Michelle was sitting at their usual lunch table waiting for her two best (and really only) friends Peter and Ned, wherever the hell they were right now. They were supposed to be here ten minutes ago. They were probably off flirting somewhere and had completely forgotten about her, which, typical.
While she was waiting, she was drawing, defining the details of a sketch she had done earlier in her Math lesson of a girl having a mental breakdown.
She was just adding little shadows in her hair when she finally heard a familiar combination of steps. Light, adrenaline-spiked ones by Peter, heavier ones from Ned and a third pair she couldn’t identify. Had the two actually made a new friend? With their attitude and reputation? She grinned internally.
“Hey, MJ!” She heard Peter’s kind of high voice ring through the cafeteria and rolled her eyes. Did he have to shout? Couldn’t he just wait the few second until he was at her table and then talk in a normal volume? Ugh, apparently not.
“Hi,” he panted when he finally reached her. “I need to introduce you to someone– whoa that looks awesome!” He said in awe as he caught a glimpse of her drawing.
Now Michelle was intrigued, though. “Thanks. Who did you want to introduce me to?”
Peter waved to the other side of the room and grinned.
“A new friend of mine, like super smart. I just wanted to warn you before you meet her; I know you don’t really like surprises. Also, be careful when you talk to her, you might just fall in love immediately.”
She squinted at him skeptically. Had he fallen in love? She didn’t think so; Ned still existed, after all. (There was definitely something going on between the two, even if they both were denying it.)
She brushed it off when she heard a new voice behind her, saying something to Ned, who laughed loudly. And god was that accent cute. She was almost positive it sounded like a girl, maybe around her age, but Michelle didn’t really like judging by appearance all that much. After all, you never really know a person just from their body. They could be transgender, or non-binary. Or whatever, she didn’t know either.
The pair finally reached the table as well and sat down. Ned’s eyes were glued to Peter almost immediately, which was ridiculous but also kind of endearing (and predictable).
And then there was Peter’s new friend. And holy shit, gorgeous much? Michelle did think almost everyone pretty as heck (damn bisexuality), but that person really was outstanding.
Their hair was up in a unique kind of bun and they wore a white jumpsuit with a high turtleneck which stood in great contrast to their dark skin and made their friendly smile light up that much brighter.
Michelle let a small smile slip, too, and then asked, “And who are you? Peter cleverly introduced you as his new friend to me, which is a great description of someone, obviously. But what can you do, it’s Peter.”
“Hey!” Peter said offended, while Ned giggled.
A look of pleasant surprise flashed over the new girl’s (were they a girl? Michelle thought so) face and she grinned.
“That is indeed a typical Peter. He said I could trust you?” She glanced sideways to the teenage boy who nodded to confirm his decision, “So I will be honest with you. I am Princess Shuri of Wakanda. You probably haven’t heard of it-“
“Oh, I have, actually,” Michelle interrupted her, which gained her another round of surprised expressions. “What? Everyone knows or is supposed to know that it’s a third world country that has been exploited way too often and is very poor now.”
She looked back at the Princess (so definitely a girl, then), who was watching her with slightly narrowed eyes. “What do you mean by ‘supposed to know’?” She asked.
Michelle shrugged. “I’m naturally curious and have too much time on my hands, so I … did a bit of research.” “Oh, awesome!! You know, when MJ does research, it’s Research, like with a capital letter and in cursive. She would make such a good archaeologist, and I –“ Peter rambled before MJ cut him off. “Yes, thank you for your professional opinion, Peter.” She looked at the Princess and shrugged. “It’s true, I don’t like to just google stuff. Way too unsafe.”
Shuri nodded slowly. “And what is it that you found out?” Michelle briefly twisted her face into a grimace. “I don’t think I’ve found anything completely accurate, but I know the outlines. Not a lot of sources report about the Vibranium thing,” she explained, feeling a bit smug about her knowledge but not letting the others know that.
She looked back up and found Shuri gaping at her.
“You’re the only person I have met that is not Wakandan and still knows about the vibranium without someone telling them first! Wow. Is she always like that?” She then asked Peter. Peter nodded and answered (with his mouth full, god, the insufferable boy), “I don’t know what exactly you’re talking about, but yes, she is.” Michelle rolled her eyes fondly.
“It’s nice to meet you, your Highness”, she then said to the Princess formally, feeling a bit guilty about being kind of rude to her, for royalty.
“Oh, you can call me Shuri,” she waved her hand dismissively. “It would be weird otherwise. Might I also ask for your name?”
Had she really not introduced herself yet? Michelle blushed slightly. (Not strong enough for anyone to notice, though. Or so she hoped, at least.)
“I’m sorry,” she winced, “I’m Michelle.”
“But we call her MJ!” Peter grinned. She looked at him oddly. “Yeah, but that nickname is reserved for people I actually like and no offense,” she smiled at Shuri quickly, “but I have known you for just ten minutes now and I am naturally picky.” The princess laughed. “That’s okay, I understand that. I too had some nicknames once, which only very close friends were allowed to call me.” Michelle smiled slightly.
Then Peter suddenly said, “Wait. You actually, really, honestly, like Ned and me?” He sounded shocked and although Michelle could kind of see where he was coming from, she never really showed any kinds of outward affection, after all; she couldn’t help but roll her eyes. (Again.)
“Honestly, Peter. You both have my phone number, I hang out with you and I send you memes, what else did you think I thought of you?” “Yeah, but you actually like us?” “Oh my god, Parker,” Michelle groaned.
Shuri giggled slightly (a very cute sound, in Michelle’s totally neutral opinion), Peter shrugged, but grinned and Ned just looked happy. She shook her head, and then turned to Shuri again.
“So if you’re the princess of Wakanda, what exactly brings you here to Queens, New York?” Shuri smiled excitedly and seemed happy to be asked this question.
“So, spoiler alert, but my brother, King T’Challa, thinks it’s finally time to help the outside world, especially black people, migrants and poor people and to share a bit of our technology with other countries. We’re doing a press conference tomorrow. I was allowed to come with him because I am the head manager and main inventor of our entire new tech,” she explained proudly.
Michelle blinked, slightly taken aback. “What do you mean, ‘main inventor of your new tech’? What kind of new tech?” she asked curiously and felt a little bit of excitement at the way Shuri’s eyes lightened up.
“I got this position a few years ago, when one of my teachers saw one of the hover board prototype I had been working on, and he made sure I could fully develop this hobby into helping my country. So I did this board and other hover things and I improved some of the planes and did a few shooters and other weapons and, uh, made a couple of things for our healing industry and I made magnetic transport trains, Wakanda didn’t really have that before, and also …” Her happy expression faded. “What?” She asked Michelle, who was sitting there, honest to god gaping. With her mouth wide open. And wide eyes. Honestly, if she could see herself, she would probably be disgusted.
“That’s … how old are you again?” She asked incredulously.
“I’m turning seventeen this summer, why?” Shuri asked, frowning confused. Michelle shook her head.
“So you’re telling me that you’re sixteen and already smarter than Tony Stark? Jesus Christ on a guinea pig,” she said and leaned back, still not quite believing it.
“Well, I guess …” Shuri said hesitantly while Peter nodded his head so strongly Michelle feared his neck might break.
Then Peter frowned suddenly. “Wait, did you just call Mr. Stark smart? I thought you hated him?” Michelle rolled her eyes again. Honestly, they were going to get stuck sometime if she kept talking to this boy.
“Yes, I don’t like him. But that is obviously based on his personality and what even? Even I can tell when a man’s smart, you know? Look at all that stuff he produced,” she snapped, but not in an angry way, and then turned her attention immediately back to Shuri.
“So, Smartie, then show me a bit of your high-tech stuff then you got there. If it gets that reaction from Peter, who has been to the Stark Labs, mind you, I bet it’s mind-blowing.”
Shuri threw a shy smile down to her hands in what might have been blush, had she been able to see it (Michelle totally didn’t perk up at this, no, why would she?) and looked around at all the other students enjoying their lunch. (Well, some looked distressed and not like they enjoyed it, but that was beside the point.)
“Well, I do have some things with me, but maybe not here?” She grimaced apologetic.
Now it was Michelle’s turn to slightly blush (shh, no one saw that) and scold herself for her own stupidity.
“Oh, yeah, of course,” she said.
A sudden thump of a glass being put down too hard saved them from something that would probably have been an awkward silence just in time. Michelle looked to the other people who sat at this table, whom she had almost forgotten. Ned was sat stiffly and blushing, as was Peter, but Peter’s face was flushed a few shades deeper. Peter had probably said something flirty and now both their minds were running a mile per minute. Typical.
Shuri leaned to Michelle and whispered, “Are they together? I have thought about that earlier as well, but I just couldn’t really work it out. My people skills are not that great, you know.”
Michelle half-grinned. “No, they’re not together, but I’m pretty sure they’re heads over heels for each other.”
Shuri nodded, laughing. “Just look at them! They are so cute and giggly. This is such a ship.” Michelle turned her head from where she was watching her friends to the princess.
“I know right? I didn’t know if you’d be into shipping but oh my god yes,” she smirked. Shuri smiled earnestly.
“I am into shipping, yes. Also into memes and everything good on the internet, but shipping especially because I feel like we, the LGBT community, don’t get enough representation in modern worldwide media and that needs to change.”
Michelle blinked and ignored a little spark of excitement. “You’re LGBT? Same, I’m bisexual. Yourself? Just if feel comfortable telling me, of course.” Shuri smiled and Michelle tried to ignore the way her eyes slightly squinted and what that did to her stomach. “I think I’m lesbian, actually, I don’t know. Girls are just so pretty.” Michelle nodded. “I second that. Actually, everyone is pretty. Struggles of being bi,” she sighed. Then she smirked. “But at least I have the most puns available in the whole spectrum.”
Shuri let out a surprised laugh and opened her mouth to say something, when suddenly the bell rang, signalizing all students that yes, lunch period was over, if they all could kindly move their asses to their classes now.
Michelle sighed and put her books and drawing stuff into her bag. She smiled at Shuri.
“It was very nice to meet you, princess,” she said honestly. “Maybe stop by sometime again? You’re fun to talk to and otherwise I just have to deal with these flustered messes over there alone.” Shuri smiled and MJ ignored the way her cheeks dimpled with that.
“Of course! It was very nice to meet you, too, Michelle. I think that you are very cool and clever.”
Michelle let out a little laugh to cover up the fact that she slightly blushed again (honestly what was wrong with her) and said, “You can call me MJ.” A wink and she was gone.