***

A warm shower had gotten rid of the dumpster smell, for the most part at least, as Peter strolled into the small home that had been the scene of his childhood and many amazing memories.

“Peter is that you?”

Smiling, he moved into the doorway of the kitchen and saw Aunt May moving about as she was taking freshly made homemade jam and spooning it into a sea of jars that filled the room. It was something she had done small-scale in the past but had increased as of late with her time at the homeless shelter.

“Hey Aunt May, got a real production line going on here.”

“Yes well the shelter patrons seem to love what I bring in jars so much that I have to keep them stocked up regularly.”

“They have good taste. Just wait till you start making them some wheat cakes, they won’t know what hit them.”

Smiling, the old woman turned and kissed her nephew on the cheek. “You said you wanted to talk to me Peter dear, what is it?”

The beginnings of a smile had been in place upon his face, but Peter could not even muster up his trademark devil-may-care smile. “Aunt May…I’m not sure how to even say this.”

“Just say the words that you want Peter, whatever it is I shall support you. You know this.”

“I do.” He said, finding it a bit easier to actually smile. Taking a deep breath, Peter nodded. “All right, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching as of late trying to figure out where I belong as a person in the grand scheme of things. You know that it’s never been easy and I’ve seemed to stumble more than thrive and a lot of that is my own doing. Going against my best interests and not putting my money where my mouth is as they say. That being said, I found an opportunity I believe. One that will give me a great chance to be what I should be. The only problem is…there is a sacrifice I have to make to do it. A big one.”

The warm, frail yet still full of strength, hand of Aunt May came to his face and caressed his cheek like the days of old.

“Whatever it might be, is it worth what you are going for?”

“I believe it could be. I’m nervous though.”

“We’re all nervous at times Peter. That will never change.”

“I know. I feel it’s the right choice and others would probably say the same and it’s better to go now while I’m still able. Can’t let another opportunity slip through my fingers.”

Like the proud mother she was, May smiled as the proud feeling swelled in her chest. At last her young man was growing up. “I’m proud of you Peter. More proud than you will ever know, and I know that Ben is looking down right now smiling at you like he always did. Because we both knew that you were destined for great things and this could be the first step to that path.”

Oh if only she knew all that I do as Spider-Man. Ironic that they wanted me to do great things but those things I’ve done I can never tell her, Peter thought with a bit of bitterness and amusement at the ironic nature of his life. Maybe I could tell her with the decision for my new life now made, but there would still be possible danger even with me not around. She’ll always be in the position for danger as long as I’m doing what I do. Typical Parker luck.

“So what do you have to sacrifice Peter?”

Her words brought him out of his thoughts. The bit of a smile that had been there started to fade as a sigh came. It was now or never time.

“Aunt May,” he began, finally managing to look back up into her eyes. “It’s a big one. To do what I want to do with my life now and seize the opportunity, I have to…I have to leave New York. I have to move away.”

There was really no explaining the reaction that was expected, the mind didn’t always work in a logical way. Suffice to say though it probably wasn’t the one that was given. Suddenly the woman was hugging him and Peter was afraid he had just upset or broken her heart. “Aunt May…”

“Oh Peter, I’m so proud of you!”

“Huh what now?”

Pulling back, she chuckled. “It’s good for you. I’ve always known you would go on to do great things but you’re so attached to things here that you won’t let go and you’re suffering. A change would be good for you. I’ll miss you but I’ll always support you doing something for you any time. You need this Peter.”

She was right and he knew it. The decision had already sort of been made that he would do it but there had been doubt and some fear at first. “I think I do. No, I know I do. I just didn’t want to leave you alone.”

Chuckling, she shook her head at him. “Peter I’m a grown woman, I’m certain I’ll be okay alone.”

Blushing, Peter tried to speak but she silenced him. “I understand though. I’ll be quite alright. I have the center. Anna. Many other friends. You dont’ have to watch out for me. It was my job to watch out for you, and now it’s time to spread your wings at last and fly away.”

“You’re right.”

“Of course I’m right, I raised you didn’t I,” May said with a grin. “Now tell me about this opportunity.”

“Well it’s a science gig and I’m really excited about it,” Peter said as he sat down at the table and began to regale his loving aunt with everything he knew about this new endeavor.