Chapter 1: The Begin-ining
Peter had been Spider-Man for long enough to get noticed and not very much more. He was figuring out how his powers worked but had at least figured out how to not stick to everything so that was a vast improvement. May wasn’t that close to finding out and everything was normal. Not really, Peter was freaking out and constantly had no idea what was going on.
Honestly starting high school didn’t help the stress of the recently superhuman orphan. Peter was kind of struggling. It was too bad that being Spider-Man was the best thing that he could’ve chosen to do. Peter was pretty happy being able to save cats from trees and swing several hundred feet in the air on a constant basis around the city.
Unfortunately, Peter didn’t know any other enhanced people so life got really lonely really quickly. Especially after his closest relative died. He only had Aunt May who had to constantly work to keep them from being starving and homeless. Which was an admittedly disappointing but understandable choice of priorities.
It took six months for his low-key vigilantism to get noticed. And he didn’t get noticed by someone that he didn’t know like a government association or the president, but rather by someone that he actually full on looked up to. An actual hero.
Peter had just come straight back from school, stopping a quick robbery, but otherwise, he went straight back to his and Mays apartment. Before he went in, a tingling in his skull made him pause at the door. It had been long enough for him to recognize that the little feeling meant that something was wrong or off. He latched on his web-shooters and slowly opened the door.
He expected a robber or something but definitely not Tony Stark. His spider-sense completely stopped and he assumed that he wasn’t in any danger. Of course, he had to unfreeze because ‘what the fuck was Iron Man doing in his apartment’ but then he remembered that he had superpowers and that could cause a little bit of attention.
“You look a little surprised there kiddo,” Tony said with a little teasing smirk. Peter gawked for a moment before he was physically able to reply.
“No shit, what…” Peter took a moment to consider that he could be hallucinating due to lack of sleep but he had actually done pretty okay that week so it probably wasn’t that. Also, his anxiety peaked a little at the squeak of his voice. He really didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of someone he had looked up to for so long. He desperately didn’t want to fuck up.
“Okay, let’s skip the stuttering. I’m here because I know what you can do. And, out of the graciousness of my heart and the law, I’m going to help you. See, there’s a place for people like you. Extremely gifted and enhanced people. Even people who are part alien. It’s like a school for superheroes in training. Taught by fully grown superheroes.” Mr. Stark said in a ridiculously casual way as if he had done it a million times.
“I uh- I don’t know what to say… will I still be able to keep my secret identity?” Peter didn’t know why the question popped into his mind, but he knew the problems with being a public superhero and had decided that it would keep the three people he cared about safer if he never told them.
“Yeah, we have a whole policy with that kind of stuff. Sure other students will know who you are but if any of that kind of information goes off campus or on the internet, there are pretty intense consequences. If you don’t want to tell your aunt, I can play it off as being a scholarship to a high-end boarding school or something. You can say no to my offer, but you can’t keep doing what you're doing. All enhanced people that want to be superheroes are legally required to have training and supervision.” Mr. Stark explained.
“Yeah… that makes sense. Are there really that many super-kids? I mean, don’t you think they’d be in the news or something? I mean, I’ve been in the news a few times…” Peter rambled a bit in nervousness.
“That’s because you’re unique. It wasn’t easy to figure out where or who you were.”
“Really? I thought I was pretty sloppy.” Mr. Stark shrugged at Peter’s reply.
“So, are you in?” Peter thought for a moment. Sure he would have to leave his best friend but he was sure that he could call all the time, it’s not like he could forget about his only real friend. He didn’t want to leave Ned but this was a big thing. This was what Peter needed to become a real superhero and not someone that just saves cats from trees.
“I… yeah. I’m in.”
Mr. Stark gave him a week to get ready and a bunch of documents that told him about the school and some that he could give to May to keep her from thinking that he was more than human. Mr. Stark gave him a document on his assigned roommate which to his surprise was not just a girl his age but the smartest person in the world and the princess of Wakanda.
Instead of dreading the encounter because of a genius complex, Peter couldn’t wait to meet her. Who knows, maybe she could help him when he was being a dumbass. She seemed pretty cool and not like the bratty complex that the world would normally associate with the word ‘princess.’ Honestly, when Peter thought of ‘princess’ he generally thought of Princess Leia and Princess Zelda because he’s a nerd.
Mr. Stark sent Peter an e-mail filled with information about the school including the fact that it was in a secret location and that the actual Avengers taught the classes when they weren’t on missions saving the world. They also had normal mandatory classes as well as classes that would be helpful for superheroes specifically. There were also weekly solo lessons where people could practice their specific abilities.
Needless no say, Peter was kind of enthusiastic and it was physically painful not to tell anyone. He reasoned that he would have to tell them about spider-man to tell them about superhero school and that kind of sucked. This was one of the most exciting things to ever happen to him and he couldn’t tell anyone. So he decided to be vague on Tumblr with his one internet friend.
notafurryjustlikespiders: Dude, I just got a free pass into a really good school that I don’t think I’m cool enough for
science-ling: im so fckin proud of u, u cool ass motherfcker
notafurryjustlikespiders: so what’s going on with you?
science-ling: my bro keeps tryin to make me do an exercise
notafurryjustlikespiders: rip, I’ll be praying for you
science-ling: do u think spiderman can stick to snow?
notafurryjustlikespiders: Spiders die in the winter. He’ll be too dead to find out. I think he can stick to ice tho.
science-ling: ice is also cold
notafurryjustlikespiders: I’m sure he can be near a freezer without dying. Snow is very specific to weather.
science-ling: shit, gtg, apparently I have better things to do… ,’:/
notafurryjustlikespiders: it’s chill, bye!
Peter got off his phone and decided that he should probably attempt to prepare for his next crazy life-changing ordeal. At least he got a warning this time.
“Are you sure that this is the right place?” May asked as she drove their rental car to where Peter had assumed was Tony Stark’s private airfield. The large building was in the middle of nowhere upstate in a field with more green than he had seen in years. May turned a corner which revealed the confirmation that Peter needed that this was the right place. The pale compound had an enormous gray Avengers symbol attached to the side.
“Yeah, that’s what the email said.” He grinned to himself. He had said goodbye to Ned already and promised to call him and May every day after classes. He was going to miss them but it wasn’t like they were gone forever or even for very long. He was going to be fine if he wasn’t so clingy.
“Do you believe me now when I say that you’re super fucking smart? I mean you had one of the smartest people on the planet recruit you. I wonder if he’s going to train you to be the next Iron Man!” Aunt May said excitedly.
Mr. Stark had decided to tell her the truth about the school but not that Peter was Spider-Man. It’s not like anyone had to be enhanced to get in. Prodigy teens also got in for having the potential to be a hero without superpowers. If Iron Man and Batman could do it then what was holding any of the traumatized genius kids back? It was money but this was also an opportunity to get genus kids funded.
Everyone technically knew about the school, it was in the accords as a way to help enhanced kids and other special teenagers a way to safely figure out what was going on with them and how to use it ethically. So far there were no enhanced supervillain kids so it must’ve been working. It was the location that was secret, not the knowledge of it.
“God, I wish. I don’t think I’m going to be a superhero. I’m just excited about learning chemistry from the hulk.” Peter lied.
“Listen here you little shit, You have your Uncle Ben’s ideology and could probably beat Captain America in a battle of ethics. If you wanted to be a superhero, you’d be the best one out there.” May said with a violent amount of certainty. Even with the tone, it gave Peter a warm feeling in his chest as he was already trying out the superhero thing.
“Thanks, Aunt May.” Peter smiled as he got out of the car. He pulled out his hopefully appropriately sized duffel bag filled with every anxious precaution that he could think of even though it still wasn’t that much. He had multiple chest binders, baggy fitting clothes, a modest sports bra for when he actually had to exercise and breathe at the same time, and several copies of the same basic outfit of jeans and a nerdy t-shirt. He also shoved in his homemade spider-man suit at the last minute.
Tony’s private plane was resting on an odd looking launch pad and not too far away from them was the man himself with his bodyguard that Peter recognized from him being there even before Peter took an interest in the metal superhero.
“Hey kiddo, you excited to join the cool kids?” Mr. Stark greeted when he had strolled the appropriate distance for speaking.
“I guess? I don’t know, is everyone there cool?” Peter asked nervously as he turned to his idol.
“Well, most of them are nerds who just happen to be able to spontaneously combust. Literally,” Tony said casually.
“Thank god.” This reaction caused Tony to laugh.
“You got a thing against cool kids Mr. Parker?”
“I have an issue with being the only nerd there. I’m sharing a dorm with a princess Mr. Stark. I feel like ‘princess’ is the ultimate cool kid level.”
“Trust me, she’s just as much of a dork as you are. You’ll be fine.”
“That sounds fake but okay,” Peter replied easily. For some reason, it was pretty easy to talk to Mr. Stark despite his hero-worship mindset.
“Don’t worry, this is just your nerd school but on Captain America steroids.” Mr. Stark shrugged as May got out of the car and practically crushed Peter with an embarrassingly large hug. Mr. Stark seemed amused but May obviously didn’t care.
“You’re going to do so well! I love you so much!” May squealed as she kissed Peter’s scalp. Peter was too used to it to be too embarrassed but having Tony Stark watching made his face turn bright red.
“Yeah, I love you too but I need to breathe…” Peter mumbled even though a crushing hug wasn’t enough to affect his lung capacity. He would have to get aggressively hugged by the Hulk to even be breathless. But May was pretty close to competing.
“You better call me every damn night. I am going to miss you so much!” May somehow made the hug more aggressive before she let him go.
“Yeah, of course, I’ll tell you everything I’m legally allowed to say.” Peter smiled.
“I know, I know, superheroes love secrets. Safety and all that. Make some friends. Or don’t, you don’t want to make Ned jealous.”
“Well I’ll have to make at least one, It would suck to not be friends with my roommate. Sorry, Mr. Stark, We must be wasting your time…” Peter turned to the billionaire who seemed indifferent.
“I’m not trying to rush you kiddo. We aren’t exactly in a time crunch here.” Tony leaned on a nearby wall as an attempt to play up the casualness of the situation to him. This was still pretty crazy to the Parkers but they tried not to show it.
“I should let you go anyway,” May said as she started to get back to the car. “I love you, Peter!”
“I love you too!” Peter said without a moment of hesitation.
“Bye.” Eventually Mr. Stark led Peter away from the car and to the plane where he waved to Happy.
“Now kid, I gotta ask,” Tony said with his arm around the teenager, “How the hell did you figure out that webbing and it’s little wrist… thing.”
“I uh, lots of trial and error I guess,” Peter answered as they got to the top of the stairs of the entrance of the small plane.
“Yeah, but how? Where did you get that crap? You can’t make those web shooter things with old DVD players.” Mr. Stark flopped onto a seat and continued his questioning.
“I mean, I had to make a blowtorch, and steal some old tools that my uncle used to use. I found a broken gun that I got some parts from but most of it I made myself.” Peter sat down near but not right next to Mr. Stark.
“So what about the solidifying polymer? How’d you end up with that?”
“I made it. I’m in a chemistry lab at school and I used some of the accessible chemicals to make it. It took a few tries though.”
“You do realize that most fifteen-year-olds don’t make completely new and useful chemical compounds and devices out of trash.”
“I don’t have many friends.” Peter was pretty proud when his comment caused Mr. Stark to smile genuinely.
“Hopefully we can change that pretty soon.”
Actually arriving at the school was pretty overwhelming. It was on an isolated island with a pale beach and large rock formations surrounding a massive modern looking building with a few surrounding buildings scattered around the land. It was one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen. He had to remember to take some pictures to send to MJ, she would probably be the only one that could appreciate it as much as he could.
“Nice place right.” Mr. Stark smiled as they exited the plane.
“Yeah… holy shit…” Peter looked around to see a few dozen teenagers doing crazy things as if it were normal.
There was a kid who was on fire being chased by another kid who shot out flashes of ice and snow while yelling. There was a blond boy sitting on a picnic blanket next to a raccoon in a spacey outfit who were both working on a metal arm. Every once in a while they would yell at each other and hit each other with screwdrivers and other handheld equipment. A dark-haired girl was shooting something out of a tree with a golden retriever sitting at her feet, a girl in a loose hijab was trying to climb a rock formation with unnaturally stretched limbs, a pale-haired boy that looked like he had come from the eighties would appear in a blur and disappear just as quickly with someone's belongings or a snack that came out of nowhere.
A girl dressed in red was talking to a tall man in a scarlet cloak and an elderly bald man in an odd wheelchair waiting a dozen feet away from the plane with a similarly aged man in purple standing next to him. There were so many more people but Peter couldn’t honestly concentrate. He swore he saw people take to the air after the plane landed but he couldn’t be sure. There was even a place for constant food which Peter almost felt the need to cry over. Having an intense metabolism was hard when his family was poor and now suddenly, he didn’t think that he could go hungry.
“Mr. Stark… am I on drugs right now?”
Chapter 2: An Overwhelming Abundance of Introductions
Peter meets some friends
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Welcome, Mr. Parker.” The wheelchair-bound bald man said. “I am Professor Xavier, the only one here legally qualified for teaching and the headmaster here at the academy.” The mand held out his hand which shook Peter’s politely. ‘I can also read minds.’ the man's voice broadcasted into Peters' head and he tried not to react violently, he jumped a little in surprise instead.
“Neat.” Peter grinned. The man beside him smiled.
“He spoke in your head didn’t he, My husband is quite dramatic. I’m Erik.” The other elderly man nodded a greeting.
“You say that as if you don’t levitate at every opportunity.” The professor smirked while his husband just laughed.
“Nice to see you guys but I should get Peter settled in before we overwhelm him with the insanity of this place.” Tony interrupted.
“Good idea Mr. Stark, we don’t want another incident.” Xavier's comment made Tony snort. They waved goodbye to the men and Tony started t \o lead him to the dorm building.
“When Kamala got here she kind of freaked out, I guess it’s kind of shocking to see that you’re not alone and literal aliens and talking a raccoon,” Tony explained.
“I actually thought that I hallucinated that…” Peter looked behind him at the raccoon playing with a high tech piece of equipment next to the blond boy.
“That’s Harley by the way, another one of my recruits. I don’t think I can forgive him for choosing Rocket to mentor him over me…” Tony pouted, the dramatic gesture made Peter laugh a little. With all of the euphoria of being at this place, he had had never felt more happy and nervous at the same time.
Everyone here had crazy powers, Peter almost felt inferior with only being able to stick to walls. Well, that wasn’t it, he just didn’t feel like anything special.
“So what can he do?” Peter asked.
“He’s not enhanced, he’s one of the people smart enough, and with the right connections, to get in. He’s good with mechanics and he’s trying to become the next Iron Man. So is Riri… well, I should be flattered with all of the people that want to succeed me. I like the idea that you don’t need some superpowers to be a hero.”
“Yeah, I like it too. That’s why I look up to you so much, superheroes who don’t do anything to become superheroes aren’t as cool to me. Then I got bitten by a radioactive spider and realized that it doesn’t really matter how you become a hero as long as you act like one.”
“That’s pretty deep kiddo. You still had to become a hero though, you could’ve chosen to do illegal things with your spidery witchcraft. Instead, you decided to stop robberies and save cats from trees. I can admire that. You didn’t have to be a hero, even a small-time hero. Yet you found it in you to do that instead of using it for fun.” Tony shrugged and Peter enjoyed the warm feeling that he got from the compliment. “Ah, we’re here,” Tony said, successfully escaping having a feeling.
They had stopped in front of a door with a sign to the side with silver engraving the name of Peter’s roommate and his name right below hers. Tony knocked swiftly and after a long moment, it opened to reveal a smiling dark-skinned girl in a purple shirt containing a glorious chemistry pun. Her hair was up in dozens of intricate braids with purple interweaving throughout. She smiled when she saw him.
“Hello, Peter! I have been waiting for you!” She had a heavy accent and Peter immediately smiled back at her.
“Hi, Shuri. It’s nice to meet you!” Peter tried to drown the anxiety that came with his roommate not only being a fucking princess but also literally the smartest person in the world. He didn’t want her to see him as some sort of loser.
“I don’t care about formalities, I need you to help me with something.” She pulled him in quickly, giving him barely any time to admire the room which had two separate workshop stations and desks with fancy computers that were connected to large monitors. Peter tossed his stuff easily on the unoccupied top bunk right before Shuri handed him a spherical device that had long wires connected to it. She obviously didn’t want them to get tangled and Peter rolled with the impromptu project.
“Keep them separate or else you will be electrocuted,” Shuri ordered with an unusual amount of joy in her voice. Peter managed to keep the wires from touching as Shuri attached little metal bug legs to them and fused the metal with a surprisingly small blow torch. Once she was done, the device looked like a little metal spider with its body looking like one it was made out of a miniature crystal ball that a psychic would use.
Shuri poked the machine's body and muttered a ‘wake up asshole’ before the abdomen lit up to create a holographic projection of space that filled the whole room. Not just stars but colorful galaxies and comets. Peter looked around and could tell that it was an accurate replica of a good chunk of space.
“Huh, neat.” Peter could barely keep himself from fangirling. He also noticed that Tony was still leaning against the doorway looking at the display with a slightly guarded expression.
“Are you done? I still have to give Pete the tour.” He said, semi-impatiently.
“I’m done, I was about to call for the Vision or Thor. They are pretty helpful and less prone to electrocution than everyone else here.” It was at this moment that Peter knew that he would get along with Shuri. She was cool.
“Come on Spider-boy, you’ll have plenty of time to talk to your new friend after you figure out what the hell is going on in this place.”
“You make a good point Mr. Stark.” Peter smiled, if he smiled any more he would be having cheek cramps for weeks.
“Get used to it kid, please try not to get sunburned, I don’t think we have spider-sunscreen yet.”
“I think it’s more likely that I’ll get heatstroke than get sunburned. With the whole lack of thermal-regulation and all that.” Peter shrugged.
“That’s strange as you seem to be the human embodiment of sunshine.” Shuri gave Peter a look. “You have not stopped smiling since you got here. Even when I risked your safety.”
“I can handle a little electrocution princess. I fight crime as a hobby and made my own equipment out of trash. I have been electrocuted before.” Peter assured her. “I’m not going to comment on the sunshine bit. I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing yet.”
“We’ll find out soon enough.”
“That was kind of menacing.”
“Come on kid, let’s leave before she tries to use you for solar power.” Mr. Stark raised an eyebrow as if this was normal behavior.
“You guys don’t need extra power, I’m sure you can convert Thor's voltage to a non-lethal amount. Also, we’re on a tropical island, why the hell would you need me for solar power-” Peter rambled as Tony led him out of the dorm with a quick wave from Shuri.
“Okay kid, each student dorm room is personalized for the children that it houses. So Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake have a thermal room that is completely fireproof and freezeproof. Some students are less maintenance, like Kate, she got a dartboard and she shares a room with Wanda so there are mental dampeners so that she doesn’t accidentally do something while she sleeps. Her brother, who is also named Peter, he perceives time so fast that I had to make his video game consoles go at a more appropriate speed. That reminds me, do you have any dietary restrictions?”
“How did that remind you…”
“The Maximoffs are Kosher and Ms. Khan follows the Islamic code of food or whatever, I think it’s called Halal? Also, Harry is allergic to a type of gelatin or something.” Tony shrugged.
“Uh, no, I mean my family is Jewish but not like super practicing ” Peter answered as he looked into the large room at the end of the hall of dorm rooms. It was a large lounge room with a tv, several video games, a fully stocked fridge, and a closeable glass window above them. Mr. Stark told him about everything in the room, which Peter almost immediately forgot because of the information dump.
After the dorms, Mr. Stark took him to the mechanic’s lab where the vision and a black girl with wild curly hair that was only held back by a pair of safety goggles. She waved at Tony with a screwdriver and smirked at the awe in Peter’s face as he looked around.
“So the newbie is going to be part of the nerd squad huh.”
“He’s a little bit of both super-powered and here because of the whole genius thing.”
“You don’t know that I’m a genius, Mr. Stark, I haven’t taken an IQ test and I do stupid things all the time,” Peter said as he looked at systematics on a holoscreen.
“We all do stupid things. And yet I’m still considered a genius.”
“He tried to microwave popcorn for forty-five minutes. He wasn’t even tired he just thought that’s how you do it.” The girl spoke up and the Vision, who was reading a dictionary for some reason, confirmed the fact with a subtle nod.
“Well, he didn’t forget that he was a superhero and try to order a sandwich as if the owner still knew who I was and not realize for a full ten minutes.” Peter one-upped.
“You’ll fit in well with all of us, I’m Riri.”
“Peter,” he introduced, “now is this the molecular structure of vibranium? Can it really completely absorb shock? Because I had an idea…” Peter drawled off for a moment while looking at a glowing blue transparent screen.
“Take note of your idea and we can deal with it later, we still have a lot to get through.” Tony shrugged. “Bye Riri, we’ll see you later.” Tony waited for a moment while Peter wrote something in immaculate handwriting on the screen.
“Bye Tony, bye Peter!” Riri waved as Mr. Stark pulled them out and to the next part of the tour.
They had barely left the building when Peter’s spider-sense went off for seemingly no reason. He automatically jumped to the side to just barely miss being hit by a silvery blur. The blur quickly materialized into the kid that looked like he was from the seventies with a rock band tee-shirt and longish silver hair. He had weird earbuds and safety goggles over his eyes, and he held a note that said ‘kick me!’ in thick black marker.
“Damn it, you have impressive reflexes man.” The silver-haired boy said.
“Hello, Peter. Meet Peter. God, that’s going to be annoying…” Tony sighed.
“Don’t forget about Quill.” The not-Spider-Man Peter mentioned.
“I have to rely on nicknames now…”
“What about Space Peter, Speedy Peter, and Spidey Peter?” Quicksilver Peter suggested.
“I’ll think about it.”
“Anyway, It’s nice to meet you.” Peter Parker interrupted the quickly paced conversation.
“You too. I’m going to put this on someone with worse reflexes, which is anyone else here.” Speedy Peter held up his note and disappeared with a gust of wind.
“He’s going to put it on someone that doesn’t scare him.” Tony shrugged and pointed out other features of the main building from the outside. Apparently, there were different kinds of training rooms, one with high ceilings and soft floors that people who could fly could train in and a gym filled with obstacles and robot fighters. There was a target practice room that was good for guns, bows, magic powers, and Tony added web-shooters to the list. It wasn’t like Peter needed any practice, he kind of had to be good at aiming, he had to as he swung from buildings and one missed web could send him into hard surfaces. Which usually ended up hurting a lot.
“I should probably give you a map, I’ll probably forget a handful of things on this tour. I’ll get carried away.” Tony muttered. “Oh yeah, every student has a personal training day every week, and since there aren’t a lot of students, you guys get in little groups or all alone with an assigned teacher. Everyone was taken except me because of my frequent absences so automatically you’re with me.” Peter may have been in shock. He had kind of looked up to Tony Stark ever since he could remember. Now the guy was going to personally train him into being a superhero, or whatever personal training entailed. He had a little bit of trouble breathing.
“Wait, so even the two people actually trying to be Iron Man aren’t even being trained by Iron Man?” Peter asked when he was able to breathe.
“They actually chose that. Harley liked the Raccoon more and Riri chose my best friend over me. I still help them a lot the time though. Us and Shuri, we powerless nerds have to stick together.”
“Like six months ago I would’ve fit into that group too.”
“You can be an honorable member, you meet the minimum intelligence requirements,”
“Wow… Thanks.” Peter’s dramatic unenthusiastic tone made Tony let out a short-lived laugh. The sound cut the tension in the air that had been there ever since Peter met the celebrity. It was certainly weird to think about Mr. Stark as a normal person. That did normal person things.
“You’ll get along well here.”
“So, Peter, can you tell me exactly what you are capable of?” Professor Xavier asked. They had relocated to the gym with a high roof where there were weights going at several ton increments.
“Uh, I have super strength, super healing, super senses in general, I can micro manipulate atomic magnetic fields to a point where I can stick to practically anything, I’m really flexible and I have this weird sense that warns me of danger that effects my reflexes so I can dodge a bullet even before it gets shot out of the gun. The sense… It’s hard to explain but it doesn’t just warn me of danger, it kind of gives me hints… I don’t know. It’s like a replacement for my lack of common sense.” Peter shrugged.
“To what extent does your strength peak?”
“If you’re asking how strong I am, I don’t know. I once caught a car that was about to crash and physics makes that kind of hard for someone with normal strength. I also got frustrated at my English homework and accidentally punched a hole through the wall that I’ve had to cover up with a Star Wars poster so that my aunt wouldn’t notice.”
“Well we can figure out an approximation with the weights we have here. Go on, give one a try.” The professor encouraged. Peter noticed that the lowest of the weights was a hundred pounds. A good place to start.
He walked over and picked it up easily. So easily that he skipped a dozen of the weights, right to the five ton one. It took a little more effort but was still not too difficult.
“Congratulations, you can lift more than Captain America, by four tons,” Xavier said, impressed. “If that is too strenuous, you can stop and we can move on to the next test.”
“No… I can do more…” Peter assured. He went up to the ten ton barbell. It took much more effort but he could lift it. It took enough effort for him to hesitate on doing the next one up. But a combination of curiosity and lack of consiquences in sight made him pick up the next barbell, and the one after that. He got until 25 tons until he couldn't even lift the next one, whether it was due to exhaustion or because it was actually beyond his limits. In any case, he stopped and let Xavier ask him more questions.
“How heightened would you say your senses are?”
“Enough for everything to constantly be almost too much. I can hear hearts pumping outside, I had to make adjustments to my costume so that I could have less input. Some days are worse than others but I have gotten a few sensory overloads because of them.”
“That will be all for now, You have quite the list of abilities. Hopefully, we won’t be responsible for testing out your healing factor.” The professor joked.
“I’m sure I’ll get hurt eventually. I’m not exactly careful.”
“Don’t try too hard. Come on, it’s almost time for dinner, you have definitely earned it.” Charles waved him over and Peter walked by him while the professor slid across the floor with his automatic wheelchair.
“Is it weird that I don’t know what I’m doing?” Peter asked. Even though it was kind of an odd question, Charles understood immediately.
“Not weird at all. You’ll get used to it. You got used to hiding Peter, you’ll get used to being open here. You’ll get used to not being the craziest person you’ve seen.”
“I definitely like the crazy though,” Peter admitted.
“So do I…” The professor smiled. It would be hard to like this place if you didn’t like crazy.
If you liked this chapter, please comment! if you want me to consider adding characters or a ship to the story PLEASE COMMENT, COMMENTS KEEP ME GOING. You can also give some of this feedback with this poll: https://goo.gl/forms/qA1GSCwVZJAODvwU2 (I would really appreciate it if you did)
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Chapter 3: Peter and The Nerdlings
Peter finds the place he fits in
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The mess hall was less of a cafeteria and more of a mall food court. Peter didn’t even know why Mr. Stark had even asked him about allergies and food restrictions when there were so many options. It was obvious that some of the students worked at the booths serving food, the boy with ice powers seemed to be having the time of his life at a Coldstone and the fire-powered kid seemed to enjoy the Mongolian Barbeque.
The professor kind of rambled about how things worked with the school, how all students had to do at least one job whether it was helping with cooking or cleaning things or gardening, or whatever. He said it was mostly for learning responsibility and all that, apparently kids who did more work earned money to buy extra things like snacks. They still had to do that kind of thing as most of them weren't paying for rent or tuition or even for regular meals. Peter thought it was understandable as most kids his age and older had to have jobs anyway and this little island didn’t have the same kind of opportunities.
Xavier gave Peter a little identification card that he could use to ‘pay’ for the food in the food court. He said it was mostly to keep track of what and how much the kids tended to eat and how much work they would have to do to make up for it. He had told a quick story about the reason why Peter Maximoff was no longer allowed near the place that served food from Wakanda.
In the end, Peter chose to go with the Mongolian BBQ place, the smell had been tantalizing him ever since he had gotten into the mess hall. He also was pretty curious about the fire guy. He kind of wanted to meet everyone because this was the coolest thing ever but he was also slightly overwhelmed by the coolness of everything. Maybe not slightly but he could keep himself from bouncing up and down like an excited toddler.
“Hey, you’re the newbie right?” Fire kid said. He had fluffy blonde hair and eyes that looked like the color of the sky and Peter was hit with the subtle but invasive thought that this guy was super attractive. Like many of his feelings, he pushed it away.
“Uh yeah, I just got here.” Peter managed to timidly force out. He smiled just too seem less awkward. The fire kid, Peter just barely noticed his nametag said Johnny in scribbly handwriting. Johnny didn’t even acknowledge Peter’s behavior and just continued small talk while he tried to figure out what he wanted. He ended up with a mess of meat, sweet sauce, veggies, and white rice. He was weirdly excited about it.
Eventually, he had to say goodbye to Johnny, the guy was pretty chill, despite being able to set himself on fire.
Xavier left to go eat alongside his husband. Peter paused for a minute to try to decide on where to sit, it was a lot like his high school cafeteria with large tables holding large groups of people. No one really seemed to be alone.
There were so many weird, cool weird, people that Peter didn’t know so he walked to the closest people that he knew. Riri and Shuri. They sat at a larger table with a blonde boy that Peter saw earlier with the fully clothed raccoon. When he got close enough, Shuri saw him and waved him over, murdering the uninvited feeling that he usually felt in these types of situations.
“Spider-boy! Have you met Harley yet?” Riri asked as Peter sat down in the empty spot next to Shuri. The kid with the mop of blonde hair raised his hand in acknowledgment that the name belonged to him.
“So you chose the nerd group, good choice,” Harley said moments before taking a large bite out of a sandwich.
“Yeah, I guess that hasn’t changed.” Peter grinned.
“Don’t you have superpowers though? Usually, mutants hang out with other mutants. It’s like gay people, they unconsciously find their own flocks.” Peter tried to stop himself from laughing which resulted in a snort.
“I mean I don’t have anything special, I’m not magic or anything. I’m just a slightly more durable nerd.” Peter shrugged.
“Before you came here you were literally a vigilante.” Shuri deadpanned.
“I saved cats stuck in trees and bike thieves Princess.” Peter rolled his eyes.
“And stopped car crashes…” Harley mentioned casually. “Most people don’t immediately become superheroes when they get cool powers.”
“Yeah, Peter, the fast Peter, was already a kleptomaniac and when his powers developed it just made it so much worse.” Riri joked. “America swore that she was going to break his legs next time he tried to steal something from her.”
“He once stole Rocket’s gun, well one or two of them. I have never seen him go so feral.” Harley grinned.
“They took you to the infirmary right?”
“I got so scratched up man, I didn’t want to bleed on my armor,” Harley whined dramatically. “I was still painting it!”
“Tragic.” Riri gave him a look as Shuri showed Peter a picture on her phone. The picture was one he had seen before, one of him in his Spider-Man costume stuck in his own webbing while he was still trying to figure out what was going on with him.
“I’ve been here for an hour and I’m already getting bullied.” Peter frowned overdramatically to show that he wasn’t actually serious.
“Wait, let me see!” Harley full-on snorted when Shuri showed him the picture. “How the hell did you manage that?”
“I’m going to tell you something very important about me. I’m a dumbass.”
“Welcome to the club. Anyway, what even are your powers?”
“Uh, enhanced senses, so I could always tell when the couple several apartments away from mine were uh, having relations, I can stick to things like a magnet, I heal really fast, I’m pretty strong, I have a weird extra sense that just gives me anxiety, uh extra good reflexes, insane flexibility, and gravity doesn’t affect my body. Kinda, I mean I don’t get bothered by being upside down for literal hours.” Peter explained. He was getting kind of tired of telling people his powers but he was excited that he could. He had always been bad at keeping secrets and now that he was at a place where his biggest secret was a concept of interest instead of something to hide in fear that someone he cared about would get hurt.
“So you can just… hang upside down indefinitely?” Harley asked. “That could be helpful with you know what.”
“Yeah? I actually like hanging out on the ceiling. It’s weirdly calming.” Peter ignored the comment about the unnamed project that both Riri and Shuri lit up when Harley mentioned.
“Wait, so you don’t shoot webbing out of your wrists?”
“Ew… no. I made web-shooters out of scraps. I was planning on making some new ones with some of the stuff here. I mean you guys have some crazy shit.”
“I’ll help you use the design program, It’s kinda complicated at first,” Riri promised.
“Thanks, I mean I’m already pretty overwhelmed and figuring out the tech on my own wouldn’t really help.” Peter shrugged.
“When you get the hang of it it becomes second nature. I cannot tell you how much better at it I’ve gotten after bullshitting my way through it for three months.” Harley smiled.
“It takes a special skill set to be able to take four hours to make a cube.” Shuri scoffed.
“Okay that was like my first day-” Harley pouted.
“You mean your first two weeks…”
“I am offended, I have been betrayed… I guess I should just join the witches…”
“Do you want to be mind-controlled or used as a voodoo doll? Hell no, those guys are creepy.” Riri shuttered.
“Witches?” Peter asked. Is that how this school was divided? Instead of jocks and nerds, there were mutants, witches and nerds.
“People with magic. You know, Wanda Maximoff, Doctor Strange, Billy Kaplan, all that kind of stuff. Reality warpers.” Harley explained.
“Are they like the goth kids of the school? Is that how cliques work with enhanced kids?” Peter raised an eyebrow.
“Basically. People just tend to hang out with other people like them. And out of everyone here, you chose the mechanics.”
“I’ve been a nerd for a whole lot longer than I’ve been Spider-Man.” Peter shrugged. “Besides, I’m not… I don’t think I’m a mutant either. It’s easier to see what I am than what I might be.”
“That’s hella deep. So who’s your favorite Avenger?” Shuri said.
“Iron Man but Thor and Black Widow in a close second ” Peter answered, strangely fast.
“Black Widow because she’s hot?” Riri asked, completely innocently.
“I mean Thor is pretty hot too… So I hold them to the same standard.” Peter grinned and they all nodded in solidarity. “Also Natasha is spider-themed like me.”
“What about Captain America?” Shuri suggested.
“I mean in theory he’s cool, but they had all those lecture videos of him back at my old school so I think if I heard him in real life I’d automatically disassociate,” Peter admitted. He also always felt like Captain America was disappointed in him in all those videos so it just made him want to be more of a vigilante than he already was. Because that was breaking the law and Captain America would probably not like that. If he knew better, he would know that was definitely not the case.
“He does go a little hard with the Patriotism…” Riri made a face. “I mean, I know that’s his thing but goddammit it’s annoying to see it all the time.” This prompted Peter to almost choke on laughter while he was trying to eat his lunch.
“I mean what else do you do with someone named Captain America? Cover him in hot dogs and set all his money on fire?” Harley defended.
“I mean America Chavez has the Patriot aesthetic without looking too annoying about it. Like someone with a good sense of style on the fourth of July instead of a buff guy whose entire outfit was cut out of a flag.” Riri argued with dramatic hand gestures.
“Okay yeah… That’s valid… But the whole aesthetic of Captain America and America, in general, is to be too much.”
“I don’t have to like it though… It’s an eyesore…”
“I mean he’s not the only one who wears bright red and blue.” Peter coughed inconspicuously.
“Yeah but you can pull it off,” Shuri reassured.
“It’s just with all of the stars and the stripes… It’s just a fashion disaster.”
“All he needs is a cowboy hat and to have the Falcon rebrand himself as the Eagle and I’m sure he’ll be immediately elected as president.” Harley snickered.
“I’m sure plenty of people would vote for him despite him having no experience.” Peter shrugged. “He’d probably be better at being the most widely recognized spy than a political leader…”
“You’re probably right about that.” A familiar voice said from behind them, Peter didn’t even have to look around to know who it was. Mr. Stark sat down in the empty seat with his green smoothie and stole a fry from Harley's tray. Harley didn’t even react so Peter assumed that this was completely normal. Peter had yet to get over his hero-worship phase and stuttered a greeting. Thankfully the guy seemed used to it and didn’t make fun of him for it.
“Hey, Tony!” The nerdlings chorused.
“So, have you guys been making Pete here feel at home?” Tony asked before taking a sip with his metal straw.
“Of course, I think we have a new recruit for the geek-squad.” Riri smiled.
“Please don’t encourage them. They already blow something up weekly.” Mr. Stark advised with a fond expression.
“Sorry to disappoint you Mr. Stark but that sounds like a blast.”
“Oh, you punny bastard-” Harley half-heartedly punched his shoulder while Peter just giggled.
“It wasn’t even intended…” he defended.
“It doesn’t matter, you still said it!”
“This was a bad idea wasn’t it.” Shuri sighed while Riri and Tony nodded in solidarity. Peter just kept giggling and had to stop eating so he could recover. Harley just looked over offended because of the pun.
“He’s been the only boy in the nerd group for so long… now he’s been outpunned… this is a hard day for him.” Riri added.
“Shut-” Harley pouted.
“Well, the rest of the day is free and I think our new recruit needs a little time to take everything in, so how about we just hang out in the lab or watch a movie instead,” Tony suggested.
“Sounds good, wait, isn’t it wargames day?” Harley asked, he looked at Peter as he explained, “Just teamwork exercises in a combat setting, Even us nerds have to participate.”
“I’ll excuse you all, tell them that we need to get Mr. Parker acclimated to a dramatic change in his life.” Tony shrugged. “I mean this isn’t the first time we’ve ditched them, Sometimes someone doesn’t have their suit in working condition or working on an urgent project or whatever. Sometimes Mr. Rogers likes to have us around for planning but we’re all kind of in the weird group of superheroes that don’t focus purely on combat like… some people. We carry the brain cells of whichever team we’re on because someone has to.”
“Harley does not own any brain cells, he’s just lucky,” Riri added calmly. Harley only shrugged in response. He did seem to be the one to set off the most explosions not on purpose. He was probably more reckless than his mentor. Which was kind of scary because his mentor was a crazy space raccoon.
“Anyway, chop-chop, I’ll wait for you all in the lab.” Tony stole one last of Harley’s fries before walking towards a Starbucks manned by a dark-haired girl dressed in purple with a few bandages scattered on her face. Peter thought he remembered seeing her when he arrived but wasn’t completely sure.
The nerdlings chatted and ate their food quickly in anticipation for working in the lab, or in anticipation for ditching the teamwork exercises. Peter wasn’t quite sure what to expect from those but he definitely agreed that he was not currently ready for something called ‘war games.’ He was still recovering from the heavy lifting exercise. Figuring out a hologram blueprint program sounded way better than running around and fighting robots or whatever. Peter didn’t know if that’s what wargames were but that’s what he felt like they were. He assumed he’d find out eventually.
They threw their trash away in a strange futuristic trash can that apparently sent the plastics into a cleansing cycle before being melted into more eating ware, effectively making the island self-sufficient in that regard.
The nerdlings raced off to the labs and Peter was once again reminded how much he loved technology. He remembered going to one of those interactive science museums and the labs were like that but better. There was so much potential and so many toys in the main room. The holograms were beautiful and colorful and had a ridiculous amount of detail put into them. Even with the idealistic beaches that he saw as he flew into the island, he had seen the city on the clearest summer day from the tallest building, he thought that all this tech was the most beautiful scene he had ever seen.
Tony Stark stood at a central desk, playing with a blue hologram while muttering at the speed of light. It took a minute for him to notice the group of genius teenagers but when he did, he lit up a little. He waved them all over and rested his arm on Peter’s shoulder as he started his explanation for the project. It was something super complicated about controlling a nanotech armor with his brain and he had talked to a few shapeshifters for advice and while the rest of the nerdlings were adding their own commentary, Peter was kind of entranced. He was stuck in his own head until Mr. Stark asked for his opinion.
Peter stayed quiet for a moment before asking a few questions to help him understand exactly how the tech would work and he suggested a way to make the nanites smaller and therefore able to have more stored in an emergency housing unit and he thought out loud how they could make the density unaffected.
Conversation stayed like that for hours, fast and intellectually stimulating, with every once in awhile pausing for an argument about star trek for some reason. Peter was pretty happy to participate.
Peter didn’t understand how it was so easy to get comfortable with these people that he had just met. He had never been great at getting friends at his school but these super-smart nerd kids at a superhero school were super welcoming and he felt more at home with these people in one day than he did in years at normal school. It turned out that an island full of socially rejected people with powers tended to get along pretty damn well.
At one point, the Vision brought a couple of pizzas and about a mountain of capris suns, as they had all lost track of time and apparently they had been working in the lab for over six hours. They just ate and continued on with what they were doing. It didn’t feel like too long after that when the AI in the ceiling notified them that it was thirty minutes until lights out. Tony apologized for accidentally overworking them but they all seemed pretty happy with the progress that they made. Peter had gotten used to a handful of the tech there and had gotten to know his fellow nerdlings.
They cleaned up, Harley putting his gold and black suit away and Riri with her own suit. Peter and Shuri had worked on their own but she sent him a few of her inventions for approval which Peter just marveled at. She seemed to think it was fun to see him in awe. Once the lab was not a trash pile, Shuri dragged them to their dorm and Peter remembered that he had to skype Ned and May.
Peter changed out of his binder and into a soft bedtime sweatshirt, instantly feeling much better as he didn’t realize how much his breathing had been restricted as he was so distracted all day. He took out his new Starktech laptop that he had been given for classes and called his aunt and Ned while Shuri took the time to brush her teeth.
Ned popped up on the screen and grinned at him widely.
“Peter! Oh my god, you have to tell me everything! Right now! Also, I missed you, like, a lot!”
“Hey, dude! Yeah, this place is pretty cool. You won’t believe what they have here.” Peter ignored the missing him bit, he didn’t want to feel bad about leaving his only friend all alone. “This place feels like it comes right out of a sci-fi movie, it’s crazy!”
“I need all the juicy details!” Ned smiled before looking behind Peter, unbeknownst to him, Shuri had walked into the room and had put her hair in a purple scarf. “Peter! Is that… a girl?” Ned's voice turned into an urgent hiss and Peter laughed.
“Yeah, that’s my roommate.”
“Oh my god, they were roommates.”
“Are you guys quoting vines without me?” Shuri said as she approached the computer. She had changed into a black tank top that showed off her surprisingly well-defined biceps. She leaned on Peter and waved to Ned who seemed a little star-struck.
“Ned, this is Shuri! Shuri this is my best friend Ned!” Peter introduced. Ned seemed a little speechless as he waved with a gaping mouth. Shuri smiled and looked back at Peter.
“Would it bother you if I put on the starlights?” Shuri asked as she motioned towards a remote that he recognized as the thing that controlled the holographic universe thing that she had showed him when they first met.
“Fifteen minutes until lights out.” The AI in the sky reminded in a gentle tone.
“Sorry, Ned. I’ll call you tomorrow, I still have to call Aunt May.” Peter sighed. Ned just wished him well and made him promise to call again when he had time.
He quietly called May as Shuri told him she was going to bed so the whole call was in a hushed tone. Peter promised that everything was fine and that she didn’t need to worry. She told him about the stupidest thing that a patient had done that day that warranted a visit to the hospital and he heard Shuri laugh quietly from her bed. They exchanged I-love-you’s before the lights automatically turned off and Peter hopped into bed.
Somehow he was both excited enough that he was vibrating and exhausted from all the work he did that day. After the tragedy of his life, he had really needed something like this. Something to look forward to. People like him that knew what it was like to have powers and go through loss as that tended to be what happened to people who turned out to be superheroes. A tragic backstory was kind of mandatory apparently.
His thoughts strayed as his exhaustion caught up to him. He thought about the actual plausibility that he will be a superhero like Tony Stark. He had always wanted to be a hero, and after he got his powers he knew that he could become one. But starting out as a vigilante wasn’t the easiest start. He didn’t think superheroes were in the bad graces of the police and that people would not like what he was doing when all he wanted to do was help. He messed up, yeah, but all he wanted to do was help people. Because he had needed someone to help him. Why not be that person for someone else?
There were so many heroes that fought aliens and stop the bad guys from taking over the world, but Peter didn’t think he could be that type of hero. He just wanted to be the hero that he had always wanted. Someone that stopped gunfights and saved the little people because that’s what Peter had always been. He knew that he needed to protect the little guy. Because there were so many bad things happening that had nothing to do with alien invasions.
Peter fell asleep, lost so deeply in thought that he couldn’t recognize how close to unconsciousness he was. He was more at peace than he thought he could be and it was really nice.
And that was the end of his first day in the first place he really felt like he belonged.
oof, sorry for the delay guys, I didn't think it would take this long to update. Comment characters you want Peter to meet and any suggestions you have. I still have a lot of stuff planned for this fic so if you guys are still interested, I hope you enjoy the ride! If you want to see more of my stuff, my tumbrs are @science-lings, @sciencelings-writes, and @sciencelings-arts. Do you guys like all the comic characters or do they take away from the story for the movie fans? I know that some people don't like all the x-men stuff but I personally really like it so it's not going away, but if people really don't like it then I'll put less of it in.