1964-12-28 - A Spider Christmas
Summary: In Which the Spider Family has Spinning Pains.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
anya cindy-moon gwen-stacy peter mary-jane-watson 

Elvis croons from the hi-fi in the living room.
"I'll be home…for Christmas…youuu can couunt on me…"
Well, there was snow tonight. The fireplace is roaring, the house is warm, and Gwen is cooking a Christmas dinner for her and Cindy. And Starfire, should she wish to join them. Gwen made enough for leftovers for days, if need be.
After dinner, Gwen promised a showing of "It's a Wonderful Life," a movie she had grown fond of. A movie that showed you that no one is poor who has friends.
"Cindy…!" She called up to the attic. "Food's almost ready!"

Cindy very rarely misses a meal. She really does seem to take great joy in eating- savoring every bite, taking her time. When one was once starving regularly, so much food seems a luxury. And so, she's quick to gracefully dance down the stairs. "It smells very good, Gwen!" she says with a bright smile. "What is it?"

There is a knock at the door. Thump thump thump. Some muffled words (swearing, if one must know), are spoken in Spanish. Outside, Anya is looking up at the sky. "Madre de Arana! Por que vine aqui?" Then she shakes her head and takes a deep breath. "I guess I'll find out," she grumbles softly. A spider-bola just barely peeks out of the bag she is wearing on her back.

The weather outside isn't exactly frightful, and it allows for friends to come a'calling without having to worry too much about driving snow, or sleet - or any of the other problems that tend to plague Peter Parker anytime he spends more than a few moments in the company of Mary Jane Watson. Opening the front gate for the Stacy Home for Wayward Green Card Fugitives, Peter is currently carrying a small bundle of packages in one hand and showing Mary Jane up towards the door with the other. "..I have no idea how many people she has living with her now." he admits. "I.. haven't been that great at keeping in touch." he admits with a hint of reluctant bashfulness.

MJ grins back at Peter, "Well, that's why we're here, goof." She smiles and knocks loudly, in her telltale "shave and a hair cut" knock. Then she takes a few presents from Peter, "Hon, how many times have I told you that I can carry some of these?"

Gwen chuckles. "We've got a roasted turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, green bean casseroleDad's recipe, he added bacon to itand we've got cherry and apple pie for dessert, and Neapolitan ice cr-"
She stops at the knock, tilting her head. "I wonder who that is." She certainly wasn't expecting company.
Never turn anyone away.
Yes, Daddy.
"Get whatever you want to drink from the fridge. I'll get the door." Gwen walks towards the door, drying her hands with a towel. No motorcycle jacket, no boots. A long-sleeved flannel shirt, jeans, and lambskin slippers. A set is currently wrapped and waiting for Cindy to open it, along with the other gifts under the tree for her and Starfire. There are some set aside for MJ and Peter, but she was going to bring them by tomorrow.
The presence of Anya is surprising. She remembers her, if vaguely. The hair is hard to forget.
And then the lovable schmuck she used to date and his current girlfriend appear and it is settled.
"Well, come on in, all of you. Get out of the cold!" She opens the door wide and steps back to allow entry.

"Who is here? We are expecting company?" Cindy wonders from within the kitchen, as she arrives in the door of the kitchen with a bottle of beer in her hand. "Oh! Friends!" she says, waving to the incoming Anya, MJ, and Peter! "Hello! Merry Christmases!" she offers with a cheerful tone, "Would you like a beer?" she asks, next, "We should always drink with friends. Very good to do with friends."

"…Shin?" Anya blinks a few times then looks back at Mary Jane and Pete. An eyebrow lofts and then she slowly shakes her head, taking a deep breath. "Alright, then. I can dig it. Jives with some of the other stuff these crazy kids get up to." She looks Cindy over from head to toe then and takes a deep breath before actually stepping through the open door.
"…Surprise! Merry Christmas," Anya begins sheepishly before moving off ot the side of the room to allow the rest of the arrivals to filter through into the main room. She looks around slowly, studying each person in turn, "Friends is right. It's good to spend time with friends… I'd love one of those beers, Shin. Thanks." Anya bites her bottom lip and frowns thoughtfully to herself.

There's a glance at the bola peeking out of Anya's backpack, but Peter doesn't say anything on the matter, instead a glance and a grin at Mary Jane. "They aren't that heavy, just a little…" he misses the first step - of course, MJ knows it's all part of the act now as he slips and nearly drops the packages, but manages to protect them just so. "Alright, so maybe you could help with one or two."

Glancing up at Gwen and Anya, the kid from Queen's is dressed in a sweater and jeans combination, his glasses perched on his nose, and one can tell that Aunt May probably made his sweater - along with the one that MJ is wearing as well. "Merry Christmas, Gwen."

Mary Jane turns and wears a matching sweater to Peter's, though she has a long green skirt on instead of jeans as she smiles, "Merry Christmas!" She snatches a couple boxes from Peter, sticking her tongue out at him as she then comes in and gives Gwen a firm hug, "How are you doing?"

From just her and Shin to a full house. Wow. "Hey, you two…! I was going to come by tomorrow with your gifts, so I'm glad you're here." She smiles to Anya. "Glad you could come by, too." She points to the living room table, now burdened with the aforementioned food. "Now that you're here, you can eat with us. And now we'll have less leftovers to worry about. Food's all ready!" She smiles as she walks to the head of the table.
Her father's chair. That's worth a twinge. Well, no one truly dies if you never forget them.
She smiles to everyone again, but says, "Shin, can you grab me a Coke while you're in there?"

"Hello department store friend, Anya!" Cindy says, as she nods, "Beer!" she cheers, putting the one she'd started sipping from on a table as she disappeared back into the kitchen to get beer for the new comers. She returns with four more, a bottle of coke, and a bottle opener, placing the beers on the table. She opens the cola and passes it over to Gwen.

Cindy is wearing what could best be called silk pajamas- all in vibrant colors, with patterns of flowers all over it. Where she got them, its hard to say. They do look very comfortable, though. "Welcome!" she beams, as she begins to open more beers and pass them out.

"Lots of food. Wow." Anya stares for a moment but then she nods a couple time, blinking as she does so. Then she approaches the table with careful steps. "I was kind of sent this way for a- um, reason." Anya pauses, looking around again as she does before taking a deep breath. "Okay. And thank you, um. Department store friend Shin." That draws another of those wry smiles from Anya, who is in her usual street clothes. "Looking good by the way. Haven't seen nightclothes like that before." Then Anya is finding herself a chair. "Is this what a, um. Spider Christmas looks like, then?" She tilts her head slowly and then takes a deep breath. "Hmmm."

"I see you've been making friends and influencing people, Gwen." Peter offers with a smile, a smirk sent Mary Jane's way when she relieves him of the packages and he makes his way further in. The offer of a beer is turned down. "Ah, no thank you… Shin, was it?" he asks curiously to the pajama-clad girl before what Anya comes out with nearly causes him to drop his package. What? Though that's covered quickly with a sneeze. "Do you have any orange juice, Gwen? Got a cold coming on."

Mary Jane, though, she giggles a bit at Anya's comment, then says, "Oh, why would you say that?" She grins and snatches the package from Peter, "I'll get this, you should get some tissues from the bathroom if you need to blow your nose. It was pretty cold out there." With that, she moves to the tree and puts them underneath before heading back to the table for dinner.

Gwen blinks also. She is clearly startled, and why not? Who mentions spiders at Christmas?
"Uhm…I…" REAL smooth, Gwendolyn Maxine Stacy. "It's…suitable for a family. Right? Family and friends?"
Why the deuce did she say that?

"Shin-Hye." Cindy corrects. "Shin is not my name. Shin-Hye is my name." she states to Gwen, Peter, and Anya simultaneously. "Shin is boy name. Shin-Hye is girl name. Cindy is easier, though. Please, call me by new American name, Cindy!" she offers with a beaming smile. "Cindy Moon! American Girl!" she says, just grinning so very wide.

"Yes! Spiders are very good luck. They come down with good luck from heaven!" Cindy offers to Anya, nodding, "Like bats! Very good luck."

"Shin-Hye," Anya replies in a mutter. "Shin-Hye. Shinhye. Shinny. No…" A beat. " Shindhye. Cindy. Hmm. Okay. If you'd rather I call you Cindy," Anya replies slowly, returning that smile with a slightly less beatific smile. She has a habit of looking wry even when saying nothing at all.
The reaction of the room as a whole, however, seems to have Anya shifting her weight slightly from left to right. "Don't tell me that the Madre Arana didn't chat you all up too?" She seems vaguely agitated on this point but then she's smiling again as she takes her seat.

"Nothing. S'all copacetic. Shin-Hye is right. Spiders are good luck. Like… Bats?" Bats are suspicious, being vaguely similar to pigeons. Both fly, after all.

Juice and tissues. You better not be getting a cold, Peter Parker. Returning with the items in hand, Peter clears his throat a little. "So, has Gwen asked if either of you can play bass yet?" he offers a smile with the attempted change of subject as he returns to sit next to Mary Jane, silently vexxing himself. You know - just come out and tell her. No. Then it gets all weird, right?

MJ smiles over at Peter, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze, "Well, if she didn't, I will. Either of you play bass?" She grins cheerfully, "We definitely could use a bassist for the band, that's for sure."

Gwen was just about to settle down when she blinks. She isn't fluent in Spanish, but she knows enough to pick up on the name.
Because she knows someone who could qualify as "Mother Spider."
And just like that…Anya would see it in Gwen's eyes that Gwen knows exactly who she is talking about.
"Hey, Anya…I might know a lady. White hair, red and white dress…" The white being a spider shape. "…she's blind, though…"

"Yes. Bats and Spiders. Good luck." Cindy reiterates, smiling still as she sips at her beer. "I do not know the blind woman." she says, "Or the band or the bass." Cindy offers helpfully as she pulls her legs up to sit cross-legged on the chair at the table, "We are eating now, yes?" she wonders over to Gwen, looking to Peter and MJ, next. "I remember you! From the party! You had a camera, and you came late, and we drink the wine that makes people go funny!" realization suddenly there.

"…Yep. That's the one," Anya agrees slowly. She arches a brow then, tilting her head as she looks Gwen over from head to toe. "How do you know her?" Anya retrieves some food and begins moving it to her plate, nodding at Cindy as she does. "Yep, we should eat now," Anay agrees, gesturing at Cindy wit ha fork. "The wine that makes people go funny, hmm? That sounds like a fun party." Se seems content to discuss things with the Korean spider while considering her food. "Anyway, she's the one who told me I should, um, come visit. Kind of nosy, I guess…" Anya shifts her weight from left to right now. Just a little bit. "And Cindy, I'm really glad you're here in time for Christmas."

"…I can totally play bass. And sing," Anya adds then. "Band, huh?"

Peter shares a glance with Mary Jane. And in it is a question. It's a pretty simple one. But one that needs not be spoken aloud. Instead he glances towards the others. "Eating sounds good." he offers finally, taking a long sip from his drink, but his eyes cast over each of the women in the room - each one he's realizing that have ties - the threads of fate - all around, and it's not exactly the greatest feeling in the world at times.

Mary Jane leans in and whispers to Peter, "Your call Tiger, it's your decision to make… but I trust them." Then at Cindy's words about the wine, she blushes deeply, saying aloud, "Yeah, well, that's the last bottle of wine I accept from the God of Trickery." Her nose wrinkles a bit.

Gwen moves to the head of the table, then says, "Yes, the food is getting cold. So, a moment of silence for prayer. If you don't, then just take some time to enjoy the warmth of the season, when people act like they should act all year." She bows her head. Questions are whirling in her head, but she has been Irish Catholic all her life. It's the fabled automatic.

So she bows her head, and whispers under her breath, "Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Cindy giggles a bit. "Yes. I thought I take mine clothes off." she says, still smiling brightly. "Always a good party when you forget when you take off the clothes." But, she falls quiet when Gwen begins to pray. She's silent, just listening to the Christian prayer. She speaks herself, once the words have finished. "Jal-mukesumneda." she says in Korean, apparently it has some significance to eating with others.

Anya joins in the praying, though she is reciting the identical phrases in Spanish. Those Catholic instincts apparently breed true to some degree or another. Only afterward does she lift her head and look around at the room at large. Of Cindy Anya asks, "Just what does that mean…?" Anya glances over both Peter and mary Jane but says not a word as whispering begins. It does imply a desire for privacy after all. "The food looks wonderful, Gwen. Thanks!"

There's a subtle nod to Mary Jane, but Peter's bowing his head as well, listening to the prayer for a moment, before he offers his own silent, "Amen." afterward. For a moment, the young man sits there, and then he stands quietly, meeting Gwen's eyes for a moment, before he speaks. "This year has been a very trying year. A year of troubles and tribulations. Of trials that threatened to break the strongest of bonds. Of tests that pushed those, we care about to the very end of their resilience. In this year, there were those of us who have lost, who have suffered loss. And in that loss, they found the strength and resolve to carry on." he offers quietly.

"In those trials - those troubles - sometimes we forget those that we should rely on the most. And when it comes to it, it is those people that we nearly forgot - that we accidentally cause the most harm to, that need us the most. My uncle once told that the world is not just and fair all of the time - it's up to each of us to have the courage to carry the ideas of justice, faith, and honesty - out into the world and make it work. Trust and honesty. Those are the things that meant the most to my uncle. And they are the two things that I have denied those closest to me for a very long time." he glances towards Mary Jane and takes her hand for a moment. "Gwen… I know." he finally says quietly. "That day that Mary Jane was in trouble with Ray.. I had a suspicion.. and when Mary Jane returned… I put it together. Anything you need.. I'll be there for you. You're my friend."

MJ squeezes Peter's hand at the reminder of that day, and sighs, "Amen." She smiles over at Peter, giving him a wink after he finishes, then she looks at Gwen, "Whatever you need Gwen, I mean, you're my best friend, of course I'll help you with whatever I can."

I'm a Spider, she's a Spider, she's a Spider, you know I'm a Spider. Wouldn't you like to be a Spider, too?

Gwen seems to put it all together. She knows about Cindy, MJ knows about her, and now she know Anya has to be one, too, if she is seeing Madame Web.
She nods, as if to herself. "All right…I'm the White Widow." She picks up the carving knife. "Who wants white meat and who wants dark?"

"I will eat well. It is polite to say in Korea before you eat." Cindy says, "It is *also* polite to accept drinks of beer and wine and alcohol." She notes, as she grins and looks again towards the beers she put on the table. "It is good to drink with friends." she remarks, before she begins to help serve the guests- she does live here, after all, and it is proper to ensure one's guests are served first.

Again, Cindy is quiet as Peter begins to speak- it seems super important! So, she looks over to Gwen as she admits who she is. Okay. "I am Cindy! And also Silk!"

"It is good," Anya agrees before she takes a swig of her beer. The food is set out and Anya finds herself watching Peter as she slowly reaches toward her fork. She doesn't say a further word for now, shifting her weight slightly in her seat. Eventually food does disappear into the girl's mouth, however. She can only resist for so long. At least Anya tries to be relatively inobtrusive about her impatience.

There's a soft draw of Peter's breath as he looks towards Gwen. "And I know what you're about to say - you hid it from me because you felt you needed to protect me. Becaus eif Ray found out your secret - he'd threaten others." There's a glance towards MJ at that. She knew the secret. She got embroiled in this.

Reaching down, Peter lifts his sweater off. Beneath? The familiar red and blue spider-suit. "Secrets are hard to keep. But what's harder to find is someone else that you can entrust in them fully. MJ didn't even know until a couple of weeks ago. Though I'm sure she always expected.."

"…I've been Spider-Man for five years now, it's why I missed our Homecoming date, Gwen." he shrugs.

"White meat, please."

MJ smiles over at Peter and gives him a supportive kiss on the cheek, "Well, I suspected for a while, but you just confirmed it." She grins, giving his hand a squeeze as she looks at Gwen, "I'll take dark, thanks. And um… I hate to disappoint you all, but I have no powers whatsoever. Aside from smuggling a roll of quarters in my pocket to clock unsuspecting HYDRA agents, I guess."

Gwen STARES at Peter, and suddenly it might not have been a good idea to reveal you were a sanctimonious prick to a woman holding a carving knife.
"You…you…" She stops, realizing she is pointing a long, sharp knife at Peter.
"I never thought you could be Spider-Man, Peter Parker. I *also* never thought you had a high horse to get on when it came to questioning the motives and resolves of another person. You see, Cindy, this one had the brass sass to ask me if I was willing to commit to the life I chose." She snorts. "Guess I was wrong *twice.*"
She carves off three slices of white breast meat, perhaps imagining she is cutting into Peter's chest, but deftly serves him without a further word before carving off a drumstick for MJ, then says, "What would you like, Cindy, while I'm in the mood to slice something?"

"All food is good food." Cindy states, "Maybe you will give me the knife, though." she says as she reaches over to try and snag the knife and beam wide. "I will cut pieces for myself." She says taking a slow breath, "BEtter to not cut the people."

Anya watches all of this with a quiet stare, looking around the room again and then nodding once at Cindy as the carving fork and knife are retrieved. "you can, um. Help me with mine too," she offers half under her breath as she scoots closer to the spider she's chosen to sit beside. "So… You were the one we rescued. On the docks? I usually call myself 'Arana', but I don't really have a- name for it yet, exactly."She shifts slightly in her seat then slowly begins to look around the room. "…Woah." It seems to be the best description of what is happening.

Peter draws in his breath. "Look. Things happen. New heroes appear every day. I mean, look around the room. It's all the same question we face at one point or another. Is this going to be the first and the last time - or do we get a chance to set aside that part of our lives to be somewhat normal again." he draws in a breath. "We all lose a piece of ourselves with our abilities and the responsibilities that it calls upon. It also falls upon each of us to make the right decisions when it comes down to it. Whether or not we take a life. We use our powers for personal gain. If we remember who and what shaped us."

"For what it's worth- I didn't know you were Widow at the time, Gwen. And I spoke out of line in the moment of worry that there was another Spider powered person - we don't exactly get the best rep in New York." he sighs and rubs the back of his head before he pulls back his sweater. "Uh. You can return the gifts, if you want." he says quietly, "I think it's best if I go get some air." There's a glance towards Mary Jane. "I'm sorry, Gwen." he finally offers quietly. "About your father. About getting these powers. About Ray." And there's no more high ground to stand on, so he starts to walk away.

MJ rises to her feet with that, though she does give Gwen a rather angry look first, as she says to Peter, "I'll come with you, Peter." She places her hand on his shoulder, the anger melting away as she looks at him, a sigh passing from her as she squeezes lightly.

Gwen rolls her eyes. "Get your butt back here, Parker, and siddown. I've said all I'm going to say about that, and I'm never going to mention it again. "
She sounds eerily like her father.
"I don't do takebacks on invitations, and I don't do it for gifts, either. I'm not going to stay silent when I wish to defend myself, but I don't hold grudges, either. I've said my peace, Peter, and consider the matter closed. So I'm not throwing you out, or banning you from the house." Her voice softens. "Just come back and sit, Peter. You too, MJ."

"Wait." Cindy says, as she interrupts whatever is happening here. "Yes. You should stay. I understand this thing is a painful thing, but friends should stay friends. The past is gone. Nothing can change it. In has stopped existing. We do not know tomorrow. It is the unknowable, the distant and impossible. Now, there is good food. And drinks. And love." she smiles quietly, "Remember this one thing- Your feelings are real, but they are not reality. This is what the Buddha teaches." She then begins to serve meat to everyone, passing bowls next.

"Your feelings are real but they aren't reality? You need to explain this to me sometime." Anya takes a deep breath and then eyes the beer in front of her before taking another swig. "I'd really appreciate it if you guys stayed," she adds next. "Like, I don't know any of you. But I know Spider-Man. He's one of my heroes. And that's- important.We might not be the family we've chosen but apparently we're connected. Somehow. How many Spider People can there really be?"

Cindy takes a moment, "When I was younger there was war in Korea." she offers to Anya, "And sometimes, I would feel despair. That everything was bad, and that everything would be terrible forever. That I would never know peace. My feelings were real. They were not reality. One day, I would know peace. I would have a better life. That things would be better." she offers by way of explanation. "When I am held by the North Korean Government in the testing bunker. When they hurt me, and cut me, and use radiation on me. When they teach me to kill people. I feel that I would rather die than continue. IT was real. The Reality is I am stronger than I think. That I can survive. That I can make it and keep going."

Mary Jane gently holds onto Peter. She says simply, "Peter… it's Christmas. This is a chance to heal the past." She glances over at Gwen, then back to Peter, "The thing about no more secrets, Peter… it means that it hurts when you rip off the bandaids. But we'll all be better friends for it, once it's done." She tucks her arm in his, and says, "I'm with you tiger, stay or go."

Glancing aside to Mary Jane for a moment, Peter has that moment. To leave the problems aside again, or to finally just settle them. He knows how May would react to this 'Peter Parker, you did a wrong, you apologized, now make it right'. He lets out a breath and allows Mary Jane to tug him back to his seat next to her. "At least you never had to be the Bombastic Bag Man."

Gwen raised an eyebrow, but there is no malice in it. She'd said what she had to say, and it was done.
"There is a serious backstory to that, I'm sure." She held up her plate. "Pass the mashed potatoes, please?"

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