2019-09-22 - Chapter and Spider-Verse


A normal day with Peter and Gwen…one of the last ones.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Sep 22 02:36:25 2019
Location: College Cafeteria, NYC

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Theme Song



Gwen's Aunt Hazel gets the most ridiculous ideas.

Currently, the young blond is sitting in the middle of one of the Unieresity's many cafeterias, waiting for her Aunt's neighbor's nephew to show up with a textbook that she forgot at said Aunt's house last night — which, Gwen protested for ten minutes over a cellphone conversation, is completely silly because she'd have ample time to just bus back and get it before that class anyway, but in the eyes of an Aunt that is a critical loss of time. 'But I could study on the bus anyway!' was Gwen's final gambit, followed by 'No you can't, you have to be on guard against boys in such public spaces!'

Well, this is a public space, and Gwen is currently proving that idea to be nonsense by studying with her earbuds plugged in, albeit she has her eyes up for one boy in particular.

Peter Parker bolts out of the breezeway towards the commons, and the cafeteria past that. "Scuse me! Coming through! Hot soup! Coming through!"
He runs along the side of the sidewalk in the cool, wet grass, drenching his jeans up to mid-calf as he opens the door, looking around. His short brown hair is loose and tousled, the baggy jeans and shirt freckled with the drying droplets of the sprinklers he ran through on the way here, but her copy of Interpersonal Communication 101 textbook remains nice and dry.

He made pretty good time, too. Must have just caught the express subway.

He looks around, running one hand through his hair to push it out of his eyes, and spots Gwen. He waves, and Gwen is reminded of her dad's words for Peter - a fond, "He's a schmuck, but he's a decent schmuck at least, Gwen."

it takes a moment before Gwen actually does spot Peter, being as how she's intently reading about chemical reactions involving hydrocarbons while listening to a playlist mostly full of Elliphant songs with some other stuff thrown in. She does notice though, and that's when she pulls out the buds and throws up a hand. "Peter! Over here!"

She waves until she's noticed, then beckons enthusiastically. "I dunno how you got here so fast," she comments. "What'd you do, fly? Fold time and space?" A decent schmuck maybe, which always seemed a bit of a back-handed compliment to Gwen, but a damn fast one either way.

Sitting on the table in front of Gwen are a pair of sandwiches, wrapped in plastic. "Figured I'd wait for you," she adds, gesturing to the cafeteria-grade food. "Egg sandwich or turkey, take your pick."

Peter spotted quickly, hustling over to her with a grin, that same hangdog smile. He holds up the textbook, then places it on the table. He chuckles. "Hey, Gwennie. Nahh, I just…got my timing right with the subway, s'all.":

He looked down at the sandwich, and his stomach told them both he was hungry, but he still balked. "Uhm, geez, Gwen, I'm okay with both. You pick."

Gwen grimaces at the sight of the textbook, "Ahh yes, the mandatory drudgery course that nobody wants to take. Well, thank you so much for bringing it, and I'm totally sorry that my Aunt Hazel put you up to that nonsense." She leans forwards a bit and gives a sly look, "Next time, tell her you're busy with your *own* homework, I mean seriously."

She mmms softly, "Alright, egg for me then." She pushes the turkey sandwich over, and starts unwrapping the egg one. Mmm. Brown bread. "So other than being a textbook hero, how's stuff?"

Peter blushed at that. He sure did blush easy, even when they were kids. He picked up the sandwich, then got two bottles of water out of his backpack, placing one near Gwen's plate. "Well, gee, Gwennie…I got into ESU. I aced the science fair, got a partial scholarship to ESU. MIT never answered, guess they got their quota."
Or he kept throwing their letters in the trash before Aunt May could see them.
"And I got a work-study job. Working for Kane Industries as a lab geek. Covered the rest of my tuition, so as long as I do good work, I can get my degree! I got into the Neuroscience program, and oh gosh I'm running off at the mouth like a leaky faucet how are YOU doing, Gwen?"

Gwen grins, "No no, it's fine. I like listening to you talk about things going well for you." She gesticulates in the air with one half of her sandwich, "And you got into Neuroscience, which is awesome, and MIT can go get pickled if they didn't ask you to join them 'cause you'd have been their best student." She snorts softly, "I'm sure I could've gotten in but I never applied, because who can afford their tuition anyway?" People with scholarships, Gwen, which you have, remember?

"Me? Got into biochemistry here at ESU." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "The band is still a thing, it's just harder when everyone has courses at different times. But I will never stop drumming so long as I'm alive. I guess I'm just forgetting my textbooks in random places but other than that I'm doing fine."

Gwen goes to take a bite of her sandwich, then pauses. "How're neuroscience?" She finally takes that bite, bits of egg squeezing out each side. Perfect cafeteria food.

Peter picked up the turkey sandwich and took a big bite, chewing quickly as he realized he'd been asked a question. "Uhm (swallows) well, it's been going pretty good. I guess I'm ruining the grade curve again, though. I have to move to a more advanced class because, A, the teacher thought my knowledge was too high at his class level, and, B, the rest of the class was going to give me the Carl King Treatment."
That was an unpleasant thought. Carl had been Peter's nemesis and had hurt him badly on many ways. He had disappeared two years ago, though, and good riddance.

Gwen bobs her head knowingly. "Well, that's what you get for being smart, I guess? Moved up to a better class. You're a regular Einstein." She pauses, and smirks, "Hey, maybe if you're lucky, you'll get to study Einstein's brain. I hear they have it in a jar."

Gwen nudges her textbook into a closed position and pushes it to the edge of the table with her elbow; the better to not get, well, egg on it. Or at least not in it, which would be the real crime. "I'm perfectly happy in normal courses for a normal first year. I dunno how you manage to keep your life together, Peter. 'Making it work somehow' is totally your super power."

Peter takes a swig of water, then sighs, his shoulders slumping slightly. "…I just wish Uncle Ben could have seen it."
He can't help it, really.
That does bring up the memory of the funeral. She had gone for Aunt May. In the days leading up to Uncle Ben's murder, Peter had become…kind of a jerk, really. Ben Parker's death had shaken Peter out of his self-absorption, but he had been…marked, somehow. She had still gone, for May, and he told her later he was sorry for everything…

"…I think he would have been happy to see you applying yourself, too, Gwen."

Gwen puts her sandwich down with only one bite out of it, and leans forwards, resting her elbows on the table and her hands on Peter's wrists. "Peter, if there's one thing I know for a fact, it's that your Uncle would be intensely proud of the person you are right now. I've got know idea where we go after we die, but wherever Uncle Ben went, he's proud of you."

She leans back again, releasing Peter's arms, and just getting that look she has whenever the subject of Peter's Uncle comes up, like she wishes she could summon him back up and make everything better. Which she can't, of course; not totally. But maybe a little bit, just by being there.

Peter smiles. It is a small smile, but it is enough.
"I told Uncle Ben about going into science. I told him I thought I could do great things. Uncle Ben had known about my IQ. Heck, he helped build the basement lab. But he told me I had a duty to use my intellect well. He said, 'With great power must come great responsibility.' I didn't know what that meant, not really, until I lost him. Then I got it. I even think I'm doing it right. I developed a space-age hip replacement rig for Kane, and Aunt May got the first one. She says it's almost as good as the original equipment." He rubs his eyes. "Sorry…I'm just so relieved."

"Wise words." Gwen waits a moment longer, then picks her sandwich back up to take a bite while Peter is talking. "And, I'm really glad it's work out for Aunt May. Honestly, that's fantastic," she answers after swallowing. "I'm pretty sure when people tell children stuff, they're not expecting them to get it right away. There's still stuff I remember my Dad telling me when I was eight that I'm only just figuring out now, really."

At about that moment, one of the TVs in the cafeteria switches to a news channel; no sound of course, but Gwen can see from where she's sitting, something about an armed standoff with the police. Her eyes are glued to it for a moment; but of course there's no information about *which* policemen are there. There never is. And then it switches to a story about someon who claims to have a singing chicken and Gwen loses all interest.

"At least, I *think* I'm getting some of it," she mumbles. "It's okay to be relieved, y'know."

Peter was looking at the TV as well, and then at his phone. He tilts his head slightly, then sighs and relaxes again. The situation is well in hand. He hopes.

"Listen, Gwennie…why don't you and your dad come over for dinner some night? We're still at 20 Ingram Street, and I know Aunt May would be honored to serve your father dinner. She worries about him, too."

Gwen pauses, then chuckles softly, "Well, I'll ask him when he can," she agrees. "You know my Dad, he's the best cop in the city, which means he sometimes doesn't have time for other things." She ahems. "Often, actually. …He'll come if he doesn't have his nose deep into catching a killer or something. I'll come either way, that'd be wonderful Peter."

She takes a bite out of her sandwich, and looks at it while she's chewing and swallowing. "Besides, your Aunt's cooking is impossible to pass up. Especially when it's offered while you're eating cafeteria food."

Peter smirks. "She's had an interesting year. I came home wih the acceptance letter from ESU and she's feeding her apple pie to STEVE ROGERS. Steve 'Captain America Punched Out Hitler' Rogers. Of COURSE I stuck my foot in my mouth…"

Gwen's jaw drops for a moment, before she works out that her tonsils are practicly showing and shuts it. "Stever *Rogers*?" She just kind of gapes for a moment. "Well, I hope you got his autograph," she adds, cheerfully. "I'd never have the guts to ask him. I probably wouldn't even speak, I'd just be all mumble-mumble and he'd leave thinking I'm mute or something."

Peter looked down. "I froze. Aunt May DID give him three pieces of her award-winning apple pie, though. He said he found out I had an IQ of 250 and wanted to know if I'd be interested in working for SHIELD." He chuckle-snorts. "Me…working for SHIELD? You make thee joke, ah theenk, senor." He shrugs. "Let's see what happens afer I get my Ph.D. in Neuroscience."

"…Which you're going to do in two years, maybe three, because you're Peter Parker and you're the smartest human on the planet." Gwen shrugs, munching through another bite of sandwich, now holding a tiny morsel of it with a wod of egg precariously balanced in the middle. "You could easily work for SHIELD, Peter, the question is if you want to. You don't have to — even if it was Stever Rogers who asked."

Gwen pauses, and ohs! "That reminds me. A Japanese guy showed up and offered me an internship at Ishiguro Industries. It was kinda… unexpected. But I might as well check it out, right? Probably pays better than working at Bodega."

And now, the last bite of that half of sandwich is eaten, before anything bad happens to it.

Peter grins. "I always thought you were smart, Gwen. Go for it. Time someone other than just me, your father, and your friends knew you were smart." He finished the turkey sandwich, then burped, blushing crimson immediately afterward. "Sorry. Yeah, do it. Start your future now. And if you need any help, Gwennie, all you have to do is call, and as long as I don't have any compound fractures, I'll be there for you."

Gwen nods, "Yeah, I probably should go for it," she muses. "I mean, I'd look good in a lab coat, right?" She blushes softly, and prods the other half of her sandwhich with one finger. "Thanks, Peter, it means a lot that you say that. I mean I won't be getting my Ph.D in two years like you will or anything, but hey." She pauses, picking up the sandwich, before quirking one eyebrow upwards. "And Peter, if you ever have compound fractures, tell me who did it and I'll go make 'em sorry. Seriously," she adds, adopting a cheerfully mischievous tone, "I know Kung Fu, I've watched *All* the Kung Fu movies."

Peter grins. "You're scarier when you invoke the summoning of your father, you know that, right?" His smile soften. "You have the heart of a lioness, Gwen. You always did. That's why you'll succeed a everyhing you do." He ohs, then holds up a finger. "I almost forgot, Gwen…I took the plunge. I'm dating a girl."

Gwen blushes a little more at the compliment, and is about to answer, when the bit about a girlfriend is dropped. She opens her mouth to comment, then shuts it, then breaks into a grin. "Good," she replies. "Good for you, Peter, I'm really glad for you. And for her, I can promise you she's landed quite a catch." She giggles softly, "So, not that I'd ask you to kiss and tell, but what's her name?"

Peter blushes a little. "Uhm, it's…it's Helena mumble mumble…" He adds quickly, "We met at the science fair, actually. She is probably as smart as you…" He pauses for a moment. "…almost. But we are doing well so far."

Gwen grins, "You don't have to worry about my ego, if you met a girl who's smarter than me that's not going to upset my cheerio bowl." Well, it probably won't, anyway, Gwen has never been egotistical like that. "I'm glad you found someone you're into Peter, who feels the same about you. Maybe I'll catch up eventually." She grins, "And you would meet the love of your life at a science fair. That is so *you*. It's perfect."

Peter chuckles. "It would be…since I never go anywhere else except science fairs…but I was thinking about this comic convention coming soon I was thinking of going to. Do you have an interest in anime, comics, games and such? I know I am cementing my title as King of the Nerds, but it sounds like it could be fun."

"I dunno, I mean, I don't watch a ton of anime," Gwen muses. "Or read a lot of comics. But they are cool, I don't deny, if you want someone to go to the convention with you, I'd go? Why not?" She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "And King of Nerds is a fine and honorable title. Helena will be overjoyed to be Queen of Nerds, I am certain." She grins broadly, then finally gets around to biting off half the egg sandwich in one bite.

Peter hmms. "Well…I respect your opinion, so i was thinking maybe I could invite you so you could get a read on Helena, see if anything seems off about her. I strongly suspect you have your dad's intuition." He smirks. "I just hope you don't mind being pulled along with my craziness."

Gwen perks an eyebrow upwards for a moment, but shrugs. "Sure, if you'd like me to," she replies. "Honestly, Peter, I'm sure there is nothing off about her, but I do understand that getting close to people can be hard. …Introvert, remember?" She points a thumb at herself. "I'm a lot better than I used to be, but 'outgoing' can still be super stressful." She waves the sandwich in the air, "I'm sure you chose well. You attract good people."

Peter took a deep breath. Whyh was he being silly about this? Gwen was one of the best friends he ever had.
He tfinished off his sandwich, then took another deep breath. "Yeah…there's a wrinkle. I softpedaled her last name, because I didn't know if you'd think I was name-dropping. Her last name…it's WAYNE. As is Wayne Enterprises."

Gwen doesn't miss a beat. "Rich people are people too," she points out. "So she was born with all the money on the planet. She's still a person, Peter; she still wants to go date people and have fun and maybe just find the love of her life." She shrugs lightly, "I don't think you're name dropping. I think you met someone, and she's cool, and I hope it works out, the same as I would hope that if she didn't have a penny."

peter looks a little uncomfortable, but sighs. "I'm worried I'm going to do something stupid, s'all. I…"
Then his phone beeps and he looks at it. "Gwen, I gotta go. I forgot I have to grab stuff for Aunt May." He looks apologetic as he gets up, gives Gwen a quick hug, then bolts off towards the subway. Another college student who runs like heck, looking panicked, like every student having to face college life.

And with that, the "decent schmuck" exits, stage left.

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