Who: Michelle "MJ" Jones & Tandy Bowen What: Eating lunch When: a couple weeks ago Notes/Warnings: nope
One of the benefits of not really having friends was that MJ didn’t have to worry that she’d accidentally say something about the whole alternate universe thing to someone who didn’t know about it. Ned and Peter were pretty much the only people she cared to talk to and they both knew which made her life much easier.
Normally she sat alone at lunch and read a book, but she spotted a blonde sitting alone and realized that she recognized her from the Avengers network. She’d heard something about a new girl starting at their school that Stark pulled strings to get in and figured that was probably her. Without really thinking about it, she headed in that direction.
“Mind if I sit here?” she asked. “I’m MJ.”
It had taken a couple days, but after she’d started classes Tandy had felt - vaguely - like she’d been a little bit manipulated into agreeing to going to school, and when it came down to it she was kind of impressed at just how devious Dr. Banner had been about it. For her first week, she had seriously considered not going or at the very least - skipping out early most days - but eventually she decided it was probably more of a hassle if she did that, so in the long run it was easier to just go and see what happened.
For now, at least.
As she glanced over her notes for a Physics quiz she’d be having that afternoon, a half-eaten apple in her hand, Tandy was starting to rethink all of this just a bit. It was hard to be interested in some of these classes, and since she wasn’t exactly a joiner or the type to hang with the “cool” kids, she wasn’t really enjoying herself that much. At the voice that came from across the table she sat at, Tandy blinked and looked up - and realized she sort of recognized the girl from the network.
“Nope, go ahead. I’m Tandy,” she replied as she shut her notebook.
“You live in the Tower, right?” MJ asked. “I haven’t spent much time there, but if you ever want to study together, we can.”
She wasn’t great at making friends, so offering something concrete like a study session seemed like a good opening. Peter and Ned were both much better when it came to talking to people normally. Maybe someday they’d rub off on her.
Once she was seated, she pulled a brown paper bag out of her backpack and set it in front of her.
“Yeah, I guess I do.” She hadn’t been there too long, and the entire thing still felt pretty transitional to Tandy. And weird. After going from sleeping in an abandoned church off and on for years, being homeless, suddenly living in Avengers central was just kind of mind-blowing for the teen. “You don’t live there? And sure, studying sounds good.” She was going to need it for some of these classes after being out of school for so long.
Tandy took a bite of her apple and chewed slowly, then looked back across at MJ as she swallowed. “Bring anything good?” That was the kind of thing ‘normal’ teenagers talked about, right?
MJ shook her head, taking out a turkey and swiss sandwich on rye, a small bag of chips, and a pear. “No, I live with my family,” she said. “It’s weird because obviously they don’t know about the whole alternate universe thing.” She just had no good reason to move out so she was stuck there for now. After graduation, she was hoping she could move into the Tower so that she didn’t have to be so careful.
“But, yeah, we can study anytime,” she said. “Or just hang out. Whatever.”
“So did you just...take your own self’s place? Like replaced yourself? Or are you from this universe?” It was still a lot to take in and handle, but Tandy thought she was coping okay, considering she’d shown up knowing absolutely no one aside from the Avengers by their reputations.
“I’d like that. The Tower’s a pretty cool place,” Tandy replied.
The whole alternate universe thing still hurt MJ’s head if she thought about it too hard. “I guess, yeah,” she said. She had no idea if her other self had swapped places with her or was in some kind of limbo or what though. “Some of the stuff that happened to us in our regular universe didn’t happen here. Like apparently Thanos never actually attacked here and wiped out half of humanity.”
She supposed that the best thing she could say about that whole mess was that both she and Peter had been snapped and at least one of them wasn’t suddenly five years older than the other.
“How about you? What kind of weirdness have you seen?”
Tandy held up a hand to stop her from talking anymore about Thanos. “Heard about that, really don’t want to hear more about it. It was 2017 for me, so that...hadn’t happened.” And the thought that it would just kind of made her feel sick inside. Tandy didn’t want to think about any of that right now.
At her questions, the hand fell and she busied herself by taking another bite of her apple, stalling for time, before looking across at her again.
“I mean...aliens attacking New York and cities flying is all weird, but on the news right? Um. In New Orleans, people got turned into these zombie rage monster things, so that was crazy and weird. And then there was this guy who wanted to become a god and was putting the city in a trance with his music so he could feed off of their despair. Does that qualify?” She asked.
“Yeah, that definitely qualifies,” MJ said. “I wonder why that never made the news.” If it had, she’d missed it and she didn’t think that was likely given her penchant for keeping on top of everything and trying to determine if there were conspiracy theories happening.
Then again, 2017 was when things were starting to heat up with Spiderman, so a lot of her attention had been focused on that.
“No one really understood what was going on, and Roxxon paid them off for the first part, anyway. The second...most people probably just thought it was some weird dream.” Tandy gave a shrug.
“Is it weird for you here? Trying to catch up on the last few years of pop culture and the news and everything that’s happened in this world?” Tandy asked curiously.
MJ shrugged. “A little, yeah,” she said. “I’m always careful what I say in case things were different here and I accidentally give something away.” The last thing she wanted was for anyone to think she was losing her mind or something. That would be bad.
“Ugh, lunch is going to be over soon. It goes so fast,” she grumbled. “You can always message me through the network though. And Peter and Ned are around here somewhere. You’ll need to meet them too.”
Tandy gave a nod of understanding. She figured that all that meant was that it was probably good she wasn’t great at making friends. Finishing off her apple, she dropped the core into a napkin beside her book, then pointed at the cover.
“Are you in this class? I could really use some tutoring for it,” she told MJ. Sure, she’d offered to study with her, but Tandy hoped that it’d be a little more helpful than simply studying.
After glancing at the cover, MJ smiled. “I took that one last year. Yeah, I can definitely study with you. I’ll dig out my notes too,” she offered. “We can definitely hang out whenever.”
She was kind of proud of herself. This was the second friend she’d made recently. With Peter and Ned, she was up to four and that was a lot for her.
After a quiet sigh of relief, she nodded. “That’d be great, thank you,” Tandy replied before slipping her notebook and book into her bag just as the bell rung. Or chimed. Whatever they called it here.
“Guess that’s it for lunch. Thanks for talking. It’ll be nice seeing someone I know around,” she told MJ before heading off.