Doesn’t need anyone asking him to buy them plane tickets whenever they please.) Then the door lock starts rattling and everyone quiets, scrambling to hide.

As soon as Peter opens the door, everyone jumps and screams. “Surprise!”

Peter laughs. “You guys!” He’s smiling brightly in that dopey way he does, and Michelle feels her heart swell and her face heat up. So, she might be a little bit in love with Peter Parker. It doesn’t matter. It’s not important. We can just ignore it.

Tony walks over to Peter, and Peter chokes a bit. The two hug and it’s heartwarming. But then Ned is rushing over and tackling Peter and there’s laughter and smiling again. Michelle is happy that Peter is happy. So she lets Peter make his way around the party, talking to everyone and catching up. She’s content to stay on the sidelines, making sure everyone is happy. Most importantly, Peter.

But Tony Stark finds her halfway through the night. “Michelle, yes?” She nods her head, sipping from the specialty IPA that May brought. (If there’s one thing May does know, it’s beer.) “Thanks for doing this for him. For bringing me.” He looks down, smiling a bit. “He’s told me you don’t always think so highly of me. So, I appreciate you inviting me anyway.”

She doesn’t know how to respond. For one, she wants to punch Peter because she’d told Peter that, not Tony Stark. There’s no point in denying. So: “You mean a lot to Peter. You should get to be here, too.”

He smiles at her, nodding his head lightly. He taps his hand against his thigh and starts to walk away. He pauses for a moment, turns around, and says, as if he can’t decide if he should, “You mean the world to him. Please tell me you know that?”

She’s a bit stunned. She just nods and he seems to accept that because he walks away. She scans the room until she spots Peter. He’s in the middle of what appears to be an animated story because his arms are flying everywhere and he’s laughing and Ned and Liz are laughing into their hands and shaking their heads. Michelle has never loved him more.

She stares long enough that he finally looks at her. He gives her a crooked smile and her heart flutters. He waves her over, but she shakes her head and shoos him so he’ll go back into the conversation. He rolls his eyes and goes back to listening to Liz’s story.

The rest of the party is fairly lowkey. She catches up with Cindy, chats with May, talks to a few people from Peter’s lab. By around ten thirty, people start trickling out. Some people are going to other parties. Some are going home. By the time the last person leaves, there are cups and plates scattered all throughout the apartment for Peter and MJ to clean. (Most likely in the morning, if she’s being honest.)

He hugs her tightly. “Thank you, MJ. I had a great time.”

“I’m glad.” She chuckles, squeezing him a bit before pushing him away. She walks over to her backpack to grab her lame excuse of a gift. “I have a gift, but don’t get too excited.”

He smiles warmly, grabbing the paper bag wrapped book from her hands. When he opens the gift, he smiles and thanks her. He’s sincere and he likes the gift and he’s entirely too nice. She smiles and laughs a bit when he starts to look through the booklet. “You can redeem the coupons whenever. 

He looks at her warily and takes a large gulp. He appears to pale with each new coupon he reads and she’s honestly so confused. “I can redeem any of these coupons?”

She laughs, punching him lightly in the shoulder. “That’s the idea, dork.”

He closes the book and stares at her for a few moments. He manages, “So you’ll do any of these coupons?”

“Yes, Peter.” She chuckles, a bit exasperated. The concept really shouldn’t be this hard to grasp. She shakes her head and continues, “Just give me a little warning and yeah, of course. Any coupon.” She checks her watch and sighs. “On that note, let’s clean up tomorrow. Maybe you can redeem one of your coupons.”

Peter chokes and she looks at him quizzically. But she just shakes her head and walks to her room. She didn’t realize Peter would be so shook that she was offering to do his chores. She knew he didn’t like doing them, but honestly.

Surprisingly, however, Peter doesn’t use any of the coupons the next day. He just helps her clean and eyes her warily. Which, fine, if he doesn’t want to use her coupons, that’s on him. She won’t do his chores, then. She’s not upset that maybe he didn’t actually like the gift even though he seemed so excited about it. She’s not mad. She knows it was a silly gift. It’s all fine.

Until a Thursday night two weeks later when Peter is doing the dishes, which is his least favorite chore and Michelle knows that was one of the coupons, Michelle can’t take it. She snaps. Gently. “You know, if you don’t want to use the coupons, you can just throw them away or give them back.”

“What?” He whips around, mouth agape. “MJ, I-I, what-”

“You haven’t used any.” She pouts. She hates that she can never get him gifts he enjoys. “I can try to get you something else?”

“No!” He says a bit too quickly, taking a deep breath. “I mean.” He gulps. “Sorry. I just, got a little nervous about them.”

“Why?” MJ tilts her head, looking at him confused. “Peter, honestly, just use the coupons. Don’t worry about me. I gave them to you for a reason.” He’s far too noble.

“Just,” he holds up a hand, jumping a bit where he stands. “Give me one second and I’ll go get one.” So, Michelle waits. She walks over to the sink because she figures he’ll have her do the dishes. But, a few moments later, he comes running back with the whole booklet, flipping through. “Honestly, I’m still a little surprised so I’m not sure which one to use.”

She laughs. “Just choose the one you’d like to use, Parker. It’s not that hard.”

He gives her a meaningful look. “You’d be surprised.” He thumbs through the booklet. “You baffle me, honestly.” Then he blushes furiously and looks up at her, warily. “You’re sure about these coupons?”

“Yes, Peter!” She laughs, exasperated as she huffs a bit. He rips one of the coupons from the booklet and hands it to her nervously. She shakes her head but when she reads the coupon she does a double take. Oh. Oh. She’s gone and fucked it all up.

            This coupon is good for a twenty minute make out session.

She fucking…why can’t she read? She glances at the booklet on the table and it’s decidedly…not a household chores coupon booklet. It’s got a couple on the front and lips and it’s titled Sexy Favors for Couples. Why is Peter’s costume the color of desire?

Now she gets his nerves. Why he was so confused. She’d be too. And her immediate thought is that she should tell him she made a mistake and she’s sorry and she’ll get him a new gift. But then she remembers that he, well, he wanted to use this coupon. He wants to make out with her for twenty minutes.

“Just to be sure,” she says quietly before finally meeting his eye again. “You want to use this coupon? Like, you don’t have to use it because I got you the gift.”

“Trust me.” He huffs. “I want to use it.” She doesn’t need any other go ahead so she rushes over to him and wraps her hands around his neck, pulling him forward so that their lips are locked.

It’s frantic and most likely reckless and a bad decision. But Michelle’s wanted to kiss Peter for the better part of five years now and God forbid she give up the opportunity now. Even if it’s not in the context she was hoping for. Even if she doesn’t know if Peter feels for her the way she feels for him. At least she can have this one thing.

She allows Peter to nudge her to their couch and they tumble on top of it. She opens her legs to cradle him between them, and he moves his lips down to her neck. She gasps when he bites lightly, moving one hand from his back to his head so she can use his hair as an anchor. Her head is angled back so he can have easy access, and boy does he take advantage. He nips and sucks and laves, and MJ is in heaven.

But this is supposed to be for him. It was her gift to him. So, she flips them over as smoothly as she can (which isn’t all that smooth, but Peter still seems pleasantly surprised) and leans down to kiss him on the lips, filthy as she can. She even rolls her hips a little bit, which manages to make Peter gasp, so she’s pretty proud. She tries that one trick she learned from Harry in high school, and Peter loves it.

All in all, it’s a pretty successful make-out session. Especially given the fact that Michelle hasn’t made out with anyone in well over a year. (You can try to get her to admit it’s because of her feelings for Peter, but you’ll fail.) She doesn’t keep track, but she’s pretty sure they’ve been making out for more than twenty minutes. Not that either is complaining. But then MJ feels Peter’s excitement against her thigh and she figures that’s her cue to stop.

Peter’s face is slightly pink and he’s gasping for breath when she pulls away. He takes a few deep breaths and closes his eyes, leaning his head back against the couch and letting out a gentle and awed, “fuck.”

MJ laughs, kissing him lightly before she gets off of him. She doesn’t know how to react now that her crushing need to just kiss Peter Parker is gone. Well, at least for the time being. She doesn’t want to have to deal with a conversation right now because it’ll be complicated and he’ll tell her the coupons are fun but that’s all there is to it. She doesn’t want to deal with that right now.

She takes a deep breath and says, “Okay! I’ve got an early class tomorrow, so I’m going to head to bed. But let me know if you want to use another coupon.” Then she’s walking a little faster than natural to her room and closing the door quickly behind her, taking a deep breath as she leans her head against the wood. She tries to ignore the impending sense of doom that’s looming over her head.

What has she done?