Austisic!Peter and MJ. MJ knows Peter's autistic because of all the subtle things he does. Like, she's super observant and stuff so she knows when he's getting overstimulated or when he needs something to stim with. She doesn't mention it, but she has a shit ton of stim toys and super soft pieces of fabric in her bag (under all the books to kinda hide them). I love the idea that she knows he's Spiderman and she always gives Spider-Man something to stim with if she sees him.
the first time mj notices it is during their sophomore year of high school, when she’s watching him during band practice. she watches everyone, sometimes to draw them, sometimes so she can mimic them, sometimes just bc she feels like it. but she likes watching peter the most. he makes her head calm down a bit, like how it does when she listens to music or when she opens a brand new hardcover book.
he’s sitting there holding his triangle (what a nerd, who plays the triangle) looking focused on when exactly he should ring it. he’s tense all the time lately, and he’s always pulling ned aside to talk about “big bird” whoever that is. but then suddenly flash comes up behind him and plays the trumpet directly into peter’s ear. anyone would jump at that, and peter definitely jumps. but what catches mj’s eye is what happens when everyone is laughing, when peter sits down and people kind of stop focusing on him. he drops his triangle down and shakes out his wrist, he quickly hits his hand to the side of his head and closes his eyes really tightly.
it’s a familiar thing to look at. mj doesn’t hit herself, but she gets that urge sometimes when she’s trying to keep her meltdown at bay. when she can feel the sensory overload and the overstimulation trying to take her over and she wants to push it back down, and sometimes she’ll feel herself wanting to physically hit it.
she goes back to reading, but she only really begins paying attention to the plot of the book once peter appeared to calm down. then she felt calm again too. before they go she slips one of her stim toys into peter’s bag when he’s up putting away the triangle, and she doesn’t say anything when she sees him quietly playing with it the next day.
the second time she notices is late into their sophomore year towards the beginning of summer vacation. peter is sitting on the subway after class, probably on his way home. he’s seemed happier lately, it radiates off of him. apparently he got his stark internship back, and he’s even regularly coming to decathlon practice again. mj tells herself that she only cares about his decathlon attendance, she is the captain after all.
mj is sat behind him on the subway and she hears him muttering to himself. again, this is normal for anybody to do. but he’s writing in his notebook, and he’s making funny sounds. she peers over his shoulder and sees a bunch of formulas and spider doodles and science jargon and then leans back into her seat.
peter loves science. LOVES science. everybody knows that. they all go to a science school, but peter’s the only one she really knows who actually gets dreamy eyes when he talks about astrophysics and chemistry, and he can talk about it for hours. literally, hours. and right now it’s clear that his love for science is standing strong, he’s in his own little world right now. mj can hear him making happy squeaks and it feels familiar.
when she finds herself delighted she usually makes noises, happy trills and squeaks. neurotypical people give her funny looks when that happens, it’s annoying and rains on her parade. it isn’t as if she can even help it, and she doesn’t understand why it’s so weird. she tries to keep those noises in, but they still come out when she reads a particularly good passage in a book. and that seems to be what’s happening to peter. his shoulders tense everytime a happy warbled squeak comes out, and he begins scribbling more furiously into his notepad
he looks over his shoulder to see if anyone’s heard him and then startles when he sees mj sitting there. she raises her eyebrow at him and he blushes and turns around, and she can see him begin to bounce slightly in his seat.
mj goes back to reading but in the back of her head she feels things popping up. spider doodles in peter’s notebook. talking about a big bird with ned. dropping out of all his extracurricular besides decathlon. the whole incident in washington DC. she doesn’t know why she’s thinking about it, or why she knows that it’s all related. or even how she knows it’s related. she just chooses to read instead. if she slips another stim toy into peter’s bag, well, that’s out of her control.
the third time mj notices is during the summer. and it isn’t really with peter, at least not the peter he wants her to know about.
she’s at a small shop at around eleven at night, dressed in pajamas with her bag slung over her shoulder and a pack of hot cheetos in her hand. and then suddenly the shop is being robbed, and a gun is being pointed at her face. and her mind disconnects. her head is equal parts chaos and calm, thoughts are rushing around her brain but they’re going so quickly that it almost feels as if there are none. of course this is how she’s gonna die. of course she’s gonna fucking die in a corner shop at 11:07 pm in her flannel pajamas all because she wanted a bag of hot cheetos. of course that’s –
“you and i have to stop meeting like this,” peter chimes in, swinging into the shop and kicking the robber in the face. the gun falls onto the floor. “oh, my bad, you aren’t the criminal i thought you were. you guys really need to stop wearing masks, i can’t tell you apart.”
but oh wait. that isn’t peter. that’s spider-man. but that’s definitely peter’s voice. huh.
mj breaks herself out of her head and runs towards the gun on the ground just as the robber reaches for it, and she stomps onto his hand before he can grab it. the guy screams and mj just shoves her boot harder onto his hand.
“we make a great team!” spider-man cheers, shooting some webbing onto the guy’s legs
a few quips and thwips later and the robber is being seated into the back of a cop car. mj is sitting on the curb of the sidewalk munching away on some hot cheetos. and spider-man is walking up to her.
“you okay?” he asked, voice strained tightly.
“mhm,” mj hums. she’s pretty sure that she’s okay. time will tell. “are you?”
spidey startles. “of course i am, it’s my job, i love this stuff!”
“just because it’s your job, and just because you like it, doesn’t mean you’re okay.”
spidey kind of shrugs at that and sits down next to her on the curb. “i’m okay, just a bit shook up. he had a gun pointed at your head.”
“yeah,” mj sighs. “want a cheeto?”
they sit in a comfortable silence while they share the bag of cheetos, neither really wanting to talk but neither really wanting to leave each other. mj notices that spidey keeps shaking out his wrist, keeps bringing his hand up to his face to tap harshly at the lenses of his mask. she reaches into her bag.
“here,” she says, shoving a stim toy into his hand. “this one can be chewed on and pulled apart, it’s really neat. don’t worry, i haven’t chewed on it at all so you’re good to go.”
spidey gawks at her, mouth falling open. his lips are really red from the snacks. “um…. thanks. do you give these to everyone?”
mj pops another cheeto into her mouth and chews quickly. “nah, just you.”
spidey leans against her side and begins to aggressively pull on the toy. “thanks, mj.”
she decides not to point out that she never gave him her name.