2019-06-02 - Gelato and lies


Thea discovers just who Blackbird is, and has to hide it from Peter.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Jun 2 04:25:40 2019
Location: Gelato Palace

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Theme Song



Peter Parker is on the town. He just changed back after dealing with a little nastiness in Hell's Kitchen and was feeling a little hungry. He looked to his left at the sign that said GELATO PALACE. He pondered, then pulled out his phone.

«Thea. Parker here. I don't know if you're busy, but if you're not, would you like to get together? I'm outside Gelato Palace in the Village.»

She'd been shopping, discreetly disguised - one needs a wide variety of clothing and other things: wigs, makeup, prostetics. So she was actually not to far away, in a store that caters to theatrical patrons. She will glance at her phone, with a smile .

Thea here. I'll be there shortly, just need to check out. She will do so in short order, making arrangements to have her purchases shipped, versus carrying them about. That will add a few minutes onto her time, but she's not far at all. Hair is a soft red color, shiny and straight, contrasting the gray and gold dress she's wearing with golden gladiator sandals. She's got on soft, natural makeup, and her eyes are their natural blue-gray today.

On my way in. She will send before she steps into the place, then aside from the door, to let her powers try to find the young man she knows.

The young man with the forgettable face is standing near the outdoor cafe area. Wearing baggy clothes, rumpled t-shirt, jeans, dirty tennis shoes. One of hundreds of thousands of awkward boys on the cusp of becoming men…or just someone whose childhood pushed them into adulthood early. He looks around, hands jammed in his pockets, nervous and plainly showing it.

Thea is not nervous, strolling up to the area near the young man. She clearly didn't forget his face. "Well hello." She says, voice soft and low. "What sort of gelato do you fancy, friend of mine?" She smiles at him, a wink. "You want to eat out here , or inside?"

Peter looks around. "Well, it's all full in there, so I staked out a table. I was thinking the strawberry sundae one…" He points to the menu above the server, who is doing a lively business. It is the first day of June, after all. "I think I need to treat myself after what I just went through."

"You staked out the table.. Let's go and have a sit. We'll order." Her hand will briefly touch his arm, eyes on his face. "And then you can tell me all about it over gelato. It's close enough to ice cream, it will make the telling of anything rough a little bit better." She will gesture with her hand to have him sit first, even as she's scoping around them. She's noting getaway routes, and will sit to put her back to the building as much as she can. She does not have a Spidey sense. Not like he does.

Peter sits down, looking around. "I got some REALLY good pictures of Spider-Man just now. He was dealing with a group of gangsters who shot the owner of a restaurant and had decided they were going to wipe out about 24 witnesses. I have the photos in my camera. You can see the raw footage before I get nickel-and-dimed by JJJ for them."

Thea will signal the server with a smile, nodding at the understanding she'll be over in a moment. Then she will grace Peter with a bright, mischievious smile. "You don't have to sell them to him, do you?" She will ask, sitting back in her chair, one leg crossing over the other.

Peter sighs. "I don't have that work-study job yet. Not until August. And I have to keep the A/C working, the water running, and the garbage pickups…well, getting picked up." He looked around as he brought up the pictures on the viewscreen on the back of the digital camera. "So, I think I…Ooooh, I can't sell this one to him…"

Thea reaches out to pat his arm. "You could sell them to me. Let me deal with JJJ and his ilk, for a change." She will tilt her head to look at pictures, to see why he can't sell one.

It is a picture of one fairly rough-looking gangster webbed to the wall, sitting upright on the floor. Another gunman's feet were webbed, which caused him to pitch forward…with his face against the first man's crotch area. And he landed in the webbing, so he has to stay that way. And although his head is turned to the side so he can breathe, it is still a very unflattering picture. Certainly unsuitable for publication in a reputable newspaper.

"…I swear they fell like that…" Peter adds lamely.

Thea laughs, a full throated sound as her head tips back. "Oh that, that is /priceless/. Humiliation galore, for them." She looks at Peter, eyes bright. "I believe you. You don't have a mean bone in your body."

She will pause, a glance upward. "One large strawberry sundae, and a medium one as well, please." She will be smiles and charm embodied to the server, until she walks away.

"Seriously. I can pay you for them, and then I can haggle for you. Or I can just haggle for you. Up to you." She will look at him. "So what happened that you need a sugar rush?"

Peter sighs. "Was following Spider-Man for four hours straight." Translation: HE was webslinging around the city for four hours straight. And his Ferrarri body was still humming away, even after what was probably the longest Olympic event in human history. There is a subtle harmony to the high-performance engine that is the human-spider hybrid.
"Well…I think JJJ might treat me differently if I brought a negotiator. I should be able to make 15 dollars a picture, and I have 40 decent pictures and 20 of those are good ones. Besides, I found out that he beats down the price because of all the freelancers he has, and he only has so much in the budget." He smiles wryly to Thea. "His feelings about Spidey aside, he's a damn good newspaper editor."

"So let me negotiate for you. If JJJ doesn't allow you the amount they are worth, I will simply find someone who will. There's always the internet." She smiles. "Or you could let me buy them and publish them."

Peter blinked. He has always gone to the Bugle first, since none of the other news outlets would even give him the time of day. But Thea might want them?
"Uhmm…wow. What would you pay for them, if I decided to sell them to you?" He handed her the camera so she could see the rest of the pictures. "I might be able to get a little more out of that skinflint if I told him another person was interested…"

"Well, you have 20 good pictures he'd buy. I'd at least offer you 20 a pop for those, and fifteen for the only decent ones. Go in there, tell him someone is offering your more, but you feel a loyalty to him because you've been working together, but money is money, and you've got bills." Thea says smoothly, looking at him. "You need to take the confidence I've seen in action, and apply it in the everyday, Peter."

Peter blushes slightly, then says, "Well…I *could* say that, and say that I always felt the Bugle had the right of first refusal. Hmm…it could work." He smiled wryly. "Uhm…what can I do for you? I mean, you're doing so much for me, I feel a little guilty I'm not really doing anything for you…"

"You could say that, and if he doesn't bite, show him you mean it, and sell them to me. I'll find a buyer."

She falls silent as the waitress brings their gelato, and Thea will hand over money - including a generous tip. As she moves to dig into the medium sundae, leaving him the large one. "You do plenty for me. I get to sleep at night, knowing I've maybe helped further the good doing of some heroes."

Peter blushes a little redder at that, then falls to eating the sundae. He is hungry and the first bite seems to awaken his stomach, as it rumbles slightly. "Oh, jeez…" he says quietly. "Uhm, I wanted to tell you I'm out of the design phase and moving into fabrication. If it all works well, I can see about making similar designs for the others, if they want them…" He takes another bite, mmming to himself. "Yeah…that's the stuff on a hot day."

"Fabulous. Just let me know when you need more materials, and we'll get you all outfitted." She will take another bite of her sundae, eyes on him. "So, is it just the pictures, or did something else happen?"

Peter took a deep breath. "Well, there was also the bodega robbery…the would-be rapist…and then there was the failed middle manager who decided to do his all for Allah and try to make his former office a drive-through." He sighs. "It was a busy morning. None of those I had the chance to take pictures. Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes there's no time, and someone could lose their life because I wanted an extra 20 bucks."

"You have been a busy, busy boy." Thea says softly. "And you think you do nothing for me in exchange?" She lifts her eyebrows at him. "I should be feeding you more protein than this." She smiles, just a bit. "I worry about you."

Peter chuckles. "Hey…I guess I should have said something. I'm…well, it's…okay, I'm dating someone, This girl. She's…she'a WAYYYY outta my league. But she's…she's really something else. Smart, intuitive…and she's, like, Staten Island royalty, to boot. I should have said something but it all happened so FAST."

"Yes, we've met. I know who you mean. I told you I knew you were in love when we had our little team meet up in the park. Oxytocin is something that lights up wonderfully for me." Thea says softly. "But she's not out of your league. There is no such thing. You're brilliant and brave and sweet. Any girl should be lucky to have you. And what, said something to me?"

Peter blinks. "Well…I dunno…made it official. Punctuated it." He rubs the nape of his neck. "I'm flying blind here. I screwed things up with MJ, I freely admit it. And I wasn't sure there was a difference between caring and…infatuation. I'm sure there is a difference, biologically, but I'm not as attuned in that as you are. And…well, people lie. So it helps if I am able to confirm what another person says." Peter takes another bite. "I'm just…what is it about beautiful, skilled women that make me feel inadequate? Maybe it was all the times girls from school wanted something and turned on the charm to get it, and then ignored me when they got what they wanted…"

Helena sometimes has too much time on her hands. Usually she's good about it. Sometimes, she lets her curiosity get the better of her. Like when she wonders what Peter might be up to, and then uses the computers in the batcave to find out where he's at.

She probably gets is from her mother.

But Peter may notice the buzz on his phone as Helena sends a text: Hey, I'm in town running an errand. You at the lab?

"There is definitely a difference between infatuation and the real thing. Yes, people lie, and that's another thing I can detect. It's fun, really." She doesn't sound like it's much fun at the moment. She will arch a brow. "It's because you think they're somewhat out of your league. You need to stop that. Confidence, kid."

Peter is about to answer when he feels the buzz of his phone and looks at it. He smiles suddenly. "Hey, it's her. Do you mind if she joins us?"
He looks up at Thea, and she can sense it all. Yeah. The head-over-heels, gone-and-not-coming-back kinds of feelings. He begins typing, "Talking to friend and having gelato at Gelato Palace. In the Village. Come on by…"

He stops, then looks to Thea before actually sending it. He didn't want to jump the gun like before…

She will just smirk. "Of course I don't mind. If you ask her what she wants, I'll order it so it will be ready by the time she gets here?" A hand will tuck red hair back behind her ear.

Peter nods quickly, then sends a PDF of the menu from the Palace as well as a picture of the admittedly-large strawberry sundae. «Great! See you soon!» he responds via text, then smiles to Thea. "She should be here soon. It'll be great." He looks restless and happy at the same time.

Helena researches her lies well, when she needs to. For example, she's in the process of stepping out of an organic beauty products shop with a bag in hand as she checks the phone for a response. "I'm just a couple blocks away from there! See you soon. :)"

Okay, so it feels a little dirty, but…well, sometimes you just have to put in the extra work, right?

Thea nods, eating her sundae. "Don't worry. I won't expose any secrets." She will give him a mischievious look. "I will play dumb, I promise."

Hooo, boy. "Yeah…I kinda told her. I had horrible thoughts that I was going to her what I did to MJ, and…well, her father is Bruce Freaking Wayne. The guy probably has a team of investigators who like nothing more than to justify their paychecks by going after the schmuck that keeps insulting his daughter. So…I told her. To keep her from thinking I was a jerk when I inevitably pull a no-show."

Peter looks a little ashamed at this, but doesn't take any of it back.

It doesn't take long for Helena to show up down the sidewalk, raising the hand with the bag to wave in their direction with an easy smile. In jeans and a loose-fitting black t-shirt with plain black ankle boots, she hardly looks like an heiress. Or like someone who'd send investigators after anyone, for that matter.

"Hey," she greets as she arrives, leaning in to drop a kiss to Peter's cheek. "Fancy meeting you here. Hi there," she adds with a smile for Thea.

The bag in her hand smells of lavender and citrus. Thea may note some odd things, though. Like the healing wounds in her arm and side.

Thea will pretend to not see the PDA between the teens, feeling oddly like an older sister or something. You think she'd be used to it, her younger half brother isn't so much younger than Peter and Helena, after all.

Her eyes will lift, looking at her, a flicker of brows lifted, before she gives a close-lipped smile. "Hello. Getting the necessities of life?" She glances at the bag. "I love that store." She will smooth a hand down the skirt of her gray and gold dress, before she fiddles with an earring. She will glance at Peter, wondering.

Peter stands up immediately as Helena approaches, pulling a chair out for her. He blushes as she kisses him on the cheek. "Helena, meet Thea. Thea is helping me with my…extracurricular work. Thea, this is Helena Wayne. " He smiles to Helena, a smile that is half "Wow, you really did that" and half "Holy cow, she really LIKES me," and the rest of his body mirrored his face.

"Nice to meet you, Thea," Helena smiles warmly, offering over a hand. There's a brief rise in her pulse when she sees the woman, but by the time she's offering a hand, everything is back to normal and steady. Just…be cool.

"Yeah, I love this place. Ethical processes, quality products. And the nice part is, you don't come out smelling like you've spent the afternoon in a chemical factory, which is always a plus. Are you from ESU?" she asks, looking between Peter and his friend. It's a safe enough assumption…for someone who doesn't know.

There is a faint quirk of her left brow, as her hand slides against Helena's to shake. "Indeed." There's the sound of the cat who got the cream, eyes steady on the younger woman.

"It's great for helping keep your skin clear and soft. I'm a big fan of the essential oils they use."

She reaches for her spoon, fighting laughter, as she leans to take a bite. She can't help it, a chuckle escapes. "No, I'm not."

Peter completely misses the subtext and sits down after Helena is seated. "Okay, Helena, did you get a look at the menu? Unless you want to help me polish off this monster sundae?" He winks, then says, "Thea…I think I should feel safe in saying that you treasure your independence? Anyway, Helena, we met under…less than preferable circumstances, and she felt she wanted to contribute." He looked to Thea for confirmation, not wanting to tell Thea's story for her. He wasn't sure what parts to leave out.

"Ah, a different sort of benefactor, then," Helena smiles faintly, giving the sundae a long look. "You know, I think I'm going to order the peanut butter chocolate for myself," she decides after a moment. "I've done enough walking this afternoon."

Her pulse stays clear and even - to anyone who couldn't identify detailed vital signs or suspicious injuries, it would be a solid cover. "Well, I can't think of anyone better to benefit," she says, smile swift. And that much seems entirely genuine. Whatever she's hiding, the basic attraction is real.

Thea will give Peter a mild look. "Well, I have no secrets from you and yours, Peter. Well, not many." She will take a bite of her own sundae, before letting her gaze slide to Helena, a hint of a smile. "Honesty is so important, don't you think?"

Peter chuckles and swallows his gelato before saying, supposedly in agreement, "Well, some small things are none of the business of others. It's not a great situation, but sometimes the truth doesn't set you free at all. Sometimes, the truth can get you locked up or get other people hurt…"

"Well, I mean, in comparison to the risk you took telling her your secret…" Thea will shrug, digging into her sundae again. "Right, Helena? I mean, no one's wanting to arrest me."

"Sometimes, a secret is the least dangerous thing," Helena shrugs, shifting in her chair enough to lean her shoulder against Peter's. "A secret that sets one person free can hurt any number of other people. Sometimes it's not about just one person." She reaches over to put a hand over Peter's, eyes fixed there for a long moment. "I'm honored that Pete shared with me," she says quietly. "But if we're being honest?" She looks up, a faint smile quirking. "The first thing I told him was that he shouldn't have."

Peter sighs. "I got scared. Sometimes I think I'm scared all the time. So…I took a calculated risk that if something did happen, Helena, you might be able to run interference for me with your parents. Your dad might not understand. I dunno about Miss Kyle, though…but I don't know much about her, so I'm going to show some rare restraint and not talk next to my glass about it."

There is a stormy gaze aimed at Helena. "I suppose that's the trouble with not thinking through secret identities and all." She will look at Peter, expression resigned. There's a faint snort, before she sets her spoon in her bowl, pushing it back.

"At any rate, Peter, you'll just have to let me know when materials are needed. And if you want me to buy those pictures."

"I would have run interference with my parents regardless," Helena says with a wry smile, giving Peter's hand a squeeze before drawing her own back. "And Mom's more likely to try to make you blush than anything else. She's incorrigible." Though she doesn't say anything about her father. "Pictures?" she asks, looking between the pair with a curious quirk of her brow.

Peter nods. "Got some pics of Spider-Man capturing some Maggia goons before they shot up a restaurant who had witnessed them kill one person in particular."
He still feels a little twinge at that. The only consolation he can give himself was that he didn't know until it was all over for the guy.
"He did a few other things, but I wasn't able to take pics of those. Anyway, Thea suggested I tell JJJ that someone else was interested in the pics to try and get a better deal out of him for them. And if he does the hard pass, she says she'll buy them."

"Just trying to help." Thea says, hands folded in her lap. "A little competition can drive up offers." She shrugs, signalling the server, to let Helena order her chosen sundae. "I believe those who do good should be supported."

"That's…one way to do it." Although Helena doesn't really have much ground to stand on when it comes to the honesty angle right now. She pauses to order her sundae, waiting for the waiter to leave before she looks back to the others. "I mean, I'm betting there's another paper who would buy the pictures, regardless. But I'm all in favor of standing up to Jameson. Especially since he's just going to use the pictures to make up another nasty story about you anyhow."

Peter shrugged. "Helena, I have spent my entire life from kindergarten forward dealing with people saying all sorts of things about me, calling me any number of things. Nerd, Geek, King of Geeks…a hundred other things. And that's just the talk. The things Carl King did all by himself should have gotten him a room in Riker's. Maybe that's why he disappeared…anyway, I can deal with people saying what they want about me. It doesn't change what I do or who I am."

"Well, people are idiots." Thea says, with an air of someone who has completely given up on most of humanity. "There are occasional diamonds in the rough, such as yourself and your co-heroes." There's another slide of a glance at Helena. "There probably are other papers that would, or an online outlet. PEter knows I would sell them, and well, he'd end up with whatever above and beyond what I paid him for them."

"First of all, King of the Geeks is an honor, not an insult, and you should wear your crown with pride," Helena smiles crookedly back at Peter, the warmth in her eyes entirely real. She may keep her secrets about her other identity, but her heart, at least, is in it. "Second of all, you're right, but I'd still like to pop him in the nose for it anyhow. And a little good press wouldn't hurt. You, or the hero community at large," she points out. "Which in turn helps the people, because they're more likely to trust and work with the heroes out there."

Peter chuckled. "No one knows who said this first, but it's what I believe. 'Say what you want and be who you are, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.' JJJ may bray and growl on the Internet, but there's a family who runs a White Castle in Brooklyn who promise me free food every time I go. Big Jake will give me a free chili dog any time I show up. There is a family in Chinatown who call Spider-Man 'Honored Spider.' So I think that the people whose opinion really matter know who i really am. Like you, Thea." He looked to Helena. "Like you, Helena."

"It's a very solid saying. It's one of the reasons I shared more of my secrets with you, when you let me see your face. I don't think you need to know everything about me, or vice versa but.. there had to be honesty to help cement the trust. Like I already told you, it does me good, to help the do gooders of the world."

"Honored spider," Helena echoes, smile quirking once more. "I like that one." She reaches up to tuck her hair behind her ear, nodding to Thea. "People who do good work deserve to be rewarded. Part of why Jameson makes me mad. But as long as you're happy, I'm happy. How's the coding coming, by the way? Making progress?"

Peter smiles. "Your input has been invaluable, Helena, I have a solid framework for an Expert System-level software package, and I'm laying the basic functions out now." He takes out a USB stick and places it in front of Thea. "I want you to take a look when you have the time, but the upshot is I can connect all the parts of the suit together. The webshooters will be peripherals that can act on their own or be customized by the software. I'm up to 47 different configurations for them to create."

Thea will look at the USB to Peter's fae, and back. "Peter, I don't need to know all the details. I will probably see them in action again, sometime." But she will pick up the stick and put it in her pocket. "But I will let you two love birds have some time to talk and all of that. It can be so hard, when there's hero-ing involved." She will rise, putting more money on the table. "You kids have a nice time."

"Forty-seven?" Helena blinks, quirking a brow at Peter. "How did you even come up with forty-seven different ways to-" She clears her throat, lowering her voice to change the topic when the waiter comes over with her sundae. "It was great meeting you, Thea," she says warmly. "And thank you. For everything."

Peter grins. "About a year-and-a-half of documenting every time I said, "I really wish I could do etcetera…but I just documented it instead of just bemoaning my fate. And now I am able to make them work." He looks up as Thea gets up, then says, "…thanks for everything, Angel." He smiles to Helena. "My nickname for her. She hasn't told me to stop yet."

She will smile at Peter, reaching out to ruffle his hair with a mild big-sister affection, before she looks at Helena. "Certainly. I am sure we will meet again." That may be a promise, a threat, or both!

She will roll her eyes at Peter. "I enjoy the amusement of the irony. Au revoir." She will wave before she heads off on down the street.

"I'm sure she appreciates it," Helena chuckles in regards to the nickname, pulling her chair in a little further to start digging into her sundae. "She seems…interesting," she observes, watching him as she says it. "How'd you meet her? Just run into her in the field?" On the up side, she doesn't seem jealous. Just curious.

Peter sighs, taking another bite and watching Helena's gelato arrive as he does. "We…met while I was checking out something bizarre. I found out what turned out to be a complete set of human skin. Like a body, but with all the insides hollowed out. She came upon it while I was checking it forensically. She apparently thought highly enough of me to give me enough money, in cash, to develop Spider-Comm, the communication system we use. Hundreds of dollars, right out of her wallet. When I told her about needs for resources for the spidersilk formula and designing another suit, she dropped five grand in my lap. Apparently she's got a trust fund she seldom uses."

"Interesting." Helena takes her time with the sundae, making sure each spoonful has some of the peanut butter mixed in with the chocolate. "The money part. The hollowed out body part is gross, but I'm not going to focus on that part. But I'm glad you've got a patron of sorts. I'm glad for what it gives you the chance to do."

Peter nods. "Her heart's in the right place. But there's something about her. She's…she was hurt, in the past. She doesn't want to be hurt again. But whatever she may have done, she'd going good now, and that is how I choose to see her. Call me naive if you want."

"You are," Helena laughs, though she leans in to brush another kiss against his cheek when she does. "But that's part of your charm. Hey, tell me which of these you like more," she asks, passing over the bag from the shop.

Peter looks at her. "I'm…not very good at this, but I'll try. I am operating under bias, I think you can make anything look good."

"It's soap, Pete," Helena laughs. "All it has to do it smell nice." Inside the bag are indeed about half a dozen bars of soap, though they're not exactly the irish spring from the bdoega down the street that's been there since 1993. They look like they've been handcrafted, and the scents are natural: lavender, citrus, sandalwood, frankincense, vanilla, and jasmine.

Peter hmmed. "Citrus, I like…Vanilla is a favorite. I like the jasmine, too. But I had always wondered what frankincense smelled like."

"I like it," Helena nods. "It's got a sort of citrus undertone to something…unique. A little earthier, maybe. Hardest part of walking out of the shop is not walking out with one of everything," she admits, laughing.

Peter nods. He can understand that. Except Helena's bank balance gets above four digits all the time, he is sure. Unlike his. But that's not her fault. So he stifles any attempts at humor there.
"Listen…Aunt May wants me to meet your parents for dinner. And SHE wants to cook. At your castle."

"It's not a castle," Helena laughs, rolling her eyes. "A castle has fortifications." She winks, then leans back a bit, rubbing a hand at the back of her neck. "Well, I'd love to have Aunt May over, and I'd love to have her cook, and I'd love to have you over, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only one you'd have to sell that to is Alfred, since the kitchen is his domain, but I doubt he'd object too much. How can anyone object to Aunt May, after all?"

Peter grins. "I think it's HER superpower. There is something so compelling about her that brooks no argument. But you should probably let Alfred know. Ask him politely. She would be invading his domain, after all."

"I'll ask," Helena promises, nodding. "But I'll also give him the puppy eyes, so I'm pretty sure he'll agree to it. Ancient Wayne secret. Actually, Mom would say the puppy eyes are more of a Kyle secret weapon."

Peter smiles. "I think you could do anything you wanted to, Helena." He takes another bite, the last bite of his sundae. "How should I address him? What's a proper name to call him?"

"Alfred? Just Alfred," Helena smiles crookedly. "I mean, politely, but Alfred is just fine. He's a bit of a stickler for proper behavior from his subjects, but you're lucky enough not to be one of them, so you're likely to get a little more leeway," she teases.

Peter nods thoughtfully. "Well…I should probably avoid doing any canoodling with you while in the cas, I mean, your home." He smiles wryly."Is he the kind of guy who would hire detectives to follow you if you didn't check in or snuck out…?"

"No, that's more Dad's thing," Helena deadpans, only to break the act with a laugh. "Pete, you seem to have some really crazy ideas about how things work in my family. The honest truth is we're not that different from anyone else. Sure, Dad worries about me. But he's not going to do anything more than give you dirty looks. Mom's just going to try to make you blush. And Alfred will probably be the nicest of anyone, as long as you're moderately polite."

Peter sighs. "Sorry. I mean, I read articles about your dad. The guy seems to run the company on autopilot, but he's a billionaire. I can't imagine that kind of money. The truth is, we've been lower-middle class out entire lives, the Parkers…and then Uncle Ben…was killed, and now we'te a few steps above poverty level. But Aunt May is able to put food on the table. So that's something. But to never have to worry about money. To have all you could ever need. That's impossible to imagine."

"I get it," Helena nods, reaching a hand for his again. "If it helps, Mom didn't grow up with money. Not even close. You've got Aunt May who cares about you. I've…never even met Mom's side of the family. It was that bad. So she never lets us forget to be grateful for what we have. Or even think about judging anyone else for what they do or don't have." She pauses, then turns in her chair to face him fully, capturing his hand between both of hers. "Pete…you know if there's anything you need, I'm here for you, right? I haven't pushed. I don't want you to feel weird about anything. But I also don't want you to feel like you can't ask. Does that make sense?"

Peter smiles. "My Uncle Ben once told me that you can't be envious of only the good things. You have to be envious of the bad things, too. It's not a buffet where you can pick and choose." He smiles slightly. "If I get in a bind, I will ask. But I will do all I can to AVOID getting into that bind, so you know I tried everything else and it didn't work."

"Okay. Fair enough." Helena gives his hand a squeeze, but she doesn't let go just yet. "So. Forty-seven, huh?" she smiles crookedly. It seems like she's going to be teasing him for that one for a while. "Lot of choices."

Peter nods. "Have a UI architecture that will allow selection within .5 seconds. It'll need to be tested. Visual tracking as well as voice-acttivation. Even adapted the drone from the fair to be used as a recon drone, about twice the size of a quarter."

"That's tiny." Helena's brows rise, and she goes back to her sundae, thinking about the whole picture. "You know, I know this is all kind of ahead of things, Pete, but with the thing you come up with, the things you can build…you can really turn that internship with Kane into something amazing. Into a real career, that can continue to help people on an even bigger scale than Spider-Man can."

Peter nods. "Maybe. But Spider-Man helps people in ways a scientist doesn't normally help people. So…I think I can reconcile those two sides of me. Have each help the other. Besides, these special gifts have to be used, and for the right reasons. I can't just…shelve them."

"I wouldn't recommend that at all," Helena shakes her head. "Just saying you should remember to have more to your life than just that. Like any person. Also, you should get some sleep sometimes. And eat something other than ice cream." She winks. "Just making sure you're around to be in my life, is all."

Peter smiles. "I appreciate it, Helena. It's that I find it fulfilling. Helping people. So I do find fulfillment, even enjoyment." He winks. "And being up there, webslinging…it's one of the best things to do." He winks. "If you could do it with me, I think you'd understand."

"Hey, if you ever want to give me a ride, I volunteer as tribute," Helena laughs, smile easy. Little does he know that she's been swinging among the skyscrapers since she was a child, with either her father or her mother. But that's just one more secret. "Though I feel like that would probably be a side effect of being in a pretty dangerous situation, so maybe better not to."

Peter grins. "Well, if I make a new set of shooters, I'll have to give the originals a good home. I can add braces to lessen the strain on the arms, but it is very physical activity." He looks around, then at Helena's dwindling food. "Guess we'd better vacate the table.

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