[ TWENTY-EIGHT]

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           They walk down the hall towards their door, just waiting for what may happen next

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           They walk down the hall towards their door, just waiting for what may happen next. This whole day has been a whirlwind and it's gone by so fast that the two of them can barely remember what they said to May in the morning. They stand in front of their apartment door, their school clothes on and their stashed backpacks slung over their shoulders. Peter raises his fist to knock on the door, but it swings open before he has a chance. Before them stands May, her eyes red and puffy, a phone clutched in her hand.

"I've been calling you two all day! I was scared to death! I thought something had happen-" May's voice cracks as she takes a few steps back into the apartment.

          Peter and Clover drop their bags and rush over to May who's eyes spill over with tears. She presses her lips to each of their cheeks many times over and over again, just making sure they are really standing before her, safe and sound. May takes in their smell and holds them each in one arm for what feels like an eternity. A moment before she saw their faces, it felt like an eternity waiting for them to return to her. Too many times has someone left through that door and never returned.

"I love you both so much" May whispers in their ears.

She gives them one more squeeze before she releases them and wipes her eyes.

"Mom...I love you too" Clover says, planting a kiss on her mother's cheek.

"You're the best Aunt May" Peter says, giving May yet another hug.

May sniffles, "You can go...I know the 'I love you' routine. Go be with your friends...you did get off of school for the rest of the day"

          Smiles are flashed as Peter and Clover race out of the apartment, phones in hand, calling their friends. They race to the train station and plan to meet up at Central Park, far too many things need to be explained. They emerge from the train an hour later and race towards the vast greenery of Central Park. At the entrance, their friends already wait for them, wearing cautious smiles. Peter and Clover jog up and smile uncomfortably. The group make their way to the green space where people sit and have picnics, they plant themselves underneath a large oak tree, Liz, Michelle and Ned lean against it as Peter and Clover sit across from them.

"We lied to you, for a very long time and it was wrong" Peter begins.

"But we did it for the right reasons...to keep you safe and to stop you from worrying" Clover adds.

"Not telling us made us worry either way" Liz says.

"Telling us would have eased our worries and do you really think that we would have tried to join in on your superhero shenanigans? We may be dumb sometimes, but we're not stupid" Michelle says.

Ned glances at Clover for a moment before he speaks, "We have to trust each other if we're going to stay friends"

"Just friends?" Clover asks.

Ned nods, "Friends for now...relationships are built on trust and all of us have to trust each other as friends first. No more lying, even if it will hurt us...it's how trust builds"

"Agreed?" Liz says.

"Agreed" everyone answers.

A siren in the distance causes everyone's heads to snap in its directions. Sad looks cross everyone's faces.

"I'd be lying if I said we could stay longer" Peter says.

Liz places a hand on Peter's, "Go...both of you. We're friends with superheroes now, we understand what comes with the job. Just stay safe...don't be late for school tomorrow"

The two stand to leave and jog off.

Michelle stands up and runs to Clover, pressing herself against her friend, "I never thought that I'd be friends with a popular girl let alone a superhero. You have no idea how you've changed me...I'll always be your friend" Michelle whispers in her Clover's ear.

           A smile creeps onto Clover's face as they exit the park and slip into an alley. Even as Clove pulls on her mask, the smile remains and a weight lifts off her shoulders knowing that she doesn't have to lie anymore, knowing that their are no secrets to keep from her friends. But she can't help but fear the next villain that comes along with dreams of destruction. A hand on her shoulder eases her fear as Peter and Clover stand on a rooftop.

"I have the same fears as you Clove...the fear of not being able to save the city next time. The fear of failure. But we are not our failures, they help us learn and do better for  the next time. That fear makes us never want to give up the fight in spite of that fear. Fear makes us strong because we are afraid...so be afraid, if we aren't, we may not be able to save people next time."

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THE END
(Until next time)

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