15490/Meeting the Bestie

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Meeting the Bestie
Date of Scene: 17 August 2023
Location: Gwen Stacy's Apartment, Wavecrest Gardens
Synopsis: Gwen invites Peter over to meet her BFF since Second Grade and her dad shows up unexpectedly!
Cast of Characters: Ghost Spider, Spider-Man

Ghost Spider has posed:
Technically, Gwen had known Harry Osborn longer than she'd known Peter Parker. She met Harry in high school, and he was the one that had helped her get involved in an internship program at OsCorp.

She didn't meet Peter until she'd started attending Empire State University with him, the same school where she'd met Flash Thompson and Liz Allen. Of course, that was before she'd been bitten by a spider while working at Alchemax. So, she'd also known Peter longer than she'd been Ghost Spider. That's how she found out Peter was Spider-Man in the first place. Like calls to like.

Before all of that, though, there was Kevin. She met Kevin in second grade summer camp, and he was the very first person she entrusted the secret of her spider bite to. Everyone needs a best friend that's 'in on the secret' in their origin story, right? Well, that was him.

In a very real way, Peter had already met her dad. And, frankly, her dad already assumed the truth about their relationship... even before it /was/ the truth. At least, before it was truth that Gwen could see. Maybe there was a reason her dad had made Captain after all.

Gwen had already met Aunt May, and she'd be reaching out soon enough to talk about Peter's birthday. She had no doubt that May would pick up the difference in their relationship as soon as Gwen started nosing around for birthday details, and she already had a plan to deal with that -- she'd propose a surprise party. That way May couldn't go straight to Peter about her without explaining why they'd talked. It wasn't much, but it would buy Peter a week to tell her himself... or she'd "find out" at the party when they arrived together. Either way, it was better than May immediately calling Peter and peppering him with questions.

So, the only thing left was for Peter to meet Kevin. Though both of them knew quite a bit about each other through Gwen, they'd never never actually interacted before. Kevin was a tech geek and super smart among his peers, but he wasn't anywhere near Peter-level genius. He was, however, a steadfast friend, and he'd never made a move on Gwen or made her feel uncomfortable. They were buddies. That's what they'd always been, and that's what they'd always be.

Gwen set it up -- pizza night at her place. She called and scheduled delivery for about ten minutes after they were both supposed to get there so it would still be hot.

Kevin, as was his habit, was early. Gwen was still brushing her hair when he knocked at the door, the sound barely carrying over the music playing on the studio apartment's speakers. She set the brush down in the bathroom and came jogging through barefoot in a pair of snug, light-washed jeans and a loose white t-shirt with Spider-Man's face on it. As soon as she pulled open the front door, she practically lunged at Kevin, hugging him tight and then dragging him inside.

"You're always early!"

"A wizard is never early, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he late. He arrives precisely when he means to," Kevin answers.

Gwen groans. "I'm surrounded by nerds. Also, I'm pretty sure that's not the quote."

"You're correcting my Lord of the Rings quote, and /I'm/ the nerd?"

"Shut it. You want water, juice, coke?"

"I want /you/ to go finish preening or primping or whatever you were doing before your boyfriend gets here. I know where the kitchen is. It's in the same room as your living room and your bedroom. You didn't think to clean?"

Gwen throws up her hands, walking back to the bathroom. "This IS clean!"

"It's too bad spider bites don't come with super-tidiness."

"I'm going to throw something at you!"

"You mean that pile of important looking papers that's still on the couch? Or this notebook with designs for... what are these, new web-spinners?" Kevin was looking at a notebook that had been left lying open on the table.

"Don't read that!" Gwen calls out of the bathroom. "That's top secret!"

"Uh-huh..." Spoken as Kevin flipped through the pages, holding the notebook in his hands. "So Peter knows?"

"Peter knows," Gwen confirms.

Ghost Spider has posed:
"Peter knows," Gwen confirms.

"How'd he take it?"

"Uhhhh..." Unfortunately, Kevin didn't know about Peter, and it wasn't her place to tell him. "Better than you'd expect."
Spider-Man has posed:
Meeting her dad was definitely a little stressful.

Ironically it was more because of just what Captain Stacy thinks about Spider-Man, about Ghost-Spider and all the rest of them. Someone like that doesn't get to be captain without being fairly insightful and while there is certainly nothing about Peter that screams Spider-Man, it still seemed a little daunting.

And that was without even taking into account the fact that when he met him, he was busy holding Gwen's hand, making things definitely seem like something they were not. Except that they were definitely on the way there. Which gets a little confusing if one stops to think about it.

Perhaps it is a case where Pete and Gwen were truly the last to know. Or at least the last to admit it to themselves at any rate.

On the bright side of course, her father already assumes that he knows that truth which does mean that it should be a less awkward revelation the next time they meet. Just a confirmation of what was already suspected -- even if it wasn't quite true at the time.

Whew. In some respects keeping his relationship status straight is more complicated then his masked life.

On the bright side, Aunt May tends to take these things in with a certain equilibrium. He hasn't exactly had a lot of girlfriends to take hom to meet her, nor even to break the news too. It will surely help that she already knows Gwen, that she likes Gwen. Largely, she seems to want Pete to be happy.

And not even a blind person would likely miss just how happy Peter seems around Gwen.

And, of course, there is Harry. While he and Pete might not be quite as tight as they were in school, he is still about the best friend Peter has and there is little doubt that he will be enthused about the two of them. Everything should be just fine on that front too.

Which just leaves Kevin.

In it's own way, meeting the best friend is just about as nerve-wracking as meeting Gwen's dad. Sure, there's less chance that he will be out and out disapproving, probably not quite as protective. But his opinion will surely count for a lot too and Peter can't help but want to make a good impression.

While he's aware that Kevin is tuned into Gwen's secret, he isn't aware of his own. Which means a conventional arrival is definitely necessary. No crawling through the window here, no unless he wants to raise a whole new set of questions tonight.

Unsurprisingly, given who he is, Peter is about ten minutes late. That's pretty good for him, all things considered. It might even be welcomed, giving Gwen more time to get ready, more time with her friend.

But it's not the ideal first impression that Pete was probably hoping for.

Still, that knock does finally sound at the apartment door.
Ghost Spider has posed:
*knock* *knock* *knock*

"I'll get it!" Gwen calls from the bathroom, but she was just touching up her mascara and she still had to shove the wand back into the tube and screw it down.

Kevin was already on his way to the door.

But just as Peter knocked, another man came around the corner in the hallway, carrying a stack of four pizza boxes. Gwen had set the delivery up for ten minutes after the time they were all supposed to meet because she knew Peter usually ran late. What she didn't expect was that, when the pizza guy arrived at /exactly/ the same time he did, the following conversation would take place:

"Hey man, you going in there? I got a bunch of deliveries tonight. Can I leave these with you?"

Of course, Peter's Peter. It's not like he's going to refuse to be a nice guy and take the pizzas, right?

So, a few seconds later, when Kevin answers the door, there's a muted smile on his face. He looks kind of like Peter, actually. Same basic build, though less muscular. Same skin. Same brown hair. One could be forgiven for thinking that Gwen had 'a type' except that she and Kevin never even been remotely romantic. Maybe she just got along really well with shaggy brown-headed geeks that have two-syllable names.

"Hey, thanks," Kevin says, obviously mistaking Peter for the pizza guy, since he didn't invite him in. "Did she already leave the tip?"

There's plenty of time for that interaction to play out -- at least a few seconds -- before Gwen shows up behind Kevin and her eyes widen, her hand coming up to cover her mouth. Amusement twinkles in her eyes.

"Peter! Why are you delivering the pizza? Come in!"
Spider-Man has posed:
While he may have settled into photo-journalism as his main profession in the past few years -- and having worked at it as a side gig even longer -- Peter has done a lot of jobs in his time, always looking for a way to lighten the financial burden for Aunt May, to make sure that he is self-sufficient despite all the challenges that just that presents with his rather chaotic life.

So of course he has done the pizza delivery thing before.

Just don't ask him about it. It is definitely not one of the high points of either his existence as a whole, or his employment history.

It does mean that he has more then a little sympathy for others though and when the delivery guy pauses, asks him to take the boxes ahead of time, what is he going to say?

"Of course, not a problem," Peter offers up with a smile, taking those boxes carefully. His lips quirk into a wry expression almost as soon as he turns away, back towards the door to Gwen's apartment.

Why? It's not lost of him that she likely anticipated that he would be a little late. What ultimately ends up a constant if small irritant in the past, is much more expected with her. Something that she knows about, that she understands. Because he's finally with someone that he can share the truth with.

A small thing, but it certainly makes a big difference.

Either way, he probably doesn't quite anticipate the reaction, certainly not when Kevin opens the door.

Does Peter notice the resemblance? He doesn't seem to, but before he can open his mouth to great Gwen's bestie, that initial assumption is made.

"Errr, actually..." Pete starts as the pizza boxes are plucked from him, saved from that aqkward correction when she suddenly appears behind, waving him in.

After getting her moment's amusement out of it. "The delivery guy left them with me when he saw I was coming this way," he says sheepishly before offering a smile to Kevin. "Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm Peter."
Ghost Spider has posed:
"Oh! Hey, Peter!" Kevin grins. "Yeah, no problem. Ahhh..." For a moment, it almost seems like he was going to try to figure out how to offer a hand shake, but with the boxes in the way, he opts merely to try to take the four-high stack from him instead. "I'm Kevin. Nice to meet you. I'll set these up in the relatively clean kitchen and get out some relatively clean plates."

Gwen takes a hair tie off of her wrist, and when Kevin walks past her, she turns and hooks it onto her thumb, firing it expertly into the back of his head with a *thwap*.

"OW! Don't make me call Jameson and tell him where you live!"

Gwen laughs. "You would, too."

But then she's only got eyes for Peter, reaching out to grab his hand and pull him farther in, closing the door behind him. And, yes, she's wearing a t-shirt with his face on it -- well.. his mask on it, anyway.

Her arms slip up over his shoulders as she stretches up against him, smiling.

"Thanks for coming," she says, her tone softer and more private, and then she's tilting her head, her lips brushing and lingering against his even with Kevin in plain sight, though he's mostly busy opening pizza pizza boxes and setting out plates.

She didn't really know, but she could sort of imagine how intimidating it must be to meet someone Gwen's known since second grade. It's like meeting a sibling by that point. Regardless, it's abundantly clear how much she appreciates it just by looking at her smile.
Spider-Man has posed:
Of course he knows the dilemma well.

Peter could have always held onto those boxes a little longer, but he was hardly going to get into a tug of war over them and while he could have balanced them with ease in one hand, he just flashes Kevin a quick grin in reply. "Handshakes later. Besides, seems like they are still piping hot, so definitely best to dig into them while we can," he agrees.

Priorities right? He understands that they have more then a few things in common, and while a spider-metabolism might not be one of them, who can say no to good pizza? Surely not Gwen's bestie. That seems like it oculd be a deal breaker.

He watches the play between them with a wry smile -- and just a little envy. Not for the lack of the same, at least not between Gwen and himself. That sense of fun never seems to be buried far beneath the surface whenever they're together. It has certainly lightened Peter's mood.

No, it is more what she has with her best friend. Because he's in on the secret. That's something that he definitely does not have with Harry and as much as he appreciates him he's not sure that he could ever quite have that easy banter. That he would ever feel entirely comfortable letting him in on the big secret.

While pizza might be *a* priority, there is little doubt about just what -- or who -- *the* priority is and while her friend slips into the kitchen to grab plates -- and he suspects he'll find clean ones despite the protestations -- Pete is only too happy to let his own hands find Gwen, resting on each side for a moment before slowly sliding around the small of her back to draw her in close.

"Are you kidding? I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he assures her.

Yes, there might be a little pressure to try and make a good impression, and yes, he might not be off to the start he would have dreamed of. But it's important to her.

And that makes it important to him too.

Tilting his head and leaning in a little, he finds her lips for a moment, that kiss lingering just a little and any awkwardness that there might be, doing that with her best friend so close vanishes in an instant, only too happy to have her in his arms again.

You'd think they'd been a part for weeks. Maybe it's always like that, when everything is still fresh, still new.

Still, Pete finally leans back a little, unable to wipe that smile from his face. "I like him. You two seem like you're fun together."
Ghost Spider has posed:
"GET A ROOM," comes the likely expected response from Kevin in the kitchen when Gwen and Peter kiss, and though she doesn't stop, it does make Gwen smile.

/I like him./

Those words seemed to make Gwen's heart swell two sizes larger.

"This IS my room," she calls back over her shoulder without letting go of Peter.

"So are you guys going to eat any of this pizza or just suck face all night? You ordered enough to feed the whole lab at Oscorp." Oh, yeah. Kevin worked at Oscorp. Gwen definitely mentioned that somewhere along the way, somewhere around the time she was talking about what a science nerd he is.

"Don't forget -- spider appetite, Kev. It's not going to go to waste."

One more quick kiss on Peter's lips, and then Gwen was pulling away, moving into the kitchen area of the studio apartment even as Kevin was making his way out with a plate with two slices on it, taking up residence on one of the beanbag chairs.

In the kitchen, she hands Peter a plate and hangs back to watch him, resting her rump on the edge of the counter with an absolutely content smile on her lips. Kevin was here. Peter was here. Now she needed Miles and her dad. If they could somehow manage to get /everyone/ together? /That/ would be perfect.
Spider-Man has posed:
While she might beat him to it, it's only just barely.

As Gwen offers her retort to her best friend when that kiss finally breaks, Peter gives a low chuckle and bumps his nose against her lightly, playfully. "Hey, get out of my head. That was going to be my quip. Well, almost," he teases lightly.

The idea of public displays of affection of any sort -- even in the relative privacy of her apartment -- is still pretty new to PEte. But it definitely feels like something he could get used to.

"It's not like it was that prolonged," he adds mildly, though he too quickly turns towards the kitchen. While pizza might not be quite as good, he's hardly likely to turn it down either when it's on offer. Gwen's not the only one with a Spider-metabolism to stoke afterall. Plucking a plate from the counter he quickly adds a trio of slices to it, flashing a grin her way.

The watching seems to be a reciprocal thing, perhaps inevitable for the foreseeable future and while it might be more then a little difficult to focus on anything else, Pete gives it his best effort. He's already in with Miles so that's not an issue. And hwile Gwen's father might already have a few thoughts in his head, at least his association with the Bugle should count for something. Finally, Jameson comes in handy for something besides a meager paycheck!

But making good with Kevin is still definitely on the agenda and with plate in hand, Pete slips back out into the main room, finding a spot to settle himslef as well. "So, Gwen tells me you work at Oscorp? How's that working out for you?"
Ghost Spider has posed:
"Great minds think alike," Gwen teases right back, still smiling, even as Kevin makes a gagging noise.

Gwen rolls her eyes as she keeps watching Peter. She just couldn't help it. It was hard to take her eyes off of him. Every moment seemed carefully noted -- from which slices he picked to how meticulous he was. "You /do/ realize we're all pushing thirty with a very short stick. You don't have to keep acting like you have the emotional maturity of a twelve year old," she calls.

"Says the one with cooties."

Gwen groans, fetching a few slices of her own. "Do you have an answer for everything?"

"Well, that's an easy one," Kevin says with his mouth full, still chewing and grinning. "Yes."

Gwen takes up a spot next to Peter on the couch, pulling her legs up to sit crisscrossed and place her plate in her lap. Her shoulder brushes Peter's arm and her knee touches his leg, and yes, there was plenty of room on the couch for her to scoot over.

She didn't. She does, however, fall quiet and focus one eating pizza to give the boys a chance to talk without her commentary for the moment.

"Do you ever get the feeling your job is keeping something from you?" Kevin asks back to Peter, narrowing his eyes. "I'm working with Dr. Kane on some really neat quantum phase shifting tech -- groundbreaking. But sometimes... I don't know. It's like the the Doc just sort of diverts resources for no reason, you know? I mean, maybe it's all above my paygrade."
Spider-Man has posed:
It is pretty likely that there will be a lot of watching for the foreseeable future.

Peter is every bit as guilty of it in all honesty, and even as he talks with Kevin his gaze continually flickers back to Gwen, following her as she comes to join him on the couch. There's no more effort to try to hide it with sidelong glances or anything else of that sort. Their moment up on the George Washington bridge, the honest admissions seems to have banished the need for any of that.

It might be a little sappy. But Pete's pretty okay with that right now.

No matter what her bestie might have to say.

The fact that she sits down right beside him makes him smile despite himself and he might lean against her shoulder for just a moment as he finally gives up standing on ceremony and snagging one of those pieces of pizza from his plate and starting in.

As Kevin continues to tease her, a little smile creeps over Peter's own expression. "Oh? Should I get an innoculation?" he asks, eyes bright with amusement for just a moment as he regards the blonde at his side. "I Still have my chemistry set back in the basement in Queens. I could start working on a cure. How hard could it be?" he asks, lips twitching slightly.

He does glance back towards Kevin, the teasing going out of his voice for the moment and he gives a little snort. "With Jameson there's real no mystery where anything stands. The man is not exactly subtle or inclined to keep his feelings to himself," Pete admits. "But I hear you. Always hard to know if it is the standard corporate operating procedure or if you have good reason to wonder," he admits. "I love Harry. But his dad..."

Yeah. Sometimes things are complex.
Ghost Spider has posed:
When Gwen wasn't chowing down on pizza, she was spending at least some amount of time worrying at her lower lip and looking up to meet Peter's glances with a private smile that only he could bring out in her. The last few days had been some of the happiest in her life, and she'd certainly done more smiling than any other time she could remember.

Sappy was probably an understatement, but Gwen was more than okay with it, too.

"Jameson's a turd," says Gwen -- yes, the model in the room. And the one working on her PhD. It was apparently not in language arts. Then again, she /was/ wearing that Spidey shirt, and /neither/ of them should be surprised about her affection for one wall-crawling superhero. It's just that Kevin assumed that affection was purely platonic.

At least Peter knew better.

"Dr. Kane's always been a little off. But.. what are you going to do? Doctors, right? They're all a little whacked," Kevin says, his eyes shifting pointedly to Gwen, who makes heart-hands at him while doing her best Harley Quinn face, tongue hanging out and held tilted to the side.

Kevin snorts.

"It's probably nothing. It just gets frustrating to make progress and then get stalled by bureaucracy... over and over. Gwen said you were kind of a genius, though. Why didn't you go into chemistry or whatever instead of working for that shitty paper? I've gotta admin, for as much fangirling as Gwen's done over Spider-Man in the past--"

"I HAVE NOT!" Gwen's face turns /red/. Kevin rolls his eyes.

"--I'm surprised she'd pick a guy that basically hands ammunition to the Bugle. You're the one that took that picture of him trying to off the mayor, right?"

"I /told/ you.. that /wasn't/ Spider-Man. Come on, Kev. Who are you going to believe? Some old crack-pot with a microphone or someone that's actually close to Spider-Man?" (Kevin had no idea how close.)
Spider-Man has posed:
It does make for a nice change to be sure.

To have something to look forward to besides the web-slinging. While it might be a responsibility to don that costume, that mask everyday, it is also something of a release for Peter, being Spider-Man. A chance to let that fun side out a little more. To quip, to joke and throw himself at things with a certain wild abandon that so rarely comes out when he's just Peter Parker. Which in and of itself probably raises all sorts of questions about just why that it.

But it's been pretty rare when there has been that similar impetus to do the same in his regular life. The costume comes off and Pete just inherently sinks back to being quite, To playing it safe.

But if he had done that this time, he probably wouldn't be sitting here, leg to leg with Gwen Stacy, shooting silly little looks at each other and trying to keep those smiles from blossoming on their expressions, now would he? There's probably a lesson in that. Who knows? He might even learn it this time. He's a pretty smart fellow afterall.

Peter does flash a grin her way at the comment about Jameson, a small smirk playing over his expression at that. Even more so when Kevin calls Gwen out for being Spider-Man's fangirl, not quite able to subdue that grin as he casts a glance over at her, one brow arching. But given that she's getting teases enough by her best friend, he doesn't pile on as well.

Though chances are notes are being taken and studiously remembered for later.

"He's definitely... something," Pete agrees wryly, giving a small shrug and amiable smile towards Kevin. "Mmmmm, the photo I did take did show two Spider-Men. One fleeing the scene and the other starting to chase him. For most people that might raise a ltitle doubt. Not for good ol' JJJ," he conceeds. "I don't love that my pictures sometimes cast Spider-Man in a bad light, but it does pay the bills," he admits.

But it should at least make him think, right?

"I'm sure the paper will be great when it's finished. It's a pretty interesting subject when you start to delve into it a little," Pete asserts. Because of course he's looked into the field she's working on. He had already done that before they ever started seeing one another that way.

Science nerd, right here.
Ghost Spider has posed:
Pizza finished for the moment, Gwen leans her shoulder a little more into Peter and lays her head over against it as she listens to the two of them talk. It also had the side benefit of allowing her a moment to not look in his eyes as she tried to recover from the unexpected fangirl comment.

Kevin smirks. "Sounds to me like you're wasting your talents. You should come over and work one of our internships."

/I'm sure the paper will be great when it's finished./

Gwen smiles at Peter, which only seems to goad Kevin on.

"Dude, she's not /that/ hot. You can be hones--"


Gwen had grabbed one of the pillow off of the couch and hurled it at Kevin's head. It caught it, but not before at least a glancing blow to the side of his face. "/Now/ you're just being mean."

"Yeah, yeah," Kevin laments, shrugging even though he still smiles mischievously. "Sorry. Seriously, though. You could have picked a topic that does something besides complain..."

"Because the experimentation is /dangerous/. For the animals /and/ the humans. Look, if anybody gets how bad it can get when a science experiment bites you -- or you inject yourself with it -- it's me. /Somebody/ needs to write a paper that challenges that kind of research."

"Yeah, but you're going to make yourself a pariah to the the entire scientific community. Nobody wants to hear that. We want to do our experiments on rats and spiders and monkeys and reptiles and be left alone."

"...Until something goes horribly wrong," Gwen points out.

"Eh. That's what we've got you for."

Then there's an unexpected knock at the door.

Gwen glances from Kevin to Peter and back, her eyebrows raised in confusion, and sets her plate on the table so she can get to her feet. With a quick wipe of the pizza grease from her hands on the thighs of her jeans, she opens the door and then... shock.

"Dad!.. What are you doing here?"
Spider-Man has posed:
It is certainly interesting notion.

It's not like Peter hasn't considered a career in science before. It's his first love afterall and what he's always been good at. He went to Empire State to get his Masters in it afterall. That was always the plan, for as long as he could remember.

So what exactly happened there?

Well, Spider-Man. In theory, the two shouldn't really have anything to do with one another, should not really be a detriment to one another. Heck, his skills in science have made him far more effective as Spider-Man, from designing that webbing formula, the web-shooters or even his Spider-Trackers. Not to mention all the means he has put that expertise to in defeating a host of enemies over the years.

But being Spider-Man also makes him a little unreliable. He has a tendancy to have to run off at odd times. He seems to be perpetually late. It's not the sort of thing that is tolerated at a conventional job. Most of the time.

So he takes photographs for the Bugle.

He does like photography, it is an artistic release to be sure and he has talent at it though he does further that a lot just by being who he is. Again, he hasn't really maximized his potential there either. Something of a reoccuring theme for him.

"Mmmmm, that's probably the dream. Working in science that is. Probably not at Oscorp though, admittedly," Pete admits wryly. "Though I suppose I could probably count on Harry to give me a good recommendation which would certainly make it easier."

Of course he probably already takes a few too many easy outs on that part of his life. Hence working for the Bugle.

At Kevin's other comment, he glances towards Gwen, the line of his mouth quirking into a grin once more. "Mmmm, yeah, she really is kinda that hot," he counters lightly before offering a quiet laugh.

"Seriously, I think scientific ethics is a pretty important topic. There seems to be far too little emphasis on it, especially at some of the biggest firms out there. More people should be talking about it, before there are incidents, not after," Pete argues quietly as that knock sounds and Gwen gets up to answer it.

The fact that it is apparently Captain Stacy sends a brief flicker of alarm through him, though he's not entirely sure why. It's not like anything untoward is going on. It's not like he hasn't already met the man.

Somehow it seems different though and Peter practically scrambles trying to find a napkin to wipe his hands clean of the grease from the pizza. Just in case.

It's no big deal, it's no big deal. We've met, he likes the Bugle, he likes my photos, it's no big deal."

He still practically springs to his feet though, as if he might be subject to some sort of review. Back straight Parker!
Ghost Spider has posed:
It's Peter's defense of her hotness that has Gwen's neck and cheeks turning red -- something Kevin was no doubt about to comment on before there was a knock at the door. Saved by the bell. Though, when she answers it, Gwen is still blushing fiercely as she stands in front of her father, the unexpected guest.

"What? I'm not allowed to come by and see my favorite daughter?... Everything okay?" asks Captain George Stacy, his tone subdued. Sad. He tilts his head to peek inside, tall enough that he can just look over her without having to look around her.

Unlike last time, he's not wearing his uniform. His impressive frame sports a Brooklyn Visions Academy Gymnastics t-shirt, a light jacket, and a pair of well-worn blue jeans.

"What--no. I mean yes..." Gwen doesn't even seem to know what to do, though she's still just standing in front of the door dumbly when Kevin comes bounding over spritely, offering (and receiving) a fist bump from the older man.

"Captain Stacy! Long time no see!" Kevin says warmly.

George smiles a bit, though there's still a lingering weight in his eyes. "Hey, Kev." Then his eyes shift over to Peter, offering a nod of acknowledgement from the doorway. "Peter." But then his eyes are back on Gwen. "You're busy. I can come back..."

"Oh--" That might have been the start of 'okay.' Or it might have been something more profound. Regardless, Gwen doesn't get a chance to finish it.

"Come grab a slice!" Kevin says, physically shouldering Gwen out of the way to make room for her dad to come in, which leaves Gwen smiling awkwardly, leaving Kevin to play host, and making her way back across the room to claim the spot on the couch next to Peter... presumably before her father can.

If the tension is anything to go by, Gwen and her father don't seem to have 'made up' since their last fight.
Spider-Man has posed:
It doesn't exactly take an extra-sensory Spider-Sense to pick up on the tension in the room.

While it is not hard to guess at where some of Peter's nerves might be coming in, he also has a pretty good guess at just where the tension between Gwen and her dad comes from, especially given the other night. It's the sort of thing that's pretty hard to gloss over or get past. And with no real solution in the offering -- without taking one heck of a blind faith plunge into the truth -- that is probably not going to change any time in the near future.

Fortunately it seems that Kevin is either unaware of some of that tension, or simply willing to blast right on through. Sometimes it helps to have someone like that around, willing to pick up the slack and pretend that everything is normal. Sometimes that dedication to a fiction manages to become a reality, afte a time.


Still standing for the moment, Peter dips his head towards Captain Stacy, forcing a smile onto that expression as he's finally invited in. "Good to see you again sir," he offers up respectfully, if nowhere near the ease that her bestie has around her dad. Maybe that will come in time.

Then again, possibly not. Their relationship is a little different afterall.

In the end, it is Gwen's own reaction that helps to settle some of Pete's nerves, watching her struggle a little makes him put aside his own brief burst of anxiety, sinking back down onto the couch with her. For the moment his eyes are entirely for her, watching her closely and while he doesn't want to make the moment any more awkward, he does briefly reach out to cover her hand with his own, giving it a quick squeeze.
Ghost Spider has posed:
George Stacy nods at Kevin and steps inside, closing the door behind him and moving into the kitchen to grab himself a plate and a couple of slices. "You, too, Peter," he says. "Seen anymore of Spider-Man, recently?"

"Dad," Gwen pipes up defensively before Peter can even answer. "Can we please not talk about Spider-Man?"

George sighs heavily, elevating the tension level to 7. "How ya been, Kevin?"

Kevin shrugs and smiles, getting himself another slice, too. "All work and no play, you know? So when Gwen invited me over to meet her new boyfriend, I was pretty stoked to come hang out."

So, that's a thing that happened.

When George looked over at Gwen, she was all eyes for Peter, turning her hand over into his and interlacing their fingers.

That dialed the tension up to a 9.

Maybe Peter had meant it just to be a quick squeeze, but the pleading look in Gwen's eyes made it seem like all she really wanted to do was have Peter rescue her from the whole situation.

George walks over and takes a seat, making it obvious that he was acutely aware of the hand-holding by intentionally /not/ noticing the hand-holding.

"What about you, Peter? How have you been?" The older man's eyes cut over to Gwen as he starts to lift a slice to his mouth. "It /is/ okay if I ask /that/, isn't it?"

Gwen sighs softly, not bothering to answer as her father just takes a purposefully large bite of that slice.
Spider-Man has posed:

That then would be the flipside of just bulldozing ahead as if nothing is wrong. Though in fairness, it's doubtful that Gwen's bestie has any reason not to mention the fact that she's seeing Peter. It is a pretty natural thing really.

The only awkwardness is the fact that they just ran into Captain Stacy and insisted they were just friends. Which they were at the time so was totally true.

Things change. Sometimes quickly. Keep up already.

So yes, the tension level is clearly rising. And while Kevin might be blissfully unaware or at least willing to ignore it all, Peter is not.

That look in Gwen's eye does not go unnoticed, and if he had any intention of letting go of her hand, he certainly does now, fingers entwining with her own there. He offers her a gentle, reassuring smile, for that moment ignoring everything else going on around them in that apartment. It can wait. He's sitting here, with her. Everything else? They can just deal with it as it comes.

Sure, it might have been nice to have had the chance to sort of reset everything with her dad, ot make things plain that things had changed since they first changed. That's not to be? Oh well. It's not like Pete would change a thing about his present circumstances. Well, at least not on the personal side. The complications with the Spider-stuff is another matter entirely.

So he turns back to Captain Stacy, that smile firming, more comfortable and confident. "Pretty good, all in all. Things are bit hectic, but they usual are," he admits, perhaps deliberately being a little vague. Tough to talk about work -- even his job at the Bugle -- without veering into Spider-territory and Gwen clearly needs a break from that, at least when it comes to her dad.

"How's everything going with you?"
Ghost Spider has posed:
'Save me.'

It's there in Gwen's eyes. She didn't want to deal with her father in that moment -- especially not while she was trying to introduce Kevin and Peter.

But as soon as that message comes across and Peter's eyes focus on hers... well, it's not unlike traveling with Nadia into her necklace lab. The world sort of shifts and dims. Time stands still. Her perspective changes, and all that remains inside her focus is Peter.

In that moment of absolute clarity, she felt... safe. Not from threats like Rhino or the Scorpion -- though there was some of that, too. She felt emotionally safe, like wasn't alone, anymore. No matter how tense things got -- not matter how many demons, whether they were manifest or not -- she and Peter had each other.

There was more comfort in that simple moment of truth than Gwen had thought would be possible.

Her fingers squeeze Peter's, and when he turns to look at her dad, that confidence in his voice makes her smile.. perhaps a bit too wolfishly for her father's liking, but you can't please all the people all the time.

/How's everything going with you?/

"Oh, uh.. good. Thanks," George nods, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, clearly a little caught off guard by having someone ask him how /he's/ doing. "Got a few leads on.. um.." No Spider-Man talk. Right. "Well, there's been some weird burglary reports we're trying to figure out."

"Weird how?" Kevin chimes up, coming back over to plop down with his pizza.

"It's pretty pretty low-value stuff. But no sign of forced entry. Nothing on security cameras except like a shadow.. and he leaves.. get this. He leaves a /literal/ calling card that just says 'The Shroud' behind. A few of the guys think whoever he is, he can walk through walls."
Spider-Man has posed:
Hey, it can be a little intimidating.

Captain Stacy is clearly a pretty impressive individual and while Gwen might be twenty-six, he clearly still has a protective streak a mile wide when it comes to her.

But he's faced off with Doc Ock, Green Goblin and foes even mroe fearsome then that. He's done so for no better reason then it's right. That it's necessary. And if not him, then who exactly? All pretty valid reasons to put his life on the line in perfect fairness.

Compared to all of that, just how bad can chatting with Gwen's dad for a few minutes really be? Sure, he'd like to get along with him, like to be at least tolerated.

But she's the one who's important. All he can be is himself. That seems to be enough for her, right?

It's not that Pete is indifferent to Captain's Stacy's answer or anything. The fact that he can't quite seem to keep his eyes off the woman at his side might not be winning him a ton of points right now. But that's just the way it is.

For one, he wants to make sure she's okay, and when at least a little of that tension seems to melt away Pete's smile can't help but grow a bit, his thumb gently stroking the side of her hand.

But mostly it just comes down to the fact that he likes looking at her. And he's pretty much past pretending otherwise.

Still, as Captain Stacy tries to honor the request to avoid talking about Spider-Man -- though he is surely way up there on the police radar -- Peter's attention flickers back to him, brow furrowing ever so slightly. Someone who just walks through walls, hmmm? It's not exactly unknown, though there are more then one way to otherwise get into a sealed room.

Still it's something to mull over.

"The Shroud, huh?" he asks quietly. "I've seen stranger things, admittedly," he admits. Not too unusual there, given just how many photos he gets of Spider-Man and his enemies, right?

"Sounds like the authorities might be busy for awhile with that."

And maybe if they're busy chasing this Shroud character, they'll ease up on poor ol' Spidey.

But probably not. His luck's not that good.
Ghost Spider has posed:
Kids never really 'grew up' in their parents' eyes, so dealing with them was a delicate balance in the best of times. At best, you could hope for enough emotional maturity for the parents themselves to realize that their child was too old to parent anymore. But, when you're dealing with a widower cop that raised a daughter from a young age, you have to kind of realize that Gwen's lucky that her dad isn't more neurotic than he is. After all, Gwen had been allowed to join a band when she was a teenager, get an eyebrow piercing, dye her hair, eventually pursue a modeling career... it's a lot for a single dad to process when he's dealing with the aftermath of what can happen to young girls in New York every day.

It's a delicate balance.

On one hand, you want to murder anyone that so much as looks at your little girl.

On the other, you want someone that's going to take care of her when you're not there.

Point-wise, it's hard to get a good read. It's not that George misses any of it. The looks. The touches. The way Gwen seems to let out a breath and relax. The reassurance and the confidence in Peter's voice, his voice -- the fact that he seemed to be more interested in taking care of Gwen than making a good impression. Which, in its own way, seemed to make a better impression.

"I'd bet you have," George says with a little grin. "I still wish..." Once more, he seems to catch himself.

Gwen rolls her eyes, shaking her head and finally standing up from the couch, only reluctantly letting go of Peter's hand. "It's fine, dad. Go for it. I just don't want to fight, so can you please not just pull a Jameson the entire time you're here?"

"It's not just J. Jonah Jameson..."

Gwen waves her hands slightly in front of her. "Not with me. No fighting, remember?" She takes her plate and Peter's and starts into the kitchen, presumably to refill them both.

"We were just saying earlier how much of a Spider-Man fangirl Gwen's always been," Kevin adds, grinning.

"Kevin, I swear to God, I will drag you up to the roof and throw you off of it."

George grins at Kevin. "I'd listen to her, Kevin. You could do with lifting something heavier than a stapler every once in a while. Peter, though..." Then those eyes shift to Peter, smiling. "You should come down to the weight room at the PD some time, Peter. I'm sure some of the guys would love to hear about how you manage to be in the right place at the right time so often. Maybe you can give us some tips."
Spider-Man has posed:
It is a fair point to be sure, ane one that is unlikely to every really change.

In some respects things are not that different with Aunt May and Peter. He grew up quiet and shy, more inclined to scholastics then athletics and occasionally picked on by some of the other kids in school. It certainly created something of an image, one that his aunt continued to hold of him long after it ceased to really be the truth.

While he occasionally bemoans his luck since becoming Spider-Man, there is no doubt that it changed the trajectory of his life, changed who he was in many ways. Some of that might have happened regardless. Just getting out of high school and into college would have almost certainly improved things to some extent for Peter. To be around people who put emphasis on something then the latest heroics on the football field. But there is no doubt that getting his powers, finding the outlet of Spider-Man did a lot to increase his confidence and sense of self-worth dramatically.

Some of the other physical changes weren't exactly subtle either. The glasses disappeared and his physique certainly improved. But none of that really seemed to register with May. For years, he was still a somewhat scrawny, shy sensitive boy who needed to be doted upon. To be protected from himself.

While it might have grated at times, there's no doubt that Pete is well aware that she always meant well, always cared.

Just as Gwen knows the same about her father.

Doesn't mean that it is always smooth sailing though, does it?

He gives her hand one last squeeze before she gets up and collects those plates, eyes trailing after her as she heads back into the kitchen. Though they quickly do snap back to the other two men as soon as she's out of sight. He was paying attention all along, honest.

The invitation to go down to the precinct, to spend sometime in the weight room draws a moment's hesitation from Pete. Perhaps understandably so. To chat about Spider-Man, surrounded by police officers while also trying to straddle that line of being in shape and capable in front of her father. But not suspiciously so.

Yeah, that sounds like tons of fun.

But it is a gesture from the man. Or maybe a test. Either way.

He's confident. No problem!

"Sure, sounds pretty interesting really. I mean, I'm not sure what I can tell any of you. A lot of it is just luck and being in the right place at the right time. Figuring out where trouble might strike and making sure I'm around," he says slowly before offering a quiet laugh. "Just not too close. I'd hate to become part of the story."
Ghost Spider has posed:
Whether or not that invitation ever materializes into anything -- you know how these things go -- the fact that Peter didn't shy away from it seems to go a long way in Captain Stacy's mind. In that sense, maybe it was a test. Or maybe it was a gesture, a test, and a chance to get Peter away from Gwen around his 'buddies' so they could really scare him off. Who knows with these types?

Regardless, George nods, smiling. "Yeah? Alright, Peter. I'll be lookin' forward to it."

And that takes the tension back down to a 5, again.

Gwen re-emerges from the kitchen with a couple of plates, each with a couple of slices of pizza, sitting down next to Peter and crisscrossing her legs as she hands him one with a warm little smile.

"So how'd you two meet?" George asks, casually enough that it doesn't seem to make Gwen's head explode.

"School," she answers smoothly. "We met at ESU like..." She looks over at Peter. "Six years ago? About? I was still an undergrad." Then her gaze is back on her dad, expression sobering so he could /see/ the sincerity in her features. "We only /just/ decided to..."

For a moment, she seems to struggle for the word, grinning a little lopsidedly at Peter.

"Date? Be a couple? I'm not really hip to the lingo."

"Hook Up?" Kevin prompts unhelpfully, which makes Gwen cough suddenly, even though she wasn't eating anything yet, her hand coming up to cover her mouth. Even George seemed to choke a little.

"No, Kev. That's something else."

Kevin grins. "But you have..."

Gwen groans. "No. Not that that's any of your business. And you /do/ remember my /dad/ is sitting right there?"

"Sorry sir," Kevin pipes up, still grinning. "Had to know."

Even still, there seems to be something else that solidifies in George Stacy's mind about Peter Parker, a little nod of respect given even as he finishes clearing his throat.
Spider-Man has posed:
That easing of the tension is practically a palpable thing. Not to mention a welcome one.

Of course it has occured to Peter that the invitation to join Captain Stacy at the gym might not just be a friendly gesture, might have less to do about sharing just how he tracks down Spider-Man so often and be much more about getting him away from Gwen and surrounded by a whole lot of uniforms. And guns. But that seems fair, and regardless of the reason Pete is pretty committed to seeing it through.

Afterall, he can't shy away from her father indefinitely. And he wouldn't want to if he could. She's more then worth a few awkward encounters.

Besides, he's a pretty decent guy -- you know, aside from being Spider-man. There's no real reason to assume that it will be impossible to win the man over. So far, so good, or so it seems at least as far as Peter can tell.

Which given his luck could mean that the other shoe could drop at any moment, of course.

Again, Peter only has eyes for her when she comes back into the room, watching as she returns bearing food. It's hard not to just reach out and take her hand once more, though in the interest of keeping those plates from ending up dumping the pizza in their respective laps, he resists.

"Six years," Peter agrees, tugging his eyes away and back to Kevin and Captain Stacy. "Our circle of friends kind of crossed over and the fact that we were both into science probably helped a lot too," he agrees.

When it comes to how exactly they might define things, Peter flashes a brief grin too. "You're a whole lot more hip then me. I don't know that it matters what we call it," he says warmly.

Which of course is when Kevin suggests 'hooking up'.

Much like Gwen, Peter almost immediately coughs. Look at that, already so in synch! And while he might not care how they term things, just about anything is good. Except that. Especially with her dad sitting right there,

He has, on the whole, done a fairly good job of retaining that confident, composed demeanor despite Gwen's dad unexpected drop-in. But that does push it a little closer to the limits. "I think I deserve the apology Kevin," Peter counters lightly, a wry smile curving the line of his mouth. "I mean, what did I ever do to you?"
Ghost Spider has posed:
/I mean, what did I ever do to you?/

That single moment breaks the rest of the ice. Everyone laughs, even George, who seems to be growing more (if not fond of, then at least used to) Peter's presence with every passing minute.

The conversation flows easily, then, moving between topics of life and sports, local events, Gwen's research projects, Kevin's grumpiness about Funding Voodoo(tm) and getting yanked around so much between projects.

There's more pizza eaten. More laughter. It doesn't take long for Gwen's hand to find its way back into Peter's, and as the hour starts to grow later, she's resting more and more on his shoulder. Eventually, her head his laying over against him completely, and George takes that as his cue.

"Well, time for this old cop to go home and get some sleep. Shift starts early in the morning," he says. "Kev, stay out of trouble. Peter, really good to see you again. Take good care of Gwen, you understand?"

Gwen blushes and gets up to give her dad a hug on his way out. She gets a kiss on top of her head and a, "Goodnight, Gwennie. Thanks for the pizza. I'm sorry about--"

"--it's okay, dad. I know," she says, smiling.

"I should get going, too," Kevin says. He gets a hug from Gwen, too, on his way out. "Nice to meet you, Peter!" And Peter even gets an offered fist-bump. "We should do it again!"

Before long, Gwen is closing the door behind them, grinning at Peter with a look of utter relief in her eyes. Without a word, she runs up and throws her arms around his neck, squeezing and letting the relief of the peace and quiet settle over them.

It seems like an eternity, but Gwen finally does loosen her grip enough to look up at him. "You wanna stay for a movie? You can pick. I think there's still like one box of pizza left in there if you're still hungry..."
Spider-Man has posed:
Sometimes things, even entire evenings, can just turn on a dime.

It could have been such an awkward moment all things considered -- and in some respects perhaps it was -- and yet on the whole it turned into a pretty big positive. Banished that lingering tension. And if it can't really banish all the issues that linger between Gwen and her dad, maybe it can help to at least clean the slate.

Even if for just one night.

There is not often a lot of time for normal activities like this in their lives. That's just the way it works out. So it's nice to simply relax and chat about the complete break down of the Mets -- again. About how bad things look for the upcoming football season. About Gwen's paper, about Kevin's job. It doesn't seem extraordinary, and yet it is something that Peter rarely gets to do anymore.

It makes for a nice change.

Any lingering self-consciousness that he might have over their little public displays of affection vanish, hand easily slipping into her own, his cheek resting against that soft blonde hair as they chat and by the end of the evening there is nothing forced about that smile as he leaps back to his feet to bid a good night to Kevin and Captain Stacy, exchanging handshakes and fistbumps as is appropriate.

Then that door slides shut and she's in his arms again, the grin on Pete's face an answer to her own. "That... went a whole lot better then it could have," he says with a low laugh, simply clinging to her for a little bit longer, taking a moment to bask in that relief. To enjoy the moment. To enjoy the fact that she seems genuinely happy, despite that brief spike of tension.

"A movie sounds great," he admits, that little burst of adrenaline still very much fueling him at the moment. He leaps off buildings and swings through the streets on an almost nightly basis, and this can still spike that excitement level.

But then one is a daily occurence, while this feels rather new.

"I might be able to manage another slice or two I suppose, but only if you're having some too."
Ghost Spider has posed:
/That... went a whole lot better then it could have./

"It did, right?!" Gwen beams. "I was /not/ expecting my dad to show up, but he just sort of... fit right in." Beat. "I mean.. after a little bit."

Said, of course, with all of the enthusiasm of a daughter who /wanted/ him to fit in.

"Thank you. So much. You were... beyond amazing." It's such a simple phrase, uttered barely above a whisper in its absolute sincerity, but in her eyes the depth of it is really communicated. This night meant the world to her. The fact that Peter rolled with it, stuck with her, even got everyone laughing... it was more than she ever would have asked of him.

Then she's stretching up on tip-toe, brushing her nose against his, and then leaning in to kiss his lips with soft, warm, gentle affection radiating from her every pore.

It doesn't linger. Not too awfully long. And when she settles back again, she gently slips away with a trail of her hands over his.

"I'll grab the box and some napkins. Meet you on the couch? The remote's on the table."

Her smile lingers on him as if she just didn't want to look away -- as if he might disappear if she did -- but after taking a couple of steps backwards she does finally turn, though she's not really taking her sweet time gathering the stuff up, either.
Spider-Man has posed:
There were definitely a few potential landmines to navigate.

The sudden change in their relationship status so soon after meeting the man at Central Park certainly stands out. As does the ongoing tension between Gwen and her dad around Spider-Man, around her staying safe, around the secrets that she's forced to keep.

And of course the possibility that the man just would accept him, that it would be just one change too many to accept right now. With everything going on. With the problems between the two of them.

Given the number of secrets that he is forced to keep in his life. Given the sheer weight of some of them, it is more then a little bit of a relief not to have one from Captain Stacy too, no matter how temporary. And while he still needs to let Aunt May now, he doesn't have the slightest concern over that. As protective as she can be over him, she at least already knows Gwen, likes Gwen.

It makes a difference.

"I was... a little worried for a moment," he agrees, arms still around her, smile still on his face. "I know it's a little complicated, given who we are, but we're both more then old enough to be making our own decisions afterall. We don't have anything to apologize for," he sasy, letting out a long slow breath, letting just a little of that adrenaline drain off.

Tipping his head just a little, his nose plays back against hers, stealing that little moment for the two of them in the middle of her apartment to feel her lips against his own.

"Besides, I really want this to work. And that means getting along with your dad and bestie. Especially if it makes things easier for you," Pete admits, hands lingering on her side before finally letting her slip away.

"Deal," he agrees at once, backing slowly through the room. Just like her Pete doesn't want to look away. He does not, however, know it quite as well as she does and after nearly backing into a table and sending himself sprawling, he grudgingly -- and sheepishly -- glances away to hunt down the remote and find something suitably light and fluffy to put on.
Ghost Spider has posed:
/I was... a little worried for a moment./

"Pfft. Are you kidding me? You're Peter Parker. I don't have anything to worry about when you're around." And if the glow of her bright blue eyes is any indication, she believed every word of that.

Of course, she could have said "You're Spider-Man," but she didn't. They might be one-in-the-same aside from a mask, but enough jokes had been made that evening about her fangirling over Spider-Man ever since he started gaining in popularity. After all, she lived in Queens, too.

But, it wasn't Spider-Man that had won the night. It was Peter Parker. It wasn't Spider-Man that had spent the evening with her at the fashion show, at the concert in central park, or even sat with her on top of the buildings. Sure, Spider-Man was a hero, quick with a web and a quip, but it was Peter Parker she'd fallen for.

/I really want this to work./

"Me, too. Like... a lot."

A soft giggle does bubble up past Gwen's lips as she watches Peter stumble a little, though, but that smile of hers is pure affection.

When she does make it back to the living room, she sets the pizza box down sets a little stack of napkins beside it for easy access. Without grabbing a slice, though, she makes herself right at home, curling up against Peter's side. Just like they had on the bridge, she pulls her knees up so that they're laying across his lap, and she snuggles into his shoulder.

"Discussion for later," she says after a moment, the movie already starting to play, but it was on her mind and she couldn't keep herself from blurting it out, "if Peter Parker didn't work for the Bugle.. what would he do? Don't answer now. Think about it."

And yes, the movie was /still/ playing, but she didn't seem to notice. She was too busy watching him.
Spider-Man has posed:
The movie is really just white noise, nothing more.

He probably could have found something of interest, something more then a silly little romantic comedy. Some scientific docuseries for them both to sink their teeth into and enjoy. And while the later might suit his mood and headspace a little more at the moment, the point of all of this isn't really to watch the television.

It's to spend time with her.

While they might be leaving a good portion of the couch under utilized, that doesn't seem to bother Peter in the least as he happily curls up with her once more, one arm slipping about Gwen to draw her in close as well. It has been quite a night, and as simple as the evening might have appeared on the surface, a sense of accompishment too.

The personal dynamic is not always where he excels, even if he has left that shy teenager behind him for the msot part. So it feels good, that he could be there for her. That for a change that he made things easier, instead of more difficult. That no imminent disaster puller him, her or both of them away, leaving them to make excuses and make things more difficult.

When she asks that question he tilts his head, a thoughtful look sliding over his expression for a moment and he resists the temptation to offer an immediate reply.

What would he do? He likes photography, would like to be better at it. He might even have a passion for it, but selling to the Bugle feels a little self-destructive. Jameson might not be wholely bad, but he hates something that's pretty important to Peter, pretty central to him. It's not entirely healthy to feed that obsession. Not for either of them.

So what then? Try to make a go of it with a different paper? It doesn't exactly feel like it has the best future. Perhaps try to teach. He would actually like that, trying to instill that same love of science that he has in the next generation, to nurture that spark of curiousity. But again, it's his lack of dependability that makes it tough.

It's the same thing that holds him back from working in the sciences. Where is he going to find the freedom to disappear whenever he needs, There are not many employers that are understanding about that sort of thing, and even those that are do have their limits. Eventually.

It's almost possible to see all of that play out on Peter's expression, the genuine though he gives before eyes flicker back to her, smile sliding back into place. "You as some pretty good questions, you know," he murmurs, leaning over to steal another quick kiss.
Ghost Spider has posed:
Gwen watches those little movements of his eyes, the tilt of his head, and the way it seems to spin up the gears. That, too, makes her smile. She liked pushing him -- at least a little -- to think about things, whether that was his own value to the city despite everything going wrong or whether or not what he was doing was what he /wanted/ to be doing.

His words elicit a soft chuckle, and she scoots a little more comfortably closer to accept that kiss, lifting her fingers to brush through his hair gently.

"I want you to be happy. Whatever that means. You /deserve/ to be happy, and I feel like the only way you know what makes you happy is to ask questions. Sometimes hard ones."

She dips her head, then, nuzzling her nose under his chin and closing her eyes as she touches her forehead against his cheek.

"Whatever it is, I'll do my best to help. Just remember.. you're not alone."

Finally, her eyes open again, and she tilts her head, brushing her lips back across his again.
Spider-Man has posed:
It is such a heart-felt response.

There is never any doubt there, about her sincerity, or the general warmth that comes from her in all situations. Even that casual teasing generally only imbues him with a certain warmth, a certain comfort. How easily it seems to flow from her.

Even those questions feel like they're reflective of a certain belief in him that he sometimes lets himself struggle with, sometimes lets himself doubt. And yet she never seems to, at least when it comes to him. Of course he likes that. How could he not.

"Mmmmm, fair point," Peter conceeds. It's something I'll think about," he promises. It is definitely a problem with no obvious, no easy answers. But then there rarely are, right? That doesn't mean you just stop looking for them.

"I know you will," he agrees quietly, that arm draped around her lightly tracing out patterns against her upper arm, just to feel her under the tips of his fingersm the sense of her so close. "You've done a better job of reminding me of that then, well, anyone in a long time," he admits. "I want the same for you too," he adds softly.

The movie plays on, and somewhere, if only in the back of his mind he ruminates over that question. Over what other chances he should be considering. Change might be scary. But sometimes it just works. As this evening has shown rather well.

Lips are only too happy to find hers once more, lingering longer, and all those little nagging issues seem very far away indeed.