A/N: With apologies to Observations of a Nerd and Bill Nye Tho
Mary Jane didn't know quite why she did it. Maybe it was that Spider-Man was doing guest lectures at Avengers Academy and the X-Mansion, as well as his teaching job in civilian life. Maybe it was just to have something to do when the phone wasn't ringing, when Peter wasn't home, when going to the club just reminded her that she was old enough to own the club (well, there was an idea).
So she started a Youtube channel.
It was nothing too fancy. She didn't want to be one of those attention… seekers who posted videos of themselves twerking or doing yoga or trying on bikinis or anything. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but she was sexualized enough at her day job—she didn't need to draw attention to her boobs herself. She had people for that.
So it was mainly make-up tips, fashion advice, some venting and squeeing about her personal life, a few reactions to current events. In a way, it was almost like the old days—some environmentally friendly version of her party girl persona. She didn't stop being Mrs. Peter Parker when she turned the web-cam on, but for a moment, she was just that. A model, an actress, a singer (in the shower, at least), who led an ordinary life with a very kind, very loving, very normal husband.
Only she wasn't playing at being a perfectly poised, thrill-seeking beauty queen just for her own benefit. She was showing girls how to look good, feel good, listening to their problems, playing agony aunt. It shocked her to hear that her performance in a SyFy Original Movie had led a few people to come out of the closet; men, even. But really, it was nice to get tweets that didn't involve anatomy below the neck.
Having finished showing her followers how to steal Namor's look (or Namora's look, she supposed), she answered viewer mail. "'Dear Mary Jane,' writes RideyMaster66, 'you're so good at showing off all these make-up looks, but can you tell us why they work so well? We don't question it, but it seems like everyone in the world just uses chemicals on their faces for no reason. Why is that?' Well, Ridey, in my case it's because I want to keep people guessing as to just how much sleep I've been getting. Because like all gingers, I don't sleep, I wait. But as for the science of it, I happen to have very handily married a scientist for just such an occasion. Peter?"
"Yeah?" Peter asked from his easy chair. He was buried in a book. "Do you need something from on top of the fridge?"
"I'm a model, Pete, if I need something from high up, I put on heels." Mary Jane shifted in her seat, sliding the laptop around so it took in him sitting there as well. "What is it with make-up, anyway? What's the science behind it?"
Peter set his book down, carefully marking his place. "Well, it's actually very simple," he began, folding his hands in his lap. "Like any animal, humans have mating rituals. We all try to signal our availability, our desirability, our eligibility as breeding partners, and for humans, that involves appearing as if they're ovulating."
"Oh my God!" Mary Jane snickered. "I don't think I've ever heard you say 'ovulating' before."
"What? It's just a word."
"Go on, go on." Mary Jane turned to the webcam, pulling a face as Peter continued. Soon, she was clapping a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing.
"You also want to look younger—I mean, not you, specifically, you look great no matter what, but a hypothetical you, you'd want to look young so your mate is assured you can breed."
"And that you're ovulating," Mary Jane added, holding back tears.
"Even better," Peter said, completely straight-faced, and MJ about lost her shit. It took all her acting talent to keep her corpsing down to a dull roar. "Now, women tend to be naturally darker around the eyes than men, so eyeshadow, for instance, makes you appear more feminine. Women also have darker mouths than men, so if the lips are darker than their other skin, they look even more feminine. But here's the thing. Ovulating women—"
Peter keep right on going, gesticulating a bit wildly. "—have more estrogen in their system. That enhances their vascular blood flow, which not only makes them more easily aroused, but also gives them redder lips. So if a woman's lips are not only darker, but redder, that's telling a male onlooker—or, you know, female, let's not judge—that she's aroused."
Peter looked over at her. "Do you find something risible about ovulating?"
Mary Jane hung her head and contained all of her laughter except for her shaking shoulders. "No, go on, go on!"
"Oh, and guess what else that increased blood flow does?"
Peter tapped on his cheeks like bongo drums. "It pinkens their cheeks. Hence… blush."
"So that's—hence blush." Mary Jane wiped a tear from her eyes. "This is why I married him, dear viewer. He makes me laugh."
Peter got up from his seat and went to join Mary Jane, leaning over her desk to eye the webcam suspiciously. "I really don't see what you find so amusing. It's just science."
"You're just very, very cute when you nerd out," MJ said, butting her head over to his chest. He patted her head lovingly. "And it is crazy how much of this random stuff you remember."
"I remember our anniversary," Peter noted. "How crazy is that?"
MJ side-eyed the webcam. "I mentioned one time that an ex-boyfriend didn't remember our anniversary. Now he's husband of the year."
"Which is why it's probably a bad idea to talk about exes with your husband. It's not like I talk about my old girlfriends with you."
"Yes, folks, he does have ex-girlfriends. I am personally vouching for that."
"Is that all the, eh, viewer mail?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Good." Peter moved to close the laptop. "Because I think that's enough internet people for today."
"Oh, you think so?"
"Yeah… your lips do seem redder, after all."
"And very dark in comparison to the rest of my face…"
[Tags added to this video after it was posted on MJWatsonDaily, a popular Tumblr fanblog]
#ohmygod #whydidnoonetellme #howcutethesebitchesaretogether?
#WHO IS THAT
#hwo did mj find the perfect husband dot gov
#uhno #sorrywatson #thatismyhusband #iwillfightyouforhim
#so #kawai #it #hurts
#mr. mary jane watson #the watsons
#did you hear he's a school teacher? #isn't there any way i can change my grade professor?
#hotforteacher #dostandsoclosetome #haveanapple
#RED AND GED: OTP
"Does my hair look okay?" Peter asked, standing in front of Mary Jane with a camera, the red light telling him he was being committed to memory. He wondered if he should do a dance.
"Your hair is fine," MJ said. "Is this recording…?"
"Yeah, the light's on."
"The light?" Mary Jane turned it over. "Why'd they put that on the front?"
"Well, there should also be a little icon in the viewfinder—"
"The view whatnow?"
"I can do this just fine on my phone, it's once you involve USB drives and cords that I'm lost…" Mostly satisfied, she aimed the camera at Peter once more.
"So what's with the camera? And before you ask, I want you to know I'll only do nudity if it's tasteful and integral to the plot."
"Yeah, I know that's a lie. I just wanted to get your reaction to the news."
"Baby, you're a meme."
Peter scrolled through the comment section. "So they just take pictures of me and add a line of text reading 'your daddy calls me daughter too'? I don't get it."
"It's a snake eating its tail."
"I've seen a snake eat its tail. It was messed up. Not as messed up as this…"
"How can you know so much about wi-fi routers and Ethernet cables, but so little about the internet?"
"I don't go on the internet," Peter said. "It's scary. So, what, they have a crush on me?"
"Kinda on us," Mary Jane explained. "They want to be me and they want to be doing you… sort of. Or just watch us suck face."
"They know I'm a nerd, right?"
"Oh, they may have noticed. Nerds are hot now, tiger. Not nerd-nerds, but you're cute, you're considerate, you're smart, you get excited about science and it's adorable…"
"Well, let them know if any of them are interested in time-traveling back to my high school days, they can watch me remember birthdays all night long."
"And when was this?"
"1963," Peter said. "I had to repeat a lot of grades."
[Comments on a Facebook status update: My friend saw Peter Parker get out of the shower and she said that he had an eight-pack. That Peter Parker was shredded]
We're not doing that, God.
You can tell he is well-built, though. Not all muscly like Thor or anything, but he def works out.
God, Marcus, just come out of the closet already.
I have a cousin in New York and she says she hooked up with him before he was married.
Is your cousin a man because Parker's gay, I know it, I can feel it.
She sent me proof.
[Media: a high-resolution JPG of a white male's well-defined torso as he lies in bed, with sheets covering his lower body and the cropping of the photo leaving his head out]
I don't know if that's Peter Parker or not, but WHO CARES.
That might be a nine-pack.
Meh, if I was married to Mary Jane Watson, I would get that much of a work-out too, if you know what I mean.
Marcus, I saw you blow Todd, you're not fooling anyone.
GUYS, LOOK, I THINK IT IS HIM!
[Media: the previous JPG with a screen cap from Mary Jane Watson's Youtube channel added. In it, Peter Parker is sitting down, his shirt riding up to expose some of his stomach. Someone has used Microsoft Paint to circle similar-looking moles in the same place on both bellies.]
YOUR COUSIN BANGED PETER PARKER
DICK SIZE NOW
Peter tapped his fingers repeatedly as he waited for the phone to dial, then once Felicia picked up, he barely let her answer. "You put a nude picture of me online?"
"Re-lax, Spider, it's not like you can see anything. Your junk's not showing, your face isn't showing, if it were anymore classy, it'd be in black and white."
"My mole is showing!"
"Your what now?"
"Someone put together that the me in your picture is the me on MJ's Youtube channel, so now Spider-Man and Peter Parker—"
"Felicia says relax! None of your costume's in frame. I'm not an idiot."
"Then why post it?"
"Eh. I did it for the lulz."
Peter started as Felicia hung up abruptly. Mary Jane was watching, so he resisted the urge to grind his phone into dust. Some days, he was very happy he wasn't single. The superhero dating scene was a damn jungle.
"My abs are on the internet," Peter told MJ. "There are fangirls doing spectrograms on my belly button as we speak."
"Take it from me, it's not that bad. At least no one's Photoshopping your head onto a porn star—or Emma Frost."
[Media: a Photoshop of Beast/Hank McCoy so that Peter Parker's head is on his body, colored blue. Title: My fursona]
Peter's head banged sullenly off the wall. "I swear to God, I am just letting Ultron blow up the internet next time…"
Literally The Real Peter Parker
Shout-out to single moms sorry I didn't wear a rubber
Literally The Real Peter Parker
The sortest distance between two points is a straight line but a shortest distance between u and this diq is ya being a redhead
Literally The Real Peter Parker
Outer space just quintuilloped a fuckton in size but it's got nothing on what my diq did when I caw dat ass
Literally The Real Peter Parker
I like reading rainbow but I also like making it rain up in da club do ya feel nigga?
"I did not write any of those!" Peter said. "That's… false advertising!"
"It's a parody account, Peter." MJ put her phone away. "It's how you know you've arrived."
"I don't want to arrive. Where was I going, anyway? How is it even legal for them to use my name?"
"Because it's satire. No one takes it seriously."
"I don't talk like that! I don't use foul language or the N-word! And I certainly don't… not practice safe sex!"
Mary Jane beckoned him over and he sank beside her on the couch, pouting a bit as she scratched the back of his neck. "It's just some internet person who thinks he's funny. He'll get bored of doing it in a few days and give it up."
"No one said being a meme would be this hard. How do you stop being popular on the internet?"
"Well, you could kill a lesbian, but that seems a little extreme…"
As soon as Spider-Man swung into the Quinjet and clung to the wall, he was talking. "Tony! You a-hole!"
"I'm sure you're right," Tony said glibly. "But I'm sensing you're talking about something in specific…?"
Peter flipped down onto the floor. "You started following that stupid parody account of me and now everyone who follows you—which is everyone—is following it too!"
Tony held up his hands. "In my defense, I thought you might've gotten symbiote'd again and just wanted to keep an eye on the situation. And I only followed it because Nat was following it."
Natasha didn't look up from her phone. "You dated Black Cat. I don't think you have a right to complain about the characterization."
Peter looked at her. "What, you have a problem with Felicia?"
"She stole my look."
"You stole my spider-motif! Damnit, how many of you are following Literally The Real Peter Parker?"
Slowly, everyone in the Quinjet raised their hands.
"What you're saying is," Thor began, "that isn't you?"
"I cannot believe you're brooding over memes," Mary Jane said.
"Just let me have my feelings, Red," Peter said, perched on his seat, arms crossed.
"Norman Osborn's in jail, Doc Ock is in jail, and J. Jonah Jameson—well, print journalism is dying. So now you get in a snit about the internet. What are you, a Baby Boomer?"
"Some stupid internet person making fun of me is more popular than I am! It has 20,000 followers!"
"They just think it's funny! It's a harmless laugh!"
"Hmph!" Peter went, turning away and crossing his legs.
"Did you just 'hmph' me? Are you thinking up some self-pitying inner monologue right now?"
"You know the Spider-Mobile was a great car… no one appreciated it…"
Mary Jane sighed and opened her laptop. "Here. Maybe this will make you feel better…"
She cued up a Youtube video: "LEAVE PETER ALONE!"
Peter glanced over at the laptop. "That's just another meme."
"Well, yeah, but they really nailed it."
Peter walked into the Avengers meeting with a heavy heart. Everyone was on their phones. "So what's the latest hilarity from Literally The Real Peter Parker? Something about… 420 blaze it Ghost Rider?"
"No, dude," Tony said. "Whoever's running the account posted a cosplay of Rose Quartz from Steven Universe, only thin!"
"I did not get any of that."
"The internet hates Literally The Real Peter Parker now! They're accusing him of fat erasure," Natasha reported.
"Yeah, he's getting all kinds of messages about how Rose Quartz belongs to fat people and shouldn't be appropriated by 'the skels'. I assume that means skeletons."
Peter plopped down in his chair, hands behind his head. "This is the best day ever!"
Steve coughed. "I called this meeting because Galactus is coming to eat the planet."
"Well, at least we can go out on a high note. If we can't stop him. We're totally going to stop him." Peter looked over Natasha's shoulder. "Did Literally The Real Peter Parker just get told to check his privilege?"
"Not everyone has access to salads," Natasha replied. "He has salad privilege."