Hello all! This is my first ever Spidey fic, and I'm super excited about it. For those of you who read the comics, this one-shot takes place around Amazing Spider Man #257, where MJ reveals to Peter that she knows about his identity as Spider-Man. I adore Stan Lee and his brilliance, but I wanted to do my own take of this. Only a couple changes: the Black Cat is not around, and the costume is back to blue and red (though that really has no relevance).

For those of you who don't read the comics, a bit of an explanation: At this point, MJ and Peter are extremely close friends but not yet romantically involved. Peter is living on his own (finally). In ASM, Mary Jane is said to just have figured out Pete's secret identity. The details are kind of ambiguous. There was a one-shot comic, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, that said MJ saw Pete climb out of his window after Ben's death, which I like to think is what happened. Anyway, hopefully that clears things up a little. I hope you enjoy the story!

"Breaking News: Spider-Man Conflict in Lower Manhattan."

Mary Jane Watson read the words on the fuzzy television screen and felt her blood run cold. She turned up the volume, desperate for news. Any news. That he was okay. That he would be coming back from whatever insane war he was getting himself into now. The announcer began to speak, and a few moments passed before Mary Jane was able to process what he was saying.

"Reports from civilians and law enforcement alike have stated a situation is occurring in lower Manhattan; we're going to a live feed now." The screen flashed and switched to an image of tall buildings. MJ focused her vision on the screen, spotting the tiny blue and red figure that was swinging through the shot.

"At roughly one o'clock, calls were made to local law enforcement about a disturbance near a bank. Police arrived on the scene to find a man attempting to break in to the building. Spider-Man arrived shortly after the police and warned them to stay back. Eyewitness reports claim that the masked acrobat told police that the man was made of stone, and that he said it was a job for "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man."

Mary Jane felt the corners of her mouth raised in an involuntary smile. Even in the face of danger, Spider-Man was still lighthearted. She watched the costumed hero closely, leaning forward and gripping the edge of her couch with an iron fist. This was her Peter out there. Her Peter.

The concept of Peter Parker as Spider-Man still seemed foreign to her, even after all of the years she had known his secret. She had known Peter was Spider-Man before she had even met Peter. That night was burned into her memory – watching a costumed figure crawl out of Peter's window on the night of Ben Parker's death – though she had tucked it deep enough inside her to keep it locked up forever. Not even Peter knew that MJ was held that secret.

Since then, Peter had become her best friend. Hell, he wasn't just her best friend; he was everything to her. Everything. A day without Peter's blue eyes and his stupid jokes that never fail to make her laugh is not a day worth experiencing. That's just one of the reasons she gets so nervous every time she sees Spider-Man swing across the television screen.

And he's doing that now, as MJ squints to make out every detail of the scene on her cheap television. Spidey is locked in battle with a gray figure that is currently clinging to the side of the building, spider-style. He looks like a regular person, but is exceptionally bigger and is built like a rock. According to what the news anchor said, the rockiness of his structure may not be figurative. Spider-Man uses all of his momentum to deliver a powerful kick to the center of gravity of the Rock Man (as MJ has dubbed him), and the gray man lets out a roar and fall from his perch on the side of the building. But as he's falling, the Rock Man grabs Spider-Man and, with unimaginable force, thrusts Spidey into the side of the building.

A sharp gasp escapes MJ's lips as she sees her Peter sliding down the side of the building, his body slack from the impact. He waves his arms frantically, trying to regain balance with his webbing. He ends up descending to the street roughly, and the television announcer winces into the microphone as the crowd on screen gasps. MJ stands, unable to help herself from inching closer to the TV, and lets out a sigh of relief as she sees Spidey stand, albeit shakily, and return to the fight.

Spider-Man launches himself towards the Rock Man. It looks like he's talking, and MJ doesn't doubt it, but she can't make out the words. He thrusts his fist forward in a powerful punch, but his foe seems to lean into it, and MJ can tell that something is wrong when Peter's arm seems to bounce back. It looks rubbery and makes MJ clench her fingers around the fabric of her sweatshirt just a little tighter.

The struggle between Spider-Man and the rocky menace continues for some time. Spidey opts for quick, sweeping movements rather than displays of brute force in order to defeat his enemy. It isn't doing much, though, and MJ wonders what Peter is up to. He must be formulating a plan, distracting the monster so he can use that brilliant brain of his to think of something.

This theory is proven right in a matter of moments when Spidey suddenly sends a thick jet of web fluid upwards, to attach to a large billboard at the top of the building. Then, with much fanfare, Spider-Man pulls the billboard down. The rock creature doesn't seem to realize what' s happening, and the heavy billboard smashes into him, flattening him into the cement. Spider-Man wastes no time, wrapping both the billboard and the criminal in a thick cocoon of web fluid.

"It looks like Spider-Man has gotten the best of this particular foe," the television announcer says, "but not without destroying part of the beautiful Baxter Bank building."

MJ narrows her eyes, annoyed. The irritation passes in seconds, however, when the television flickers back to an image of Spider-Man handing the bundle of sticky web over to some gracious police officers. She smiles, leaning closer to the television.

"Good job, Tiger."

Peter couldn't be happier to be home. He stalked through his bedroom, feet heavy, and tore of his bloodied mask. The new clothes felt soft against his tender skin as he tried to wash away the blood caked to his abdomen. He had procured mostly bruises from this last battle. The Gargoyle usually worked that way, all brute force and crumbling rock. Just as Peter was about to sink into his couch and turn on the TV, he heard a soft knock at his door.

He opened it to reveal a rush of red hair and green eyes. MJ. As tired as he was, Peter's face brightened to see her.

"Hey there, Tiger." She said, smiling her brilliant smile at him. He felt his heart race just a little at the use of the nickname. "Tiger" used to be something she called everybody, just a normal part of her crazy slang. But not anymore. The name belonged to him now.

He beamed at Mary Jane, taking in her appearance. She looked exquisite in her sweatshirt and old jeans. Her hair was slightly messy and pulled back, and her makeup was minimal, but Peter couldn't help but admire her anyway. MJ was a marvel to him, an absolute mystery that he never grew tired of solving. She was his best friend, but he couldn't deny that his feelings ran a little deeper than that. And when she showed up at his apartment like this, for no reason, the desire to scoop her up in his arms and hold her forever was stronger than ever.

But that can never be, Peter thought as the pain in his body suddenly became very prevalent. It hurt too much last time. I could never put Mary Jane in danger.

His thoughts were interrupted when Mary Jane raised an eyebrow at him and made a small noise in her throat. "Uh, Pete? You gonna let me in?"

A goofy grin spread across Peter's face. "Right. Of course." He stepped from the door and followed MJ as she entered his apartment and leaned against the back of his couch. She cast a concerned look over his black eye and general rough appearance.

"Um, I sort of had an accident at work."

A thin, perfect smile spread across MJ's lips. "I figured as much."

MJ stared at Peter. He probably didn't realize how awful he looked – how tired and defeated he seemed, even coming off a victory. She wanted to hug him, to squeeze him tightly and make all of the pain she saw in his blue eyes disappear. And she wanted to talk.

That's why she had come over here, so late at night. To talk. After watching his battle on the news, she couldn't stand it anymore. She couldn't stand not being able to ask him about what it felt like, not being able to comfort him when whatever it was he faced under the mask finally got to his core. He needed to know that she knew and he needed to know that it would still be okay.

As she stood in front of him, however, she felt her carefully planned words disappear. MJ was an actress, a professional at giving heartfelt speeches in front of an audience. She could turn mundane words into works of art. But she had never been able to find her own words; the perfect combination of syllables had always escaped her. Now that so much hung on what she would say next, she felt herself becoming increasingly flustered with each passing second.

But Peter was looking at her with a confused expression, wondering why she was there. And there was so much in his eyes, so much feeling and depth and pain and was that hope? MJ knotted her fingers together in front of her, trying desperately to focus on something other than Peter's eyes and the way his hair was mussed up and how he looked so perfect even though he had just got the shit beat out of him.

So she spoke.

"I think we could be perfect together."

Mary Jane winced as the words passed her lips, cursing her bluntness and willing the words to fly from the air and back into her lungs. But they wouldn't return. They were out there, a simple declaration, and MJ could see their affect on Peter's face. For a moment, a brief, brilliant moment, there was a flash of excitement and hope in Peter's face. It was glorious and pure, and MJ's felt her heart grow lighter as she saw it. But as quickly as this flash of emotion came, it was gone and replaced with a darker tone.

A long sigh escaped from MJ's lungs. She had blown it. She was ready to turn around and walk out, dragging her dignity with her on the floor, when she saw Peter's eyes flicker, casting a fleeting glance towards his closet. And that's when MJ understood that his change of mood was not about her at all; it was about the spider on his chest. So it was time for Mary Jane to try and find words again.

"Peter." She waited until his eyes were focused on hers. "Pete, I know it's difficult. I know that there are a thousand things that can get in the way of us, and that there are plenty of... risks. I know the danger. I acknowledge it. But Peter, if it means I can be with you, I don't give a damn what risks there are."

There was silence between them. "You know." It wasn't a question.

MJ's eyes were locked with his, and after a moment, she nodded slowly. "I know." She couldn't fight the small smile that was weaseling its way onto her face.

Peter blinked, amazed. "MJ, I don't—"

"You're Spider-Man." The words felt foreign on her lips. But they felt right. It was an admission she had wanted to speak aloud for so long. So she said it again. "My God, Peter, you are Spider-Man. You are the blue and red acrobat that swings around New York on webs. You're the one who teaches super villains a lesson while telling stupid puns. You're the savior of the city – whether New York likes you or not." The words came out in a breath, and MJ didn't pause for Peter to interrupt her. "You're Spider-Man. And I don't care. Because you're Peter. You're my brilliant, smart, dorky, caring, and perfect Peter. And that's why I am willing to disregard any risks or villains or masks that might get between us. Because you're Peter, and I am so in love with you."

Peter was silent. Dumbstruck. His eyes held more emotion than MJ could bare to look at, so she looked down. After several moments of crackling quiet, she let out a breath that sounded like an exasperated laugh.

"God, Peter. I just bared my heart to you. Can you at least say something?"

Peter didn't falter in his gaze, but a small, goofy smile stretched across his face. "You love me?"

"Yes, stupid. I love you."

Mary Jane leaned forward, throwing caution to the wind, and wrapped her arms around Peter's neck. She raised herself to her tiptoes and gently pressed her lips against his, savoring the perfect feeling of his touch. And it was perfect. Sweet and firm, it felt unmistakably right.

They broke apart and MJ looked into Peter's swirling blue eyes which, for once, were blinded by his brilliant smile.

"Then I think I can forget the risks."