Title: Not A Fairy Tale

Fandom: Avengers

Pairing: Carol Danvers/Peter Parker (mentions Carol/Michael Rossi, Carol/Mar-Vell, Carol/Tony Stark)

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers or Spider-Man.

Author's Notes: it's Carol and Peter's first Valentine's Day as a couple; they don't live together and they've never said "I love you" just...

xxx

Peter:

You should come up to my place.

Carol:

Should I wear jammies?

You should probably at least wear jammies for the trip.

As you wish.

Wait, does that mean what it means when Westley says it?

xxx

That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying 'As you wish', what he meant was, 'I love you.' And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.

xxx

I'll tell you a secret about Carol Danvers. She's not afraid of anything. Except love.

Carol grew up in a house where feelings were discouraged. Or maybe it was just showing feelings, but if you hide things too well, eventually you forget where they are. Her father made her angry and her mother made her angrier and her brothers made her angriest, but even her anger she hid away. She worked as hard as she could to excel at school and sports and anything she did because she was determined to leave all that discouragement behind. And all the love she wanted to give and was told not to, too.

When she did fall in love she fell hard because she didn't have a safety net. She'd never believed in having one, not in any part of her life or self. And so she fell in love with the wrong man and she did it three times. The first time it was high adventure and intrigue, like something out of a Bond film, and she was the girl with the gun and the killer legs and he was the spy who loved her. He was her teacher, he introduced her to the world of espionage and undercover life and it was only natural it turned into under covers - and then, finally, or suddenly, depending on your point of view - undercover love. But love that begins like a movie tends to end like a movie, too. Michael was the one who taught her how to lie to the people closest to her. Of course he was lying all along.

The second time she fell in love it was a highbrow space opera. He was the princely visitor from far, far, away who was strangely more human than anyone she'd known, and she was the Earth Girl who was uncharacteristically not easy at all. Thrown together they found common ground that became common affection. But like all great opera they burned bright and burned out before the final act. Carol and Mar-Vell were literally-star-crossed lovers whose passion was sudden, overwhelming, all-consuming, and ultimately, deadly. Juliet died first, in fire and starlight, but she was only sleeping. When she woke, she found Romeo was dead of a heart that could not survive in her atmosphere without her by his side.

The third time she fell in love it was the kind of romantic dramedy Katherine Hepburn pulled off better than Meg Ryan ever could. The kind where the tall, smartass career woman falls for the man with all the qualities she hates in anyone but most especially in an attractive man. He pursued her the way he pursues any skirt until he realized she was wearing pants and she became his partner in crime. And once he stopped chasing, she could stop running and in the movies they would have figured out they were in love all along and the credits would roll. In life, they kept dancing. She was afraid, it was much too much to lose.

Valentine's Day.

"Wow."

Carol looked up to find Peter looking at her slack-jawed. "What?"

"Wow."

She rolled her eyes, smile wide."You said that already."

His smile was even wider. "It bore repeating!"

"Goof."

Peter went very still. "Yeah."

Carol frowned. "What?"

Peter shrugged. "Look at you! Why would you, goddess of love and beauty, ever be with me, 'goof'?"

Carol was suddenly self-conscious in her pretty, shiny, and tiny, red dress. "I can change if you want."

"No!" His vehemence startled her and she froze, staring. He shook his head and continued more calmly. "You're perfect."

She didn't answer.

"You look beautiful, Caroly."

"Okay."

Peter smiled and held up his arm with gentlemanly bravado, hoping to put awkward moments brought on by silly insecurities behind them. "Your carriage awaits, my lady."

Carol nodded and took his arm, but she still wasn't smiling. She took two steps and stopped. "I want you to open your gift."

Peter peered at her. "I thought we decided dinner first?"

"Okay." Two more steps, and stop. Peter frowned. Carol dropped his arm and retrieved a box from under the bed. Lips pursed, she returned to his side and held it out to him. "Please?"

Peter gave her a funny look that said too many things at once. But how could he deny her anything when she was all dressed up in such a pretty, shiny, and tiny, red dress? And yet looking so ...shy? "Of course," he said and took the gift and her hand and pulled her with him to the nearest chair. He sat, and not dropping her hand, opened the box with the other. The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

"I already have this book." He swung their hands, eyes twinkling at her.

"I know. It's for when that gets blown up." He grinned. "Open it."

"Is there a note?"

"A bookmark."

He tugged her hand and she obliged, moving in and perching on the arm of the chair. He opened the book, verified the passage being marked and opened the envelope. And stared.

"What is this?"

"You're the science teacher."

He scrunched his nose at her. "It's an x-ray." She nodded. "A chest x-ray." She nodded again. "Is it your chest x-ray? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I could pick your not x-rayed chest out of a line-up but-" She hit him. "Hey!" She rolled her eyes, but still looked shy. And wasn't speaking. "Okay. You're giving me your chest?" Carol made a face. A familiar, don't be stupid, face. "You're giving me your... heart?" Carol held his gaze, still not speaking, but her face didn't say don't be stupid anymore. Peter pulled her onto his lap and into his arms, book, x-ray, pretty, shiny, tiny and red dress, heart, and all.

"You're giving me your heart."

Carol smiled. "Yeah."

I'll tell you a secret about Carol Danvers. She's not afraid of anything

Fin.

Note: Thank you for the encouragement in my comments and messages. Carol and Peter are my favorite pairing and I appreciate hearing from fans :)